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Old August 7th, 2017 (8:25 PM). Edited April 7th, 2018 by Bay.
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Bay Bay is offline
Darkinium Z
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Dani California
Gender: Female
Nature: Sassy
Posts: 5,207
Foul Play

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Index


xxx

Chapter One
Knock Off



Chapter One
Knock Off

Another battle, another loss for Grimsley.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xxx

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

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

-If you guys didn't catch, yes I had Grimsley nickname his Liepard, Raz. Reason for that is there's actually a poker game called "Razz poker." I don't know how appropriate to link gambling sites here, so I'll refrain from that and let you guys check it out yourselves. In fact, I'm gonna have the names of Grimsley's Pokemon based around gambling somehow.
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  #2    
Old August 8th, 2017 (2:40 AM).
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    Your opening chapter is looking good :) I particularly like Nanu's character.
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      #3    
    Old August 8th, 2017 (11:45 AM).
    Vragon
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      This was a good start.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        You do have a great premise for a fic! I'm always up for a fic that explores more of the characterization of NPCs. It gives them more of a life than what the players usually see. And Nanu is a favorite of mine.
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          #5    
        Old August 9th, 2017 (2:02 PM).
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          A very strong start!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Chapter Two
          Brutal Swing


          Chapter Two
          Brutal Swing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          “Try Revelation Dance instead!”

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

          “Huh, what just happened?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          “Rock Blast!”

          “Sucker Punch, again!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          “Of course. You have a good rest.”

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

          Encountering a criminal organization and seeing a wormhole in action. This wasn’t what he expected on the first couple days of his trip. Now he wondered what else Alola has in store for him.
          __________________

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          Foul Play [Chapter Four up!]
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            #8    
          Old October 25th, 2017 (5:02 PM). Edited October 25th, 2017 by Astinus.
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          Astinus Astinus is offline
             
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            This chapter had some definite improvements compared to the first! The narration wasn't dry to read, and even the battle scenes were fun. I particularly like the details that you have, like the slap marks on Queen's face after Oricorio slapped her around.

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

            Noticed a few typos.

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

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

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

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

            Quote:
            “I’m about to head that island next,
            "head to that island"
            __________________

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            not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--
            not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--
            but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out."
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              #9    
            Old November 12th, 2017 (10:21 PM). Edited April 28th, 2018 by Bay.
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            Bay Bay is offline
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            Astinus: Glad to hear Chapter Two's description was better this time around. after you, Bardothren, and Vragon mentioned the narration I tried to make Grimsley's feelings over alola more apparent.

            The stuff with him interracting with Ricky and Ronald yeah that's what I was trying to show. And indeed, he'll be dealing with more stuff happening in Alola when he gets to meet with Nanu. Speaking of which...

            Before we get to the third chapter, US/UM is just right around the corner. What I've been thinking is I will have some references to US/UM in latter chapters, so there will be some spoilers. But don't worry, I'll warn for those if that's the case. Thanks to bobandbill for looking over this chapter for me!

            Edit November 15th- Made some small grammar edits and changed a couple dialogue lines

            Edit 2 4/28/18For those that read this chapter from other sites, I made some revisions here. Content wise all the events stayed the same, however I made some changes to the prose and dialogue. Here's the original draft of the third chapter for comparison's shake.

            Chapter Three
            Flatter


            The morning he was supposed to leave for Ula’ula Island, Grimsley made it to the Marina twenty minutes early. He waited inside the terminal until the intercom announced the ferry to Ula’ula was about to leave. He boarded the ship and stole a seat next to the window. Once all the passengers were inside, the ferry took off. During the ride, Grimsley looked outside as the water splashed in small waves. Sometimes a water Pokémon jumped out, and flocks of Wingull and Pelipper went soaring by.

            The ship made it to Ula’ula Island when it was close to sunset, stopping at Malie City’s terminal. He got off the pier and headed out, as the other passengers from the ferry passed around him. Grimsley ignored the Pokémon Center and Malie Gardens, and when he reached the city gates his jaws dropped.

            The city’s architecture gave off a Johto vibe, which astonished him. He first checked in an inn to drop off his bags, and then walked around city square. His shoes slapped against the cobbled streets, and the light posts lit up as he passed them. As he continued to stroll, Grimsley glimpsed at the various shops and restaurants still open. He eventually stopped in between the Malie Community Center and the Malie Library. Grimsley remembered the receptionist at the Tourist Bureau back in Hau’oli City had talked about this place. He let out a breath and stepped inside the library.

            Bright lighting washed over inside the building, like sunlight hanging over the beach. Many shelves filled with books stretched across the hall. The library clerk at the desk watched as the patrons read their books or used the computers in silence, several of the tables and couches already being occupied. Grimsley went to the male clerk to ask where he could find books about Tapu Bulu, and he told him to go to the second floor. He headed upstairs, and more bookshelves loomed over him. More tables and couches were scattered.

            Grimsley found the section on Alola‘s guardian deities after looking for a few minutes and flipped through some of the books. There was one book, Tapu and the Kahunas, that mentioned how the tapus choose someone as a kahuna, that acted like a leader of sorts, for their island and grant them with sparkling stones that were used to activate Z-Moves. He then picked up another book, The Guardian Deities of the Islands, that had some brief mentions of each of the deities—Tapu Koko, Tapu Fini, Tapu Bulu, and Tapu Lele. Grimsley skipped the other tapus and read Tapu Bulu’s section.

            Guardian Deity of Ula’ula Island, dual grass and fairy type. Considered one of the laziest deities, but it could control plants and use its horns to do heavy damage. A drawing of Tapu Bulu depicted the Pokemon having a large shell with different marks and two large horns. Its lower body had a bell-like tail, and it strikes a huge resemblance to a bull. Grimsley absorbed that information for a moment, his finger tapping at that particular page. He was reminded of one of the legendary musketeers, Terrakion, also known for their great strength.

            “I see you’re taking a great interest towards Tapu Bulu,” someone asked from behind, pulling Grimsley from his thoughts. He shifted his head to see a man dressed in a vest over a shirt and pants. His brown hair was kept neat and slicked, and his grey eyes sparkled with great interest in him. Grimsley chuckled.

            “I just dropped by Alola recently, and I was very curious about this guardian deity of yours. In one of the brochures I read, Tapu Bulu resides in the desert and caused destruction on several sites.” Grimsley handed him the brochure he got back in the tourist bureau, and the other man looked through it for a few seconds before he nodded.

            “Indeed, you’re right Tapu Bulu did that.” The man’s eyes then grew wide. “Oh, silly me, I haven’t introduced myself! I’m Iokua,” he said, stretching his arm.

            “Grimsley. Nice to meet you, Iokua,” Grimsley said, and the two shook hands.

            “Since you’ve only just visited, there’s a lot more books on Alola’s history and culture that I can recommend.” Iokua gave out an awkward chuckle and rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m the librarian here, but this library was founded by a late friend of mine. He and his daughter moved the books here, and they let the public read them at their own leisure.”

            Grimsley hummed in acknowledgment. “Ah, I get it. That’s very generous of them to do that.”

            Iokua grinned, then his eyes lit up. “Say, I’m heading to the Sushi High Roller for dinner now, would you like to join? That restaurant has some top class food.”

            After taking a minute to consider his offer Grimsley said, “That would be lovely.” He put the book back in the shelf, and then he and Iokua left the library together.

            They entered the Sushi High Roller shortly after. The smell of steam rice, fish, and other foods invaded his nose. A sushi bar was set aside on the left— where one cook was making the food in front of the people occupying there— and the regular tables spread out on the right, a small bridge in the middle of the restaurant. Most of the seats had been taken by the other customers. Iokua went to the man at the cashier stand and asked for a table for two.

            The both of them ordered the z-kaiskei samurai set, and over half an hour later, the waiter brought out a tray of miso soup, tea, and other dishes in nicely patterned square plates. Taking several bites of his meal, Grimsley liked how the soup warmed his throat and the sushi and vegetables firm but easy to chew. The meal reminded him of his mother’s cooking.

            “Oh wow, so you’re actually an Elite Four member from Unova?” Iokua asked during their conversation. He gulped another piece of his sashimi dish, which consisted of salmon, octopus, and tuna. “I thought I recognized you from somewhere.”

            “Perhaps from the news, since I’ve been in the limelight on occasion.” After he finished sipping his soup, Grimsley lowered his head and had his lips in a grim line. “My family used to be immense in great wealth, but that all fell apart after my father died.”

            A frown crossed Iokua’s face. “I’m sorry to hear that. That must be tough for you and your family.” He ate the last pieces of his sashismi, then said, “Alola demolished the monarch system generations ago and we have kahunas instead looking over the islands. Like the Elite Four of your region, they’re strong trainers respected by many.”

            Having finished his main dishes, Grimsley started chewing on his cake, which was sweet and soft against his tongue. “Yes, one of your books did mention that. Who’s the kahuna of your island?”

            “Right now that would be Nanu, and he’s a dark type trainer. He’s actually my father!”

            Grimsley almost choked when he heard that. Back in Melemele Island, Ronald had told him this island’s kahuna specialized in dark type Pokémon. And right now he was having dinner with his son. He swallowed his tea to wash the food away inside his throat. Iokua looked at him with wide eyes and asked Grimsley if he was all right, only for him to wave it off and regain his composure.

            “To be honest, I came to Alola in the first place so that I can find some interesting battles to partake. Perhaps he could be the opponent I’ve been looking for.”

            “Could be.” Iokua chuckled and took some bites of his own cake. “If you’ll be sticking around Ula’ula for a while, Acerola is one of the trial captains here. She’s the daughter of the friend I mentioned earlier.” He then asked Grimsley if he knew about trial captains and the island challenge, and after he said yes Iokua continued. “She lives at the Aether House, so you should go there to see her. It’s not that far from Tapu Village.”

            “Aether House?” Once more, Grimsley blinked in confusion.

            “It’s a residence that belongs to Aether Foundation, an organization that protects endangered Pokémon and promotes conservation. Acerola can tell you more about them.”

            “That’s fine with me,” Grimsley said. He then asked directions to Tapu Village and Aether House, which Iokua told him he could take the bus from here to Route 12, but once he reached that route he could either ride a Mudsdale to get through that area or ride a flying type to get to Tapu Village faster. After that, just a little further until he reaches Aether House from there. When Iokua had finished, Grimsley smiled in satisfaction. “I should be able to make it there with not much trouble. You have my uttermost gratitude.”

            “Hey, it’s no problem at all.” Iokua’s face then softened. “Once you make it there, do say hi to Acerola and my dad for me!”

            “I’ll make sure to tell them that then.” Grimsley glanced at the clock on the wall, now 9:05pm. “I think I should head out. I would like to catch an early morning bus tomorrow.”

            “Oh, absolutely! I need to get back home myself. And don’t worry, I’m paying for all of this,” Iokua said and winked.

            They left as soon as Iokua paid for the meal. Once outside, both men said goodbye and shook hands. Grimsley watched as some people passed by Iokua while he headed home. After a minute or so, Grimsley started to go back to his inn, musing how Iokua was a nice gentleman. He looked forward to the next part of his trip tomorrow.

            xxx

            After Rachel's Golduck had rested in the police station overnight, Nanu went to check on the Pokémon to see that he looked much better. Almost all of the cuts and bruises had been healed, his forehead wasn't as hot as yesterday, and he regained some of his color. During breakfast, Golduck was able to gulp down his food, which pleased Rachel greatly. His package of potions and other items did come in earlier than expected, but Nanu suggested to her that Golduck should relax one more day to regain his strength more, to which she agreed.

            The next day after lunch, he and Rachel had their battle, a three on three battle outside in Route 17. Dark clouds formed the sky, but there was no rain yet. Nanu had used Sableye, Krookodile, and Persian while his opponent's Pokémon were Manectric, Turtonator, and Golduck. They were on their last Pokémon, both Golduck and Persian staring at one another and with cuts and bruises all over their bodies. A darted gaze swept over Rachel’s face while Nanu remained calm. They gave out their next commands.

            Golduck's tail was shrouded in torrential waters, and smacked Persian on the side. Persian screeched and fell on the ground, but she picked herself up immediately, and shook the grass off her fur. Nanu's Pokémon lashed out her head and the gem on her forehead glowed, which shot out a beam of purple and black circles that laced together and scorched Golduck's chest. Golduck wobbled for a moment before he was able to regain his balance.

            “Shadow Claw, now!” Rachel ordered. Nanu could tell she was desperate with the way her voice choked up and how her jaws clenched. He didn’t go easy on her since the start of the battle, and he wasn’t going to do that now.

            “End this with your own Shadow Claw, Persian!”

            Both opponents had their claws surrounded in a dark aura, and they rushed at each other like two swordsmen in a duel. After they raised their claws and slashed at one another, Persian and Golduck stopped at opposite directions from when they started. A breeze started to pick up, and several more seconds passed until Golduck collapsed and not getting up. Persian's legs shook, but she managed to lift her head and grinned in satisfaction.

            Rachel gasped and rushed to her Pokémon’s side. She cradled him in her arms and stroked his forehead. “Are you okay?” she asked, and her Pokémon gave her a weak thumbs up. Relieved, she nuzzled her cheek against Golduck's.

            “Here, he'll need these,” Nanu said when he and Persian reached her. He handed Rachel a few potions and berries, which she accepted. She sprayed one of the bottles onto Golduck's skin, and like a couple nights ago his marks and cuts started to fade. He looked to be in much better shape than when he got beaten up by Team Skull.

            “You did an awesome job out there, Golduck! You deserve a long rest,” she said and recalled her Pokémon. Rachel stood up and faced Nanu, beaming at him. “That was a great battle and I learned a lot!”

            “You aren't too shabby yourself there, kid. Get a little stronger, and we can do a rematch soon.”

            “Of course!” Rachel said, and silence fell between them. From a near distance someone was clapping, and Nanu turned around to see Acerola beaming at them.

            “That was a great battle, you two!” she said. “I couldn’t take my eyes off when I first started watching it.”

            “What are you doing here?” Nanu asked, the pitch in his voice slightly high.

            “I came here to visit you, Uncle Nanu, but it’s great to see Rachel here also!”

            “Acerola!” Rachel’s face brightened. “You’re not going to believe what had happened to me recently!” She explained the incident to Acerola, Nanu listened in as he sprayed some potion on his Persian. His Pokémon purred and rubbed onto his leg.

            “Uncle Nanu scared those Team Skull grunts and helped make Golduck feel better?” Now facing Nanu, Acerola said, “Wow, that was very generous of you to do that.“

            Nanu shrugged. “Eh, it’s part of the job description.”

            “Oh?” Acerola craned her head and offered him a closed lip smile. “Police officer, kahuna, or both?”

            “Doesn’t matter. Depends on what needs to be done.” Nanu’s eyes darted and his shoulders hunched.

            Rachel was taken aback by his response, then she said, “Well I’m happy that my Golduck is safe and sound thanks to you. I’ll be leaving now, but I can’t wait to rebattle you!” She grinned at them and made her leave. Nanu watched her go for a minute, frowning.

            “Is something wrong, Uncle Nanu?” Acerola asked, tilting her head. After he released a shuddered breath, Nanu faced her.

            “I don’t know. I should feel good helping that kid out and she’s a decent trainer. And yet…”

            “Hm, maybe you’ve been working too hard being both this island’s kahuna and police?”

            Nanu shook his head and bent down to scratch Persian’s chin. “I’m sure it’s not that. Team Skull mostly kept themselves inside Po Town, and I don’t see trial goers make it past this island as of late.”

            Acerola pursed her lips and tapped her chin. “When was the last time you visited Tapu Bulu?”

            That caused Nanu to flinch. He stopped petting Persian, the cat Pokémon growling in disappointment, and stood back up. Rubbing his head, he said, “Don’t know. Perhaps six or so months ago?”

            Acerola pouted. “Isn’t one of your jobs as island kahuna to make sure the island tapu’s altar is looked over?”

            “It is, but I don’t think there’s nothing to worry about. You know how freaking long it takes to get through Haina Desert?”

            Her hands on her hips, Acerola stared at him in disbelief. “Uncle Nanu…”

            Running his fingers through his hair, Nanu asked, “You want me to go to the Ruins of Abundance, huh?”

            “Yup!” Acerola said, grinning. “Besides doing that as your duty as kahuna, perhaps Tapu Bulu can give you some guidance, too.”

            After he pondered over Acerola’s suggestion for a moment, another long sigh left him. “Fine, you win. Tapu Bulu is probably angry at me for not visiting for so long.”

            Satisfied, Acerola cheered and twirled around. “Great! You can even drop by the Aether House to see Becky and the kids!”

            Nanu groaned. “Well, I’m not looking forward to those brats playing with Persian’s head like last time.” As if agreeing with him, Persian hissed and her fur bristled.

            “I’m sure the kids will be well behaved,” Acerola said with a chuckle. Her grin grew bigger. “Oh yeah, before I forget, Uncle Iokua told me that Aunt Cora and the baby are doing fine!”

            Upon hearing that, Nanu’s stomach sunk. Iokua and his wife were expecting their first child within a few months, but Nanu hadn’t talked to his son much about that. He pulled in a deep breath and glanced over his shoulder at the police station. “You wait here, let me get some stuff before we leave.”

            When he was chosen to be this island’s kahuna several years ago, Nanu knew he wasn’t allowed to turn it down. And now it was time for him to pay back his due once more.

            Xxx

            The next morning, Grimsley took the 8 am bus from Malie City to Route 12. Only a handful of people occupied the seats. A couple conversed in low voices while everyone else was quiet. During the forty minute bus ride through Route 11, he looked through the window, seeing several trainers and Pokémon already up training outside with the tall grasses and palm trees towering over them. He also spotted some wild Pokémon flocking around; some he recognized, like Ledian and Paras, while others he didn’t, like the one that looked like a mongoose and another that resembled a koala. Grimsley overheard from the people behind him that those were Yungoos and Komala.

            When the bus made it to Route 12 and stop, Grimsley got off his ride. Compared to Route 11’s lush grass and trees, Route 12 looked more barren with rolling hills and rugged boulders up ahead. Dust and sand swirled in the air, causing Grimsley to cough. To his right, he spotted a stable with a fenced large field, a variety of Pokémon staying around. Some like Ponyta and Tauros ran around in abandon while other Pokémon slept through the afternoon. Flying types like Pelipper and Flygon flew up high, making sure to not stray from the area. Several people were getting on large horses that Grimsley assumed would be the Mudsdale Iokua had mentioned to him last night. He approached to a woman in riding gear looking over a Flygon and a Skarmory.

            “Excuse me, Miss, but would this happen to be where I can borrow a Pokémon to take me to Tapu Village?”

            “Yup, you have come to the right place!” the lady said as she faced Grimsley, flashing him a wide grin. “Route 12 has steep hills and Route 13’s climate is just as rough, so you’ll need flying Pokémon like Flygon and Skarmory to help you.” She patted the Flygon’s forehead, the dragon nuzzling against her cheek. Behind her, the Skarmory squawked and flapped her wings.

            “Well, that’s a relief. I’m Grimsley.”

            “Hanna,” the woman Hanna introduced herself. She and Grimsley shook hands. “So you wanted to go to Tapu Village? I’m more than happy to take you there!” she said, then Grimsley told her that would be appreciated.

            Hanna helped him hop onto the Skarmory, and then she took one of Grimsley’s bags and jumped onto her Flygon. With everyone ready, Hanna whistled and both her and Grimsley’s Pokémon began flapping their wings and took off, Grimsley holding on the reins tightly.

            While they were riding their Pokémon, Grimsley’s body shook uneasily and his stomach flipped whenever the warm breeze picked up. Sweat rolled down on Grimsley’s forehead and back of his neck. He often glimpsed down below, seeing some trainers and Pokémon gathered around the dry grass. Grimsley could see Blush Mountain and what looked like to be a power plant on top from a far distance. An hour into their ride, he heaved out a long sigh.

            “I must admit, this route is very bare for my taste. There isn’t much to see here save for Blush Mountain?” Grimsley asked, and Hanna shook her head.

            “There’s a secluded beach here also, but nothing special compared to Hau’oli’s beachfront. Most people come here to train and catch Pokémon.” Hanna jerked her head away for a second, then she asked, “Curious, any reason you’re going to Tapu Village?”

            “To be honest, Tapu Village is a short detour before I head to my true destination, the Aether House. I want to meet with this lady named Acerola.”

            “Oh, so you want to see Acerola?” Hanna titled her head and pressed her lips. “You look too old to be participating in the island challenge.”

            Grimsley grimaced for a second, and then he chuckled and rubbed the back of his head. “Oh no, I’ve never even heard of that until I came here. I just want to talk with her some things about this island.”

            “Oh, I see. But yes, she’s usually at the Aether House or that abandoned supermarket. Acerola’s a very sweet girl, I’m sure she’ll be happy to talk with you.”

            Grimsley made an indifferent grunt, and then went back looking at his surroundings. He made sure to straddle onto his Skarmory tightly.

            Eventually Grimsley and Hanna passed through Route 12 and onto Route 13. Route 13’s terrain looked just as dry as the last route, but there was still some vegetation on the ground and trees growing. There was a small oasis where several folks gathered, and up ahead was Haina Desert, which he and Hanna ignored for now. He and Hanna also passed by an area where several trailers parked. A short time later they finally reached their destination. As soon as their Pokémon landed on the ground, they hopped off.

            Most of Tapu Village looked empty saved for several houses and small shops, some large totems, and the ruins of a stone wall or building. There was more green life here than the last two routes with grass and palm trees growing in several spots. Despite not much to see, Grimsley could see several people here basking in the scenery. He took several steps, and then halted a moment to see several guys in hard hats and uniform blocking the path to Mount Lanakila. Grimsley assumed some kind of construction was going on, so he and Hanna ignored that and moved further along.

            They passed by the Pokémon Center. He looked at his left to see a large patch of grass where some Pokémon hid themselves in. He spotted two Pokémon that caught his interest. There was one that looked like a Sandshrew but was light blue instead of the yellow ones he was used to seeing and his body structure similar to an igloo. He sat down on the grass chewing a berry. The other Pokémon, a blue furred Vulpix, kept trying to catch a Snorunt. Like the Sandshrew, Grimsley never saw this particular type of Vulpix before.

            “Say, Hanna, are those Vulpix and Sandshrew?” he asked her, pointing at those Pokémon for her to see. She turned her head in his direction and nodded.

            “Ah huh. Alola has some Pokémon like Geodude, Vulpix, and Meowth that may look different from the ones you’ve encountered, so they’re often called Alola forms.”

            “Alola forms? Similar to like Sinnoh’s Shellos and Gastrodon and Unova’s Deerling and Sawsbuck?”

            “Kinda. The majority of the Alola form Pokémon have typings vastly different from the regular Pokémon. Take Meowth for instance. Usually they would be normal type, but here ours are dark type.”

            “A dark type Meowth, huh? Then that means there are more dark-type Pokémon than I anticipated.” Grimsley smirked. “Come to think of it, I battled against a trainer with an Alolan Graveler a few days ago.”

            “Oh, you did?” Hanna grinned. “But yeah, there’s plenty more Alolan Pokémon you have yet to see!”

            Grimsley only nodded, believing that would be the case. He and Hanna began heading back to where Flygon and Skarmory had been waiting for them. He gazed around his surroundings, and then he sighed and shook his head. “There isn’t much going on in Tapu Village. Such a miserable state.”

            Hanna chuckled, unoffended by Grimsley’s statement. “Maybe so, but this site still attracts tourists due to a story how Tapu Bulu destroyed that village. Because of that, most of the people here are mindful of keeping this region clean.”

            “I read about that not that long ago. Also, apparently Tapu Bulu resides in Haina Desert, am I right?” Grimsley asked, and Hanna shot him an impressed smile.

            “Yes, that would be so.” Hanna placed her hands on her sides. “I’ve never been to the ruins, but I’m sure Kahuna Nanu can show you if you happen to find him.”

            Grimsley swallowed and his mouth twitched. Forcing a smile, he said, “I’ll be sure to talk to him about that, but first I need to see Acerola.”

            “Right,” Hanna said with an acknowledging nod. “Anyways, you’ll need a Mudsdale to help you get through that desert’s tough boulders and nasty sandstorms. There’s a stable close to there that you can borrow that Pokémon from. Just ask for either Carlos or Yvonne.”

            “Carlos or Yvonne, got it,” Grimsley said, then a short silence fell between them. While he pondered over about Tapu Bulu and Aloan Pokémon, Grimsley started tossing his coin up in the air. After several tosses, Skarmory screamed and caught the coin with her beak. He glared, and pointed his finger at her. “Hey, that’s my coin you slimy bird!”

            “This Skarmory likes shiny objects, so be careful showing anything like that to her.” As Hanna faced Skarmory, she said to the bird, “All right, Skarmory, give the gentleman his coin back.”

            The Skarmory flapped her wings and let out a disappointed squawk, but nonetheless she obliged by spitting the coin out onto Grimsley’s palm. His mouth twitching in disgust, Grimsley wiped the spit out with his sleeve. He put the coin away.

            “The Aether House isn’t too far, only less than half an hour bus ride from here. There should be one stopping here soon.”

            With an appreciated smile, Grimsley said, “You’ve been wonderful guiding me through parts of this island.”

            “Not a problem!” Hanna’s grin widened, her teeth showing. “Oh, before I go, you should have this.” She pulled out a small device from her pocket and handed it to Grimsley. “It’s a ride pager where you can call out Pokémon to help you out in all kinds of areas you won’t be able to get through yourself. For instance, some Pokémon like Mudsdale can get through places like Route 12, but you might want a water Pokémon to help you get through Alola’s seas.”

            “A ride pager, huh? Well I’m sure this will come very handy,” Grimsely said, putting the ride pager away.

            “It should!” Hanna said as she hopped onto Flygon. She then offered him best wishes on the rest of his journey and took off with both Flygon and Skarmory. Grimsley gazed up at the sky for a while until he couldn’t see her and the two flying Pokémon anymore, then he decided to get something to eat from the Pokémon Center first before waiting for the bus.

            After Grimsley finished his meal, he caught a bus ride that was traveling through Route 15. There were only a few people taking seats, so this ride too has been a quiet one for him. This route wasn’t that much different from Route 11 in which there were some tropical greenery and Pokémon running around. When the bus driver announced that they stopped at Aether House, Grimsley jumped off of the bus.

            He could see a lone white building, with a star symbol on top, situated on a hill. The “Aether House” sign was pinned from several feet across of him. He trekked through the path upwards, his shoes slapping onto the soft ground. Grimsley reached the building and faced the doors, which slid open automatically for him, and stepped inside.

            “Hello, is anyone here?” Grimsley asked as he looked around. Some couches and tables had been spread out, white lights shrouding everything inside the hall. Several doors stood in front of him, and in the middle of the hall there was a reception area where a woman in a white uniform and a large ape-like Pokémon covered in white and purple fur overlooking the computers. When he approached them, the lady offered him a warm smile while the Pokémon stared at him in great curiosity and grunted.

            “Alola, welcome to the Aether House! I’m Becky, one of the employees from the Aether Foundation. What brings you here to our shelter?”

            Grimsley’s eyes shifted, his palm resting on the back of his neck. “Yes, well, I heard that Acerola lives here, and I wonder if I may have a word with her.”

            “Oh, Acerola? She’s away at the moment, but should be here very soon. You want some water while you wait, Mister…?”

            “Grimsley. And if that isn’t much trouble, that would be appreciated.” Grimsley took one of the seats, his elbow plopping on the table’s surface. Becky handed him a glass of water a minute later and he gulped it down, the liquid cooling his slightly dry throat. Becky’s Pokémon was behind her.

            “Has Acerola returned yet?” someone with a child voice suddenly asked, and Grimsley looked over his shoulder to see two children approaching him and Becky. Three Pokémon trailed behind them, Grimsley recognized one of them as Elekid and the other Yungoos. The last one he never saw before, the Pokémon covering itself in a white cloth, as if pretending to be a Pikachu.

            “Not yet, Hunter,” Becky told him. “This gentleman, Mister Grimsley here is waiting for her, too.”

            “Oh, okay! I’m Hunter, and this is my friend Gracie!” the boy Hunter said, pointing at the girl next to her. Gracie greeted Grimsley with a cheery “Hi!” and both children beamed at him. He smiled a little back at them, but then he blinked when he felt his black scarf being tugged. Grimsley looked down to see the Yungoos chewing on the fabric.

            “No no no, my clothes aren’t for you to eat,” Grimsley said, glaring at the moongose. He pulled the scarf away from him, and Yungoos cried in disappointment. That was when the other Pokémon disguised as Pikachu used her shadowy claw to yank at his hair, causing him to scream. “Stop this strange creature from grabbing my hair!”

            Becky gasped and immediately picked the Pokémon up, then set it down on the floor. Before Grimsley had a chance to relax, he grimaced when Hunter and Gracie grabbed his long scarf and began to wrap it around his face like a mummy. He and Becky cried out for them to stop, but they didn’t listen and went ahead with their prank. His face now covered with his own scarf, Grimsley grumbled over how he couldn’t breathe and waited for Becky to finish with unwrapping it. Once she was done, he gasped for air and glared at the two children. Hunter and Gracie giggled while Becky heaved out a deep sigh.

            “Sorry about that,” Becky said. “Mimikyu and the kids just wanted to play.”

            “Ah, so the Pikachu look alike is a Mimikyu.” He glimpsed back at the Mimikyu, who skidded on the floor while making some scratchy voices. Grimsley then fixed his gaze at the large ape Pokémon in front of him. “And what species is that Pokémon?” he asked, pointing at the beast.

            “That’s an Oranguru.” A proud smile pulled on the corners of Becky’s lips and she patted his shoulder. “He can tell the difference between an experienced trainer and an inexperienced one.”

            “Is that so?” Grimsley lifted his head and stroked his chin. “They can tell by the way a trainer behaves, I assume?”

            Becky nodded. “Usually, yeah, though I heard Oranguru will already know the minute a trainer comes to them.” She looked over her shoulder at Oranguru, who just grunted.

            Grimsley gulped more of his water, then said, “A friend had mentioned to me that one of the Aether Foundation’s goals is to protect the Pokémon from any harm. I take it this is the purpose of this shelter?”

            “Ah huh.” This time it was Gracie who responded. “Acerola and Becky have been super nice to me and the Pokémon here!” Next to her, Hunter grinned and Becky nodded in agreement.

            “They’ve been sweethearts in return and I love watching over them. I wouldn’t trade this job for the world.”

            Upon hearing their praises, Grimsley frowned and his fingers tapped on the table. Memories of Team Plasma resurfaced as he was reminded how several members preached over Pokémon’s freedom and safety above all else. Then again, Team Plasma’s agenda was a ruse thanks to their leader, and the people within Aether Foundation probably do want to save Pokémon out of the goodness of their hearts. It was still too early to judge at this point.

            “Heeeey guys, we’re home!” another voice said, distracting Grimsley’s thoughts. He rose out of his seat and turned around to see two people entering the building. One was a teenage girl dressed in a tattered dress and a golden bracelet on her arm, her unruly purple hair barely above her shoulders. The other person she brought with her looked to be several years older than Grimsley from his grey hair and sunken face. He was dressed like a police officer with a badge attached on the sleeve of his shirt, and a small stone hung around his neck that sparkled with the lighting in the hall. For some reason, he couldn’t stop staring at the man and his presence made his skin tingle in electrical spurts.

            “Acerola!” both Gracie and Hunter cheered. They rushed over to hug her, Acerola embracing them back. Yungoos and Mimikyu joined them also, the Pokémon tugging at Acerola’s dress.

            Grimsley soon approached them, and when Acerola noticed him she grinned and place one hand on her hip.

            “Oh, a visitor? Alola, I’m Acerola, and this guy here is Uncle Nanu!”

            Grimsley’s mouth fell open and his shoulders stiffened. He didn’t expect to see the kahuna himself this soon. Nonetheless, he smirked at them.

            “It’s a pleasure to meet the both of you. I’m Grimsley.” He shook both Acerola and Nanu’s hands. “Iokua from the Malie Library told me a little bit about you two,” he told Acerola when facing back at her.

            “Oh, so you’ve met Uncle Iokua!” Acerola said, her smile widening. “Did you get to check out my father’s books back there?”

            “I did, and his book collection is marvelous. I’m glad I had dropped by there.”

            Nanu snorted, his hands in his pockets. “Huh, I don’t think we’ve ever met before. Are you from this region?”

            Grimsley shook his head. “I’m just merely a tourist wanting to know more about Alolan culture and maybe find a good battle or two.”

            “Wait, so you’re a trainer? And those pokéballs are yours?” Gracie asked, pointing at the pokéballs attached on the knot tied around Grimsley’s waist.

            “Oh, oh, can we have a battle?” Hunter asked, bouncing up and down.

            Giving him a sad smile, Grimsley said, “Unfortunately, I’ll have to kindly decline your offer there, Hunter.” He folded his hands on his lap. “I’m actually a very strong trainer and I don’t seek battles that will net me an easy win.”

            “I don’t care!” Hunter pouted, clenching both of his fists. “My Elekid and I are always seeking out battling so we can get stronger.” Beside him, his Elekid jumped up and down in anticipation, tiny sparks coursing out from his body.

            Becky approached Hunter, squeezing his shoulders. With an awkward laugh, she said, “I think the kids and I should leave you three alone. Let’s go!”

            Both Hunter and Gracie let out upset noises. Becky gathered the children and Pokémon, taking them back inside one of the rooms. Nanu dragged in a sigh and shook his head.

            “Kids, I tell you, always eager to battle,” he said as he sunk himself on one of the couches. “I’ve had my fair share of Pokémon battles where trainers think they’re all hot stuff but ended up embarrassing themselves.”

            “But you still enjoy doing those, don’t you Uncle Nanu?” Acerola flashed him a grin. “Battles are one way a Pokémon and trainer bond together!”

            Nanu responded with a side glance at Acerola and a “hmph” under his breath. Grimsley stared at him for a minute, his fingers jerking. He was then reminded of his conversations with Iokua and Hanna, and said, “Say, Kahuna Nanu—”

            “Just Nanu is fine,” he interrupted him, a bored expression on his face. “I’m not all that wild on formalities.”

            Grimsley made a fake cough, then said, “Right, Nanu. Anyways, I had met someone who told me about Tapu Bulu’s residence over at Haina Desert, and that you’re the perfect person to ask. Perhaps you could bring me there and show me around?”

            Acerola gasped in shock, her eyes wide, while Nanu grimaced. The kahuna rose out of his seat and approached Grimsley, glaring at him.

            “You think I’m gonna just take some random trainer to one of Alola’s most sacred places? I recall you saying you’re ‘merely a tourist’ only a few minutes ago.”

            Smirking, Grimsley wiggled his finger and said, “Ah, but I’m no ordinary trainer. Have you heard of Grimsley Thomas of the Unova Elite Four? You’re looking at him right now.”

            Both Acerola and Nanu narrowed their eyes at him, as if not believing him at first. After Acerola gave a closer look at Grimsley, she beamed.

            “Silly me, I didn’t recognize you at first because of your white streaks and you looked several years older now. So you’re really Grimsley of the Elite Four!”

            Grimsley let out an appalled gasp, crossed his arms, and said, “Oh come now, I don’t look that old!” This was the third time he had been called that, so of course his pride got hurt a little.

            Unlike Acerola, Nanu didn’t look impressed, his lips pressed flat. “Even if you’re a king of some faraway kingdom, I’m still suspicious. The Tapus aren’t Pokémon to be taken lightly.”

            Having calmed down from Acerola’s comment about him looking older, Grimsley said, “While meeting your island’s guardian would be a treat, that is not what I desire. I just want to see how the Ruins of Abundance looks, nothing more, nothing less.” When Nanu didn’t respond and still stared at him, Grimsley said, “Still not convinced, huh? How about we let chance decide for us, then.”

            “Huh?” Acerola blinked, tilting her head in confusion. Nanu raised his eyebrow.

            Grinning in amusement, Grimsley pulled out a coin from the sleeve of his kimono. “Heads or tails. The one you choose will be us not going to the Ruins of Abundance while the other option will be us going there.”

            “Oh, a coin toss? Sounds fun!” Acerola said.

            Nanu stared at him funny, as if he was insane. He then said, “You know what, I’ll play your little charade. Tails.”

            In that instant, Grimsley tossed his coin up and grabbed it in the air. He opened his palms to reveal the coin landed on heads and chuckled. “Looks like I win! That means you have to take me to the Ruins of Abundance.”

            Nanu folded his arms against his chest, his brow furrowed. “Haina Desert can be confusing to get through, so I think it’s best if we wait until tomorrow to head out.”

            “Are you staying anywhere?” Acerola asked. Grimsley told her that he might be staying at the Pokémon Center over at Tapu Village. Her face lit up. “Since it’s getting late, why don’t you stay here for the night? That way, we can leave together in the morning and I can even show you my island trial site.”

            After pondering over Acerola’s offer for a minute, Grimsley said, “That sounds like a shining idea. Sure, I’ll sleep here for the night.”

            “Great!” Acerola clapped her hands and her feet bounced. “You can take the room at the far right, and there should be some fresh pajamas in the drawers. We can just order some pizza for dinner.”

            “I appreciate it, thank you very much the both of you,” Grimsley said with a small smile and bowed his head. Today he did travel for a while and was already overwhelmed upon his visit in the Aether House, so some rest would be good.
            __________________

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              #10    
            Old November 13th, 2017 (6:16 AM).
            Vragon
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              Quote:
              Originally Posted by Bay Alexison View Post
              Flying types like Pelipper and Flygon flew up high, making sure to not stray from the area
              Just thought I'd point out that Flygon isn't a flying type. Perhaps saying flying Pokémon would be better considering this.

              While I did like this chapter, I don't think it's as seasoned as number 2 was. There were more unnecessary details, two I put below.
              Quote:
              Originally Posted by Bay Alexison View Post
              not looking offended by Grimsley’s statement.

              the other as the mongoose Pokémon, Yungoos.
              Explanation is good, but the first could be solved with, "unoffended" or something of that caliber. The second isn't needed since 1) The audience already knows that and/or wouldn't pay it as much mind. The mimikyu one I felt was fitting since you did use it in the narrative.

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by Bay Alexison View Post
              “Oh, so you’ve met Uncle Iokua!” Acerola said, her smile widening. “Did you get to check out my father’s books back there?”
              Another one, if Nanu is Acerola's uncle, then Lokua should be her cousin since he's Nanu's son. Which by the way, I do like that you're expounding on his family like you did with Grimsly.

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by Bay Alexison View Post
              He was then reminded of his conversations with Iokua and Hanna, and said, “Say, Uncle Nanu—”

              “Just Nanu is fine,” he interrupted him, a bored expression on his face. “I’m not all that wild on formalities.”
              I don't really get the logic of this one, since it's not really like Grimsly to jump the gun on something like this. What I mean is that he's met relatives on Nanu and only Acerola from what I've gathered has called Nanu "Uncle" so it wouldn't make much sense for him to call Nanu by that title unless there's a good reason to assume everyone calls him that. Which hasn't been delved into.

              Well overall I did like the chapter. I did enjoy how you set the two up to both go to the desert and Grimsly's whole betting thing with Nanu was good to. Grimsly must love that coin, as that one scene with Skarmory proves, heh.

              I'm a bit surprised that more interaction was there, or at least them seeing each other's Pokémon, but I suppose that would be explored later. Good chapter and I wonder what the two will face upon going to the ruins of abundance.
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                #11    
              Old November 14th, 2017 (7:18 PM).
              Astinus's Avatar
              Astinus Astinus is offline
                 
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                So finally Nanu and Grimsley meet. I like that there wasn't much fanfare to their meeting, which fits their characterization. They're not ones to make big deals about anything.

                Have to say that I like the small details about Grimsley exploring Alola and learning more about it. The way that he always compares new things to what he already knows establishes who he is better.

                Noticed some grammar quirks while reading.

                Quote:
                as the other passengers from the ferry passed through him
                Don't think that "through" is the right word here, since it implied that Grimsley himself can be walked through, like he's a ghost. Perhaps "around him" would work better.

                Quote:
                The library clerk at the desk watched as the patrons read their books or using the computers in silence,
                Tense agreement here of "used the computers in silence."

                Quote:
                Iokua gave out an awkward chuckle and rub the back of his neck.
                Should be "rubbed the back."

                Quote:
                I would glad to
                Missing "be" between "would" and "glad."

                Quote:
                He gulped another piece of his sashismi dish
                All the times that I've seen it spelled, it's "sashimi."

                Quote:
                “Wow, that very generous of you to do that “
                Missing "was" between "that" and "very."

                Quote:
                Running through his fingers through his hair, Nanu asked
                Extra "through" here between "running" and "his."

                Quote:
                Besides doing that as you duty as kahuna
                Should be "your duty."

                Quote:
                That was then the other Pokémon disguised as Pikachu
                Should be "that was when."
                __________________

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                not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--
                not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--
                but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out."
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                  #12    
                Old January 31st, 2018 (8:29 AM).
                DreamSayer DreamSayer is offline
                   
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                  Posts: 7
                  Review for Chapter 1

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

                  We already see Nanu being a badass in the second half of the story, and I find it interesting that this takes place at the same time as SMs plot, which makes more sense the more i think about it. Regardless, I look forward to seeing where this goes.
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                    #13    
                  Old March 1st, 2018 (5:21 PM). Edited April 2nd, 2018 by Bay.
                  Bay's Avatar
                  Bay Bay is offline
                  Darkinium Z
                   
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                  BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

                  Edit 4/2/2018: Hey, so originally left a message concerning me almost departing from the forums and such, but I decided since I'm still here might as well continue Foul Play. Chapter Four will get posted soon for those reading!
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                  Foul Play [Chapter Four up!]
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                    #14    
                  Old April 7th, 2018 (11:45 AM).
                  Bay's Avatar
                  Bay Bay is offline
                  Darkinium Z
                   
                  Join Date: May 2006
                  Location: Dani California
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                  Hey, so originally I left a message concerning me almost departing from the forums and why that unexpected announcement came. However, after some reflection I decided to stick around PC a while longer, and while I'm still here that I'll go back to updating Foul Play here. So, here's Chapter Four finally!

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

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

                  Chapter Four
                  Night Daze


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  “I’m Becky!” Becky said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  xxx

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

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

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

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

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

                  “Really? Have you been there?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  “What was that?” Grimsley asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  xxx

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

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

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

                  “Aren’t you supposed to be sleeping?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  “Well congratulations on that great deduction, Sherlock.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  “Hey, Nanu.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

                  The two will meet again, so their past relationship will get resolved (story will still mainly focus on Grimsley and Nanu being tired dark uncle grumps together).
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