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Pokémon Foul Play Page 2

Started by Bay August 7th, 2017 8:25 PM
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  • 36 replies

Sumner

Trick or Treat?

Male
Brazil
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 19 Hours Ago
2,427 posts
1.5 Years
Wow, reading this made me inspired to write some fics to, you're doing a pretty good job so far. I'm still reading Chapter 4 and the atmosphere in Alola is very comfy from Grimsley's perspective, even though he's been through some funky stuff in the first few days there. Also, Acerola is a great character here.

I felt like the start of the first chapter was a bit rushed, especially in the first Grimsley-Iris dialogue. I guess you didn't want to linger his trip to Alola too much, but I feel like you could do better with the dialogue. That's one of my few complaints though, and I guess the only major one.

Looking forward to finishing Chapter 4 and reading the other ones, seems like you have posted the seventh one recently. Good luck with your story!
The world was full of cravens who pretended to be heroes; it took a queer sort of courage to admit to cowardice as he had.

Bay

Darkinium Z

Female
Dani California
Seen 6 Hours Ago
Posted 6 Hours Ago
5,740 posts
13.4 Years
Hi there SorveteQuente! Very glad to hear this inspired you to do a fic of your own! Yeah I wanted to have Alola be this comfy and relax place. However, like in the games paradise don't last... And I had fun writing Acerola! Such a sweetheart.

Bleh, I rewrote Grimsley's parts in the first chapter several times already but still haven't found that sweet spot on him going from Unova to Alola. You know originally I was only going to have him stay for a couple weeks, but then after feedback on the first chapter I'll have him stick around for a little while. Hopefully the later chapters' pacing are a little better. When you get caught up, do let me know your thoughts on Chapter Four and after!

~

Remember when I said this would be eight chapters? Yeah, throw that out of the window. I don't have a definite chapter count since I'm trying to jammed pack less scenes/locations in one chapter haha. I'm bouncing between writing and revising Chapters 11-13 atm and I know endgame will have at least 4 or 5 chapters, so let's say 19 or 20 chapters maybe?

Speaking of which, I have Chapter 9's rough draft done. However, I'm thinking of doing April Camp Nano, and it'll depend how busy my beta will be that month. I'll still try to have it posted in mid April, but if not then May for sure.

Before we begin this chapter, want to mention Starfall Hills is from the anime. And yes, the last scene I got inspiration from the Minior episode too. Also, the nickname I gave for Kahili's Toucannon is also from the anime! This won't be the only time I'll have anime references either! Also, thanks to bobandbill for the great beta as alway!


Chapter Eight
Power Trip


The next morning after Grimsley packed up his things he met up with Kukui outside. Acerola and Becky were also there to see them leave.

“Our pokérides should be here any moment, yeah!” Kukui said to Grimsley. “Also I let Molayne and Kahili know that we’ll be meeting up with them later.”

“Will you stick around Ula’ula Island for a few more days?” Becky asked.

“Perhaps. There are still some sites on this island I haven’t gotten around to yet.”

“There’s Lake of the Moone that’s right next to Ula’ula Meadows!” Acerola said, grinning. “It has some neat history that relates to our legendary Pokémon Lunala and Solgaleo!”

Grimsley nodded and a small smile formed on his lips. “Lake of the Moone does sound lovely. I’ll see about visiting there eventually.”

After he finished speaking, a beastly roar was heard. Grimsley looked up to see a Skarmory and a Charizard approaching them. They soon landed on the ground and everyone gathered around them.

“Looks like our rides are here!” Kukui said. He went towards the Charizard and patted his forehead.

Already the Skarmory began pecking at his sleeve and that made Grimsley glare at her. Upon a closer look, his eyes grew wide.

“You’re the same Skarmory that wanted my coin.” A sharp frown crossed Grimsley’s face. Skarmory squawked and flapped her wings, as if responding ‘yes’.

“Seems you two are already connected!” Becky said with a chuckle.

Grimsley grunted and shook his head. He and Kukui hopped onto their ride Pokémon’s backs.

“Do drop by Aether House again soon, you two!” Acerola said.

“Of course, yeah!” Kukui said. He faced his Charizard and patted the back of his neck. “All right, off to Malie City, woo!”

Kukui whistled and that caused both his and Grimsley’s Pokémon to flap their wings and launch into the air. While gripping on the reins, Grimsley glanced down to see Acerola and Becky waving goodbye to them. He smiled, already considering visiting Aether House once more. He gazed at the sky as the sun began to rise and hung tight onto Skarmory, and they continued to follow alongside Kukui and Charizard toward Malie City.

xxx

The last time Grimsley was in the air he wasn’t at ease. The air was slightly cooler since it was morning, and his body relaxed this time. While he and Skarmory were flying, the armored bird kept pecking at Grimsley's hair. He carefully maintained his hairstyle, so he often pushed her head away from him.

"What is it with Pokémon eating my hair and clothes?" Grimsley asked as he smoothed his air with one hand and gripped on the reins with his other.

Kukui chuckled and looked over his head. "Perhaps they're very drawn to you!"

"I seriously doubt that." Grimsley then asked, "I'm curious, how come we're not going straight to Mount Hokulani?"

"A couple reasons, cousin! A few more people had reserved our Pokémon also, so they need to be given back soon. Another reason is that some Pokémon living there are very hazardous for us to get close to, yeah!"

Grimsley's brow was raised with surprise and interest. He imagined he meant the ones that could use Explosion and similar moves.

It took a little over half an hour for Grimsley and Kukui to make it to Malie City. After they landed and said farewell to their Pokémon, they took the Exeggutor Express, a bus shaped like an Alolan Exeggutor, that was heading to Mount Hokulani.

There were a few passengers inside. One seat was occupied by a girl with her Zorua sleeping on her lap, and two more taken by a couple going to the Hokulani Observatory together. Grimsley gazed through the window to see the tall grass and trees of Route 10 passing by like a rushing Ponyta. He sat next to Kukui, who was looking across another pair of seats to see through the other window.

“Say Professor Kukui, can you tell me a bit more about the trainers you’ve chosen for the Elite Four?” he asked, and that caught Kukui’s attention.

“Sure! I first asked Olivia, who is the kahuna of Akala Island and specializes in rock types. You won’t meet her today, though, as she’s busy with her kahuna duties at the moment. Kahili, meanwhile, was a former island champion and trains flying Pokémon. She’s also a professional golfer, so she’s been all over the world, yeah! Then there’s Molayne, who heads the Hokulani Observatory and a very good friend of mine. He favors steel types.”

“They sound like amazing trainers.” Grimsley glanced around for a second and then said, “Nanu mentioned you asking him to join the Elite Four but he refused. I take it you’re still trying to find your fourth member?”

Kukui nodded and he leaned back against his seat. “Nanu told me if he finds someone that he would let me know.” He paused when a chuckle left him. “He’s not wrong that being an Elite Four has its responsibilities.”

Grimsley hummed in agreement, and he went back looking through the window. The scenery in front of him changed from the lush grass and trees to more barren land similar to Route 12. There was a steep drop below, and he realized that they were now driving up to the summit. He caught sight of a few Pokémon that looked like stars floating around. They were in different colors: purple, pink, and orange.

“Do you know what those Pokémon are?” Grimsley asked, pointing at the Pokémon. When Kukui noticed them, he grinned.

“Those are Minior! They often fall from the sky like shooting stars and hang out around Starfall Hills. Molayne does extensive research on those Pokémon, he can tell you more about them if you like.”

“I think I would like that,” Grimsley said with a small smile. He continued gazing out of the window.

When the bus reached the top of Mount Hokulani, it stopped in front of the observatory and everyone jumped off. Hokulani Observatory was a large facility with stainless glass and geometric architecture. A satellite dish settled on the left side of the roof and a round telescope was on the right. The other passengers had already went inside.

Grimsley stayed where he was while Kukui talked with a man in a polo shirt. A cold breeze drifted by and made him shudder. He rubbed his arms slightly. Small patches of snow were scattered on the ground.

“One of Molayne’s colleagues says he and Kahili will be with us in a moment,” Kukui said when he returned to him.

“I don’t mind waiting.” Grimsley turned around to see another mountain covered in snow a far distance from him. “Is that Mount Lanakila?”

“It is, yeah!” Kukui said, grinning. “The Pokémon League will be at the top of the summit. Before trainers would go to that mountain for their final trial and have to beat the four kahunas in a row. Now instead trainers will go against the Elite Four that best represents Alola, woo!”

Grimsley hummed out of interest and gave a single nod. “Say, Professor Kukui, you mentioned the reason for creating the Pokémon League is to show the world how great the trainers from Alola are. Was there any incident that inspired you to go ahead with that ambitious undertaking?”

A nostalgic expression stretched across Kukui’s face. “A while back I traveled through Kanto and challenged the Indigo League. Came out a little short, but the experience left a lasting impact to this day.”

“That’s very impressive. Was it tough getting all this set up?” he asked, and Kukui responded with a laugh.

“Of course, cousin! It took me years to prepare the league plans and have the Pokémon League Association approve them.” The grin on Kukui’s face disappeared and he sighed. “Had to convince the big wigs to let me keep the island challenge format.”

Grimsley knew what Kukui was talking about. In order for the region to form a league there had to be a gym bracket system or something similar in place, and enough trainers to be interested in participating. Most regions settled for the eight gym badges system, but there were some like the Orange Islands where you would only need four. Grimsley imagined how much of a headache it must be for him to handle all this. He offered him an empathetic smile.

“At least you’re close to having it up and running now.”

Kukui beamed and raised his fist in the air. “Indeed and I’m pumped for it, woo!”

His smile widening, Grimsley admired the man’s enthusiasm there. He and Kukui gazed at Mount Lanakila for another minute or so until someone’s voice brought their attention.

“Sorry for the wait! Was in a research meeting.”

Grimsley looked over his shoulder to see a tall man with glasses approaching them. He had dirty blonde hair that was fluffy but well kept, and a soft looking face. His clothes were wrinkled and slightly oversized for him. When he greeted them with a warm smile, Grimsley’s heart almost skipped a beat.

He was very, very handsome. And he couldn’t tear his gaze off from him.

“Not a trouble at all, cousin!” Kukui’s voice pulled Grimsley away from his dazed gaze. He greeted Molayne with a tight embrace and a pat on his shoulder. After they let go, the professor pointed at Grimsley for him. “Molayne, this is Grimsley from the Unova League. He agreed to give us a few pointers on what it’s like to be in the Elite Four!”

“A pleasure to meet you.” Grimsley and Molayne shook hands. “Professor Kukui told me that you’re the head of the Hokulani Observatory and that you train steel types.”

“Indeed on both accounts. I’m very passionate about everything there is to know about space and beyond. As for me training steel types, Kukui and I did the island challenge together and then I became a trial captain not long after.”

“Molayne doesn’t want to admit it, but he’s an awesome trainer! One time we went against a totem Sandslash, and he used his Dugtrio and Metang to trap him like a Rock Tomb!” Kukui jabbed Molayne’s shoulder with his elbow, which made him chuckle and rub the back of his head.

“What I did back then isn’t anything special. I just needed to find a way for him to lose momentum! Anyways, Kahili is inside with Sophocles, let’s go.” Molayne gestured his hand for everyone to follow him inside, which they did.

Upon entering the observatory's main lobby, Grimsley glanced around with keen interest. The ceiling had stars and planets painted all over while the floors pulsed in blue light. Several television screens were attached on the walls, each one showcasing space and science trivia.

The couple from the bus earlier were talking to the man in the receptionist desk, and next to it there was a large stand with brochures about the observatory. Near the end of the corner there was a woman and a young boy with several bug-like Pokémon that shaped like batteries.

“Wow, so you take care all of these Charjabug? the woman asked, dropping to her knees to have a closer look at them.

“Ah huh! Big Mo says they can eat several pounds of food a day. They need that much to store large amounts of electricity!”

“They look to be very strong, but my flying Pokémon can handle them.” A smug look crossed her face, and the boy laughed.

“Hey! Once these Charjabug evolve into Vikavolt you’ll be sorry!” When the boy noticed Molayne and Kukui, he beamed. “Big Mo! And Alola, Professor Kukui!”

“Alola to you too, Sophocles!” Kukui said, grinning.

Molayne waved and said, “I hope I’m not disrupting anything.”

“Nah, I was just talking to Kahili about how great our Charjabug are!”

“I didn’t realize how important the Charjabug here are,” she said.

“Yes, they helped out a lot with our research and Soffy’s trial.” Molayne faced Grimsley and said, “Oh Grimsley, this is Kahili, and my cousin, Sophocles.”

“Nice to meet the both of you,” Grimsley said, a small smile tugging on his lips.

“Kukui told us that you’re from Unova,” Kahili said, hands on her sides. “I’ve been there several times for my golf tournaments. The country club in Castelia City is very nice.”

“Indeed it is. My family and I were invited there numerous occasions. I never cared all that much about that sport, but my late father enjoyed it.”

A sad smile crossed Kahili’s face. “Sorry to hear that about your father, but glad to hear someone else appreciates it.”

Grimsley grunted in gratitude and turned to Sophocles. “And you’re one of the trial captains here, correct?”

“Ah huh! I give out the Electrium-Z to trainers who pass my trial! Originally I had trainers answer a series of audio questions, but that caused the observatory to black out a few times, eh heh,” Sophocles said with a sheepish laugh.

Molayne nodded. “His new trial now has trainers solve a puzzle where they rotate the Charjabug until they form a line. Once that’s done, the totem Pokémon appears.”

“Well I’m sure your new trial will work great!” Kukui said. A Charjabug tugged at his lab coat and he looked down. “Hi there, little fella. Is there something you needed?”

Another Charjabug started chewing on Grimsley’s scarf, which caused him to yelp and pull it away from the Pokémon. “What is it with Pokémon wanting to eat my scarves?”

“Looks like it’s time to feed them!” Sophocles chuckled as a third Charjabug chewed on his pants.

“Hey, get off my golf club!” Kahili screamed as she tried to wiggle the fourth Charjabug off her golf club. “You’re not joking when you said they eat a lot.”

“Why don’t we go outside and feed them while Grimsley talks to us more about the Pokémon League?” Molayne asked.

“Sounds good to me,” Grimsley said while straightening his scarf. Molayne, Kukui, and Sophocles gathered all the Charjabug and then they headed out.

Xxx

Grimsley and the others stopped at a large hill just below the observatory, Starfall Hills. There was a big open space for the Charjabug to roam around and eat the grass. He sat down with one of the Charjabug on his lap, feeding her the pokepuffs Molayne had handed him.

“So Grimsley, I already told you how I went through the Indigo League before. How did you get your start in Unova’s Pokémon League?” Kukui asked. He, Sophocles, and Molayne were also giving food to the other Charjabug.

“It happened not long after I finished my journey through Unova. Back then my mother and I were in a dire financial situation, so I took up gambling to make ends meet. As luck would have it, Alder, our region’s former Champion, thought I had potential as an Elite Four and invited me to be one of its members.” Grimsley gave a sad smile. He gazed down at the Charjabug, who wiggled and made clicking noises. “I wasn’t sure if I could handle it at first, but I took the risk and glad I did.”

“What sort of responsibilities does an Elite Four have?” Kahili asked.

“Well there’s accepting challengers that went through the Unova League Conference. On occasion we also have a hand in important league decisions, like appointing or demoting gym leaders, and organizing a variety of competitions. We can even adjust rules for different types of battles like triple and rotation battles.”

“Fair enough.” Kahili approached Grimsley’s Charjabug and scratched her chin. The Charjabug bobbed her head, as if enjoying it. “I take it the Elite Four does a lot of training just so their battling skills doesn’t go stale? For me it’s important to train both as a golfer and a trainer, even just a little bit.”

“Of course. There are various training facilities in Unova for us to use, including the ones in the League’s headquarters.”

“Since Unova’s Elite Four are involved with who gets to be a gym leader, do they act as a mentor to them, too?” Molayne asked after he finished feeding his Charjabug and picked her up.

“I guess you can say that. Sometimes we would visit a gym and offer advice to the gym leaders on how they can improve.”

“Gyms? They’re like kahunas in which they specialize in a type, right, Big Mo?” Sophocles asked. The Charjabug he had fed continued to chew on his shoe.

Molayne nodded. “Kukui mentioned those when he told me of his travels in Kanto. You battle them, and if you win you get what’s called a badge.”

“I never battled in a gym, but I’ve heard of gym leaders while going to golf tournaments,” Kahili said. “I’ve even met a few of them.”

“Believe me when I say the gym leaders in Kanto are tough as an Iron Tail!” Kukui said with a chuckle. Kahili groaned and rolled her eyes.

“Sounds awesome! I’ll have to look into them more later.”

“You definitely should!” Kukui paused, then said, “Because Alola will be using the island challenge instead of gyms, it’ll work out a bit differently. We already have the tapus choosing the kahunas and them choosing the trial captains. The Elite Four can make sure the trials themselves are safe, and provide the islands any resources they needed, yeah!”

“Kukui and I have been talking back and forth on how to put this all together, and I think our trainers will like what they see.”

A large grin stretched across Kukui’s face, and he faced Grimsley. “Here’s something that could be fun, Grimsley. Why don’t you do a couple quick battles with Molayne and Kahili? Assess how well they’re prepared as Elite Four!”

While Grimsley thought over Kukui’s idea, the Charjabug squealed and jumped off his lap. He looked over his shoulder to see her playing with two other Charjabug. He faced back at Kukui and said, “I see no harm in doing that.”

“Me neither,” Kahili said. “My Pokémon and I haven’t done any training yet!”

“It’ll be fun to battle against an Elite Four just to see what it’s like to be one,” Molayne said. “Soffy, can you help me gather the Charjabug first?”

“Sure, Big Mo!” Sophocles picked up the Charjabug next to him, then he and Molayne began getting the Charjabug together.

It was a few moments until the Charjabug were lined up. Each one nodded and cheered, happy to be fed. Grimsley and Molayne stood in opposite sides while Kukui, Kahili, and Sophocles moved to where the Charjabug were and watched.

“Kukui said that you’re into steel types, so I think I’ll start off with Queen!”

Grimsley grabbed his pokéball and released Queen. The Bisharp crossed her arms and closed her eyes, as if meditating. Molayne straightened his glasses and let out an impressed smile.

“A Bisharp, huh? In that case, I’ll show off mine, too. Mars, make your mark!”

Molayne pulled his pokéball out from his jacket and let out his own Bisharp. Mars stomped on his right foot and thrust his arm forward. When Queen noticed him, she jerked her head back and stared at him.

“Oh wow, two Bisharp? This will be fun,” Kahili said, raising a brow in interest.

“Grimsley’s Bisharp looks great, but Mars can defeat her easily!” Sophocles said with a confident grin and his chin raised.

Molayne chuckled and rubbed the back of his head. “Happy to hear you have that much confidence in me. All right then, I won’t disappoint you.” He looked back at Mars, his face now more serious. “Dual Chop, let’s go!”

Mars’s arms glowed dark green and he rushed at Queen. He struck her twice and left deep cuts, one on her shoulder and another on her leg. Queen winced at the pain on her shoulder and glared at him. With a smile, Grimsley grunted.

“Starting out strong, huh?” He snapped his fingers, which caused Queen to look at him. “We’ll strike back hard ourselves then!”

Queen nodded, and her forehead lit up. She rammed onto Mars and their bodies collided. Mars fell on the ground, but he picked himself up quickly and stood up straight.

“Nice job. Do Sucker Punch next!”

“Double Team!”

Just as Queen began charging towards him, Mars made several illusions of himself. She punched at one of them, but her fist went through him and he disappeared. She tried another, only for it to be a clone, too. Eventually the real Mars went behind her and did a low kick on her legs, which made her fall down. After getting up, Queen did an uppercut onto Mars’ face and had him stumbled backwards like someone who was dizzy.

“Shake it off and then use Night Slash!” Molayne ordered, his voice stronger than Grimsley had heard of him.

Hearing Molayne’s voice led Mars to get back to his senses. His arms glowed black and he ran towards Queen. Grimsley yelled for her to stay alert, which she did by having her own arm light up in a lighter green aura and blocked her opponent’s assault. The two Bisharp exchanged blows like fencers, sparks flying whenever their blades touched. Everyone on the sidelines was mesmerized by that sight.

“Go Mars, go!” Sophocles cheered, his arms in the air. Next to him several of the Charjabug jumped and squealed in joy.

While Mars and Queen continued attacking one another, Grimsley knew their little dance wouldn’t last forever. He snapped his fingers and said, “That’s enough, Queen! Switch gears now!”

After their blades crossed one last time, Queen kicked Mars to force him to move backwards. Her arms still glowing, she charged straight at her opponent.

“Distract her and then make your move!” Molayne called out.

Just as Queen was speeding off, Mars took a deep breath and let out an ear piercing scream. That made his opponent stop and cover her ears. Grimsley and everyone on the sidelines grimaced over the noise. He noticed Mars’ arms glowed dark green, and knew the other Bisharp was going for another Dual Chop. Grimsley already figured what to do next.

“Stop him to a screeching halt!”

Before Mars could get close to her, a wave of electricity formed around Queen’s arm and she swung her arm at his direction. The blast went straight at Mars and caused him to drop on one knee and winced.

“By using Thunder Wave, this gives Queen an advantage over Mars now,” Kukui said as his finger tapped at his chin.

“Oh no, that’s not good!” Sophocles said, frowning.

A confident grin stretched across Grimsley’s face. “We have the upper hand now, Queen. X-Scissor!”

Queen gave her trainer a nod, crossed her arms, and her blades lit up light green.

Molayne furrowed his brow. “Night Slash!”

Mars picked himself up and raised his arm, but he twitched and struggled to move further. Queen meanwhile easily slashed his back and left a deep cut there.

“Night Slash once more!” Molayne yelled urgently.

“Stop him for good!” Grimsley countered.

Mars was still grimacing from his paralysis, but his arms glowed black and he bolted off. He thrust his blade at Queen’s face, but she dodged, twirled around, and punched his stomach. Her opponent screeched and collapsed on the ground.

Queen stared down at him and she stood there heaving. Several seconds after, Mars regained consciousness and raised his hand at her. She smiled and helped him up, supporting him by having his right arm slung around her shoulders. On the sidelines, everyone clapped and all the Charjabug cheered.

“The both of you were on fire there, woo!” Kukui said with a whistle. Next to him, Kahili nodded.

“You did great Big Mo, even if you didn’t win!” Sophocles said.

Molayne offered him an appreciative smile. “Thanks. Grimsley is the far better trainer there.”

“Now don’t sell yourself short,” Grimsley said. “Tricking Queen with the Double Team and distracting her with Metal Sound are clever ideas. Mars likes to be reckless, which has its ups and downs.”

“Yeah, I recall that’s a common trait for Pawniard and Bisharp due to their aggressive nature.” Molayne approached Mars and patted him on the shoulder. “I remember the first time I trained him he was very stubborn.”

“Queen was the same way. My parents were shocked when I showed her to them and asked if I can have her!” Grimsley gazed up at Queen and had his palm rested on her chest.

“Your battle with Molayne is impressive, but it’s my turn now,” Kahili said as she stepped forward to Molayne’s spot.

"Of course." Molayne returned Mars and stepped away to join with Kukui and Sophocles on the sidelines.

"You were splendid there Queen, I'll let you get some rest." Grimsley also returned his Pokémon into her pokéball and pulled out another. This time he released Dice, who lifted his head up and pulled up his shed skin.

“First time I’ve seen a Scrafty in a while. Now it’s Katsuo’s time to shine!”

Kahili tossed her pokéball and burst of light popped out. A Toucannon flapped his wings and squawked. Grimsley immediately thought of Roland’s Toucannon he had saved from Team Skull some days ago. He grinned at her.

“I’ve met a trainer with that Pokémon when I first landed this region. It’ll be interesting how strong yours is. All right Dice, let’s hit hard with Ice Punch!”

“Brick Break!”

Dice charged at Katsuo, his fist forming a blue aura. He punch him on the face, which led Katsuo to screech in pain. Some shards of ice appeared where the Toucannon was hit, but he shook those off. He retaliated by having his beak glow white and executed a swift chop on his opponent’s forehead. That made Dice crash on the ground.

“Hurry before that Scrafty gets up!”

After chirping in response, Katsuo took off into the air and began spinning like a drill. Dice barely got up when Katsuo’s beak stabbed his chest, leaving a small wound there. As soon as Katsuo backed away, Dice picked himself up and let out deep breaths.

“Wow, Kahili’s already having a great start!” Sophocles said in awe. Next to him Kukui folded his arms and grinned, just as interested.

Molayne hummed in agreement. “There’s a reason why she’s a former island champion.”

The corner of Grimsley’s mouth twitched, but he knew this was only the start of the battle. “Go all out with a hard kick!”

“Warm up your beak while he’s in the air!”

Dice pulled up his shredded skin and jumped up high in the air. While waiting, Katsuo flapped his wings wildly and his beak glowed orange. Right after, Dice dived down and kicked Katsuo’s face and made him stumble. Dice lifted his chin and a proud grin was on his face, only for him to wince when small flames burst on his leg. At that instant, Katsuo rammed onto Dice and he fell.

Grimsley’s eyes grew wide with confusion. “What was that?”

“Beak Blast burns the opponent making contact with Katsuo,” Kahili said in a smug voice, one hand on her side. “Liked what you see?”

Grimsley glared at her and gritted his teeth. “Not a bad choice at all, to say the least.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment. Drill Peck one more time!” Kahili whistled and Katsuo flew up in the air once more.

“Move and then strike with Dragon Claw!”

Katsuo spun himself like last time, but before he landed Dice rolled out of the way. Katsuo’s beak got stuck on the ground, and he struggled to pull out. Green flames that turned into claws formed around Dice’s fist, and he slashed him. Katsuo squawked and backed away, a large cut visible on his chest. As both Pokémon stared at one another, flames licked Dice’s leg again and he dropped on one knee.

“Looks like your foe’s getting tired already, Katsuo.” She lifted her arm up, showing off her Z-bracelet on her wrist. A silver crystal was attached to the slot. “The winds are in our favor now, so let’s finish this. Supersonic Skystrike!”

Grimsley grimaced when he heard that. Kahili started her dance, her movements fluid and graceful as a Swanna taking the skies. Her pose ended with her stretching her arms like wings, and then both her bracelet and Katsuo lit up with a golden aura. Katsuo launched himself in the air like a rocket, farther than the last few times he took flight. A blast of hot air hit Grimsley and everyone else, causing their clothes to flap.

“Counter it now!” Grimsley said in desperation.

Dice still winced from his burns, but he pulled his shedded skin up and jumped up high with his right leg stretched out. Katsuo began diving at an incredible speed, and the two crashed onto each other. An explosion occurred, the smoke obscuring them a brief moment. When the battlefield was cleared, Dice fainted on the ground while Katsuo was still in the air.

“Dice!” Grimsley rushed to his Pokémon and put his head on his lap. “Are you all right?”

With a weak groan, Dice gazed up at Grimsley and gave him a thumbs up. Grimsley sighed in relief.

“Thank goodness. You did great out there.”

He returned Dice, picked himself up, and stared at the sky with a hard frown. Right now he was nothing more than the one who lost his light... But this loss would make him shine even brighter next time. He gazed down at Dice’s pokéball that he was still holding, and he smiled a little.

“When one loses, they lose everything. The next thing I’ll look for will be victory, too!” He approached Kahili and stretched out his hand to her. “That was a good match.”

“Same here.” Kahili accepted the handshake. “Your Scrafty is very energetic there.”

“I can say the same with your Toucannon. So Supersonic Skystrike, I take it that’s the flying type z-move?”

“It is. I got the flyinium-z after going against a totem Pokémon in Poni Island.” Kahili turned to her Toucannon and scratched his chin. Katsuo relaxed by her touch. “That other Toucannon was much bigger than him, but Katsuo pulled through.”

“That’s a lovely little tale there.” Grimsley paused, his face more serious now. “You mastering that z-move alone shows you’re more than capable of being the Elite Four also.”

“What did I tell you?” I picked the best of the best, yeah!” Kukui said, beaming.

Grimsley smiled in response. He shifted his gaze to see Sophocles frowning and his head down. Molayne noticed it, too.

“Is something the matter, Soffy?” his cousin asked, dropping on one knee and touching his shoulder.

“I know that you’ll be helping Professor Kukui with the League, but what if you have to be away longer than expected?” A few tears streamed down Sophocles’ cheeks and he sniffled. Two of the Charjabug began rubbing onto his legs to comfort him. “When Grimsley talked about being in the Elite Four, it sounds like it’s much more work than I thought.”

Grimsley’s heart sank. He could tell Sophocles cared for his cousin very much and the thought of them separating devastated the boy.

“It’s true that Molayne will be busy with the League, but he’ll still help out with the observatory!” Kukui said, a reassuring grin on his face. “When it’s time for him to go, give him one last smile, yeah!”

“He’s right,” Molayne said with a similar expression. “Researching space is still my passion that I won’t give up anytime soon. I won’t leave forever.”

Sophocles regarded the men’s words a moment, and he put on a determined expression on his face. “I’ll watch over the observatory while you’re gone. I can handle this, I’m a tough kid!”

“Now that’s what I like to hear!” Molayne chuckled, and he and Sophocles embraced.

A soft smile crossed Kahili’s face. “You were excited when you talked to me about the observatory. I’m sure you’ll do great.

While Grimsley was also touched by Molyane and Sophocles’ affection there, he felt bad for causing this in the first place. He approached Sophocles and cleared his throat.

“I’m sorry if me talking about the Elite Four upsets you.”

Sophocles looked up with a confused brow, and then he beamed. “Nah, don’t worry about it. I may be upset, but I’m really happy for Big Mo doing this!”

“Well I’m glad to hear that.” Grimsley offered him a warm smile.

“It’s a little past 1pm now,” Molayne said. “Why don’t we head to the Pokémon Center and eat while our Pokémon get healed?”

“Sounds like a plan!” Kukui said. Grimsley and Kahili also responded that they were fine with that.

“Great! Sophocles and I need to take the Charjabug inside the observatory first, so we’ll meet you guys right after.” Molayne turned to face the Pokémon. “You all ready to go?”

All the Charjabug responded by making clicking noises and bouncing. Both Molyane and Sophocles chuckled.

Everyone headed back to the observatory, taking the uphill trail there. While walking, Grimsley thought back to his battle with Kahili and the z-moves Acerola and Kukui had demonstrated. That proved to him that Alolan trainers were a force to be reckoned with. That made him wonder how Nanu’s z-move would look like in battle.

“Professor Kukui, you think Nanu will use his z-move if we ever go against each other?” he asked him, and Kukui looked over his shoulder with a raised brow.

“Hm? Why you asked?”

“Seeing you, Acerola, and Kahili’s z-moves made me want to battle him even more.”

Kukui laughed. “Feeling inspired, yeah? To answer your question, yes I believe so. He’s even more experienced with z-moves than us!”

“Then I’ll just work harder to convince him, then.” Grimsley made a sharp frown. The odds of that happening were less than him winning a cards game, but that wouldn’t stop him from attempting that.

Xxx

Mount Hokulani’s Pokémon Center had some people inside already. Molayne had given Mars’ pokéball to Kukui so that he could take it to Nurse Joy while he and Sophocles took the Charjabug back in the observatory. When the professor mentioned that the pokéball was his friend’s, she grinned and happily accepted it. Grimsley and Kahili also lent their Pokémon to her and she said they would be ready very soon.

The three waited until Molayne and Sophocles arrived before beginning lunch. Everyone gathered around a small table in the food court area eating sandwiches. During their meal Grimsley got to know Kahili and Molayne better. Kahili’s father owned one of the hotel resorts in Akala Island and she often went there to train. Her passion for golf got started when she met with one of the golfers visiting the resort and she begged for her to be her mentor. Molayne not only was the head of the observatory but also the administrator of Alola’s Pokémon Storage System, which impressed Grimsley very much.

“Since you’re maintaining this region’s Pokémon Storage System, I take it you know Amanita from Unova, Professor Fennel’s sister?” Grimsley asked before taking a bite of his food.

“Yes, I have. I visited there several times for conferences and sometimes we would meet up. We still keep in touch on occasion.”

“I talked to her once or twice before, and I was surprised she was only a few years older than me!” Sophocles said while chewing his food. After swallowing, he drank his soda. “She knows a lot about computers, more than me!”

“I remember when Molayne first began this project he would call me and panic whenever the storage wasn’t working,” Kukui said in between bites. “Very happy it’s a huge success in the end, yeah!”

Grimsley took a sip of his drink, then asked, “Since you’ll be in the Elite Four soon, will it be tough balancing your league duties along with the other stuff you’re doing?”

“It’s true I’m having my plate full, but I’m certain that I can manage. The Pokémon storage itself I only needed to keep up maintenance once in a while.”

“I too will be balancing between the Pokémon League and golf, but I’m used to training a lot so it works out.” Kahili stole a glance at Kukui. “Besides, Kukui wouldn’t stop asking me unless I said yes.”

Kukui let out a large laugh. “I thought having you on board would be great! But yeah, I’m glad that both you and Molayne agreed to do this!”

After eating another piece of his sandwich, Grimsley wiped his mouth and smiled. “The league is shaping up to be marvelous right now. I wish all of you the best of luck.”

Both Molayne and Kahili gave him appreciative smiles.

“Thank you, we’ll do our very best!” Molayne said.

The next minute or so everyone was finishing up eating their meals. Grimsley looked up at the television screen on the wall, which was broadcasting the news. It showed a man reporting the weather, the next five days sunny, then he let one of the other reporters take over.

“Earlier today Aether Foundation President Lusamine Jubert held a press conference over at the organization’s headquarters in Aether Paradise. She was joined by Vice Chief Wicke Santana and Aether Branch Chief Faba Leroy.”

The screen cuts to the press conference. One blonde lady in fashionable clothing was behind the podium. Besides her was another woman with glasses who also dressed nicely and a green haired man wearing goggles and in a lab coat. Grimsley couldn’t stop staring at the light haired woman.

“As you know, on occasion there have been sightings of Ultra Wormholes, a wormhole that connects to different worlds, in the skies,” the Aether president said as several people flashed their cameras at her. “Legends say that fearsome Pokémon, the Ultra Beasts, would come out from those wormholes. And today, I have proof of that legend to be true.”

“President Lusamine then proceeds to show security footage from the conservatory. A wormhole appears with an unknown species of Pokémon coming out from there. That led one of the trainers visiting there to battle it,” the reporter said as video footage of that event was seen.

There was a trainer and her Pokémon, a sea lion creature in frills, going against another Pokémon that resembled a light blue jellyfish and a golden aura surrounding it. Both Pokémon exchanged a series of poison and water attacks that collided with one another in brilliant sparks and explosions. While watching that footage, Grimsley raised an eyebrow at the mysterious Pokémon’s appearance and thought he had recognized that trainer before. Kukui stood up and slammed his palms on the table.

“That’s Selene!” Kukui yelled, pointing at the screen.

“Isn’t that the trainer you told me that met with Tapu Koko?” Molayne asked.

“Yeah! I let her and Hau go on a tour to Aether Paradise. I didn’t think they would encounter an Ultra Beast there.” When Kukui finished, the screen changed back to Lusamine and her co-chiefs.

“With the appearance of that Ultra Beast, I’m certain there are more of those out there from other dimensions. My organization and I will do in our every power to protect the citizens of Alola from these threats!” Lusamine said with brimming eyes and her arms stretched out, then the screen went back to the reporter.

“The Aether Foundation have advised that if you do see an Ultra Beast or Ultra Wormhole that you stay a safe distance from them as much as possible. Back to you, Kerry,” the reporter finished.

“Ultra Beasts? Does that mean Alola is in danger?” one of the trainers inside asked.

“I really like Aether, but can they really protect us?” another trainer asked.

Everyone that watched the news began talking in tense voices. Grimsley knitted his brow and stroked his chin.

"Everyone's getting worried after that news," Kahili said.

"Understandable since we're dealing with beings from other dimensions," Molayne said. A small smile pulled on his lips. "I'm sure though the Aether Foundation will make sure we're safe."

"I hope you're right, Big Mo." Sophocles hung his head down and frowned.

Kukui leaned towards Grimsley and told him in a low voice, “I promised that I would give you my wife’s research on Ultra Wormholes. I brought these with me before we left.” He pushed forward a small booklet towards him, and Grimsley quickly flipped through the pages. There were several graphs and pictures that he didn’t look too closely at, but he had no doubt this was well researched.

“All right, I’ll read them fairly soon,” Grimsley said with a firm nod and put the booklet away. The more the Ultra Beasts were brought up, the more he couldn’t stop thinking about them.

There was a short silence from everyone. Molayne was checking through his tablet and he gasped.

“Oh I almost forgot! Tonight is the Minior shower!”

“Minior shower?” Grimsley asked, staring at him in confusion.

Sophocles beamed and said, “Every so often the Minior fall like meteor showers! They mostly drop in Starfall Hills where we can see them up close!”

“I remember seeing them the first time during my island trials,” Kahili said, a soft smile on her lips. “There were so many of them in different colors, I couldn’t stop looking at them.”

“Like candies in the sky!”

“I talked to you about Minior earlier today,” Kukui said. “Why don’t you stick around here a while longer and watch with us?”

“While we wait, I can give you the tour of the observatory,” Molayne said. “We have some of the most cutting edge technology here.”

“That does sound lovely, and a great way to take our minds off from that news broadcast. All right, I’ll stay.” This would be a great way to relax, and Grimsley was here for a vacation. Downtime it is.

Xxx

When it was sunset, everyone returned back to Starfall Hills. The skies quickly turned dark and stars began to pop up. The air grew colder than earlier in the afternoon, everyone’s breath becoming visible.

Kahili and Molayne let out Katsuo and Mars respectively, and so Grimsley released Dice and Queen. Queen and Mars did a series of friendly spars while Katsuo soared in the air. Dice played with Sophocles’ Togedemaru, Gigi, the two often rolling on the grass to see who would get to the bottom first. Grimsley lay down with his arms behind his head, the grass tickling his cheeks and hands.

“I really enjoyed the tour of the observatory, Molayne,” Grimsley told him. “Sophocles’s trial was neat, and that telescope was fascinating to look through.”

“Your totem Togedemaru is cute, but boy does she packed quite a lot of electricity,” Kahili said as she rubbed her hand. “I can still feel that shock from her.”

“Same here. Not to mention her fur is hard as steel,” Grimsley said while picking himself back up.

Earlier today Molayne had taken everyone to where Sophocles’s trial was held. Inside two scientists put some of the Charjabug into a machine and demonstrated how it worked; each time the Pokémon would line up like a bingo card. He and Kahili tried it out a few times each, the puzzles not too hard for them. Grimsley also got to see Rosie, who was much larger than Gigi. He started petting her, but flinched when her fur shocked his hand. Kahili also got to pet it, and she too got startled when her hand got shocked.

“Sorry about that,” Sophocles said with an embarrassed laugh. “Again, Rosie gets too excited when she gets petted.”

“If you think that’s bad, I had my Magnezone use its electric attacks on me a bunch of times, woo!” Kukui said, and Grimsley’s eyes flew wide.

“What can I say, you’re very passionate towards your work,” Molayne said and chuckled. He gazed up at the sky and gasped. “Oh, the Minior are coming!”

Everyone including the Pokémon gazed up at the sky with similar expressions. Several large rocks that appeared to be the Minior dropped and littered the hill. Dice and Gigi approached one of them and poked its shell.

“The Minior gets turned to rock due to accumulating a lot of dust while coming here,” Molayne said to Grimsley. “Their shells then gets cracked, exposing their core.”

Grimsley stared at him in confusion, but then he saw that the Minior’s shell started cracking. Dice and Gigi got startled and backed away from the one they were touching. Soon all of the Minor’s shells broke and they popped up like confetti. Their bodies looked like little stars and in different colors.

“Hi there little guy, this is your first time coming here?” Sophocles asked when a purple one floated by him. The Minior nodded and rubbed against him, causing Sophocles to laugh.

The other Minior approached everyone else. Molayne, Kukui, and Kahili chuckled when one sat on Mars’s head and he tried to figure out where it was. A few of them chased Katsuo while he was flying and screeching. A blue Minior floated by in between Dice and Gigi, the two beaming and jumping with it. An orange one approached Grimsley and he smiled at it.

“I can see why this is called Starfall Hills,” he said, just as Queen walked up beside him. The Minior squealed and rubbed both Girmsley’s and Queen’s cheeks before joining with the other Minior. He looked over his shoulder to see Queen smiling a little.

Everyone watched the Minior playing with the Pokémon and each other a while longer. Eventually, they floated up towards the sky once more.

“After their core is exposed,” Molayne said, “their bodies become fragile. They eventually perish unless you use a pokéball.”

“Really?” Grimsley asked, blinking. When both Molayne and Kukui nodded, he frowned. “How unfortunate.”

He looked up to see several Minior already turning into dust. As more and more Minior disappeared, Dice swung his head all around and he frowned. Queen went to him and patted his shoulder for support. Gigi reacted similarly by chirping and running around in circles. Sophocles picked her up and cradled her against his chest.

“Looks like both Dice and Gigi are sad that they’re going away,” Kahili said with a small frown.

A sad smile appeared on Sophocles’ face. “On my first Minior shower I cried when they disappeared and I couldn’t do anything about it. Big Mo then told me they’re happy with the few moments they have here and I shouldn’t be sad.” After Sophocles finished, his cousin rested his palms on his shoulders.

“I couldn’t agree more,” Kukui said. “We should cherish every moment we have with our Pokémon.”

Grimsley couldn’t help but steal a glance at Queen. He loved all his Pokémon dearly, but her loss would be the most devastating due to her being his first one and how much they went through together. As if reading his mind, Queen gripped on his shoulder and gave him a firm nod. He was taken aback by her response, but he grinned and touched her shoulder back. When Dice cried and awkwardly sandwiched between them, Grimsley chuckled and patted his forehead.

“Even though this ends on a bittersweet note, I’m glad to have witnessed this,” he said and looked back up to see more Minior perishing, glittering the sky like fireworks. He also liked to think those meteor Pokémon enjoyed their stay here while it lasted. This was the most beautiful sight he had seen in a long while.

Foul Play
[Chapter Nine up!]

Bay

Darkinium Z

Female
Dani California
Seen 6 Hours Ago
Posted 6 Hours Ago
5,740 posts
13.4 Years
Hi, so got new chapter here! As you may noticed, I have this titled "Pursuit, Part One". Originally this was going to be one chapter and only Grimsley's POV. His first few and latter scenes don't seem to flow together, so I separated them. And that's before I decided to add a couple Nanu scenes for good measure oops.

Camp Nano was going fairly good, wrote 11K so far. Then after that, kinda ran out of gas lol. Counting Chapter 10, I probably have 5 chapters of backlog, but they're very rough so updates might be on a monthly basis still.

Besides that, at Grimsley and Molayne's scene yes I came up with game knockoffs for Mario Kart, Smash Bros, and Mortal Kombat. Funny enough, Smash Bros did their Persona 5/Joker update some days ago, and MK 11 was just released. I watched a playthrough of MK 11's story mode recently, and oh man it's wild haha.

As always, thanks to bobandbill for the great betaing! Also thanks to illustrious-rocket for giving me permission to use Antimony as Colress's surname!


Chapter Nine
Pursuit (Part One)


Behind the observatory there was a smaller building that was Molayne’s office and living space. Everyone slept there for the night including Grimsley, and this morning he woke up early to read Professor Burnet’s extensive research on Ultra Wormholes.

Apparently the Ultra Wormholes were a very special occurrence and believed to lead to a different dimension. There were some studies from Sinnoh, Unova, and Hoenn that supported that theory. For instance, there was an incident that occurred a few years ago involving the legendary Pokémon Palkia, Dialga, and Giratina. Burnet also mentioned how in Alolan folklore there would be tales of fearsome Pokémon, the Ultra Beasts, coming from the Ultra Wormholes and fighting with the guardian deities.

While reading, Grimsley sat on the couch with coffee and toast on the table. After another bite of his toast, he scratched the back of his neck and sighed. Someone tapped on his shoulder, so he turned around and flinched upon seeing Professor Kukui grinning at him.

“What do you think of Magnolia's research so far?” he asked.

“To be honest, I don’t understand almost half of the words she used in her writing.” Grimsley rubbed his eyes, and Kukui chuckled.

“Well, she’s a scientist, yeah! You got an idea of what she’s trying to say, right?”

“I think so. When Burnet says there are different dimensions, does she mean like the world Zossie and Dulse of the Ultra Recon Squad come from?”

“Most likely, yeah. According to her, the Ultra Beasts come from worlds different to ours, hence why they’re considered different from Pokémon in our folklore.”

Grimsley made a slight bob of his head. “How about the Ultra Recon Squad? Does she know them?”

“The Dimensional Lab and Aether are collaborating together on researching Ultra Wormholes, so yes she’s already aware of them.” A wide grin stretched across Kukui’s face, and he had his hands on his sides. “The offer still stands, cousin.”

Grimsley raised a brow. “Huh? What offer?”

“Meeting my wife, of course! If you want, I can have her explain more of her research to you through videophone, yeah!”

While considering Kukui’s offer, Grimsley gulped his coffee. The brow on his forehead knitted. Originally he had told him it wasn’t necessary, but now he was reconsidering. Besides her research, there were a few other questions he had for her. He set aside his cup on the table, and looked up at Kukui with a small smile.

“Sure, why not? I’ve got nothing to lose.”

“Awesome! I’m sure she’ll be thrilled talking to you!”

“Are you two talking about Ultra Wormholes?” Kahili asked as she approached them. She held her own cup of coffee with one hand.

“Grimsley will be talking with Professor Burnet later today so that he can learn more about them from her, woo!”

Kahili sipped her coffee, a small smile tugging on her lips. “I swear, you get all lovey-dovey each time you mention her.”

“What can I say, I’m still Captivated by her!” he said with a wink. That made Kahili groan, and even Grimsley rolled his eyes at that pun.

“How about you, Kahili?” Grimsley asked her. “What are your thoughts on this?”

“I’m not sure, to be honest.” Kahili put her cup down on the coffee table, crossed her arms, and raised her chin. “I’ve heard tales of strong Pokémon not from around here. And now a possibility of them being real and a threat? I hope I’m prepared for that.”

Kukui grinned. “Are you kidding? You’re a former island champion, so you’re more than prepared!

Grimsley blinked, also taken aback by her response. Kahili seemed like a confident person from the way she battled. Nonetheless, he hummed in agreement.

“I was impressed with your battle skills yesterday. You should be fine.”

Kahili gave them an appreciative smile. “You’re right! If it comes to that, my Pokémon are capable of handling them!”

“That’s the spirit, woo!” Kukui said, pumping his fist in the air.

Kahili chuckled. “I better get going now. Can’t skip out on my daily training exercises!”

She waved them goodbye before departing. As soon as she was gone, Kukui faced back at Grimsley.

“We can talk to my wife during her lunch break, which is a few hours from now.”

“That’s fine. I don’t mind waiting.” Grimsley leaned against the couch, his arms over his head. He hoped talking with Professor Burnet would make more sense of the Ultra Wormholes.

Xxx

It was late morning when Nanu woke up and took a shower. He hadn't had one in a few days, and both Persian and the Meowth cringed at his presence, so he made himself do some basic hygiene practice.

He stood still for several minutes, letting the hot water rain down on his face and skin. Steam started to build up around him. On the few occasions he forced himself to take a shower, it actually felt nice. He started thinking about what had happened yesterday.

He was at his desk, playing with his kendama as a way to destress himself. A couple of his Meowth tried to catch the ball on the string, but he told them not to do that. He left the television on, which was broadcasting the afternoon news. When the news began reporting the Aether Foundation's press conference, he stopped and watched.

The video of a young trainer with a Brionne facing against UB Symbiont was shown. His stomach sunk, shocked that a child would go against such a dangerous creature. The Ultra Beasts were supposed to be classified, so Interpol most likely had a field day with that.

Charlotte was with Faba and Lusamine, though the newscaster had said her real first name and not her middle one. Lusamine announced that the Ultra Beasts were coming, and that her organization would protect Alola from them. After that, the reporters bombarded her with questions and the photographers kept flashing pictures.

Back in the present, Nanu let out a deep sigh and his shoulders slumped. Looker and Anabel had already informed him of the Ultra Wormhole in Aether Paradise, but he was still stunned when it was on the news. He couldn't stop thinking about that press conference ever since. He turned the faucet off, dried himself with a towel, and stepped out of the shower.

After Nanu put on some clothes, he walked to the front office. Two of the Meowth were playing with his Z-ring bracelet he had left on the desk. He shooed the cats away and put the bracelet on his wrist. He sat down, turning on his computer.

He pulled up Aether Foundation's website. The main home page had several pictures of the employees with various Pokémon. On the right side was the news bulletin with the latest post being about the press conference. He clicked on the "Read More" link, and he was sent to a new page that had information on that. So far it repeated the same thing that was mentioned on the news. On the bottom was a video of the press conference, so he clicked on it and let it play.

“With the appearance of that Ultra Beast, I’m certain there are more of those out there from other dimensions. My organization and I will do in our every power to protect the citizens of Alola from these threats!”

Nanu watched the video on repeat several times. When he was tired of it, he leaned back on his chair and stared at the ceiling for a while. Protect the citizens of Alola from these threats. Nanu couldn't help but snort. Not even the International Police had done that right and look what had happened now.

His gaze fell at the postcard from Charlotte. He sat back straight and picked it up. Nanu reread Charlotte's warning, and then stared at the computer screen. In the video Charlotte stood there calm and smiling, but her fidgeting fingers and shifty glances said otherwise.

"Could this be what she's warning me about?" he muttered to himself and furrowed his brow. He stared down at the phone on his desk. "Maybe I should give her a call."

He was about to pick the receiver up, but stop his hand midway through. There could be a chance Aether had their phones recorded, and he didn't want to blow her cover. With a frustrated sigh, he slammed his hand on the desk.

He still wanted to at least let her know he got her message, but how? Anabel and Looker were on their way to Poni Island right now. Nanu recalled Dimensional Labs working with Aether. If there was someone from there that could contact Charlotte...

Nanu's eyes grew wide with realization. There was one person there who probably talked often with her. He picked the phone up and dialed the number. It was a few rings until someone answered.

"Professor Kukui speaking, yeah!"

"Hi, Kukui. You sound excited as ever."

"Nanu? Oh, did you have a suggestion on who should be on the Elite Four?"

Nanu forced himself to not roll his eyes. "No, not yet. Actually, I wonder if you can do me a favor."

"Sure, cousin! What kind of favor?"

"Your wife talk with the Aether folks often, yes?"

"Dimensional Labs and Aether Foundation often collaborate together on research, yeah! Why you asked?"

"There's a message I want to give to someone there. The Assistant Branch Chief Char--" Nanu stopped there, realizing he almost slipped up. He cleared his throat. "Wicke Santana."

"Is that all? Couldn't you just call or send her an email?"

Nanu's throat turned dry. "It's complicated. Let's just say we go way back and it's a personal matter."

"Oh. All right, I won't force you to tell me anymore than that. What did you want to tell her?"

Before Nanu responded, he gazed back at Charlotte's message once more. A small smile formed on his lips.

"Tell her Kahuna Nanu thanks her for the postcard she sent me, and I'll be more Earth friendly from now on. Also that Poni Island's weather is good right now."

"Is that all?" Kukui said in confusion. He chuckled right after. "No problem then, yeah! I'm about to have Grimsley talk with Magnolia later today, so I can let her know then."

That made Nanu immediately jump out of his seat. "Wait, Grimsley's with you?"

"Yeah! We're at the Hokulani Observatory right now. He wanted to know more about other dimensions, so I suggested he talk with her."

"He does now, huh?" Nanu said flatly as he sat back down. A part of him wondered if he had saw that news conference too. "Hopes he gets something out of it."

"I'm sure he will, yeah! I better get back inside the observatory now. You take care, cousin!"

"Thanks, Kukui. And same to you."

Nanu hung up and gave out a deep sigh. He hoped that Burnet would give Charlotte that message as soon as possible. He shifted his head to see the two Meowth that had played with his bracelet earlier glaring at him.

"What you guys want?" he asked, his lips twitching in annoyance. One of the Meowth lifted an empty bowl with her paws and she cried again. Nanu narrowed his eyes. "Okay I'll get the food. Give me a minute."

Nanu got up and headed to the cabinet where he stored the Meowth's food in, the two Meowth following him behind. The several other Meowth he passed by were either sleeping, playing, or scratching furniture.

When he had left Interpol, he didn't think he would end up the island kahuna living in the police station with a bunch of stray Meowth. And now, it seemed he wasn’t done with Interpol just yet.

Xxx

By early afternoon, Kukui asked Molayne if he and Grimsley could use his videophone to call his wife. Molayne chuckled and also joked how he missed talking to her already, which made Kukui laugh.

After Molayne left them alone, Kukui dialed Burnet’s number and they waited a few rings until the screen lit up with her face. She had dark skin like her husband, and her white hair was held with a large headband. Instead of a lab coat or formal clothing, she dressed like as if she was about to go to the gym or for a run. Behind her, there was a bookshelf and a poster board with various charts, pictures, and announcements on there.

“Hm? Molayne, is that you?” When she recognized Kukui’s face, she grinned. “Oh, hi honey! I thought Molyane’s calling because his number showed on my screen. So you’re in his office now?”

“Yeah! I asked him if I can talk to you for a moment and he’s cool with it.”

“Ah, all right.” Burnet now noticed Grimsley, and her face lit up. “And the man next to you, is that who I think he is?”

“If you’re thinking Grimsley from the Unova Elite Four, then yeah! He’s interested in talking about Ultra Wormholes with you!” Kukui jabbed Grimsley on the shoulder with his elbow and stepped away. Grimsley gave him a blank stare, and then he sat down and faced the screen.

“Alola, Professor Burnet,” Grimsley said, waving at her.

Burnet’s grin grew even wider and she squealed. “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it’s you! Back in Unova, I would watch you and the other Elite Four on TV. Those battles are fun to watch!”

Grimsley raised a curious brow. “Oh? Which one is your favorite?”

“Probably the one with you and Alder! Your guys’ Pokémon are such powerhouses!”

A small smile tugged on Grimsley’s lips. That was one of the exhibition battles for a tournament he and Alder had participated in. Alder’s Pokémon were indeed strong, including his ace, Vix the Volcarona. He lost that match as expected, but he also learned a lot during that battle.

“Glad that my colleagues and I were able to entertain you.”

“And how!” Burnet giggled, and then asked, “So, what’s a hotshot trainer like you doing here in Alola?”

“Well, I’m here for a little vacation. I met up with your husband, and he told me how you’re an expert in other dimensions. I recall that you used to be a researcher in Unova.”

Burnet nodded and let out a low hum. “Before my main research was on dreams, but then I was offered work here in Alola and I couldn’t resist coming here.”

“Right. Anyways, I read some of your research, and I have a few questions I want to ask.”

“Sure, I can spare a few minutes with you. What you want to know?”

Grimsley considered what he wanted to ask first. “You mentioned in your research that Ultra Beasts have appeared according to Alolan folklore. Are those stories true?”

“Can’t say. There are several accounts of the Ultra Beasts and our guardian deities going against each other. Like all legends, hard to know how much is true.”

“Perhaps your legends are more accurate than you think,” Grimsley said in a low voice. He stroked his chin. “I saw one of those Ultra Wormholes in Melemele Island several days ago.”

Burnet’s face slipped into a more serious expression. “Yes, Melemele Island was where one of the several dimension disturbances that happened recently took place. Akala Island had one a few days ago, and another one in Aether Paradise. The Aether president did a press conference on that yesterday.”

Right, that news report that aired yesterday and caused everyone unease in the Pokémon Center, and where the fair-looking woman who proclaimed that her organization would protect Alola from the Ultra Beasts. Grimsley pressed his lips flat and furrowed his brow.

“That reminds me, Kukui told me that Aether and the Dimensional Research Lab are working together. You happen to talk with Ms. Lusamine over what was revealed in that press conference?”

Burnet nodded. “I sent her the results of that specific dimensional disturbance, and we discussed that over the phone. Her guests, the Ultra Recon Squad, have been tracking the Ultra Wormholes also, and their readings are the same.”

Grimsley flinched, and he cleared his throat. “I’ve encountered them before. They claimed to be from another world. Do you believe them?”

“I do, and they even showed me one of their Ultra Beasts. My field of study is in dimensions, after all!”

Grimsley grunted, and he looked over his shoulder to see Kukui leaning against the wall and folding his arms against his chest. They exchanged blank stares with one another, and then Grimsley returned to the screen.

“So what happens now?”

“I’ll still look out for more wormholes and update Aether and the Ultra Recon Squad on them.” Burnet’s face softened. “Thanks to these recent developments, I think I’m much closer to solving the mystery of Ultra Wormholes!”

The way Burnet sounded excited made Grimsley’s skin crawl for some reason. He smiled back out of respect.

“You seemed very passionate towards your work. I’m sure you’ll reach that goal sooner than later.”

“Thanks, that means a lot!” At that instant, someone yelled to Burnet that they finished with their latest analysis and she turned to their direction. “All right, I’ll check them out in a little bit!” she called to them. She looked back at Grimsley and said, “I have to get back to work very soon. Maybe we can chat again, sometime!”

“That would be lovely. It’s been a pleasure talking with you.”

“Same here! I hope you enjoy your stay in Alola!”

Kukui stepped forward and flashed a grin at his wife. “Before you go, I had a call from Kahuna Nanu. He wants you to give a personal message to Assistant Branch Chief Wicke.”

“Hm? What kind of message?” she asked.

“He wanted to thank her for the postcard she had sent him. He’ll also be more Earth friendly from now on, and that Poni Island’s weather is great now, yeah!”

A confused look spread across Burnet’s face, and then she smiled. “Sure, I can let Wicke know the next time I speak with her.”

“Awesome! I’ll give you another call later tonight, Maggie pie! You take care!”

“I can’t wait. Talk to you again soon, sweetie!” She blew him a kiss on screen and hung up.

Grimsley raised a curious brow. That was an odd request from the kahuna there.

“Kahuna Nanu called you earlier?” Grimsley asked. Earlier Kukui went outside on the balcony, so he assumed Nanu had talked to him then.

“He did. Apparently he and Wicke go back.” Kukui shrugged, and then released a happy sigh. “Magnolia’s great, isn’t she yeah?”

Grimsley blinked, a little confused about what Kukui meant by that. Friends? Lovers? He decided that was not his business right now.

“Yes, she seems like a bright woman.” Grimsley frowned. “I can’t help but feel something’s going on with Aether and the Ultra Recon Squad.”

“How come?” Kukui asked, raising a brow.

“You heard what happened in the Unova League over four years ago? Everyone thought the three dragons were only from legends, but they were then came back to life.” Grimsley dragged out a sigh and stared up at the ceiling. “Seems like it would be the same case here.”

Kukui’s face fell, but then he gave him an understanding smile. “I get your concern, cousin. Like Molayne, though, I think Aether will do more good than harm.” He patted Grimsley’s shoulder. “Come on, he’s cooking some burgers that will make you your mouth melt!”

“Food does sound great now.” Grimsley rose out of his seat and followed Kukui out of the office.

By the time they arrived in the dining hall, Molayne, Kahili, and Sophocles had already gathered around the table and eating their meal. A few plates of burgers and cans of soda were set aside, so Grimsley sat down and grabbed his.

“So how did your conversation with Professor Burnet go?” Molayne asked after he swallowed his piece.

“She told me a little bit about her research and its progress.” Grimsley paused to chew on his burger. The meat was plump and juicy while the vegetables were a little crunchy but fresh. “Now I’m even more interested in her research.”

“Have you checked out the library in Malie City? I’m sure there are dozens of books on alternate dimensions there.”

“I did, actually. I was reading some of Alola’s history there, and then I met with Nanu’s son, Iokua.”

After Kahili finished gulping on her soda, she gave him a curious stare. “Really? I’ve met Iokua and his wife a few times before. They’re sweet people.”

“Isn’t he the librarian with brown hair and who always dresses nice?” Sophocles asked. “He’s been very helpful whenever I go visit there.”

“That sounds about right.” Grimsley washed his throat with his drink. “Perhaps I’ll pay the library another visit. Professor Burnet did say that the folklore is related to the ultra wormholes.”

Kukui flashed him a grin. “Great idea, cousin! You’ll get to learn more of our history and culture also, yeah!”

The library would be his next destination, Grimsley decided when he was almost done with his food and with a knitted brow. He could do more than just research on Alola and alternate dimensions there.

Xxx

When evening came, Grimsley was outside of the balcony of Molayne’s house. The sun had just set, and already the stars sparkled like diamonds.

“A beautiful evening, isn’t it?” someone asked from behind. Grimsley turned around to see Molayne approaching him.

“It is. I’m able to see the stars clearer here than in Castelia City.”

Molayne chuckled, and he joined him. “Yeah, whenever I visited Castelia there was a lot of pollution. There’s less of that in Alola.”

“I can tell.” Grimsley paused, and he frowned. “Your love for science reminds me of… someone I knew before.” He wanted to mentally slap himself for casually mentioning Colress that way, but he couldn’t help himself making that comparison.

“Oh?”

“His name was Colress, and he’s also from Unova. His research was--” He cleared his throat and said in his best Colress impersonation, “Bringing out the power of Pokémon!”

Molayne’s face brightened. “Oh, you mean Mr. Antimony!”

“You had met him?” Grimsley asked with wide eyes, and Molayne nodded.

“He came here a few days ago to research Rosie. He thinks the z-rings and z-power are what brings out a Pokémon’s power.”

“That’s what he told me when we bumped into each other recently.” Grimsley narrowed his eyes and lowered his head. “We used to be close, but after a series of mishaps we aren’t talking to each other.”

Molayne regarded him for a moment, and then he did a single nod. “I understand. I won’t ask further if you don’t want me to.”

“Thanks, I appreciate it.” Grimsley paused. He wanted to get to know Molyane better, so he asked, “What do you do in your spare time?”

“I love playing video games, especially with Soffy. He’s a menace in Torkoal Kart and Ultimate Wreck Bros!”

“Marshal and Alder likes Ultimate Wreck Bros, too. They also play this very violent one called Deadly Payback.” Grimsley often would see them play one of those games in the lounge, and sometimes they invited him to join them. He only played those games a few times; Ultimate Wreck Bro was mindless fun while Deadly Payback he rolled his eyes at the scenes whenever the fighter that lost got chopped in half and their guts spilled out.

“Oh, that one is too gory for my and Soffy’s taste. His parents would hate me if I let him play that!”

Grimsley chuckled. “Glad to see you’re looking out for him.”

“He’s mature enough to play games with violence and such, but we set some boundaries for him.”

Grimsley hummed in agreement. “I’ve only been here a couple days, but I can tell you two care for each other.”

Molayne shifted his gaze at the sky. A sad smile pulled on his lips.

“Soffy and I don’t have any siblings, so we act like brothers to each other. That’s why I trust him in watching over the observatory.”

“From what I saw, I think he’ll do great.”

Facing back, Molayne beamed. “Thanks, that means a lot.”

They gave each other a longing gaze. Molayne’s hand slipped onto Grimsley’s, squeezing his knuckles. Grimsley flinched and his heart raced. He wasn’t sure if Molayne did that on purpose or not, but he welcomed his touch nonetheless.

“Big Mo! Big Mo!” Sophocles yelled, rushing at them. That caused Grimsley and Molayne to let go of each other’s hands. “The PC storage is down again!”

Molayne frowned at Grimsley, as if apologizing to him. He faced Sophocles, smiling at him.

“All right, I’ll have a look. Shouldn’t take too long, maybe fifteen minutes at most.”

“Okay! After that, can we finish up Ultimate Wreck Bro’s new story mode?”

“I think we’ll have time for that.” Molayne looked over his shoulder at Grimsley. “Grimsley can even join us!”

After some consideration, Grimsley said, “Sure, that sounds fun.”

Sophocles jumped and cheered. “Cool! More players is always good!”

All three began to head back inside, Grimsley following behind the cousins. His right thumb rubbed on the knuckles of his other hand, Molayne’s warm touch still there. He gazed at the night sky once more, still thinking the stars were prettier here than in Castelia City.

Foul Play
[Chapter Nine up!]

gimmepie

Age 23
Male
Australia
Seen 29 Minutes Ago
Posted 30 Minutes Ago
20,324 posts
7.5 Years
Reviewing Chapter Six!

You did it!
This chapter was so much more cohesive than the previous ones and your writing benefited a lot from not jumping around so much. It gave us more time to really appreciate what was going on with the characters.

Speaking of, good work there as always. A nice little bit of development there for Accerola and as of yet, I don't feel like that is hurting her character at all. You still write her the best of all the characters present but you do a great job with all of them. Although, I think Becky's character took a hit this chapter. In her very brief appearance there was not even any written dialogue for when she was speaking. I think if you're going to barely include an otherwise prominent character, there has to be enough show around t to give us a hint of a reason for that otherwise they're better just left out of the scene.

Over all this was a really good chapter to read. It might even have been my favourite so far.

Bay

Darkinium Z

Female
Dani California
Seen 6 Hours Ago
Posted 6 Hours Ago
5,740 posts
13.4 Years
gimmepie: Oh my gosh, yeah took me long enough to finally get the pacing on track. ;_; If you think Chapter Six was good, you might enjoy Chapter Seven even more!

Reason I mentioned Becky was because I wanted to have her join with everyone as they were having dinner. I tried to have a bit of set up before going straight to Grimsley and Acerola talking to Iokua, but wasn't happy with that paragraph there.

Okay, now onto the next chapter!

Chapter Ten
Pursuit (Part Two)


The next morning Grimsley went to the Pokémon Center. When he arrived, several trainers were there. Most were either watching the morning news or eating breakfast. Two trainers had risen out of their chairs and exited the building, ignoring him. The nurse at the desk was helping out the few trainers waiting in line, and beside her was a Pokémon that resembled a living lei. Grimsley mused that some or most of the trainers were here visiting the observatory.

He thought that Iris would have liked to come here, too. A beat. Oh crap, he hadn’t contacted her since arriving!

He rushed to the video phone and dialed her number. It was late afternoon in Unova, so it shouldn't be too much of a disturbance for her. He waited until Iris picked up the phone. Upon seeing him, she grinned ear to ear.

"Oh my gosh, Grimsley! I thought you would call earlier!"

"Sorry about that. I was extremely busy."

"I bet!" Iris raised her chin high. "Having too much fun in Alola, hm?"

The corner of Grimsley's upper lip twitched. "Not exactly. Many things happened while I was there."

"Well then, tell me!" Iris demanded, and for the duration of their conversation Grimsley told her his adventures in Alola so far.

Iris was surprised when he told her about the wormholes and meeting beings from another world. She was even more stunned that Colress had been with the Ultra Recon Squad. Like when he had talked about him to his mother, Grimsley asked that they not talk about him for the time being and Iris respected his wishes. He then mentioned about going into the abandoned Thrifty Megamart and his battle with Mimikins.

"Oh wow, so that Mimikyu gave you her z-crystal? I thought only young trainers taking the island challenge can get them!"

"I thought so, too. Mimikins enjoyed our battle and gave me the Z-crystal as thanks."

"Heh, that's awfully nice of her! Do you have it with you?"

Grimsley nodded and pulled the Ghostinum-Z crystal out from his kimono's pocket. He raised it in front of the screen, and Iris's face lit up.

"Oh wow, first time seeing one of those! Are you practicing its Z-move now?"

"I've been practicing its dance, but I need a Z-bracelet to have the Z-move fully work."

"Huh, so kinda like Mega Evolution?"

Grimsley flinched upon hearing that. The trainer needed a Keystone and their chosen Pokémon's Mega Stone. He knew Mega Evolution firsthand thanks to Colress. Grimsley's eyes narrowed.

"I would like us to not talk about that, either," he said, his voice sharper than intended. Iris blinked in confusion at first, and then gasped when she realized what he meant.

"Sure, we don't have to mention that either." She then asked, “Did you do anything else after that?”

“I did,” Grimsley said. "Professor Kukui is forming Alola's first Pokémon League. He invited me to be a consultant to two trainers he has chosen as the Elite Four."

"Hey, that's awesome! Did you get to battle them?"

"I did, and they seemed more than qualified to be in it. One of the trainers is also head of the Hokulani Observatory. He gave me a tour of the place."

“That observatory does sound like fun! If I ever visit Alola, I’ll definitely visit that place and the other locations you mentioned.”

“I’m sure you’ll love those sites.” Grimsley’s smile faded. “How is everyone else doing?”

“We’re all doing great! Only a few trainers came, but it’s usually slow during this time.”

“I see.” Grimsley shifted his head with narrowed eyes. "I can't believe it's been over four years since Team Plasma's attack in the Pokémon League."

Iris frowned. "Yeah, me too. I remember going there with Drayden and battling several grunts. Then they reappeared shortly after I became Champion."

"You met them a couple times, correct?"

Iris hummed and nodded. "Nate and I went against those guys too, and they were more annoying than the original Team Plasma. At least they’re gone for good!"

"Indeed." Grimsley paused. “I'll be heading to Malie City again later today to do some research on Alola's lore."

“You're doing that while on vacation?” Iris flashed him an amused grin. "Did Shauntal ask you to look up something for her?"

"No, she didn't. Apparently the wormholes and Alola's history are connected, so I want to read up on that."

“Really? That sounds pretty crazy."

"You don't even know the half of it."

Iris chuckled. "Maybe so! Well, I need to head out myself. Do call me and the other Elite Four again soon!”

“I will. You and the others have a good day,” Grimsley said.

Both of them hung up, the video phone’s screen turning black. Grimsley leaned back against his chair, his head behind his arms, and glimpsed at the lobby. Only a few trainers remained inside, probably waiting for their Pokémon to get healed.

His mind drifted back to the press conference and his conversation with Professor Burnet. She would update her research to Aether, and was excited to learn more about them.

“Close to solving the mysteries of the wormholes. Such a risk there …” Grimsley’s voice trailed off, then he stroked his chin. He wondered how Becky was doing, and her thoughts on all of this. He dialed the number to the Aether House and waited almost a minute until Becky picked it up.

“Aether House, how may I… Oh, hi Grimsley!” Becky greeted him with a warm smile. “Is there something that you need?”

“I do. Say Becky, have you ever met this president of yours?”

"You mean President Lusamine? A few times, yes. Sometimes she visit the Aether House to check the Pokémon here. She seems very sweet and caring towards them. Why you ask?"

"She did a press conference a few days ago about the Ultra Beasts. Did you watch it?"

“Yes, I did. I actually got informed from Aether’s headquarters to keep an eye on any Ultra Beast that appears.”

Grimsley looked over his shoulder once more. One trainer picked up their Scrafty and waved goodbye to the nurse. Two more still were sat down on one of the couches and talking. Inside seemed a little quieter now. He faced back at Becky.

"The Ultra Recon Squad showed us one of the Ultra Beasts, Poipole,” he said in a low voice. “From your reaction, you weren't aware that Aether has an interest in them?”

Becky gasped, and then she scratched her forehead. "Not really. I know Aether and the Ultra Recon Squad collaborated together over some research projects, but nothing more than that."

"Yes, I remember you saying that when we met them. How do you feel about all this going on?"

"Somewhat mixed. The Ultra Beasts sound scary." Her expression then changed to her grinning. "I'm sure though that Aether will protect us from them!"

“Oh, I see.” Grimsley had his lips flat. “So you have that much faith in them, hm?”

"Well I've been with Aether for a while now, so of course I trust them." She then asked, “How was your visit to the Hokulani Observatory?"

This time, Grimsley smiled a little. "It was great. Molayne gave me a tour of it. I also got to battle him and Kahili to see how prepared they are for the Elite Four."

"That's so cool! Man, I should've been there to see that!"

“See what?” someone else asked, revealed to be Gracie. She and Yungoos joined Becky onscreen, and when the girl noticed Grimsley she beamed. “Oh, Alola Uncle Grimsley!” she cheered.

“Uncle Grimsley?” he asked with wide eyes, taken aback by that nickname.

Becky gave a sheepish laugh and rubbed the back of her neck. “Gracie and Hunter already took a liking to you, so they’ve been calling you Uncle Grimsley.”

“Yea! You and your Pokémon are super nice! Unlike Kahuna Nanu, who wouldn’t even let us touch his big kitty!” After that, Gracie’s Yungoos wiggled around her arms and squealed. “Yungoos seems to agree, too!”

Grimsley couldn’t help but chuckle. “Glad to hear I’m the good guy compare to him.”

“Um, if Yungoos ever gets in trouble, you’ll help him? Right?” Upon asking that, Gracie pushed Yungoos closer to the screen and the Pokémon made a face.

Grimsley stared at Yungoos for several seconds. “An odd question to ask. But yes, I would help him if possible,” he responded, and that earned him another cheer from Gracie.

On screen, Becky offered Gracie a soft smile. “Why don’t you and Yungoos continue to play with Hunter and Headmaster right now?”

“Okay! Talk to you later, Uncle Grimsley!” Gracie waved to him goodbye, and then ran off to Hunter and the other Pokémon.

“Sorry about that,” Becky said, now alone once more. “I guess she was excited seeing me talking to you there.”

“It’s fine," Grimsley said. "Well, I should be going now, but thank you for answering some of my questions there.”

“Not a problem!” Becky grinned at him. “You have a good day!”

Grimsley wished the same for her, and they both hung up. Rising from his seat, he yawned and stretched his arms. As he left the Pokémon Center and went to pack his things, he mused the sooner he got to the library the better.

Xxx

After Grimsley had packed his things, he went to the bus stop to leave to Malie City. Everyone went outside the Hokulani Observatory to see him off.

"I've enjoyed my time here in the observatory," Grimsley said, and Molayne gave him an appreciative smile.

"Glad to hear! You've given all of us some great insight on what it's like to be in the Elite Four."

"Gigi and I would love for you to visit here again!" Sophocles grinned. On his back, Gigi chirped and nodded.

"Perhaps if time allows." Grimsley faced both Kukui and Kahili. "You two will be sticking around here longer?"

"I will stay here until tomorrow," Kahili said. "Going to meet my dad in Akala Island and train there for a while."

"Molayne and I need to take care of some Pokémon League stuff, then I'll be going to Malie City myself, yeah!" Kukui raised his head and pointed ahead. "Looks like the bus is about to leave soon!"

Grimsley looked over his shoulder to see a few people boarding one of the Exeggutor Express buses already. He hummed and faced back at everyone.

"I better get going, then. All of you take care."

He went to each one individually. He scratched Gigi's chin and did the Alola rainbow sign to Sophocles, who did the same. When he approached Kukui, the professor offered him a big embrace. Grimsley was taken aback by that, but once Kukui let go he shook his hand also. After that, he and Kahili grinned at each other and shook hands. He went to Molayne last, who pulled out a business card from his jacket and smiled.

“Here’s my business card,” he said. A slight blush formed on his cheeks, and he sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck. “Sometimes my work phone gets busy, so it’s better if you contact me through my other number.”

While gazing at the card on his palm, Grimsley’s heart jumped. He put it away and smiled.

“I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you.”

They embraced, Molayne’s body warm against his. After letting go, Grimsley and Molayne exchanged soft grins at one another.

Grimsley grabbed his bags and walked to the bus. Before stepping in, he glanced to see Molayne and Kahili smile fondly at him while Kukui and Sophocles wave at him goodbye. He waved back and boarded the bus.

xxx

As usual, Nanu was doing his patrol outside. No rain today, but white clouds still covered most of the sky. He stared around to see the Ariados, Scraggy, and other Pokémon running around in the grass. There were no Team Skull grunts here; either they overslept or didn't feel like going out yet.

A Honchkrow's cry was heard, and Nanu gazed up to see his Pokémon flying above him. Eventually Honchkrow dived down towards him, so he spread his right arm wide and let him perch there.

"Find anything suspicious?" he asked, scratching Honchkrow's chest. The bird's white ruff was soft and fluffy. Honchkrow squawked and bobbed his head a few times. Nanu frowned. "All right, show me the way."

Honchkrow cawed and flew off, Nanu following him. They pushed forward at the corner of Po Town's wall. When they reached there, Nanu stopped and stared at the sight before him.

A blonde boy stood in the middle of a field. His dark clothing was ripped in several places, most notably on his sleeves and pants. A Golbat and another Pokémon, a canine-like creature with fish scales on their legs and a wooden helmet covering their head, battled each other.

"Jester, Shadow Ball! Null, move away and hit hard with Iron Head!"

The bat Pokémon opened his mouth and spat out a crimson-colored ball at Null. Null jumped out of the way just in time, and then they howled and their helmet shined a bright light. They collided with Jester and rammed onto the Golbat's mouth. That caused Jester to almost choke and back away. After that, Jester's body glowed violet and changed shape.

Instead of a Golbat, Jester was now a dark-furred fox with a red voluminous mane. He shook his fur and glared at Null.

Nanu lowered his head and folded his arms against his chest. He remembered hearing about Zorua and Zoroark's ability to create illusions due to police reports of Zorua pretending to be children in schools. He glanced at Honchkrow, who was watching the battle with a keen eye.

“Jester, Night Slash! Null, counter with Crush Claw!”

Both Jester's and Null's claws glowed, and they launched at each other. Jester sliced Null's leg first, leaving a deep cut there. Null howled in pain, only for them to later slash across Jester’s face. It was Jester's turn to scream, with a large cut left on his forehead. Gladion’s face tightened in determination.

“Aerial Ace before Jester bounces back,” Gladion said, thrusting his arm forward.

Null charged at the fox like a lightning bolt and their bodies collided. Jester flew up in the air briefly, and then plummeted to the ground and collapsed. After Null approached Jester and licked his face, the Zoroark picked himself up and shook his fur. Gladion joined them, scratching Null's chin and petting Jester's mane.

"Great work, you two," Gladion complimented them, and his Pokémon responded with positive cries.

While watching that battle, Nanu paid close attention to Null and how they handled themselves. With a grunt, he walked up towards them. Honchkrow followed behind him.

"That's some training your Pokémon are having," he said. That made Gladion stop and stare at him.

"Officer Nanu..." he said in a low voice.

He already knew about Gladion's connection to Aether. The reason why he hadn’t sent him back was because Gladion had asked him not to, and what he did with his life was none of his business.

Null and Jester stepped forward and sneered at Nanu, as if protecting their trainer. In intimidation, Honchkrow screeched and spread his wings wide at them. Nanu raised his right palm up.

"Easy there, you three. I'm not looking for trouble, yet."

Honchkrow and both of Gladion's Pokémon backed away from one another. Gladion narrowed his eyes at him for a second, and then went to his Zoroark.

"What do you want?" Gladion asked while he pulled out a potion bottle and sprayed it on Jester, his back facing Nanu.

That was actually a good question. Originally Nanu was here because Honchkrow took him here. He looked at Null, who sat down like an obedient puppy, and recalled his conversation with Anabel and Looker.

"That Pokémon there," Nanu said, pointing at Null. "You been with it a long while?"

After Jester was healed, Gladion scratched his chin. He looked over his shoulder at Null, and then had his attention back at Jester.

"We have. Maybe two years or so? What's it to you?"

"A couple colleagues of mine from the International Police are aware of Null."

"The International Police?" Gladion asked in shock. When he stopped scratching Jester, he whined. "Don't tell me you'll have them take Null away!"

"Relax, kid, I didn't do anything of the sort. I can't promise Interpol will show mercy on your pup, though."

Nanu put his hands in the pockets of his pants, and saw Honchkrow moving towards Null. The bird tilted his head and used his beak to peck Null's helmet, which led them to swipe him away with his fish-scale paw. Honchkrow screamed and backed away. Nanu thought he was just curious over Null's helmet, so he shrugged.

"Wait, if the International Police are aware of Null, that can only mean one of two things," Gladion said. "Either someone from Aether has informed them, or they're working together!"

Nanu's stomach dropped. The boy wasn't entirely wrong on that assumption, but he couldn't tell him about Charlotte. He cleared his throat.

"I can't tell you if you're right or not on that claim. Best to watch your back more than ever."

While Nanu and Gladion were talking, Honchkrow perched himself on a tree branch. Jester got away from Gladion's sight and turned himself into a Honchkrow. He flew up to where Honchkrow was and shook his tail in front of him. Annoyed, Honchkrow bit Jester's tail, and that caused him to scream. Gladion broke his stare on Nanu when that happened.

"Hey Jester, cut it out!" he yelled.

Once Honchkrow let go of Jester, he turned himself back into a Zoroark and landed on the ground. He hung his head in shame. Gladion shook his head, returning him back in his pokéball. Nanu blinked and his eyebrows squished together.

"Sorry about that, Jester gets bored easily."

"The Meowth in the police station are like that too, so don't worry." Nanu then said, "You mentioned you and Null need to get stronger. For what purpose?"

A sharp gasp escaped from Gladion. He sat down next to Null, pulling his knees against his chest.

"You heard of my father, Mohn Jubert, right?"

Nanu raised a brow. He had heard about Mohn through the news and his connections. Interpol didn't seriously look into the Aether Foundation until after Nanu had retired, but he did get more information on what Mohn had been working on. When Nanu had found out about his disappearance, that send off alarm bells in his head.

"Vaguely. He had been missing for several years now, right?"

"Yes. Ever since that incident, my mother hasn't been the same." Gladion ran his fingers through his hair. "Did you watch that press conference she held in Aether's headquarters?"

"Of course, it's practically big news for Alola. I take it you have some strong feelings over that."

Gladion gave a weak nod. "After that broadcast, I know what she's actually going for. I can't lose her, too."

Gladion's true motivation. That was what Looker and Anabel tried to figure out. And now, Nanu had figured it out.

"You ran away from home to prevent your father's disappearance from being repeated."

He and Gladion fixed their stares at each other. After a moment, Gladion's left hand twitched once more and he held his wrist.

"Null and I, we have to get stronger, to protect everyone." Null nuzzled their helm onto Gladion's cheeks, and he offered them a sad smile. He raised his head at Nanu's direction. "Do you know what it's like to feel hopeless when someone gets hurt?"

Pain welled up inside Nanu's throat. He felt that when he had to kill the Ultra Beasts, and when Sana had been taken away by Glutton. He wasn't going to subject him to the violent details of that mission.

"I do, actually. But that story is a little mature for you, boy."

His response caused Gladion to jump and glare at him. "Are you even taking this seriously?"

"More than you think," Nanu said in a flat voice.

Gladion narrowed his eyes at him. He sighed in frustration, jerking his head away from him. Null walked up to him, their shoulder on Gladion’s hip. Gazing down at Null, he place his palm on their forehead. Honchkrow was still perched on the tree, watching everyone.

"Either way, my Pokémon still needs more training, and I need a Z-ring. You can help me with both."

Nanu furrowed his brow, already decided on his response. "Did you take the island challenge?"

"I actually did one trial here some weeks back, but I got sidetracked. Most of my and Null's time gets used up doing small jobs for Team Skull."

A crooked grin pulled on the corner of Nanu's mouth. "Two other people made that request too. I refused because they didn't take the island challenge. Gonna do the same with you."

"You just don't want to be bothered, old man," Gladion said, crossing his arms against his chest.

"Yup, that's it. Doing the second trial will do you good, though. Come back to me after you did that."

Gladion's face fell. He grunted and turned around, his back facing Nanu.

"Urgh, whatever. Let's go, Null."

Gladion flicked his hand, and he and Null moved out. Nanu watched them until they were far away from his sight. He walked to the tree where Honchkrow was perched.

"You wouldn't battle him too, right bird brain?" he asked him. Honchkrow cried out and flapped his wings, which Nanu took as a yes. Or maybe he was mad he called him bird brain. "Thought so. Come on, that's enough patrolling for the day."

He and Honchkrow began going back to the police station. While walking, he thought about how Mohn's disappearance had affected Gladion deeply. When he was in Interpol, Iokua didn't like how often he was away from his family. Nanu's situation was different, but he understood what Gladion was going through.

Now, he was one of the island kahunas. He hoped he had the strength to protect Iokua, and everyone else on Ula'ula Island.

Xxx

Grimsley entered the Malie City Library shortly after it opened. There were several people inside already, mostly older patrons using the computers or on the couch reading a novel. He went to the second floor like last time, which only had a few more people around. Grimsley grabbed a few books from the shelves and took a seat next to one of the tables.

He first read The Guardian Deities of the Islands once more, hoping there would be something about the Ultra Beasts. This time he read the sections on Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, and Tapu Fini since he had skipped them last time. Tapu Koko and Tapu Lele’s passages didn’t hold his interest too much as their entries described how they were caring deities but cunning in battles. When he got to Tapu Fini’s entry, it first talked about how they would unleash thick fog on those who wanted their special water they could create. The next part, however, caught Grimsley off guard.

“Legends also foretold that Tapu Fini has the ability to make apprations of those who are deceased. If a bypasser gets caught in the island guardian’s mist, the spirit of their loved one can be summoned.” Grimsley paused. “Spirits, huh?”

He rested his elbow on the table and had his chin on his palm. His other hand’s fingers tapped on the surface. Nanu also oversaw Poni Island, so he should know about this, too. Maybe he could ask him to take him to Tapu Fini’s temple so that he could talk to his father…

Shaking his head, Grimsley immediately dismissed that idea. Nanu was already annoyed at him as it was. He straightened himself back up and continued on his research.

Alola's Light was another book that caught his attention. The first chapter described a time when a hole poked through the sky and "a beast that devours the sun" appeared. The beast won a battle against the island deities, but it blessed Alola with their light. There was apparently a beast of the moon too as it mentioned that "through their union, they brought new life." Grimsley blinked in confusion upon reading that.

"Fragile heir? Did it mean a new Pokémon?" Grimsley said aloud. One person near the books stared and hushed at him. He grunted and read the final passage in a low voice. "The ancient kings sang their thanks for Solgaleo with song of flute. Two tones rang out across the altar, a perfect pair, ever after mute."

The next page had a picture of a lion made of steel and the sun as a backdrop. Several people lined up and prayed to the beast. On the right corner there was a flute with the sun carved on it. Grimsley guessed that must be Solgaleo.

He looked up the next chapter, which talked about "the beast that stole all heaven's light." Like Solgaleo, this beast too went against the island deities and the kings sang their praise to it. On one page it had a picture of a bat with stars as wings and the moon as a backdrop. A flute was also shown, but this one had the moon carved on it. That beast's name was Lunala.

Grimsley flipped the page to the next chapter, and the third picture on it caught his eye. Lunala and Solgaleo appeared on it, but in between them was a dragon-like creature shining brightly. The following passage explained how before Alola was formed there was no light. Three legendary Pokémon then appeared and showered light all over the region that lasted for days. The people gave the Pokémon that shined the brightest the name ‘the Blinding One’, as their light was filled with a mysterious power. After the Blinding One used all of their light, they went into a deep sleep. Lunala and Solagelo soon shared their light with the people, and the Blinding One woke up and flew off to the sky. When he finished reading, Grimsley leaned back against his chair, head over his arms.

“Solagelo, Lunala, and the Blinding One. How peculiar.” He scratched the back of his neck and sighed. Someone then tapped on his shoulder, so he turned around and flinched upon seeing Iokua smiling a little.

"Can't get enough of Alola's lore, huh?" he said.

“I admit your region’s stories are fascinating to read.” Grimsley rubbed his eyes. "After hearing about the possibility of alternate dimensions a few days ago, I got curious. I began reading the books here to see if there's anything about them."

"Oh? Have you heard of Professor Burnet? She does extensive research on them."

"I read some of her stuff, and even talked to her about it yesterday." Grimsley closed the book shut. "Apparently it relates to the Ultra Beasts the Aether Foundation lady had mentioned in the news."

Iokua’s smile faded, and his eyes fluttered.“Follow me to my office," he whispered. As Iokua started walking, Grimsley blinked in confusion. He got up and followed him.

Iokua’s office was in a hallway on the second floor. He and Iokua walked in silence until they reached his office, the librarian opening the door for them. The room looked just as when Grimsley saw it in the background when he, Nanu, Acerola, and Becky talked to Iokua through the tablet. The bright afternoon sunlight streamed through the windows.

“Would you like some coffee?” Iokua asked. “I got either hazelnut or vanilla cream.”

“Vanilla cream, if you don’t mind,” Grimsley said, taking a seat. Iokua went to the coffee maker that was in the right corner of the room.

“Did my dad talk about his past to you?” Iokua asked as he began preparing the water and coffee grains into the coffee maker.

“You mean him as a former international officer? He did, vaguely.” Grimsley plopped his arm onto the desk and his eyes narrowed. “He told me about this one mission where his group lost a member, but he didn’t expand on that.”

"He did, huh." Iokua was silent until the coffee finished brewing. He poured two cups and mixed in the sugar and cream in them. "That's all?"

"He actually showed me a picture of his group, and I recognized one of the agents. His friend interviewed me back when Unova's Pokémon League was under attack by Team Plasma."

"Right, you mentioned that to me before. That must have been a traumatizing experience."

Grimsley closed his eyes and hummed, folding his arms against his chest. "More a hindrance than anything, but I appreciate the sentiment."

Iokua sat down across from Grimsley and handed him his coffee. He inhaled its strong scent and sipped his drink, the vanilla cream sweet on his tongue and lips.

“You have an idea of what happened in that mission?” Grimsley asked, and then he took another sip. Iokua drank his own coffee before responding.

“He mentioned the mission involved a Pokémon he wasn’t allowed to talk about. I had a hunch it might be an Ultra Beast from the folklore.”

Grimsley thought back to when the Ultra Recon Squad had shown him and Nanu their Pokémon. His fingers tapped on the rim of his cup.

"Speaking of Ultra Beasts, I saw one before. Nanu and I met a couple strangers who weren’t from here. They showed us a Pokémon and Nanu said the name, 'Adhesive.'"

Iokua's eyes grew wide. "Adhesive? What did it look like?"

"Hard to describe. Small and purple, has a big forehead with nozzles on it."

"Doesn't sound like any Pokémon I've heard of." Iokua shrugged. "Must be an Ultra Beast, then."

Grimsley quirked a brow at him. "You've been responding half-heartedly since we came in your office. Did something happen between you and Nanu before?"

Iokua’s lips pressed together in a slight grimace. He nodded and his gaze fell on his coffee.

"When I was younger, I got mad at him for being away for work a lot. We argued quite a few times, and that put a strain on our relationship for some time."

"But you two made up eventually, right? You seemed happy with him from the couple phone calls we had together."

"We did after he became kahuna, yeah. His Interpol days still upset me a little, though."

"I'm sorry to have brought that up," Grimsley said with a sincere frown.

"It's fine. You wanted to know more about him, right?" Iokua flashed him a grin. “He does care a lot about the people and Pokémon on this island. That’s why Tapu Bulu chose him as our island’s kahuna.”

Grimsley mulled over what Iokua said while he drank the rest of his coffee. He set his cup down and smiled at him.

“I appreciate you shedding some light on your father for me.”

“If my dad had already told you about his past, then I’m sure he’ll open up to you more.” Iokua's smile widened.

“Perhaps I’ll talk to him again. He stays at Po Town, correct?” he asked, and Iokua nodded.

“It’s pass Route 15’s waters. You would have to go through Ula’ula Meadows. Be aware of the Oricorio’s fiery dances there, though! The police station is very close after that.”

With a small smile, he thanked Iokua for the coffee and rose from his seat. The two men shook hands, and he headed toward the door. Before Grimsley touched the doorknob, Iokua called out to him.

"Oh, before you go! Have you heard of Lake of the Moone?"

"Lake of the Moone? Oh, Acerola mentioned that place to me before I left the Aether House."

"That's great! If you drop by Ula’ula Meadows, do check out the Lake of the Moone there."

“I see. I’ll consider doing that too, then. And thank you once more for the coffee and conversation.”

Grimsley waved goodbye and stepped out of the room. He intended to visit Nanu over at his police station to get more of his story from him, but first he had some training to do.

xxxx

Author's Note:

Spoiler:
Happy Mother's Day and Detective Pikachu movie weekend, everyone! Yeah, so this is the second half of the Pursuit chapter with Grimsley and Nanu finding answers to their own questions. They'll still be doing their own things a while longer before they meet again, but should be soon!

For those following this fic up to this point, I've been leaning more and more towards US/UM's storyline and characterization on certain characters. Originally I had Lusamine's S/M characterization in when I first wrote that Aether press conference scene, but I changed her lines last minute. While some of her actions will be referenced in upcoming chapters, she won't be the big focus in Foul Play.

Oh wow, I'm rambling over Lusamine during Mother's Day oops. You can think of Nanu and Gladion's conversation about her as a celebration of that.

Besides that, I went ahead and did a couple more anime references. I thought mentioning Tapu Fini's mist and the anime's version of Necrozma lore would make fun Easter Eggs. Maybe one of those references will come to play...

I think that's all! Once again, thanks bobandbill for the great beating. See you in the summer (or winter in the southern hemisphere haha)!

Foul Play
[Chapter Nine up!]

Bay

Darkinium Z

Female
Dani California
Seen 6 Hours Ago
Posted 6 Hours Ago
5,740 posts
13.4 Years
Chapter Eleven
Hone Claws (Rockstars and Mega Evolution)


Next to Malie City was the Malie Gardens. The grass and flowers were well kept, and many of the Pokémon that resided here were friendly and peaceful. Like Malie City, the bridges and buildings resembled Johto-designed architecture. Standing on one of the corners was a tall tower similar to the Bell Tower in Ecruteak City, and in the middle of the garden was a large lake shaped like a Gyarados.

Grimsley had been training in the gardens the past three days, and today he had been here all afternoon. He let out Raz and Blackjack, and had them battle one another. Raz stood tall in the grass while Blackjack was in the lake.

“Blackjack, Ice Fang! And Raz, counter with Shadow Ball!”

Blackjack jumped out of the lake and opened his jaws, cold mist seeping out from his mouth and
his fangs glowing blue. Before he reached Raz, she spatted out a crimson ball and it exploded inside Blackjack’s throat. The shark screeched and was blown back into the lake with a big splash.

Both Grimsley and Raz rushed to the edge of the lake. He looked down to see small bubbles forming, and then several seconds later Blackjack popped up. Grimsley sighed in relief.

“Good to see you’re still in good shape.” Grimsley pressed his lips and narrowed his eyes. “Now Blackjack, Aqua Jet!

Blackjack surrounded himself with torrential waters and shot out of the lake like a rocket. His body collided with Raz, slamming her onto the ground. Blackjack dived back into the lake just as Raz picked herself up and shook the water off her fur.

“Raz, watch for Blackjack’s movements and then strike.”

Raz gazed up at Grimsley with a low growl and nodded. She looked down at the lake, and Blackjack’s shadow could be seen swimming swiftly. Grimsley snapped his fingers.

Blackjack exploded out of the lake, his fangs glowing blue once more. Raz quickly countered by cloaking her right paw in purple vapors, that formed into a large claw, and left a deep cut on Blackjack’s face. Blackjack crashed on the land and collapsed.

Grimsley went to his Pokemon’s side and pulled out a potion from his bag. He sprayed the medicine onto Blackjack’s face, careful to not do it directly on the eyes. Blackjack winced at its stings, but already the cut on his face faded.

“You and Raz did great today,” he said in a soothing tone and returned him back in his pokéball.
Raz growled sadly, as if apologizing to her trainer. Smiling down at her, Grimsley scratched Raz’s cheek and neck.

“Oh hey, Grimsley!” a male’s voice called out to him. Grimsley flinched and turned around to see a middle-aged man approaching him.

“Ronald?” Grimsley said in a surprised voice.

Ronald flashed him a grin. “Fancy seeing you again! Doing some training right now?”

“I was. Nothing too serious, though.”

“That’s good!” Ronald said. “I saw a little bit of that battle. No surprise your Liepard and Sharpedo are very well-trained!”

Upon hearing that, Raz’s ears perked up and she cried a happy meow.

“Raz appreciates your compliment there,” he said, scratching her cheek once more. Raz responded by rubbing at his hip.

Ronald chuckled. “Say, there’s a tea shop here. Why don’t we go there and talk some more?”

Grimsley regarded Ronald a moment. “Sure, we can do that.” After Grimsley returned Raz, he followed Ronald to the tea shop.

xxx

Past the biggest bridge was the tea shop. There was a small building where the tea was served, and tables covered with colorful tablecloths outside. Besides Grimsley and Ronald, two other people occupied one table. The tea was bitter with a tinge of honey in it, hot and sweet inside Grimsley’s throat.

He first asked Ronald what he was doing in Malie City. It turned out he was here to visit his daughter and her family, and was staying with them for another two days. Grimsley then told him how he had met with several people here, including Nanu. Ronald was very interested on their encounter, as expected.

“So you’re doing some training before you meet him again?” Ronald asked after he sipped his cup.

“After my battles with Molayne and Kahili, I knew Nanu would be just as challenging. I want to battle him before I leave.”

“I see. Well, you should get to know him better! That’ll up your chances in scoring a battle with him!”

Grimsley groaned, staring up at the sky.

“Yes, I know. I’ve been told that several times already.” He paused to drink the last of his tea. “You mentioned having a niece that had battled me before. How is she?”

“Oh, you mean Berthy? Right now she’s traveling through the Galar region!”

Grimsley cracked a small smile. “The Galar region, hm? Some of my family from my father’s side were from there. I visited there a couple times before, a charming region.”

“It is! She showed me some pictures of her there!”

Ronald whipped out his phone from the pocket of his pants and handed it to Grimsley. There was one picture of a dark haired girl with her and Samurott on a bridge. In the background there was a large clock tower that Grimsley recognized as Big Ben. Grimsley checked out another photo of her and another girl with brunette hair in front of a building with old-style architecture. From the looks of it, they took this picture in a small town Grimsley couldn’t remember at the moment.

“I think I remember Berthy now. She and her Samurott worked well together.” Grimsley handed the phone back to Ronald. “Looks like she’s having fun.”

“She is! Last I talked with her, she’s going for her fourth badge there.”

Grimsley’s face softened. “When you get the chance, tell your niece I wish her luck and a safe journey in Galar.”

“I will! Berthy will be so excited!” A large grin stretched across Ronald’s face. “Speaking of training, have you tried this place called the Kantonian Gym?

“You mean that building with the golden roof and the Pokémon League logo?” Grimsley asked with a quirked eyebrow.

“Yeah! It opened almost half a year or so. Alola never had Pokémon Gyms like other regions, so a lot of Alolan people wanted to try it.”

Grimsley hummed, folding his arms against his chest. “I thought about checking it out, but thought the battles would be similar to the ones back in the Battle Buffet.”

“I don’t blame you there.” Ronald tapped his chin with his finger. “You want a more interesting challenge, right? There’s a guy who trains Dragon Pokémon that could fit the bill.”

“Really? Does he come to the Kantonian Gym often?”

“I think so. Apparently he’s a musician also, so he does shows in there, too!”

A Dragon trainer that was also a musician? Grimsley recalled one trainer that fitted that description. The brow on his forehead shot up. No, it couldn’t be.

“Hold up, you don’t mean…”

“Hey! Is that you, Grimsley?” someone new said.

When Grimsley turned around, his face fell. In front of him was a man in tight clothing, which showed off his bare chest. His wild hair was tied in a long ponytail, the bangs partially covering his face. He was carrying a guitar case, so he was definitely a musician. Grimsley’s suspicions were true.

“It’s been a while, Ryuki,” Grimsley said as he got up, forcing himself to smile.

Ryuki flashed him a grin. “You still in the Elite Four, dude? How’s little Iris doing?”

“I am, and she’s doing fine.”

Ronald stood up and gave them confused looks. “Wait, you guys know each other?”

“In a sense,” Grimsley said. “He stayed in Unova for a while to train in the Village of Dragons.”

“Elder Margot was awesome, really knows how to dig into dragons’ hearts,” Ryuki said. “Iris and Drayden were also stars in their own ways.”

“Not only that, he had toured with the Virbank City Gym Leader, Roxie, for a while. I also saw him play in casinos a few times.”

“That was while I tried to get my music going.” Ryuki turned to Grimsley, his grin widening. “You do know how to play your cards right.”

Grimsley snorted. “I haven’t done any high risk wagers in a long while.”

Even though he was in the Elite Four, Grimsley had gone to several world poker events to gain some extra money on the side. He had first met Ryuki in the Sinnoh region, in the Veilstone City Casino. The up-and-coming rockstar had only a dozen people in each showing, but then his popularity grew slowly. After Iris had become champion, she told Grimsley how Ryuki had been living in the Village of Dragons for some months and that surprised him. They visited there twice to meet him, but then after that Ryuki went on tour with Roxie and Grimsley hadn’t seen him since.

“Oh wow, sounds like you guys went way back!” Ronald said, grinning.

“We only talked a dozen times due to us knowing the same people,” Ryuki said as he faced back at Ronald. “Still, I have mad respect for him.”

Grimsley hummed, and then he said, “Ronald told me that you go the Kantonian Gym now.”

Ryuki nodded. “I came all the way here to spread my fame and check that Gym out. However, it isn’t a real Pokémon Gym.”

“Hm? What do you mean by that?”

“You know how the Gym in Vermillion City has trash cans and you have to find a switch?” Ryuki asked, and Grimsley nodded. “The Kantonian Gym is like that, but the trash cans don’t work.”

“Were you disappointed when you found that out?”

“I was at first, but I dig it the more I go there.”

“I also mentioned to Grimsley how you’re a strong trainer that he should go up against!”

Grimsley’s eyes grew wide, and then he frowned at Ronald. “You didn’t have to tell him that.”

“Sorry, I didn’t think you would mind,” Ronald said with a sheepish chuckle. He rubbed the back of his neck.

“You know, my babies have been bored from the last few battles we did.” Ryuki put his guitar case down and pointed his gloved finger at Grimsley. “A blazing battle with an Elite Four will wake them up again! Maybe they'll even get to see your Mega Absol on stage!”

Ronald's face fell. He turned to Grimsley and asked, "Wait, you can do Mega Evolution?"

Grimsley's heart almost skipped a beat, and his face tense. "I can, but haven't done so in a long time. I have my reasons."

Ryuki gave a disappointing look at first, and then he smiled.. "I don't blame you. I'm a rocker down to my core, after all. If we battle, you don't have to use Mega Evolution.”

Grimsley pondered over Ryuki’s suggestion for a moment. From what Iris had told him, Ryuki raised his Dragon Pokémon fairly well. Plus, he could use this opportunity as a warmup before going against Nanu. Now that offer was tempting.

“Sounds like it could be fun. I accept your invitation.”

“Oh, can I come and watch?” Ronald asked eagerly.

“Sure, the more the merrier! Let my bandmates and I set up first." He faced Grimsley, giving him a toothy grin. "Meet me in the Kantonian Gym in an hour." He picked up his guitar case, and headed out of the gardens.

“A battle in the Kantonian Gym, huh?” Ronald had his hands on his sides and grinned. “I can’t wait to see how that plays out!”

“I wouldn’t put your expectations that high just yet.” Grimsley wasn’t as enthusiastic as Ronald over this, but was curious to see if Ryuki was what Iris made him up to be.

Xxx

After they had left Malie Gardens, Grimsley told Ronald that he had something to take care of and would meet him outside of the Kantonian Gym later. Ronald replied that he was fine with that, and they went separate ways.

When Grimsley returned to Malie City, he got himself a room in the Pokémon Center. Today quite a few trainers, both young and old, were inside. Grimsley didn't pay attention to what they were doing and instead went straight to his room.

Rooms in Pokémon Centers were as simple as they get. There was a queen sized bed with soft pillows and blankets, and a table with a computer next to it. Plain curtains hung above the windows. The hardwood floor occasionally made squeaking noises underneath Grimsley's feet.

Grimsley went to his desk, grabbing his bag. He pulled out the Keystone and Absolite and set them aside, both sparkling against the sunlight. The Keystone was on a stickpin while the Absolite was tied to a golden chain.

They were a gift from Colress a few years ago. He had found a few Mega Stones, including Roulette's, and Keystones during his trip in Kalos. After they had broken up, he hadn't done Mega Evolution in a while. There was a possibility he and Roulette might use it again.

He grimaced at that thought and tore his gaze away from the stones. Grimsley took a step back, pulled out Roulette's pokéball, and released her. She stood still, her tail wagging, and barked. Giving her a sad smile, Grimsley scratched her chin.

"Hello, Roulette. How are you feeling?" he asked, and Roulette let out another joyful bark.

A sharp frown stretched across his face. Grimsley went to the table to get the Keystone and Absolite. When he returned to Roulette, he opened his palm to show her the stones. Roulette sniffed a few times and tilted her head.

"Do you remember these? They're an Absolite and a Keystone, which are used to have you turn into Mega Absol. I agreed to a battle with someone who wanted to see you like that."

Getting it now, Roulette took a few steps back and snarled. Grimsley closed his palm and rubbed his temple.

"I know, I know, you usually don't like changing to your Mega form. I don't want to do this either, but we might have to. Not just against him, but perhaps Nanu also."

Grimsley had heard Absol generally hated changing to their Mega form. That might have some truth to it as Roulette didn’t like how much it overwhelmed her after battles. She would also get angry whenever Colress wanted her to Mega Evolve, so most likely she associated him with that.

Roulette still fixed her glare at him. He sighed, and then dropped on one knee and gripped onto her horn.

"I promise, though, that I won't let you use Mega Evolution unless you want to. We got ourselves a deal?"

Making a small cry, Roulette seemed to consider Grimsley's proposal. After several seconds, she barked happily and licked his face. Grimsley chuckled, patting her cheek. He put the necklace with the Absolite around her neck, and then he got up and attached the stickpin on his scarf. He frowned once more.

He truly hoped he didn't have to resort to using Mega Evolution in today's battle.

Xxx

The Kantonian Gym was situated in the middle of Malie City. Like the city, the building was influenced by Kantonian and Johtonian architecture with yellow roofing. The Pokémon League logo was above the automatic doors, which led Grimsley to wonder if the higher ups from the international headquarters had approved this. The hours when it was open were written on the sign next to the entrance. Ronald was already here, waving and grinning at him.

"Grimsley, over here!" he called out, and they went inside.

Inside the Gym's first room the floors were yellow and several trash cans were lined up. Bright lights from the ceiling gave the whole area a sunlight hue. A dozen or so people were having Pokémon battles with one another.

"Man oh man, so this is the Kantonian Gym, huh?" Grimsley had his hands on his sides, staring at his surroundings. “Didn’t Ryuki say that the trash cans don’t work?”

"He did. I think they’re here for aesthetic reasons. Let's go check in with the receptionist."

He and Ronald went up to the receptionist. She paused what she was doing on the computer and smiled at them.

"Welcome to the Kantonian Gym! How may I help you?" she asked.

Grimsley leaned closer to the desk. "Well, I was invited here by Ryuki Oshiri for a battle."

"I'm just here to watch the match," Ronald added.

Her smile widened. "Oh, you must be Grimsley! Leader Ryuki is in the next room. Also, the entry fee for adult males is $50."

"$50?" Grimsley asked in shock. Entry fees in Unova's Gyms were less than half of that. This was as ridiculous as the battle fee back in the Battle Buffet.

The receptionist hummed and nodded. "The prices here are different for adults and young trainers!"

Grimsley furrowed his brow, and then he stared at Ronald who gave him a shrug. He rolled his eyes and paid the entry fee. They moved forward, passing by the trainers on the way.

Once he and Ronald stepped into the next room, the atmosphere was different than the previous one. Two trainers, one with a Machamp and another with a Cinccino, were on the battlefield giving out commands. Ryuki was up on a small stage playing his guitar, the music booming loud from the speakers and making Grimsley’s skin vibrate. Dimmed-colored lights were flashing behind the musician like lasers. Half of the seats in the benches were already occupied, the audience cheering on the battle and the music.

“Wow, looks like Ryuki has quite a few fans,” Ronald said.

“You should’ve been to Roxie’s Gym in Virbank City. She often has big crowds going to her battles and concerts.” Even though this Gym was advertised to be similar to Vermilion Gym, Grimsley mused that this was more like the Virbank Gym.

“Yeah, Berthy had mentioned the Virbank Gym was like that. I’m gonna go sit on the stands now, good luck!” He patted Grimsley's shoulder, and did just that.

Grimsley stood where he was and watched the battle in front of him.The Machamp kept throwing his four fists at the Cinccino, but the Scarf Pokémon was able to dodge his every move. She used her fluffy tail to slam Machamp’s face, which made his head turn sideways for a second.

“Retaliate with Cross Chop, Rio!” A middle-aged man in a karate robe ordered, which Grimsley assumed to be the Machamp’s trainer. The other trainer was a younger woman in a white dress and blonde hair tied in a ponytail, the Cinccino belonging to her.

“Take the hit, Cece!”

Rio crossed his arms, and then collided with Cece. The Cinccino screamed and fell on the floor, but she got herself back up. Her fur was dirty, and she was breathing hard. Rio gave her a smug look, but then his face softened and cheeks flushed.

“Great, now for a Thunder Punch!” the Machamp’s trainer ordered. Unfortunately, Rio still stood there in a lovestruck daze. The trainer gritted his teeth. “Hey, why aren’t you moving!”

The woman trainer grinned. “That Machamp’s been charmed now! Aqua Tail, let’s go!”

Cece made a chirp-like noise and jumped. Her tail shined a blue coat and covered in torrential waters. She hit Rio’s chest, knocking the air out of him.

“Finish it off with Iron Tail!”

Cece’s tail glowed a metallic coat this time, and she struck Rio’s face. The Machamp crashed on the floor, not getting up.

“And the winner of that battle is Lee!” Ryuki announced from the stands, and the crowd cheered.

“You were amazing, Cece!” Lee praised. Cece jumped into her arms, and Lee giggled.

After the other trainer returned his Pokemon, he went up to her and smiled. “You’re one tough lady there. That’s a good match.”

“You’re not so bad yourself. And I agree.” She smiled back, and the two shook hands.

"What a rock hard battle that is, ohhhh! Give it up for Lee and Bruce!"

The crowd erupted into another rowdy cheer. Bruce and Lee, still holding her Cinccino, waved to the crowd goodbye, and they left the battlefield. When Ryuki noticed Grimsley, he grinned.

"All right everyone, I have a special treat for you! Our next battle will be with yours truly and a special guest! Hailing from Unova and a member of that region's Elite Four, give it up for Grimsley!"

The lights suddenly dimmed, and the spotlight aimed at Grimsley. He squinted and used his palm to shield himself from the brightness. Several people spoke softly amongst themselves; some recognized him as Grimsley from the Elite Four. The majority of the audience, though, cheered. Grimsley forced a smile and waved to the crowd.

"So dude, liking Alola so far?"

Grimsley grunted, closing his eyes. "Not bad, but I could always use a little more excitement."

"I hear you loud and clear," Ryuki said, and Grimsley opened his eyes to see him grinning. He held two fingers up. "Two Pokémon each. How do you want this, single or double battle? ”

"How about we let chance decide?” Grimsley pulled out his coin and flipped it a few times. “Heads for single, tails for double?”

Ryuki raised a suspicious brow, but then his grin returned. “Once a gambler, always a gambler huh? Sure, I’ll play by your rules.”

Grimsley tossed the coin, caught it, and opened his palm. “It’s tails. Double battle, then.”

"Right on! Then let us get this party started!" Ryuki pulled two pokéballs from his belt and tossed them in the air, his Pokémon being released in a burst of light.

His first Pokémon had blue-green fur, a mustache, and fluffy white wings. They stretched their long neck and yawned, shaking their mop of hair. Ryuki's second Pokémon was a Garchomp who flexed his arms, swissed his tail, and roared. On his neck was a cord with a small purple stone attached to it.

A Garchompite. Grimsley swallowed hard upon that realization.

He ran through his options inside his head. Grimsley wasn't sure if the fluffy dragon had a secondary type, but that shouldn't be too much trouble. He was more worried about the Mega Garchomp. Dice should be able to handle him, especially with Garchomp's quadruple weakness to ice. Even though Queen would be good backup, she wouldn't fare well with Garchomp's ground moves. His best bet would be Roulette’s speed and power.

And her Mega form if it came to that.

Grimsley released them. As usual, Dice pulled his shedded skin up and lifted his chin. Roulette threw her head back and howled, the Absolite around her neck shaking. Ryuki beamed.

"So you're going with your Absol, after all." Ryuki lifted his guitar higher. "All right babies, it's showtime!"

Ryuki pulled his guitar up and played like a musician in a metal rock band. Both of his Pokémon and even Dice were bobbing to the music. Roulette and Grimsley raised their brows and stared at the distracted Scrafty.

“All right, Dice, that’s enough! Roulette, Shadow Claw at the white and green dragon on the left!”

Roulette howled and rushed towards her opponent. When she reached them, purple vapors covered her right paw and formed a large claw. She swiped at the dragon…

...only for Shadow Claw to have no effect on them. The fluffy dragon yawned and shook their head. Roulette growled in frustration while Grimsley gave an impressed smile.

“I must say, that’s the first time I’ve encountered a Dragon and Normal-type Pokemon.”

“Right-o, dude! You’ve never encountered a Drampa before, so it’s an easy mistake to make. But yeah, Ghost moves are useless on my baby boy here.”

The smile on Grimsley’s lips faded, and he narrowed his eyes. All right, he needed to be careful not to use Shadow Claw on the Drampa anymore.

“Dice, hit hard at the Garchomp with Ice Punch! Roulette, go at the Drampa once more, but this time Bite him!”

Grimsley’s Pokémon sprang into action. While running, Dice’s fist glowed blue and formed a cold mist. Roulette had her jaws wide open, ready to strike.

“Belt out everything you got, Gleam!” Ryuki said, still playing his guitar. “Dirk, sneak up on the little guy coming at you!”

Gleam inhaled and let out an ear-piercing scream. That made Dice and Roulette stop in their tracks, Roulette wincing and Dice covering his ears. Grimsley gritted his teeth and also covered his ears. He glanced to see half of the audience having the same reactions, the other half cheering on.

While Dice was distracted, Dirk went behind him and crunched his arm. Dice screamed and tried to wiggle out of the Garchomp’s grip, but with little success. Dirk tossed him aside and let go, Dice hitting the floor hard. Dice got up quickly, shook his fist, and glared at him.

“Nice work, babies! Follow that up with Poison Jab, Dirk! And you Gleam, let’s fire up the crowd even more!”

“Try punching him once more, Dice! Roulette, get at Drampa hard and fast!”

Both Dirk and Dice rushed at each other and their fists glowed, purple and light blue respectively. When they collided, their fists pushing against each other. Eventually Dice pushed through and punched the fin on Dirk’s arm, freezing part of it. Dirk screamed and shook his arm, trying to get rid of the ice shards forming there. Dice pulled his shredded skin, grinning.

While that was happening, Roulette howled and jolted forward like a beam of light. Gleam inhaled once more and flames started forming around his jaws, only for Roulette to ram onto him and cause him to tumble backwards. Roulette took several steps back, carefully watching him.

“Good work you, two,” Grimsley said in satisfaction. “Roulette, focus on the Garchomp! Dice, you go for the Drampa and use Zen Headbutt!”

Grimsley’s Pokémon did as they were told. The horn on Roulette’s forehead turned purple, and she bolted towards Dirk. As Dice rushed towards Gleam, his own forehead glowed a soft pink.

“All right Dirk, time to get your claws dirty! Gleam, let’s go for a different kind of firepower!”

Dirk crossed his arms together, and green flames formed on his two claws. As soon as Roulette reached him, he blocked her assault and pushed her some steps back. They exchanged several blows at one another, but eventually Dirk’s claw sliced at Roulette’s face and she fell down. Roulette picked herself up and glared at him, gritting her teeth.

Before Dice could reach Gleam, the dragon sucked in a deep breath and let out a dragon-shaped multicolored beam straight at him. Dice screamed, green and purple flames engulfing him for a few seconds. After the flames faded, burnt marks were shown on Dice’s wrists and knees. Still energized, Dice’s forehead shone once more and he headbutted below Gleam’s chin. Gleam stared at the ceiling for a moment, as if dazed, before shaking his head.

Ryuki pressed his lips and glared. His music went on a faster and aggressive pace.

“Spread your wings and fly, Gleam! And Dirk, let’s shake things up now, shall we?”

The audience cheered wildly upon him saying that. Grimsley had an idea what Ryuki wanted his Garchomp to do, so he yelled out his next command.

“Both of you jump and attack from the air!”

Ryuki’s Pokémon acted first, Gleam flapping his wings and taking to the air and Dirk slamming his fins on the floor. Grimsley stared up, dumbfounded; that Drampa could actually fly? He just learned another trivia of that Pokemon.

As the earth began to shake, both Dice and Roulette jumped in time while Grimsley wobbled and almost lost his footing. Dice stretched his right leg and dived down at Dirk, kicking his face and making his head moved sideways. Roulette reached Gleam and had her horn slash his neck, leaving a deep cut there.

Roulette’s Super Luck ability, Grimsley mused to himself with a small smile. Makes critical hits deadlier.

Grimsley’s Pokémon landed on the floor first, and then Gleam shortly after. Dice and Roulette stood by and watched while the Drampa grunted and thrashed his head around. Grimsley raised his brow, thinking he was just moving to Ryuki’s music.

That was, until he noticed Gleam’s eyes glowing red.

The Drampa threw his head back and roared, causing Dice and Roulette to cautiously step back. The air inside turned cold dramatically and a snowstorm blew over. Grimsley gritted his teeth and tugged at his scarf tighter while his Pokémon closed their eyes and braced themselves.

“Oh my, you just activated Gleam’s Berserk ability. You don’t want to see his bad side.” Ryuki then said, “I think that’s enough of a warm up there, Dirk. Time to really rock this joint!”

Ryuki pulled up his guitar, a small keystone attached to it that gleamed in the spotlight. He touched the keystone with his finger, and both the keystone and Dirk’s Mega Stone shined brightly with multi-colored sparks. Dirk roared and was engulfed in golden light. Everyone stopped cheering and watched with bated breath. Grimsley shield himself from the brightness, and when the light faded his throat turned dry.

Dirk’s shoulders grew bulkier and more spikes formed around his chest. His fins changed into large scythes, and his face had a more angular shape. Dirk stretched his new arms up and roared. The audience erupted into a joyous uproar. Roulette and Dice were taken aback by Dirk’s new appearance, and then they went back to their battle stances.

Ryuki lifted his chin, grinning. “Say hello to Dirk’s Mega form. Pretty metal, huh?”

Seeing the Mega Garchomp before him, Grimsley had vividly recalled the conversation he and Colress had over Mega Evolution. The secrets on using that power.

“The four secrets of Mega Evolution?”

“Yes! During my time in Kalos, I went to the Tower of Mastery in Shalour City and had a lovely discussion with the gym leader Korrina and her grandfather. They gave me some great insight on ways Mega Evolution brings out a Pokemon’s full potential!”

“Really? Well, I’m now intrigued.”

“I thought you would! Ahem, now the first secret of Mega Evolution. Both the trainer and Pokémon must have a bond. Having that bond ensures a stable mental connection between both parties.”


Back in the present, Grimsley grunted, his forehead knitting in a furrow. He had heard how awfully powerful Mega Garchomp could be. Not only that, Ryuki’s Drampa was still on the battlefield. He needed to take down Gleam first and perhaps get some physical damage on Dirk while he was at it.

“Roulette, Aerial Ace at Dirk!” Grimsley said, thrusting his arm out. He first pointed at Dirk and then Gleam. “Dice, throw a punch at Gleam!”

After giving an affirmed bark, Roulette howled and accelerated towards Dirk in lighting speed. She rammed onto him, which caused him to stumble halfway and shriek. Dirk recovered quickly though, and there was barely a scratch on him. Seeing how she didn’t succeed, Roulette glared and snarled.

Over the other half of the battle, Dice kept throwing punches at Gleam. The Drampa was able to dodge them easily due to his slender neck, but luckily Dice landed a blow below his chin. Gleam screamed and several ice shards were stuck on his beard, which he was then able to shake easily.

“Yo Gleam! Looks like the crowd wants an encore!”

Liked before, Gleam inhaled and let out an ear-piercing scream that made Grimsley and his Pokémon winced. This time, the Drampa kept thrashing his head and his eyes glowed red, which Grimsley assumed was the Berserk ability being activated again. Roulette barked continuously and shook her head while Dice dropped on the floor and rolled around; they seemed to be in much more pain than last time. That Pokémon definitely needed to go.

“You two, we need to take down Gleam now!”

Despite the various noises in the room, Roulette and Dice were able to snap out of Gleam’s Hyper Voice and rushed towards him. Once Roulette’s scythe glowed, she sliced Gleam’s side and left an even deeper cut than before. While Gleam roared in pain and bobbed his head wildly, Dice pulled up his shredded skin and leapt up. As he was diving down, Dice kicked the Drampa hard on the face and had him fall backwards. When Gleam didn’t get up, Roulette and Dice exchanged each other grins, the Scrafty giving a thumbs up.

The audience went silent for several seconds, and then gave out genuine, excited cheers. Ryuki stopped playing the guitar and stared, but then he smirked.

Grimsley sighed in relief, but then he frowned when he realized his Pokémon still needed to deal with Dirk.

“Not surprising that you’re this good, pal.” Ryuki chuckled through the microphone and returned his Pokémon. “However, Dirk and I will keep on rocking!” He resumed playing his guitar again and screamed, “Get your claws out once more, ooooh!”

“You guys do the same!” Grimsley said.

Dirk stretched his head upwards and green flames formed on his scythes. Roulette and Dice let out their claws too, dark purple and green flames respectively. They collided with Dirk, who was able to block off their attacks but still needed to divide his attention between the two. Each time Roulette and Dice’s claws met with Dirk’s, sparks flew like when Grimsley and Molayne’s Bisharp had battled.

After a while, Dice tried to aim for Dirk’s face and missed, giving the opportunity for the Garchomp to slice his back. Dice screamed in pain and crashed onto the floor. While Dice moaned and struggled to get up, Dirk approached him and lifted his scythe above him.

When Roulette saw that, she howled and had her jaws open. She attempted to bite Dirk, but he slammed her with his arm and pushed her aside. Dice barely got up, but he winced and dropped on one knee. A grin pulled on Dirk’s face, his teeth showing, and he swiped Dice across the face. A deep claw mark was shown on his face, and Dice collapsed and didn’t get up.

Both Grimsley and Roulette’s face fell. Everyone in the stands cheered, and half the audience jumped up and applauded.

“You did wonderful Dice, you deserved a rest,” he said with a sad smile, returning him back inside his pokéball.

He turned his attention to Ryuki and Dirk, the two having their chests rising and taking deep breaths. The musician flashed him a grin and pointed a finger at him.

“And now we’re down to one Pokémon each,” Ryuki said, still panting and his voice raspy. “Can you and your Absol hold on a while longer?”

To the audience, it looked like he was running out of energy after playing hard on his guitar. Grimsley knew though that wasn’t the case. Colress’s voice echoed inside his head once more.

“The second secret of Mega Evolution! Both the trainer and Pokemon's hearts and souls must be in sync. You give half of yourself and your Pokémon the other half.”

Rykui and Dirk had shared each other’s hearts and souls when they did their Mega Evolution. They would be exhausted after this battle was over, but Grimsley was still at a disadvantage. Unless...

Grimsley flinched when Roulette barked several times. She shook her fur, the Absolite on her neck dangling. Their gazes met, and Grimsley’s heart jumped in his throat.

“Are you sure?” he asked in a low voice. Roulette lifted her head and barked. Grimsley regarded her a moment, and then he grinned. “All right, let’s do this!”

Grimsley touched the keystone, which was attached to his scarf, and both it and the Absolite sparkled. Roulette was bathed in golden light, and her appearance changed.

The back of her fur stood out on end, as if she had wings. More fur bristled on her legs, and the spikes on her heels and elbows also grew. Her horn thickened and widened, and another smaller horn popped out as well. Roulette tossed her head and let out her loudest howl since this battle.

The audience stopped in stunned silence upon Roulette's Mega form being shown, and then they erupted into wild cheers, like they did with Dirk's Mega form. A wide grin pulled on Ryuki's face, and he gave out a throaty laugh.

“Having a change of heart, huh?”

“Roulette wants to make this bet even,” Grimsley said, and Roulette barked in agreement.

"Your Absol is quite the rocker, then!" Rykui resumed playing his guitar. "Dirk, Earthquake once more!

"Jump, and then bite him!"

Dirk threw his head, roared, and slammed on the floor. The earth shook once more, Grimsley slightly losing his balance. Roulette jumped up, giving the illusion of flying, and then she dived down with her jaws open. Roulette sunk her teeth onto Dirk's arm, which he used to block her from his face. He shook her off, and Roulette landed on all fours and glared.

As Grimsley contemplated Roulette's next move, he found himself hearing Colress's voice in his head again.

“The third secret of Mega Evolution! Both the trainer and Pokémon must use it only temporarily. Using it more than necessary could cause great harm to both trainer and Pokemon.”

Mega Evolution was a power used for a short period of time. If you overstayed your welcome, then there would be consequences. Both his and Ryuki's Pokémon were at risk. He needed to get this battle wrapped up soon.

"Aerial Ace, but from above!" Grimsley said, pointing to the ceiling.

Roulette jumped, or "flew" rather, once more, and in a blink of an eye crashed down on Dirk. The bulkier Garchomp screamed and fell on the ground. Several seconds passed, and Dirk rose up with a snarl.

Grimsley bit his lips and clenched his fist. That Aerial Ace hit much harder than last time, but it was still not enough.

"Don't think you'll crack Dirk's shell that easily!" Ryuki said. "Give that Absol a taste of your poison!"

"Shadow Claw, go!"

Dirk's scythe lit up purple, and dark vapors formed around Roulette's leg. They collided and exchanged rapid blows at each other. The crowd became immersed with the fierce dance between the two Mega Pokemon. Even Ryuki couldn’t tear his gaze off of that spectacle.

While their battle continued, Colress's voice echoed through Grimsley's head one last time.

“Now the final secret of Mega Evolution! Most importantly, the trainer and Pokémon must put their trust in one another. If one has doubts on the other, then their bond and souls aren't strong enough yet for Mega Evolution.”

Grimsley knew he and Roulette had a strong bond and he trusted her in handling herself like when she went against the Totem Pokemon, Mimikins. They still had a long way to go in dealing with Dirk, though.

After several more blows between the two, Roulette managed to scratch Dirk's chest and left three deep claw marks there. Dirk retaliated by jabbing her throat, which caused her to whine and fall down. She rose back up, but she panted hard and her legs shook.

Grimsley took deep breaths, sweat drenching on his forehead. He grew tired himself from having shared his energy with Roulette, and he wasn't sure how much longer they would last.

Ryuki grinned, showing off his teeth. "Looks like the Absol here is burned out. Time to close the show!"

"Don't let him get away with that!"

Despite being exhausted, Roulette's horn shined and she swiped Dirk's chest, leaving another scar there. Dirk screeched and crunched her wing-like fur. Roulette howled in pain, struggling to let go of Dirk's grip, and she was tossed up in the air. After she smashed into the ceiling, Roulette crashed down hard and collapsed. She changed back to her normal self.

Dirk raised his arms and roared, celebrating his victory. The crowd rose from their seats, cheering.

Grimsley dropped on his knees and tried to regain his breath. He was drained from not doing Mega Evolution in a long while. When he noticed Roulette still lying on the ground, he rushed to her side and pulled her head to his lap. He pushed a strain of fur away from her eyes.

“Roulette, are you all right?” he asked, gazing down at her worryingly. A few seconds passed until she opened her eyes and made a sound. Grimsley gave a soft chuckle and stroked her forehead. “You did splendidly out there. Take a nice long rest.”

After Grimsley returned Roulette and got up, Ryuki jumped off from the stage and approached him. His Garchomp was behind him, not in his Mega form anymore.

“That is some blazing performance you put out there. Everyone, give it up for Grimsley!”

Everyone on the stands rose up once more and did a standing ovation. Grimsley couldn’t help but feel a mixture of sadness and pride.

Another loss here. This was more disappointing than his loss with Kahili, but that was fine. Every battle had a winner and a loser, and right now this was Ryuki’s time to shine. Grimsley would have his chance again soon.

“Thank you. You know how to work the crowd yourself.” He and Ryuki shook hands.

“If you’ll be in Alola a while longer, I don’t mind doing another gig with you!” Ryuki turned to the crowd and clapped his hands. “That’s it for today’s show, but I’ll come back tomorrow as always!”

As Ryuki and his Garchomp made their leave, the audience cheered one last time before getting up themselves. Ronald got down to the battlefield and reached Grimsley, grinning at him.

“The way you handled Mega Evolution was amazing!” Ronald gave him a worried look. “Are you okay? You look pretty tired.”

“I’m fine, no need to worry,” Grimsley said, making a dismissive hand wave.

“All right, if you say so. Will you use it when you battle Nanu, also?”

Grimsley flinched, and he stared down at the keystone on his scarf. While he did say to Roulette that was a possibility, he wasn’t comfortable having her do Mega Evolution again for some time. He didn’t need to decide now.

“I’ll worry about that once I get him to battle me.”

“Fair enough.” Ronald gave him a wide grin. “I need to head back home, but it’s great seeing you again! And good luck getting a battle with Nanu!” Ronald said, and that made Grimsley give out an amused grunt.

“I’ll need more than luck for that, but your well wishes are appreciated. It’s a pleasure talking with you also.”

He and Ronald shook hands, and then the older man waved to him goodbye and left the gym.

Grimsley still stayed where he was, rubbing his chin. Roulette needed to be taken to the Pokémon Center, and he needed some rest himself. After that--

“Think it’s finally time for me to see Nanu again,” he muttered to himself. He had been putting off visiting Nanu too long. The kahuna wouldn’t be happy to see him, and Grimsley wasn’t sure if he was ready to battle him yet, but there were still some questions he wanted to ask him.

Author's Note:

Hi there! So a quick announcement, I FINALLY fixed grammar edits on Chapter 7 and 8! Also for Ch 8 I went and extended Grimsley and Kukui's beginning scenes where I have the two discuss why they couldn't just fly over to the mountains. I'll get to Chapter 9 and 10's edits soon.

Originally this chapter I was going to have Grimsley meet with Ronald and another Nanu scene. Plans sorta changed though when my beta pointed out the "Grimsley wants to do some training" line at the end of Chapter 10. Andddd this is the end result!

So what you guys think of the battle and the twists? The idea of Ryuki training in Unova I kinda got the idea from the anime where his team were Unova dragons. I wasn't able to add this in the narrative, but Ryuki came from a group of Sinnoh Dragon Tamers and how he got his Garchompite.

Next chapter will be Nanu centric. It's quite short, so I should have it posted before the end of this month! Chapter 13 is then we'll get Nanu and Grimsley meet again, woo! Thanks to bobandbill for betaing as always!

Foul Play
[Chapter Nine up!]

Bay

Darkinium Z

Female
Dani California
Seen 6 Hours Ago
Posted 6 Hours Ago
5,740 posts
13.4 Years
Chapter Twelve
Feint Attack


Ula’ula Meadows was one of the few areas on this island that Nanu thought was beautiful. The red flowers that bloomed all year round swayed with the breeze. A cool mist rolled in, thin enough for him to see clearly. The Baile-style Oricorio danced and sang in the mornings, attracting the attention of anyone passing by. There were two paths ahead: one towards Po Town and Route 17; the other towards Lake of the Moone, where the mist came from.

He and Persian were patrolling the area, using the wooden boardwalk that had been built above the grass. A few Oricorio drank the nectar from the flowers. Two Team Skull kids were having a conversation. They noticed him for a second, only to then ignore him. One woman was near the pond with her Floette, the two of them practicing a dance. Persian approached one of the flowers and sniffed it.

“You like the flowers, don’t you girl?” he asked, and Persian responded with a cheerful meow.

Nanu grunted and looked back at his surroundings. His stomach dropped when he saw someone else here. A purple-haired woman with glasses stood in front of several Pokémon: two Oricorio, a Petilil, and a Ribombee. She wore a pink and white dress that showed off her curves well and high heeled boots that made him wonder how she got used to walking in them.

"Oh my, are all of you looking good today! Especially you, little one!" She picked up the Petili, who giggled and waved her arms.

To the public, she was known as Aether’s Assistant Chief Wicke Santana. To him, she was--

"Charlotte?"

"Triples!" Charlotte put the Petili down and gave him a tight hug. Nanu was taken aback by it, but nonetheless, he returned the embrace back. After they separated, Persian approached Charlotte and rubbed against her hip. She grinned and hugged around her neck. “And you, Persian! You’ve grown so big!” she cooed, nuzzling on Persian’s cheek.

"I take it Professor Burnet had given you my message?" he asked.

Charlotte let go of Persian and nodded. "I did! I'm already aware that Anabel and Looker are on Poni Island. I came here as there are a few things I want to talk to you about."

Nanu glanced around to see the Team Skull kids and the woman with her Pokémon still here. This wasn't the perfect place to talk about important manners with her.

"We can do that while going to the police station."

They began walking to the police station, with Persian following them. The Pokémon that Charlotte checked up on earlier went their separate ways.

"So, how's becoming Kahuna going for you?"

"Tiring. I only make myself go through the desert a few times a year. Trying to avoid big crowds as much as possible."

Charlotte gave him a concerned look. "Sounds like you're not happy with your job. Couldn't you just retire?"

"I can't. I'm at the mercy of Tapu Bulu until either I die or do something horrendous. I'm still working on the latter."

"You're one of the better Interpol agents. I doubt you're capable of doing that."

Nanu snorted and threw his head back. "Maybe I'll surprise you. How about you? Aether still have you dress like you're going for Wild Lopunny Magazine: Secretary Edition?"

Charlotte jabbed her elbow onto his stomach and he winced.

"I'm still undercover, Triples. Besides that, I'm not doing great at the moment."

"Because of that Aether press conference, right?"

"Yes. When Madame Lusamine told me and Chief Faba that she was going to broadcast it, I asked if that was a good idea. She said this is for the public's safety, and I went along with it."

"Interpol must be outraged that the Ultra Beasts have been mentioned out in the open. Are they planning to do anything about them?"

"Probably what they've been doing for the last several years. Kill or have them used as experiments. I'm sure they'll have Anabel come closer to them."

They stopped, and Nanu ran a finger through his hair.

"Muk. If I hadn’t retired, I probably could've prevented all of that."

"I don't blame you for leaving. Unfortunately, there's not much we can do at this time."

Nanu regarded her for a moment. With narrowed eyes, he stared down on the ground. "I hated Director Clarkson and the higher ups’ guts ever since that incident."

"As do I. They can be ungrateful devils at times." She and Nanu resumed walking. "Did Anabel and Looker mention anything else when they visited you?"

"They told me about the Ultra Recon Squad and the scientist working with them. Interpol's also keeping an eye on Gladion and his Pokémon."

Charlotte nodded and hummed. "The scientist, Dr. Colress Antimony, is with them under Interpol's suggestion. As for Master Gladion, that's indeed what is going on." She shifted her gaze away for a second. "How is he doing by the way?"

Nanu raised a brow. "Hm? Why do you ask?"

"I get along well with the president’s children, so I’m worried about the family overall."

After a beat, he said, “Not so good, I think. He’s worried about the president going down the same path as his father."

Charlotte gasped, and she frowned. "I know what you're talking about. That caused a great deal of grief for Madame Lusamine.”

"Do you plan to tell the president and her kids about your true purpose with Aether?"

With narrowed eyes, Charlotte lowered her head and clasped her hands together.

"I don’t know yet. I would be breaking my cover, and they might take things the wrong way. However, I feel bad for lying to them and they deserve the truth.”

“I don’t blame you for being unsure yet.” He stared up at the sky, hands on the pocket. “I trust that you’ll make the right call.”

The two remained silent until they reached the police station and stepped inside. As expected, half of the Meowth rushed over to him and Charlotte, asking for food.

"Just give me a minute, all right?" he told them. One of the Meowth gripped his leg with his claws, but he endured the pain. Persian grabbed that Meowth’s neck with her mouth and took him away.

"Oh my! I know you're a fan of these dark-type felines, but not this much!" Charlotte picked up one of them up. The Meowth rubbed his cheek against hers, and she giggled.

"You wanna adopt one of them?" he asked while pouring food into their bowls. "You'll be doing me a huge favor."

"I appreciate the offer, but I already have my hands full in Aether Paradise. Also, you’re still as disorganized as ever."

Charlotte sat down on the couch, the Meowth still inside her arms. After Nanu finished filling the Meowth's bowls, he went to his desk. The little felines and Persian rushed to their bowls and munched on their food.

"Hey, cut me some slack. I got kahuna duties as well as being an officer here." He pulled out his kendama from the drawer and started playing with it. "Anything else you want to tell me?"

"Well, it's more of a request," Charlotte said while scratching the Meowth's chin.

"Request?"

"Aether's been keeping an eye on Team Skull due to them stealing Pokémon on occasion. However, recently their leader came to headquarters as a guest, and I pretended to be a good host."

That caused Nanu to stop playing his kendama and sit up straight. "Leader? You don't mean Guzma, do you?"

"After they were alone, I eavesdropped on their conversation through a tiny microphone I had left in the room." Charlotte had put the Meowth down and got up. She approached and stood in front of Nanu's desk. "She apparently has been giving him money to find a Pokémon for her."

"Wait, Anabel and Looker asked me about Team Skull the night they gave me your postcard. Why they didn't tell me any of this?"

"That didn't happen until a couple of days after the wormhole incident." She had her elbow on the desk, her palm covering her chin. "On my next scheduled visit to Ula'ula Island, I knew I have to inform you about this."

Already Nanu knew what she was asking him for. "You want me to track down any paper trails to double confirm that all of this is true."

"Right. I could do it myself, but this type of investigation isn't my specialty. That, and you're closest to Team Skull."

As they stared into each other's eyes, Nanu pondered over Charlotte's request. For a while he had his suspicions on Aether, but couldn't pinpoint exactly why. This could be an opportunity for him.

"All right, I'll see what I can do. If I find anything, I'll let Anabel and Looker know."

"Thank you so much, Triples!" She grinned and wrapped her arms around him, a little too tight for his liking.

"Hey, you're squeezing me there!" Nanu said, and that made Charlotte let go.

“Sorry, got too excited there!” Charlotte giggled, and then her gaze fell on the photo Nanu had left on the desk. “Oh! Isn’t that the picture I took of you, Sana, and Looker?”

Nanu lifted a brow, and then his face softened. “Yeah, it is. Surprised that I’ve still kept it all this time?”

“You mentioned you didn’t like to take pictures, so maybe a little!” Charlotte picked up the photo and her cheerful expression disappeared. “I still miss her very deeply.”

Nanu swallowed hard. He remembered her mourning over Sana's death for a while, not speaking with anyone and staying inside her lab for days. After some convincing from him and Looker, she resolved to preserve the data Sana had kept and continue where she had left off.

"I should've stopped her. Told her that Interpol was using her as bait, and have her run away."

"What happened to her was neither your or Looker's fault." She gave him a forced but reassuring smile, and her hand squeezed Nanu’s. "She would've done it anyway, with or without Interpol asking her."

Nanu gazed down with a frown. "Of course."

Throughout Sana's time in Interpol, the higher-ups had worked her up to the bone but she still persisted. Her ultimate goal was to better understand the UBs, and he had admired her for that. That made her death even more heartbreaking.

“I need to head back to the Aether Facility near here,” Charlotte said as she let go of his hand. “Before I do though, I have something to show you.”

She put the picture down and pulled out a journal from her bag, handing it to him. Nanu blinked, the hardcover cold in his hands.

“Sana’s journal? How come?”

“I think you’ll benefit from reading it.” Charlotte winked and gave him a playful smile. “I’m only letting you borrow it for a bit, so I’ll need it back the next time we meet!”

“Yeah, I’ll make sure to do that.”

Nanu put the journal aside and got up from his seat. He and Charlotte did a quick embrace.

“I’ll be in touch!” Charlotte scratched Persian’s chin one last time, waved to Nanu goodbye, and left the police station.

As Nanu stood and stared at the door, Persian gave a sad growl and rubbed against his leg. He gazed down and patted her forehead.

“Don’t worry, I think we’ll see her again very soon.” Looking back at his desk, Nanu pressed his lips. “Let’s see what Sana had been up to.”

He sat back down on his desk and opened the first page. Sana’s handwriting was a little sloppier than Charlotte’s but was still more legible than any of his former superiors. She wrote how she couldn’t remember much after being taken in by Interpol, so she started this journal to keep track of her memories. Nanu turned the page to another entry.

June 11th

The chief wanted to do practice drills with Jackie and me again. As usual, his Persian kicked our butts and he lectured me on taking battles more seriously. I am! It’s just that I’m more of a scientist than a Pokémon trainer. I asked if those drills are necessary, and 000 said that soon I’ll be dealing with more dangerous cases than the ones we had done.

After those practice drills, Charlotte and I went out for drinks. I told her how much of a hardass 000 was, and she said that I would get used to that. She then told me about her time in Kanto and how much it helped her towards her path in becoming a Pokémon biologist.

I’ve only known her for about a month, but I’m already madly crushing on her. Like, big time. I don’t know if she has the same feelings or is just being very nice. I would be upset if it’s the latter.


An amused smile pulled on Nanu’s lips. He could tell that Sana and Charlotte fell for each other, and when the two ended up together they teamed up to annoy and tease him. Two peas in a pod.

He turned to another page and continued reading the journal throughout the afternoon. After going over several entries, his eyes grew heavy and he fell asleep on his desk.

Xxx

Nanu wasn't sure where he was. A thick fog rolled in like black clouds before a rainstorm. The saltwater breeze mixed with smoke filled his lungs. He almost couldn't see anything, but there were people screaming and crying in the distance.

He raced forward, following those voices. The farther he went, the more his chest burned and legs ached. The fog partially cleared, and he was at a beach. The sight before him made his stomach sink.

A large crowd was running away from the jellyfish-like creatures, Symbiont. The small Ultra Beasts kept chasing them, some grabbing and sucking on the people's heads. Sana and Jackie, her Mightyena, fought off several of them, her Pokémon firing beams of dark energy straight at them.

"Sana! Sana!" Nanu kept calling her, but she and Jackie didn't turn around. The people's screams grew louder, and the Symbiont got more restless.

Nanu hurried to her, but then was blocked by four Symbiont. He grunted and yelled, "Move it, or else!" That led the Ultra Beasts to screech and grab his arms with their wet and slimy tentacles. Nanu grimaced and struggled to get out, their grip getting tighter by the second.

"Man oh man, what is going on here?" A man in a kimono walked passed the screaming crowd, grinning at him.

"Grimsley? What are you doing here?" Nanu asked, eyes growing wide.

"I've been told Alola is a great holiday destination. However, everything's been deary so far."

"Everything's deary because we're being attacked by these things! Now, you're gonna help me or what?"

Grimsley's expression changed from bored to a smirk. "I'll let my coin decide. Heads or tails?"

Nanu furrowed his brow. He glanced to see Sana and Jackie still fighting off the Symbiont, but both were shaking and breathing hard.

"We got no time for that! These people need my help!"

"Too late, I call heads!" Grimsley pulled out his coin and tossed it in the air. After catching it, he opened his palm and his grin widened. "Oh tough luck, heads. You're on your own!"

Grimsley waved goodbye to him and turned to leave. Nanu screamed for him to come back, but that was no use. When the Symbiont lifted him to the sky, he threw curses at them and his legs dangled.

The Symbiont stopped in the middle of the ocean. Nanu looked down with wide eyes and demanded them to take him back to shore. Instead, they giggled and dropped him. He screamed as he was falling, falling...

And landed hard on a chair.

Nanu whipped around his head and his eyes fluttered. He was now inside an office with dimmed lighting. Someone in a red suit was in front of the desk, their back facing him.

"Excellent work as always, Agent 000. I knew that your task force could handle Glutton."

Director Eleanor Clarkson turned around, grinning at him. She had put on bright red lipstick and always wore her blue pearl necklace. She held onto a file that Nanu assumed to be one of the Ultra Beasts ones. The scent of Poni Meadows’ purple flowers lingered in the room.

"It was at the cost of Sana's life, though. You have to accept that, at least."

Clarkson blinked and lifted the cress of her forehead, as if she was confused. She sneered.

"Oh, you mean our Faller. Yes, it's tragic that she had been taken away, but that was the plan all along."

Nanu gave an intense, fevered stare. "You're saying that Sana was meant to be bait?"

"That was the only way we can pull in the Ultra Beasts to us. Without her, who knows how many more lives we would've lost."

"That's bull!" Nanu slammed his fist on the table. "She gave her everything to you guys, and you treated her like garbage. Charlotte and KR are devastated, the latter thinking it was his fault."

"I've been aware of Agent 100KR's behavior in the past several months. He's been checking in with our therapist."

Nanu lowered his head, his stare fixing on his lap. He had gone through Interpol's therapy sessions several times also. The therapist seemed genuine and was only doing his job, but he didn't experience what it was like on the field like Nanu did.

"How about Anabel? Is she going towards the same fate as Sana?"

"Yes, she is," Clarkson said with no remorse in her voice.

"So you aren't doing anything to prevent that." That wasn't a question.

Clarkson chuckled, shaking her head. "The UB Task Force and Fallers have been working for us well so far, and there are no plans to change that anytime soon."

Nanu's nostrils flared, and he curled his hand into a fist. Ungrateful devils indeed.

"Now I know what you're thinking, and no I won't let you tell this to her. If she gets one word from you, there could be collateral damage. Understood?"

A knot formed inside his throat. This was the exact same scenario before he had retired. He went inside Clarkson's office, found out about Sana and Anabel being Fallers, and was threatened to keep him quiet. Feeling helpless.

"Yes, ma'am," Nanu said through gritted teeth.

Clarkson beamed. "Good. That is all, Agent 000. You're dismissed."

Nanu rose out of his seat and hung his head in defeat. He walked at a slow pace, his surroundings now nothing more than dark endless space.

Months after having that conversation with the Director, he would leave Interpol. He didn't regret that choice one bit. He only wished none of this had gone down.


Author's Note
Quicker update than usual since it's a very short chapter! I admit Nanu and Wicke's interaction and the dream sequence are heavily inspired from Man In Twilight. I drew several cues from that story, but I try to have the dialog and dream sequence be their own thing and fit within Foul Play's context.

With this chapter posted, I got a surprise! I recently asked CiCi Sama to do an art request of Sana and her partner, Jackie! Oh my gosh it's so good! I also recommend checking her gallery and deviantart (warning for blood and other dark themes)!

Okay, so I'm hoping to have Chapter 13 sometime in July, and Chapter 14 August 8th, which is Foul Play's 2nd anniversary! I have drafts for them done, it's only a matter of polishing and sending to my beta. Hope you guys look forward to them! As always, thanks to bobandbill for looking these chapters over! Comments are appreciated!

Foul Play
[Chapter Nine up!]

Bay

Darkinium Z

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Dani California
Seen 6 Hours Ago
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13.4 Years
Chapter Thirteen
Payback


The next day, Grimsley used his Page Rider to have a Pokémon be dropped for him. He rode on a Flygon, who took him from Malie City to Route 16. As they soared through the skies, he gazed down to see them passing through the grasses and palm trees of Route 11, the rocky and desert terrains of Routes 12 and 13, the ruins of Tapu Village and Route 14’s abandoned supermarket, and the waters of Route 15. Grimsley’s hair whipped through the rushing air, and the beat of Flygon's wings vibrated against his ears.

He gazed down to see some land, a Pokémon Center, and another building with the Aether Foundation’s star symbol. There were some people and children outside. He let Flygon know this was his stop, and she swooped down.

When they finally reached Route 16, she landed close to Ula’ula Meadows and he jumped off from her back. He thanked her for dropping him here, then Grimsley watched her take off for a moment before he set foot inside Ula’ula Meadows.

Wild red flowers bloomed throughout the meadow. Grimsley's shoes creaked against the wooden bridge as he inhaled the sweet nectar that hung in the air. Red birds reminiscent of tango dancers popped out and flew frantically, which Grimsley assumed to be the Oricorio Iokua had warned him about. They looked similar to Ricky's Oricorio that Queen had battled against some days ago. He continued to move further until he saw a sign that indicated Po Town was to the left, Lake of the Moone to the right.

While pondering where he should go first, Grimsley stroked his chin. After a moment, he pulled his coin out and gazed at it on his palm.

"Heads, Po Town. Tails, Lake of the Moone."

Grimsley tossed the coin up in the air, and then caught it with one hand. He opened his palm to see it landed on tails. He grunted and headed towards Lake of the Moone.

The bell-like curved trail towards there was several minutes long. He stopped when he reached a massive shrine that looked to be generations old. It was surrounded by a lake that sparkled like the moon. In front of the bridge to the shrine was a decorative tower with compass roses in the middle. There seemed to be another tower that had fallen and broken in half. Grimsley crossed the bridge and stepped inside.

Grimsley's footsteps echoed through the ruins' empty and hollow chamber. There were cracks on the walls and floor, and some rubble was left behind. The temperature inside was colder than the Ruins of Abundance. His nose wrinkled at the dust and spiderwebs that had formed. He wondered if this was a temple or sanctuary where people would worship Lunala.

He took the steps down, continuing forward. It was a long hall with many wooden doors. Grimsley tried to open a few of them, but they were either jammed or blocked by more rubble. Water leaked through the walls like a small cut on the skin. Grimsley could make out light from a short distance, and so he followed that path.

When Grimsley made it outside, he thought he was in a garden. There were several tall trees and bushes with white flowers. A dirt path was formed that then branched into three paths. The left path was blocked by a small cliff while the right was blocked by large boulders. Grimsley took the straight path that led him to a stone wall and some stairs. In front were two compass rose towers, like the ones just outside the ruins. Grimsley touched one of the towers, cold and rough against his palm.

Grimsley took the stairway up, but then stopped where two pedestals with the moon symbol stood. It was exactly like the flute drawing from Alola's Light. He shifted his gaze, and his eyes grew wide when a flash of white light appeared up ahead.

Right now, Colress, Dawson his Beheeyem, and the Ultra Recon Squad stood on top of the platform.

Grimsley's throat was tied in a knot. He hid behind the pedestal and eavesdropped on their conversation.

"This is where we'll meet with one of your other members?" Colress asked.

"I'm positive," Dulse said. "I already send Soliera the coordinates. She should be here any moment."

"Oh, I wonder if she's gonna ride Lunala or Solgaleo here!" Zossie said, her feet bouncing.

Grimsley quirked a curious brow. Did she mean Lunala and Solgaleo from the Alolan folklore? Dulse cleared his throat and faced Colress.

"According to our research, the Lake of the Moone brushes up against another world like Alola. A parallel universe, if you will."

Colress grinned. "I've read about those from various scientific journals. Both here and the Altar of the Sunne are fascinating places."

Grimsley pressed his lips, his forehead knitting a furrowed brow. He still wasn't sure what to feel about alternate dimensions days after he had talked to Burnet about those.

"She's coming, she's coming!" Zossie jumped up and down, pointing to the sky.

A thunder-like clap exploded in the air. Gazing up, Grimsley spotted a small wormhole opening up. A majestic bat-like creature that resembled Lunala popped out, letting out a shrill cry. Their wings sparkled like stars with each loud beat. A woman that wore the same spacesuit as Dulse and Zossie rode on their back. They eventually landed on the platform, and the woman hopped off.

"Soliera!" Zossie rushed and hugged her on the waist.

“It's great to see you too, dear," Soliera said with a warm smile, returning the embrace. After they let go, she approached Colress. "I'm Soliera, another member of the Ultra Recon Squad."

"Colress, at your service." He and Soliera shook hands.

"Dulse and Zossie told me that you'll be helping us restraining Necrozma."

"Indeed, I am. I'm almost done with the machine. I just need as much information on Necrozma as possible to fill in some data!"

"I have it all right here." Soliera pulled out what looked to be a flashdrive and handed it to Colress. He nodded.

"Thank you. This should be very useful!"

Soliera frowned and faced Dulse. She folded her arms against her chest.

"Captain Phyco wasn't happy when you made that request. Necrozma is getting more unstable by the minute. He’s also weary that the International Police are watching over us."

“The International Police are indeed keeping tabs on you,” Colress said. “As long as you help with my and Aether’s research, there’s nothing to worry about.”

"Colress has proven to be experienced with the ways of Pokémon," Dulse said. “This shouldn't be a problem."

"Yeah, Mr. Scientist Man here is really smart!" Zossie said, grinning. Dawson approached her, the gems on his fingers flashing. She giggled and patted him. "His Pokémon are also very friendly!"

Soliera seemed to regard them for a moment. "All right, I trust you two's judgment."

Lunala cried and flapped their wings. Their body lit up in white light, brighter than the sun. Dawson squeaked and hid behind his trainer. Looking up at the legendary Pokémon, Colress grinned.

"I must say, your Lunala radiates so much light. It's astounding!"

Grimsley couldn't tear his gaze off of Lunala. He was reminded of the Alolan folklore when Lunala and Solgaleo would give their light to reawaken the Blinding One from their long sleep. Another few seconds passed until Lunala's light faded.

"Lunala had passed down some of its light to Necrozma, but it wasn't enough," Dulse said. "We were afraid it would get too greedy, so we kept Lunala far away from Necrozma as much as possible."

"Necrozma sounded so sad," Zossie said, sounding more upset than her usual joyful self. She hung her head down. "That's why Dulse and I volunteered to go to Alola and find a way to help it."

"Once I have the machine ready, Necrozma won't have to suffer anymore," Colress said.

Grimsley shifted his gaze away from the group and grimaced. An uneasy feeling settled in the pit of his stomach. He could tell the moment Colress had laid his eyes on Lunala that he wanted to use them for his own means. The same could be applied to Necrozma. The Ultra Recon Squad were foolish to have him help them.

"I should head back to Ultra Megalopolis," Soliera said. "Captain Phyco won't be able to handle things alone."

"Aw, you can't stay here longer?" Zossie pouted. "I think you'll love Alola!"

"I'm sure Alola is lovely, but I'm needed back there." Soliera dropped to one knee and touched her shoulder. "If there's anything else you three need, let me know."

"We will!" Zossie said, her face lit up. She and Soliera embraced.

"You and Lunala have a safe trip back home," Dulse said.

Soliera nodded and did the Ultra Recon Squad's version of the Alola rainbow sign. When she approached Lunala, they lowered themselves so that she could hop on their back.

"Lunala, to Ultra Megalopolis!"

Lunala bellowed with enthusiasm and the wormhole popped up. They and Soliera took off, going through that wormhole before it closed up and disappeared.

"Now that I have what I needed, shall we head back to Aether Paradise?"

"Yes, that is fine," Dulse said.

"Wonderful!" Colress said, looking at his Pokémon. Dawson nodded and his eyes glowed green. White light surrounded everyone, and they vanished.

Grimsley stared at the empty platform in stunned silence. He put his back on the pedestal, and released a deep breath. He and Colress definitely needed that talk.

xxx

After Grimsley had left Lake of the Moone, he was still digesting everything he had seen there. He reminded himself that he was initially here to talk with Nanu, so he brushed off his thoughts on Colress and the Ultra Recon Squad for now.

The red Oricorio were still dancing wildly and the nectar’s scent grew stronger. He moved further until he saw Nanu in the middle of a field of those red flowers. Smirking, Grimsley jumped off the bridge.

“I didn’t think you would be the type to admire this kind of beauty,” he said while approaching Nanu, who glared at him.

“You already want a battle against me? The answer’s no if you’re wondering.”

Grimsley frowned. “While I still wish for that to happen, that’s not why I’m here. I talked to Iokua recently about a certain past of yours.”

“You mean during my time as an Interpol officer?” Nanu asked, and Grimsley nodded. He sighed. “What did he tell you?”

“That you were pretty down after that incident. Also, that your mission might’ve been involved with a certain type of powerful Pokémon.”

That last statement made Nanu freeze, and his face tensed. Their eyes locked, and Nanu gave him a hard stare. Red petals floated in the air, swirling around them.

“Let’s go to the police station.” He dusted off some of the petals that landed on his hair and clothes and started walking. Grimsley followed behind.

As they exited Ula’ula Meadows and slipped into Route 17, Grimsley glimpsed around the several grass fields and rolling hills. Gray skies hung over them and a cold breeze caressed his skin. He lifted his gaze at the large wall that stood as tall as towers; Grimsley assumed that must be Po Town.

It wasn’t long until they made it to the police station and stepped inside. Grimsley cringed upon seeing the many clothes and piles of papers left alone, and he was astonished over the several dark-furred Meowth that took over inside. Grimsley sat on a couch while Nanu sat next to his desk.

“Oh my, you have a horde of Meowth here.”

“Meowth are all right. They don’t care about you or anything.” Nanu leaned against his chair, stretching his arms behind his head. “You were talking about the Ultra Beasts, huh?”

“Yes,” Grimsley said after he swallowed. “Iokua and I talked for a bit, and he thinks you know something about them.”

Nanu nodded. “When the Ultra Recon Squad showed us Adhesive a while back, I got upset. Aether’s president then announced another one of those things appeared in her little Pokémon utopia. From experience, I know the Ultra Beasts aren’t beings to be taken lightly.”

As Grimsley listened to Nanu’s explanation, a Meowth rubbed against his leg. His gaze fell on the little feline, and when he scratched his chin the Meowth purred in delight.

“I recall you scoffing at Becky’s suggestion in letting the Aether Foundation help you with Team Skull. Is that why you’re wary of them?”

“Sorta.” Another Meowth curled around Nanu’s desk and he scratched behind her ear. “We’ve been getting word Aether have been doing their own research on the Ultra Wormholes, but there’s no proof that the foundation was responsible for those. At least, not yet.”

“How about the Aether Foundation working with the Ultra Recon Squad? You think their collaboration is genuine?”

“To be honest, I don’t know. Based on our interactions with the Ultra Recon Squad, they seemed serious about that.”

“Yes, that looks to be the case.” Grimsley recalled that night when Nanu had told him about the woman in the picture. He asked, “That late colleague of yours. Can you tell me a bit about her?”

Nanu stopped petting the Meowth, who growled sadly at him. He sat straight back up, furrowing his brow at him. After a moment, he dragged out a deep sigh.

“Her name was Sana. As I said before, we didn’t get along but still worked well together. She didn’t remember much of her past, except that she was from Unova and a scientist. A much more competent battler than our other member, Agent Looker.”

“She sounds interesting. How come you two didn’t get along but still worked well together?”

“We knew one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and kept each other in line. She was one of the better agents I’ve worked with.” Nanu stared at the ceiling, rubbing his forehead. “Now it’s your turn.”

“Huh?” Grimsley asked, genuinely confused. “My turn for what?”

“I’ve told you a little bit of my past, so it’s only fair you do the same. Like, I know you’re from Unova and of the Elite Four, but nothing else beyond that.”

“Oh.” Grimsley tapped on his chin while he pondered over what he was willing to reveal to Nanu. “Well, I did mention to Iokua how I came from a wealthy family. Several villas across the globe, servants, fancy parties, the works.”

“So you were a spoiled rich brat, huh?” Nanu snorted. “I can imagine that.”

“I would be lying if I didn’t say that all of that felt good.” Grimsley glanced down to see the Meowth now lying on the floor and he scratched his neck. “My mother used to be a professional gambler, but then stopped shortly after I was born. My father had owned a hotel chain and a few sports teams. One of those hotels had a casino, and that was how my parents had met.”

Nanu grunted, a crooked smile on his lips. “Somehow that fits you and your parents.”

“As you said, I was a spoiled brat. That ended though when my father had passed away and left me as the head of the house. There were heated discussions over my father’s inheritance and his side of the family wouldn’t help us.”

“How come?”

“They never approved of my father’s marriage to my mother. Thus, we were on our own. Luckily she had taught me her trade at a young age, so I was able to support us while I traveled through Unova.”

Nanu regarded him a moment, as if sinking all of Grimsley’s story in. “Huh, no wonder you're into talking about chances and carrying that coin of yours all the time. What got you into Pokémon training, then?”

Grimsley stopped playing with the Meowth and lifted his gaze at Nanu. He smirked at him.

“I learned that gambling and Pokémon battles aren’t so different. Both require some thought on what moves you want to make, and both have a winner and a loser. In the end, there’s always a risk and a reward.”

An amused grunt escaped from Nanu. “I must admit that is some comparison you have there, vampire boy.”

Being called that again led Grimsley to furrow his brow, but then his face relaxed and he chuckled. When he finished petting Meowth, the feline bounced off and went to play with one of the other Meowth.

“Mr. Dark and Gritty already has a nickname for me, hm?”

Already Nanu tossed him a stern look.

“Don’t push it. And never call me that again.” He cleared his throat. “Anything else you want to talk about?”

Grimsley pondered over that for a moment. His mind flashed back to Colress and the Ultra Recon Squad in Lake of the Moone. He didn’t want to think about that again, but what had happened there was important for Nanu to know.

“Do you know anything about the Lake of the Moone?”

“It used to be a sanctuary where people would worship Lunala. Why you ask?”

“I was visiting there earlier today. Colress was with the Ultra Recon Squad, and another member of theirs had Lunala with them.”

“What? Seriously? The more I hear about those guys, the weirder they get.”

“Well they’re apparently from another planet, but yes that’s what I saw. One of the members delivered something for Colress’s machine.”

“If what you said is true, then I can let my former colleagues in Interpol know about that.”

Grimsley grunted and offered Nanu a solemn nod. He hoped that would lead Interpol into investigating Colress and the Ultra Recon Squad more.

Just then, a stone shattered the window and hit the wall, several pieces of glass lying on the floor. The Meowth on Nanu’s desk screeched and jumped off due to that noise. Both Grimsley and Nanu stood up and exchanged baffled looks. Someone’s cackle could be heard from outside.

“Yo, police officer! Your old pals Dennis and Felicia here want to have a little chat with you,” a male’s voice yelled out. Nanu groaned, which made Grimsley look at him over his shoulder.

“You know those two?” he asked, arching an eyebrow.

“They’re Team Skull grunts residing in Po Town. I kicked their butts some weeks ago. You wait here.”

Nanu flicked his wrist, and then he stepped outside. Curious about them, Grimsley did the same.

When Grimsley stepped out of the police station, he was greeted by two people in dark baggy clothing and doing their unusual poses. He recognized their wardrobe to be of Team Skull based on his last encounter with them. Nanu narrowed his eyes at the grunts.

“You guys should've stayed put in Po Town,” he said in a gruff voice.

“After the way you wrecked us bad last time, we want a rematch,” the female grunt, that Grimsley assumed would be Felicia, said.

“Yeah!” the male grunt, Dennis, said and pumped his fist. “Like our big bro, Guzma, you can’t take us down that easily!”

As Grimsley glanced over his shoulder, he caught Nanu fixing his stare at the grunts. He faced back at Dennis and Felicia, making a few steps forward.

“Man oh man, what is going on today? Two Team Skull grunts harassing a police officer, it seems?”

“Who the hell are you?” Dennis asked with wide eyes, tilting his head.

“Oh, me?” Acting surprised, Grimsley gasped and pointed a finger at himself. “Just a trainer passing through this little region.”

An unimpressed look stretched across Felicia’s face. She had her hand on her hip.

“Hold up, D. I think this is the kimono guy that crushed Jo-Jo and Mikey back in Melemele Island.”

“For real?” Dennis stared at Grimsley and grunted. “Sounds like you ain’t from around here.”

“Either way, our cop friend there got himself a new buddy to make this even.”

Glaring at him, Nanu said through gritted teeth, “I thought I told you to stay inside.”

“It wouldn’t be wise of me to leave you alone with those two in case something happens,” Grimsley said, his voice dropping slightly. An idea came to him, and he looked back at the grunts. “You two want a rematch against Nanu, correct?”

“Of course,” Dennis said with a raised brow. “So what’s it to you?”

“A Pokémon battle always has a winner and a loser. It’s pathetic to make a big deal out of losing if you aren’t prepared.” Grimsley craned his neck back, flashing his teeth. “So tell me, do you have the right cards to win this next battle?” he asked, and Dennis and Felicia shot him perplexed looks. Grimsley glanced at Nanu, his glare still locked at him.

“What are you blabbering on about?” Dennis asked with his shoulders hunched. “You tryin’ to mess with our heads, man?”

Grimsley shrugged. “I was just asking if you two are prepared. But how about we wager for real?” He pulled out the coin from his kimono, his fingers rubbing at its edge. “Heads or tails. One result will be you guys leaving Officer Nanu alone. The other result will be a Pokémon battle against us.”

Once more, the two grunts exchanged baffled expressions. When they faced back at him, Felicia said, “Fine. Heads.”

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Nanu asked, raising a suspicious brow.

In response, Grimsley gave an amused grunt. He tossed the coin in the air, waiting a few seconds until catching it. When he opened his palm, the coin landed on heads. Nanu slapped his forehead and groaned.

“Nice going there, genius,” he said, but Grimsley ignored the sarcasm there. Both Felicia and Dennis chuckled and grinned.

"Looks like we'll have our payback after all," Felicia said, and she turned to Dennis. "You take that cop while I handle the other dude."

"You go it!" Dennis said, and he and Felicia threw their pokéballs up in the air. Two Pokémon were released, one Grimsley recognized as Haunter and the other a Raticate, but with darker fur and much bigger cheeks. Haunter screeched while Raticate opened his mouth wide to show off his fangs.

Nanu and Grimsley also released their own Pokémon onto the battlefield. Grimsley had sent out Queen, who dropped on one knee like a sworn knight. He jerked his head to see Nanu's Persian screech and preparing a battle stance.

"I focus on my guy, and you do the same," Nanu said.

"Of course." As Grimsley faced back at his opponent, he smirked. "I've seen my fair share of Raticate in Unova, but nothing like yours."

"Raticate and I are pretty tight, so you better watch out," Felicia said with a glare and thrust her arm forward. "Let's wreck that dude's Pokémon with Hyper Fang!"

"Counter with X-Scissor!"

Felicia's Raticate opened his jaws, showing off his sharp teeth, and launched at Queen. Queen's arms flashed green and she blocked Raticate's assault when they collided. Raticate sunk his teeth onto Queen's right arm, which caused her to unfurl her arms and slash him. Raticate screamed. A minor gash had been left on his face. Felicia furrowed her brow and her lips twitched.

“Go ahead and slow that Raticate down with Thunder Wave!”

“Avoid it and get back with Ice Beam!”

A charge of electricity formed around Queen's raised arms. She launched her Thunder Wave at Raticate, but he jumped at a nearby tree and used his tail to hook himself on the branch, avoiding being paralyzed altogether. While upside down, he inhaled and fired sparks of ice cold energy right at Queen’s chest. Queen grunted and stumbled a little, but she shook it off.

A smug grin pulled on the corner of Felicia's lips. "Now go for Flame Charge and kick its ass!"

"Thunder Wave one more time," Grimsley commanded, his voice calm.

Raticate jumped out from the tree, cloaking himself in flames while in the air, then he landed on the ground and rushed at Queen. Queen's arm crackled in electrical flashes once more. Before Raticate rammed into her, she punched him in the face and that caused him to bounce off and back away. Queen dusted off some flames on her arm and hands, but there were still some scorch marks there.

The flames around Raticate's body vanished. He glared at Queen, flashing his fangs at her, but then he screeched and his body grew stiff. Felicia stared with wide eyes when that happened.

Grimsley grinned as this was exactly what he wanted.

He glanced over his shoulder to see Nanu’s Persian still in good shape while Haunter looked tired and some of his outer skin ripped and deformed. Haunter let out large amounts of electricity at Persian, but the feline dodged in time and shot glimmering crystals straight at her opponent. Believing the man was perfectly fine there, Grimsley turned his attention back to Felicia.

"Take this chance to strike hard, Queen!"

"Pull yourself together, bud!" Felicia said with a clenched fist. "Try to shake that paralysis off with Hyper Fang!"

Still struggling to move, Raticate's body twitched and he hissed in frustration. That gave the perfect opportunity for Queen to slam into Raticate with her forehead and push him against a nearby tree. Raticate crashed onto the trunk, branches and leaves shaking. Raticate collapsed on the ground, and then seconds later got up and spat dirt off from his mouth. Two large bruises bloomed on Raticate's forehead and cheeks.

Felicia glared at Grimsley and her hand jerked. “Oh, why I outta… Raticate, get wild with Wild Charge!”

“Stop their assault with Sucker Punch!”

Able to shake off the paralysis, jolts of electricity shrouded all over Raticate’s body. As Raticate rushed at her, Queen’s arm was veiled in dark energy, and she punched his stomach when he got close to her. Raticate skidded backward with grass and dirt flying everywhere, but he managed to stop himself by digging his feet and tail on the ground. Having the air knocked out of him, he wheezed and his cheeks puffed out. A confident smile tugged onto Grimsley’s lips.

“That does it, bounce back and give Flame Charge another try!” Felicia lashed out. Her Raticate bared his teeth and his fur burst in flames once more.

“Let’s end this with one last Iron He—”

Before Grimsley could finish his command, someone interrupted by yelling out, “Power Gem!” and Nanu's Persian immediately stood in front of Queen. The gem on the feline’s forehead glowed and a bright beam shot at Raticate’s chest. Raticate shrieked and got launched into the air, and he dropped on the ground with a loud thump. With another shaky breath, the rat Pokémon slowly stood back up, but not for long as he collapsed back down and fainted.

Queen grunted and glared at Persian when she held her head up high, as if proud of herself. Grimsley looked on with his gaping mouth for a moment, and he jerked his head to see Nanu next to him.

"I thought we weren't supposed to interfere with one another."

“You were taking too long to finish,” Nanu said in a flat tone. He returned his Pokémon and had his hands in his pockets.

Grimsley raised a brow at him, and he turned back to see Felicia glaring at them after she had returned her Raticate. Dennis joined her and wore a similar expression.

“You just got served yourself?” Felicia asked.

“Yeah. That police officer’s Persian messed Haunter up good again,” Dennis said, his frown deepening. A ringtone, which sounded like rap music, was then heard and he pulled out a phone from his pants’ pocket to answer it. “Yo, what’s up? You guys just got out of the Aether House? Sweet. And how’s our big sis Plumeria? Nice. Yeah, Felicia and I went to battle the dude and he brought a friend with him. Okay, cool, we’ll meet you up at Po Town, then.” Dennis put the phone back in his pocket and told Felicia, “That’s Tommy. He and Mika finished what they were doing.”

Grimsley’s eyes widened and his stomach jumped when he heard Dennis said “Aether House.” He glimpsed over his shoulder to see Nanu just as stunned as he was.

“Aether House?” Nanu said with a furrowed brow. “What are you guys doing there?”

“None of your business, just something our boss wanted us to do. Let’s go and scram outta here, Felicia.”

“I’m with you on that.” Felicia nodded in agreement, and then she faced and pointed at Grimsley and Nanu. “We’ll be coming back for you two again.” She and Dennis made a run for it.

“Great, just freaking great,” Nanu grumbled as he ran his fingers through his hair. “Come on, let’s check back with Becky and the kids. Acerola is probably there, too,” he said, and then Grimsley and Queen followed him to the police station.

As soon as everyone stepped inside, Nanu went to his desk and pushed the numbers on the computer’s touchscreen while Grimsley and his Pokémon watched. It was a few moments until Becky showed up on the screen, a worried expression on her face.

“Kahuna Nanu, Mr. Grimsley, thank goodness!” Becky said. “Something terrible just happened. Team Skull went and stole one of the kids’ Pokémon.”

“They did what?” Grimsley said in shock.

“Did you try to stop them?” Nanu asked, his eyes narrowed.

“I did with Headmaster, but one of their leaders Plumeria was too tough for us. She mentioned how she has a bone to pick with Selene.”

Grimsley swallowed upon hearing Selene’s name. He had been hearing that name several times now since he came to this region.

“Is Acerola here with you now?” Nanu asked, and Becky shook her head.

“She’s away with Hau and Selene for their trials at that abandoned store. I think they should be back soon.”

Grimsley crossed his arms and bit his lips as he pondered over the situation. During the lingering silence, he glanced to see Nanu lean back in his chair and rub his forehead. An idea then hit him.

“I’ll be coming over there very shortly. I want to meet with Acerola and the others. Perhaps we can come up with a plan to get the Pokémon back. ” He glanced at Nanu, who shot him a long stare.

“I think that would be appreciated,” Becky said with a smile. “Thanks so much you guys for checking up with us! Please stay safe.”

“You do the same,” Grimsley said, and the screen on Acerola and Becky’s side blacked out. Nanu closed the program from the computer and grunted.

“Whatever Team Skull’s up to, I don’t have a good feeling about it. Here, catch.”

Nanu threw him a yellow and red spray bottle and Grimsley caught it. A burn heal potion.

“Thanks.” Grimsley looked at his Bisharp, her face tired and arm covered in burnt marks, and frowned. He used the burn heal, spraying several sips on her. “Neither do I. That’s why I want to see if I can help in any way.”

While giving him an indifferent stare, Nanu grunted. He then said, “I’ll be outside patrolling Po Town and making sure Team Skull doesn’t cause more of a ruckus. And oh, I took some sneak peeks at your battle against one of the grunts. You weren’t bluffing when you said you’re from the Elite Four.”

Grimsley stared at Nanu as he stepped outside of the police station. It sounded like he had just complimented him, which caught him off guard. He gazed back at Queen, who responded with a shrug. The majority of the burns on her arm had faded, and she looked a little more upbeat now. Grimsley patted her shoulder and sighed, exhausted from all that happened today and afraid what he would find upon his return to the Aether House.

Author's Note: And the Dark Uncle Squad is back! Expect more of that in future chapters.

As I mentioned before, August 8 is Foul Play's 2nd anniversary. I'm going to try my best to have Chapter 14 be posted on that day. If not, then a few days after at least. Thanks bobandbill for the beta as always! See you all in August!

Foul Play
[Chapter Nine up!]

Razgrey

Excalibur

Male
Right Here, but not Right Now.
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted August 16th, 2019
136 posts
3.2 Years
Well, after reading through the first seven chapters, I can clearly your talent. It's nice to see someone uninteresting(Elite 4 trainers are forgettable to me) get their own story.
Too bad I can't write about every charming bit of your fiction, but I'm sure that's okay.

Though unfortunately for me, I'm oblivious to most mistakes you may have made, with the exception of typos and missing words, of course.

My writing talent, if any, usually comes from others. Hopefully reading more often will inspire me to make my stories more detailed while still being engaging to readers.
Who knows, I might just read the rest of your long chapters.
This is the end.

Bay

Darkinium Z

Female
Dani California
Seen 6 Hours Ago
Posted 6 Hours Ago
5,740 posts
13.4 Years
Razgrey: Hey man, it's great to see you again! Glad to hear you enjoyed the first seven chapters there! Totally fine if you're unable to write out every moment you liked, am very flattered by your comments nonetheless!

Yeah, reading other works, whether published or fanfic, helps! I get lots of inspiration from reading. I've noticed you've been reading some fanfics here, which is awesome. I hope to hear more thoughts from you on the later chapters!

Chapter Fourteen
Crunch


After returning Queen and leaving the police station, Grimsley checked his Ride Pager to see that all of the Pokémon were unavailable at the moment. He instead went to Route 16's shores and took off with Blackjack to Aether House. As he rode on his Pokémon, his mind kept racing over what had occurred there. Team Skull stealing one of the Pokémon reminded him how Team Plasma had done that on several occasions—the thought of that made him bite his lips.

A dash from the police station to the beach was an hour or so. Blackjack was faster than a jet ski, so it took less time for them to reach Route 15 and land on the shore. He hopped off from his ride, and then he stroked Blackjack's chin.

“You wait here for a little while, all right?” Grimsley said, and Blackjack responded with a growl. He moved several steps, and then stopped when he heard more noises from him. He walked back to him with a raised eyebrow. “Is there something that you want?”

Blackjack growled and opened his jaws, causing Grimsley to back away a few steps. After pondering for a moment, Grimsley smiled a little. He pulled a Pokepuff bag out from the bag he was carrying, and immediately Blackjack grabbed the food from his palm.

“Hmph, thought so. That should entertain you while I’m away,” he said before heading to Aether House.

By the time Grimsley stepped in, Becky and the kids gathered around. She and another person he didn’t recognize, a blonde girl in a white dress and carrying a large bag, were trying to comfort Hunter and Gracie. Around them, a few of the tables and chairs had been overturned and damaged and papers scattered everywhere that indicated a confrontation had taken place.

“Why did they have to take Yungoos?” Gracie said through her sobs.

“Team Skull just do as they please,” Becky said as she wiped the tears on Gracie’s cheeks. She dragged in a deep sigh and her shoulders slumped. “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to save him.”

“You did all you could,” the other girl said, giving Becky a reassuring smile. “I would’ve helped, but didn’t want Plumeria to see me.”

“I agree, you at least tried to stop them,” Grimsley said as he approached closer. Everyone turned to look at him.

“Grimsley, you made it!” Becky said, as if relieved he was here.

“I did say I would come to check what’s going on.” He turned his attention to the girl with the large bag. “And I don’t think we’ve met before.”

That led the girl to flinch and gasp, but then she regained her composure.

“Oh, I’m Lillie. Becky and Acerola let me stay here while I travel through this island.” Lille took a closer look at Grimsley, and her eyes grew wide. “Wait, aren’t you Grimsley from the Unova Elite Four? I’ve researched a little on different Pokémon Leagues, including the one from your region.”

With a satisfied smile, Grimsley had both hands on his hips and said, “Finally, someone recognizes me immediately!”

At that moment, the front door slid open and Grimsley jerked his head to see Acerola and two other people, a boy and a girl he didn’t recognize, stepping inside. Both of them had dark skin and were a few years younger than Acerola, not in their teen years just yet.

“Grimsley, what are you doing here?” Acerola asked, shooting him a stunned expression.

“I heard about Team Skull stealing a Pokémon over at the Aether House,” Grimsley said. “Nanu and I got in contact with Becky to make sure everyone’s all right.”

“Are any of you hurt?” the boy asked, sounding worried.

“Headmaster took quite a beating and needed some rest, but otherwise we’re all fine.”

“Well, that’s no good,” Acerola said in dissatisfaction, frowning. She looked at Grimsley. “I’m glad that you’re here because we do have a big problem in our hands.”

“Acerola, you know this guy?” the girl asked.

With a big smile, Acerola said, “Yes, I do.” As she continued to speak, she pointed at the two kids. “Grimsley, this is Hau and Selene. They recently finished one of my trials. Oh, have you been introduced to Lillie yet?”

“Mr. Grimsley and I have been already acquainted,” Lillie said with a small nod.

Upon hearing Hau and Selene’s names, Grimsley’s brow furrowed. “Wait, you two are Hau and Selene? I’ve heard you guys had crossed paths with Team Skull several times before.”

Selene flashed him a proud grin. “That’s us! Hau and I kept running into them as we were doing the island challenge, but we end up kicking their butts each time.” Beside her, Hau had his head over his arms and laughed.

“They’re more of a distraction than anything.” The smile on Hau’s face slipped away. “But like Acerola said, we’re in big trouble.”

“How so?” Grimsley raised an eyebrow. Selene let out a deep sigh and pinched the bridge of her nose.

“After I finished Acerola’s trial, Team Skull came after us again,” she said. “Their ‘sister’, Plumeria, told us that if we want to get that Pokémon back, their leader wants me to come to Po Town alone.”

“And with no backup! Outrageous, right?” Hau raised his arms up high, and then he hung his head down and his shoulders slumped. “Because I couldn’t stop them, Selene is in this mess.”

“Hey don’t be hard on yourself,” Becky said as she approached Hau, squeezed his shoulder, and gave him a sad smile. “I wasn’t able to stop them myself. They were lucky that Plumeria came with them.”

“Becky’s right, it’s no one’s fault here,” Lillie said. Her gaze shifted away from the group for a second. “It’s awful how Team Skull would do such a thing.”

There was a short moment of silence before a determined look crossed Selene’s face. “A town of grunts doesn’t scare me. I took down Guzma once with no sweat; I can take him down again.”

As Grimsley surveyed the room, everyone seemed to be taken aback by Selene’s response. Amused more than anything, he chuckled.

“Getting very confident, are we?” he said. “Just because you defeated a few grunts on occasion, you think you can take on the world.”

Selene glared at him. “Guzma seems to see me as a threat if he doesn’t want me to come with backup.”

“Maybe so, but have you considered as to why they wanted you alone? This might be a distraction to keep you away for a while.”

“So you’re saying this is a trap,” Selene said in a low voice.

“We can’t let Team Skull get away with kidnapping Yungoos, though,” Becky said. “The Aether Foundation’s goal is to protect Pokémon from harm. I would get in serious trouble if the higher-ups find out about this.”

“Grimsley, you’re an Elite Four trainer, right?” Lillie said as she gazed up at him. “Perhaps you can go with Selene to Po Town.”

While he pondered over Lillie’s suggestion, Grimsley started scratching his chin. “I actually visited near Po Town recently and had to face a couple of those grunts that wanted payback at Nanu. He wasn’t happy when I got myself involved, so I don’t want to get on his bad side again.”

“Hold up, this guy here is one of those strong trainers from another region?” Hau said in a stunned voice, pointing at Grimsley. Both Acerola and Lillie nodded.

“Ah-huh!” Acerola said, smiling. “Grimsley is from the Unova region, and one of the best trainers there.”

“Oh wow! Not long ago I asked Selene who would be stronger, our kahunas or the Elite Four.” Hau chuckled and grinned at him. “To think, one of you guys is here right now!”

The corner of Grimsley’s mouth twitched. He had asked Nanu to consider battling with him before he departs Alola, but it looked like the kahuna wouldn’t accept his challenge anytime soon.

“Didn’t you promise you would save Yungoos if he ever gets in danger?” Gracie asked, pulling Grimsley’s scarf.

Grimsley’s heart sank and he frowned. He did promise her that during his video phone conversation with Becky a while back. If this was in any other circumstances he would do it in a heartbeat.

“If possible, yes. However, this is likely a trap. I don’t have a good feeling about this.”

“Oh,” Gracie said in disappointment. She let go of Grimsley’s scarf and lowered her head.

"Wait, so you're an Elite Four member and you're backing down?” Selene took a step forward and clenched her fist. “You don't care that Team Skull had stolen a Pokémon?"

With a stern face, Grimsley said, “I may like a good game of cards now and then, but even I know when to back down.”

Selene fixed her stare at him, as if disregarding his warning. After a moment, she grunted and crossed her arms.

“You know what, it’s all right. I don’t need your help, anyway. Even if this is some kind of distraction, it just doesn’t feel right neglecting that Pokémon.”

“You’ll need a ride Pokémon if you want to cross Route 15’s waters and get to Po Town,” Becky said. “I can call one for you.”

“That would be great,” Selene said with an appreciative smile. Becky gave her a single nod and went to the reception desk to do that call. Gracie reached Selene and pulled her shirt.

“Will you be able to save Yungoos?” the little girl asked and sniffled. Her eyes were red and puffy.

“I should be once Becky gets me a ride Pokémon,” Selene said with a reassuring smile. She squeezed Gracie’s shoulder. “We’ll get him back, don’t you worry.”

Gracie wiped a tear on her cheek and gave her a weak smile. “Okay.”

“While she does that, we should start cleaning up this mess,” Acerola said, and everyone agreed. Selene, Hau, and Acerola started putting the furniture back together while Grimsley, Lillie, and the kids picked up the papers and anything else on the floor.

“So Lillie, you’re participating in the island challenge also?” Grimsley asked after he picked up a pile of papers and set them aside on a coffee table.

Lillie stopped to face Grimsley, shaking her head. “I’m Professor Kukui’s assistant, but I decided to travel around to study the tapus’ ruins here.” A small smile formed on her lips. “A nice trainer named Hapu took me to the Ruins of Abundance a few days ago. Without her, I wouldn’t be able to get through the desert alone.”

“I visited that place not long ago myself. I agree with the desert being treacherous, but the ruins itself has its charm.” Grimsley found himself thinking about Nanu again. He had looked almost peaceful, relaxed as he prayed to Tapu Bulu. He wouldn’t mind seeing more of that side of him.

While Selene was helping Hau overturned one of the pieces of furniture, she asked Lillie, “Did you and Nebby find what you wanted?”

“Not really,” Lillie said in a disappointed tone. “Nebby seems to sense Tapu Bulu’s presence, but it didn’t appear before us.”

“Nebby? A Pokémon of yours?” Grimsley asked with a raised brow. Lillie flinched, a hesitant look on her face, and then she gazed down on the floor.

“You can say that…” In that instant, Lillie’s bag moved and she gasped. She held her bag tighter as whatever it was inside got more aggressive, and Lillie was unsuccessful when it got free and squealed in delight.

A small creature that resembled a nebula floated around the room. Everyone— except for Becky who was still talking on the phone—stopped what they were doing to look at it. Acerola and the kids gazed at it in awe while Hau, Selene, and Lillie were more stunned that it had gotten out. Grimsley couldn’t take his eyes off from it, having never seen it before and immersed by its appearance.

“Aw, I think Nebby here wants to play,” Acerola said and giggled.

“You guys have seen it before?” Grimsley asked everyone.

“Ah huh,” Hunter said, a huge grin on his friend. “Gracie and I were following it around, but then Lillie told us to stop.”

“Nebby, you can’t be out here after what happened yesterday!” Lillie held her bag up high and said, “Back in the bag you go now.”

The Pokémon, Nebby, frowned and let out a sad “pew.” It then reluctantly returned back inside and Lillie zipped the bag up. She sighed heavily and faced Grimsley.

“I’m sorry you have to see that. Nebby isn’t supposed to be seen like that.”

“It’s all right, it’s no trouble at all,” Grimsley said. “Though I must ask, why is that Pokémon isn’t allowed out?”

“There are some people that want it, so Lillie tries to keep it hidden,” Selene said. She chuckled. “However, Lillie needs to be better at keeping an eye on it.”

Lillie pouted with her hands on her hips. “I’ve been keeping an eye on it! Nebby just gets out too quickly sometimes.” She turned back towards Grimsley. “Please don’t tell anyone else about Nebby.”

“Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me,” Grimsley said. He thought about asking Lillie why some people wanted Nebby so much but held himself back from doing that. Just then Becky approached everyone, looking dissatisfied.

“Bad news. I called a couple of different ride Pokémon services, and all the Sharpedo and flying Pokémon have been taken right now. Yvonne at least told me she would call me back when she has something available.”

“Really?” Selene said and groaned. “So there’s a chance this might take a while?”

Acerola gave Selene a sad smile. “I understand you want to do this now, but it looks like there’s nothing you can do but wait.”

“Did I hear you mention Sharpedo?” Grimsley asked. The mention of that Pokémon piqued his interest.

“Yeah I did,” Becky said. “There are some boulders off the coast and a Sharpedo is able to break through them.”

When swimming over Route 15 with Blackjack, Grimsley did notice the boulders that looked to be hard to pass through and the rough waves. With the Pokémon that were able to get through that route unavailable at the moment, there was an alternative solution. He looked at Selene, grinning as if he had won the biggest jackpot in a casino.

“Maybe you need my help, after all,” he said, and that made her give him a confused stare. Everyone else had the same reaction. “I do happen to have a Sharpedo with me.”

“Hold up. So you’re willing to lend your Sharpedo to me, even though we just met?” Selene asked.

Grimsley’s grin grew wider. “I didn’t say I would give it to you for free. If you’re as good as you say, then battle me to earn it.”

Everyone turned their attention at Selene. Her lips slightly parted and her head tilted to the side. She looked to be taking his offer seriously. After a moment, she said, “All right, I’ll accept.”

“Are you sure you’re ready for that?” Lillie asked, her eyes wide. Next to her, Hau too looked just as surprised.

“After Professor Kukui told me about building a Pokémon League, I’m curious what it’s like to go against an Elite Four.” Selene flashed everyone a fearless grin. “I’m not going to pass that opportunity up!”

“Oh, a battle!” Hunter said, his feet bouncing. “I wanna see, I wanna see!”

“So do I!” Gracie said enthusiastically. She seemed to feel a little better than a few moments ago.

“Selene against an Elite Four,” Hau said. Beaming, he flung his arms over his head. “I’m excited to see this, too!”

“I guess I don’t mind seeing it myself.” Lillie wasn’t as optimistic as the others, but she still smiled.

“Looks like your guys’ battle will have an audience,” Acerola said in a chipper voice.

Grimsley responded with a pleased hum on his lips. “Good. We can have our match at the beach down the slope.”

“You guys go ahead,” Becky said. “I’ll stay here in case Team Skull comes again.”

“Aw, it sucks that you’ll miss it.” A slight frown reached Acerola’s lips, and then she smiled once more. “But yeah, probably a good idea if one of us watch over.”

“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s hit the beach now!” Without waiting, Selene rushed out of the building, much to everyone’s bafflement. Acerola and Hau laughed.

“You have to love her spirit,” Hau said, grinning. “We should head out before she waits too long for us.”

Everyone but Becky exited out of the Aether House. The beach was just down the slope, so it didn’t take them that long to catch up to Selene. A large wave crashed onto the shore, almost reaching up to Grimsley’s shoes. He glimpsed around to see a few other people around, some fishing while others were picking up the seashells that just washed up. Acerola, Hau, Lillie, and the kids gathered around Selene and Grimsley.

“Man oh man, what is going on today?” Grimsley said with an unimpressed frown. “Somebody bothered to come to this sad place.”

“Hey, you’re the one that suggested we battle here,” Selene said in a smug voice. She held her chin up, her hands on her sides. “So, how do you want to do this battle?”

“Let’s make this a single battle with us using two Pokémon each. Sounds good?”

Selene nodded. “I’m cool with that.” She grabbed a pokéball from her bag, and said, “All right, Meli, let’s do this!”

The ball got tossed up in the air and cracked open. Bright light poured out from the capsule and a few seconds passed before a wolf-like Pokémon with orange fur appeared. She shook off her large mane, sharp rocks sticking out from there, and howled. This was another Pokémon that Grimsley hadn’t seen before.

“Oh, is that a Lycanroc?” Hunter asked. His face lit up in excitement. “Kinda looks like its Midday Form, but its fur is darker and fluffier.”

“She is, but this is her Dusk Form,” Selene said with a proud smile. She approached Meli and rubbed her fur affectionately. “Meli’s a sweet girl, but she also has a fighting spirit of her Midnight Form counterpart."

“I think Professor Kukui said how Lycanroc of that form are very rare, right Lillie?” Hau asked Lillie, and she nodded.

“There have been only a few written records of Lycanroc’s dusk form if I recall,” Lillie said. “But yes, Lycanroc’s Dusk Form aren’t seen all that often.”

Grimsley continued to stare at the Lycanroc with great interest. Midday, Midnight, Dusk. So this Pokémon had at least three forms, possibly more. And he was still getting used to the Alolan form Pokémon.

“I know which Pokémon I’ll choose already.” Grimsley looked to see a fin moving around, and whistled. Blackjack popped up from the waters and grunted.

“Woah, so that’s your Sharpedo,” Hau said, taken aback by his presence.

“Oh, looks very strong!” Acerola said, grinning.

Both Gracie and Hunter gasped in amazement while Lillie gripped her bag tighter but held her gaze at the shark Pokémon. Selene’s Lycanroc snarled, as if threatened.

Grimsley tightened his lips in a hard frown. At that moment loud squawks were heard, and he gazed up to see two wild Skarmory flying above. He thought back to the Skarmory that wanted his coin, and an idea came to him. He turned to Selene and her Pokémon.

“Your Lycanroc looks like a fine Pokémon there and I’m eager to see how she fares in combat. Before we do that, though…” He pulled his coin out and tossed it a few times. “Uncle Grimsley is going to flip a coin to determine who goes first. Will it be heads or tails?”

Grimsley and everyone else waited for Selene’s reply. Her eyes squinted at the coin on Grimsley’s palm and her forehead puckered. She gave a sideways glance at both Skarmory, and her lips curled into a smug smile.

“Neither. I know you’re about to have one of the Skarmory take that coin from you,” she said, pointing to the sky.

Grimsley’s mouth grew slack. He peered over his shoulder to see everyone else just taken aback as he was. When Grimsley faced back at Selene, he smirked at her.

“Astonishing. I had indeed been planning to have either of them snatch it out of the air as it spins in the sky. Since you figured out my scheme, you make the first move.”



With a large grin, Selene raised her chin. “If you insist! All right girl, let’s start out with Rock Throw!”

Meli howled and jumped up high. Several rocks swirled around her, and when she moved her tail the rocks were thrown straight at Blackjack.

“Crunch them!” Grimsley said. Blackjack opened his jaws and crunched them like hard candy, turning the rocks into dust. “Good! Now strike hard with Aqua Jet!”

“Not so fast!” Selene made a sweeping gesture with her arm. “Meli, Accelrock!”

A veil of water covered Blackjack and he took off like a jet ski. Meli also rushed in, becoming nothing but a blur. An explosion occurred when they collided, and both Pokémon were pushed back. There were some scrapes on Blackjack while Melie was soaked and had deep cuts in her fur. Realizing Meli’s cuts were from Blackjack’s Rough Skin ability, Grimsley hummed in satisfaction.

“Accelerock again!”

“Take the hit, and then jab her!”

Once more, Meli went full speed at Blackjack and launched onto him. She landed on a nearby boulder, only to wobble and winced thanks to Blackjack’s Rough Skin again. Blackjack cried at being hit, and then he shook it off. His fin glowed purple and he rushed at Meli, stabbing her on the side. Meli roared in pain and crashed onto the sand. The wolf Pokémon picked herself up, sweating and her face a slight shade of violet.

“Oh no, looks like Meli is badly poisoned!” Hau said worryingly, and Selene’s eyes flew wide.

“Are you okay, girl?” she asked. Meli turned to her and grimaced, but let out a determined bark.

Grimsley grunted and folded his arms against his chest. “Your Lycanroc being poisoned and hurt by my Blackjack’s Rough Skin will drain her soon.”

Selene gasped, one hand near her face. She narrowed her eyes and slightly pursed her lips.

“We’re gonna avoid physical contact for now! Stone Edge, go!”

Meli howled and slammed her paws on the ground. Several boulder pillars popped up, even underneath the sea. Blackjack screamed when one of those boulders stabbed underneath his stomach, leaving a small wound there.

“Crunch her leg!” Grimsley ordered.

Blackjack swam towards Meli and crunched her leg. The Lycanroc gave a series of painful barks and struggled to remove her opponent’s jaws off from her.

“Shake it off and Rock Throw!”

After a few more attempts, Meli broke free from Blackjack’s grip and leaped up. Several small boulders swirled around her, and she threw them at Blackjack’s face. Meli landed on the ground and panted hard, her legs shaking. The violet shade on her face grew darker.

“Selene’s doggie looks very tired now!” Hunter said with a worried face. Selene glanced over her shoulder at the group and bit her lip.

“Meli, we need to end this now. Time to unleash our Z-Move!” Selene raised her arm up, showing off her Z-Ring. Meli looked over her shoulder and barked in approval.

“Z-Move?” Grimsley muttered to himself, arching a brow.

“What Z-Move will Selene use?” Lillie asked, and Hau beamed at her.

“I think I know which one! You’ll love it!”

Selene pulled out a small tan-colored stone and slipped it into her Z-Ring’s slot. Once her Z-Ringlit up, she began her pose which had her flexing her muscles and stretching her right leg forward. A golden aura also surrounded Meli.

“Our hearts harder than stone, Splintered Stormshards!”

Meli lifted her head and released her strongest roar yet. After she slammed on the ground, several large shards of rocks flew in the air. When the shards stopped and pointed at Blackjack, she jumped on them.

After she finished her Z-Pose, Selene heaved deep breaths and her arms shook.

“Protect!” Grimsley ordered urgently, and a green forcefield surrounded Blackjack. Both Meli and the shards shot straight towards him, Blackjack enduring the impact.

Another explosion occurred, this time causing a big splash of water to burst out. Meli and Blackjack glared at each other, both breathing hard and barely able to keep their eyes open. Eventually, Meli collapsed onto the ground, and Selene rushed at her side. Everyone at the sidelines gasped.

“Meli, are you all right?” Selene asked as she pulled her Pokémon against her chest. A few seconds passed until Meli whined and licked her face, which made Selene giggle. “Thank goodness!”

“Selene, here’s a pecha berry Meli can eat,” Lillie said as she approached Selene. She handed her a peach-colored berry, and Selene nodded at her.

“Here girl, take this.” Selene held the berry in front of Meli’s face. She gave it a few sniffs before chewing on it slowly.

Grimsley swallowed hard, his face tensed. Usually when he had that kind of advantage that pleased him, but this time he felt remorse causing Meli that much pain.

“If you want, you can always forfeit. There’s no shame in that.”

Selene gasped and gazed up at him, as if considering his suggestion. She gave Grimsley a hard stare.

“No, I’m sticking through this until the end.” She turned to Lillie. “Can you watch over Meli for me?”

“Of course,” Lillie said with a single nod. She gently pulled Meli on her lap and stroked her cheeks. Meli rubbed against her palm.

“Wow, my grandpa is right! The Elite Four are super strong!” Hau said in an awed voice.

Acerola beamed. “Yep! No wonder Mimikins is very fond of Grimsley!”

Grimsley furrowed his brow and looked over his shoulder at Blackjack. “You’re still hanging in there?” he asked, and Blackjack nodded. He faced back at Selene and shrugged. “If you insist.”

“Your Sharpedo is very strong but looks very exhausted now. Franziska, it’s your turn!”

Selene pulled out another pokéball and released a pink bug-like Pokémon that resembled a praying mantis. Her upper body gave an appearance of them wearing a dress while her legs looked like striped pants. The wing-like appendages on her back flared up, and she crossed her arms similar to Queen with her blades.

“Oh wow, a Lurnatis!” Gracie said in excitement, pointing at her. “She’s very pretty!”

“I agree, she looks marvelous. However…” Grimsley snapped his fingers. “Blackjack, Ice Fang!”

Blackjack jumped out of the water and opened his jaws wide, his teeth glowing blue and cold mist coming out from his mouth. Selene commanded Franziska to counter with Leaf Blade, which she did by having her right arm glowed dark green and blocking Blackjack’s assault. When Blackjack sunk his teeth deep into Franziska’s arm like raw meat, she pushed him away and caused him to drop back into the sea. Small shards of ice were left on her arm, but she shook those off.

“That’s all right! Now Franz, Sunny Day and start charging!”

Franziska gave a quick nod and raised her arms high. A white beam appeared between her hands, which shot up towards the sky and caused the sun to shine brighter. Sweat dripped on Grimsley’s forehead and he loosened the scarf around his neck, the air around him warmer and humid. He assumed Selene was having her Pokémon use Solar Beam so she could charge up the move faster.

“Hurry and use Poison Jab!”

Blackjack’s fin glowed purple, and he rushed towards Franziska while she began charging her supposed Solar Beam. A large yellow ball formed above her, absorbing the harsh sunlight into herself. What Selene said next caught Grimsley off guard.

“Solar Blade, now!”

Franziska raised her arm, and the yellow ball turned into a giant bright blade. Before Blackjack could reach her, she slammed the blade down onto him and another big splash of water exploded. Blackjack floated and collapsed in the waters, several burnt marks all over him.

“Selene took down one of his Pokémon, yeah!” Hau said with his fist up in the air. Besides him, Gracie and Hunter cheered also.

Grimsley winced at that sight. He grunted and returned Blackjack inside his pokéball.

“You did well my friend, time for some rest,” he said in a low voice to the pokéball.

Selene grinned at him. “Solar Blade is Franz’s signature move. Impressed?”

Grimsley was reminded the same thing happened when he battled against Kahili’s Toucannon. He frowned.

“Not the first time this has happened. Still, we’re not done yet.”

He pulled out another pokéball and released Roulette. She crouched on all fours and growled, as if trying to intimidate Franziska. She was refreshed and ready to go after that battle with Ryuki’s Pokémon. Franziska flinched for a moment, and then she regained her composure.

“Go and grab Franziska by the arm!” Grimsley ordered.

Roulette jolted right at the Lurnatis. She jumped and sank her teeth onto Franziska’s arm, similar to how Blackjack did earlier. Franziska screamed in pain and eventually shook her off; there were large bite marks on her arm.

“Now time for Night Slash!”

“X-Scissor!”

Roulette howled and the horn on her forehead glowed purple. Meanwhile, Franziska’s arms glowed light green and she crossed them against her chest. Roulette’s horn clashed against Franziska’s arm, and they kept pushing at each other. Eventually, Roulette had the upper hand as she whipped her head and slashed Franziska’s chest, which caused her to back away. Franziska glared at her, touching where Roulette had left that deep cut on her.

Selene narrowed her eyes. “The sun’s still up, Franz! Go for Solar Blade this time!”

Grimsley’s eyes grew wide, already aware of his opponent’s plan. “Block it with Shadow Claw!”

Roulette gave Grimsley an agreed bark and a dark aura covered her paw that then turned into a large claw. At the same time, Franziska absorbed the sunlight and the large blade appeared once more. Both of their attacks collided like swords, sparks flying between them, and once more they pushed at each other. This time Franziska’s Solar Blade won over, and she swiped Roulette like a baseball bat. Roulette flew up in the air for a few seconds before dropping down.

A cloud of dust popped up, obscuring Grimsley’s vision for a moment. As soon as that faded out, Roulette picked herself up and shook the sand off her fur. She glared at Franziska, her breathing growing louder. A confident grin pulled on Selene’s lips.

“Solar Blade again!”

As Franziska started charging up once more, Grimsley’s brow furrowed. He needed to have Roulette strike first before she took even more damage. An idea came to him, and he smirked.

“Push her down with Aerial Ace!”

Roulette howled and rushed at the Lurnatis with a high burst of speed, becoming a blur. Franziska just finished charging up her Solar Blade, but before she could strike Roulette rammed into her like a freight truck. That caused Franziska to fall backward and drop her blade, which slammed into the sand and left scorch marks around it.

“That’s so cool!” Hau said with both fists clenched. “I wasn’t able to avoid Franz’s Solar Blade like that!”

“I agree!” Acerola said, beaming. She gazed up and gasped. “Oh, looks like the effects of Sunny Day’s almost gone!”

Grimsley blinked and he looked up at the sky. Indeed the sunlight became less harsh, and the air wasn’t horribly humid anymore.

Selene’s eyes grew wide, and then she glared. “We’re not done yet! Leaf Blade!”

“Night Slash!”

Roulette’s glowing horn clashed against Franziska’s green arm, and they attacked one another like fencers. To Grimsley, their movements were similar to how Roulette and Ryuki’s Garchomp had fought. After several more attempts, Roulette’s horn swiped at Franziska’s arm and made her scream. Franziska backed away and she winced, her chest heaving rapidly. Roulette also panted hard and barely kept one eye open, but looked to be in much better shape.

Everyone in the sidelines looked on with anticipation.

“Now, end this with Aerial Ace!” Grimsley ordered, stretching his arm out in a dramatic gesture.

With the last ounce of her strength, Roulette bolted at Franziska with lightning speed and launched into her. Franziska screeched and fell backwards, crashing onto the sand. After the cloud of dust faded, Franziska collapsed and didn’t get up.

"The winner of this match goes to Grimsley!" Acerola announced, raising her arm up.

“Franz!” Selene rushed at her Pokémon’s side and helped pick her up. Franziska struggled to stand up straight, but she gave her a weak smile. Selene giggled and they embraced. “You did great out there!”

Grimsley couldn’t help but smile at that. Roulette approached him, nudging at his hip. He looked down and scratched her cheek.

“Excellent work there,” he said in a soft voice. Roulette barked and licked his cheek.

“You guys are awesome!” Hau said, grinning. “Even though Selene lost, that was still fun to watch!”

“Couldn’t agree with you more!” Acerola said in her usual cheerful voice.

“Aw, wish the battle was longer!” Hunter said. Both Acerola and Lillie chuckled.

“If it was, we probably would be here all day!” Lillie said. Next to her, Malie barked in agreement.

“What about Yungoos?” Gracie said, her voice cracking. She walked up to Selene, and they held hands. “Does this mean Selene can’t save him now?”

Everyone’s face fell, including Grimsley’s. He stared up at the sky, a knot forming inside his throat. He had won this match, but it wasn’t satisfying. A deep sigh escaped from him.

“If somebody wins, then the person who fought against them will lose,” he said as he walked up to Selene and Gracie, both staring at him. “However, there are good ways to lose and bad ways to win.”

“Huh? What are you saying?” Selene arched a confused brow at him.

“The results of that battle weren’t what I wanted. Because of that, I’m breaking our agreement.”

A surprised look crossed Selene’s face, and she squeezed Gracie’s hand harder. “Wait, does that mean...?”

Before Grimsley responded, he gazed down at Roulette and she gave him a single nod. He looked back at the girls, smiling.

“That I’ll help you get that Yungoos after all? Then yes.”

Gracie and Hunter reacted favorably at that announcement. They cheered and hugged around Grimsley’s waist, which took him aback. Acerola giggled, her palm close to her mouth.

“Looks like the children are very happy!”

“Ah-huh! Also now Selene doesn’t have to do this alone!” Hau flashed Grimsley a large grin. Next to him, Lillie smiled and nodded in agreement.

Grimsley glanced at Roulette, Meli, and Franziska. Everyone looked tired and had minor injuries all over. Not only that, Roulette and Meli’s fur were dirty. Blackjack also needed some medical attention.

“Our Pokémon need some rest first,” he said to Selene. “We can leave tomorrow morning.”

“That’s fine by me!” Selene said, closing her eyes and grinning.

Grimsley gave Selene a small smile. When he stared at the ocean and what awaited beyond there, his smile faded. He had faced Team Skull a few times before, but he had a feeling this upcoming encounter wouldn’t be as easy.



Author's Notes:
Happy 2 years, Foul Play! 14 chapters and over 80K isn't a lot, but this is my second longest work yet and there are several moments I'm proud of. I haven't seen anyone else write a Nanu and Grimsley fic so it's up to me to make that content.

So I decided to go with Selene instead of Moon from now on. If I were to describe her, she's like the female version of DPPt rival Barry. She's going places.

Last thing! If you guys have been enjoying this story and know anyone else that are interested in Nanu, Grimsley, sorta rewrite of SM/USUM, or all above, spread the word! Now is a great time to do so.

Thanks to bobandbill for the great betaing! Next chapter is the start of the Po Town mini arc. I got some cool ideas for that and hope you guys look forward to it.

Bay

Darkinium Z

Female
Dani California
Seen 6 Hours Ago
Posted 6 Hours Ago
5,740 posts
13.4 Years
Chapter Fifteen
Sucker Punch


Grimsley and Selene took their Pokémon to the Aether House for them to rest. It was already sunset, so they agreed to wait until morning to leave.

Hunter and Hau excitedly recapped the battle to Becky, and Selene followed up by bragging about how good her Pokémon's moves were. Becky gave good-hearted chuckles while Grimsley hummed in amusement; Selene was brash but full of potential. Gracie sometimes chimed in, so she started to sound happy once more. To Grimsley, that was a good sign.

Later in the evening, Grimsley was in the lounge talking with Hau, Selene, and Lillie. He got to know Hau and Selene better. Hau was the grandson of Hala, the Kahuna of Melemele Island. Both he and Selene did his Grand Trial and won, but it was rough. Selene actually came from Kanto and had been in Alola for over seven months now. She moved to this region with her mother, and so far they both loved it here. Grimsley asked why she was starting her Pokémon journey here instead of Kanto, and she beamed.

"Yeah, so my mom's returning to school and studying over at Hau'oli City University. I already graduated from the trainer school back in Kanto, but I still needed to get approved for a trainer's license for Alola and take classes in between my journey. Ms. Emily was tougher than I thought!"

"And how!" Hau said with a chuckle. "Her Rowlet almost got my Litten real good despite me having the type advantage."

Grimsley smiled a little, thinking about how Aspertia City gym leader Cheren was like that. "That reminds me of someone I know. He's also a school teacher, and his students complained how tough he was."

"What kind of Pokémon that teacher has?" Lillie asked.

"He trains mainly Normal-types because he's also a gym leader. Before that, he used a variety of Pokémon when he battled in the Unova League."

"Nice! He must be super strong if he made it to the Pokémon League and is a gym leader!" Hau said in amazement.

Grimsley hummed, and the smile on his lips faded. He faced Lillie.

"So Lillie, you mentioned being Professor Kukui's assistant earlier. How did you meet him?"

Lillie flinched, and then she looked down with her hands clasped. "Oh, well I left home to learn more about Nebby and talk to Professor Burnet. She got her husband, Professor Kukui, to let me stay in his home and help investigate Nebby's origins, too."

"Lillie got lost trying to find Professor Burnet and collapsed on the shore," Selene said, giving Lillie a soft smile. "I can't imagine myself doing that, so I admire her for that."

Lillie's cheeks turned soft pink. She gave Selene a grateful smile. "Thank you, Selene."

Grimsley regarded the two girls with a small smile. He only met them today, but they seemed like close friends already.

"Perhaps we should talk about how Selene and Grimsley will get through Team Skull," Hau said, breaking the silence.

“I agree." Grimsley turned to Selene. "Do you have a plan on how to deal with Team Skull?”

“Oh, um… I thought I would just barge in and punch their leader Guzma right on the face!” Selene said with a sheepish laugh.

“Terrible idea.” Grimsley forced himself to not roll his eyes. “Perhaps we can talk with Kahuna Nanu since he lives next door to them.”

"I agree," Lillie said and nodded. "The Ula'ula Kahuna should know what to do."

“Kahuna Nanu?” Selene asked in a surprised voice. “Acerola mentioned him once or twice before. Do you know him?”

Grimsley’s face tensed, and he frowned. “Not personally. Like me, he trains Dark-types. He’s not easy to talk with, but that may be due to his mysterious past.”

“Yeah, Acerola and Hau said something similar. Still, I’m considering challenging him for his Grand Trial after this.”

“Huh, is that so.” Grimsley briefly wondered what that battle would be like. If it was like his battle with Selene, then she should be fine.

"How about you, Hau?" Selene asked him. "You thinking of challenging Nanu?"

"Me?" Hau's face contorted to an unsure expression. "Maybe. I want to train my Noibat a bit more first, though. I saw him battle with my grandfather a few times, and he seems tough!"

"You guys are talking about Uncle Nanu?" Acerola asked. She was with Gracie and Hunter earlier and was now approaching the group.

"Grimsley and Selene are going to see Kahuna Nanu about helping them with Team Skull," Lillie said.

Acerola beamed. "Ah, okay! I can call him tomorrow and let him know you guys are coming!"

"Lillie and I will stay here in case Team Skull come back," Hau said. He turned to Lillie, who nodded in agreement.

"That would be great!" Acerola clapped her hands. "Becky and I could use all the help we can get."

"Don't worry about us, we got this!" Selene flashed everyone a confident grin and looked over her shoulder at Grimsley. He returned with a small smile of his own.

"Yes, I'm sure we'll handle them just fine." Tomorrow he and Selene would head out to Po Town to see Nanu and go from there. It would be a slight hindrance, but that was fine.


xxx

The sun was already bright the next morning. A warm breeze picked up, the waves rolling in gently. Before Grimsley and Selene departed, everyone wished them luck and to stay safe.

They rode on Blackjack’s back, Grimsley holding onto his fin and Selene wrapping her arms around his waist. The rest of Route 15 was a small water route with tough boulders that Blackjack was able to break. They passed by several Water-type Pokémon, swimmers, and small islands. Due to how fast they were going, their hair and Grimsley’s scarf whipped wildly like a flag on a windy day. Droplets of water splashed on their faces.

“Wahooo!” Selene screamed as she raised one arm up. “Riding on a Sharpedo is so much fun!”

Grimsley gave her a firm look and shook his head. It is. You just have to take some precautions."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. Must be tough training a Sharpedo, though."

A knowing smile curled on Grimsley's lips. "They're called the Brutal Pokémon for a reason. Blackjack was tricky to raise at first, but then we grew closer as time passed." He quickly patted Blackjack's forehead, and he responded with an agreeable growl.

"That's cool! I hope to have a great bond with my Pokémon like yours."

"From our battle, I could see you care for your Pokémon very much. I think you're on the right track."

“Really? Wow, can’t believe an Elite Four told me I got potential!” Selene shifted her head, and then she said, “Hey, is your Mental Pattern towards Dark-type Pokémon?”

“My mental what?”

“Mental Pattern. A way to know how well you connect with certain types of Pokémon.”

“Oh, that. I remember that being a study Professors Oak and Juniper had conducted.”

Professor Oak and Professor Juniper had published their study on Mental Patterns shortly after Grimsley joined the Unova League. It was a special image with brain mapping thrown in, and it was used on both trainers and Pokémon. Pokémon with the same type had similar Mental Patterns, making it easier for trainers to connect with them. Many research facilities would use a scanner to conduct their studies.

“Yeah! So like my friends and I went to the Dimensional Lab, and Professor Brunet used a scanner to determine our Mental Patterns. I got Water-type, Hau had Psychic-type, and Lillie the Fairy-type! I might ask Lana to help me train more since she favors Water-types.”

“That might not be a bad idea. And the Water-type suits you.” He paused. “I believe Nanu might have a bias towards Dark-type Pokémon also.”

“Probably! I heard Dark-type Pokémon are just as tough to raise as Psychic and Dragon Pokémon, so having that bias helps.” Selene then asked, “If you had a Pokemon battle with him, who would win?”

Grimsley’s shoulders jumped as he didn’t expect her to ask that. “I’ve actually asked him for a battle, but he keeps refusing.”

“That must’ve sucked. It’s still cool that you and Nanu have the same Mental Pattern.”

“I guess.” He found it ironic that he and Nanu had the same Mental Pattern, and yet he didn’t want to battle him. The next chance he had to speak with Burnet he would like to discuss Mental Patterns with her.

He looked around his surroundings, seeing some land a short distance from them. They were getting closer to their destination now.

xxx

In the morning Nanu did his usual routine: patrol Route 16 and 17 with his Pokémon; feed and play with the Meowth until they get tired, which more often than not lasted a while; go on his computer to do his daily reports and check on the news; play with his kendama if he got bored. As he was doing just that, the phone rang and he picked it up.

"Po Town Police Station," he said in a monotone voice.

"Hi, Uncle Nanu!"

It was Acerola. Nanu's heart jumped and he sat straight up.

"Acerola?" He sighed in relief. "Thank the tapu you're all right."

Not long after Grimsley had left the police station, he couldn't stop thinking about Acerola and the children. Sure, Gracie and Hunter were a handful, but he knew how much Acerola loved them. She would be upset if anything were to happen to them.

"Of course I am!" Acerola said, her voice bringing Nanu back to reality. "I guess you knew about how Team Skull came inside Aether House and stole a Pokémon?"

"Yeah, Becky told me. Grimsley heard too, and he went there to check up on the place."

"He did come! I actually called to tell you that he and another trainer, Selene, are coming to Po Town to rescue that Pokémon!"

"What?" Nanu yelled. "I hope they're prepared for what's coming."

"I'm sure they are!" Acerola then said, "You know Uncle Nanu, I just realized something. Why don't you try to go and get Yungoos yourself?"

Nanu grimaced, pulling his head back. His fingers tapped on the desk.

"If I do, that would cause more harm than good. I would rather have Team Skull cause trouble here and not anywhere else."

"Really? Well, if you say so. Will you at least keep an eye on Yungoos until Grimsley and Selene get there?"

Nanu pondered that for a second. His hand almost slipped from the receiver.

"Yeah kiddo, I'll do that."

"Wonderful! If you do see them, say hi!"

"Yeah, yeah, I will." Nanu stopped and asked, "Before I go, how was your visit to your parents’ graves?"

"It was great, thanks for asking! I was telling them about our trip to Hania Desert and how fun Grimsley was to be with! All of my Pokémon were with me, too!"

Nanu's face softened. "That's great to hear. I'll keep you updated if anything happens in Po Town."

"Okay! Talk to you later!"

"Sure, same here."

Nanu hung up on the phone. Grimsley and Selene should be here at any moment. They might talk to him about how to deal with Team Skull. He might help them if they asked, but to what capacity…

Nanu opened the top drawer of his desk. He had several Z-Rings there saved for any trial-goers starting out in Ula’ula Island. He pulled out two of them. One was red and another purple. Grimsley and Gladion weren’t able to perform their Z-Moves yet, so he would give them their Z-Rings when the time was right.

He put the Z-Rings in his shirt’s pockets, grabbed his kendama, and leaned back in his chair. One Meowth sat on his desk and tried to grab the red ball with his paw. He raised a brow at him.

"Still not tired, hm? I don't want you to pull the ball from its string."

The Meowth whined and he jumped off from his desk. Nanu grunted, returning to playing with his kendama. He waited.


xxx

Several minutes passed until Grimsley and Selene made it to shore. After they hopped off Blackjack’s back, Grimsley patted Sharpedo’s forehead and offered him a poképuff.

“Thank you for bringing us here,” Grimsley said while Blackjack chewed on the poképuff on his palm. When finished, he licked the crumbs on his mouth and Grimsley returned him.

“All right, Po Town here we come!” Selene pumped her fist in the air and rushed forward, Grimsley following behind.

They entered Ula’ula Meadows and crossed the wooden bridge. As before, red petals swirled around and the scent of sweet nectar overwhelmed Grimsley’s nose. At the grasses, several red-feathered Oricorio danced with each other.

“Oh, those must be the Baile-style Oricorio Hau and Lillie talked to me about!” Selene said excitedly, pointing them out.

“Baile-style?” Grimsley asked, more out of curiosity than confusion.

“Ah-huh! There’s supposed to be four types of Oricorio, and Ula’ula Island has the red ones.”

“I battled a young trainer with a pink feathered Oricorio. That one has a skirt and can use Psychic attacks.”

“You’re talking about the Pa’u-style ones. You can find those in Akala--” Selene stopped there, her eyes growing wide. “Get behind that tree!”

Grimsley let out a baffled grunt, and Selene grabbed his hand. They hid behind a tree.

“What’s going on?” he asked with a raised brow.

“There’s this guy I met a few times named Gladion,” Selene said, leaning back against the tree. She had her arms over her head. “Total idiot.”

Grimsley blinked, taken aback by her language there. “How so?”

“He calls Hau a brat and claims he doesn’t take battling seriously. Also, he keeps saying how you can’t protect anything when you’re weak.”

Grimsley didn’t respond at first and instead took a peek from behind the tree. There was a blonde-haired boy in dark clothing, staring at his surroundings. His bangs and face seemed awfully familiar...

“Does the person you’re talking about have blonde hair and dark clothing?” he asked, facing back to Selene.

“Yeah, that’s him!” Selene pouted and crossed her arms against her chest. “I’m not sure what his problem is.”

Grimsley chuckled. “Maybe there’s someone he dearly wants to protect.”

A stunned look spread across Selene’s face. She shifted her gaze away from him, furrowing her brow.

“Probably. Still, it won’t hurt him to be nice for once.” After a brief moment, Selene’s face brightened up. “I have an idea!”

Selene grabbed Grimsley’s hand once more, and they came out from hiding. Grimsley winced when she had her hands in front of her face and screamed, “Hey, Edgelord!”

That caught Gladion’s attention of course. He turned and glared at them.

“Selene?”

Selene narrowed her eyes at Gladion, her hands on her hips. “I take it you’re here for some Team Skull business?”

“Sort of. This is their home and all.” He then noticed Grimsley and pointed at him. “Who is that old dude with you?”

Grimsley flinched and the corner of his lips twitched. “I’m Grimsley from the Unova Elite Four. And I’m thirty years young, thank you very much.”

“Wait, for real?” Gladion asked in shock, and Selene beamed.

“Yep! I even battled him yesterday and he’s super good!”

“We indeed had a Pokémon battle,” Grimsley said. “She’s not half bad herself.”

Gladion regarded them for a moment and grunted. “What are you guys doing here, then?”

“We’re on a rescue mission to save a Pokémon that Team Skull had stolen! However, we might need your help.”

“How so?” Gladion stepped forward, giving Selene a skeptical look.

“Well, big bad Guzma wants me to come to Po Town alone. Grimsley’s gonna help me, and I need a way for him to get inside. You can talk to them, right?”

“Even if I do that, they won’t listen. We don’t get along at all.”

“Oh.” Selene pursed her lips, and then her eyes lit up. “Then how about you distract them with your Pokémon?”

Gladion’s eyes grew wide, and he squeezed his shaking wrist. He lowered his head, closing his eyes.

“I”m sorry, but there’s no reason for me to help save a random trainer’s Pokémon. I wish you guys luck.” He flicked his hand and headed off.

Grimsley stared at him for a few seconds. He looked over his shoulder at Selene and asked, “What now?”

The Oricorio continued to sing as their red petals got stuck in everyone’s hair. A pinched expression appeared on Selene’s face. She glanced around uneasily, bringing her hand to her neck. Selene closed her eyes and clenched her fists.

“I’m sorry, Lillie,” she muttered. When he heard that, Grimsley blinked. She took a deep breath, holding it in. “I know where Cosmog is.”

That caused Gladion to stop and twist around. “You do? Where is it?”

“My friend Lillie has been taking care of Nebby. They’re safe in Aether House.”

“Lillie, and Nebby…” Gladion’s lips quivered, and then his face turned back to serious. “Did Team Skull try to hurt them?”

“They did, but I managed to take them down!” Selene said and slammed her fist on her palm.

Gladion gave a shocked look and sighed in relief. “Well, that’s good to hear.”

Grimsley furrowed his brow and rubbed his chin. Lillie did have that Nebby, apparently a Cosmog now, and Selene had mentioned several people wanted it. He lowered himself to Selene’s height.

“Do the people looking for Cosmog you told me about happen to be Team Skull?” he whispered behind her ear.

“Ah huh,” Selene said and nodded. “Gladion warned me about them the last time we met. I didn’t trust him at first.”

“I don’t blame you for that.” Grimsley glanced at Gladion, who folded his arms against his chest and closed his eyes. He had an idea of what Selene was trying to do. “Let me finish this.”

Grimsley stood back up and cleared his throat. “You want to find out why Team Skull wants Cosmog, am I correct?”

A strangled gasp escaped from Gladion. “How do you know?”

“I met with Lillie and Nebby in Aether House yesterday. I can confirm that they’re doing just fine.”

A part of him felt bad that he broke his promise to Lillie, but he and Selene had no choice. He forgot to ask Selene why Team Skull was after Nebby, so he wanted to know.

With a raised suspicious brow, Gladion asked, “What you’re getting at, old man?”

“Again, I’m not that old!” Grimsley sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Anyways, if you help us, then you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for.”

Gladion’s lips pressed together in a slight grimace. He turned away from him and Selene for a moment, pulling his shaking wrist close to his chest once more. Grimsley wondered if he had an injury or condition whenever he did that.

“All right, I’ll help,” Gladion said, turning back to them. “Will the three of us be enough, though?” He looked up at Grimsley. “No offense, but even with you by our side we’re still outnumbered.”

“None taken,” Grimsley said in a flat tone. “I wasn’t going to be here at first, but I had a change of heart.”

“Grimsley and I are about to ask Kahuna Nanu to help, too!” Selene said.

“Good idea. He should know what to do.”

“Great! C’mon, we better hurry!”

Without waiting, Selene dashed forward. Grimsley and Gladion followed shortly after, catching up to her.

Finding Gladion was a surprise, which Grimsley was glad had happened. Now to talk to Nanu and see what he had to say.

Xxx

As before, the Po Town police station was nestled within Route 17. The breeze today was as cold as yesterday's, gray clouds covering most of the sunlight. The tall walls covering Po Town was still there, but seeing them this time filled Grimsley with dread inside his stomach.

He, Selene, and Gladion stopped in front of the police station. Grimsley knocked on the door, and he waited a second until a response came.

"The door's open," Nanu said from inside.

Grimsley glanced over his shoulder at Selene and Gladion, the two staring at him blankly. He shrugged, and everyone stepped inside.

The front lobby was a mess and overtaken by the Meowth. Nanu sat on his desk, playing with what looked to be a kendama. He stopped and stared when he noticed Grimsley, Selene, and Gladion coming in.

"Woah, so many Meowth!" Selene squealed. She went over to two Meowth that sat on a pile of files on the couch and scratched their cheeks. The Meowth rubbed against her palm and fingers. "Hey there, little kitties."

"That was my same reaction when I first came in," Grimsley said with a chuckle. At the corner of the wall, Nanu's Persian curled up and was taking a nap. A Honchcrow, which also seemed to be Nanu's, was perched on her back and snoozing himself.

"Nice Meowth cafe you have going on here," Gladion said. One of the Meowth came up to him and dug her claws into his legs, causing him to scream.

"Think of it more like a bona fide Meowth sanctuary." Nanu had his stare locked on Grimsley. "I sort of expected you to return."

Grimsley smirked. "Oh, didn't realize you missed me already."

Nanu glared daggers at him. "One more wise crack out of you, and it's jail time."

Grimsley gulped, tugging at his scarf. He cleared his throat, moving his gaze away from him briefly.

"Nice to meet you, Kahuna Nanu! I'm Selene!" Selene said as she went up to Nanu's desk. She held out her hand to him.

"Same here kiddo, I guess," Nanu said in a less enthusiastic tone, and they shook hands. "You guys can just move those papers and have a seat on that couch."

Both Grimsley and Selene grabbed the papers and set them aside on the bookshelf nearby. After everyone sat down on the couch, one of the Meowth grabbed onto Grimsley's scarf and kept rolling on the floor. Grimsley petted her for a little bit, and then his smile wavered when he looked at Nanu.

"We want to talk with you on how to deal with Team Skull."

"Is that so?" Nanu had his elbow on his desk, his chin resting on his palm. "First tell me what happened in Aether House."

"Team Skull barged in and stole a Pokémon while I was doing Acerola's trial," Selene said. The Meowth that Grimsley had petted before jumped on the couch, and Selene scratched behind her ear. "Their big sis Plumeria told me that Guzma wants me alone."

"I met with Selene, and then after a wager, I decided to help her out," Grimsley said.

"Wager?" Gladion asked with a blank face. Nanu had a similar expression.

"We did a battle to see if I'm good enough to go to Po Town." Selene grinned. "I lost, but Grimsley decided to come with me anyhow!"

"Huh. I shouldn't be surprised, but I am." Nanu picked up his kendama and began twirling it. "And why are you helping?"

"I've dealt with Team Skull before, so I'm not afraid of them. Also, I've promised Gracie that I would rescue her Pokémon."

Nanu stopped, the red ball dangling like a loose thread on clothing. He grunted.

"So you promised a little girl that you would do it. Didn't think of you to be the knight in shining armor type."

Grimsley chuckled. He pulled out his coin, flipping it a few times as he spoke.

"I'm not. I just don't want to see her get upset."

Nanu raised a brow, as if not convinced. He shrugged and turned to Gladion, who had his back against the wall with his eyes closed.

"How about you, boy? Are you gonna help them too?"

Gladion moved his head slightly at Nanu's direction. "There are a few questions I want to ask, especially to Guzma. About a Pokémon they're after."

Nanu narrowed his eyes. He relaxed in his seat and played his kendama once more.

"Must be some Pokémon if you want to talk to the big man himself."

Gladion's forehead twitched. He turned his head and said in a sharp tone, "The specific details are none of your business."

Grimsley blinked, taken aback by Gladion's voice. Selene frowned and did a fake cough. The Meowth she was petting growled and jumped off from the couch. Both Persian and Honchcrow woke up from their nap and raised their heads at the noise.

After giving Gladion a hard stare, Nanu snorted. "And I thought we were becoming friends after our last talk. Did you guys have a plan yet?"

"Not yet except using Gladion's Pokémon to our advantage," Selene said. "Grimsley says you may be able to help since you live next door to them."

Nanu rose from his seat, regarding them a moment. He sighed and rubbed his forehead.

"I don't like the sound of any of this. However, perhaps I can lend a hand."

"Really? That would be awesome!" Selene jumped off of the couch and pumped her fist up.

"Woah, easy there little miss," Nanu said, his hands up in a slow down gesture. "We need to come up with a plan first."

“Selene can get in easy since Team Skull wants her,” Gladion said. “My Zoroark will help Grimsley and I get inside.”

"Wait, you have a Zoroark?" Grimsley asked in surprise.

"He does!" Selene said enthusiastically. "I take it you've heard of them before?"

Grimsley nodded. "Zorua and Zoroark are known to create illusions and have a mischievous nature. Several of them reside in Unova." That made him remember the time he had battled against N, and one of his Pokémon was a Zoroark. He had seen Zoroark's ability firsthand.

Selene beamed. "Yeah! Jester's ability will come very useful!"

Nanu folded his arms against his chest and gave slow nods. "That's a start. All right, we'll hash out our plan a bit more, and then we'll head out to Po Town tonight."

Grimsley grunted in agreement. That gave them some time to make sure their plan would work before going forth with their rescue mission. They should be prepared as much as possible.

Author's Note:
So, any folks here been playing Pokemon Masters? I did Grimsley and Nanu's chapter a few nights ago and oh my gosh everything about it is perfect. DENA bringing in the soul food.

The Mental Pattern stuff Grimsley and Selene were talking about I got it from TaurusVersant's Eldritch. Took a long time for me to get through up to its Pokemon League arc (the story just only one chapter left wow), but it's worth it. Hau has Psychic bias like in that story, but I gave Selene the Water bias and Lillie the Fairy bias. There will be lots more Eldritch inspiration once we get to the Poni Island arc.

Thanks to bobandbill for betaing as always. Up next, Po Town. I should have the next chapter up late September or early October!

Foul Play
[Chapter Nine up!]

Bay

Darkinium Z

Female
Dani California
Seen 6 Hours Ago
Posted 6 Hours Ago
5,740 posts
13.4 Years
Chapter Sixteen
Nasty Plot (Part One)


When night fell, Grimsley and the others went outside. They gathered next to a large tree that was a short distance from the walls. Gladion had Jester, his Zoroark, by his side.

"Brad and Trek are outside the walls, but they're busy with their phones,” Gladion said. “I think we're good."

“Brad and Trek?” Grimsley asked.

“Team Skull. Brad is the dark-haired one. Trek is the bigger guy with green hair.”

"Okay, let's run through our plan before we begin," Nanu said.

“Jester will pretend to be you, and I go inside,” Selene said. “After that, you guys come in and we take on any Team Skulls coming at us.”

“Team Skull should have the Yungoos inside their mansion, the Shady House,” Gladion said. “We’ll provide backup while Selene rescues the Pokémon.”

“And if luck is by our side, Gladion will be able to talk to Team Skull’s leader,” Grimsley said.

“Good, good. Are your guys’ headpieces working?”

"Yup!" Selene said. She and Grimsley tapped on the bluetooths behind their ears. Nanu had provided them those, mentioning these had been lying around in the police station for a while now.

"Okay." Nanu faced Gladion. "Now boy, your Zoroark."

"Right." Gladion turned to his Pokémon and gave him a single nod. Jester closed his eyes, and sparkling purple light cascaded over his body. Seconds later, he transformed into Nanu. He chuckled and flashed a toothy grin at everyone.

Grimsley's eyes grew wide, and he pulled his head back. He looked over his shoulder to see Nanu with his usual deadpan expression. An amused smile formed on Grimsley’s llips.

"Well, I can already tell who's the real Nanu and who's not," he said, and Nanu glared at him.

"Save the jokes for later. Get in position, everyone."

"Okay Jester, that's our cue!" Selene said, and Jester nodded enthusiastically. They walked off.

Grimsley and Gladion peeked out from the tree. Selene and Jester approached the two grunts who had their backs on the walls. They stopped playing with their phones and stared at them. Grimsley's bluetooth began to pop with static, and he listened in on the conversation.

"Alola, y'all!” Selene greeted in an upbeat voice. “Ya boy Guzma wants to meet with me!"

"And you might be?" the first grunt asked. He was smaller and skinnier than the other grunt so that one must be Brad.

"Um, Selene? The trainer that defeated you guys a bunch of times, and Guzma not that long ago?"

The two grunts exchanged baffled expressions, and then Trek glared at Selene.

"Oh look, that lil' girl is finally here," he said. "And she brought that old cop with her."

"Yeah, what does he want?" Brad asked, pointing at Jester.

"Easy there guys," Jester said. His voice was exactly like Nanu's. That caught Grimsley off guard there for a second. "I'm only here to let her inside."

Both grunts gave Selene and Jester suspicious looks, and Brad shrugged.

"All right, you may come in. Don't expect to go through the rest of us easily, though."

They moved aside, and let Jester and Selene step forward. Gladion's hand covered his ear, where the bluetooth was.

"The code is 23115," he whispered through the device.

Jester punched in the code on the gate’s door. After Selene stepped inside, the door closed and Jester stepped back. He gave a quick glance over his shoulder, giving a thumbs up.

"All right, showtime for you guys," Nanu said, and immediately Grimsley and Gladion moved out from hiding.

"Now, Jester!" Gladion yelled.

At that instant, Jester's illusion faded and he returned to as a Zoroark. Both grunts' faces fell at that act, and when Gladion and Grimsley approached them they sneered.

"Yo, Brad, Trek!" Gladion faked a grin.

"What the heck is going on here?" Trek asked, and Gladion’s face turned back to serious.

"I need to talk to Guzma, it’s urgent. Is he here?"

Trek snorted. "He is, but he’s busy at the moment."

"And how about your other friend there?" Brad pointed at Grimsley, who stared at him.

"He's helping Selene get that Yungoos. Now if you'll excuse us, let us in."

Already the grunts laughed aloud, their hands on their stomach.

"You think we’ll let you in easily?” Trek asked. “You didn't do your job half the ti--"

Before he could finish, Jester had his claws in front of Trek’s face. He swallowed hard while Brad's face twitched. Even Grimsley's eyes grew wide.

"Step aside, or Jester will make mincemeat out of your faces."

“I would do as he says,” Nanu said, approaching everyone. He folded his arms against his chest. “I’ve seen how wild Zoroark can get. They can do some nasty work.”

Jester growled, his claw inching closer towards Trek’s throat. He took a step back and held his hands in defeat.

"Okay, chill dude! We'll get out of your way!" He and Brad moved aside to let Gladion punch in the code. The door to the gate opened, and Grimsley followed Nanu, Gladion, and Jester inside.

"You didn't have to go that far," Grimsley said in a low voice.

"Grimsley's right," Nanu said. "I would've come talk to the guys myself."

"Sorry," Gladion said, though his apology didn't sound too genuine. "I'm just tired of them not taking me seriously."

Grimsley frowned. "We need to help out Selene as much as we can. Come on."

As they moved forward, Grimsley glanced around his surroundings. All the houses and stores were abandoned, and the grass in the front yards was dried up. The Pokémon Center they just passed had cracks on the windows and was closed, too. The paint was splattered all over the cobbled roads and buildings, several of them either Pokémon or pokéballs. Most of the lamppost had lit up, but some weren't working and their glass was also broken.

"Man, oh man. Po Town is even sadder than the beach next to the Aether House," Grimsley said.

"I already told you how Team Skull had taken over the town,” Nanu said. “No silly gambling antics while in here, all right?"

An annoyed grunt escaped from Grimsley.

He, Nanu, and Gladion passed a few more houses and buildings, and they stopped when they saw Selene going against a grunt. At that moment, Selene's Lycanroc jumped up and threw several rocks at a Drowzee. After being hit, the Drowzee shot a colorful psychic beam at Meli, but she dodged and rammed into him.

"There's Selene!" Gladion said, pointing at her. Right now the Drowzee picked himself up, but wobbled and took deep breaths. Meli had some scratches and was dirty, but otherwise was in much better shape.

The grunt Selene went against gritted his teeth and clenched his fist. "Zen Headbutt, Lil' D!"

"I think we're about done, Meli. Stone Edge!"

Meli howled and her paws slammed on the ground, causing the boulder pillars to pop up. Lil D's forehead glowed pink, and as he was rushing at her the boulder struck him in the stomach. He flew in the air, dropped down on the ground, and collapsed. The grunt's face fell, and he returned his Pokémon.

"There's a whole crew coming to get you, girl! Right now I'm outta here!" the grunt warned, and then he took off.

Selene stared off in the distance, and then she looked down at Meli. "We can beat the rest of them, right girl?" Meli responded with a cheerful bark, and Selene giggled. When she noticed the group, she beamed. "Oh, hi you guys! You missed me kicking that Team Skull's butt!"

Smiling a little, Grimsley said, "Wished I could've witnessed that."

"You can brag about that later," Gladion said. "We should head to the Shady House now."

"Not so fast!" a female voice called out. Everyone turned around to see three grunts. The one that spoke was on top of a car while the other two squatted in front of it. Gladion glared at her.

"Hello, Violet." Gladion lowered his stare back to Violet’s other companions. "Jo-Jo. Mikey."

"Don't tell me you're helping this brat here," Violet said. She pursed her lips, folding her arms against her chest.

"I've heard of what you guys did to that little girl's Yungoos, and you won't get away with it."

"Yeah!" Selene said, taking one step forward. Meli barked. "I'm gonna save Yungoos, no matter what!"

All three grunts gave the group sharp looks, and then one of them pointed at Grimsley. "And who's this guy here?"

Grimsley faked a gasp, and he did a dramatic pose. "Me? I'm just a tourist that happens to get caught up in all of this."

"Yo Jo-Jo, isn't that the dude we met back in Melemele Island?" one of the grunts, Mikey, asked.

Jo-Jo blinked, and his eyes narrowed. "You're right! His Pokémon got us good!”

Grimsley’s smirk grew. “Oh right, you’re the men that stole Roland’s Pokémon and then ran with your tail between your legs.”

Both Jo-Jo and Mikey gritted their teeth and balled their fists. Jo-Jo grunted and said, “You’ll pay for what you did!”

After Violet jumped off from the car's roof, all three grunts approached them. Grimsley pressed his lips and pulled out his pokéball. Nanu narrowed his eyes, his hand near his belt where his pokéballs were. Gladion and Jester glared at them and their backs touched. Selene clenched one of her fists while Meli assumed her attack stance and growled.

"Selene, Nanu, go to the Shady House," Grimsley said. "We'll handle them from here."

“Right!” Selene and Nanu gave each other nods, and then they along with Meli dashed off.

"I'll take on Gladion while you two deal with the other guy," Violet said. She released two Pokémon, a Houndour and a Grimer that was in green slime instead of purple--an Alolan form.

"You got it, sis!" both Mikey and Jo-Jo said. They got out their pokéballs and released their Pokémon, an Arbok and a Trubbish. The latter Grimsley was reminded of the several Trubbish he came across in the alleys of Castelia City.

"Two against one?" Grimsley said, smirking. "Fine, I'll play that way." He tossed his pokéball, and Dice was released. He pulled his shredded skin up above his waist and stared at the Arbok and Trubbish.

“Stay sharp, Jester,” Gladion told his Zoroark, who nodded and growled. He pulled out another pokéball. “Null, you help out too!”

A bright light flashed, and a Pokémon Grimsley had never seen before appeared. They had a body of a canine, but their head was covered in a helmet and fish scales as legs. The Pokémon Gladion named Null lifted their head and howled.

And they had Grimsley and Gladion’s clash with Team Skull in Po Town.

"All right Tubby, Sludge Bomb!" Jo-Jo commanded.

"And you go for Aqua Tail, Mack!" Mikey ordered after.

"Avoid their attacks, and then target one of them!"

Tubby acted first, hurling a large amount of brown sludge at Dice. Dice dodged to the left, causing the sludge to spray onto a lamppost. A small yellow mist formed, leaving a slight smell there. Mack slithered and loomed over him, raising his tail that was filled with torrential waters. Just as he was about to strike, Dice jumped in the air and made Mack miss. While dropping back down, he kicked Mack's face and knocked the wind out of him.

"Go for Mud Bomb instead!" Mikey said.

"Try Rock Blast this time!" Jo-Jo said.

“Use Dragon Claw at the incoming attacks, and then at the Trubbish!”

Both Mack and Tubby inhaled, spitting out a muddy bubble and several small boulders respectively. Dice's claws were shrouded in green flames, and he was able to slice at the incoming attacks like diced carrots. He then approached Tubby and slashed him, tearing one part of his bag. Tubby squealed, covering his face.

“Hey Violet girl, how you’re holding up?” Jo-Jo asked.

“What do you think?” Violet shouted, and Grimsley glanced over his shoulder to see her and Gladion’s double battle. Jester released dark waves of energy at Violet’s Grimer and Null swiped Houndour with their large claws. Violet ordered her Grimer to attack the Pokémon with the helmet, which she did by hurling purple sludge at them. Gladion’s Pokémon dodged, moved at a blitzing pace, and rammed into Grimer, knocking them out. Violet gasped and returned her Pokémon, and Grimsley pulled his attention back to his own battle.

"Ice Punch at the Arbok!"

"Poison Fang, Mack!"

Mack's fangs glowed purple, and he lunged at his opponent. Dice leapt just in time, and while in the air, his fist was covered in cold mist and a blue glow. He dived towards Mack, punching him in the face. Mack whipped his head, a large bruise on his cheek.

"Sludge Bomb on his back!" Jo-Jo said, doing that rapper pose he had done the first time he and Grimsley had met.

Before Dice could turn around, Tubby spat out brown sludge onto his back. Some goo got stuck there, and Dice's eyes squinted when he tried to wipe them off. Even Grisley plugged his nose with his fingers and his forehead wrinkled at the smell.

"Smack that Scrafty while he’s still distracted!" Mikey did a similar pose with his arms.

Grimsley was about to call for Dice to watch out, but then an idea came to him and he grinned. "Take the hit, and then get back at your opponent!"

Mack hissed and his tail was covered with water once more. After Dice took off the remaining sludge on his back, he stood still and let Mack slammed his tail onto his face. Dice's face was soaked and he fell down, but he quickly picked himself up and a ring of energy began to form around him.

Both Jo-Jo and Mikey gave each other baffled looks.

"Don't tell me that lil' dude is gonna--"

Before Bo could finish, Dice screeched and the ring blasted at Mack with great force. Mack flew backward and crashed at a nearby tree, collapsing on impact. Mikey gritted his teeth and returned Mack.

"It's all on you now, Jo-Jo!"

"I got your back!" Jo-Jo said. He glared at Grimsley, clenching his fist. "Seed Bomb, Tubby!"

"Zen Headbutt!"

Tubby inhaled and spat out several glowing green seeds straight at Dice. Dice's forehead lit up a soft pink color, and he rushed through the seeds head-on. He rammed into Tubby, causing him to go up for a second and then drop down. Tubby didn't get back up.

"Tubby, no!" Jo-Jo grunted in frustration, returning his Pokémon. "No way you're just some ordinary tourist."

“You’re right, I’m not.” Grimsley shrugged, and Dice went to his side with his chin raised. “Either way, you guys lost.”

Both grunts’ faces turned red and their hands shook.

“Man, this is wacked,” Mikey said. “We’re outta here!”

Jo-Jo nodded, and then he turned his head. “Hey Violet, we’re leaving now! Catch ya later!” He and Mikey bolted off.

Gladion was also close to finishing his battle with Violet. Violet just ordered her Houndour to use Flamethrower at Jester, but he dodged and swiped the dog with his claws. The Houndour had scratches on her skull and dirty fur. Some of Jester’s fur was burned, but he was still in much better shape.

“Huh, what gives?” Violet asked, annoyed and baffled. She was distracted by Jo-Jo and Mikey leaving, which gave Gladion the opportunity to tell Jester to use Shadow Ball. After the crimson ball struck the Houndour on the face, she fell and didn’t get up. When Violet turned back, she screamed. “Did you just hurt my Pumpkin while I wasn’t looking?”

“You should’ve paid better attention, then,” Gladion said. Next to him, Jester gave what sounded like a cackle and Null snorted.

Violet glared at Gladion, biting her lips. “Guzma’s gonna beat you down real hard when he sees you.” She ran off.

Grimsley hummed, glad that those grunts were taken care of. Gladion dragged out a deep sigh and ran his fingers through his hair. His Pokémon went to his side, the one with the helmet on their head rubbing against his cheek. Ever since they appeared, Grimsley took a great interest in them.

"I have to say, that is one tough pup you have there,” Grimsley said, and Gladion stared at him.

“Null’s isn’t a cute puppy. They've been my most loyal partner, and I’m willing to do anything for them.”

“Willing to do anything for them, huh?” Grimsley hummed in amusement. “I suppose that goes for me too if any of my Pokémon are in danger.”

Gladion regarded him for a moment, and then he said, “Me and Null... We're more alike than we might look. We're both what we're made out to be." Gladion turned his gaze away from Grimsley, and at the Shady House. “We should move.”

Grimsley nodded in agreement. They returned their Pokémon and hurried off.

Up ahead there was a large mansion that appeared to be in ruins. More graffiti was sprayed on several spots, and the infrastructure and many of the windows were cracked. There were two floorboards on the lower roofs that led to an open window.

As they headed towards the mansion, Grimsley hoped that Nanu and Selene were all right.

Xxx

Nanu had been inside the Shady House many times before, mostly to make sure the Team Skull kids stayed where they were supposed to. Whenever he visited, the grunts would either tell him to leave or tease that he was old enough to be their grandfather. Today’s visit though they might be more hostile to him.

The walls were filled with graffiti, and some of the paint was chipping off. Several shelves and broken furniture had been left behind like a thief store. The carpet was dried and sticky against his sandals, most likely from the soda and beer that was spilled on it. Nanu’s nose wrinkled at the smell of alcohol and cigarettes that lingered.

“Hey, did you get to see that broadcast from the Aether Foundation?” Selene asked as they went up the first set of stairs, her Lycanroc following behind.

“Hm?” Nanu blinked, and then he raised a brow. “I did, yeah. What about it?”

“Well, the president showed off that video of my Brionee going against that Ultra Beast!”

“Wait, that was you?” Nanu said in surprise. They stopped before where the stairs had split into two.

“Ah-huh!” Selene said with an enthusiastic nod. “That thing is strong, but Poppers is even stronger!”

Nanu’s forehead twitched, and he felt his blood pressure rising. “Those Ultra Beasts aren’t like the usual Pokémon you battle with! They’re extremely dangerous, and need to be handled with precaution.”

Selene’s face perked up. “Have you encountered those things before?” she asked seriously.

Memories of his encounter with UB Symbiont came back to him like a static VHS recording. He, Looker, and Sana went deep inside Lush Jungle and encountered three of those jellyfish monsters. Their Pokémon sustained hard hits but managed to subdue them. One of them being experimented on by an Interpol scientist, screaming. Nanu mentally took a deep breath.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said in a gruff voice. When he didn’t follow up on that, Selene tilted her head and gave him a suspicious look. Meli seemed to have a similar expression, her tail wagging.

“Fine, you don’t have to tell me.” Selene shrugged, and then she said, “You’re the kahuna, right? Can we do the Grand Trial after this?”

Nanu regarded her for a second, and then he snorted. “Sure, if we get out of here alive.”

Selene raised her chin and had her hands on her sides, staring at him. “Wow, such a downer.”

“Eh, not the first time folks had said that to me.”

“What’s this, intruders in our crib?” another voice called out. Nanu and Selene looked down to see two female grunts approaching them. He recognized them as Deedee and Jazzy.

“What you’re doing here, old cop?” Deedee asked.

“Oh, just checking the premises as usual,” Nanu said in a flat tone.

“If so, then why you have a little girl with you?” Jazzy said, pointing at Selene.

“I’m here to get a Pokémon back! And to kick your guys’ butt!” Selene said, her foot taking a step forward. Meli barked.

Both grunts laughed, and then Jazzy said, “Aw how cute. She thinks she can take us down.”

Selene grunted and clenched her fist. Meli did an attack stance and growled. The trainer opened her mouth, but Nanu raised his hand.

“You go find Guzma. I’ll handle these clowns here.”

Selene gasped, and then she hummed in understanding. She and Meli took the left side of the stairs. When Nanu was left alone, both Deedee and Jazzy chuckled and pulled out their pokéballs.

“Felicia and Dennis told me that you had beat them twice. We’re gonna show you who’s boss, gramps!” Deedee said. She and Jazzy released their Pokémon, a Golbat and a Mareanie respectively.

Nanu made a bored grunt, went down the steps, and took out his own pokéballs. Krookodile and Sableye came out, doing their battle poses. The crocodile Pokémon roared and caused the grunts’ Pokémon to flinch and back away. Satisfied that Krookodile’s Intimidate ability was working, Nanu cracked a smile.

“All right Dolly, Spike Cannon at that Sableye!” Jazzy said, thrusting her arm forward.

Deedee did the same gesture and yelled, “Air Cutter, Goldy!”

“Deflect with Power Gem, Sableye,” Nanu said calmly. “As for you Kookie, slam that Golbat with your tail.”

Dolly squealed, her spikes jumping up like hair being rubbed by electricity. She fired several pin missiles towards Sableye, but Nanu’s Pokémon countered by having her gem glow and release a number of bright stones. Both assaults collided in a small explosion. When the remaining gems showered onto Dolly, she whined and covered herself with her tentacles.

Meanwhile, Goldy flapped his wings furiously and razor-sharp air struck Krookodile on the chest. A few cuts were left there, but Krookodile wasn’t fazed one bit. He stomped hard on one foot and swung his tail, glowing green, into the Golbat. Goldy was sent flying into a pile of furniture, and after he screeched was immediately returned to his pokéball. Soon a Salandit popped up and took Goldy’s place on the battlefield instead.

Deedee’s face fell. “Hey! What trick did you pull, geezer?”

“Dragon Tail switches your opponent’s Pokémon.” Nanu had one hand on his side.

Deedee groaned and clenched her fist. “Gonna play it that way, huh? Come on Sal, burst out your flames at them!”

Sal hissed and swung his tail wildly. Flaming liquid flew out from the red patterns on his body, which splattered on both of Nanu’s Pokémon. Krookodile shook the liquid off and grunted in annoyance while Sableye was stunned for a second and wiped her eyes.

“Good work there, bud!” Deedee faced Jazzy and said, “So Jazzy, can we move our sushi date tomorrow from the afternoon to later?”

“Huh?” Jazzy blinked at her, and then she nodded. “Sure, no prob. Why, though?” She turned back to the battle. “Full-on Knock Out on that Krookodile!”

Were the girls talking date plans during the battle? Nanu brushed that off and focused back on the battle. “Punch that lizard, Sableye. Kookie, you use Thunder Fang at the Mareanie.”

Sableye grinned and her fist form a blue aura with cold air swirling around. She punched Sal’s jaw, knocking him backward and making him screech. He picked himself up and hissed, some pieces of ice stuck where Sableye had hit.

Krookodile’s fangs crackled with electric sparks, and he charged at Dolly. Dolly jumped up and swung two of her tentacles at Krookodile, but he grabbed one of them with his teeth and shocked her with large amounts of electricity. After he let go, Dolly wobbled and had a dazed expression on her face. She was left with several burns all over her.

Both Deedee and Jazzy glared at him.

“Dragon Rage at that Sableye, Sal!” Deedee said. She glanced at Jazzy. “Got a call from that malasada shop, sayin’ they’re willin’ to interview me.”

“Oh my gosh, that’s great news, girl! And you Dolly, Poison Jab at Krookodile!”

Nanu sighed and rolled his eyes. “Can your guys’ conversation wait until the battle’s over? Use your tail at the Salandit, Kookie. Sableye, Shadow Sneak.”

Sal inhaled and released a blast of purple flames at Krookodile. To counter, he raised his tail and swung at the flames, causing them to disappear. Krookodile then slammed his tail at Sal, who got squashed on the floor and collapsed.

One of Dolly’s tentacles glowed purple, and she swung at Sableye. At the last second, Sableye dodged and backed away with a giggle. Her eyes turned red, and a shadow of herself appeared behind the Mareanie. Dolly looked around in confusion, and when she finally noticed Sableye’s shadow it punched her several times without warning. When Sableye was done, she pulled her shadow back and Dolly fainted.

“What the…” Jazzy said with a dumbfounded face. She and Deedee returned their Pokémon.

Deedee had a similar expression, and then she grinned. “It’s okay, babe. I still got Goldy.” She released her Golbat, who screeched and flew around frantically. “Get back at that Krookodile!”

“Strike first with Aerial Ace!” Nanu said, raising his voice.

Goldy’s wings shined a metallic color and he dove down, only for Krookodile to charge at the Golbat in a blur and rammed him into the wall. Goldy collapsed on impact. There were a few cracks on the foundation. Deedee returned her Pokémon with a fuming face.

“How can a sleazy cop like you defeat us?” Deedee asked.

“I’m also a Kahuna, so of course I’m stronger, ” Nanu said. Krookodile raised his snout and snorted while Sableye cackled.

The female grunts stared at him, and then Jazzy said, “Guzma’s stronger than you, so you better watch out, yo!” They held hands and exited the mansion.

Nanu released a tired sigh and looked at his Pokémon. “What a hassle,” he said, and both Sableye and Krookodile made noises of agreement. He returned them and took the left side of the stairs.

When he made it to the hallway, that sinking feeling inside his stomach returned. As Nanu moved forward, he glanced at the paintings that were ruined by the graffiti and pinned pictures of Team Skull. He stopped when one picture caught his attention. It was a picture of a younger Guzma with several other kids around his age and an older man. His eyes grew wide.

“Kahuna Laney,” Nanu muttered to himself.

Laney was the Kahuna before him. His title was stripped away from the tapus due to a shady group he had formed. He did that because he thought Alola’s customs were outdated and the region wasn’t keeping up with the world, or so the rumors went. No surprise where Guzma got his beliefs from.

“It’s your fault that we lost! Your tank top was too tight and it distracted me!” someone yelled, and Nanu was pulled away from his thoughts. He turned to see two other female grunts storming out from one of the rooms. Nanu moved to the corner.

“My fault? Your Raticate kept messing his moves up!”

The girls passed by Nanu, not noticing him, and went down the stairs.

“Your Rattata wasn’t so hot, either! Also, when was the last time you washed your tank?”

“Zip it!”

Nanu’s forehead wrinkled. When he turned back, Selene and her Pokémon came out of the room and were in front of him. She held Poppers close to her chest while Meli was behind them.

“You know what’s going on with those two?” he asked.

“You mean with the grunts I had just beat? They wore each other’s shirts and were sore that they lost to me.”

“Wearing each other’s shirts?” Nanu raised a brow and shrugged. “Kinda stupid to get worked up over.”

“I know, right!” Selene said. Poppers squealed and clapped his flippers. Meli barked, seemed to also in agreement.

Nanu shushed them and said in a low voice, “Not so loud. There are still some grunts here. There’s one walking right now.”

A short distance from them, a grunt paced around the hallway with his phone and headphones on. He rapped on a song he was listening to, his shoulders moving and head bobbing. Nanu recognized him as Lorenzo.

“Don’t know what ya want from me, bro. Already used up all my cash on cigars, Julio. Gonna fly high up in the sky. Come and catch me, if you wanna try!”

After he finished that verse, the grunt turned around and headed the other direction. Nanu didn’t react as he had seen more than one grunt do that. A pinched expression crossed Selene’s face.

“Their singing always hurt my ears,” she said.

“Eh, you get used to it.” Nanu shifted his gaze for a second. “Let me ask you something, girl. Do you really want to battle Guzma?”

Selene’s face fell, and her gaze fell on the floor. Poppers looked up to her and gave a sad squeaking sound.

“To be honest, not really. I just want to get the Yungoos back, but I’m not afraid of him.”

Nanu regarded her for a moment, and then he said, “Okay, good. There’s something of Guzma’s I want to check. His laptop, to be specific.”

“Oh, you’re trying to get some dirt on him? How you’re gonna do that?”

“I’ll force him out. And I know the perfect Pokémon to do so.”

Nanu pulled out a pokéball from his belt and released Honchkrow. As the bird cawed and flapped his wings, Selene and her Pokémon gazed up in awe.

“I need you to distract Guzma and his guys for a while,” Nanu said to his Pokémon. “Can you do that?”

Honchkrow nodded and screeched, which Nanu assumed to be a yes. He pointed to a large vase that was next to one of the windows.

“Break that vase over there, and then once Guzma’s out, go get his sunglasses.”

After Honchkrow glanced at the vase, he opened his beak and fired a crimson ball straight at it. The vase was shattered into several pieces.

“Huh, what’s going on?” the grunt from earlier yelled. Nanu, Selene, and her Pokémon hid behind old furniture with boxes piled on there. When Nanu peeked from the corner, Lorenzo approached Honchkrow and glared at him. “Yo Big Bird, what’cha doing here? Tryin’ to find some shiny bottle caps?”

Honchkrow screeched and pecked at his face. Lorenzo kept crying “ow, ow, ow!”, shielding Honchkrow’s attacks with his arms.

“Hey, Lorenzo, what’s all that noise?”

Nanu immediately recognized that voice to be Guzma’s. The man himself appeared with Dennis and Felicia behind him.

“This Honchkrow broke that vase, and is now pecking me!” Lorenzo said while Honchkrow kept doing that.

“Really?” Guzma asked. “Why’s that?”

With a hard stare, Felicia said, “That Honchkrow looks familiar…”

Nanu’s heart thundered against his chest. He hoped their cover wasn’t blown this early.

“Hold up, Feliz. You don’t mean…”

Before Dennis could finish, Honchkrow stopped hurting Lorenzo and turned his attention to Guzma. He grabbed Guzma’s sunglasses with his claws and flew outside towards the balcony.

“Get back my sunglasses, you brat!” Guzma screamed, shaking his fist. He and his group rushed outside.

Nanu sighed in relief. “That should buy us some time. Let’s move.”

Everyone hurried to Guzma’s room, which was on the other side of the hallway. After Selene opened the door, they stepped inside.

It had been a while since Nanu had entered Guzma’s room, but he remembered it well enough to know it hadn’t changed much. Nanu stepped on one of the many beer cans scattered across the floor. Up ahead there were some stairs and a sofa that had been torn and dirtied. A large banner with Team Skull’s logo was pinned on the wall. That spot had been referred to as Guzma’s throne; a far cry from proper royalty. The scent of alcohol and cigarettes that first lingered on the first floor stuck around here also.

“You try to find the Yungoos while I snoop around his laptop,” Nanu said. Selene nodded, put Poppers down, and then she and her Pokémon began searching the room.

He took the stairs and approached Guzma’s laptop, which was on the small stand that was next to the sofa. It was on sleep mode, so he pressed a key and the laptop lit up back to life. The login screen asked for a password. Nanu pressed his lips in annoyance.

“What kind of password Guzma would use?” he muttered. Guzma would probably have his favorite Pokémon for that. After remembering what that Pokémon was, he typed “Golisopod” and hit enter.

That password failed.

If favorite Pokémon didn’t work, then the Pokémon’s nickname. Now, what was it? He recalled Plumeria saying it was Goliath, like that character from that one story. He typed “Goliath” and hit enter.

That password was successful, and he greeted with the laptop’s wallpaper of the Team Skull logo and splattered paint. That made finding the information he needed faster.

Nanu opened the browser and clicked on a tab, QMail. Guzma’s information was saved, so he was shown his inbox already. Many of the emails were newsletters and promotions from various companies, but there were some from the Aether President, Lusamine Jubert, that made Nanu’s stomach jump. He clicked on one of those emails.

From: yaboyguzma@qmail.com
To: lusaminejubert@aetherfoundation.org

Hey, Madame Prez. Can you run down to me again why this Cosmog is so important?

From: lusaminejubert@aetherfoundation.org
To: yaboyguzma@qmail.com

Cosmog has the ability to open Ultra Wormholes and bring beings from other dimensions. If someone were to have that Pokémon and not used its powers properly, that can spell disaster.

Here is all the information you need regarding Aether’s research on alternate dimensions. Have your men bring Cosmog and Lillie back to me, and you will be paid handsomely.

Attachments: aether_wormhole_research.pdf

From: yaboyguzma@qmail.com
To: lusaminejubert@aetherfoundation.org

Wow, that’s a lot of info to take in. I don’t understand half of the alternate dimensions mumbo jumbo, but this sounds serious. Don’t worry, my guys and I will take care of that for you.


Nanu furrowed his brow and rubbed his chin. He didn’t remember anyone mentioning a Cosmog when he was in Interpol. Could this be the Pokémon Gladion and Charlotte had mentioned that Team Skull was after? Also, why did Lusamine want her daughter back? Nanu was under the impression Kukui had hired Lillie as his assistant on the spot.

He glanced over his shoulder to see Selene and Meli checking out a chest full of z-crystals, the dog sniffing at the contents. Meanwhile, Poppers looked behind a shelf filled with alcohol bottles. Nanu clicked on another email thread and read it.

From: yaboyguzma@qmail.com
To: lusaminejubert@aetherfoundation.org

Yo, Madame Prez! Thanks so much for sending in the money. My homies and I are gonna live like kings, thanks to you!

From: lusaminejubert@aetherfoundation.org
To: yaboyguzma@qmail.com

That’s only the first half of the payment. You get the rest once Lillie and Cosmog are in Aether Paradise.


Nanu pulled his head back and made a “tch” sound. That meant Aether’s president had been pulling the strings all this time. It was no wonder he was suspicious of the organization.

“Hey, I found Yungoos hiding behind Guzma’s bottle stash!” Selene said cheerfully. She approached Nanu while holding the mongoose against her chest. Yungoos growled and flashed his teeth, a bit shaken up. Behind them, Meli and Poppers cheered also.

“Thing must’ve been scared half to death if he’s glad to see a wretch like me.”

“Maybe. I won’t be surprised if Team Skull had harmed him beforehand.” Selene glanced at the laptop, and then asked, “Did you find anything good?”

“I did, and it’s big. Apparently Aether’s president had been Team Skull’s secret benefactor.”

“What, really?” Selene said in a shocked voice.

“Yup. She gave some money to Team Skull and wanted them to bring Lillie and Cosmog back. Lillie is Lusamine’s daughter.”

Selene sucked in a breath and frowned. Meli and Poppers looked up at her with sad faces.

“That explains why the president had acted strange when Hau mentioned her. Does Gladion know about this?”

“I’m not sure, but we can ask.” Nanu closed the browser and snapped the laptop shut. “We better get back to him and Grimsley before Guzma sees--”

“Why the heck are you guys inside my throne?”

Both Nanu and Selene flinched. They slowly turned around to see Guzma, Lorenzo, Dennis, and Felicia surrounding them. The Team Skull leader had his hands on his sides, and a wicked grin spread across his face. His sunglasses were on his forehead, so he got them back.

"The hated boss who beats you down and beats you down and never lets up... Yeah. Big bad Guzma is here!"

Nanu fixed his stare at him. Selene glared, holding the Yungoos tighter. Meli assumed a stance and growled while Poppers barked angrily.

"I don't really get you, kid," Guzma continued, "but at least this is a change of pace. It's not everyday someone comes straight to me for a beating!"

"I'm not here for you, bumhead!" Selene immediately said. Yungoos in her arms hissed at him.

"No bone to pick with me, huh? Then it's for Yungoos, I guess." Guzma shrugged, and then faced Nanu. "And you brought this washed-out cop with you to help."

"I knew I recognized the old dude's Honchkrow before!" Felicia said. "You were creating a distraction. aren't ya?"

"Maybe," Nanu said flatly. Honchkrow was outside the mansion, so he would have to get him later.

Guzma glanced at his laptop and narrowed his eyes. He jabbed a finger above Nanu’s chest.

“You were snooping around my laptop, too. For what purpose?”

“I know your connection with Aether, and why you have your guys get Cosmog.”

All three of his grunts shot confused looks at their leader. Guzma scrunched up his face and then relaxed.

"I gotta admit, that's bold of you guys to get Yungoos like that." He grinned, licking his lips. "However, I'm gonna teach you to stay out of other people's business!

Guzma’s grunts chuckled and took a step forward. Nanu gritted his teeth and already had his hand near a pokéball. Selene gasped and gazed down at Yungoos, who hissed and wiggled. Her Pokémon stared and held their ground.

Before anyone could make their move, Gladion and Grimsley showed up and everyone turned their attention to them.

Nanu’s face twitched. About time.

Author's Notes:
1. Real quick, went ahead and fixed the grammar and prose in Chapters 12-15!

2. Originally Nasty Plot was going to be one chapter, but it became a bit too long and so I have it split into two chapters. The big Guzma battle will be next chapter.

3. Forgot to mention last chapter, but one of my readers ScarletMage did some fanart! It's based off the Murkrow thief back in Chapter 5 and it's cute. Please check it out and give them your support.

4. Also! Twitter user Amyliobat is doing a Grimsley & Nanu comic called En Prison. GO CHECK IT OUT.

Yeah, I think that's it. Thanks to bobandbill for the beta as always. I might aim for Chapter 17 to come late October or early November. See you then!

Foul Play
[Chapter Nine up!]
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