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[Pokémon] Foul Play

Bay

6,385
Posts
17
Years
New chapter time! As always, thanks to bobandbill for betaing.

Chapter Twenty
Throat Chop


Nanu, Anabel, and Looker went to eat lunch in the Pokémon Center. Besides Nurse Joy and the barista in the coffee bar, there were two other people inside: one was on a couch reading a book, and another giving their Formantis some Poképuffs.

During their meal, Anabel and Looker had been telling Nanu stories of several of their cases. He munched on his sandwich as he listened to them: the vegetables, meat, and cheese were stale. The food in the Pokémon Center was always bad, but food was food.

Right now Looker and Anabel were telling him how they went undercover inside an underground Pokémon fight club and saved many Pokémon in there. Nanu genuinely found himself immersed in that story.

"After the Chief and I defeated those bad people," Looker said, "we took the Salamence to the Pokémon Center since he needed intensive care. The operation the doctors did on him lasted for several hours."

"We visited him while he was recovering," Anabel continued. "He was scared of us at first, but then he warmed up to me the more we visited him." A proud smile pulled on her lips. "Looker suggested I take him as a partner, and after some thinking I agreed. And that's how I ended up with Pablo."

"I gotta say, you've got guts having that Pokémon. Salamence are tough to deal with, even for seasoned Interpol agents."

"It was a lot of work indeed, but Pablo and I grew to trust each other and became inseparable."

"Seeing them together many times, they're an unstoppable force to be reckoned with!" Looker said with a grin, and Anabel's cheeks flushed.

"I appreciate your enthusiasm there." Anabel shifted her gaze away for a second, and her earpiece beeped. She touched the button. "Agent Anabel speaking. Yes, just one moment." Looking back at Nanu and Looker, she said, "It's headquarters. Shouldn't take too long."

Anabel rose out of her seat and stepped outside. Once she was gone, Nanu pulled his chair closer to the table and fixed his gaze at Looker.

"Charlotte told me that Interpol's going to use Anabel as bait. Am I right?"

Looker's face grew pale. He lowered his head and his shoulders slacked.

"Yes."

"And she doesn't know yet." That wasn't a question.

Looker shook his head. Nanu dragged out a long sigh and straightened himself.

"She needs to know, but not now. Hold that off until after Charlotte gets here."

"I agree that's the best approach," Looker said with a solemn nod.

After a short silence fell between them, they turned at the sound of footsteps. Anabel came back, but Mina and Grimsley were also behind her.

"Headquarters checking on our progress as usual?" Looker asked.

"Yes. I told them we're still on the lookout for any UB sightings here." She smiled and glanced at Mina and Grimsley. "I invited Mina and Grimsley to join us since they're coming inside."

"We went full Z-powered with our Pokémon earlier, so they need to be taken care of," Mina said, smiling. "I can take Raz to Nurse Joy also."

"That's fine," Grimsley said, and he handed her the pokéball. While Mina went to the reception desk, he grabbed a chair and joined with Nanu, Anabel, and Looker.

"I take it that the training went well?" Nanu asked.

Grimsley gave an upbeat hum. "Raz managed to do Never-Ending Nightmare thanks to Mina pushing her in the right direction. She's also been teaching me Savage Spin-Out."

"Oh, you've been practicing what the Alolans call Z-Moves?" Looker asked.

"Only just recently. I think I'm finally getting the hang of them."

Nanu snorted and crossed his arms. "I know I said we would battle once you learn Never-Ending Nightmare. However, you'll benefit from knowing Savage Spin-Out also."

"So you're postponing our battle?" Grimsley gave him a blank stare at first, and he grinned. "That's fine. It shouldn't be long now."

As soon as Grimsley finished saying that, Mina came back and grabbed a seat herself. She joined the group.

"I had the nurse take our Pokémon," Mina said to Grimsley. "It shouldn't take too long." She faced Anabel and Looker. "So you two are from the International Police, huh? You guys do, like, top-secret stuff?"

Looker's face lit up and he swept his arm up. "We most certainly do! Whenever there is a case, we must go! Justice awaits!"

Anabel gave him a small smile and back at Mina. "Of course we can't tell you anything about the majority of them. But yes, we travel a lot and do undercover work."

"Ah, okay okay." Mina raised her chin. "I think it would be cool though if I can help you guys in any way."

Looker and Anabel exchanged raised brows at one another. After a moment, they nodded.

"Actually miss, there might be a way," Looker said. "Did you recall a news broadcast from the Aether Foundation?"

"I have, yes," Mina said. "The Ultra Beasts, right?"

Nanu gave a long stare, having an idea about what they were going to ask her. He glanced at Grimsley, who pressed his lips and raised a brow.

"Correct," Anabel said. "The International Police got word on them after that broadcast."

"Our request is to let us know any lead you have on them, no matter how or small."

While pondering on that request, Mina hummed and tapped her chin. She then bobbed her head.

"Sure, I can do that."

"Wonderful," Anabel said, smiling. She handed her a card. "This is my contact information. Looker and I will be in Poni Island a while longer, so we'll be in touch."

"Got it." Mina rose out of her seat and put the card in the pocket of her pants. As soon as she got up, the intercom announced that her Pokémon had been healed. "It was nice talking to you guys. Going to pick up my Pokémon and then go home. We'll do more training tomorrow, Grimsley."

"I look forward to that," Grimsley said with a small smile.

Mina grinned back, and she waved everyone goodbye. She went to the reception desk to get her Pokémon and stepped out of the Pokémon Center.

When she was gone, Nanu remembered that he wanted to ask Grimsley if he would like to join him, Anabel, and Looker tomorrow. He cleared his throat and faced him.

"I had been informed that another colleague of ours is coming tomorrow. Selene and Lillie will be with her." After he told him that, Grimsley blinked and the corner of his lips twitched.

"Officer Nanu told us that you're already aware of the connection between Aether and Team Skull," Anabel said. "We're wondering if you care to join us."

Grimsley took a moment to ponder, running a hand through his hair. With a light-hearted grunt, he threw his head back.

"I can join you three before I go see Mina."

"It's settled, then!" Looker said, grinning.

Nanu grunted, biting the inside of his cheek. Maybe that would make Grimsley finally realize how serious this Ultra Beast situation was. He wanted tomorrow to be here already.

xxx

Another morning sun had risen in Poni Island. Outside the Pokémon Center, Nanu and Grimsley were watching the noisy Wingull soaring in the skies and the ocean crashing onto the shores. Grimsley sat down on the stone bench while Nanu crossed his arms. A small breeze picked up.

Nanu stared at Grimsley for a moment. The kimono-clad man kept tossing his coin in the air, not worrying if he would lose it. They haven't talked since they stepped out, so Nanu spoke.

"So, how you're liking Poni Island so far?" he asked, and that made Grimsley stopped playing with his coin.

"Not half-bad, I guess. Mantine Surfing seems interesting, and Seafolk Village is charming."

"Mantine Surfing?" Nanu lifted a confused brow, and his face relaxed. "Oh right, all the islands have it. I'm sure I'll break my back doing it now."

Grimsley chuckled and grinned. "Doesn't look too different from riding my Sharpedo, so it shouldn't be too hard for me." His face grew more serious. "This other friend of yours, is she an Interpol agent too?"

"Sort of. She works in their Biology Division, but is now working undercover."

"Was she the one that asked you to check up on Guzma?" Grimsley asked.

"Yes. She should arrive here with Selene and Lillie any minute now."

Nanu went back to staring off in the distance while Grimsley resumed tossing his coin. Above them, the Wingull's cries got louder with each call.

"Yoohoo, Triples!

Nanu's head and shoulder jumped when he heard Charlotte's singsong voice. He turned to see her with Anabel, Looker, Selene and Lillie.

"Hey Grimsley! Hey Nanu! It's great seeing you guys again!" Selene said, grinning. Next to her, Lillie gave them a soft smile.

"Great to see you girls, too," Grimsley said, smiling back.

"About time you showed up," Nanu said as he made a few steps towards them. Grimsley got up and did the same. "Oh, Grimsley. This is Charlotte, the colleague I told you about."

"Grimsley, hm? Your name sounds awfully familiar…"

"Grimsley's from the Unova Elite Four!" Looker said, grinning. "He came to us with more information regarding recent happenings in Alola."

Charlotte gasped and beamed. "Oh my goodness! You didn't tell me you have a trainer from the Elite Four here, Triples!"

"I didn't think it would matter," Nanu said with a shrug. "But yes, I invited him to join us."

"It's a pleasure to meet you," Grimsley said with a smile, and they shook hands. After a closer look at her, he narrowed his eyes. "Wait, I recognize you. You're with the Aether Foundation."

"I'm only acting as one of their Branch Chiefs. I actually work for Interpol and have been undercover."

"Ms. Wicke already told us her involvement with Interpol," Lillie said. "Gladion and I were at a loss of words at first, but in the end she cared deeply about us."

"She also says that Nanu used to be an Interpol agent too!" Selene said and faced Nanu. She clenched her fists together. "That makes you, like, ten times cooler!"

Nanu flinched, stunned Charlotte had told them his past self. After the initial shock passed, he snorted.

"Didn't expect anyone else but Acerola to say that. But yes, I used to be an Interpol agent."

"Acerola and Selene told me that you're the kahuna of Ula'ula Island," Lillie said, greeting him with a smile. "It's nice to finally meet you."

"Same here, kid." Nanu raised a brow. "You're the Aether president's daughter, right?"

Lillie gasped and hung her head down. "Yes. I ran away from home to find help for Nebby, but right now they're hurting."

She opened her pink bag that she was carrying. Inside was a tiny creature shaped like a cocoon sleeping. Its face was surrounded by a blue orb with star patterns that sparkled and golden ridges. Everyone gathered around to look at it.

"Looks like sleeping beauty there." Nanu fixed his stare at the strange creature. He was certain that was the Pokémon Team Skull wanted.

"Is that Cosmog?" Grimsley asked.

"Used to be, but now they have changed and are unable to wake up." Lillie closed up the bag.

"Lillie, Selene, can you tell us everything that happened in Aether Paradise?" Anabel asked.

"Of course," Lillie said with a nod. She and Selene told them everything: Selene recounting the battles with the Aether employees, Branch Chief Faba, Guzma, and the Ultra Recon Squad; the confrontation with Lusamine and how her mother used Nebby to open the wormholes; both Lusamine and Guzma disappeared in another dimension to go find Necrozma and the girls trying to find a way to save them.

Listening to all that made Nanu's stomach jump inside his throat. Charlotte shifted her gaze downward, her fingers intertwining. Grimsley had his eyes closed and rubbed his forehead. Looker and Anabel were taking notes, but their lips were pressed together in slight grimaces.

"So all of this happened because Lusamine wanted to play hero," Grimsley said when he opened his eyes. "Sounds very selfish if you ask me."

"You're not wrong thinking about her that way, Mr. Grimsley," Lillie said, a deep frown stretching across her features. "She thinks she knows what is best for other people, but doesn't ask if that's what they want. And yet, I can't just let her go through this plan of hers."

"Have you two considered your plan of action for this endeavour?" Looker asked.

"Gladion was researching the Legendary Pokémon Lunala and Solgaleo," Lillie said. "He found this flute downstairs."

Lillie pulled out a brass flute from her bag she was carrying and handed it to Nanu. It was dark blue and purple with the symbol of the moon on its side, and cold against his palm and fingers.

"This is the Moon Flute," Nanu said. "It's supposed to be at the Lake of the Moone. How did Aether get their hands on it?"

The Sun Flute sat atop a pillar on Exeggutor Island while the Moon Flute stayed in the Lake of the Moone. A few months ago when Nanu visited the lake, he noticed the Moon Flute was missing. He informed Hala and Olivia about this, and they told him they would look into that further.

"Perhaps Madame Lusamine went there and stole it," Charlotte said. "Why only that flute I'm not sure."

"The Exeggutor there can be rowdy," Nanu said. "Good luck trying to run away from them."

"The Ultra Recon Squad said that Lunala and Solgaleo should be able to help us find Lillie's mother," Selene said. "We need to go to Exeggutor Island to get the Sun Flute and summon them that way."

Already Nanu furrowed his brow at the girls. "No way, it's too dangerous. It's used for Poni Island's Grand Trial, which I'm in charge of until a permanent Kahuna gets chosen."

"But we have to!" Lillie said in a demanding voice. She gave him a fiery stare. "We have to call Lunala and Solagelo and save my mother!"

"And what if you fail to summon them?" Nanu asked, and Lillie's face fell. "Or let's say you managed to summon them and go to another world, but aren't able to come back here. What then?"

"Officer Nanu is right," Anabel said with a stern face. "There's no guarantee this will work."

"I--" Lillie stopped. She clenched her fists. "If I don't stop my mother then who will?"

"Lillie..." Charlotte said her name in a soft voice. She had her hand close to her mouth. They flinched, the two also taken aback by Lillie's outburst. Anabel dropped her gaze on the ground.

Lillie took deep breaths and her chest kept rising and falling. With a sad look, Selene approached her and put a hand on her shoulder.

"Hey, Lillie, relax," Selene said in a soothing tone. "You don't have to do this all on your own. I'm here with you no matter what."

Lillie regarded her for a moment, and she smiled. They locked their fingers together.

Scratching his chin, Nanu was tempted to say no once more. He knew though they would go find a way to that island, anyways. Children are so stubborn these days.

"We need to find this village's chief and talk with him. He's the one that takes folks there."

"Oh thank you, Kahuna Nanu!" Lillie's face brightened up. She beamed at Selene, who did the same.

"You sure we should put our faiths in these two girls?" Anabel asked.

"They wouldn't have to do this alone," Looker said with a confident smile. Charlotte had a similar expression and nodded. "We can help them from the sidelines when possible."

Anabel regarded Looker's words for a moment. She gave a sharp hum and a single nod.

"Officer Nanu and Charlotte can help take the girls to Exeggutor Island. Looker and I will remain here and continue to find any leads."

"I'll stay here too and train with Mina on my second Z-Move," Grimsley said. He smiled at Selene and Lillie. "May lady luck shine upon you two."

Lillie and Selene thanked him for the well wishes. Nanu held himself from rolling his eyes at him saying that.

Everyone went their separate ways. Nanu, Charlotte, and the girls went the downward path towards Seafolk Village. He hoped for Selene and Lillie's sake that the chief would help them out.

xxx
Seafolk Village was more lively during the day. Several people went to the vendors and the children played with their Pokémon. Some of the boats that were here a couple of days ago had left, either staying close to the island and fishing or traveling through the seas. The sea glittered with the afternoon sun.

Chief Akoni's boat was the SS Magikarp. As the name implied, his boat was shaped like the Pokémon. Nanu and his group scanned around the boats to find him.

"The chief usually doesn't travel during this time, so his boat should still be here," Nanu said.

"I read that the Seafolk people here travel a lot," Lillie said, a small smile on her lips. "They all love to live free and unfretted."

"Really?" Selene grinned with her arms above her head. "It must be cool living in one of those boats and going all around the world."

"I agree," Charlotte said, closing her eyes and smiling. "Also sounds very romantic."

Nanu's mouth twitched. To live free and unfretted: do Team Skull in Po Town and Pokémon in pokéballs feel that way? He kept that to himself.

"Ahoy there!" a man's booming voice greeted them. Everyone whipped their heads to see a dark-haired man with a beard on top of a boat shaped like a Magikarp. With him was a Pelipper that squeaked and flapped her wings.

"My goodness!" Lillie jumped in surprise.

"Nice to see you too, Chief Akoni," Nanu said. "You gonna come down from there?"

Akoni laughed and said, "Of course, of course. Give me a moment."

It took a short while for Akoni to climb down and approach the group. He had his hands on his sides and grinned at him.

"It's been a while, Kahuna Nanu. I see you got some company with you."

Lillie and Selene introduced themselves, the latter more excitedly than the former.

"And I'm Wicke Santana, Assistant Chief Branch of Aether Paradise," Charlotte introduced herself next, still keeping her Aether persona.

"I see," Akoni said, nodding. "So, Selene and Lillie, right? Either of you taking on the Grand Trial?"

Both Lillie and Selene let out "ummm" sounds. Nanu answered for them instead.

"Not exactly. They want to go to Exeggutor Island, but not for a Grand Trial."

Selene and Lillie exchanged hesitant looks. Lillie took a deep breath and spoke first.

"My mother has disappeared, so my friend and I are trying to get her back. We heard that Exeggutor Island has the Sun Flute, which can summon a legendary Pokémon."

"Yeah!" Selene said. "And like, we're gonna use the legendary Pokémon to take us to another world and save her!"

"Legendary Pokémon? Other worlds?" Akoni burst out laughing, and the girls glared at him.

"Now what's so funny?" Selene asked, clenching her fist.

"I'm sorry girls, but all you're doing is chasing a fantasy. I can't take you to Exeggutor Island unless it's for Poni Island's Grand Trial or special permission from the kahuna, which this island doesn't have at the moment."

Flabbergasted expressions spread across Lillie and Selene's faces. They hung their heads down and faced Nanu and Charlotte.

"It's okay you two," Charlotte said, having her hands on both of their shoulders. "We just have to be patient."

"But we don't have time to wait!" Lillie said. "Mother could be seriously hurt by now!"

Charlotte took a step back and frowned. Nanu lowered his eyes and shifted his face, unsure of how to react.

"Hey, Nanu." Selene's voice and her tugging at his shirt caused him to stare at her. "You do Poni Island's Grand Trial, right? Can you convince the guy to make this an exception?"

Nanu gave her a blank stare. He couldn't remember if he had ever given special permission to someone to go to Exeggutor Island. He glanced at Charlotte, and an idea came to him.

"Since I oversee this island's Grand Trials, what if I give the girls permission to go to Exeggutor Island?" he asked, and Akoni raised a brow at him. "My friend and I can come with them and make sure they're safe."

Akoni crossed his arms and pressed his lips. After pondering for a moment, he said, "Well, you're technically Poni's standby kahuna." He flashed everyone a large grin. "All right, you guys can hop in."

Lillie and Selene let out happy gasps and beamed at each other. Charlotte offered Nanu a pleased smile. Everyone followed Akoni to his houseboat.

"Perks of a kahuna, hm?" she said, batting her eyelashes.

"Eh. I'm not the one to go waving 'I'm a kahuna' badge, but it worked this time."

Nanu wasn't too thrilled about this trip, but this seemed urgent. Everything should be fine as long as he and Charlotte watch over the girls.
 

Bay

6,385
Posts
17
Years
Chapter Twenty-One
Fake Tears

Like yesterday, Poni Beach was fairly quiet save for the Mantine surfers hitting the waves. Grimsley had found Mina doing several sketches, her clothes and face still smattered with paint. She greeted him with a warm smile, and after talking about some of the sketches she did, they started training.

Mina's Granbull, Morgan, was able to stand against Queen well. Morgan liked to go for close combat, forcing Queen to go more defensive and block off her crunches. After several more blows like that, Mina had Morgan back away and give more distance.

"Great, buddy! Now go for Stone Edge!"

"Jump and then dive down at him!" Grimsley ordered.

Morgan howled and slammed her fist into the hot sand. Queen backed away as each stone pillar popped up, and she jumped up before the last pillar appeared. Her forehead lit up a metallic shine, and she launched straight at Morgan. Morgan crashed on the ground, but she picked herself up and shook the sands off of her.

"You ready to get your Z on now?" Mina asked, her voice upbeat.

"I'm ready when you are."

"Great! Alright Morgan, let's go!"

She and Morgan started their Z-Pose first, in which their fingers and paws formed a heart and they lifted one of their legs up. A golden aura surrounded them both, and glittering pink mist covered the battlefield.

Grimsley and Queen also struck their Z-Pose. Their arms formed a shape like a circle, and then their left arms straight and right arms upward. They had practiced that pose numerous times yesterday, so Grimsley hoped that this would work. A bright light engulfed them.

Morgan circled around Queen like an orbit. She launched herself straight at her, but then Queen unleashed large amounts of white silk and wrapped Morgan in a cocoon. Queen slammed the cocoon on the ground, tossed it in the air, and sliced it with her blades. The cocoon exploded, and Morgan popped out from it.

Another Z-Move completed.

Queen and Morgan let out deep breaths and glared at each other. Grimsley stood there, his chest heaving and heart racing. Mina looked just as exhausted. Seconds passed, and the Pokémon collapsed on the sands. Both Grimsley and Mina rushed to their Pokémon's sides and helped pick them up.

"Oh hey, you just did your second Z-Move!" Mina said with a small smile. Behind her, Morgan barked.

A pleased smile formed on Grimsley's lips. He put a supportive hand on Queen's shoulder.

"Queen was able to do that thanks to you. Your help has been very appreciated."

"Nah, don't mention it." After she and Grimsley returned their Pokémon, Mina said, "Battling full Z-powered has been fun!"

Grimsley hummed, agreeing with her. He was surprised how much he enjoyed using them. Using Z-Moves seemed to be helping his Pokémon to their full potential.

Loud claps rang through Grimsley's ears. He turned around to see Colress grinning at them.

His face was twisted in a grimace.

"Marvelous! Just marvelous! Seeing you two bonded with your Pokémon through Z-Moves is a sight to behold!"

"Alola, alola!" Mina greeted, giving him the Alola rainbow sign. "I'm Mina, Captain of Poni Island, and this is Grimsley."

"Dr. Colress, scientist extraordinaire." He and Mina shook hands. Colress then walked up to Grimsley. "Fancy seeing you again, Grimsley."

Mina tilted her head. "Oh? You two met before?"

"We actually came from the same region," Grimsley said, folding his arms against his chest. "Old acquaintances, to put simply."

"I see, I see," Mina said as she bobbed her head. "So you're a scientist, huh? You research all sorts of stuff?"

"You can say that. My main research though is to bring out a Pokémon's true potential! The Z-Moves used often in this region is a perfect example of that."

"Oh? How so?"

A wide grin stretched across Colress's face. "I can now see with my own eyes the invisible power between Trainers and Pokémon... Z-Moves give it form! The Z-Ring and Z-Crystals… Their unknown energy will open doors to new worlds!"

Mina left her mouth wide open. "Huh, really? That's cool, actually."

"Glad you think so! I've been in Alola for a while now, but this region is proving to be full of surprises!"

Mina hummed and bobbed her head once more. A vibrating sound was heard, and Mina pulled out her phone. She looked at it for a minute and faced back at Colress and Grimsley.

"Oh, I got some urgent business to take care of. It was great talking with you, Dr. Colress!"

"It's my pleasure. If you ever want to talk again, here's my card."

Colress handed her a card, which she put it inside her pant's pockets.

"Appreciate it, man. And thanks again for that battle, Grimsley!"

Mina waved them goodbye and headed out. As soon as she was out of sight, Grimsley glared at him.

"What are you doing here?" he asked in a bitter tone.

"I'm conducting some research here. According to the Ultra Recon Squad, there's an abundance of Z-Aura in Vast Poni Canyon and the Poni Wilds. I plan to head up there soon."

"Speaking of the Ultra Recon Squad, I saw you with them in Lake of the Moone. What were you doing?"

Colress's face fell, and his eyes fluttered. He shifted away from Grimsley for a second.

"I already told you, I'm building a machine for them to deal with Necrozma." His frown deepened. "However, the Aether's president had taken that machine with her, so I'm making another one."

Grimsley's throat ran dry. He remembered Selene and Lillie mentioning that while being interviewed by the Interpol agents. So she really was trying to become Alola's savior.

"How about Lunala? I noticed the way you looked at them with great interest."

Colress raised a confused brow, and then he sighed and rubbed his forehead.

"You're right that I was mesmerized by them. I asked Dulse if it's possible Lunala and Solgaleo could be fused with Necrozma, and he said yes. After a long discussion, he approved of me making the Colress Machines 1198 and 1199."

Grimsley's jaws clenched. "So you're making a machine to fuse the Legendary Pokémon and Necrozma together?"

"Not exactly. The machine is to be used to separate them from Necrozma when that happens. That was why the Ultra Recon Squad had Lunala as far away from Necrozma as possible."

Grimsley gave him a cold stare, not certain if he completely bought it. Memories of seeing footage of Black Kyurem, fusion of Kyurem and Zekrom, on the news flooded back to him.

It was time for that conversation.

"Why did you join Team Plasma? Why the experiment on Kyurem and Zekrom?"

Colress's face turned pale. He bit his lips and lowered his gaze to the ground, his shoulders hanging down.

"When Team Plasma first approached me, I didn't care about their new agenda. I only accepted their invitation for my own gain."

"What about Ghetsis? Did he make you fuse those legendary dragons?"

Colress flattened his lips and furrowed his brow.

"Fusing Kyurem and Zekrom was his initial idea. It's true that I went with it, but I didn't like his purpose for that. I actually despised him!"

His breath caught in his throat, Grimsley admitted he didn't expect Colress to have strong feelings against Ghetsis. He was just as responsible for what happened in Unova, though.

"Even so, you still let Team Plasma run wild." Grimsley raised his arms and shouted, "Almost all of Opleuid City was frozen, for instance!"

Colress's mouth fell, his fingers touching his lips. He hung his head down.

"Back then, I only cared about my goal of bringing out a Pokémon's true power. After some reflection, the damage Team Plasma did was terrible and I'm deeply sorry."

Grimsley swallowed hard and furrowed his brow. From the way Colress's frown deepened, he was serious. Perhaps he cared about helping the Ultra Recon Squad with Necrozma also. His stare towards Colress wavered, and he gazed upwards at the sky.

"I was battling against a rockstar trainer named Ryuki, and he had a Mega Garchomp. During that battle, I thought about our conversation on Mega Evolution."

"I gave you Roulette's Megastone and Keystone because I thought those would bring out Roulette's full potential," Colress said, grinning.

"Roulette doesn't like Mega Evolving unless necessary. She would growl and swipe her paw at you whenever you were near her."

Colress chuckled and threw his head back. "Maybe I was a little forceful there. Can't help myself with a beautiful Mega form like hers." He paused. "She held herself well against my Mega Metagross."

A reminiscent smile pulled on his lips. He and Colress would have Roulette and Mercury, Colress's Metagross, battle on occasion. Mercury was stronger and tough to break through their defenses when Mega Evolved, but Grimsley made use of Roulette's type advantage and speed.

"Mercury was quite the powerhouse, though. It took several attempts until Roulette was able to beat them."

Colress hummed and nodded. "I gave you Roulette's Mega Stone during that big dinner party with all the leading scientists in it. You were bored out of your mind."

Grimsley snorted. "My parents and their friends can throw better dinner parties than them. It was still a lovely evening overall."

Another awkward silence stretched between them. Several Wingull from above cawed. The ocean waves crashed onto the shore, making Grimsley and Colress' shoes wet. Colress's frown returned.

"While we can't go back to the things they were, I hope that someday we can at least be friends again."

Grimsley's heart sank, and he swallowed hard. To be friends again… could he accept that? He sighed and shook his head.

"I'm not sure if that's possible."

A pained expression crossed Colress's face, and he dropped his head. "I guess this is goodbye then."

"I guess so," Grimsley said in a low voice, his lips twitching.

Colress lifted his head back, and their gazes met.

"Before I go, I want to make a request. One last kiss from you."

Eyes wide open, Grimsley was taken aback by that request. After some consideration, he believed Colress harbor no ill intentions when he said that. He nodded his approval.

Colress approached him, his palm touching Grimsley's cheek. Their lips touched, and Grimsley's heart raced. Colress's lips were warm like the Alolan sun, and salty like the ocean breeze. They let go and exchanged sad gazes.

"I'll never forget our time together, Grimsley." Colress patted his shoulder and flashed him one last grin.

Grimsley frowned as Colress headed off. After a moment, he turned and gazed at the long stretch of the ocean. A small smile formed on his lips.

He didn't expect their goodbyes to be this bittersweet but was glad that they finally had this conversation.

xxx

The SS Magikarp felt crammed inside with five people, Nanu mused. He and his group stayed in the seats while Akoni steered his boat towards Exeggutor Island. Nanu gripped on the seat handles as the waves crashed and rocked the boat.

"I forgot to ask back in Poni Island, where are Hau and Gladion?" he asked.

"Gladion is taking care of some business in Aether Paradise," Charlotte said. "I have him keep an eye on things while I'm away."

"And Hau wants to do some training back home before going against you," Selene said, beaming.

"Huh, is that so." Nanu scratched his cheek, thinking some training would do the boy good.

"Um, Ms. Wicke," Lillie started, her hands grabbing on the hem of her skirt. She gazed up at Charlotte. "I want to thank you for watching over me and Gladion when our mother wasn't there for us."

Charlotte gasped, and her face softened. "After your father's disappearance, your mother went through a tough time. I get why she grew distant towards everyone, but that doesn't excuse any of her behavior."

Lillie nodded and hummed in agreement. "Gladion told me the same thing." Lillie dropped her gaze on her lap. "There's… a lot that Mother and I need to talk about."

As Nanu listened in on their conversation, he remembered Gladion telling him how he and Null needed to get stronger. He wanted to know more about that boy's partner.

"Charlotte, can you tell me everything you know about Type: Null? Anabel and Looker told me that Interpol has been keeping an eye on them."

"Of course," Charlotte said, and told him what she knew. Branch Chief Faba Leroy and his team created three specimens they dubbed "Type: Full." They were meant to be used to combat the Ultra Beasts, but after some mishaps with the RKS System they were deemed unfit and put into permanent cryogenic stasis. Eventually though, Gladion ran off with one of them.

"Oh yeah, I remember reading that on Faba's computer," Selene said. "His blog entries reeks 'I'm better than you underlings'."

"So Aether's been figuring out ways to kill Ultra Beasts?" Nanu grunted. "I bet Interpol wants their hands on those for a while now."

"They do, but Anabel, Looker, and I convinced the higher ups to not take them yet and have me monitor Aether instead."

Nanu crossed his arms and pressed his lips. Nothing good would come out if Interpol had them.

"I battled against the kid's pup, and they were quite strong. Don't know how he managed to take care of them."

"I know, right?" Selene chimed in. "You should've seen Gladion and Null at the Battle Royal, they're even more wild there!"

Another grunt escaped from Nanu. The boat rocked once more, and he kept himself steady.

"We're almost at Exeggutor Island, everyone!" Akoni announced, and everyone looked through the windows. The island was just on the horizon, the shapes of the long necked Exeggutor sticking out. Dark clouds started to form above.

"Oh, I hope it doesn't rain too hard…" Lillie said in a small voice, her palm resting on the window glass.

"Yeah, I noticed it too," Akoni said. "After I drop you guys, I'll move the boat to safer ground but I'll come back not long after."

It was another several minutes until they reached the island. The moment Nanu stepped out a whiff of the flowers and ocean breeze slipped inside his nose. Several Exeggutor moved around and swung their heads like hammers. The last time he visited the island the ground was bone dry, but now there was green grass everywhere. The winds began to pick up.

The Exeggutor were more irritated than when he last saw them. As if another Pokémon spooked them...

"Oh wow, so many Alolan Exeggutors!" Selene shouted in excitement. "They're way different than the ones back in Kanto!"

"Indeed," Charlotte said with a small smile. "They're taller than the Exeggutor there, and are part Dragon-type instead of Psychic!"

"I read they grew that tall due to the abundance of sunlight in this region," Lillie said.

Akoni hummed and had his hand on his sides. "Alright you guys, I'll be heading out now. If the weather gets bad, take shelter and wait it out. Got it?"

"Got it!" both Lillie and Selene said together, and Akoni chuckled.

"Great to hear! I wish you all luck in getting that flute!" Akoni waved them goodbye and stepped inside his ship.

"Okay!" Selene slammed her fist into her palm. "Let's get that flute!"

Selene took a few steps, only for Nanu to grab her wrist and stop her.

"Hold up there, kid. Before going forward, do you see how irritated the Exeggutor are?"

Indeed the Exeggutor's stomps were harder, and they twirled their heads like a helicopter. Three Pinsir gathered around them, pinching them with their pincers.

"Oh my, looks like the Pinsir are bothering them," Charlotte said with her hand close to her mouth.

Nanu looked down at Lillie. "Do you have any Pokémon with you?"

Lillie gasped, and she shifted her gaze away from him for a second. "Well, I do have one besides Nebby. I haven't trained her much for battles, though."

"That's fine. Just stick close with us," Nanu said, and Lilie hummed in agreement.

Everyone released their Pokémon: Nanu his Krookodile; Selene a Lurnatis; Charlotte a Persian but with white fur and a smaller head than his that she named Princess; Lillie a Comfey.

Nanu, Selene, and Charlotte commanded their Pokémon to take care of the Pinsir. Krookodile used his tail and jaws to slam and grab onto them. Franziska often blocked the Pinsir's assaults with her arms that glowed and shaped like a blade. Princess used her claws when they were near her and her gem to fire off glowing rocks at them.

While the three were busy with the Pinsir, Lillie had Comfey try to calm the Exeggutor down. The lei Pokémon sprouted off pink mist that smelled like flowers at them, and the Exeggutor stopped their tantrum.

Light rain started to pour while everyone was busy.

It didn't take long for Nanu, Selene, and Charlotte to finish off the Pinsir. Krookodile rammed the first Pinsir onto a palm tree, and the bug Pokémon collapsed. Franziska slashed the second one with her arm and he crashed on the ground. Princess pinned the last one down, and when the Pinsir asked to be let go she jumped off from him. All three Pinsir ran off.

"All right, we did it!" Selene cheered, raising her arm up in the air. Franziska did the same thing, micking her trainer's reaction.

Nanu looked up at Krookodile and grinned. "Great work there, buddy," he said, and Krookodile growled. He faced Lillie. "Has the Exeggutor calmed down?"

"Yes they have, thanks to Comfey!" Lillie said, grinning. Her Pokémon floated next to her and squealed.

Indeed the Exeggutor were happier now, swaying their heads and not stomping anymore.

"Awesome, you have a Kantonian Persian!" Selene said as she approached Charlotte and Princess. "My mom and I have a Kantonian Meowth at home."

"Aw, how lovely!" Charlotte said with a pleased smile. She scratched Princess's neck, who let out a satisfied purr. "She's been my main partner for a while now."

"Nice." Selene bounced off her feet and asked, "Oh, oh, can I pet her?"

"Sure, but be gentle!"

Selene kneeled down and scratched Princess's cheek. Princess purred against her palm.

"Who's a good girl?" she cooed. "Yes you are! Yes you are!"

More rain cascaded down on the island, and the palm trees and grass swayed as the winds grew more aggressive. Nanu clenched his teeth, the cold raindrops stinging his skin.Selene and Charlotte seemed to not be bothered petting Princess despite this. He was tempted to pet her too, but now was not the good time.

"We need to take shelter. There's a cave up ahead, let's go."

Everyone returned their Pokémon and followed Nanu to the cave, which was a short distance from them. It was dark when they stepped inside, almost no light seeping through. Nanu and Charlotte stood up while the girls sat down.

"Looks like we'll be stuck here for a bit," Nanu said as he crossed his arms.

"Remember when the four of us were in Johto and got stuck in a snowstorm?" Charlotte said, grinning. "We huddled together for warmth and waited until morning."

A nostalgic smile pulled on Nanu's lips. He, Looker, Charlotte, and Sana were in Johto for one of their assignments and ended up getting lost in the mountains near Blackthorn City. They stayed in a cave until help arrived.

"We were fortunate the Dragon Clan found us and let us stay with them for a few days."

"No way, you guys met the Blackthorn City Dragon Clan?" Selene asked in excitement. "Many of Kanto and Johto's best Dragon-type trainers come from there, like Lance and Clair!"

Nanu snorted. "Funny you should mention Clair. She chewed us out for getting lost in the mountains, which we probably deserved."

Quiet the whole conversation, Lillie gazed outside towards the rain. She smiled a little and faced everyone.

"This rain also reminds me of this one time when I was little," she said. Lillie continued on, talking about how she danced in the rain because of a movie she saw. Her mother was shocked at first, but she danced with her and the two ended up getting sick. That was the happiest she was with her mother.

"So you and your mother were dancing in the rain and then got sick?" Nanu said and chuckled. "I personally wouldn't do that."

"Oh yeah, I remember that," Charlotte said, smiling also. "While you and Madame Lusamine were sick, I took care of the both of you."

"You were so worried about us, you checked up on us almost every hour," Lillie said with a giggle. Her smile faded and she lowered her head. "We already talked about how she had changed earlier. I hope a heart-to-heart with her will clear up some things."

Charlotte frowned for a bit, and then her smile returned. "If you need any support, I'll be there for you."

"I'll support you also!" Selene grabbed and squeezed Lillie's hands. Lillie was taken aback by Selene's gesture, but then she offered her an appreciative smile.

"Thanks, you two. That means a lot."

Nanu narrowed his eyes at them, pressing his lips in a thin line. After a moment, he glanced outside to see that the rain had stopped.

"I think it's safe to go outside now," he said, and everyone stepped outside.

They were welcomed with clear blue skies and white clouds floating by. The grass was wet with dew, and the ocean sparkled against the sun's light. A large and vibrant rainbow stretched across the horizon.

Everyone gazed at the rainbow with large grins. Lillie and Selene gasped and held hands.

"A rainbow!" Selene said. "How cool is that!"

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Lillie said.

Nanu clicked his tongue. "All right you two, that's enough rainbow watching there. You got a flute to find, yeah?"

"Right," Selene said, her expression changing to one of determination. She looked up at the peak above her. "Um, how are we gonna get up there?"

"Easy, you ask one of the Exeggutor." Nanu whistled, which grabbed one of the Exeggutor's attention. He marched to where Nanu and his group were. "Hey, Exeggutor! These girls here want to get to the top. Can you help with that?"

The Exeggutor bellowed out an "Exegggg" and lowered his head. Selene and Lillie looked at each other, and then they climbed on his head. With slow and heavy steps, the Exeggutor took them to the peak.

"These girls reminded me of Sana and I when we were younger," Charlotte said when she and Nanu were alone.

Nanu raised a suspicious brow. "Really? I don't see it."

Charlotte pouted. "Come on, don't tell me you don't see a resemblance between Sana and Selene."

Now that Nanu thought about it, Selene did look like a younger version of Sana. Dark skin and hair, big eyes, very upbeat and energetic. It was almost uncanny.

"Okay, maybe a little." He gazed at the rainbow once more, and his heart dropped. "She would've loved that rainbow."

"She would." Charlotte walked closer to him and held his hand. That startled Nanu for a second, but then he squeezed her hand back and didn't let go.

While waiting for Lillie and Selene to get the Sun Flute, they gazed at the rainbow together.


Author's Note:
Lillie has a few Pokemon when she battles with you during USUM's Rainbow Rocket sidequest and in the Battle Tree.

I'm still doing the advertising campaign for Foul Play! Comments and spreading the word would be appreciated:

Sorry for the slight delay, the pandemic threw things off for me. As always, thanks to bobandbill for betaing. I'll try to have the chapter a bit faster, around early May at the latest. See you then!
 

CiCi

[font=Satisfy]Obsession: Watanuki Kimihiro and Izu
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  • Age 31
  • Seen Nov 24, 2023
I'm here! Gonna drop in a nifty review. Here's how I typically do it: I read through the entire thing and make notes on certain sentences and paragraphs. Then I write my overall thoughts. There won't be too many individual sentences and such mentioned since you told me not to go too in-depth, and since this is the first chapter of many and I'm sure you've progressed.

----
CHAPTER ONE:

He looked on as his opponent, a female trainer named Kelly, picked up her Whimsicott.
Just very quick, I don't think we need to mention that she's a 'female trainer', when you already say that she 'picked up her Whimsicott". Good to avoid redundancy, even though it may have felt right in the moment.

He shifted his face[...]
I wonder if this was important. Cuz I don't know in what way he 'shifted his face', and you already mentioned the sigh and frown. So this kinda hangs there, not adding anything imo.

Kelly seemed very cute! Makes me wonder if she's going to come back or if she was just a plot device. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I just wouldn't mind seeing more of her, lol :P

Iris glared at him, her hands on her hips. "Oh, really?" She sighed, then said, "Fine, do your coin flip thing."
This has definitely been the best part of this dialogue between Iris and Grimsley thus far. The rest of it, well I'll mention that in my overall thoughts portion.

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.
Would've been nice to get some of her naggings in there. Rather than just telling us about it, you could've easily shown us, and it would give the mom some characterization. Plus, we could have a moment where Grimsley shudders about it or smiles fondly, to get a hint of what his relationship with her is like, without explicitly telling us.

He moved a little further[...]
Pet peeve warning, but also good for grammar: further is not the same as farther. He's stepping farther into the shop. Farther is a tangible distance whereas further is an emotional, spiritual, or other non-tangible distance. So he's getting further from his love of battling Pokemon, but he traveled farther away from his home than he thought he would. Hope that makes sense. /rant over, lmao

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[...]
Well damn, who needs that scene anyway, amirite?

A female trainer cradled his injured Golduck in her arms[...]
xD I think you see the issue but it's pretty funny.

He and Felicia then returned their defeat Pokémon.
Ain't it crazy how we can STILL find lil baby typos in our stories after several people have read them? Reading is weird like that.

Po Town's police station was a fairly small building [...] cans of various food, and Pokémon food dumped there.
Something interesting I heard from one of my great writer friends is to go easy on descriptions such as these. They feel too expository and don't add much to the story, plus they can rip you out of your character's POV (which is bad for this story since it's POV heavy). She suggests instead to only include description like this through your character's eyes. So Nanu would already know that the police station is small and wouldn't mention it unless it came up in his head (something like He was tired of the tiny station and how the walls seemed to close in him.). Not only does that fix the above problems, but it makes the story more interesting to read. As it stands, it feels like an info dump. And I do have to wonder if things like this get better as you've written more.

[...]she and Nanu laid him down on another couch that was across Nanu's workspace[...]
Ah, yes, I also have a couch that rests directly atop of my workspace. xD I know you mean 'across from Nanu's workspace', but just reading it through made me imagine his couch is sitting across the workspace itself. How inconvenient! Wierd how a single word can make all the difference.

Nanu touched Golduck's forehead, which was very warm against his palm.
This isn't anything about your writing, but I wonder why so many times an injured Pokemon has a fever in the anime. Just because someone gets the crap beat out of them doesn't mean they automatically have a fever. Those only occur when you're fighting an infection, which the Golduck (and anime Pokes) normally wouldn't be since they got beat up recently. So weird, but a trope I can see most Pokemon writers just following.

[...]his finger pointing[...]
As opposed to pointing with his-- actually, never mind, maybe specifying finger is a good thing, lmao. But really, I hope you see the redundancy here. People don't normally point with anything aside from their finger. Now when people say motioning with their X, I can see that, cuz X can be our heads, our hands, half our entire body, etc. But if you're pointing at something, obviously you're using your finger. Just kinda... Natural to know.

He wasn't the most welcoming person and easiest to warm up to, but this should do.
"Show don't tell"? Pft, who needs it.

-----

All righty, I've been a jerkass long enough and I've made it to the end, so let's talk!

I like how you've thought about the gambling backstory for Grimsley. We don't see too much of that in Pokemon fics, even though it's an established concept, so I'm curious to know how you'll go about that and make it into a good conflict. Then there's Nanu, whose characterization was good in most parts, told mostly through his dialogue where he's just kinda done with everything. That's pretty great.

That's a good segue into more about the characterization. We didn't get much in terms of differences in the narrative voices of each character. If you put these two side-by-side and took out the names of those whose POV we're supposed to be in, I would think they're the same character. In a POV heavy story, we need to have the character oozing from the page. Which is much easier said than done, and it's a struggle for sure. I think a good example of how it's wonky is this:

Dark clouds covered the sky like smoke from a forest fire.

I almost forgave this sentence because we'd switched to Nanu, and I figured maybe Nanu would have a more similie/flowery prose-style narrative when compared to Grimsley (bear in mind that I don't know these characters at all cuz I'm a fake fan/don't like the new generations cuz I'm a genwunner). But that wasn't the case. They both seem kind of dry, but whereas Grimsley seems dry and blunt, he has this almost emotionless feel to him, like he keeps everything buried. I felt Nanu would have this cynical view of the world where his narration could stand more of him being absolutely irritated. You almost had it in this part of the sentence:

[...]he reminded himself that he needed to do his damned job and get there as soon as possible.

And you definitely got it in his dialogue, but the rest of the narrative doesn't tend to match. That's something very, very important to keep in mind. For a few other examples, lemme try to take a few sentences and Nanu-fy them (lol, I don't know Nanu as anything more than a cynical detective now, so Nanu-fy in MY headcanon).

Yours: They trudged through the dry grass and steep climbs, the mud getting stuck on Nanu's boots and Persian's paws.
Mine: His feet sloshed through the muddy soil and got his damn shoes dirty, so now whenever he finally gets back to his office he'll certainly track crap across his floor.

Yours: 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.
Mine: The thugs exchanged scrunch-faced glances, then Felicia had the gall to pull a knife from Arceus-knows-where. She pointed it at the trainer who let out a sharp gasp, but Felicia wouldn't be so high and mighty if she truly knew him, and knew how easily he could mop the floor with her.

Yours: 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.
Mine: Once the trainer let Golduck out, he helped her lay him upon his musty old couch. It wasn't the most comfortable but he tried his best to help the injured Golduck with a few fluffed pillows. He snatched up his potions and immediately got to work on the poor creature, whose condition had Golduck black and blue and breathing heavy. He placed his palm against Golduck's forehead and frowned when he felt its heat. Not good.

Now I know that my "revisions" aren't the best (hell I may not have a bead on Nanu's actual character, I wouldn't know) and they're certainly not meant to imply that mine are "better", either. All I wanted to demonstrate was the difference between a global-style narrative, and a more POV-centric one. You have to be the one to make the call on whether or not you want this stuff to be that POV-centric, cuz as it stands your fic is leaning toward HEAVY point of view.

And I don't want to be rude, but sometimes that dialogue was no fun to get through. The entire scene where Grimsley is telling everyone he's going on vacation didn't seem to add anything, and the dialogue wasn't interesting. It would've been cool to add more of the character's voices to their unique dialogue. Not to say everyone needs some crazy accent or anything, but we should be able to tell them apart at least somewhat. The only one who tended to stand out was Iris, being all peppy. But I think adding exclamation points really helped there. And the dialogue between Grimsley and the receptionist at the store? Very expository with no real substance to it. Maybe there was some story in there, but I couldn't find it or didn't pick up on it. If she'd hinted at something coming later on down the line, that could've been cool foreshadowing in an unexpected place, but as it stands, I didn't enjoy reading that.

That said, I did like some of Nanu's dialogue, which seemed to have a mind of its own sometimes. You mentioned this story doing that and I'm sure I'll pick up on when that shines through, cuz when a story wants to write itself, it becomes quite obvious. But when an author is just trying to get to the good stuff, that almost becomes quite obvious. I think that's the biggest issue with chapter 1: it's trying to get to the good stuff. I get it, I've been there, sometimes it feels like a chore, and chapter 1 needs to really introduce the good stuff as fast as possible. Especially because the average attention span of a fanfiction reader is about 10 seconds, lol

Oh the battle. OH the battle. I know that was just a battle between two Team Skull morons, but that was really not fun. It was a big paragraph first of all, and it was so detached not only from Nanu's POV (oh god that again, I know) but also from any semblance of the rain or the environment. In a mountainous, rainy area, there's so much room for fun things to happen, but the battle was very by the books and very, very robotic.

X Pokemon opened its mouth and shot stars at Y Pokemon, making Y Pokemon lose its balance and fall.

That's basically what it was. Where's the chutzpah? Where's Nanu being bored throughout the battle? (And thus you not needing to tell us he's bored because we would've seen it throughout).

When Raticate wasted its time by thrusting its fangs at Persian, Nanu had to repress a yawn. All he had to do was watch as his far more graceful Persian leapt back and made the uncoordinated Raticate slip on a puddle, slamming face-first into the mud. The best part about the battle was watching the rat frantically spitting the soggy soil back out.

More of that, please. More using the terrain and more Nanu being a cynical boi.

I think that about covers what I think of chapter 1. Well, at least in terms of things you specifically wanted me to cover. I could write a dissertation on it, but I'll wait until the day I might catch up to your more recent chapter, and thus your more recent experience.

I hope something I said here helps, and you're free to ask questions or comment on my feedback as you please! And if you want me to continue, I certainly can. I can even just go through these chapters until I get to your most recent, rather than reviewing each chapter individually. I don't want my comments to be redundant because you've already improved past the things I mention. So let me know which you'd rather!
 

Bay

6,385
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17
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Hi there! First off, oh boy that review was overwhelming haha. Usually I don't respond until I update the next chapter, but I've been mulling it for a couple nights now and want to get this out of the way. I won't respond to all the points you made there, will mostly talk about the big points there.

Kelly seemed very cute! Makes me wonder if she's going to come back or if she was just a plot device. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I just wouldn't mind seeing more of her, lol :P

Sadly Kelly is just a plot device lol. She's fun to write though.

Would've been nice to get some of her naggings in there. Rather than just telling us about it, you could've easily shown us, and it would give the mom some characterization. Plus, we could have a moment where Grimsley shudders about it or smiles fondly, to get a hint of what his relationship with her is like, without explicitly telling us.

Funny story about that. On the first version of this chapter I did a scene where Grimsley gave his mother a phonecall, but some folks thought it wasn't needed. I have him call her in Chapter 2 though, lol. But yeah, could've done that.

Pet peeve warning, but also good for grammar: further is not the same as farther. He's stepping farther into the shop. Farther is a tangible distance whereas further is an emotional, spiritual, or other non-tangible distance. So he's getting further from his love of battling Pokemon, but he traveled farther away from his home than he thought he would. Hope that makes sense. /rant over, lmao

Duly noted.

Something interesting I heard from one of my great writer friends is to go easy on descriptions such as these. They feel too expository and don't add much to the story, plus they can rip you out of your character's POV (which is bad for this story since it's POV heavy). She suggests instead to only include description like this through your character's eyes. So Nanu would already know that the police station is small and wouldn't mention it unless it came up in his head (something like He was tired of the tiny station and how the walls seemed to close in him.). Not only does that fix the above problems, but it makes the story more interesting to read. As it stands, it feels like an info dump. And I do have to wonder if things like this get better as you've written more.

I did that huge description as an attempt at worldbuilding and showcasing how messy Nanu's office is. I could probably temper down on that though.


I almost forgave this sentence because we'd switched to Nanu, and I figured maybe Nanu would have a more similie/flowery prose-style narrative when compared to Grimsley (bear in mind that I don't know these characters at all cuz I'm a fake fan/don't like the new generations cuz I'm a genwunner). But that wasn't the case. They both seem kind of dry, but whereas Grimsley seems dry and blunt, he has this almost emotionless feel to him, like he keeps everything buried. I felt Nanu would have this cynical view of the world where his narration could stand more of him being absolutely irritated.

Grimsley is actually more coy and deceptive in the Gen 5 games, and he still has that in Gen 7 but also lost on what to do next. Nanu does have a cynical view of the world but also buries his feelings inside. Your examples of Nanu's narrative voice are good ones and I can take some cues there.

On a related note, yeah I wanted to have this story be in Grimsley and Nanu's POVs. Despite writing for many years, narrative voice is still something that takes me a lot of trial and error.

And I don't want to be rude, but sometimes that dialogue was no fun to get through. The entire scene where Grimsley is telling everyone he's going on vacation didn't seem to add anything, and the dialogue wasn't interesting. It would've been cool to add more of the character's voices to their unique dialogue. Not to say everyone needs some crazy accent or anything, but we should be able to tell them apart at least somewhat. The only one who tended to stand out was Iris, being all peppy. But I think adding exclamation points really helped there. And the dialogue between Grimsley and the receptionist at the store? Very expository with no real substance to it. Maybe there was some story in there, but I couldn't find it or didn't pick up on it. If she'd hinted at something coming later on down the line, that could've been cool foreshadowing in an unexpected place, but as it stands, I didn't enjoy reading that.

I had a couple folks from another site feeling the same way towards Grimsley's scene with the other Elite 4 members. If I were to do a huge rewrite I might just get rid of that scene altogether. As for the receptionist scene, there is some foreshadowing there but it could be executed better.


I hope something I said here helps, and you're free to ask questions or comment on my feedback as you please! And if you want me to continue, I certainly can. I can even just go through these chapters until I get to your most recent, rather than reviewing each chapter individually. I don't want my comments to be redundant because you've already improved past the things I mention. So let me know which you'd rather!

I'm fine with you continuing if you want, and if you do I'm okay with waiting until you get to the most recent chapter. ALSO, I totally understand if you're not up to continuing anymore. Even though I posted the first chapter back in 2017, I don't want to be one of those authors going, "the story gets better several chapters in!"

With that said, I do appreciate you taking the time to review here! I want to focus on finishing this fic first and foremost. However, I'll try my best to fine tune the narrative voice and battles on the final chapters and later projects I plan on doing. Thanks, and wish you good health.
 

Bay

6,385
Posts
17
Years
Chapter Twenty-Two
Fling


After that overdue talk with Colress, Grimsley took a leisurely walk in Seafolk Village. A few of the boats that were here earlier today had left. He didn't see Nanu and the others yet, so they likely were still on Exeggutor Island.

Grimsley tugged at his scarf, the air around him getting warmer. He passed by a few vendors and stopped when he saw Mina and another woman at the docks. She was much shorter and had darker skin. Her tan clothing and purple bonnet made her look like a humble farmer. It was a moment until she and Mina noticed him.

"Oh, hey Grimsley!" Mina beamed and waved to him. "There's someone I want you to meet!"

The woman with the purple bonnet approached Grimsley. "I'm Hapu, a resident of Poni Island. It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Grimsley, and likewise," he said, and they shook hands.

Hapu grinned and had her hands on her hips. "Mina told me that you're a member of the Elite Four. What's a mighty strong trainer like you doing here?"

Grimsley hummed and said, "I'm supposed to be on holiday, but I did more battles than anticipated."

"Hapu's been traveling all over Alola to prove herself as our island's next kahuna," Mina said. "She came back here just now."

"The next kahuna?" Grimsley asked and blinked. "That's very ambitious of you."

Hapu let out a sheepish laugh and rubbed the back of her neck. "My late grandfather was the last kahuna here and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. Tapu Fini didn't choose me as the next kahuna, so I left Poni Island to do my own island challenge."

Grimsley lifted a brow, unsure what she meant by her own island challenge. He didn't get a chance to ask her when Mina gasped and pointed at the horizon.

"I think it's them!" she said, grinning.

A houseboat the shape of a Magikarp pulled next to the docks. Nanu, Wicke, Lillie, Selene and a middle-aged man with dark hair stepped out.

"Alola, alola!" Mina cheered as she approached them. "Looks like you guys made it back safely."

"Thanks so much for bringing us to Exeggutor Island, Chief Akoni," Lillie said, smiling.

"Not a problem at all, miss!" Akoni said. "Glad to see you have what you're looking for." He stopped and noticed Hapu, flashing her a grin. "Why hello there, Hapu! You're back from your long journey?"

Hapu beamed back. "Indeed I am, Chief Akoni. I had been away long enough, so it's great to be back."

Akoni chuckled with his hands on his sides. "I'm sure your grandmother will be overjoyed." He shifted his gaze at Grimsley and approached him. "Hm, never seen you here before."

"That's Grimsley," Nanu said dismissively. "He's a trainer from Unova."

Grimsley glared at him and folded his arms, unimpressed with his subpar introduction of him. "A strong trainer, I may add." He looked back at Akoni. "So you must be the Seafolk Village chief Nanu mentioned."

"Yup, that's me! I make sure the seafolk live peacefully here." He moved his head away for a second. "Well, I better check up on my boat. You all have a nice day!"

Everyone waved goodbye to Akoni as he stepped back inside his ship. Hapu faced Selene and Lillie, grinning at them.

"Lillie, Selene. It's been a while, you two."

"It's great to see you too, Hapu!" Selene said and grinned back. "Oh, do you like Lillie's new Z-Powered look?"

A slight blush formed on Lillie's cheeks, and a determined expression crossed her face. "I've finally figured out what I need to do, so I gave myself this new look."

Hapu's grin widened. "Ho, I like that! No one could call you lily-livered!"

"I think her new look is also lovely," Wicke said with a soft smile. She walked closer to Hapu and Mina. "I'm Wicke Santana from the Aether Foundation. It's nice to meet you two."

Mina grinned at her. "Alola! I'm Mina, the trial captain here. I heard some great stuff you did for that place."

"Oh, you're one of them Aether folks, correct? I heard you guys did good work." She and Wicke shook hands, and then she faced Nanu. "And greetings to you, Kahuna Nanu."

Nanu grunted. "Hello to you too, kid."

Grimsley stared at him. It shouldn't surprise him that Nanu wasn't the kind of person to give warm greetings.

"So, how was the trip there?" Mina asked.

"It was great!" Selene said, raising her arms in the air. "We got to see the Alolan Exeggutor and ride on them!"

"We stayed longer than anticipated because it was raining there," Lillie said. "But now we have the Sun Flute!"

Lillie pulled out a golden flute with the sun symbol like the drawing Grimsley had seen from the book. He, Hapu, and Mina took a closer look at it.

"So that's the Sun Flute from Exeggutor Island..." Hapu said in a low voice. "You plan to do something with it?"

Lillie hummed and nodded. "My mother disappeared off into some far-off world to face off a fearsome Pokémon called Necrozma. I must go after her!"

"Necrozma is the beast that the Ultra Recon Squad are looking after," Selene said. "That's why Lillie and I are asking for the Legendary Pokémon's help."

Hapu rubbed her chin and furrowed her brow. "That Necrozma must be what's weighing heavily upon the Ultra Recon Squad."

"All of this sounds like a lot of work for you two," Mina said. "You sure you're up to the task?"

Lillie and Selene exchanged brief uncertain looks. They nodded and held hands.

"We are," Selene said.

Grimsley regarded the girls a moment. Lillie and Selene, both so young and yet so determined. They were just like Hilda and Nate who took down both versions of Team Plasma. He glanced to see Nanu, Wicke, Hapu, and Mina having similar expressions. Grimsley chuckled.

"I would be surprised if you backed down."

"If that's what you want then I'll help you in any way I can," Hapu said, smiling.

"Same here," Mina said and smiled also.

"If you girls are in any trouble, don't hesitate to ask me or Kahuna Nanu for assistance," Wicke said. She cleared her throat and hit Nanu's elbow with her own.

"Hm?" Nanu blinked and scratched the back of his neck. "Oh, yeah of course."

Grimsley snorted. "For a second, I thought you were going to say no."

Nanu flinched and narrowed his eyes at him. "I care for their safety, at least."

"Looks like all of you are exhausted. Why don't I take you all to my place to eat?"

"Oh, I would like that very much," Lillie said.

"Me too," Selene said. "I'm super hungry now!"

Mina gave a single nod. "Sure. I just need to let my parents know I'll be late tonight."

"I'm curious to see what your place looks like," Grimsley said. "I'll join also."

"That's such a sweet gesture, but Nanu and I have to meet with a couple of our friends to discuss some important manners," Wicke said. She turned to Nanu, who grunted in agreement.

"Ah, that's a shame," Hapu said in a disappointed voice but still smiled. "Perhaps next time, then." She turned towards Selene, Lillie, Mina, and Grimsley. "Alrighty then, the rest of you follow me!"

Grimsley followed Hapu and others while Nanu and Wicke went a separate path. He had grown interested in Hapu, so he wanted to talk with her more.

Xxx

Ancient Poni Path led to Vast Poni Canyon. Ruins of stone walls and ancient buildings were mixed in with small clay houses. A small farming community lived here, with the Poni white radish the most grown vegetable on this island. Hapu had told Grimsley, Lillie, and Selene how while most people on Poni Island were seafolk and traveled overseas often, the farmers here enjoyed a more relaxing and mundane lifestyle.

Grimsley couldn't imagine himself living that lifestyle for long. He enjoyed the fast pace of being an Elite Four trainer and gambler. His stay in Alola taught him though that relaxing once in a while wasn't so bad.

The group stopped when they made it in front of Hapu's house. A middle-aged woman was pulling out several white radishes from the soil. A Machamp and Mudsdale were helping her out. Hapu called out "Grandmother!" to her, causing her to turn and beam at her.

"Hapu!" She rushed over to her, and they embraced. "I take it your journey went well?"

"Ah huh," Hapu said, nodding and grinning. "I'm now ready to prove myself to Tapu Fini."

"I'm sure you'll do wonderfully." When Hapu's grandmother noticed Mina, she approached her. "And how are you, Mina dearie?"

"I'm doing great, Eli," Mina said with a smile. "Also can't wait to see little Hapu give it her all."

"That's great to hear." The woman gazed at Grimsley, Lillie, and Selene. "Oh, and who might you three be?"

"I'm Selene, and this is Lillie," Selene said, beaming. "I'm taking the Island Challenge while Lillie tags along."

"And I'm Grimsley. A trainer who came to Alola recently."

"They're guests I brought here with me," Hapu said. "I met Lillie and Selene during my travels."

The grin on Eli's face widened. "Ho! You all sound like nice people. Let's go inside and I'll cook something for everyone here."

Eli returned her Pokémon and everyone followed her inside. Two couches sat in between a table, and a flatscreen television stood on a counter. Several paintings of beautiful Alola scenery hung on the wall.

"Those two paintings there are mine," Mina said as she pointed to two paintings together. One was of a sea lion creature bathing in the low sunset. Another painting had blue and purple crab-like Pokémon playing in the snow.

"Oh wow, they're so cool!" Selene said, her face lighting up. "That one is a Primarina, isn't it?"

"Yup. Lana came to visit here some weeks back and let me paint her Pokémon. I gave her a copy, and then Eli asked if she could have one too."

"And what of those Pokémon?" Grimsley asked, still gazing at the one with the crab Pokémon in the snow.

"Those are Crabrawler and Crabominable. I was climbing Mt. Lanakila and saw them playing. I thought it would make a cute painting."

"Mina has a great eye on detail, doesn't she?" Eli asked and chuckled.

"She does, indeed," Grimsley said with a small smile. He approached a small table with a few framed pictures on it. One picture was of Eli with a man, which Grimsley assumed to be her late husband and Hapu's grandfather. The other picture was of a young woman with a Mudsdale surrounded by barren land.

"Is that you and your Mudsdale?" Grimsley asked, and Eli nodded.

"Mindy and I lost one of the island challenge trials. She got so upset and ran away." A nostalgic smile pulled on her lips. "I caught up to her and comforted Mindy, telling her we would do better next time."

"Grandmother told me that story numerous times, and I never got tired of it," Hapu said as she approached Eli and Grimsley.

"I get that," Selene said. "I lost Mallow's trial and Franz didn't like that one bit. After some more training, we were able to beat that Totem Lurantis in our rematch!"

A stunned expression flashed on Eli's face for a second. "A Totem Lurnatis? Ho, that's impressive!" She then said, "Hapu and I will get dinner ready. Selene, Lillie, would you two like to help?"

"Sure!" Selene said, beaming. "I enjoy cooking sometimes."

Lillie wore a similar expression and said, "I would love to help also."

"Wonderful. All right, come with me."

The next hour or so Hapu and Eli were teaching Selene and Lillie how to cook one of their dishes while Grimsley and Mina watched the television. Sometimes he glanced over his shoulder to see Eli guiding the girls' hands when they cut the Poni radish. Lillie and Selene often giggled and grinned, enjoying themselves there. Grimsley smiled a little, reminiscing about the time when the family cook happily taught him several dishes.

When the food was finished, everyone gathered around the dining table and ate dinner. Grimsley's mouth twitched at the Poni radish's spiciness, but he found himself enjoying the rice and chicken. Lillie and Selene first talked about what happened in Exeggutor Island in more detail. Grimsley was surprised Wicke and Lillie had Pokémon with them. After that, they mentioned how they met Hapu, first on Akala Island and then on Ula'ula Island. Upon hearing the phrase 'Ruins of Abundance', Grimsleys' eyes grew wide as he heard of that before.

"Wait, so you must be the trainer that helped Lillie get to Ruins of Abundance," Grimsley said.

"Oh, so Lillie mentioned me before, did she?" Hapu said and chuckled. "I wanted to go to the Ruins of Abundance myself, so we went there together."

That piqued Grimsley's interest. He swallowed his food and raised a brow.

"You talked about being away from your home to prove yourself. Is that why you went to the Ruins of Abundance?"

Hapu nodded. "I went to the other three islands' sacred ruins to battle the tapu."

Grimsley, Lillie, and Selene let out surprised gasps. Mina and Eli's faces were calm, as if they knew this already.

"Kahuna Hala told me that the tapu are like crazy strong," Selene said.

"They are, indeed. Tapu Koko managed to get through my Ground-type Pokémon, and Tapu Lele wasn't any easier."

"How about Tapu Bulu?" Lillie asked. "They didn't appear before us when we went to the ruins."

"Tapu Bulu came to me at Blush Mountain a day or two after that. My Pokémon were no match against them, but they seemed to acknowledge me having potential."

Eli hummed and closed her eyes. "Sometime last year Tapu Fini was about to choose Mina as the next kahuna. Hapu and I then convinced them to wait and they agreed."

Grimsley finished chewing on the Poni radish and stopped. He pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes.

"Really? Kahuna Nanu mentioned he didn't have a choice in becoming a kahuna."

"It's probably because Tapu Fini liked Kahuna Sofu and made an exception," Mina said with a small smile. "I didn't want to become a kahuna anyways, so it all worked out."

With a blinking stare, Grimsley mused that Mina would make a decent kahuna after the way she taught him Z-Moves. His mind jumped to how Tapu Fini could make spirits appear, and a burning desire to see them returned.

"I read that Tapu Fini can bring the spirits of those who had passed on. Do any of you know how much of that is true?"

Everyone on the table gave out stunned faces. Hapu and Eli exchanged hesitant looks, and then the younger woman fixed her stare at him.

"There have been stories of Tapu Fini bringing in the souls to their loved ones," Hapu said. "Those that stayed inside Tapu Fini's mist though never returned."

"I remember reading the same thing," Lillie said. "You've also read that one book on the tapu?"

"I did. It was what got me interested in both Tapu Bulu and Tapu Fini."

"I haven't lost anyone important to me yet," Selene said, lowering her head. "If I did and then they came back as spirits, I'm not sure how I would react."

Grimsley frowned, feeling the same way. Upon first reading Tapu Fini's powers he wanted to see his father one last time. And now, he wasn't sure if he was ready for that.

"Nanu told me I should stay away from that tapu for that purpose."

"Old man Nanu is right," Mina said. "I've seen Tapu Fini's powers firsthand, and they're not to be taken lightly."

After finishing her meal, Hapu said, "That aside, I plan to visit Tapu Fini and challenge them to a battle. I wouldn't mind some company."

"I want to join!" Selene said, grinning. "Would be cool to see you as a kahuna."

"I'll come too," Lillie said. "Nebby isn't feeling good now, so maybe Tapu Fini might help."

"Of course I'm going," Mina said. "I don't want to miss this big moment of yours."

"I'm curious how the Ruins of Hope looks compared to the Ruins of Abundance," Grimsley said, rubbing his chin. "I'll come also."

With a grin, Hapu said, "Great! We'll all go to the ruins tomorrow."

Grimsley hummed and resumed eating his food. A part of him was interested to see how strong a tapu was. He would just go with everyone to the Ruins of Hope tomorrow, nothing more.

Xxx

After being separated from the other group, Nanu contacted Looker to let him know that he and Charlotte would meet him and Anabel at the Pokémon Center soon. Charlotte kept in pace with him as they headed there.

Looker decided that they need to tell Anabel the truth tonight.

"So you believe telling her now is a good idea?" Nanu asked.

"Positive, I am," Looker said through the phone. "Interpol will send her to the frontlines the instant the UBs reappear. Anabel will have an opportunity to act on her own accord before that happens."

"You're right. Those suckers won't think twice in doing that." Nanu sucked in a breath. "I know you said you'll take the blow for me, but that doesn't feel right. I'll be here for support if you need it."

There was a pause on Looker's side, and then he said, "I appreciate that very much, Nanu."

"No problem, Jean." Nanu's mouth twitched. Again he called Looker by his real name, but there was an air of dread between them. "Charlotte and I will see you two in a bit."

He hung up and put his phone back in the pocket of his short sleeve jacket. Charlotte gazed up at him, frowning.

"You two are going to break the news to Anabel."

"We have to, or else Interpol will send the girl to her death." Nanu sighed and dragged his fingers through his hair. "I'm not looking forward to her reaction."

"Maybe so, but at least you're doing the right thing," Charlotte said, smiling and patting his shoulder.

Doing the right thing. Nanu couldn't remember the last time he acted based on the good of his heart. Well, helping out in Po Town probably counts, but he went there to get some insider info on Guzma for his friend. Either way, this had to be done.

It was several more minutes until they made it to the Pokémon Center. Anabel and Looker sat on the stone bench and greeted them with warm smiles. Nanu could tell Looker was a nervous wreck with the way his lips and fingers twitched.

"How was your guys trip to Exeggutor Island?" Anabel asked.

"We had to deal with some wild Pinsir harassing the Exeggutor and stay in a cave for a bit due to the rain. Otherwise, we got what we needed."

With a smile and a nod, Charlotte said, "Lillie and Selene have the Sun Flute with them. They're away with a friend of Mina's at the moment."

"That's great news!" Looker said, beaming. "Now the Legendary Pokémon of Alola can be summoned."

The smile on Anabel's face faded. "A part of me still worried something might go wrong."

"As long as we monitor Ms. Selene and Lillie's whereabouts, it should be fine," Charlotte said with a reassuring smile.

Sensu-style Oricoro began singing just as the sun was setting, and the ocean breeze grew bitterly cold. Usually Nanu would be annoyed at the Oricoros' shrieking, but right now he couldn't bring himself to care. He stared at Looker, and they shared heavy nods.

"Anabel, there's something Looker and I have to tell you."

Anabel blinked. "Hm? What is it?"

He and Looker exchanged distant stares, and the other agent spoke in a grave tone.

"How much do you remember from ten years ago, Chief?"

Anabel's eyes grew wide, and she gasped. Her fingers touched her lips.

"Not very much. You and Officer Nanu found me on this very island, and I was recovering at the hospital. I could only remember my name, that I was from Hoenn, and a large tower."

Looker's frown deepened. "Recently you uncovered another part of your memory. Brendon is the man's name, correct?"

Nanu pursed his lips. He had heard of the Battle Frontier facility. It had been around for quite some time in Sinnoh and Johto, and recently in Hoenn with plans for expansion soon. The Brandon in Anabel's world was probably more of a hot shot than the one here.

"Yes! I vaguely remembered him from when I was a teenager." A small smile formed on Anabel's lips. "I'm getting closer to figuring out who I was."

When a hesitant look crossed Looker's look, Nanu furrowed his brow at him. No, don't back down now you fool.

When Looker inhaled and said his next words, Nanu wished he had backed down.

"Anabel… You are not from this world."

Anabel's head flinched back and her brow squeezed together. "What does that mean?"

"Interpol referred to those that come from an Ultra Wormhole as Fallers. They've been used as bait for the Ultra Beasts."

Anabel grew pale, the color draining on her face.

"Has there been any other Fallers before me?"

Looker opened his mouth, only for Nanu to beat him to it.

"Looker and I worked with one before. She got killed by one of the UBs shortly before you came along."

"That Faller was someone special to me," Charlotte said, bowing her head as if in mourning. "I was heartbroken when that happened."

Anabel still visibly shaken, Looker approached her and stretched a hand toward her.

"An... Anabel, I'm deeply so--"

"No," Anabel snapped as she slapped Looker's hand away from her. She raised her voice. "Is this why I wasn't able to trust myself? That everything I've done in Interpol was so I can be bait to these monsters?" She gave both Looker and Nanu a wild glare, tears streaming on her face. "What hurts the most is how you and Officer Nanu kept this from me all this time! Why?"

Nanu's stomach lurched and twisted in a knot. Looker grimaced and turned his head, unable to look at Anabel in the eye. Charlotte frowned at them out of sympathy.

"We didn't mean to keep you in the dark this long," Nanu said. "The higher ups threatened your safety if word gets out."

"You could've warned me at least!" Anabel shouted. "I… I trusted you two!"

She slapped both Looker and Nanu's faces and rushed off sobbing.

"Chief, wait!" Looker was about to follow after her, but she released her Salamence who stomped on one leg and let out a roar. Anabel glared at Looker for a moment before turning to her Pokémon.

"I need some time alone." She hopped on him and they took off, the beat of the dragon's wings releasing a gush of wind at Looker and pushing him over. Charlotte rushed to him.

"Are you all right?" she asked while helping pick Looker up.

"I'm not hurt, but I appreciate the concern." Looker dusted off the dirt on his jacket, frowning. "I too need to be away for a while."

As they watched Looker leave, Nanu sighed and lowered his head while Charlotte rested a hand on his shoulder. He rubbed his cheek where Anabel had given him one heck of a slap, still feeling the sting there.

He had been ashamed of himself for a long while, but now more than ever.

Author's Notes:
Mina's paintings are inspired from the anime!

Thanks to bobandbill for betaing as always. Will try to get the next chapter in next month. See you then!
 

Bay

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Chapter Twenty-Three
Beat Up


Grimsley returned to the Pokémon Center with Lillie and Selene later that night. The girls went to Nurse Joy at the receptionist desk and reserved rooms for themselves. Nanu wasn't in the lounge when they arrived, so he assumed either the kahuna was still away or went to bed early. He stayed with the girls for about an hour, and they promised they would eat breakfast together tomorrow before he too retired to his own room.

The next morning, Grimsley went to Nanu's room and knocked at his door. A disgruntled "What?" from him was shouted from the other side. Grimsley cleared his throat.

"I'm about to have breakfast with Lillie and Selene now. Would you like to join us?"

A moment passed until Nanu said, "Er, I'm not hungry right now. You guys can go ahead."

Grimsley narrowed his eyes and pressed his lips. "The girls and I didn't see you last night. Did you go to bed early?"

"Huh?" A long pause. "You can say that. Tired from going to that island and all."

Raising a brow, Grimsley somehow wasn't convinced that was the case. He decided to leave him for now and told him that he would be at the lounge if he changed his mind.

Shortly after, he and the girls ate breakfast together. While eating his pancakes and sausage, he listened to Selene talk about how she was able to defeat Guzma in their first battle.

"So after Meli defeated his Masquerain, he sent out his Golisopod again. The two had a hard-fought battle, but then I ended it with Meli's Z-Move! He was a sore loser after that."

"I wasn't a fan of Pokémon battles, but seeing Selene put her full trust in her Pokémon was a beautiful sight to see," Lillie said, and that made Selene blush.

"After seeing you go against Guzma back in Po Town, I can see why," Grimsley said with a chuckle.

The three ate the rest of breakfast in silence. Once they were done, Hapu and Mina entered the Pokémon Center.

"Alola, Alola!" Mina said and waved to everyone. "Are you all ready to go?"

"Ah huh!" Selene said, beaming. "Can't wait to see Tapu Fini!"

"I brought both my and my grandma's Mudsdale with me, so you girls can take hers while Grimsley will ride with me."

"And how about Mina?" Grimsley asked.

"I'll be riding on her Flygon," Mina said. "It'll be fun seeing you guys from above!"

Grimsley blinked, and then he grunted. He was only slightly taken aback by that response.

"You guys are going to see Tapu Fini?" someone asked. Grimsley turned around to see Nanu approaching them and scratching the back of his head.

Hapu nodded. "I'm taking them to the Ruins of Hope with me. I'm going there to seek Tapu Fini's approval to become Kahuna of this island."

Nanu flinched, and he furrowed his brow at Grimsley. "I thought I told you to not go see that tapu."

"I'm only coming with them to see the Ruins of Hope and Hapu becoming kahuna," Grimsley said as he crossed his arms. "Nothing more."

Nanu raised a suspicious brow, only to later let out a huff.

"As long as you don't do anything stupid." He jerked his head for a second. "Have any of you seen Agents Anabel and Looker? I checked their rooms, and they haven't returned yet."

Grimsley shook his head, and so did Lillie and Selene.

"Did something happen between you guys?" Mina asked.

"Kinda, but it's very personal and I can't say more than that. How about Wicke?"

"Oh, Wicke told Selene and I that she'll be at Poni Beach," Lillie said.

Nanu's eyes grew wide before his expression changed back to an indifferent one. "All right, I'll be heading there then. You guys have fun at the Ruins of Hope."

Grimsley blinked and stared off in the distance when Nanu left the Pokémon Center. So something did happen between Nanu and his friends last night and he was troubled by it. It must be serious if he was worried about them.

"Well, if all of you finished eating already we can head out now!" Hapu said, grinning.

Everyone hummed in agreement. After cleaning up the table with Lillie and Selene, Grimsley went outside with the others.

Now, to the Ruins of Hope.

Xxx

Connecting Ancient Poni Path and the Ruins of Hope was the Poni Breaker Coast, a cliffside beach with large waves crashing on the shore. Several geysers erupted like volcanoes and sprayed on Grimsley's face, causing him to spit out the salty water from his mouth.

He and Hapu rode on Bricks, her Mudsdale. They led the way while Selene and Lillie on Eli's Mudsdale were behind them. The horses' hooves smacked hard on the black stones stuck on the ground. He was reminded of when he rode on a Mudsdale to the Ruins of Abundance, the horse Pokémon able to get through the sharp stones with ease. Mina was up in the air with Hapu's Flygon, the Mystic Pokémon shrieking and circling around.

"Oh I'm curious, what are your Flygon's and grandmother's Mudsdale's names?" Lillie asked.

"My Flygon's name is Buttercup while my grandma named hers good ol' Marie. All three Pokémon had been with my family since my grandparents were trainers."

"So is it just you and your grandmother together, then?" Grimsley asked, noticing how much she praised her grandparents.

"Yes. My pa left when I was a youngin while my ma passed away, so Grandpa Sofu and Grandma Eli watched over me instead."

"My mom and I are my only family too after my parents separated," Selene said. "Mom is going back to school and I'm proud of her for that!"

"Speaking of which, do you still have trouble with the assignment Ms. Emily gave you?" Lillie asked, and Selene groaned.

"It's not hard, just that the short stories she assigned were boring. Hau thought the same."

Lillie pouted and said, "If I were you I would finish those after we finish with the Ruins of Hope today."

"Cheren, the gym leader in Unova I told you about before, would say the same thing if he were your teacher," Grimsley said. He had been in Cheren's classes a few times before, his teaching style firm but flexible. Selene probably wouldn't survive in his class.

Eventually they stopped at a large body of water, resembling a small lake. Everyone hopped off the Mudsdale and walked to the edge of it. At that moment, Mina and Buttercup landed on the ground and joined the group.

"Okay, so we're ready?" Mina asked with a clap of her hands.

"Wait, so where are the Ruins of Hope?" Selene asked, tilting her head. "Don't tell me it's below that lake!"

Mina nodded, her bangs bobbing with her head. "Ah huh. However, wait and watch."

Grimsley, Lillie, and Selene stood still and waited a moment until the water was slowly drained out. Down below, beautiful coral reefs of different colors were in front of the Ruins of Hope entrance. Grimsley's eyes grew wide while Lillie and Selene gasped in amazement.

Hapu closed her eyes and inhaled. "All right, let's go."

Everyone followed her down the steps and into the Ruins of Hope. The first room was similar to the Ruins of Abundance but with rushing water instead of sand. A Wailmer and a Clawitzer popped up, splashing the floor a little. The group moved forward.

The next room also bears some resemblance to the Ruins of Abundance. They were in the middle of the wooden floorboards and the altar with the totem on top stood in front of them. More waters surrounded the area, and a light mist rolled in.

"You should bring Nebby out," Selene said.

Lillie hummed and opened her bag. She pulled out Nebby, sleeping in her palms.

Grimsley gazed up and watched as Hapu took the stairs up to the altar. She bowed down in front of the totem.

"Oh Tapu Fini, guardian of Poni Island and the waters. I've traveled through all of Alola, fought against the Totems, and was tested by the Tapu--all so I can be by your side. Show yourself so that I may be chosen as the next kahuna and follow in my grandpa's footsteps!"

Several seconds passed with no response. Hapu lifted her head and her eyes flared.

"Why?" Hapu cried out. "Why aren't you giving me your blessings now? Am I not strong enough yet? Did I do something wrong? Please answer me!"

No response once more. Grimsley narrowed his eyes and swallowed, the air growing thicker. He glanced to see Lillie, Selene, and Mina frowning.

Hapu came down the stairs, her head hanging down. Mina patted her shoulder when she joined back with the group.

"Maybe Tapu Fini is waiting for the right moment to see you like Tapu Bulu," Mina said, trying to sound hopeful.

"Perhaps." Hapu sighed and dropped her gaze on the floor. "I thought Tapu Fini would choose me the moment I returned."

"Nebby isn't responding here either," Lillie said in a concerned voice. In her hands, Nebby was still sleeping.

"Can Tapu Fini do anything to help it?" Selene asked.

"I'm not sure. I just thought it was worth a shot." Lillie gently put Nebby back inside her bag and closed it. "Perhaps going to the Altar of the Sunne might help."

"Is that where you girls plan to go next?" Grimsley asked with a raised brow.

Lillie nodded. "We have to go through the Vast Poni Canyon first, though. I heard the PokéRide service isn't used as much here."

Selene turned to Hapu and Mina. "You think you two can help us through there, then?"

"Bricks and I are more than happy to lend a hand," Hapu said, smiling. "We can set out there tomorrow morning since it'll be a long trek."

Mina wore a similar expression. "Of course. It's not everyday you get to see a legendary."

Selene and Lillie giggled and grinned at each other.

"I wish all of you a safe trip." When Grimsley looked up at the altar, his smile faded. He was disappointed that Tapu Fini didn't appear and use their powers, but perhaps it was for the best.

Xxx

Nanu usually avoided Poni Beach whenever he visited the island, but this time he went there to find Charlotte. A few Mantine surfers were hitting the waves, attempting several complicated tricks. The sunlight hit his face, and the warm sand got stuck in-between his toes.

He remembered how the sun was low and the sky a swirl of orange and purple. How light Anabel was when he picked her up. How the smell of her blood clung inside his nostrils.

Charlotte stood at the edge of the shore, her voluptuous hair swaying with the ocean breeze. She turned her head and smiled at him.

"Sana always loved beaches. We would hold hands and walk along the shore."

"I don't know why people think that's romantic. You get sand in your shoes, bad sunburn, and water Pokémon bothering you." Nanu then said, "This was where Looker and I found Anabel."

Charlotte gasped, and she frowned. "I recall you telling me she was badly injured."

"Mhm. She was taken to the Hau'oli City Hospital and we were by her side while she recovered." He snorted. "You should've seen Looker. He didn't take his eyes off her for one second."

Charlotte chuckled. "Sounds like you two really cared for her."

Nanu swallowed hard. He remembered Anabel sleeping on the hospital bed with slow breaths and Looker holding her hand. When she woke up, she only remembered three things: her name, Hoenn, and a tower.

She mentioned a nightmare of a burly creature chasing her and felt as if that had happened before.

"Speaking of which, have you seen either of those two?" he asked, and Charlotte shook her head.

"I haven't seen Anabel returned yet, and I'm not sure where Looker is. They probably need some space at the moment. I hope that they're okay."

"Me too." Nanu stared off at the ocean, the Mantine surfers still riding the waves.

"Yo, Officer Nanu!" a female voice shouted. He turned around to see the Team Skull punks Dennis and Felicia approaching him.

"What are you two fools doing here?" Nanu asked in a stunned voice.

"We came here with our big sis and the rest of the gang," Dennis said, gesturing his arms. "You then popped up here too."

Charlotte blinked in confusion. "You know these two?"

"Kinda. They're a couple of kids from Team Skull who've been bothering me recently."

Felicia glared at Nanu, her hands on her hips. "What you and your crew did in the Shady House was whacked, embarrassing our boy Guzma like that."

"Hey, you guys distracted me and stole a kid's Yungoos. I wouldn't call that chivalry."

Both grunts sneered, and then Dennis said, "We only did what we were told to do! And right now we want some payback!"

As Felicia and Dennis stepped forward, they pulled out their pokeballs. Charlotte flinched and tugged at Nanu's sleeve.

"You sure about this?" she whispered, but Nanu ignored her question. If they wanted payback, he was going to give it to them. He grabbed a pokeball of his own and was about to press the button--

"Why are you numbskulls bothering the officer?"

A young woman stood in front of everyone with her arms crossed. She wore black clothing and a necklace with Team Skull's symbol like the other grunts, but had long pants on and the team's symbol tattooed on her stomach. Her pink and yellow hair was tied in four ponytails. Dennis and Felicia flinched upon seeing their big sister, Plumeria.

"Big sis!" Felicia called out. She and Dennis bowed their heads at her. "Officer Nanu went to the Shady House with some backup and defeated Guzma."

"Yeah!" Dennis followed up, raising his fist. "We were about to show him who's boss."

Plumeria narrowed her eyes at them. "That won't be necessary. I'll take things from here."

"Are you gonna kick his butt for us then?" Felicia asked, and Plumeria shook her head.

"Just trust me on this. Now leave before you make things worse."

The two grunts shook at Plumeria's raised voice, and they rushed off. She sighed and dragged her hand on her face.

"Sorry about that. They were pretty upset with what happened to Guzma."

"Is he the reason why you and your goons are here?" Nanu asked.

"Yeah. After Guzma and the president disappeared, we tried to find a way to get them back." She stared at Charlotte, raising a brow. "Aren't you from Aether? How come you're here?"

"Kahuna Nanu and I are past acquaintances. I'm here for some important business."

Nanu looked at Charlotte, and then at Plumeria. Thoughts of Guzma and her father rushed back at him. He turned back to Charlotte.

"I need a moment alone with Plumeria. There are some things I want to talk to her about."

"That's fine with me. I'll be around Seafolk Village if you need me." Charlotte gave him a small nod and headed out.

Nanu's sandals and feet got soaked as a large wave crashed onto the shore. He stared at Plumeria a moment before he cleared his throat and spoke.

"You knew about Guzma's connection to Lusamine and Aether Foundation," he said. Plumeria glared at him.

"I guess you would know sooner or later. But yes, the two were in contact for sometime. She was the first adult in a long while to take Guzma's strength seriously."

"Was she the one to order you to get Cosmog and attack Aether House?"

"The president wanted us to get that Pokémon while Guzma came up with the plan for that. I didn't know the reasonings behind it until we hit up Aether Paradise."

Nanu's mouth twitched. He still couldn't believe Team Skull had been played by Aether's own president. Such a mess.

"Selene, another trainer, and I went against Guzma a few days ago, who showed off his Mega Pinsir. Your father was the one that gave the both of you Mega Stones and Keystones, am I right?"

Plumeria's eyes grew wide with shock. She bit her lip and jerked her head away from him.

"He got the Pinsirite and Gengarite Mega Stones from training a lot in the Battle Tree and gave those to us as gifts. I despised Tapu Bulu for causing his death."

Nanu blinked, though he didn't blame her for holding a grudge for that long. He snorted and a smirk pulled on his lips.

"I felt the same way, and still am, after that tapu appointed me as kahuna. It's more of a punishment than a blessing."

Plumeria burst out laughing. "Guzma told me how you didn't care about being a kahuna."

"He's not entirely wrong. I'm now waiting until I turn to dust."

Plumeria narrowed her eyes and shook her head. She fixed her gaze at the ocean.

"You heard how Tapu Fini can bring back spirits, right? If my father were here today, what would he think of me?"

Nanu frowned. He recalled Grimsley going to the Ruins of Hope with the girls, still hoping he wasn't that stupid.

"One other person was seeking Tapu Fini for that purpose. Are you doing the same?"

Plumeria's shoulders jumped, and she turned around with a pensive expression on her face.

"I'm unsure. That wasn't my initial plan here, but I can't help but be curious…"

"I would advise you not to, but I'm not your babysitter." Nanu then said, "What will you do after you get Guzma?"

Frowning, Plumeria dropped her gaze on the ground. "I'm not sure about that either. Still be in Team Skull, I guess."

Nanu regarded her a moment. "You did the Island Challenge before, right?"

"I did, but then stopped when Guzma started our gang. Dennis and Felicia also stopped their Island Challenge."

Right, several of the Team Skull kids were trainers that were unsuccessful with the Island Challenge. Now all they did was pick fights and trash the mansion. Nanu grunted and rubbed his chin.

"I think you and your siblings should finish your Island Challenge, perhaps even join the Pokémon League once that finishes."

"I heard you turned down the Elite Four role, so it's ironic you would suggest that to me."

Nanu shrugged. "I don't care about being one, but I think the experience will be good for you."

Plumeria furrowed her brow, but she seemed to consider his suggestion.

"I'll think about it." She shifted her head for a second. "I need to go and make sure my siblings don't do anything stupid. Guess I'll see you later, Nanu."

Plumeria started to leave, Nanu watching her until he couldn't see her from a long distance anymore. He stared at the sky, the sunlight hitting his forehead and cheeks.

Nanu jumped when a shrill "Tapuuuu" came. Was that Tapu Fini? He whipped his head to see if they appeared, but only colorful sparkles were left behind. He raised a brow but grunted and left the beach himself.

Tapu Fini was close, he could feel it. He was sure that should cause some concerns.

Author's Note
Hi, everyone, I'll quickly mention something important. With the Black Lives Matter movement gaining momentum, it's important more than ever for us to fight against police brutality on Black people. This BLM carrd is a great resource for petitions, donations, and basically any other information to learn more about this cause and how you can help.

Due to recent events and in support of the BLM movement, posting for Foul Play will be on hold until mid to late July. Those participating in the protests stay safe, and those supporting the cause in other ways keep it up!
 
18
Posts
3
Years
  • Age 32
  • Uk
  • Seen Aug 5, 2020
That is how he ended up in Alola.
Characterization is fine.
No grammar issues or spelling mistakes.
 

Bay

6,385
Posts
17
Years
That is how he ended up in Alola.
Characterization is fine.
No grammar issues or spelling mistakes.

Hi there! Haha yes, or at least my version of that. I'm curious though, did you only read the first chapter or further than that? If the former, there is a lot more going on especially with interactions between Nanu and Grimsley. I don't mind short reviews, but I like to get an idea where you're at!

All righty, time for Chapter 24 folks!

Chapter Twenty-Four
Topsy-Turvy


It was late afternoon when the group returned to Hapu and her grandmother's house. Eli and her Machamp stopped pulling out Poni radish when they noticed them coming. Mina hopped off from Hapu's Flygon and everyone else from their Mudsdale.

"How was the Ruins of Hope?" Eli asked when she approached them.

"It was great!" Selene said, beaming. "The ruin's entrance was underwater, and that water drained itself when we arrived there!"

"This is the second ruin I visited, and the scenery inside was just as charming," Grimsley said.

"That's wonderful to hear." Eli turned to Hapu. "Do you have Tapu Fini's blessing?"

"Unfortunately, no." Hapu hung her head down and her shoulders slumped. "I went up to the altar and nothing happened."

Eli gasped and frowned, before exchanging sad glances with Machamp. Bricks went up to Hapu with a soft neigh, rubbing his head on her side. Hapu stroked his cheek.

"Perhaps Tapu Fini thinks it's not the right time yet," Eli said with a reassuring smile. "You just have to be patient."

"Mina told me the same thing." Hapu furrowed her brow, a determined expression spreading across her face. "Tapu Fini must be somewhere on this island, and I'm going to find them!"

"Woah there Hapu, are you sure?" Mina asked in a shocked voice. "The tapu tend to stay and go as they please."

"I don't care," Hapu said in a sharp voice, which made everyone including Grimsley flinch. "I won't rest until I find Tapu Fini." She returned Buttercup, hopped on Bricks, and they rushed off.

Grimsley gave a distant stare at that sight. He looked over his shoulder to see everyone else having similar expressions.

"Hapu must be taking this hard," Lillie said with a worried look on her face. "Should we go after her?"

Eli shook her head and sighed. "I'll give her a few hours to herself. I don't blame her, though. Becoming kahuna has been her life goal."

Grimsley hummed and crossed his arms against his chest. "That is a stark contrast to Nanu, who didn't want to become a kahuna but ended up in that role anyways."

Like a lightbulb switch, Eli burst out laughing with her hands on her stomach. "You're not wrong on that. I'm ever grateful though for him watching over Poni Island up to this point." She then said, "You guys want some lunch while you're all here?"

"Sure!" Mina said, her lips forming a small smile. "I'm kinda craving some spam musubi if you have any."

"Oh, that sounds awesome!" Selene said. "I eat those all the time back in Kanto!"

Eli chuckled. "That won't be a problem at all."

Grimsley considered Eli's offer for a moment. He had been out most of the afternoon and the walk back to the Pokémon Center was over half an hour. Some food would be nice.

"I can stay here a while longer."

Eli clapped her hands, a wide grin crossing her features. "Great! You guys relax while Bono and I make them quick." She turned to her Machamp Bono, who nodded and cheered

Everyone went inside the house, Grimsley following behind.

xxx

The rest of the afternoon Grimsley stayed inside and ate lunch with the others. The spam musubi was good if a bit salty for his taste buds. He was taken back how many of those Mina could eat in a minute, as if she was in a hot dog eating contest. Grimsley talked of Unova's Pokémon League and his wealthy upbringing. It wasn't a surprise that Selene got excited hearing about the Elite Four and Gym Leaders. Lillie was curious how Mina became a Trial Captain, to which the fairy-type trainer said she was chosen by Kahuna Sofu several months before he passed away.

"I was coming back from a trip to Kanto, and he wanted me to go against the Totem Kommo-o as a test," Mina continued. She chewed and swallowed another large chunk of the spam musubi. "Despite fairy-type moves being very effective on Kommo-o, that dragon was able to go against my Pokémon well and I barely won. Old man Sofu watched the whole fight and appointed me trial captain then and there."

"That's very cool!" Selene said excitedly. "I can't wait to go against it!"

"I agree, that was a nice story," Lillie said, nodding.

"You have a Brionne, don't you Selene?" Mina asked, this time with her mouth full. "I can help you train and perhaps he might evolve into a Primarina."

Selene beamed. "Yeah, that would be great!"

Eli chuckled and her face softened. "I'm glad my husband had chosen you as Trial Captain before he passed away."

Grimsley hummed and glanced at the clock on the wall, seeing it was almost three o'clock. He wondered if there was any more he and Nanu needed to do on this island. And if not...

"I think I'll head out to the Pokémon Center and see if Nanu is there. We're due to head back to Ula'ula Island soon."

"That's understandable," Lillie said. "I'll stay here and see if Hapu returns."

"Me too," Selene said. "That way we can discuss plans for tomorrow."

"A wise decision." Grimsley rose from his chair and smiled at everyone. "I'll take my leave now. I've enjoyed the hospitality here, Eli and Mina."

"I'm very happy to hear that," Eli said, grinning.

"Hey, not a problem at all!" Mina said and smiled. "Maybe I'll catch you two before you guys leave."

"I would like that." Grimsley wished everyone a good day, waved goodbye to everyone, and headed out.

It was still bright and sunny outside, the warm air being offset by the ocean breeze. Grimsley flipped his coin as he glanced around his surroundings, moving from the barren farmlands of Ancient Poni Path and into the lush greenery of Poni Wilds. Several Pokémon like Gumshoos, Exeggecute, and Inkay roamed around the tall grasses and trees while the Pelipper flew high above.

While walking, Grimsley briefly wondered if Hapu was here. He only just met her, but to him she was very ambitious and driven. He hoped she returned back home safely.

"Tapuuuuu."

Grimsley stopped when he heard that chant. He whipped his head around, but only saw a couple Pokémon on the trees. He pressed his lips, but then he shrugged and continued.

"Tapuuuuu."

Grimsley halted once more; he swore that sounded like "tapu." Could Tapu Fini be nearby?

As he pushed further toward the sound, the air grew much colder and the sunlight dimmed. A thick mist rolled in, and now Grimsley's vision was slightly obscured. He wasn't sure where he was now.

A chill shot through his spine when he realized this must be Tapu Fini's mist. Nanu, Hapu, and Mina had warned him not to pursue the tapu, and now he was trapped inside the mist.

"Are you here, Tapu Fini?" Grimsley shouted. He kept repeating Tapu Fini's name, but so far got nothing back.

"Grimsley, is that you?" a male voice asked. Grimsley turned around and stood there in stunned silence.

An older man in a dark grey suit appeared before him. His brown hair was in a neat cut and slicked hairstyle, just as Grimsley remembered when he had been younger. A grin stretched across his face, his blue eyes brimming with bright light. A moment passed until Grimsley spoke.

"Father?"

Xxx

Nanu returned to the Pokémon Center to see if his Interpol colleagues were there. When he didn't see them there, he headed to the Poni Wilds. Many of the Pokémon were playing or hanging on the trees, but Nanu was lost in his thoughts to pay attention to any of them.

Anabel's reaction to his and Looker's confession replayed in his mind. He knew that would happen, but it still stung him like a Beedrill's behind to see her upset like that. She was right that they should've told her long ago.

Nanu stopped when he saw Charlotte and Looker together, the former squeezing the latter's shoulder. They hung their heads down.

"Hey, you two," he said while approaching them. The two turned to his direction with surprised looks.

"Oh, hi Triples. Looker and I were talking about Anabel. How was your talk with that Team Skull girl?"

"It went better than expected. We talked about some personal stuff, that's all." He paused. "Where were you, Looker?"

Looker shook his head. "I slept on Poni Beach throughout the night, and then wandered off here. The Chief's wellbeing is still on my mind."

A deep frown crossed Nanu's face and his mouth twitched. "While I understand Anabel needing space, I'm worried about her."

"As do I," Looker said. "She and Pablo could be anywhere on this island. Alola, even!"

"Let's try to find her now then before it gets dark," Charlotte said, and both Looker and Nanu grunted in agreement.

"We can ask the seafolk if they've seen her around recently and go from--"

Nanu was interrupted when someone bellowed "Tapuuuu." He jerked his head around but saw only the rustling grass and roaming Pokémon. Looker and Charlotte exchanged worried glances.

"Did you two hear that?" he asked them, and they nodded.

"Yes," Looker said. "The voice shouted 'tapuuuu', if I recall."

Nanu gave a sharp nod. "It seems like Tapu Fini is close by."

"Tapu Fini is one of the Alolan guardians like Tapu Bulu, right?" Charlotte asked.

"Yup. This island's guardian is bad news, especially if you accidentally get inside their mist."

"Mist?" Looker's face jumped, his eyes growing wide. "Like the one coming out now?"

"What?" Nanu turned his head and noticed some mist began to form. His stomach dropped. "We have to get out of here now!"

"How about Anabel?" Charlotte asked. "Will something happen to her?"

Nanu's jaws clenched. He wasn't sure if Anabel had lost a loved one from her world, but if she did and stumbled upon Tapu Fini...

Before he could respond, someone was approaching them. She was a dark figure at first due to the mist but became more visible the closer she got. She wore a dark suit and bluetooth behind her ear. Nanu thought that was Anabel on his first guess, but she had darker hair and skin than her. His heart almost skipped a beat.

"It's been a while, Chief," Sana said, flashing him a grin.

xxx

The last time Grimsley saw his father was at his wake the night before his burial. He was inside a coffin with his face pale as snow and resting peacefully. And now Finn Thomas was in front of him, his grin stretching across his face.

At the back of his mind, Grimsley knew that wasn't his father and that he was in Tapu Fini's mist. But as soon as Father pulled him into a warm embrace, he melted inside his arms and didn't care.

"You've grown so much!" Father said after they let go. "What you've been up to, my son?"

Grimsley felt the back of his neck burning and rubbed there. "Oh, well I became both a professional gambler and one of the members of the Elite Four."

"One of the Elite Four?" Father let out an impressed whistle. "I take it the Pokémon League has changed since then?"

Grimsley hummed and nodded. "There were a lot of young wildcards like our current champion Iris Bailey, but they have great potential."

His father chuckled. "You sound like your mother. Speaking of which, how is she?"

"She's doing wonderful. Right now she's living in Mistralton City and is good friends with Skyla the gym leader there."

"Oh, Miles's granddaughter is the gym leader now?" His eyes grew wide and he chuckled. "I remember her wanting to follow his footsteps at a young age."

Miles was the former Mistralton City gym leader before Skyla took over, and a legendary pilot. He and Finn were good friends, and when his mother moved to Mistralton City she and Skyla spent a lot of time together. Grimsley mused how Skyla and Hapu were alike in taking the same paths as their grandfathers.

"I've seen her battle a few times and she's quite good. She's also a great pilot."

"That's great to hear!" Father then asked, "Are Queen and Raz still with you? I would love to meet them!"

Grimsley's face softened. "Of course."

He pulled out Queen and Raz's pokeballs and released them. Queen stood still while Raz stretched her whole body. When Grimsley's Pokémon noticed his father, they approached him and his father grinned.

"Oh wow, they both evolved and got a lot stronger!" Father said as he scratched Raz's chin, the feline Pokémon purring under his touch. Queen smiled and nodded in acknowledgement.

"I had a full team by the time I was in the Elite Four, but Queen and Raz were with me the longest."

"You must tell me about your Pokémon and how you became an Elite Four!"

Grimsley hummed and told him about his Pokémon journey. On occasion Father gave commentary or chuckled, but he mostly listened. The longer he was with his father, the more he didn't want this moment to end.

xxx

The last time Nanu saw Sana was when his UB Task Force did their last mission together. They pushed through the cave in Poni Meadows and confronted Glutton. After their Pokémon did some good damage, the bulky Ultra Beast grabbed Sana and sunk its jaws into her.

Nanu kept having that nightmare, sometimes playing differently but always ending the same way. But here she was now, thanks to Tapu Fini's magic.

"Hey, Sana," he greeted her, his mouth twitching. "Long time, indeed."

"Are you still working with Interpol? You usually wear a nice suit and all, but now you're dressed like a homeless man."

Nanu narrowed his eyes while Charlotte giggled behind him. Might as well humor her.

"Nope, recently retired from there. I'm now a kahuna and a police officer."

"Kahuna? That's one of those Alolan traditions, yeah? That's actually great."

Nanu grunted and crossed his arms. He didn't think the same, but kept it to himself.

"Sana, honey!" Charlotte rushed to Sana and they twirled around in an embrace. Sana grinned with her hands on her hips.

"Wow, look at you now! You've always been a bombshell, but this is a whole new level."

Charlotte's cheeks blushed and her hands touched there. She batted her eyelashes and said, "Why, thank you."

Nanu frowned throughout their conversation. He turned his head when Looker tapped on his arm.

"Is that really Sana?" Looker asked, and Nanu shook his head.

"This is all Tapu Fini's doing. They're able to make spirits of our late loved ones."

"Spirits? So she's like a ghost?"

"You can say that." Nanu glanced at Charlotte and Sana, the two still talking and laughing. Looker regarded his words for a moment.

""Even so, this is a good opportunity for me to say a few things off my chest." He cleared his throat. "Sana?"

That caused Sana and Charlotte to stop and blink at Looker. Sana smiled at him.

"Hey, I didn't forget you, KR. What's up?"

Looker's face tensed. He looked back at Nanu, who gave him a single nod. The agent inhaled and locked his gaze at her.

"I want to apologize for what happened ten years ago. I hesitated because I felt bad for Glutton.
If it wasn't for my soft heart, you would've still been here today."

"This is partially my fault, too," Nanu said, his frown deepening. "I knew you were a Faller for a while but didn't say anything. I should've warned you early on."

Sana's face fell, letting both men's words sink in. She pressed her lips and her eyes narrowed, but there was some softness in her expression. Charlotte frowned at everyone.

"To be honest, I already had an idea I was being used with the way Interpol treated me. I stuck around because I wanted to help the Ultra Beasts any way I can." Sana shrugged. "I would've gone through the mission with Glutton anyways."

Nanu furrowed his brow while Looker lowered his head. Just as expected.

"I've been collecting data on the Ultra Beasts since then," Charlotte said with a proud smile. "That way all your hard work didn't go to waste."

"That's great that you picked it up, sweetheart!" The smile on Sana's lips widened. "I'm so glad to meet the whole Task Force. I didn't regret my time with you guys."

Nanu's heart sank. A part of him felt that he didn't deserve Sana's kindness there. Nonetheless, he appreciated it. Charlotte and Looker grinned, feeling the same way.

"Shadow Punch!" a new voice called out.

A Golurk blitzed through Nanu's sight and punched Sana with their fist. She was engulfed in purple flames, making her disappear.The mist however didn't clear. Charlotte shrieked in surprise while Looker's mouth fell open.

Nanu stood in stunned silence for a second before he turned around to see Hapu on her Mudsdale. Mina, Selene, and Lillie were behind her also. Looker and Charlotte exchanged confused looks.

"Are you three all right?" Hapu asked.

"Yeah we're fine," Nanu said. "What are all of you doing here?"

"The three of us noticed the mist going around, and we came to find Hapu," Mina said.

"After we found her, Hapu noticed you guys and we followed her here," Selene said. Lillie responded with a nod.

"You all were under Tapu Fini's mist, so I knew I had to act." Hapu hopped off Bricks. "Who knows what would happen if you stayed longer."

A disappointed look came over Charlotte's face. "So the Sana we saw was Tapu Fini's doing."

Mina bobbed her head. "Ah huh. That's the power of Tapu Fini."

"Nanu warned us about that Pokémon earlier," Looker said. He whipped around his head in panic. "Speaking of which, where is it?"

Hapu's forehead was squished into a furrowed brow. She clenched one of her fists and shouted, "Tapu Fini, show yourself!"

A moment passed until Tapu Fini came out from behind a tree and appeared in front of everyone. Nanu and Mina stared at them with great focus while everyone else gasped in shock. Hapu stepped forward.

"I'm Hapu, granddaughter of Sofu. I've traveled through all of Alola so that I may become stronger and be ready to face you. I challenge you to become the next kahuna of Poni Island!"

Tapu Fini looked down at Hapu, as if regarding her challenge.The deity screamed and raised their arms, a whirlpool swirling around them. The mist around them changed color, now a glittery light pink--Nanu recognized this as Misty Terrain. Hapu grinned in satisfaction.

"All right Emet, you're up first!" Hapu thrust her arm, and Emet her Golurk stepped forward.

Tapu Fini released a blast of water at Emet, who countered with their ghostly infused fists. The Golurk went for a straight punch, only for Tapu Fini to withdraw themselves inside their shell. Emet did a second punch on the shell to no effect.

"Let's force them out with Stone Edge!"

Emet grunted and slammed one of their fists on the ground. Several rock pillars popped up and one struck hard at Tapu Fini. That caused them to open their shell and fire high-pressure water at Emet, who launched off like a rocket to avoid the Hydro Pump. Tapu Fini surrounded themselves in a liquid shell and let loose controlled water at Emet, the golem weaving through them easily.

"Oh wow, didn't think Golurk can be that fast in the air," Selene said in awe, not tearing her gaze off of the sky.

Mina nodded and hummed. "Little Hapu uses Emet often when she wants to go to the other side of the island quickly. Her Flygon is quite fast, too."

Nanu pressed his lips hard. Each tapu could control the environment around them: Tapu Koko with electricity, Tapu Lele with psychic energy, Tapu Bulu with plantlife, and Tapu Fini with water. Hapu had guts going against the guardian of Poni Island, especially with the type disadvantage. Her next command pulled him from his thoughts.

"Great! Now, Heavy Slam!"

After dodging a few more of Tapu Fini's waters in the air, Emet dived down and slammed Tapu Fini into the ground. The water guardian picked themselves slowly, bruises and dirt all over them. The liquid shell that was covering Tapu Fini glowed, and all of the dirt and wounds disappeared from their body.

"Looks like Tapu Fini used Aqua Ring," Lillie said with concern. That meant Tapu Fini would heal themselves little by little, Nanu mused to himself.

Hapu gave a displeased look. "That's not good. Okay, Stone Edge once more!"

Emet slammed their fist on the ground and the tall rock pillars burst out once more. Tapu Fini released large amounts of water that blasted each of the rock pillars except for one that poked through them. The water guardian regrouped and fired another Hydro Pump at Emet, soaking and pushing the golem back. Emet retaliated by having their fist surrounded in a ghostly aura and launching it at Tapu Fini. The Automation Pokémon threw several punches and landed each one, but Tapu Fini healed themselves thanks to Aqua Ring and shot out manipulated water that were shaped like hands at them.

"Get away from those!" Hapu urgently called, and Emet launched themselves into the air once more. Her Pokémon was able to keep away from the swirling waters for a while, but eventually Tapu Fini caught Emet's leg with their powers and slammed them down on the ground like a hammer.

Tapu Fini didn't wait for Emet to get up as they raised their arms and a raging whirlpool sucked them in. Hapu yelled for her Pokémon to launch themselves out of the whirlpool, and they did by shooting themselves back into the sky. Unfortunately Tapu Fini acted quickly by releasing a blast of pink energy and shocking Emet while they were in the air. Emet stiffened and dropped on the ground, a cloud of dust picking up.

When Emet didn't get up, Hapu rushed to their side. Everyone but Nanu gasped in shock.

"That's a technique I've never seen before," Looker said, rubbing his chin.

"Nature's Madness." Nanu furrowed his brow. He had experienced that move firsthand. "The tapu used it when they're very upset. Hapu definitely needs to watch out for that."

"Emet are you all right?" Hapu asked, and Emet made a low grunt. Hapu sighed in relief. "You fought well there, you deserve some rest. Hapu returned Emet into their pokeball and pulled out another. "Come forth, Maybelle!"

A flash of light poured out, revealing the green-and-blue East Sea variant of Gastrodon. Maybelle squealed and lifted half of her body up.

Tapu Fini immediately fired off a Hydro Pump at Maybelle, who stood still and absorbed all of the water. The tapu glared while Maybelle jerked her head and gave a small cry.

"That's Gastrodon's ability, Storm Drain," Charlotte said, grinning. "I took care of some Shellos and Gastrodon in Aether Paradise."

"Hapu told me Maybelle's ability will come in handy when she challenges Tapu Fini." The smile on Mina's lips faded. "That won't stop the tapu, though."

Hapu gave Maybelle a command, and she shot out purple sludge from her mouth. Tapu Fini weaved around and avoided most of the sludges saved for one that landed on her eyes. Pulsing blue light surrounded them, and the goo disappeared.

"Mud Bomb this time!"

Maybelle opened her mouth and shot out multiple balls of mud at Tapu Fini. The tapu dodged each one and lashed out controlled water at her. Nanu noticed that the water attacks sprouted out from the ground, so he realized the tapu was trying to trap Hapu's Gastrodon instead of hurting her.

"Freeze each one!"

Whenever Tapu Fini's manipulated waters got close, Maybelle inhaled and blasted ice-type energy at them. One of Maybelle's Ice Beams missed, and a liquid thread wrapped around her waist and lifted her into the air. Maybelle made several pleading squeals, but Tapu Fini ignored that and slammed her on the ground. The Gastrodon picked herself up and winced.

"They can still use their powers to hurt Maybelle," Selene said with a frown. "Should we help her?"

Mina shook her head, wearing the same expression as Selene. "This is little Hapu's battle she has to face on her own."

As if hearing their conversation, Hapu narrowed her eyes. She asked Maybelle to use Sludge Wave at Tapu Fini, and the sea slug Pokémon spat out large amounts of goo. Tapu Fini retreated into their shell and spun around, making Maybelle's sludge bounce off. Nanu and everyone else ducked and scrambled whenever one of the goo clumps headed their way.

"Tapu Fini is getting out of control!" Looker complained as he ducked his head from another sludge.

"That's the tapu for you." Nanu also did the same when one sludge almost hit him.

Tapu Fini opened their shell and released shimmering pink energy straight at Hapu's Pokémon. Maybelle took the hit, screaming in pain. While Maybelle tried to catch her breath, Tapu Fini used their water manipulation powers to grab Maybelle's waist once more and flung her into a nearby tree. Maybelle collapsed upon impact, and Hapu dashed to her side.

"You fought valiantly, Maybelle," Hapu said in a low voice as she nuzzled her Pokémon's cheek. She returned her and turned towards Bricks. "It's all up to you now, bud."

Bricks stepped forward, raised his head, and screamed. He stomped three times, kicking dirt behind him. Hapu grinned.

"Double Kick and make it quick!"

Bricks swung around and used his back legs to kick Tapu Fini on the chest twice. Tapu Fini flinched and then fired high pressure water at him. The horse Pokémon was soaked but he shook it off, and an orange aura surrounded him.

"Oh, that's Mudsdale's ability, Stamina," Lillie said, her face lighting up. "I read their defenses get stronger with each hit."

"Tapu Fini seems to favor long distance attacks, though." Mina said. "Don't know how much that'll help."

"Okay, now for Heavy Slam and then Earthquake!"

After Tapu Fini blasted another Hydro Pump, Bricks avoided it and launched himself at Tapu Fini. He pinned Tapu Fini down with his front legs while his back legs stomped on the ground and caused the earth to crack. Everyone on the sidelines almost lost their balance when the Earthquake happened. Tapu Fini spat some water onto Bricks' face and was let go from his grip.

As Tapu Fini and Bricks continued to exchange blows, Nanu found himself reminiscing the time he had battled Tapu Bulu. His Pokémon pulled off a variety of attacks, but Tapu Bulu's grass and fairy-type powers were too overwhelming for them and were taken down one by one until Persian was left. He was grateful Tapu Bulu stopped there.

"So that's the power of the tapu," Charlotte said in a low voice. At that moment, Bricks threw several rocks at Tapu Fini, who countered each one with blasts of water.

Nanu snorted and a crooked smile pulled on his lips. "When I battled Tapu Bulu, they showed no mercy. Tapu Fini is doing the same here."

"Hapu is gonna do her Z-move now, watch out!" Mina pointed out, and everyone backed away as fast as they could.

Hapu did her pose for the Z-move Tectonic-Rage, in which she had her left fist over her right one, dropped on one knee, and slammed the ground. She and her Pokémon were engulfed in a golden aura, and then Bricks stomped on the ground several times. The earth shook, stronger than the Earthquake Bricks used earlier; Nanu and Lillie fell on the ground, but Looker and Selene picked them up. A chasm opened up, and Bricks leapt up to stomp on Tapu Fini and have them fall within the hole.

Everyone waited with bated breath. A moment passed until a storming whirlpool shot up like Poni Coast Break's geysers and both Bricks and Tapu Fini burst out. Bricks was still standing but took deep breaths and his legs shook. Tapu Fini took this opportunity to trap Bricks inside another large whirlpool.

Hapu yelled out for Bricks to get out, which he did by pushing through the waters and ramming into Tapu Fini's chest. Tapu Fini recoiled from that hit while Bricks fell on one knee and barely kept his eyes open. The two gave each other long stares…

...And Tapu Fini smiled and clapped.

"Is this the end of the battle?" Selene asked, furrowing her brow in confusion. Looker wore a similar expression while Lillie and Charlotte tilted their heads.

Before anyone could respond, Tapu Fini approached Hapu and a sparkling crystal appeared between them. Everyone gathered around them just as she grabbed the crystal and opened her palm. A yellow crystal with the Alolan guardian symbol engraved on it. Hapu's eyes grew wide and she inhaled.

"Does that mean…"

"It is," Nanu said, and Mina nodded in agreement. He grinned at Hapu and put his hands on his sides. "You're the new kahuna, kid."

Hapu's face brightened up at the news. She wrapped her arms around Bricks's neck and nuzzled at his cheek.

"We finally did, Bricks." Hapu held the new z-crystal in front of him, and Bricks made a joyful neigh.

"That's a cool z-crystal there," Selene said, beaming. "What is it?"

"That's the Tapunium-Z. Each kahuna receives that z-crystal as proof of their connection to the tapu." Hapu faced Nanu. "You have one yourself, don't you Kahuna Nanu?"

"I do," Nanu said. "I haven't used it in a long while, though."

"Well a hearty congratulations is in order!" Looker said, grinning. Lillie, Selene, and Charlotte also said their congratulations.

"You deserved it, Hapu," Mina said, and her smile faded. "Oh, looks like the mist is clearing."

Indeed the mist around them disappeared and the late afternoon light in Poni Wilds came back. Tapu Fini floated to the sky, heading somewhere far away.

"I should head back to my house and let my grandma know," Hapu said. "You all can come if you want."

"I'm sure that'll make her very happy," Lillie said, her grin widening.

Charlotte poked Nanu's arm, causing him to look over his shoulder at her.

"Should we go look for Anabel now?" she whispered, and Nanu's stomach dropped. He was so distracted with Hapu and Tapu Fini's battle that he completely forgot.

"Yeah, we should." He cleared his throat and faced Hapu. "You guys go ahead, My colleagues and I are in search of a missing friend. You don't happen to stumble upon a woman with purple hair and in a dark suit, have you?"

Hapu shook her head. "No I haven't, sorry. If I do see her, I'll let her know you're looking for her."

Nanu frowned. "Thanks, I appreciate it." He turned to Looker and Charlotte. "Come on, let's go."

He, Charlotte, and Looker headed out. Nanu hoped that Anabel was still fine out there.

xxx

After Grimsley finished talking about being in the Elite Four, he and Father talked about the many trips overseas they had together; his family used to have several villas across different regions, so they would visit those during the summer and winter season. During their conversation, Raz lay down next to Grimsley's feet while Queen stood still and listened. He wasn't sure how long he had been with him, but it felt like hours.

"You remember how I was away for a bit when we were in Hoenn? Well, me getting your mother a gift was half of it. What really happened was a Wingull stole my ring and I chased it for almost half an hour! Thank goodness Mr. Brine helped me or else."

"That actually happened to me several days ago. A Murkrow stole your ring and I chased it down to an abandoned store. I managed to get the ring, but another Pokémon blocked my path and I was forced to battle it. Right, Raz?"

Grimsley gazed down at Raz, who looked up and growled. He chuckled and scratched her chin.

"Well I'm happy to hear that you still have my ring at least," Father said with a hearty laugh. His smile faded. "You and your mother probably had a hard time adjusting after I died.

Grimsley frowned, his heart sinking. "It was rough for a little while, but then after going to several world poker competitions and joining the Elite Four we're much better off."

"I still feel bad for leaving you two." Father hung his head down and his shoulders slumped. "If I wasn't so sick, we could've been happier together much longer."

Grimsley's face fell when he heard that. He moved closer to his father and squeezed his shoulders, offering him a sad smile.

"Don't blame yourself for that. There were times I wished I could go back and choose a different card, but I'm pleased where I'm at now." Grimsley shifted his gaze away for a second, his sad smile turning into a genuine one. "I'm proud to be called your son."

A wide grin stretched across Father's face. "And as your father, I'm proud of you."

Grimsley and his father shared another embrace. He was reminded of how warm his body was and how safe he was in his arms. When they let go, the mist surrounding them cleared and Father began to fade in gold glitters. His Pokémon noticed too, Raz getting up and growling while Queen frowned.

"I guess my time's up," Father said, his expression softening.

Grimsley frowned at first, but then he smiled back. "I'm glad that we've gotten to talk once more."

"Same here. Maybe we'll meet like this again someday."

"I would like that." He reached for his hand, and his father fully disappeared. His hand on his heart, he gazed up at the sky and whispered, "Goodbye, Father."

Grimsley's Pokémon went to comfort him. Raz rubbed at his side and Queen touched his shoulder. A small smile was pulled on his lips.

"Grimsley?" a familiar male voice asked. Grimsley turned around to see Nanu, Looker, and Wicke approaching him. When they stopped, he blinked at them.

"What are you three doing here?"

"We were trapped inside Tapu Fini's mist for a while and only now were free from that. Did the same happen to you?"

Grimsley's eyes widened, surprised the three were caught in that mist also. "Yes. I was heading back to the Pokémon Center, and then the mist happened." A beat. "I met my father."

Nanu flinched and his shoulders jumped. His colleagues reacted the same way.

"The three of us were also reunited with a lost loved one," Wicke said with a small smile. "A nice girl named Hapu saved us before we were in the mist too long, though."

"Hapu?" Upon Wicke saying her name, a realization hit Grimsley. "Wait, did she battle Tapu Fini?"

Looker hummed and nodded. "Indeed, she did! After a tough struggle, Tapu Fini chose her as Kahuna of Poni Island!"

"Really?" Grimsley chuckled and smirked. He folded his arms against his chest. "I guess that gamble of hers paid off."

Nanu stared at Grimsley, the corner of his mouth twitching. After a brief moment, he sighed and ran his fingers through his hair.

"At least you're okay in the end. We've got a bigger problem, though. Anabel hasn't returned yet."

"She hasn't?" Grimsley asked with a raised brow, and Looker shook his head.

"We're about to go searching for her now. Since our paths crossed, would you help us?"

Grimsley pressed his lips and his eyes narrowed. After some pondering, he nodded.

"I'll help. And so will my Pokémon, right?" He turned to them. Raz lifted her head and growled while Queen hummed and bobbed her head.

"Good," Nanu said. "Come on, we should try to find her before dark."

Everyone did just that, Grimsley and his Pokémon following behind. His reunion with his father was on his mind, but his smile faded. He needed to focus on finding Nanu's friend.

Author's Notes

Tapu Fini's mist was inspired by the Sun/Moon anime episode Memories in the Mist, regarded by many as one of the most heartfelt episodes in the whole series. While there are similar beats, I make Nanu and Grimsley's versions of being under Tapu Fini's mist still their own thing.

Thanks to bobandbill for betaing as always. Something came up so there might be another delay, but will try to get the next chapter in next month. See you then!
 

Bay

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Chapter Twenty-Five
Assurance (Part One)


After Nanu and his friends had found Grimsley, they all searched for Anabel until after dark. When she was nowhere to be found, everyone went back to the Pokémon Center. Nanu made a few video phone calls to find her location, and fortunately he got a lead when contacting the receptionist over at the Battle Tree.

"Why yes, there's a woman with a Salamence here!" the receptionist Carla said, beaming through the video screen. "She battled several trainers earlier today and won every single one of them."

"Really?" Nanu sighed in relief and smiled a little. It wasn't surprising to him that Anabel had won those battles. She was an experienced trainer in another world and proved she was more than capable of watching herself. It sounded like she stayed in the Battle Tree to let out some steam. "Glad to hear Anabel's all right. Is she around now?"

"I believe she's in the middle of a battle now. Would you like me to let her know that you called and have her get back to you?"

"If you can, that would be great. Thanks for letting me know she's safe."

"No trouble at all! I'll let her know then the next time I see her. You have a good evening, Kahuna Nanu."

"You have a good night, too," Nanu said and hung up, the screen blacking out for a second before returning to the home page.

He moved towards the lounge, where Grimsley, Looker, and Charlotte sat on the couch watching television. The group turned their heads when Nanu approached them.

"Any luck finding Anabel?" Charlotte asked, and Nanu nodded.

"She's at the Battle Tree doing some battles there. I have the receptionist let her know I called and have her contact me if she wants."

"The Battle Tree, hm?" Grimsley said, scratching his chin. "You mentioned that the last Ula'ula kahuna liked to go there a lot."

"You think the chief will call you back?" Looker asked.

"Don't know. I'll give her a bit more time to herself before making any moves."

"I can go to the Battle Tree tomorrow and talk with Anabel if you don't hear her back," Charlotte said.

Nanu considered her request a moment. Anabel was more likely to listen to Charlotte than him or Looker. This would be their best shot.

"That's probably a good idea, actually. Sure, you can do that."

After he said that, the automatic door opened. Nanu turned to see Mina approaching the group.

"Alola, alola! Found your friend yet?"

"Yeah. She's over at the Battle Tree, so we will see if she calls me back first."

"You're not going over there now?" Mina asked as she tilted her head.

A lump formed inside Nanu's throat. He stole a glance at Looker and Charlotte, both of them frowning.

"Let's just say she's not at speaking terms with me right now. Wicke will come see her tomorrow."

"Oh, I see. At least you know she's safe." Mina gave out her easy going smile. "There's another reason why I'm here. You're all being invited to Hapu's coronation."

"Coronation?" Grimsley asked, raising a brow.

"When the tapu has chosen a new kahuna, they both perform a special dance in a ceremony in front of a small audience, in one of the altars.The kahunas from other islands are expected to join." Nanu faced back at Mina. "You're already going ahead with that?" he asked, and she nodded.

"Grandma Eli called both Hala and Olivia to tell them the news. They'll be coming sometime tomorrow."

"Guess I have no choice since I'm here, huh?"

Mina's smile grew wider. "Nope!"

Nanu stared at her and sighed. He was never a fan of the coronations including his own. Wearing the costume that resembled Tapu Bulu and dancing in front of people made him uncomfortable.

"Well I'm interested in how this ceremony works. "Could be a new learning experience for me!" The smile on Looker's face disappeared and he hung his head down. "Although, it would be nice if the chief comes too…"

"I also look forward to coming to the ceremony," Grimsley said.

"Great!" Mina clapped her hands. "I'm gonna head home now. See you guys tomorrow at the ceremony!" She waved goodbye to everyone and left the Pokémon Center.

Nanu stared at the ceiling, annoyed that he needed to stay in Poni Island for longer.

xxx

As Nanu expected, Anabel didn't return the call. When morning came, Charlotte had asked Nurse Joy if the Pokémon Center had a Pokémon that could take her to the Battle Tree fairly quickly. It turned out the place did and she was lent a Skarmory for her to borrow.
Charlotte and her Pokémon then left for the Battle Tree.

Morning rolled into late afternoon, and preparations for Hapu's coronation were made. Several tables with food and drinks had been set up in the courtyard, purple tablecloths used because of the island's official color. Chief Akoni stood in front of a barbeque cooking ground beef, the smoky smell lingering inside Nanu's nose. Selene and Lillie sat on the bench playing with Poppers while Grimsley leaned against a lampost, the young dark-type expert flipping his coin. At the edge of the cliff, Looker stared at the ocean with his arms crossed against his chest. Nanu joined with Looker.

"I hope Charlotte will be able to convince the chief to come back," Looker said, not tearing his eyes from the sea.

"I think she will. Charlotte's pretty good with that kind of thing."

Looker turned his head to look at Nanu and frowned. "She's right that we betrayed her trust. I'm ashamed of myself for that."

"You and me both." Nanu lowered his chin on his palm. A small breeze picked up, stinging his face. As he and Looker went silent, a familiar boy's voice called out to him.

"Nice to see you again, Kahuna Nanu!"

That caused Nanu to flinch and twist around to see Hala, Olivia, and Hau approaching him. He forced himself to not roll his eyes.

"Hello, you guys." Nanu gave him a lazy wave.

"Didn't expect to see you here!" Hala chuckled. "I thought Acerola would take your place instead!"

"I'm actually here on important business. I'll be leaving after the ceremony." Nanu paused. "You guys came here quickly."

"I came with a Charizard from the PokéRide service while Hala and Hau used a ferry." Oliva grinned at Looker, her hand on her hip. "Aren't you going to introduce us to your handsome friend here?"

A stunned expression crossed Looker's face and he pointed a finger at her. "You're the Ms. Olivia that I bought the Thunderstones from!"

Olivia blinked, and after a moment she burst out laughing. "Oh, I remember now! I was confused why you bought those despite not having a Pokémon that evolves from a Thunderstone. I forgot your name, though."

"Then let me introduce myself once more." He gave a slight bow. "Looker is my name, a member of the International Police. Nanu and I are good acquaintances."

"An old friend of Nanu's, hm?" Olivia's grin grew wider, and she stepped closer towards Looker. She pressed a finger on his throat and batted her eyelashes at him. "If you come back to Akala Island, I can give you another discount in my shop and we can have lunch together." When she said that, a blush formed on Looker's cheeks.

Nanu's eyes flew wide and his mouth grew dry, taken aback at Olivia advancing on Looker like an Alolan Persian pouncing on prey. If he were drinking, he would choke. He glanced at Hala and Hau, the two having blank stares.

"Um, Ms. Olivia?" Hau asked in confusion, which made Olivia step away from Looker and shift her gaze from him.

"Oh, I'm sorry if I stepped out of bounds here. That won't happen again."

Smiling, Looker said, "Not to worry, Ms. Olivia. It is a lovely offer, but I have to politely decline on both accounts. I am on this island for professional business, after all."

Olivia smiled back and nodded, quickly recovering from that initial embarrassment. "Right. I wish you luck on that."

After a short silence, Hala faced his grandson and asked, "Why don't we go meet with your friends now, Hau?"

"All right!" Hau said, pumping his fist in the air. He, Hala, and Olivia moved out first. Nanu made a few steps forward before turning around to see Looker staring back at the ocean.

"Aren't you coming?" he asked with a raised brow. Looker turned around, a slight smile curling on his lips.

"You go ahead. I'll wait here in case Charlotte and the chief returns."

Nanu narrowed his eyes at first, and then he shrugged. He went to where everyone else was.

Selene and Lillie were still playing with Poppers, so when they noticed Hau their faces lit up.

"Hau!" Selene rushed over towards Hau and hugged him. "What are you doing here?"

"Gramps got a call from a friend that Hapu's the new kahuna. He's letting me join him for the ceremony."

"Oh, you mean her grandmother," Lillie said, smiling. "She's helping Hapu with her gown right now. We should be ready to leave for the ceremony soon."

"It's nice to see you girls again!" Olivia said. "I take it you got through your third Grand Trial?"

Selene beamed and nodded. "Ah huh! Nanu wanted to do a double battle with me and another trainer for his trial. He kept saying how we're not good enough, but we managed to beat him!"

Hala put his palms on his stomach, letting out a hearty laugh. "Not surprising. Several trainers would tell me the same thing."

"I wanted to push their training skills further by giving them some tough love. It worked in the end."

"Maybe," Selene said as she held her chin high. She faced back at Hau and Lillie. "You wanna hear how Hapu became Kahuna, Hau?"

"Of course!" Hau cheered, and the three friends began talking amongst themselves.

Nanu glanced at Grimsley, who was still flipping his coin. He still wasn't sure why that man was obsessed with that coin. It might be a good idea to introduce him to Hala and Olivia.

"Hey, Grimsley! There are a couple folks I want you to meet."

That caught Grimsley's attention as he stopped playing with his coin and turned to Nanu's direction. He moved to where the group was.

"Oh? Are they friends of yours?"

"You can say that." While Nanu continued to talk, he pointed to Hala and Olivia. "This is Hala and Olivia. They're kahunas of Melemele Island and Akala Island, respectively."

"Kahunas, ey?" Grimsley shook Hala and Olivia's hands. "It's a pleasure to meet you both."

"Professor Kukui told me that you're an Elite Four from Unova," Olivia said with a smirk. "How are you liking Alola so far?"

"Alola isn't what I expected, but it's been a good experience for me. I've been told you'll be this region's Elite Four."

"Yes, and I'm excited for that. Representing Alola on the big stage is a huge honor."

"I admit that our culture takes some getting used to, but I'm glad to hear you're enjoying it here," Hala said.

While Grimsley was being introduced to the two kahunas, Nanu remained quiet and stared at the sky. Up ahead shadows of two Pokémon were zooming in and they let out strong cries. He squinted his eyes, trying to make them out through the blinding sunlight: one a Salamence, and another a Skarmory. His heart plumented.

"They have arrived!" Looker said excitedly, pointing up at Anabel and Charlotte. That caused everyone to also look up at the sky and gasp.

A moment passed until the two ladies and their Pokémon landed. Once Anabel and Charlotte jumped off, both Nanu and Looker rushed off to them.

"You're back," Nanu said, his mouth gaping.

No smile came from Anabel. Before she could speak, the whole group including Akoni, who finished with the barbeque, joined them.

"Alola, you two!" Hala said, doing the Alola rainbow sign with his arms. "I'm Hala, kahuna of Melemele Island."

"And I'm Olivia, Akala Island's kahuna."

With a welcoming smile, Charlotte said, "Oh, I heard about you two! I'm Wicke Santana and I worked for Aether Paradise." She paused and glanced at Nanu, as if hesitant to reveal their connection. When he nodded, a relieved smile formed on her lips. "Nanu and I are good friends."

"And I'm Anabel, an Interpol agent. Nanu used to be my superior for a short time."

"Good friends? Superior?" Olivia grinned and poked Nanu's shoulder with her elbow. "Didn't think of you as someone who's into younger women!"

Nanu's face fell. "What? No, nothing is going on with either of them."

A short chuckle escaped from Grimsley. He opened his mouth, but Nanu's glare stopped him from responding. Grimsley pressed his lips and faced away from him.

"It's great seeing you again, Ms. Wicke!" Hau said, beaming. "Nice to meet you too, Ms. Anabel! Mr. Looker is an Interpol agent too, does that mean you two work together?"

"We are indeed," Looker said. Despite some cheerfulness in his voice he remained reserved. "She's actually my superior."

When Looker said that, Anabel lowered her brow and shifted her gaze away for a second. She had one hand rubbed her arm.

"Will you two be staying for the coronation of Kahuna Hapu?" Lillie asked, and Anabel blinked in confusion.

"Coronation?"

"This island just got its new kahuna after several years without one," Akoni said. "Today we're holding a celebration for that."

"From the look on your face, you're not here for the coronation," Grimsley said.

Upon hearing that, Nanu's heart jumped in his throat. That man seeing through other people like a poker game got him uncomfortable. Anabel gasped, as if feeling the same way.

"No, I'm not," she said, shaking her head. She fixed her gaze at Nanu and Looker. "We need to talk."

"Of course." He sighed and looked back at everyone else. "You guys go ahead. My colleagues and I have some stuff to work out."

"Trying to weasel out of coming to the ceremony, hm?" Olivia said, earning her a glare from Nanu. She held her hands up. "I'm only teasing. Do make it for the barbeque, though."

An indifferent grunt left Nanu's mouth. Depending how long this talk might be, he might come in time for food. He and his Interpol friends headed toward the Pokémon Center.

xxx

The rooms in Seafolk Village's Pokémon Center weren't that different from the ones in other Pokémon Centers. They were fairly small, but there was enough room for him and his friends to talk privately.He and Looker sat on the bed, Charlotte took a chair next to the desk, and Anabel leaned her back against the wall next to the window with her arms crossed. There was a moment of awkward silence between everyone until Anabel cleared her throat and spoke.

"You already know how I stayed in the Battle Tree for a bit."

"Yes," Nanu said. "I let the receptionist tell you to talk to me when you're free. You didn't call back, so I assumed you're still upset with Looker and me."

"You're right on that assumption, and to be honest I'm still hurt." Anabel gazed out at the window, putting her hand on the glass. "It was funny, each time I battled there I got hit with a wave of nostalgia."

Nanu's forehead shot up. "Is it because of how you're reminded of the Battle Tower?"

"Maybe. I'm grateful I can recall my time there at least."

"I take it though Charlotte had persuaded you to come back to us," Looker said, and Charlotte nodded.

"I told Anabel more about Sana and how much she reminded us of her. Sana's passing affected us all."

Pursing his lips, Nanu reminisced about his reunion with Sana last night. She had said she didn't regret her time with her friends, and it stung his heart. At least he got some closure with her.

Looker hung his head down and said in a low voice, "There's no denying the loss of Sana is why we kept you in the dark for so long."

A sad smile formed on Anabel's lips. "It was cruel, but I understand you and Nanu did that to protect me." She dragged out a deep sigh, and her face grew serious. "I've been thinking of what I want to do next. I want to change Interpol from the inside and not have another Faller be used as bait anymore."

Looker and Charlotte gasped while Nanu furrowed his brow. He rose up from the bed, standing up with one hand on his hip.

"That's a huge undertaking there, kid. How are you going to do that?"

"The first thing is to fix the way the Ultra Task Force has been handled. It would require a lot of support from other agents. If it all goes well, I'll take it to higher staff."

"What if that causes Interpol to let you go?" Looker asked.

"Then that's a risk I'm willing to take. I would rather try to make a change than do nothing. Will you three help me?"

"Well, I'll support you in any way I can," Wicke said, smiling. "I don't want Sana's death to go in vain."

Looker stood up also and flashed her a grin. "I believe this is the best path towards justice. Count me in, Chief."

"I'm always up for dismantling Interpol." Nanu grunted, offering her a crooked smile. He didn't need to think twice whether he was in support of Anabel's cause or not.

"Thank you everyone," Anabel said with an appreciative smile. "This will be a long process, but will be worth it in the end."

Author's Note
So on AO3 I put up how many chapters until have at the end. Yes, I'm confident to say that this story will end at 35 chapters, or well 34 chapters and an epilogue. So we're almost there!

Thanks to bobandbill for betaing as always. This was originally one chapter but decided to split it into two shorter chapters to have better pacing. One more chapter until the Poni Island arc ends, which should be ready in September. See you then!
 

Bay

6,385
Posts
17
Years
Twenty-Six
Assurance (Part Two)


Shortly after Nanu and his friends had left, it was time for the coronation. Grimsley moved in pace with Akoni, Hala, and Olivia while the children followed behind. The two kahunas and seafolk chief were having a conversation, which he wasn't paying attention to.

It wasn't hard for him to notice that there were some tensions going on with the Interpol group. Nanu coming back late a couple of nights ago and Anabel missing were signs of that. A part of him was curious about what went on between them, but Grimsley decided it was none of his business.

The group journeyed through the Poni Break Coast, the geysers sprouting out the water and stream every so often. Once they made it to the Ruins of Life, there was no pool of water there. Mina and Eli stood in front of the entrance.

"Alola, alola!" Mina greeted and did the Alolan rainbow sign as Hala did earlier. "Glad you guys can make it to the ceremony!" She paused, her smile disappearing. "Where's old man Nanu?"

"He had to take care of something last minute," Grimsley said.

"Oh?" Mina tilted her head and blinked. Her smile returned. "His friend just returned, right?"

Grimsley hummed. "Seems the two have a lot of talking to do."

"Ah. Well, that's more important, I guess. Come on, we shouldn't keep little Hapu waiting!"

Everyone followed Mina and Eli inside the temple. While they moved from one room to the next, Grimsley looked over his shoulder to see Hala and Eli talking.

"It's been a long while, Hala. Two years, has it?"

"Mhmm. I'm unable to visit due to being the kahuna and all. I heard your granddaughter traveled all over Alola to prepare herself for this."

"She has, and I'm very proud of her."

"Haha, no doubt you do!"

Their conversation ended once everyone made it to the second room. Hapu was on top of the altar, donning a short-sleeved blue and white dress. She wore a headdress shaped like Tapu Fini's fins, and her hair was in a straight-wavy style this time. A large pendant was hung on her neck and another smaller one on her forehead. Grimsley thought she looked cute like that. While everyone else stopped in the middle, Eli made a few more steps forward and turned around.

"Welcome everyone to the crowning of our new Kahuna of Poni Island," she said aloud with her arms spread wide. "Today we bare witness to an Alolan tradition that has been passed down through generations. And now, the ancient dance of the kahunas."

As Eli joined back with the others, Hapu took a deep breath and started her dance. Her bare footsteps hit the wooden platform like drums, and her claps echoed through the walls. Everyone kept silent and watched as she continued her dance. Grimsley glanced over his shoulder to see Hala and Olivia grinning, as if they were reminiscing.

It wasn't long until Tapu Fini appeared.

The guardian deity emerged from a pool of water from the back of the room and rose over the altar. They joined in with Hapu, showering her with sparkling dust. Grimsley held his breath as he witnessed this ancient tradition.

After a moment, both Hapu and Tapu Fini stopped. The new kahuna unwrapped the Z-Ring from her wrist and held it to Tapu Fini.

"Bestow upon me the role of watching over Poni Island and the waters surrounding it."

Still holding her Z-Ring, Hapu closed her eyes as Tapu Fini twirled around her. The deity then stopped in front of her, sprinkled the Z-Ring with glittering dust, and took it by lifting it into the air. A small pool of water swirled around the bracelet, and then it returned back on Hapu's palms. The new kahuna smiled and thanked them for blessing her Z-Ring.

When the dance was done everyone clapped, though Grimsley didn't smile. The ceremony was nice, but seeing Tapu Fini ran chills down his spine. Hapu went down the stairs, joining with the others.

"All right, now there's one last thing that Hapu needs to do to complete the ceremony, and it's to use the Tapuinum-Z," Hala said.

"Tapuinum-Z?" Grimsley asked, blinking.

"Each kahuna gets a special z-crystal called the Tapuinum-Z," Hapu said. She pulled out a small tan crystal with the symbol of the tapu. "It's a way to show a bond between the kahuna and tapu."

"Oh yeah, Lillie and I saw Tapu Fini giving it to you after that battle," Selene said. "Looks so cool."

"Really? I take it there's a special Z-Move for that?"

"Yup, and I'll be performing it right now!"

"Okay folks, let's head outside now so Hapu can do that Z-Move," Mina said, and everyone followed her out of the altar.

xxx

Grimsley assumed that Hapu needed to be outside to perform her final act because the Ruins of Life didn't have enough space for that. He was curious how the Z-Move looked, and how it went Nanu did it. Either way, doing it outside was better than accidentally setting a sacred location on fire.

Once outside, Hapu and Tapu Fini stood in the middle of the open space while everyone else stayed on the sidelines. She slipped the Tapinium-Z crystal inside her bracelet and faced Tapu Fini.

"I'm ready," Hapu said, her face showing firm conviction. Tapu Fini hummed and nodded. As she chanted her next words,, her bracelet lit up. "Oh Guardian of Alola, lend me your strength to help watch over everyone here!"

She struck her z-pose by having her fingers form a heart and lifting one of her legs up, which Grimsley recognized as the same pose Mina did when they battled a few days ago. A golden aura engulfed them both, and the earth shook.

Grimsley and several others wobbled and almost lost their balance. A big chasm opened, rocks and dust flying. Two large hands reached out, and then a giant muscular being climbed out of the hole and stood up. It had no head until Tapu Fini floated up, closed their shell, and attached themself onto the giant.

"So that's the Guardian of Alola I heard so much about," Hau said in awe. He and everyone else were unable to tear their gazes off from it.

Hapu finished off the Z-Move by lifting her fist and slamming it on her palm like a hammer. The Guardian of Alola did the same, slamming one fist onto the chasm and making it wider. Another cloud of dust popped up, which caused Grimsley and the others to cough. Tapu Fini, as the giant being, lifted their head, punched their chest with their fist, and cried out their name to the heavens. After that, the golden being disappeared and Tapu Fini turned back to normal. Exhausted, Hapu fell on her knees and her body slumped. Her grandmother rushed to help pick her up.

"We now officially have our new kahuna!" Akoni declared with a grin. Selene and Hau cheered while everyone else clapped.

"Your grandfather would be very proud," Eli said, smiling down at her and squeezing her hand.

"I believe so too, Grandma," Hapu said and grinned back.

Grimsley pressed his lips and crossed his arms. Guardian of Alola was a Z-Move unlike any other. The tapus were just as powerful as the legendary Pokémon of other regions, if not more so. Distracted by his thoughts, he didn't notice Tapu Fini was in front of him until they let out a soft, "Tapuuu." That made him flinch and drew his head back.

"Urgh, what do you want?" he asked.

Tapu Fini responded by repeating "tapu" several more times. Unable to understand, Grimsley raised a brow at them.

"I think Tapu Fini's apologizing for what happened yesterday," Hapu said.

"Huh?" Grimsley's eyes grew wide when he realized Hapu was talking about Tapu Fini's special powers and his father visiting from the afterlife. He chuckled. "I'm actually glad to have that opportunity to meet my father one last time. Thank you."

Tapu Fini gave out a pleased hum and floated back to Hapu's side. Selene and Hau stared at him.

"Meet your father one last time?" Selene asked. "Does that mean you were in Tapu Fini's mist yesterday?"

Grimsley's heart jumped in his throat. Before he could respond, Eli spoke first.

"Tapu Fini's fog was deep yesterday, so it's not surprising that some folks got caught in it. It's good then that my granddaughter saved you there."

Unsure how to react to that, Grimsley cleared his throat and gave an awkward smile. "Yes, I'm glad of that."

"Say, Grimsley, are you up for a Pokémon battle?" Olivia asked as she approached him. "Kahili and Molayne told me how they battled you, and that made me want to see how powerful you are."

"Oh, I'm that inspiring, hm?" Grimsley rubbed his chin, considering Olivia's offer a moment. "Sure, no harm in that."

Olivia flashed him a grin and put her hands on her hips. "Great! I think you'll like my Pokémon. They're as tough as they come."

After eavesdropping on their conversation, Tapu Fini let out an agitated cry and glared at them. Grimsley swallowed hard, their stare piercing through his heart.

"Tapu Fini says to have the battle elsewhere," Hapu said. "They did enough damage when they were doing Guardian of Alola."

"I totally get it. Wouldn't want to cause trouble here." Olivia faced back at Grimsley. "Want to do our battle outside the Pokémon Center, instead?"

"Sounds good to me," Grimsley said.

"An Elite Four trainer and kahuna having a battle?" Hau jumped and raised his fist in the air. "This is gonna be great!"

Selene beamed. "Also can't wait to eat! I'm starving!"

With the coronation ceremony finally over, everyone headed back to the Seafolk Village Pokémon Center. Smiling a little, Grimsley actually looked forward to his battle with Olivia.

xxx

As soon as Grimsley and the group made it back outside of the Pokémon Center, he and Olivia immediately started their battle. He sent out Queen up against Olivia's Tyrantrum, a Pokémon that was extinct thousands of years ago. Even though Grimsley was aware of advanced technology that could revive fossilized Pokémon, seeing her with one was a pleasant surprise. She had nicknamed the Tyrantum Rexy.

Queen was able to cut through Rexy's rough skin with her blades and avoid the hurl of rocks being thrown at her. The Tyranrtum was faster than Grimsley had expected as he managed to bite through Queen's armor a few times earlier. Dragon-type Pokémon were never easy to take down, but Grimsley learned to overcome that from his battles with Iris and Drayden.

Olivia ordered Rexy to use Dragon Claw, so Grimsley had Queen counter that with X-Scissor. Both Pokémon charged at each other with claws and blades forming a green light. Everyone in the audience watched with anticipation, their gazes following their every movement.
After exchanging several blows, Rexy and Queen stopped to catch their breaths and glare at each other.

"All right, Rexy, are you ready for our Z-Move?" Olivia asked, and Rexy responded with a roar. She grinned, and the Z-Ring on her wrist glowed. "Great, then let's do this! Devastating Drake!"

She did her pose by crossing her arms together, having them shaped like large jaws, and thrusting her hands forward. A purple aura bathed both Olivia and Rexy, and an orb formed in front of the Tyrantrum.

Grimsley grunted, pursing his lips. He and Queen immediately did their pose for Savage Spin Out, and a golden light surrounded them.

Rexy fired off the orb, which then changed into the shape of a dragon flying at fast speed. Queen shot out a string of white silk at the dragon, but it cut through that and slammed into her. An explosion of purple flames occurred, and after the smoke disappeared Queen dropped to one knee, barely opening her eyes. Rexy's pants had gotten deeper.

Due to the effects of the Z-Move, Grimsley took deep breaths. Olivia grinned with no signs of exhaustion on her face. She likely had done the pose several times before.

"Looks like our Pokémon are exhausted," she said. "I think that's enough."

"I agree." Grimsley approached Olivia, and they shook hands. Their Pokémon joined them. "That was a good battle. No wonder Professor Kukui chose you as one of the best Alola trainers."

"I can see why you're an Elite Four trainer myself." Olivia scratched Rexy's belly, which the Pokémon responded with a pleased grunt. "You know how to get through Rexy's rough skin."

Grimsley chuckled and touched Queen's shoulder. "Queen's blades are sharp enough to cut through even the toughest boulders. I'm rather impressed with that Z-Move of yours."

"Me too!" Hau said cheerfully. "This is the first time I've seen it."

"I mostly save Rexy for the Final Grand Trials. You might see him again in the Pokémon League," Olivia said with a wink.

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" When he heard that, Grimsley turned around to see Nanu and his friends joining with the crowd. Olivia glared at Nanu.

"Of course! Why wouldn't it be?"

"I mean, it's a Tyrantrum. They're not your typical cuddly Pokémon."

"True, but Rexy is a sweetheart that wouldn't even hurt a bug Pokémon. Right, big boy?" Olivia gazed up at him, grinning. As if understanding her, Rexy lowered his head down and let Olivia scratch his cheeks.

"He does look cuddly!" Selene said, beaming. Grimsley gave her a blank stare, not expecting her to say that.

Olivia gave her a satisfied grin and returned Rexy. "See, even Selene agrees!"

"Right," Nanu said in a drawled out voice and rolled his eyes. He then said to Olivia and Hala, "I need to speak with you two in private."

Grimsley watched as the three kahunas moved away from the crowd and towards the edge of the cliff. He turned around to see everyone else already dispersed into their own groups. The children, Akoni, and Mina were next to the table where the food was. Anabel and Looker grabbed themselves a drink and talked to one another. Wicke was alone, gazing at the Interpol agents. He went up to her.

"I take it the talk with you guys went fine?" Grimsley asked, and Wicke smiled.

"You can say that. Anabel plans to make some changes in Interpol and we'll be helping her with that."

"Is that so? Well, I wish you all luck on that."

"Thank you so much. We're going to need it!"

With a grunt and a nod, Grimsley wondered if Wicke and her friends would be able to accomplish that. That would be as if he wanted to change how the Pokémon League functioned. He then recalled that she and Nanu were once co-workers and he was curious about that.

"You and Nanu used to work together. What was that like?"

Wicke flinched and pressed her lips in a fine line. She gazed up at the sky with her finger tapping her chin.

"It was...interesting. He was blunt, but cared deeply for us. I couldn't ask for a better superior."

"Huh, I see." Grimsley tried to imagine him being an Interpol agent. He could see him acting similarly to Anabel. "Nanu told me about how the Aether Foundation has been doing their research on the Ultra Wormholes."

Wicke's eyes blinked rapidly, and then she frowned.

"They are. As you can tell from Lillie and Selene's story, it's a big problem now. All we can hope for now is them bringing that legendary Pokémon and saving Madame Lusamine."

Grimsley looked away, his finger rubbing the back of his ear. He was conflicted about having the weight of the world on those girls' shoulders. When Hilda had saved Unova and then Nate two years after, they went from excited trainers with potential to ones that lost their innocence. He hoped that wouldn't be the same for Lilie and Selene.

Xxx

Nanu brought Olivia and Hala at the edge of the cliff, the ocean waves raging down below. He glanced at the crowd enjoying the festivities before facing back at his fellow kahunas.

"The Aether Foundation's president had stolen the Moon Flute from Lake of the Moone. And right now she's gone missing," he said. Olivia and Hala let out stunned gasps.

"Really?" Hala asked. "How do you know?

"Lillie and Selene went to Aether Paradise earlier. They're planning to use the flutes to summon the legendary Pokémon to bring her back."

Olivia raised a brow. "Is that a good idea? Will they get help at least?"

"Mina and Hapu will take them to Vast Poni Canyon. My friends from Interpol will also help."

Both kahunas gave him apprehensive looks. After a moment, Olivia sighed with her shoulders slumped.

"It's good that they won't be alone then," she said. "I just hope they're ready for the task."

Nanu grunted in agreement and fixed his gaze at Lillie and Selene within the crowd. They were talking with Hau, Captain Akoni, and Mina, eating and laughing together. The faith of Alola in the hands of two children. He frowned at that thought as he would rather they live out normal lives than go through this.

"You're also worried about them, huh Nanu?" Hala asked with a smile, causing Nanu to flinch.

"Huh? What makes you think that?"

"The way you're gazing at the girls there, I haven't seen that from you in a long time."

Nanu mentally slapped himself for making himself look vulnerable there.

"I just think they should enjoy just being kids, you know? They don't need such pressure this early in their lives."

"I think so too," Olivia said with a sympathetic smile. 'Can't help but admire their spirit, though."

Nanu snorted. "Maybe a little too much spirit."

Hala laughed, putting his hands on his stomach. "Why don't we go to eat and join with the others?"

"Good idea," Olivia said. "I'm actually kinda starving now!"

"Sure. Not exactly hungry yet, but I'm here, so might as well." Nanu followed Olivia and Hala behind as they moved to join in with the others.

xxx

The festivities continued for the rest of the evening. Several more people joined in, which Grimsley assumed to be residents of the village. After his conversation with Wicke, he went to a table with Selene, Hau, and Mina. He listened as Selene told him and Hau what happened during Hapu's battle with Tapu Fini. From what the girl described, Tapu Fini's battle prowess wasn't to be underestimated. Hau then asked if they could play a game, which led Grimsley to propose an idea.

"I have some cards that we can play with. Be careful though, they're expensive and hard to come by."

For the next half hour, they played a kids-friendly version of blackjack, basically with no monetary bets, and slapjack. The latter Hau and Selene were the last two standing as they kept piling their cards together on the table until a jack card was turned. Both of them slapped it at the same time, Hau being the faster one.

"I slapped that jack card first, so I won!" Hau declared with a wide grin on his face.

"Nah-ah! I slapped it first!" Selene narrowed her eyes and faced Grimsley. "Who slapped it first, Grimsley?"

"Hau slapped it first just by a hair," Grimsley said, a smirk forming on his lips.

"Hah!" A smug expression crossed Hau's face. "See, I told you!"

Selene pouted and crossed her arms. "Fine, I'll let you have the win. But I'll win next time!"

Mina chuckled. "At least you did well at blackjack."

A proud grin formed on Selene's lips. "That's true! Maybe I'll be good at the real thing, too."

Furrowing his brow at her, Grimsley said, "I would wait until a few more years before attempting to do that seriously."

"Are you actually teaching kids how to gamble?" Nanu asked as he approached the group. He pressed his lips and had both hands on his sides.

"I'm not," Grimsley said, frowning. "We were only playing a couple of card games. No wagers whatsoever."

"Unlike some regions, gambling isn't legal here. I could say your coin-tossing tendencies are borderline to that."

Grimsley narrowed his eyes at him at first, and then he snorted. "Well, I would be bored otherwise."

Nanu glared at him, the corner of his mouth twitching. "Just don't have me catch you betting for real or else."

That caused Grimsley to flinch and laugh sheepishly. Behind him, Mina, Hau, and Selene gave him funny looks. He opened his mouth to respond but then stopped when Eli spoke.

"Thank you everyone for joining in to celebrate Hapu's coronation as the kahuna of Poni Island." Eli gazed down at Hapu, who was beside her. "This means a lot to both of us."

"It's about time that this island has a new kahuna," Akoni said with a grin. He cleared his throat and raised his plastic cup up. "A toast: may Tapu Fini watch and guide my granddaughter to be a wise and fair kahuna."

Everyone including Grimsley raised their own cups with several people cheering, "Here, here." Grimsley gulped his punch, which was warm and sticky inside his throat.

"We have one last thing we want to show you guys," Mina said. "All four kahunas will perform Z-Moves with their Pokémon!"

The majority of the crowd also cheered upon hearing that. Grimsley glanced at Nanu, who winced.

"Not a fan of crowds, eh?" Grimsley asked with a smirk.

"That much is obvious, isn't it?" Nanu sighed and shook his head. "Let's get this over with."

Nanu stood in front of the crowd along with Olivia, Hala, and Hapu. Nanu sent out his Persian, Hapu her Golurk, Hala his Hariyama, and Olivia a wolf-like creature that looked to be similar to Selene's Lycanroc but with red fur and standing on two legs.

"Is Olivia's Pokémon there a Lycanroc?" he asked Selene in a whisper.

"Ah huh. Lycanroc has three forms. Olivia's is the Midnight form and is very strong. My own Lycanroc barely was able to beat him."

"I recall Lillie mentioning that. He does look menacing."

Already all four kahunas began their Z-Pose. Nanu did this for the Dark-type, Hapu the Ghost-type, and Olivia Lycanroc's special Z-Move Splintered Stormshards. Hala's Z-Pose had him and his Pokémon make two big steps and thrust their arms several times.

Olivia's Lycanroc howled and several shards of rock flew up, which were pointing at Hariyama. That was similar to when Selene's Lycanroc did the Z-Move several days ago. As the shards flew straight at Hariyama, the heavy-set fighting type punched every one of them into smaller pieces, making the dust glittered in the air.

After Persian threw her head up and growled, a black hole appeared. Golurk made several shadows and tendrils appear that then eventually got sucked inside the black hole, which caused an explosion to occur. All four z-moves combined together created a fireworks display.

Everyone looked up in awe at the spectacle and clapped. Grimsley couldn't tear his gaze off the sky as he was being reminded of the Minior shower back outside the Hokulani Observatory. He glanced around to see Hau excitedly pointing the fireworks with Mina, Lillie and Selene holding hands, and Nanu's Interpol friends besides one another. Once the fireworks died down, the crowd cheered at the kahunas and their Pokémon.

"That was great, huh?" Mina asked, grinning.

"It was impressive, I must say."

"Glad to hear! Now I'm all pumped up to create several drawings tonight."

"I'm not surprised to hear that." Grimsley looked up at the sky once more, thinking his last night in Poni Island ended with a literal bang.

xxx

The next morning while he and Nanu were having breakfast, the kahuna told him that they had been in Poni Island long enough and that it was time for them to leave. After eating and packing up their things, they went to the port and met up with everyone except Akoni, Hapu, and Eli there.

"You sure you don't want to stay and help us summon the legendary Pokémon, Hau?" Selene asked him, who shook his head.

"I still don't think I'm strong enough for that yet. I think you and Lillie will be able to pull it off, though!"

"We'll do our very best," Lillie said, smiling.

Hala approached Nanu and put his hand on his shoulder. He said in a low voice, "If Olivia and I see any other threats, we'll let you know."

"I appreciate it."

Hala offered him a small nod. He turned back to Hau and they held hands. They climbed aboard the ferry, and everyone waved goodbye to them as it set off. Grimsley felt a tap on his shoulder and looked over to see Olivia grinning at him.

"I would love another battle with you sometime."

Grimsley blinked at first and then smiled. "Depends if I come to visit Alola again. But yes, I wouldn't mind that, too."

He and Olivia shook hands. After that, she said goodbye to everyone and hopped on top of the Charizard used as her PokéRide. They took off into the skies.

"We'll be heading back to Aether Paradise later today and discuss with Gladion our next plan of action," Anabel said.

"If you guys need help, don't hesitate to contact me," Nanu said.

"We shall do that if that is the case," Looker said. Behind him, Charlotte and Anabel nodded in agreement.

Approaching Mina, Grimsley told her, "I want to thank you again for helping me with mastering Z-Moves."

"No problem at all! Hope you two visit Poni Island again!" she said with an easy-going smile.

Grimsley responded with a grunt. He and Nanu exchanged small nods, and they headed towards their boat. Before coming inside, he turned to see Mina, the girls, and the Interpol agents waving and saying their goodbyes. He gazed at Poni Island one last time before joining with Nanu inside the boat.

Author's Note:

So that ends the Poni Island arc and now we're heading towards the final arc, the Ultra Beast invasion arc. I'll be having a short hiatus as my backlog is shrinking and focusing on other projects. Hopefully I'll have the last arc ready to post by December or sometime after that. See ya!
 

Bay

6,385
Posts
17
Years
Chapter 27
Jaws Lock


It was past sunset when Grimsley and Nanu made it back to Ula'Ula Island. While several Pokémon were roaming in the grasses, there were no Team Skull grunts as the men made their way through Ula'Ula Meadows and Route 17. Grimsley remembered Lillie and Selene mentioning they had met them at Aether Paradise. He wondered why all of Team Skull would be at that place and not return yet. Perhaps some of them went to find Guzma who had disappeared with Lusamine.

When he and Nanu stepped inside Po Town's police station, they were greeted by the sight of Acerola playing with several of the Meowth. She waved a toy with a bell and feathers at them, and they jumped unsuccessfully to grab it. Acerola stopped once she noticed the men and beamed at them.

"Oh, hey you two! How was the trip?"

"It went fine for the most part," Grimsley said as he sat down on a chair. Nanu went to sit next to his desk. "I believe you know Hapu?"

"Hapu? Oh, the girl with the Mudsdale! I met her a couple times in Malie City. Heard she's the granddaughter of Poni Island's last kahuna."

"She is. Just recently Tapu Fini appointed her as the kahuna there."

Acerola's grin widened. "Really? That's great news!"

"It's true," Nanu said, leaning back against his seat. "I witnessed her going against Tapu Fini and everything."

"Did she really do that?" Acerola's face fell and she giggled. "Wished I could've seen that."

Grimsley swallowed and his hands grew tense. A part of him wondered how Acerola would react if she were stuck inside Tapu Fini's mist and met her late parents. It probably would be a bittersweet reunion like with his father.

"You'd probably enjoyed it," Nanu said. "She has a pretty strong Golurk."

"Wow, really? I need to visit Poni Island soon!" Acerola paused for a second, and she beamed. "Oh yeah, Uncle Nanu! Iokua just called. He asked if we would like to join him for lunch tomorrow?"

"Hm?" Nanu straightened himself up and blinked. He seemed to contemplate for a moment. "Not thrilled about that after coming back from Poni Island, but I'm willing to go to Malie City tomorrow. I'll give him a call in a bit."

When everyone went silent for a moment, Grimsley realized that he didn't mention to Nanu yet that he was able to use both Never Ending Nightmare and Savage Spin Out. He better do that now so he wouldn't forget.

"Say Nanu, do you recall saying that you would battle me if I can do Never Ending Nightmare and Savage Spin Out?"

"Yeah. What about it?" Nanu asked with a raised brow.

"Well, I'm able to use those two Z-Moves now. You're not backing out, are you?"

Nanu glared at him, his fingers tapping on the surface of his desk. "I actually haven't seen you do them yet. You could be lying for all I know."

Grimsley offered him a deepened frown. "So you don't trust me, huh?"

"Well, you're a gambler after all, and I've dealt with a lot of those." The kahuna sighed and rose from his chair. "After I come back from seeing Iokua, I want you to show me one of the Z-Moves. Got that?"

Not pleased with that, Grimsley pressed his lips and crossed his arms. After some consideration, he sighed and rubbed his forehead.

"I guess it's only fair. All right, I can do that."

"I take it you'll be training in the meantime?" Acerola asked.

"That's not a bad idea, actually." A small smirk curled around Grimsley's lips. "I can prepare in anticipation of the battle."

"You can train at the beach next to the Aether House! Hunter and Gracie would love to see you again!"

"I'll go over there to train, then." Grimsley was a little disappointed his battle with Nanu would be delayed a little longer, but he should be able to show him one of the Z-Moves easy enough. It shouldn't be too long now.

xxx

After leaving the police station the next morning, Grimsley had Blackjack take him through Route 16 and to the Aether House. The waves were calmer than the last time they went through here, though Grimsley would still wince whenever water splashed on his face. Only a couple swimmers and some water Pokémon were out at the moment.

Once he and Blackjack reached the shore, Grimsley thanked his Pokémon and returned him back to his pokéball. He flinched when a bird's shriek was heard, so Grimsley turned around to see Kukui and Kahili were having a Pokémon battle. One was an Altaria and the other was a Ninetales but with curly tails and blue fur instead of white. The two children Hunter and Gracie cheered from the sidelines. Both trainers yelled out their commands.

"Go ahead and hit hard with Steel Wings, Ally!"

"Counter with an Ice Beam, Diva, woo!"

Ally's wings glowed and she swooped down towards her opponent. Diva took a stance and all of her nine tails stood up as she fired ice energy from her mouth. Before Ally could reach her, the Ice Beam hit her chest and she screeched in pain, but she was able to recover quickly.

Both Kahili and Kukui ordered their Pokémon to use Moonblast next. Ally and Diva released large pink balls of energy at each other, which collided with one another and created an explosion. Hunter and Gracie continued cheering while Grimsley crossed his arms and watched with a stern face.

"I see that you haven't been slacking on your training," Kukui said with a grin.

"Of course not if I don't want to fall behind. However, we're not done yet." Kahili gazed up at Ally and a confident smile formed on her lips. "Are you ready to Mega Evolve?"

Grimsley's eyes grew wide and a lump formed inside his throat. He didn't notice until now that there was a pastel colored keystone attached to Kahili's visor. When she touched the keystone there, Ally glowed and her body began changing shape. Eventually Ally's Mega Evolution was complete and Grimsley couldn't tear his gaze away at her. The Altaria's face remained the same, but her blue belly was exposed and more cotton-like fluff on her neck and back. Her feathers shimmered like a rainbow in an afternoon. Kukui and the children also looked on in amazement.

"Woah, Kahili's Altaria changed!" Gracie said, pointing at her.

"That's Mega Evolution," Kukui said, his grin widening. "It causes Pokémon to change form and become much stronger, yeah!"

"And you get to see it in action," Kahili said to the children. She faced back up at Ally and whistled.

Her Altaria responded quickly by accelerating down in the blink of an eye and ramming into Diva. Diva fell hard on the ground, but she picked herself up quickly and shook the sand off her fur. Both Pokémon stared at each other while panting.

"Looks like our Pokémon are at their limits now." Kukui held out his wrist, showing off his Z-Ring and a Z-Crystal attached to it. "Why don't we end this with a bang?"

After his Pokémon offered an approved bark, Kukui began posing while Diva did a stance. He put his arms together, pulled them above his head, and made a swirling gesture. Diva howled, and a cold breeze swept through the air, causing Grimsley to grit his teeth and tug at his scarf.

"Ally, Protect now!" Kahili called out urgently, clenching her fist.

At that instant the Ninetales stood atop a large ice pillar and blasted a beam of ice straight at her opponent. Ally managed to form a green energy shield around her before the blast hit her, and more pillars of ice popped up. Within seconds all of the ice disappeared, small flakes glittering in the air. Ally was breathing hard and had some bruises on her neck and stomach, but otherwise was still standing.

"Thank goodness," Kahili said with a sigh of relief. Her facial expression changed back to her looking more focused. "All right, let's end this with a Flamethrower!"

Upon that command, Ally opened her mouth to release a stream of flames at Diva. Kukui urged her to watch out, which she did by moving away as fast as she could. Diva was able to dodge several of Ally's attempts, but she got struck by one of the flames which engulfed her for several seconds. As soon as the flames disappeared, Diva collapsed on the ground and didn't get up. Kukui rushed to his Pokémon's side.

"You okay there, Diva?" he asked as he kneeled down and petted her. A few seconds passed until Diva opened her eyes and licked Kukui's cheek, causing him to chuckle. "You did great out there. Take some rest, yeah?" he said and returned her.

"That was a great battle there." Kahili approached Kukui with Ally, back to her normal form, behind her. Kukui stood back up, grinning.

"Same here, cousin!" he said, and they shook hands.

"I can't wait to be a strong trainer like you guys!" Hunter said and beamed. Behind him, Gracie hummed in agreement.

A small smile formed on Grimsley's lips. He had one hand on his side and said, "Indeed that was a fun match to watch."

Both Kukui and Kahili gasped and turned around to see Grimsley. They gave him welcome smiles.

"Oh, Alola there Grimsley!" Kukui greeted him. "Kahili and I are preparing for the upcoming Pokémon League tournament."

"That makes sense," Grimsley said with a nod. He faced Kahili and Ally. "I'm surprised that you know how to use Mega Evolution."

"I've been doing it for a couple years or so now." Kahili stroked Ally's cheek, who cooed and leaned against her palm. She chuckled and returned her back inside her pokéball. "TheGym Leader Winona taught me Mega Evolution while I was visiting Hoenn."

"Winona, hm? I've heard about her from my friend Sidney, one of Hoenn's Elite Four." Grimsley didn't know too much about her, just that she was the current gym leader of Fortree City, loved flying, and was on the quiet side.

"Speaking of her, is she planning to come see you compete in the Pokémon League?" Kukui asked.

"She just got back to me last night saying that she will and is very excited."

Kahili turned her head for a second, a slight blush forming on her cheeks. When Grimsley noticed that, he blinked and wondered if there was something going on between the two. He thought back to Kahili's battle with Kukui and an idea occurred to him.

"Kahili, you can do both Z-Moves and Mega Evolution, right? Have you ever attempted to do both at the same time?"

Kahili stared at Grimsley blankly, and she shook her head. "I tried that a few times, but I've been unsuccessful."

"Z-Moves and Mega Evolution requires a lot of energy from the trainer and their Pokémon," Kukui said. "Trying to both simultaneously won't be easy."

Grimsley frowned, slightly disappointed in hearing that. There was another topic he wanted to discuss with him.

"Have you heard about how Selene, Hau, and Lillie were at Aether Paradise a few days ago?"

Both Kukui and Kahili exchanged grimaced looks at each other. The professor sighed and had one hand rub the back of his neck.

"Magnolia had called me over that. I was about to go there myself, but she reassured me that Wicke is watching over them."

"I can confirm that's the case. I recently met with Lillie, Selene, and Wicke over at Poni Island."

"Oh, you met Lillie and Selene?" Gracie asked. "How are they?"

"They're doing fine and are now finding a way to rescue President Lusamine from somewhere else." Grimsley didn't think it was necessary for the children to know the full details of Lillie and Selene's grand plan.

"Kukui and I were talking about that earlier today," Kahili said. "If I had known, I would've gone to Aether Paradise myself."

Grimsley bit his lower lip. He couldn't help but shake this feeling that something big was going to happen and he was going to be dragged into it.

At that instant, a loud noise that resembled thunder boomed. Grimsley flinched and gazed up, two swirling wormholes cracked open the sky with several streaks of lightning shooting out. The thunderous noise and wormholes grew louder, and two strange creatures appeared. Everyone froze and locked their gazes at them.

The first creature resembled a large mosquito but with a strong body. It threw its head up and flexed its muscles. The second creature had a large ball as its head and looked to be wearing a clown costume. Its head popped out of its body and rolled from one arm to the next like a bowling ball.

"Ahhhh, what are those things?" Gracie cried out, "I don't like them."

"Are they gonna eat us?" Hunter asked in a choked voice.

"They must be the Ultra Beasts, right Kukui?" Kahili asked.

"I believe so, yeah," Kukui said with narrowed eyes. He turned to Gracie and Hunter. "You kids better run inside now. We'll take care of them."

Both children stared at him for a second, and then they nodded and dashed off towards the building. Kukui and Kahili pulled their pokéballs out.

"Okay Katsuo, I need your help!" Kahili released her Toucannon, who flew up and squawked.

"You too, Chavo!" Once Kukui let out his Incineroar, the dark-and-fire type roared and pumped his chest up, the flames on his belt bursting out.

"Looks like I'll be joining, too." Grimsley pulled out his own pokéball and released Roulette. She assumed a stance and growled.

The mosquito-like Ultra Beast jumped up in the air and lunged at Chavo. Chavo grabbed its arm before it landed on him and tossed him on the ground. The strange creature picked itself up quickly and a cold mist formed on its right fist. Chavo's own fist burst into flames, and when the pair collided an explosion occurred which caused them to back away from each other.

While Chavo and his opponent exchanged blows, the second Ultra Beast threw crimson orbs at Katsuo and Roulette. Kahili and Grimsley's Pokémon managed to dodge and slice through the Shadow Balls with Steel Wing and Night Slash. After Kahili ordered Katsuo to get close, his beak began to swirl around as he struck it into the Ultra Beast's chest. That caused it to scream in pain, and when Katsuo moved out there was a big bruise on its chest. When the Ultra Beast popped its head out and threw it in the air, both Kahili and Grimsley's eyes grew wide.

"Watch out, you guys!" Kahili warned them.

Before Katsuo and Roulette could react, the ball exploded and scorching flames were showered at them. Both Pokémon cried out when the flames touched them, but they were able to shake those off easily. Within seconds, the Ultra Beast's head had regrown just like that. Grimsley's brow furrowed and he pressed his lips.

"That thing's head can grow back?" Kahili asked in shock.

"It needs to be taken down quickly," Grimsley muttered. He gazed down at the keystone pinned on his scarf and then at Roulette. "You ready to Mega Evolve, Roulette?"

After a brief moment, Roulette looked over her shoulder and gave an excited bark. With a grunt and a nod, Grimsley touched the keystone. He felt his energy surging with Roulette's as she was engulfed in bright light. Like when she had battled against Ryuki's Garchomp, her appearance changed with her fur bristled and horn grown. She glared at her opponent, her teeth showing.

The Ultra Beast gave out a strange noise and threw several Shadow Balls at Katsuo and Roulette. Once they dodged those, Roulette's arm was fused with dark energy and she swiped at the Pokémon with her claws. The Ultra Beast screeched and backed away, claw marks left on its head.

"Good work, Roulette! Keep it up!" Grimsley said, clenching his fist. He watched as Roulette and the Ultra Beast exchanged blows, but turned around when an explosion was heard.


Apparently, Chavo and the other Ultra Beast continued to throw punches at one another, electric and fire sparks flying each time their fists connected. Eventually one of Chavo's punches missed, which gave the Ultra Beast the opportunity to drop down and do a Low Sweep at Chavo's legs. Chavo picked himself up quickly, but the Ultra Beast didn't give him a chance to act by punching him on the chest several times.

Once the Ultra Beast stopped and moved away, Chavo breathed hard and could barely open one eye. Kukui grimaced.

"Kukui!" Kahili yelled worriedly. She faced Grimsley. "Grimsley, can your Absol hold off that other Pokémon on her own?"

"Huh?" Grimsley stared at her blankly but realized that Kahili was going to help Kukui. He looked back to see the other Ultra Beast having a dark fused claw and swiping at Roulette, but she was able to push back its assaults with her Night Slash. He grinned and said, "Roulette can take care of things from here."

"Good, then." Kahili gave an appreciative smile, and she looked up towards her Toucannon. "Alright Katsuo, let's get ready with our Z-Move!"

Immediately, Kahili executed the pose for Supersonic Skystrike, her Z-Ring glowing brighter than the sun. Katsuo was bathed in golden light for a second, and he launched up into the sky like a rocket. In the blink of an eye, he dived down towards the mosquito-looking Ultra Beast and an explosion occurred. Katsuo flew away from a short distance and glared at his opponent, who stood up with bruises on its body.

Grimsley furrowed his brow. Kahili's Pokemon barely made a dent on that Ultra Beast. When a loud yelp was heard, Grimsley turned around and his eyes grew wide when the clown-looking Ultra Beast threw its head in the air and exploded.

Like before, flames were showered down on Roulette and scorched her fur. The Absol jumped at her opponent with jaws wide open and crunched on the Ultra Beast's right arm. The strange creature let out a confused cry and tried to shake her off. Roulette held on, so the Ultra Beast's other arm fused with ghost energy and the Shadow Claw swiped at her. After crashing hard on the ground, Roulette picked herself up and growled.

The Ultra Beast attempted another Shadow Claw at Roulette, only for her to counter it with her own Shadow Claw. With extended claws, the two exchanged blows at one another like wild beasts. Eventually, the Ultra Beast dodged Roulette's claw, cloaked itself in flames, and slammed into Roulette to cause her to crash on the ground again. Seconds passed until Roulette picked herself up and winced, her legs shaking.

Grimsley grunted and bit his lips. He could feel his own legs shaking from the energy used for Mega Evolution. He wondered if the odds weren't in his and Roulette's favor.

The sound of electric sparks popped up and the wormholes appeared once more. The two Ultra Beasts glanced at each other before gazing at the sky. They took one last look at the humans and Pokémon, and they hopped into their respective wormholes.

Grimsley stared dumbfounded at the disappearing portals for several seconds. Despite his, Kukui, and Kahili's Pokemon knowing Z-Moves and Mega Evolution, the two Ultra Beasts were hard to take down. Would they be able to handle them the next time they showed up?

His breathing grew louder and he felt a little lightheaded due to using Mega Evolution. Back to her normal self, Roulette approached him and rubbed against his leg. With a frown, he petted her head.

More exhausted than him, Kahili dozed off and started to fall. Kukui rushed to her side, grabbing her before she hit the ground. Katsuo also approached them with a worried look on his face.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

It took several seconds until Kahili opened her eyes. "I'm fine, just a bit tired from using both Mega Evolution and a Z-Move immediately after." Her movements were still sluggish, but she managed to stand back straight.

"We should get back inside. I need to call Magnolia and the kahunas."

Both Grimsley and Kahili hummed in agreement. Everyone returned their Pokémon and headed towards the Aether House.

Reflecting that fight, Grimsley was astonished at how strong the Ultra Beasts were. He dreaded that this wouldn't be the last time they would come here.

Author's Notes
Wow, I intended to have the hiatus lasted only for a few months, only for several months to have passed. I was distracted with writing Fire Emblem: Three Houses fanfiction for a while and then needed to sort out some real life stuff (and still do). I actually have Chapters 28 and 29 in my backlog. I barely made a dent with Chapter 30, but I hope I'll make some progress with that chapter before I post Chapter 29.

So yeah, updates will still come spontaneously. This is the final arc, though, so we're getting closer to the finishing line!
 

Bay

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Chapter Twenty-Eight
Hyperspace Fury


Nanu and Acerola had left the police station late in the morning to go to Malie City. The air was cold at first but warmed up the further they went. Both were riding on Xatu, fairly fast fliers.

Once they reached Malie City, Nanu and Acerola had their Xatu land at the Pokémon Center. After Nanu talked with one of the nurses and arranged for him to look over the Ride Pokémon, he and Acerola went for lunch.

The Sushi Roller was usually busy during this time, with half of the tables already occupied. Nanu's nose wrinkled at the scent of raw fish and soup. He went up to Enzo at the front, who grinned at him.

"Kahuna Nanu! It's been a few weeks!"

Nanu gave a single nod. "Nice to see you too, sensei. Iokua should be here now. Can you take me to his table?"

"Yes, yes, of course," Enzo said and led Nanu and Acerola to Iokua's table.

Iokua and his wife Cora sat at a table that was some feet away from the bar. Cora's pregnant stomach was showing, her hands resting there. They greeted him with warm smiles.

"Alola, Uncle Iokua! Alola, Aunt Cora!" Acerola greeted them with the Alola Rainbow sign with her arms, and Iokua and Cora did the same.

"Glad you can make it, you two," Iokua said. "I know you just came back from Poni Island, Father. You must be tired."

"A little bit, but at least Po Town is quiet for a bit."

"Oh right, I heard that several of the Team Skull grunts are gone," Cora said and giggled. "You must be relieved now, huh?"

"You can say that." Nanu paused for a second. "So, how are you and the baby doing?"

"We're doing great, thanks. To think, seven more weeks and then our baby girl will be born."

Acerola gasped with her hand close to her mouth. "You guys are having a girl?" She squealed in delight. "Thought of any names yet?"

"We're set on Karla right now," Iokua said, his face softening. He squeezed his wife's hand, and the two shared a quick kiss.

A small smile formed on Nanu's lips, only for it to disappear. He used to be like that with Iokua's mother, Commnelia. Working in the International Police had put a strain on their relationship, and the two separated when Iokua was young. He genuinely hoped Iokua and Cora's relationship would last.

Eventually Enzo came to their table to get their orders. After everyone told him what they wanted, he went to the chefs to have them prepare their meals. It was half an hour until their food was ready, which consisted of ramen soup for Cora and sushi for everyone else. Nanu had his usual, the Z-Kaiskei: Ronin set.

"So is Grimsley still in Alola?" Iokua asked after he swallowed a piece of his sushi.

"He's actually on this island right now. He claims to know two Z-moves, but I want him to show me one of those first."

"Iokua had told me he's a very strong trainer from Unova," Cora said. "An Elite Four at that!"

"Maybe you'll get a chance to meet him, honey."

"Oh, oh! I want to see him use Never-Ending Nightmare!" Acerola said, beaming.

Nanu took another bite at his food and gazed down. He remembered Grimsley had talked to Iokua about his past, and his heart sank. He took a deep breath.

"Iokua, I'm sorry that I haven't been a decent father to you," he said, and that caused everyone to stare at him. "I have many regrets, and not being there for you or your mother is one of them."

Iokua gave him a small smile. "I was glad when you retired from your last career and settled back here. And at least you'll get to spend time with your granddaughter."

A crooked smile formed on Nanu's lips, and he snorted. "I don't have the energy to deal with kids these days. But in all seriousness, I think you'll be a great father."

"Thank you, that means a lot," Iokua said, his smile growing.

Nanu had found himself having more free time than he ever had while working for Interpol. Tapu Bulu was much more laid back as a boss despite being a powerful guardian. He didn't get to spend much time with Iokua due to feeling ashamed of being a bad father, but perhaps this was a great opportunity to fix that.

While taking a sip of his water, he overheard an argument between a man and woman from the table behind him. They seemed to be a couple just about to finish their date.

"Come on, just for an hour," the man said in a smug voice. He slid a hand on top of hers, making the woman turn her face away from him. "We can get to know each other a little more."

"I appreciate the offer, but I really have to leave now. Maybe next time." The woman rose out of her seat, but the man immediately grabbed her wrist and she gasped. His face darkened.

"You're coming to my place with me, and that's final."

"No! Let me go!" she screamed, struggling to let go of his grip.

Several people stared at the couple. Nanu's lips curled and he swallowed hard. He couldn't stand seeing that man harrass that woman anymore, so he rose out of his seat and approached their table. Acerola called out "Uncle Nanu?", but he ignored it.

"Hey, you." Nanu tapped on the man's shoulder, who turned back and glared at him.

"What do you want?" he asked in a bitter tone.

"The lady here clearly doesn't want to go back with you. Let her go."

"And what if I don't?"

"You don't know who I am, huh? Does Kahuna Nanu ring a bell?" A smirk formed on his lips. Several people in the restaurant whispered to one another, excited that the kahuna of Ula'ula Island was here. He rarely went around announcing his title, but in this case he was going to have some fun.

"Wait, you're Kahuna Nanu?" the man asked in disbelief. He grunted and let go of the woman's hand. "Even if you are, this is none of your business."

"It is since I'm responsible for the well-being of everyone on this island." He paused, his lips twitching. "Tell me, what is your name, young man?"

"Um, Nigel."

"Nigel, huh? I'm not only a kahuna, but a police officer too with connections." He flashed Nigel his police badge, and his face turned pale. "I'm here quietly having lunch with my family, and I hear you threatening this woman. Care to explain yourself?"

"I, ah, well, you see..." Nigel stammered, his eyes darting back and forth. "I offered Lee to come to my place, but..."

"Thought so. Now, as both a kahuna and an officer, I don't take this kind of behavior lightly. Right now I'm deciding if I want to bring you to my friends over at the police station down the street."

Nigel chuckled weakly and rubbed the back of his head. "Oh, er, that's a bit harsh don't you think..."

"Tell you what, how about a compromise? You hand me your ID since I don't want you running off on me, and you go see Sensei Enzo at the counter and settle the full bill with him." Nanu shrugged. "Or we can go with the first option, your call."

"No, no, that won't be necessary!" Nigel handed him over his ID to Nanu and quickly went to the counter where Enzo is at. Nanu pulled out a small notepad from his jacket and began writing down Nigel's details.

"Sorry for intruding there, Miss. Looks like you needed some help there. I can arrange something with the guys at the police station and we can take this further."

"Oh no, that won't be necessary," the woman, Lee, said. "I wanted to leave earlier, but Nigel insisted we go to his place and that creeped me out."

"Men like that aren't worth your time." After Nanu finished writing down Nigel's information, he put his notepad away and faced her. "Would you need a ride back home?"

Lee smiled and said, "Thanks for the offer, but I can have my sister pick me up."

"That's good to hear. You can stick with me while you wait for her." He then asked, "How did you end up with that guy?"

Lee crossed her arms and frowned. "One of my friends from the Kantonian Gym set me up on a date with him. She warned me that Nigel can come off strong at first but to give him a chance. Ten minutes into our date and I already know that we're not compatible."

"Kantonian Gym?" Nanu blinked in confusion. There was one Pokémon "gym" that opened a while back here, and he heard how one strong trainer there specialized in Dragon-types. "Oh, you meant that building with the gold roof a few blocks from here?" he asked, and Lee nodded.

"Yes, I'm one of the trainers working there. Ryuki knows how to pump up the crowd with his music and Dragon Pokémon. Just several days ago, he went against Grimsley from Unova's Elite Four."
Nanu's eyes shot wide open. It shouldn't surprise him that Grimsley would be partaking in some battles here. A part of him was curious how that battle went, but he brushed that aside.

He looked towards Nigel and Enzo at the counter. Enzo handed Nigel his credit card back. "Looks like Nigel finished paying off the bill."

He and Lee went to them. Nanu gave Nigel his ID back and asked that he never get near the woman again. Nigel responded with a "Yes, sir!" and hastily retreated outside. Shaking his head, Nanu was glad to finally be rid of him.

"Wow, I never thought of you as the heroic type," Cora said. She, Acerola, and Iokua approached them.

"You standing up to that woman is awesome, Uncle Nanu!" Acerola cheered.

"Eh, as I said it's my duty as both kahuna and police officer to help everyone here."

Iokua chuckled. "I knew that you care for the people on this island."

Nanu couldn't help but smile a little. There were some kahuna duties that he skipped, like traveling to the Ruins of Abundance on a regular basis. He wasn't like Hala or Olivia who enthusiastically went to each citizen like a politician vying for votes.But despite not wanting this title, he took it upon himself to watch over everyone here.

This peaceful moment he was having with his family was cut short when a booming noise was heard. Several people screamed and jumped out of their seats, some of them running towards the door. Nanu did the same with his family and Lee followed him behind.

As soon as Nanu stepped outside, his heart almost skipped a beat. Three bug-typed Ultra Beasts were terrorizing the people, scaring them off. One had large antennas, high-heels as its feet, and a slim figure. The other Ultra Beasts were large mosquitos with solid physiques that could rival the Masked Royal.

Back in Interpol, they were codenamed UB Beauty and UB Absorption.

"Are you okay, Father?" Iokua asked with a worried look on his face.

Nanu's jaw tightened, and he took a deep breath to relax. Now was not the time to stand there like a fool.

"I'm gonna deal with those things while you guys go to safety."

Iokua regarded him for a moment, and gave him an understanding nod. "All right. You stay safe yourself."

"I wanna help!" Acerola said with a determined look, which was unusual for her. "My Pokémon can handle them."

"I'll help, too," Lee said, pulling out a pokéball from her bag. She smiled. "I wanna repay you back for saving me from that jerk earlier."

Nanu regarded them for a moment. "Okay, you two can help, but stay close."

He, Lee, and Acerola went towards the Ultra Beasts while Iokua and Cora rushed in the opposite direction. Nanu released Honchkrow, Lee a Cinncino, and Acerola Nori, her Dhelmise. The latter was a dual ghost-grass type that resembled an anchor wrapped in sticky seaweed and a wooden ship wheel attached to them.

"You two take the big guys while I'll deal with the fast-looking one," Nanu said in a low voice. Both ladies hummed and nodded.

Nanu had gone against Beauty a few times before. They moved elegantly and in a blink of an eye, probably faster than an Extreme Speed. His Honchkrow flapped his wings and visible purple airwaves darted towards the Ultra Beast, but it dodged those easily. Beauty jumped up on the roof of a building, giving a judgmental look at Honchkrow and Nanu with its hand on its side.

"Try a Steel Wing this time!"

Upon Nanu ordering that move, Honchkrow's wings glowed and he dived down at Beauty but missed. That gave the opportunity for the Ultra Beast to launch at Honchkrow and kick him three times on the chin. Honchrkow became dazed for a few seconds but quickly recovered.

"Hey, what's going on here?" someone asked. Nanu turned real quick to see a man with unruly hair and tight clothing that made him wonder how he managed to breath through it. He carried a guitar case with him, and another trainer with him.

"Ryuki!" Lee called out his name. Her Cinncino jumped up and launched several glowing stars on both of the Absorption's faces.

"Geez, whatever these things are, they need to get out this instant." Ryuki turned to the trainer with him. "Eric, help Lee and the other girl out!"

The other trainer, Eric, nodded and released his Pokémon, an Arcanine. He and his Pokémon went to where Lee and Acerola were.

"Oh you're that dude that hangs around the Kantonian Gym around a lot." Nanu had heard about Ryuki whenever he visited Malie City, but never bothered to watch him in action. He turned back to see Beauty landing another kick on Honchkrow's face. Nanu grimaced, not liking how his Pokémon was already getting his butt kicked by a bug posing as a model.

"Yup, that's me. Looks like your little birdie is in trouble." Ryuki grabbed a pokéball and released a Garchomp with a cord on his neck. Nanu blinked at that accessory but then noticed a Garchompite stone on it.

"Your Garchomp can Mega Evolve?" he asked.

"Hell yeah, he can. Dirk and I are gonna put on a spectacular performance!" He pulled out his guitar from his case and grinned at his Garchomp. "Ready to make some noise, Dirky boy?"

Ryuki's Garchomp, Dirk, grunted and nodded. Grinning ear to ear, Ryuki opened his case and pulled out his guitar. He played several notes that resembled rock music, and both the guitar and Dirk's Mega Stone were covered in multicolored sparks. Nanu at first wanted to ask him if his guitar was on fire but realized that a keystone was attached to it.

Dirk lifted his head and roared in triumph once his Mega Evolution was completed. The way Dirk's head changed shape made him uglier, but the scythes and longer spikes on his body made him more menacing.

"Yeah, that's what I'm talking about!" Ryuki exclaimed while playing his guitar. "Help the man's Honchkrow and strike at that thing on the roof!"

With lightning speed, Dirk flew up to the roof. His scythe grew purple, and he struck Beauty on its midsection. When Beauty backed away a few steps, Honchkrow spat a Shadow Ball behind its head and that caused it to twirl around. The Ultra Beast had to divide its attention between Honchkrow and Dirk, dodging and blocking their assaults.

Ryuki continued to play his godawful, ear piercing music while the residents scrambled to get out and Acerola's group barely held off the two Absorption. Some of the people covered their ears as they escaped. Nanu gazed up to see Dirk's claws missed Beauty and she kicked him on the stomach, which caused him to shoot out of the roof and crash on the pavement.

"Dirky boy!" Ryuki dropped his guitar and rushed to his Pokémon's side. As he lifted his Garchomp's head, Dirk gave out a low growl and he returned to his normal self. "You did fabulous, buddy," he said in a low voice and returned him back to his pokéball.

Nanu bit his lips. If that Ultra Beast could beat down a Mega Evolved Pokémon like that, his Honchkrow couldn't stand a chance unless he used Supersonic Skystrike. He pulled out the Flyinum-Z crystal from his jacket's pocket and slipped it inside the slot of his Z-Ring. All he needed to do now was perform the Z-Pose...

"Buluuuuuu!"

At that moment a large figure came in a blur and rammed Beauty into a nearby building.

"What the?" Nanu jumped and he gazed up to see a deity with a shell shaped like bull horns and a tail bell swinging lazily. There was no mistake--

"Is that Tapu Bulu?" one of the bypassers asked.

"It is, and it came to save us!"

Like everyone else, Acerola noticed Tapu Bulu. With a beaming face, she jumped and waved at Tapu Bulu. "Oh, hey Tapu Bulu!"

Nanu snorted and shook his head. Leave it to Tapu Bulu to be late to the rescue. "Hey Tapu Bulu, think you can handle these pesky bugs for us?"

Tapu Bulu narrowed their eyes on him and grunted. Nanu knew the big guy was upset with him.

"Yeah, yeah, I didn't do my job as a kahuna to prevent this from happening. I'll make it up to you later, but right now I can really use your help."

Tapu Bulu seemed to regard Nanu for a moment before they hummed and turned around. As Beauty charged and began a low kick at them, Tapu Bulu dodged and struck behind its back with their horns. That caused Beauty to scream and attempt another low kick, but Tapu Bulu withdrew into their shell to protect themself.

Noticing that Tapu Bulu was here, both Absorption turned their attention away from Acerola's group. All of the Ultra Beasts kicked and punched Tapu Bulu's shell, only for them to not budge.

"Looks like Tapu Bulu attracted the attention of those things," Acerola said. She and her group joined with Nanu and Ryuki.

"Good, so that our Pokémon can take a breather," Ryuki said.

"Ah oh, looks like Tapu Bulu is very mad now," Lee said, pointing at the scene. As the Ultra Beasts continued to beat up Tapu Bulu, the deity's shell began to glow. Nanu's eyes grew wide.

"Everyone back away!"

Nanu grabbed Acerola's arm, and everyone moved away as fast as they could. Tapu Bulu opened their shell and released a burst of pink energy, shocking the Ultra Beasts and pushing them away. The lampposts got broken in half and some foundations of the nearby buildings crumbled. The whole group stared at the damage Tapu Bulu had done.

"Tapu Bulu sure put up a show there," Ryuki said.

"That looks like Nature's Madness," Acerola said in awe.

"It is. I saw Tapu Fini use it against Hapu." Nanu turned back at the battle to see Tapu Bulu go against Beauty while the two Absorption went against Honchkrow and Acerola's Dhelmise, Nori. He glanced down at his Z-Ring, remembering he was about to do a Z-Move before Tapu Bulu showed up. With a whistle, he glanced up at his Pokémon. "Hey, Honchkrow, are you ready to do our Z-Move?"

When Nanu had asked that, Honchkrow dodged one of the Absorption's punches and scratched its face with his claws. He flew up and cawed in response. Meanwhile, Nori spat out a green energy ball at the other Absorption's chest. Those pests needed to be taken care of now.

Nanu began his Z-Pose for Supersonic Skystrike, and both his bracelet and Honchkrow lit up brightly. His Pokémon launched himself to the skies and a blast of hot air hit Nanu's face. As Absorption jumped up with its fist up, Honchkrow dived down and they collided.

"Let's do our Z-Move too, Nori!" Acerola immediately did the Z-Pose for Never-Ending Nightmare, and Nori released a wave of dark energy and tentacles at Absorption. One of the creepy tentacles grabbed the Ultra Beast and pulled it into the shadows.

A large explosion occurred upon those two Z-Moves being used. As soon as the smoke cleared, both sides took deep breaths and glared at one another. Everyone but Nanu gasped.

"Just what the hell is that thing?" Eric asked.

"These are Ultra Beasts that Aether had warned you guys about," Nanu said. It didn't surprise him that it would take more than Mega Evolution and Z-Moves to defeat those things. "Acerola, you help me take down Absorption One while you two deal with the second one."

"Okay, Uncle Nanu," Acerola said with a serious face. Meanwhile, Lee and Eric hummed in agreement.

Nanu commanded Honchkrow to use Nightslash at Absorption One. Honchkrow flapped his wings and flashes of purple air struck at Absorption One's sides and chest. The Ultra Beast jumped up and kicked Honchkrow's face, causing him to squawk in pain. Honchkrow retaliated by having his wings shine like metallic steel and dived down at him. Absorption One's back hit a nearby building and left some small damage there.

Acerola took this opportunity to have Nori use Energy Ball, which they did and it hit the Ultra Beast's back. Absorption One charged at Nori with its fists covered in cold mist, only for Acerola to call for them to watch out. Nori disappeared into purple shadows before Absorption landed a blow on them, and several seconds later slammed into the Ultra Beast and caused it to crash into the ground.

Just as Absorption picked itself up, Acerola urged Nori to use Anchor Shot, their signature move. Nori shot out a large anchor chain and had it wrapped around the Ultra Beast's waist and shoulders. After struggling for a bit, Absorption managed to break free from the chains, spun around, and lunged at Nori with full force. That made Nori crash into one of the nearby lampposts and damage it. When her Pokémon didn't respond, Acerola gasped and returned her Pokémon.

"You did great Nori, you can rest," she whispered to Nori's pokéball.

Nanu bit his lips, feeling bad for Acerola and her Pokémon. He briefly checked to see Lee's Cinncino use Aqua Tail and Eric's Arcanine use Flamethrower at Absorption Two. After being hit with both attacks, the Ultra Beast slammed its fist at the Cinncino. When Lee's Pokémon cried in pain and collapsed, she returned her Pokémon to her pokéball. Meanwhile, the Arcanine got hit by Absorption Two's Low Sweep and fell on the ground. The Arcanine picked himself up and roared, but Nanu could tell he was getting exhausted.

Did those pests get stronger since the last time he went against them? Nanu got distracted from his musings when Absorption One struck an Ice Punch straight at Honchrow's chest. Honchrow screeched, engulfed himself in flames, and dived down towards the Ultra Beast. Absorption countered with another Ice Punch, and both attacks collided, causing a small explosion.


Once the smoke cleared, Absorption One was still standing and stared at Honchkrow. Due to the recoil from Brave Bird, Nanu's Pokemon took deep breaths and his gaze slightly dropped off.

While Nanu and Acerola were distracted with Absorption, Tapu Bulu withdrew themself inside their shell and allowed Beauty to abuse them once more. After several more hits from Beauty, Tapu Bulu opened their shell and slammed into the Ultra Beast. Beauty flinched for a few seconds and then shook it off. It swung its leg and kicked Tapu Bulu's side, which caused them to flinch and be dazed for several seconds. Enraged, Tapu Bulu yelled and let out another Nature Madness that struck Beauty like electric bolts and pushed her back. Beauty kept gasping, her chest rising and falling.

At that moment, Tapu Bulu made his final move. They shook their tail and the bell rang, which made ominous chimes. Nanu's stomach dropped.

"Those bells sound like a warning to us," Acerola said in a worried voice.

Before Nanu responded, he inhaled and felt sweat rolling on his forehead. "You're not wrong there, kid."

Thick vines and roots burst out from the ground, lashing at Beauty like whips. The Ultra Beast kept kicking them away, but one of them grabbed Beauty's leg and threw it in the air. Beauty crashed down on a tree that then collapsed and it was several seconds until it picked itself up.

Another set of vines and roots grabbed both Absorption's wrists and waists. They struggled to get out as more vines would just trap them. Tapu Bulu took this opportunity to charge and slammed them with their horns, leaving them with puncture wounds. The Ultra Beasts were barely standing, their arms and legs shaking.

An Ultra Wormhole appeared, which caused Beauty and the two Absorption to look with relief at it. Once Tapu Bulu opened their shell back, the three Ultra Beasts gave them a glare and jumped inside the wormhole. Everyone stared dumbfoundedly at the scene for a moment.

"That Tapu Bulu is one hard rocker," Ryuki said.

"I know, right?" Acerola said with a grin. She gazed up at Tapu Bulu and waved at them. "You were awesome out there, Tapu Bulu!"

Acknowledging Acerola's thanks, Tapu Bulu made a happy noise and nodded.

"Those Ultra Beasts are the real deal, huh?" Lee asked.

"Yes. Trust me when I say they're not to be taken lightly." After he finished saying that, Honchkrow approached Nanu and pecked at his shoulder. A small smile formed on his lips. "You did good there, buddy. Take a break."

Nanu returned Honchkrow inside his pokéball. At that instant, his smartphone rang and he picked it up.

"This is Officer Nanu of Po Town Police speaking."

"Nanu! Thank goodness I'm able to reach you."

"Kukui? Is something the matter?"

"Yes. A few Ultra Beasts had invaded the Aether House. Grimsley and Kahili helped me deal with them, but they then disappeared."

Nanu's mouth twitched. He recalled Grimsley going to train at the Aether House. That meant more Ultra Beasts popped up.

"Same thing happened to me in Malie City. Did you talk with the other kahunas?"

"I haven't yet, but I'm about to after this call, yeah. Do you think you can come back to the Aether House real quick?"

"Yeah, I can. Acerola and I can be there now."

"Okay, good. Will see you soon, then."

Once Kukui hung up, Nanu put his phone away and looked down at Acerola. "Kukui just called. He wants us at the Aether House now."

"I overheard that something happened there. Is everyone all right?"

"Kukui didn't say anyone got hurt, so I think so."

"That's good to hear!" Acerola faced Ryuki and beamed at him. "Thanks for helping us out there!"

"Not a problem, little lady," Ryuki said with a grin. "Dirk took quite a beating, so he'll need some rest."

"My sister is waiting for me, so I should be heading out," Lee said and smiled at Nanu. Thanks again for saving me from that creep earlier."

A small smile formed on his lips. "It's the least I can do. You take care." He faced back at Acerola. "Come on, let's go get our Ride Pokémon back at the Pokémon Center."

Both he and Acerola set off to the Pokémon Center. As they headed there, a sinking pit filled inside Nanu's stomach.

Author's Note:
A bit later than intended in releasing Chapter 28, but it's here! Nanu confrontation with Nigel I based it off from one reddit post where one police officer saved one lady from going home with a slezzy guy. I can totally see Nanu do this haha.

Part of me is thinking I'll get Chapter 29 out sometime next month while at the same time try to get the story finished for July Camp Nano, or at least get a few more chapters written. Real life stuff is in the air atm, but I'll try my best at chugging the final chapters through. Thanks to bobandbill for the beta as always.
 

Bay

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Chapter 29
Max Darkness (Part One)


Shortly after everyone went inside the Aether House, Kukui made some calls to the kahunas. He first talked with Nanu, who told him that a few Ultra Beasts had invaded Malie City. When Grimsley heard that, his stomach dropped. It sounded like he and Acerola were fine though, so that was a relief.

Right now Kukui was on a conference call with Hala and Olivia through his tablet, Grimsley and Kahili standing behind him while he spoke with them. Both kahunas had also dealt with some Ultra Beasts on their respective islands.

"So you went against an Ultra Beast that can have its head explode?" Hala said in shock through the tablet. He was in his room while Olivia was inside her jewelry shop. "Sounds like the same one my grandson and I ran into earlier."

"If that's the case, then there's probably more of those," Kukui said, and Hala hummed in agreement.

"Hau, Ilima, and several other strong trainers are preparing in case another Ultra Beast invasion comes."

"My captains and I are doing the same," Olivia said. "How about Nanu and Hapu? Have you heard from them yet?"

"I wasn't able to reach Hapu yet, but I did talk with Nanu earlier. Some Ultra Beasts were running around Malie City."

"So the Ultra Beasts had also landed on Ula'ula, too?" Hala shook his head. "This is far worse than I thought."

"Tell me about it. He and Acerola are on their way to Aether House now."

"That's good to hear," Olivia said. "I have to go back to work, I'll keep you posted."

"I need to head out myself and speak with Hau and Ilima on our next plan of action," Hala said.

"Thanks, you two for taking the time to speak with me." After Kukui ended the conference call, he put the tablet back on the receptionist desk and faced Kahili and Grimsley. "The kahunas are having their hands full with the Ultra Beasts right now."

"That's really bad," Kahili said as she crossed her arms and furrowed her brow. "They mentioned they're having strong trainers help them?"

"They did, yeah. I'm afraid that more Ultra Beasts will come and overwhelm everyone."

"Those alien Pokémon were super scary," Gracie said with her head down. She sat on one of the sofas, holding her Yungoos.

"I don't like those things either," Hunter said. He and Elekid also sat on the same sofa as Gracie and her Pokémon. "They look like they can eat us for sure!"

Grimsley frowned upon hearing the children's statements. He didn't blame them for being frightened as he was caught off-guard himself.

In that instant, the door automatically opened. Grimsley turned to see Nanu and Acerola stepped inside.

"Acerola!" Both Gracie and Hunter screamed in joy. They hurried to her, and Acerola greeted them with an embrace.

"Are you two all right?" she asked before letting them go.

"We are," Hunter said. "Professor Kukui, Uncle Grimsley, and Aunt Kahili took care of those scary Pokémon."

"Well, you guys are safe and that's all that matters." Acerola had her hands on her sides and glanced around the room. "Uncle Nanu and I need a moment alone with everyone."

The children nodded in understanding. They picked up their Pokémon and went to their room. Kukui approached Nanu and Acerola.

"I talked with Olivia and Hala earlier. Akala and Melemele Island also got hit hard with the Ultra Beasts."

"Really?" Nanu groaned and scratched the back of his head. "Those Ultra Beasts love being pests, huh."

"After Kukui called you, he told me and Kahili about it," Grimsley said. "I'm glad that you and Acerola are safe, though."

Nanu raised a confused brow and snorted. "Are you really worried about me? Or is it because you're afraid our battle would be delayed?"

Grimsley grimaced and he gave him a stern look. "I was seriously worried, especially with Alola now having a crisis."

"So what happens now?" Kahili asked.

"I know a couple of people that can help us. They should be staying at Aether's headquarters now."

"I can lend you my tablet and have you contact them."

Kukui grabbed his tablet and gave it to him. Nanu opened a call conference application, punched a phone number, and the screen lit up showing Looker, Anabel, and Wicke.

"Nanu!" Looker said in surprise. "We are in a dire situation here!"

"If it's about how the Ultra Beasts are running amok, I already know. I went against a few of them in Malie City earlier."

"We just found out about that from the data Professor Burnet sent to Aether," Wicke said. "Several other cities have been targeted."

"Ah, so you're the Assistant Branch Chief Wicke that Magnolia had told me a lot about, yeah," Kukui said, flashing her a grin. "I'm her husband, Professor Kukui."

"It's nice to finally meet you," Wicke said, returning a grin of her own. "She tells me nothing but great things about you!"

"Oh, has she?" Kukui rubbed the back of his head, his cheeks flushing. His face turned back to serious when he continued, "Anyways, I noticed you have some company with you."

"Ah, yes!" Wicke gave a quick glance at Looker and Anabel, the both of them nodding at her. "They're agents Looker and Anabel from the International Police. Aether has been working with them on the Ultra Beasts."

"Nice to meet the both of you." Kukui looked over his shoulder at Grimsley, Kahili, and Acerola. "Besides Nanu, I have three other exceptional trainers with me, yeah!" he said, pointing at them.

"Fantastico!" Looker said. When he spotted Grimsley, his grin widened. "I noticed that Grimsley is one of those trainers! We've met quite a few times before."

"It's nice to see you too, Looker," Grimsley said in an indifferent tone. At that moment, he wondered how the Ultra Beasts came to Alola in the first place. "You know what caused the Ultra Beasts to suddenly appear?"

"Selene and Lillie went to the Altar of the Sunne with some supervision," Anabel said. "After they played the Moone and Sunne flutes, Aether's President Lusamine Jubert and Team Skull leader Guzma fell out from a wormhole."

"The legendary Pokémon Solagelo and another strange Pokémon appeared in addition to that," Looker continued. "The two Pokémon got fused, and that was what caused so many Ultra Beasts to pop up."

Acerola gasped with her hand close to her lips. "Wait, Solagelo? Strange Pokémon? I never thought those Alolan tales would come true."

"Alola's Light, right?" Nanu asked with a raised brow. Grimsley stared at him, surprised that he knew of that story.

"Ah huh. According to the story, Lunala, Solgaleo, and a third Pokémon called the 'Blinding One' showered Alola with light. After the Blinding One used up all of their light, Lunala and Solgaleo shared their light with them, and then the Pokémon flew back to their original home."

"Yeah, you told me that story a bunch of times before." Nanu turned back to the screen. "You mentioned that the girls had some supervision. Who else was with them?"

"Trial captain Mina and Kahuna Hapu were accompanying them through Poni Vast Canyon," Wicke said. "They then met with Dr. Colress Antimony and he joined them."

Upon hearing Colress's name, Grimsley's stomach dropped. "I'm not sure that was such a good idea having him with them."

The two agents exchanged brief glances at each other, and then Anabel spoke. "Looker and I understand your concern as we haven't forgotten what you told us about him. He confirmed with us that he's working on a device to take care of the Pokémon from the Ultra Recon Squad's planet, Ultra Megalopolis."

"It was Selene that convinced us that his machine is the key to unfuse Solagelo and the other Pokémon. That other planet the chief mentioned is where Lillie and Selene are right now."

"Hold up," Kahili said with a furrowed brow. "You're telling us a mysterious Pokémon is the cause of all the Ultra Beasts all over Alola? And that Lillie and Selene are in another world?"

"Essentially, yes," Anabel said with a nod. "Mina and Colress are with the girls and are keeping us up to date on what's going on at Ultra Megalopolis."

"What about Lusamine and Guzma?" Kukui asked. "Are they okay?"

"Hapu is taking them to the Pokémon Center in Seafolk Village right now," Wicke said. "They should be fine, though."

Frowning, Acerola said, "I'm guessing the Ultra Beasts must be stopped somehow. Is there a way to do that without killing them?"

"The most humane procedure is to capture them with a special pokéball called the Beast Ball," Anabel said. "Both Aether and the Ultra Recon Squad have been working on that project for a while now and just recently began testing them."

"That does sound like the best approach there," Kahili said. "How are we gonna acquire those Beast Balls, though?"

"Um, if I may jump in," someone said. Everyone turned to see Becky and Headmaster, the Oranguru joining the group. While Kukui was busy talking to the kahunas, she made some contacts of her own. "Aether has recently given its employees the Beast Balls in case something like this happens. I have them here, hold on."

Becky gazed up at Headmaster, who grunted and headed towards the receptionist desk. Shortly afterward, he returned with a box and opened it to reveal the blue pokéball-like devices. Grimsley recognized those were the same ones Dulse had used for the Ultra Beast Adhesive.

"Oh, I've seen those balls before!" Acerola said, beaming. "That Dulse guy had one with him!"

A grin stretched across Looker's face. "Ms. Wicke, Anabel, and I grant permission for you guys to have a Beast Ball with you as an extra precaution."

Once everyone grabbed a Beast Ball, Grimsley stared at his own. The ball's surface was cold against his palm. He put it away inside his bag while Anabel spoke.

"Looker, Lusamine's son Gladion, and I will be heading to Tapu Village to help the people there to safety. The other UB Task Force teams will help out on other islands."

"Tapu Village is very close to here, so I'll go there myself." Nanu paused, and then said, "Hey, Anabel. Do be careful out there, okay?"

Anabel's face fell and she gasped. Shortly after, a small smile formed on her lips. "I will, thank you. We'll see you soon."

As soon as Anabel hung up and the screen turned black, Nanu handed Kukui his tablet back and rubbed his eyes. Grimsley frowned, musing that the kahuna must be exhausted.

"So. Besides Nanu going to Tapu Village, what's next?" he asked.

"I'll contact Molayne and see if he'll watch over the observatory," Kukui said. "Kahili and I can watch over Malie City." He looked at Kahili, who gave him a nod of agreement.

"The rest of you should come with me to Tapu Village as it isn't safe here. Tapu Bulu will be joining us too."

Hearing Tapu Bulu's name caused Grimsley to tense and raised a brow. "Wait. Did you just say Tapu Bulu is here?"

"They are, yes!" Acerola cheerfully said with a raised fist. "Tapu Bulu is resting outside right now!"

Grimsley exchanged shocked looks with Becky, Kukui, and Kahili. He stepped out of the building with everyone else following behind.

Tapu Bulu was indeed outside, sleeping next to a nearby tree. Everyone cautiously gathered around the tapu and stared at them. With an amused grunt, Kukui grinned.

"I shouldn't be surprised Tapu Bulu is here. Olivia and Hala mentioned their respective tapus had helped out also."

"The last time I saw any of the tapus was when I became Island Champion," Kahili said. "They became spectators on my back-to-back matches against the kahunas."

Still staring at Tapu Bulu, Grimsley's breathing slowed. They looked just like the picture from the book he had read back in the library. He didn't expect to see the guardian of Ula'ula Island at all. The same could be said for Tapu Fini.

"Nanu and I both saw Tapu Fini when we were in Poni Island, though at different times."

Nanu snorted and put his hands inside his pocket. "Meeting with Tapu Fini was an experience, that's for sure. Anyways, I'll need to wake up Tapu Bulu now."

"You sure?" Acerola asked, frowning. "Looks like Tapu Bulu is resting up after their fight with the Ultra Beasts."

"I see your point, but we might need them when we head to Tapu Village." He approached Tapu Bulu, gently knocking on their shell with his fist. "Hey, Tapu Bulu. We're going to Tapu Village."

Several seconds passed until Tapu Bulu stirred from their sleep. They blinked and stared at Nanu briefly.

"Tapu... Bululu?"

"Yes, Tapu Village. I know we had passed there already, but Ultra Beasts had come here too and we need to bring everyone to higher ground. You're okay with that?"

Tapu Bulu seemed to regard Nanu's suggestion. After a moment, they offered an understanding hum and nodded.

"I can take us to Tapu Village in my jeep," Becky said. "The kids can stay with the villagers for a bit."

"Looks like we're settled on Kahili and me going to Malie City while everyone else heads to Tapu Village," Kukui said. "You guys stay safe, yeah?"

"Same goes for you and Kahili!" Acerola said, beaming.

After Kukui and Kahili gave her appreciative smiles, they pulled out their pokéballs. A Brivary and Mandibuzz were released, cawing and flapping their wings. They hopped onto the Pokémon and took off into the skies.

"You guys go ahead into the jeep while I'll go get the kids." Becky went back to the Aether House while everyone else did just that.

A heavy burden sunk inside Grimsley's stomach. Everything was moving at a fast pace, and he was certain it wouldn't slow down anytime soon.

xxx

Right after Becky had grabbed the children, she drove the jeep and took everyone to Tapu Village. Tapu Bulu followed, flying above them.

The first time Grimsley stepped foot in Tapu Village, his guide Hannah told him about Alolan forme Pokémon and the village's history. Upon arriving there were several white vans and helicopters parked outside the village. Some of the men and women were dressed in white Aether uniforms, the same one Becky was wearing. They escorted the panicked and confused villagers from their homes and into the helicopters.

"Are those people in white also working for Aether, Becky?" Gracie asked as she tugged her pants and gave her a sad look. Hunter wore a similar expression.

"They do, I recognized some of them." Beck offered the children a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, they're nice people. Come on."

"I'll come too!" Acerola said, raising her arm up.

As Becky and Acerola took the kids to one of the Aether employees, Grimsley looked around his surroundings. Looker, Anabel, and Gladion were nearby talking to each other. When Looker spotted him and Nanu, he grinned and waved at them.

"Grimsley, Nanu! So glad that you can make it!" he told them as they approached the group.

Grimsley grunted and said, "I noticed several Aether employees are here. Are they evacuating the people from here?"

"They are," Gladion said. "The people are being taken to Akala Island for shelter."

"Looks like you guys are wasting no time here, which is good." Nanu shifted his gaze away for a second, then he faced Anabel and Looker. "I need to talk with you two in private."

The two agents exchanged knowing glances, and then Anabel said, "Of course."

Grimsley watched as Nanu and his colleagues moved to a farther distance. He faced Gladion, who crossed his arms and gazed down.

"So..." Grimsley started, scratching the back of his neck. "I didn't expect you to come here."

Gladion looked up at him with an indifferent expression. "I was watching over Aether's headquarters while Wicke was away on Poni Island. When she returned with Agents Anabel and Looker, they asked me to join the UB Task Force."

"And you agreed to that easily?" Grimsley asked, raising a brow. That led Gladion to stare at him for a moment.

"Not exactly. You remember my Pokémon, Null, right? Well, the three knew about them. After a long discussion with them, they agreed to not take Null away from me and let me use them against the Ultra Beasts."

Grimsley rubbed on his chin, contemplating what Gladion had said. He had seen firsthand how strong Null was, but could they stand against an Ultra Beast? He'd wager that they could.

xxx

Nanu had taken Anabel and Looker just outside the Pokémon Center. He glanced and frowned at the Aether employees still escorting the people from their homes. While he rather had them be safe, it upset him that the Ultra Beasts made such a mess of things.

"Are you two all right?" he asked, facing back at his friends. Both had dark bags under their eyes.

"I'm a bit tired, but otherwise I'm fine." Anabel stopped to yawn. "The other UB Tasks Forces have been doing the same."

With a worried frown, Nanu said, "I know you guys have your hands full, but don't over-exhaust yourself." He looked over to see Becky, Acerola, and the children talking with two of the Aether employees. "So, Interpol is working with Aether, huh? I find it kinda ironic considering you guys have been keeping an eye on them."

"Your concerns over us working with Interpol are valid," Looker said. "However, Aether has some of the best technology that Interpol can take advantage of."

After regarding them for a moment, Nanu sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. "I guess you guys have no choice."

"Charlotte and Professor Burnet from the Dimensional Labs have been very helpful in tracking down the Ultra Wormholes." Anabel turned around and her eyes grew wide. "That is a Pokémon I don't think I've seen before."

"Huh?" Nanu also turned around to see several people gathering around Tapu Bulu. "Oh, that's Tapu Bulu. They joined my group, too."

"I noticed they have similar shells and markings as Tapu Fini," Looker said. "Are the two connected?"

"They are. Alola has these guardians called the tapu who then choose someone as the kahuna. Tapu Bulu and I are partners for life, kinda."

With a hum, Anabel gave a single nod. "Fascinating. Would you consider the tapu to be legendary Pokémon like Lunala and Solagelo?"

"They're all important in Alolan folklore, so yes I do." Nanu looked back at Tapu Bulu entertaining the crowd. The deity dropped a few seeds on the ground, and a large tree magically appeared. As everyone cheered at that, Nanu furrowed his brow and grunted.

At that moment, the sound of thunder boomed and Nanu's heart almost skipped a beat. He and everyone else gazed up to see the skies turning gray and two Ultra Wormholes appearing. Three Ultra Beasts popped up: two resembled an electric Christmas tree while another one had many smaller blocks stacked into a larger one on all fours. He and his friends exchanged tense looks.

"That's UB-03 Lightning and UB-08 Assembly," Looker said.

"UB-08? I don't remember us seeing that Ultra Beast." Nanu had remembered Lightning and how powerful their electric attacks were. This was his first time seeing Assembly, however.

"Assembly is a recent discovery," Anabel said. "We've determined that they have the same moves and biological components to rock and steel types."

Nanu grimaced, not thrilled at the possibility of more Ultra Beasts yet to be discovered. The two Lightning fired off electric currents that caused some of the trees to burst in flames while Assembly chased the screaming villagers away. He, Anabel, Gladion, Grimsley, and Acerola immediately released their own Pokémon: Krookodile, Pablo the Salamence, Null, Dice the Scrafty, and Pebbles the Palossand respectively. Pablo in particular wore a bracelet with the Salamencite on its front right leg.

"Ahhhh, it's those things again!" Hunter yelled as he and Gracie clung to each other.

"Becky, you and the kids go with the villagers!" Acerola called out urgently. After giving her a nod, Becky grabbed the children's hands and hurried off. The other Aether employees had also been trying to get the villagers to the helicopters.

Grimsley and Acerola had their Pokémon go against Lightning One. Dice attempted to slice the Ultra Beast with his claws infused in green flames, only for Lightning to dodge and kick him away. Acerola commanded Pebbles to splash sand onto Lightning's face, which she did. The sand got stuck on Lightning's face for a second before it wiped that out and shot a burst of electricity at Pebbles. That was too bad for the poor pest as Pebbles stood there unscratched due to her being immune to electric attacks.

Meanwhile, Gladion, Null, and Tapu Bulu focused on Lightning Two. Null's claws clashed with Lightning's hands that crackled with electric energy, and the two exchanged several blows with one another. Null dodged one of Lightning's punches and charged at its midsection at incredible speed. After the Ultra Beast recovered, it lashed its wires at Null, who backed away with whipped marks on their side. Tapu Bulu took that opportunity to ram into Lightning with their horn and pushed them away.

Believing the three had things taken care of, Nanu turned his attention to Assembly. The block-like Pokémon kept shooting hard rocks at Pablo, but the Salamence was able to dodge them and spat a flamethrower straight at one of Assembly's eyes in the middle of its stone-wall body. Nanu commanded Krookodile to use Earthquake, which he did by stomping on the ground several times and shaking the earth. A chasm opened up below Assembly and caused it to slip and fall down there.

"A great opportunity to catch Assembly now!" Looker pointed out.

"Right." Anabel pulled out a Beast Ball and threw it at Assembly. The Ultra Beast got sucked into the ball...

...And after two shakes, it popped out of the ball. Nanu, Anabel, and Looker jerked their heads back and gave out incredulous stares.

As Pablo and Krookodile approached closer, Assembly's eyes turned red and swung its arms around at them. Both Pokémon fell down but quickly got up. Krookodile jumped and grabbed Assembly's leg, sinking his teeth onto it. Assembly grunted in pain and shook Krookodile off.

"That thing looks like one tough cookie to beat," Nanu said as Assembly continued to be unfazed by Krookodile and Pablo's blows.

"I agree," Anabel said, gazing down at the pin with the keystone attached to her. "In that case, I'm going to need to Mega Evolve Pablo."

"Are you certain?" Looker asked in concern. "Mega Evolution can drain you more than you can handle."

A sad smile formed on Anabel's lips. "I understand why you're worried, but I can handle this."

His stomach sinking, Nanu couldn't help but feel the same. However, Anabel needed no one to babysit her. He offered her a lopsided grin.

"You're a grown woman, so I won't stop you. Just watch yourself, kid."

Anabel hummed. She gazed up at Pablo, who kept firing flames at Assembly.

"Pablo, I'm gonna need to increase your power. Are you ready to Mega Evolve?"

After dodging two flying rocks from Assembly, Pablo responded with an energetic cry. Anabel closed her eyes, inhaled, and touched the keystone. Golden light cascaded over Pablo and his body changed to his Mega form. His wings merged into one crescent-shaped wing, and his underbelly changed into an aerodynamic, vest armored frame. Nanu had seen Anabel Mega Evolved Pablo a couple of times before, but each time he couldn't take his eyes off his intimidating form.

Pablo let out a stream of green flames while Assembly countered it with a blast of steel energy. The two attacks collided, causing a small explosion between them. Assembly shot out several sharp rocks, only for Pablo to cut them in half with his wing. The dragon Pokémon fired off a Flamethrower, which hit and left a burnt mark on Assembly's head.

Assembly swung its leg at Krookodile once more, but the crocodile Pokémon dodged and swung his tail at its leg. The Ultra Beast flinched for a second, but then it jumped up and crashed down on Krookodile, trapping him inside. Nanu and Looker grimaced upon seeing that.

"Pablo, get Krookodile out of there!" Anabel called out.

With a roar, Pablo flew straight through Assembly at top speed. His crescent-shaped wing sliced half of its head, which dropped down with a heavy "thump". He grabbed Krookodile with his arms and dropped him down before flying back up. Assembly meanwhile moved like a blindfolded person, going in all directions.

Nanu watched Assembly closely before making his next move. His instincts were right when the sliced portion of Assembly's head exploded into several different lifeform pieces. They emerged with the rest of Assembly's body and its head regrew to normal—

—and Assembly turned towards Anabel.

"Run, Chief!" Looker shouted.

As Assembly got closer, Anabel gritted her teeth and fell to her knees. Nanu's throat grew dry, knowing that was the side effect of her being a Faller.

Sensing his trainer was in danger, Pablo swooped in and gathered Anabel as he did with Krookodile earlier. Nanu took this opportunity to have his Pokémon distract Assembly. Krookodile did so by grabbing onto Assembly's leg again and sinking his teeth, crackling with electric energy, there. A burst of electricity engulfed Assembly's body, and once Krookodile let go the Ultra Beast groaned and stumbled.

This time Nanu threw the Beast Ball. One shake, two shakes, three shakes...

Click.

Nanu wiped the sweat off his forehead and sighed in relief. He picked up the Beast Ball, feeling heavy under his palm. Looker, Anabel, and the Pokémon gathered around him.

"Assembly's capture is a success," Looker said.

Nanu gave the Ultra Ball to Looker and faced Anabel. "How about you, Anabel? Are you all right?"

"A little exhausted, but Pablo and I should still be able to help out with the rest of the Ultra Beasts." Behind her, Pablo growled in agreement.

Nanu turned to see everyone else still dealing with the Ultra Beasts. He didn't want to push Anabel too hard and for her to lure those Lightning either, but Pablo's Mega Evolution would only work with her around. While not as drained, her Pokémon also deserved some rest. He offered her a small smile.

"You've done enough today. You and Looker get started on researching Assembly while I go help the others."

After pondering Nanu's suggestion for a moment, Anabel nodded and hummed. "All right, good luck out there."

"Thank you." He turned to Krookodile. "You're ready to go, boy?"

Krookodile responded by roaring and raising his arms. Nanu grunted, and the two hurried off to where the other Ultra Beast invasion was taking place.

xxx

When the three Ultra Beasts landed in Tapu Village, Grimsley's stomach dropped. He and Acerola had their Pokémon focused on one of the Xurkitree, or so Gladion had told them its name. Xurkitree's electric attacks were useless against Pebbles due to her part-grounding typing, but it still was able to use other attacks to bypass that.

As Gladion and Tapu Bulu took care of the other Xurkitree, Grimsley was impressed at how powerful the tapu's horns and grass-type moves were and how much those could push back the electric-type Ultra Beast. Null was just as strong, their claws able to leave deep cuts on the Xurkitree's body.

Dice and Xurkitree had exchanged several blows with Dragon Claw and Power Whip respectively. Eventually, the Ultra Beast changed its tactics, fired off sparkling pink lights at Dice straight at his chest, and caused him to fall. A lump formed inside Grimsley's throat, aware Scrafty in general wasn't able to stand fairy-type attacks that well. Pebbles spat out purple sludge at the Ultra Beast's back, who screamed in pain from that.

"Dice, can you still fight?" he asked in a concerned tone. A few seconds passed until Dice barely got up and winced. Furrowing his brow, Grimsley knew Dice doesn't have much strength left. "If you can, go for an Ice Punch!"

Dice gave a brief glance at Grimsley, and then he charged at Xurkitree. He jumped up, punching the Ultra Beast's face with his ice-energy-infused fist. Xurkitree stumbled for a moment, but quickly recovered and began charging electricity. Before Grimsley could call out a command, a Krookodile jumped in between them and absorbed Xurkitree's Thunderbolt. Grimsley's face fell, and he turned around to see Nanu with his usual bored-like expression.

"Uncle Nanu!" Acerola cheered and beamed. "Did you and those Interpol agents take care of the other Ultra Beast?"

"We did. Agents Looker and Anabel are now gathering data for it." He faced Grimsley. "How is your Scrafty holding up?"

Before responding, Grimsley glanced at Dice who was breathing hard and barely able to open his eyes. He frowned.

"Not too good. That thing can use fairy-type attacks, which Dice can't handle well."

Nanu grunted and gave a single nod. "Krookie and I can finish it real quick." He turned to his Krookodile and called out, "Use Aerial Ace and then Crunch at that thing!"

Krookodile roared and rushed at Xurkitree in a blink of an eye. When their bodies collided, Krookodile pinned him to the ground like a professional wrestler, grabbed one of its legs, and sunk his teeth into the cords. That caused the Xurkitree to scream and push Krookodile away. The Ultra Beast countered by blasting pink energy at Krookodile's face, which made the crocodile Pokémon screech in pain and rub his hands there.

"Help Uncle Nanu with Earth Power, Pebbles!"

After giving out a hum, Pebbles' body glowed a golden aura. She slammed her fist on the ground which led the earth to open, with bright light flooding out. The golden cracks traveled underneath Xurkitree, which made the Ultra Beast wobble and fall down. Grimsley remembered Acerola having Pebble use that against Kukui and Chavo, and like before he and the others almost lost their balance from the aftershock.

"Finish off with Dragon Tail!" Nanu called out.

After Xurkitree had gotten up, Krookodile slammed his tail on its midsection and caused it to fly and crash into a tree. The Ultra Beast groaned in pain, not getting up.

Nanu turned to Grimsley and asked him, "Do you have a Beast Ball or two with you?"

"I have one, yes." Grimsley already figured out that he wanted him to catch that Xurkitree now. He threw the ball and watched as Xurkitree got sucked into it in red light.

After three shakes, it was caught.

Grimsley wiped his forehead and sighed in relief. He picked up the Beast Ball, which was warm and heavy against his palm. Dice joined and gazed up at him.

"You did well, Dice. You deserve some rest," he said with a small smile. He pulled out Dice's pokéball and returned him.

"I think Gladion and Tapu Bulu are almost done with the other Xurkitree!" Acerola said as she bounced her feet and pointed at the last battle taking place, which Grimsley and Nanu turned in the direction of.

Both Tapu Bulu and the other Xurkitree fired off pink blasts of energy at each other and an explosion occurred between them, pushing them back a few steps. Xurkitree then blasted off a green beam at Tapu Bulu, which hit them squarely on the face and blinded them for a moment. Gladion ordered Null to use Iron Head, which they did by slamming into Xurkitree with their helmet head. Just as the two collided Null's wooden helmet cracked and exploded into tiny pieces, revealing their face.

Null's face was covered in a silver mane and they had fangs on their lower jaw. They wore a feather crest on top of their head, and Grimsley couldn't help but be mesmerized by their silver eyes. Metallic drives were attached to each side of their head. Tapu Bulu hummed in approval while everyone else including Gladion stared in amazement at what just happened.

"Is that how Null really looks?" Acerola asked.

Nanu grunted and a half-smile forming on his lips. "Looks like the pup finally broke out of its mask."

"Null..." Gladion said in a soft voice, His hand shook, and his expression changed to a determined one. "No, Silvally! You ready to finish this?"

Gladion's Pokémon, now named Silvally, growled in agreement and hurried towards the Ultra Beast. As Silvally approached Xurkitree, their claws glowed in green bug-type energy and they left a deep cut on the Ultra Beast's chest. Xurkitree stumbled for a moment and released a Thunderbolt, only for Silvally to dodge and pounce on in. They held Xurkitree on all fours, and they lifted one paw to have their claws slash on its face. Xurkitree screeched and pushed Silvally off from its body.

For the finale, Gladion commanded Silvally to do one last Iron Head, which his Pokémon obliged. Silvally rammed into Xurkitree and pushed it at a nearby stone pillar. Xurkitree collapsed on the ground, now unconscious.

"Catch it now, kid!" Nanu yelled at him.

After responding with a grunt, Gladion threw the Beast Ball and Xurkitree was sucked inside it. One shake, two shakes, three shakes...

There was a clicking sound and the Beast Ball stopped wobbling.

A pensive look crossed Gladion's face for a brief moment before being replaced with a small smile on his lips. He picked up the Beast Ball, approached Silvally, and petted them.

"Great work, buddy," Gladion said, his smile widening. Silvally growled happily and licked his cheeks.

"Looks like we got all the Ultra Beasts!" Acerola said, beaming. Next to her, Pebbles cheered and raised their arms up.

"Good." Grimsley grunted and crossed his arms. "I may love a thrilling battle, but these Ultra Beasts are annoying to take down."

"For once, we agree on something," Nanu said. He looked away for a second. "Anabel and Looker are gathering information on the other Ultra Beast. We should have them look at these two also."

After everyone hummed in agreement, they followed Nanu to the Pokémon Center. As they headed there Grimsley looked over his shoulder to see Tapu Bulu resting next to a tree, likely exhausted from all the battling. He turned his head back, pulled out the Beast Ball, and gazed down. It was still heavy in his palm.

xxx

Tapu Village was a fairly small community with occasional visitors, so the nurses, trainers, and Pokémon in the Pokémon Center were easily evacuated. The building was empty, save for Grimsley's group and the Interpol agents. Everyone gathered around the lounge with Anabel, Looker, and Nanu sitting on one side and Grimsley and Gladion on the other. Silvally stood still next to Gladion, sitting on the floor.

"Your Null was able to break out of its helmet and defeat the Xurkitree?" Anabel asked.

"It's Silvally now, but yes they did," Gladion said with a proud smile. Silvally lifted their head and barked. "Silvally can take down any Ultra Beast in their path."

A grin stretched across Looker's face. "That's magnifico! Your Silvally will surely turn the tides of this Ultra Beast war we're having now."

"I don't know about turning the tides, but I agree that the kid's Pokémon was a big help," Nanu said. He turned to Anabel, who was holding a tablet. "Any info on that Ultra Beast blockhead? You mentioned they're classified as dual rock-and-steel type."

"You mean Stakataka? Apparently, they have 150 life forms that get stacked together and create a stone wall, hence its designated name. The Ultra Wormhole it came from is different from Xurkitree's."

"Wait, 150 life-forms?" Grimsley asked with a raised brow. That was way too many life-forms for his liking.

"That's what the Ultra Recon Squad's captain told us," Looker said and shrugged.

"There were two other Ultra Beasts that I ran into before. One looks like a bug-type Pokémon with a muscular build and the other had a ball as its head that can explode."

"You're talking about Buzzwole and Blacephalon," Anabel said. "Buzzwole has superhuman strength and can suck Pokémon's fluids. Blacephalon is also a recent discovery like Stakataka. It likes to use its head to create explosions and scare people."

Grimsley responded with a grunt and nod. He usually liked a challenge, but these Ultra Beasts he had encountered so far were troublesome.

"What's gonna happen to the Ultra Beasts?" Acerola asked.

Looker furrowed his brow and pressed his lips. "Protocol calls for them to either be killed or taken to Interpol." His lips formed a small smile. "The chief and I will do the latter and make sure that they're treated properly."

Acerola beamed. "I think that's the best approach! Killing them would be too cruel."

Grimsley hummed and crossed his arms against his chest. "Even though they were annoying, they would be better under your guys' care."

There were a few seconds of silence when an explosion suddenly occurred, causing everyone to jump and get up from the couches.

"What was that?" Acerola asked with a confused look.

"It's most likely another Ultra Beast," Anabel said.

After having a few sniffs, Silvally raised their head and barked. Gladion grunted and petted their fur.

"I think Silvally senses it too. Come on."

Everyone hurried out of the Pokémon Center. Upon stepping outside, Grimsley and the others froze.

A large crab-like beast stood in front of them, raising its large pincers up. It had a large head and a smaller one with eyes glowing the same color as its insides. It opened its jaw, which was stuck in the middle of its torso, and let out an ear-piercing screech. Grimsley's stomach dropped at the sight of that monster.

"No, it can't be..." Anabel muttered. The group watched as the monster grabbed Becky's jeep, swallowed it whole, and screamed once more.

"What kind of Ultra Beast is that?" Grimsley asked as he faced Nanu, whose face fell for the longest time. When the kahuna froze and didn't respond, a lump formed inside his throat. "Nanu? Nanu?"

Author's Notes

It's been a couple months since the last update, huh? I paused on progressing Foul Play due to my muse wanting to focus on other ideas for a while and also distracted with gaming. I'm actually fairly close to finishing Chapter 30, then after that that's the last of my backlog. I'll try to have Chapter 30 ready sometime in September.

After that, even though I'm only a few chapters away from finishing, updates will still be spontaneous as those last chapters will wrap up plot threads, and I hope you guys look forward to it. Thanks to bobandbill for betaing as always, and catch you on the flip side!
 

Bay

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Chapter Thirty
Max Darkness (Part Two)


A feeling of dread filled Nanu's stomach when he learned that the next Ultra Beast was sighted in Poni Meadows. That wasn't the first time Ultra Beasts were found in Alola, but reports of this Ultra Beast being more dangerous than the other ones he and his team had encountered left Nanu worrying over Sana and KR. But this was the order from Director Clarkson, so he couldn't reject the request.

According to the report, Glutton was hiding in Resolution Cave. Not too many people except for more experienced trainers went down there, and already the Ultra Beast had eaten several Pokémon. As the team trudged through the cave, Charlotte, the Pokémon Biologist, had been communicating with them through their headpieces and letting them know if they were close to their target.

They found Glutton at the end of the cave. The crab-like creature opened its jaws and Nanu's nose wrinkled at its bad breath. The Ultra Beast's two heads stared at the group, raised its arms, and screamed. He stared at it both in awe and in terror.

"Oh, that must be Glutton!" Charlotte called over from Nanu's headpiece.

"Does that beast have to be killed?" KR asked. "It is inhumane."

"As hideous as it is, I agree with KR," Sana said. "Whenever we kill those Ultra Beasts, we never get the chance to understand them."

"We've done this many times, and only now you two are questioning the morals of it. Interpol's protocol, so we have no choice."

"Triples is right, you all have this mission to fulfill," Charlotte said in a sympathetic voice. "Do be careful, everyone."

The hideous creature screamed again and stomped on the ground, causing the earth to shake and small debris to fall. They each sent out their Pokémon and had them attack it.

Nanu ordered his Persian to fire Power Gem at it, but Glutton swallowed those up like pokébeans. Persian's fur bristled and she launched a series of glowing stars, targeting Gluttony's face. The creature flinched for a second, but it then roared and smashed Persian's side with its tail. Persian crashed on the ground but picked herself up quickly.

Sana's Mightyena, Jackie, sank her teeth into the Ultra Beast's leg, but it easily pushed Jackie aside. When that happened, Sana had Jackie jump and go for Glutton's throat. Glutton screamed and punched her, causing Jackie to fly towards the wall and collapsed on impact.

"Jackie!" Sana called out urgently and returned her to her pokéball.

KR's Crogunk, Dewy, leaped with his fists glowing purple and he jabbed at Glutton's knee. Glutton roared in pain, and Dewy punched at its back next. That caused the Ultra Beast to almost stumble.

Nanu called for his Persian to launch another Power Gem, which she did. The gem on her forehead glowed and Glutton was hit with glowing rocks, which made Glutton recoil. Dewy attempted several punches on Glutton's legs and back and Glutton wailed in pain.

At that moment, Nanu glanced at KR to see him gazing at Glutton with a sympathetic expression on his face. Dewy stopped and looked at his trainer with concern.

"KR! KR!" Nanu yelled.

KR still locked his gaze at Glutton, as if he was feeling sorry for the poor Ultra Beast. As soon as Glutton calmed down, it faced Sana with a hungry expression. At that moment, Charlotte asked through Nanu's headpiece if everything was alright, but he didn't respond. When a terrified look crossed Sana's face, Nanu's stomach dropped.

"Run, Sana!"

Sana didn't move, her whole body tensed.

Glutton grabbed her with one of its pincher hands and she screamed.

xxx

"Nanu? Nanu?"

Hearing Grimsley's voice snapped out of Nanu's daze. He turned around to see both Grimsley and Acerola giving him concerned looks.

"Are you alright, Uncle Nanu?" asked Acerola.

"Huh?" Nanu turned around to see Tapu Bulu, Gladion's Silvally, and Anabel's Salamence, Pablo, going against Glutton. The Ultra Beast was able to counter their attacks either with its arms or by swallowing any moves that didn't require physical attacks. He felt that flashback crawling in the back of his mind, so he mentally shook that off and grunted. "Sorry, I froze there for a second."

"Is that an Ultra Beast you dealt with before?" Grimsley asked.

Nanu dragged out a deep breath. "Yes. Back in Interpol it was known as Glutton."

Anabel had called for Pablo to use Flamethrower. The dragon Pokémon opened its jaws and let out blazing flames that hit Glutton's eyes and caused it to roar in pain. The Ultra Beast raised its arm and slammed Pablo's side, making him lose balance for a bit. At that instant, Anabel fell to her knees and gasped. Everyone rushed over to her side.

"Chief, you shouldn't exert yourself!" Looker said and Anabel gave her a weak gaze. He helped her get up.

"I know, but we need to do something about Glutton."

Nanu regarded Anabel for a second before he turned to see Silvally go at Glutton in a blink of an eye and landed a hit on it. The Ultra Beast retaliated by swiping them with ghost-infused energy and that caused Silvally to be pushed back. Glutton attempted to reach Tapu Bulu next with its claws, only for the guardian deity to tuck themselves inside their shell for protection.

They need to lure Glutton out before this area took any more damage. Nanu's forehead shot up, an idea hitting him

"Anabel, do you still have Raikou? I'll need to borrow them for a bit."

With a suspicious brow, Anabel asked, "Why do you need Raikou?"

"I'm going to lure Gluttony into the desert, and I'll need a fast Pokémon for that."

"Wait, you have a freaking Raikou?" Gladion asked with wide eyes.

"She does," Looker said. "There is no other partner better for Raikou than the Chief."

Anabel's forehead was squeezed into a furrow, but she seemed to consider Nanu's plan. After a moment, she nodded.

"Promise that you'll bring them back," Anabel said, and Nanu responded with a grunt of agreement.

She pulled out an Ultra Ball and Raikou was released in a flash of light. The sabertooth-tiger-like legendary stretched their neck and roared, which rumbled like thunder. Their fur crackled with electricity, and their purple mane bellowed like a curtain in a breeze. Everyone gazed at the beast in awe.

"I've heard stories of Raikou from my mother and others that were lucky to catch a glimpse of them," Grimsley said. "This is my first time laying my eyes on them."

"Same here!" Acerola exclaimed. "It's so cool that you have Raikou!"

Not too many trainers owned a legendary Pokémon, so Nanu had taken a double-take when he first saw them under Anabel's possession. Interpol let her keep Raikou, Alakazam, and Snorlax while her Weavile and Salamence were given to her. Her Raikou was a powerhouse against Ultra Beasts, and there was no doubt they could handle Glutton. Still, Nanu would need some help and so he turned to Grimsley.

"I believe your Pokémon can distract Glutton for a good while. Will you help me?"

A smirk crossed Grimsley's lips. "Of course."

"I want to help too," Gladion said. "Silvally was created to go against Ultra Beasts."

Nanu's stomach lurched. A part of him was hesitant in bringing in a kid to help with Glutton, but knowing Gladion he would be too stubborn to listen.

"Alright, you can come too but stay close with us."

"Before you guys go, take these goggles!" Acerola took out three goggles from the bag she had been carrying and handed them to Nanu, Grimsley, and Gladion. Nanu mused that she must've still carried Becky's goggles with her.

"Thank you, Acerola. This will help out a lot."

Nanu put on the goggles, as did Grimsley and Gladion. He gazed up to see Glutton turning his attention to Tapu Bulu now. A dark aura surrounded Glutton's claws and it swiped Tapu Bulu's side. Tapu Bulu retaliated by slamming into Glutton's back and making it fall down on the ground. That caused the ground to shake and everyone almost lost their balance. Nanu whistled and that brought Tapu Bulu's attention.

"Hey, Tapu Bulu. I'm gonna lure Glutton into the desert!"

Immediately Tapu Bulu let out an agreed "Bulu!"

Nanu acknowledged Bulu's response with a low grunt. He turned to Looker and placed one hand on his shoulder. "Watch over Anabel and Acerola, Jean."

Looker flinched over Nanu saying his real name, and his face softened. "I will make sure that they are safe."

"Looks like Glutton is still down, now is your guys' chance to run," Anabel said. She gazed up at her Pokémon. "Pablo, you can take a much-deserved break."

Pablo let out a roar and Anabel returned him inside his pokéball. Nanu and Grimsley hopped on Raikou's back while Gladion went on Silvally's. Grimsley wrapped his arms around Nanu's waist, which caused him to flinch.

"Never felt a man's arms around you before?" Grimsley asked in a teasing voice, and Nanu's ears burned. Oh hell no, he wasn't going to fall for that.

"This isn't the time for jokes, vampire boy!"

After he snapped at him, Glutton roared and picked itself back up. Crap, they need to make a run for it now. Nanu gazed down at Raikou and patted on their side.

"Go, go, go!" he urged, and immediately Raikou took off with Tapu Bulu and Silvally following behind.

They needed to get through Route 13 first in order to reach Hania Desert, which luckily wouldn't take too long. When Glutton picked up speed, the Pokémon did too. Both Nanu and Gladion took out Honchkrow and Crobat, who evolved from Golbat recently it seemed, respectively.

Gladion had ordered Crobat to use Cross-Poison, so Crobat's wings glowed purple and he dived down to slash Glutton's face and caused it to scream in pain. It swung its arm at Crobat and smacked him, but he recovered quickly and let out sharp gusts that hit Glutton's eyes and blinded him for a second.

Meanwhile, Honchkrow and Tapu Bulu let out dark airwaves and pink electric bolts on Glutton's back which left several scars there. Glutton swung its claws at them, but they dodged and continued to throw their attacks at it.

"Looks like the Pokémon are distracting Glutton well there," Grimsley said as he watched over his shoulder.

"Yeah, but not for long. We're getting closer to the oasis just before Hania Desert's entrance."

"Some of the Aether employees went there earlier to have the people and Pokémon evacuate with the Tapu Village people," Gladion said as he and Silvally picked up Raikou's speed. "We shouldn't worry too much about other people getting hurt."

It wasn't long until the group reached the oasis and caravan. There was no one outside, and the food stands and shops were closed. The PokéRide ranch was also closed with the open field empty. Up ahead was the entrance to the Hania desert.

Nanu looked over his shoulder to see Glutton still chasing them. It swung its larger arm at a nearby palm tree, breaking it in half. Its tail also hit one of the food stands, destroying the top roof. Crobat, Honchkrow, and Tapu Bulu continued to dish out various attacks to distract it from gaining on Raikou and Silvally.

"We're almost there!" Nanu announced, and that led Raikou to pick up the pace.

After passing the oasis, caravan, and businesses, the group finally made it to Hania Desert. The sandstorm picked up, but despite the reduced visibility both Raikou and Silvally managed to push through fine. Nanu was glad that Acerola had given him googles as it would be hell to have sand in his eyes. Just a little more...

Nanu glanced over his shoulder to see Tapu Bulu used its horns to ram into Glutton's back. Gladion ordered Crobat to use Air Slash, which Crobat did by letting out airwaves that slashed at Glutton's legs. Both of those assaults led Glutton to scream in pain.

Glutton retaliated by slamming its arm straight at Tapu Bulu and Crobat's faces. Crobat squealed and flapped his wings frantically while Tapu Bulu flinched and needed a few seconds to recover.

Nanu narrowed his eyes, not liking that Glutton was getting dealing of damage to the Pokémon. He called Honchkrow to use Steel Wing, who swooped down with glowing wings. Before Honchkrow reached the Ultra Beast, Glutton grabbed the bird's waist with one of its pincers and crunched his right-wing.

"Honchkrow!" When Honchkrow squawked in pain, Nanu's heart almost skipped a beat and he bit his lips. Raikou stopped so that Nanu and Grimsley could hop off.

"Roulette, go save Honchkrow!" Grimsley pulled out his pokéball and released his Absol, who had a necklace with the Absolite attached to it. As soon as she was out, he touched the keystone that was attached to his scarf and it glowed alongside the keystone.

As expected from a Mega Evolution, her appearance changed with the back of her fur standing out like wings and her horn widened. Nanu had seen Mega Absol several times before but not Grimsley's, so he gazed at her in awe due to how majestic she looked.

A dark aura surrounded Roulette's claws, and she leaped up to swipe at Glutton's eyes. The Ultra Beast screamed in pain, causing it to open its mouth and let go of Honchkrow.

Roulette jumped up and caught Honchkrow's neck with her mouth before he fell to the ground. As soon as they landed, Roulette gently put Honchkrow down and Nanu rushed to his side.

"Are you alright, Honchkrow?" Nanu picked him up, noticing his right-wing was badly damaged. Honchkrow would need to be taken to the Pokémon Center as soon as possible. When his Pokémon let out a low squawk, Nanu smiled a little. "You actually did great there. Take a rest."

After he returned Honchkrow back into his pokéball, he looked up to see Tapu Bulu and Silvally dissing out Wood Hammer and X-Scissor at Glutton. The Ultra Beast screamed when it got hit by those attacks and swiped them with its shadow-infused claws. Both Tapu Bulu and Silvally were left with deep scratches on their horns and side respectively.

A loud howl caused Nanu's heart to race. He turned around to see Raikou stretched their back and immediately dark clouds gathered. The sandstorm changed into rain within seconds, the droplets of water soaking humans and Pokémon alike. That led Glutton to stop fighting with Silvally and Tapu Bulu and be distracted by the rain.

"Raikou can learn Rain Dance?" Gladion asked.

"Anabel had Raikou use it a few times before," Nanu said. "I have an idea what they're doing next."

Right on cue, Raikou roared and large streams of electricity surrounded their body. The Thunder attack struck Glutton, stunning them for several seconds.

"Try to stun Glutton too, Tapu Bulu!" Nanu urged. "Follow up with Shadow Ball, Raikou!"

Tapu Bulu let out a mighty scream and their horns glowed. They slammed into Glutton's back, the horns digging into the Ultra Beast's skin and leeching some of its lifeforce. Glutton cried in pain and pushed Tapu Bulu away with its elbow. Before Glutton could take a moment to breathe, Raikou spat out several crimson-colored balls that hit its eyes and made it stop to rub its eyes.

Grimsley ordered Roulette to use Night Slash and Aerial Ace. The Absol's horn glowed and she leaped up to slash at Glutton on the back of its neck. The Ultra Beast jerked its head and attempted to swipe at Roulette but missed, giving Roulette the opportunity to rush forward and ram into Glutton's side.

Glutton almost lost its balance, but once it straightened itself up its body flared up in a blue aura and slammed Roulette like a truck. Roulette crashed on the ground and picked herself up, her fur soaked with mud from the rain still falling.

"Cut through that Ultra Beast's legs," Gladion ordered, gesturing his arm forward. Silvally's claws glowed and they swiped at Glutton's lower leg. Glutton cried in pain, so it retaliated by slamming its fist into Silvally and knocking him out for a few seconds. When Silvally picked themself up, they shook the mud off their body.

Satisfied with that blow on Silvally, Glutton changed their attention towards Raikou. It used its arm to try to grab the legendary beast, but they kept dodging. Raikou soon released a burst of electricity straight at the Ultra Beast, stunning it.

Tapu Bulu took that chance to use Nature Madness by letting out a stream of pink energy at Glutton's mouth. Glutton made a bleching sound and flailed their arms around. A blue aura surrounded the Ultra Beast, and it rushed towards Tapu Bulu. When their bodies collided, Tapu Bulu was pushed back at a fair distance and dazed for a second.

Once Tapu Bulu recovered, they screamed out "Buluuuu!" and the earth pulsed with green light. Thick vines sprouted out from the ground, wrapping around Glutton like a lasso. The vines pulled Glutton down, who screamed and crashed on the ground. Tapu Bulu took deep breaths, likely a little exhausted from pulling the Ultra Beast down.

When a few seconds had passed and Glutton hadn't gotten up, Nanu threw a Beast Ball at it. Glutton was sucked inside the ball with Nanu, Grimsley, and Gladion waiting with bated breath.

First shake.

Second shake.

Third shake.

Nanu was ready to sigh in relief, only for the Beast Ball to break and Glutton to burst out. The Ultra Beast screeched and stomped on the ground.

"Shit," Nanu said through gritted teeth. "Just when things were turning around for us."

"Well, I'm not ready to fold yet." Grimsley turned his attention to Roulette. "Try to wear it down a bit more, Roulette!"

After making a bark of acknowledgment,, Roulette's horn glowed. She jumped up and slashed Glutton's back, leaving another deep cut there. Roulette dodged several of Glutton's Shadow Claws, but one landed on her and she got swiped on the face.

Both Raikou and Silvally took action also. With electric sparks crackling onto their teeth, Raikou crunched Glutton's foot and stayed there for several seconds until Glutton shook them off.

Before Glutton could act, Silvally rushed in at incredible speed and collided with the Ultra Beast. Glutton slammed its claw down, only for Silvally to counter with their own claw. They attempted to push their claws at each other until Silvally managed to outdo Glutton and slashed at Glutton's lower jaw. The Ultra Beast screamed in pain and punched Silvally on the side, causing them to fall on the ground.

"Silvally!" Gladion rushed to his Pokémon's side and helped them get up. Silvally assumed a stance and growled.

Grimsley narrowed his eyes and pressed his lips. "That hideous beast just won't go down easily, huh?"

Nanu was about to respond but stopped and his mouth hung open when a thundering noise was made. It wasn't from the rain that was still falling; instead, an Ultra Wormhole appeared and a creature came out. It seemed to be an Ultra Beast with black armor and wings that resembled the crescent moon. That thing just came right on time.

"What the hell..." Nanu stared in awe. He couldn't help but feel like he recognized that Pokémon before.

At that moment, the mysterious Pokémon screamed and its wings glowed, releasing several moonbeams at Glutton. After being hit with those, Glutton made sweeping arm gestures but recovered and swiped them with its ghost-energy-infused claws.

"Wait," Grimsley said, his eyes widening. "That's Lunala!"

"Lunala?" Gladion said in shock. "But hadn't Nebby turned into Solagelo?"

"I think that's the same Lunala I saw the Ultra Recon Squad with. But why is it in armor? Unless..."

This was the first time Nanu had seen Lunala up close, only knowing of the Moone Legendary from stories and pictures. He didn't remember reading Lunala having dark armor, however. That other Pokémon released a large stream of dark energy at Glutton, hitting its back. Glutton surrounded itself in a blue aura and punched the dark-armored Pokémon with its large pincer arm. At that moment, Nanu figured something out.

"That's not Lunala," Nanu said and faced Grimsley. "Necrozma is the Pokémon the Ultra Recon Squad folks mentioned, right?"

"Yes," Grimsley said. "Colress told me that Necrozma and Lunala can fuse together, so that must be it. This is Black Kyruem all over again."

While Necrozma and Glutton continued to dish out ghost and dark-type energy at one another, Tapu Bulu took action by firing Nature's Madness at both Glutton and Necrozma. Both Pokémon flinched and Necrozma released its pillar of moonbeams at Tapu Bulu, pushing it back several feet. Upon seeing that, an idea hit Nanu and he faced both Gladion and Grimsley.

"I have an idea, you two. We're gonna unleash our Z-Moves at Glutton."

"But Roulette can't use Z-Moves now due to being in her Mega form," Grimsley said. He furrowed his brow, as if unsure of this plan.

"And that is why you'll bring out another Pokémon that can. How about you, Gladion? Does Silvally know any Z-Moves?"

"Silvally can, yes," Gladion said.

"Alright, then. Then get ready, everyone."

Both Grimsley and Gladion grunted in acknowledgment. Grimsley took out Raz's pokéball and once released she stretched out her whole body.

Nanu pulled out a Z-crystal from the pocket of his short-sleeved jacket. It wasn't his usual Darkninum-Z, but instead a Tapunium-Z with the Alolan guardian engraved on it. He couldn't remember the last time he used it, as it wasn't often that he and Tapu Bulu worked together. Now was as good as any.

With a small crooked smile, Nanu glanced at Glutton, who went back to battling both Tapu Bulu and Necrozma. If this idea succeeded, he would have his payback at Glutton.

"Hey, Tapu Bulu!" Nanu called out their name, which grabbed the guardian's attention. "Are you ready to show off Guardian of Alola?"

Tapu Bulu regarded him with a stare, and after a moment hummed in approval.

Both Grimsley and Gladion prepared their own Z-Moves first. After Grimsley performed the Z-Pose for Never-Ending-Nightmare, Raz screamed and the ground burst into purple flames with liquid oozing out. Tendrils also burst out, grabbing Glutton's arms like chains.

Meanwhile, Gladion did the Z-Pose for Savage Spin-Out. Silvally howled and unleased large amounts of silk which covered up Glutton's waist. With both arms and waists covered, Glutton struggled to get out.

After Nanu slipped the z-crystal inside the slot of his z-ring, he inhaled and did the z-pose for the fairy type. He felt both his and Tapu Bulu's energy in sync, a feeling he hadn't felt in a long while. Just then a large chasm opened and a muscular being climbed out from there. Tapu Bulu floated up and attached themselves onto the giant as its head.

While all of this was happening, Necrozma pulled away at a distance and simply watched, as if immersed with the light from the Z-Moves

Nanu finished off the Z-Move by lifting his fist and slamming it on his palm. Tapu Bulu did the same and slammed their fist onto Glutton. A small chasm opened beneath the Ultra Beast and engulfed it in golden light. Once the light faded, Glutton collapsed and fainted.

Tapu Bulu let out a proud roar before turning back to normal. Exhausted, Nanu dropped to his knees and he took deep breaths. It really had been a long while since he had done this.

"Nanu, are you alright?" Grimsley asked in concern as he and Gladion approached him.

"I'm fine, don't worry about me."

Nanu picked himself up and glanced at Glutton, still unconscious on the ground. His palm touched the Beast Ball attached to his belt, but he stopped there. For ten years that Ultra Beast was the source of his and his friends' nightmares and sorrows. And yet, it didn't feel right for him to do so. He looked up at Grimsley.

"I think you should be the one to catch Glutton."

Grimsley's eyes grew wide. "What, me? But why?"

A smirk formed on Nanu's lips. "Us getting through Glutton is good enough for me. Now, if you'll do the honors?"

After regarding him for a moment, Grimsley hummed in understanding. He pulled out the Beast Ball from the knot wrapped around his waist and threw it at Glutton. The Ultra Beast was sucked inside the ball--first shake, second shake, third shake.

There was a clicking sound, and Glutton was caught.

Author's Note:
So this chapter took several months on and off writing it and why this is the last of my backlog. Starting to losing steam, real life obligations, and my muse wanting to write other ideas is why I struggled for a while.

I contemplated to end this portion with capture of Guzzlord and Necrozma events mentioned in background, but decided that next chapter will wrap up the Necrozma stuff as I did set some pieces for Necrozma's appearance. Upfront this will be slightly different from the games and inspired more from the anime's version. Nonetheless, I hope you guys will look forward to that.

Since I exhausted my backlog, it might be a while until a new update comes. I'm actually going to focus on a few other fanfic projects for now, so consider this another short hiatus. After I finish those projects through I hope to come back to this. Thanks to bobandbill for betaing as always!
 

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Author's Notes 1:
Oh hi, it's been over two years since I updated this fic. Oh hi, it's been over two years since I updated this fic. I pretty much was in Fire Emblem brainrot and I've been posting FE fics on AO3 lol. I missed Nanu and Grimsley though and playing Pokemon Scarlet/Violet and the DLC stories got me back in the Pokemon mood. It's been so long that I have to reread the last chapter and some notes to remember what stuff I wanted to do haha.

Speaking of which, for those wondering yes I will have Kingambit referenced and maybe a certain Pokemon of Grimsley's will evolve? ; ) Because of that, Chapter 33 will be showcasing that. Also a certain character from Indigo Disk DLC will guest star at the end of the story. Besides those two additions, my original plans for the final act are still the same. I'm debating whether to have the epilogue added with Chapter 35 or have its own separate update and bump the AO3 chapter count to Chapter 36. It'll depend how long Chapter 35 ends up, so still a bit until I get there.

Next update might not be for a few weeks as I want to at least get Chapters 32 and Chapter 33 written first and start a backlog again. Popping in this chapter now so that you guys get this update on my plans for the final act and this chapter to tide you over. Okay enough rambling, it's Necrozma time.

Chapter Thirty-One
Max Darkness (Part Three)

The instant Glutton was successfully caught in the Beast Ball, Grimsley had his palm pressed to his chest where his heart was and let out a relieved sigh. He approached the Beast Ball and picked it up. It was very warm against his palm.

So this was the Ultra Beast tied to Nanu's history. He was still taken aback that the kahuna let him do this, but nonetheless at least it was taken care of. Grimsley glanced at Nanu and Gladion, the former crossing his arms and offering him an approved smile while the latter wore an astonished expression on his face.

"Is Glutton going to be taken to Interpol like the other Ultra Beasts?" Gladion asked, and Nanu grunted in response.

"The big wigs have been hunting down this big guy for a while, so I'm sure they'll be popping champagne bottles once it's been taken to headquar--"

Nanu was interrupted when a shrilling screech was heard. Everyone gazed up to see Necrozma, still attached to Lunala, flapping its wings and staring down at everyone. The rain from Raikou's Rain Dance continued to pour down.

"Looks like we still have to face Necrozma there," Grimsley said as he put the Beast Ball away. He glanced around to see Raz and Roulette, still in her Mega Form, panting and their legs shaking. Silvally, Raikou, and Tapu Bulu also looked just as exhausted. He furrowed his brow, already not liking the odds there. "All of our Pokémon are getting tired, not sure how much further we can push them."

Necrozma didn't let their Pokémon have a chance to recoup as it let out another cry and rushed towards them. Tapu Bulu was the first to act by positioning their horns and ramming into Necrozma's armored chest. That caused Necrozma to flinch for a second and the opportunity for Raikou to fire a Shadow Ball straight at its back. Necrozma screeched in pain and let loose its Psychic attack, hitting Raikou's back and making them fall on one leg.

When Gladion commanded Silvally to use X-Scissor, their horns glowed green and they leaped up to reach Necrozma. It immediately countered with Shadow Ball at Silvally's head, pushing them back into the ground. With a confident scream, it launched its signature moonbeams at the group.

"Roulette, Magic Coat!" Grimsley urgently called out.

Despite being exhausted, she roared and a colorful barrier surrounded both trainers and Pokemon. Necrozma's attack bounced off from the barrier and slammed into one of its wings.

Necrozma was thrown back but then its body was engulfed in a blue light and some of its scars and bruises recovered. Grimsley realized that Necrozma used Moonlight, but due to Raikou's Rainy Day still going on, it only healed some of its injuries. That was still enough for Necrozma to shake off Roulette's Magic Coat easily and launch its moonbeams straight at Roulette.

Grimsley's Absol wasn't able to dodge immediately, and so she screamed when consumed by Necrozma's attack and collapsed on the ground. That caused her Mega Form to disappear.

"Roulette!" Grimsley yelled as he and Raz rushed to her side. His Liepard licked Roulette's face, who responded with a low growl. Grimsley gave a sad smile and returned her to her pokéball. "You did very well Roulette, you deserve a rest."

"I suspect your Absol's Mega Form won't be enough to deal with Necrozma," Nanu said. From the slight rising in his voice, Grimsley could tell the kahuna was genuinely concerned.

After several flaps of its wings, Necrozma made a furious cry and a shockwave of dark-type energy was released, heading straight for the group.

Grimsley's gut instinct told him to move, but he froze and stared at Necrozma's incoming Night Daze. Half-shutting his eyes, he was already embracing whatever impact was forthcoming.

That wasn't necessary, however, as in that instant an Ultra Wormhole popped up and a mighty roar echoed across the land. Selene, Lillie, Mina, Dulse, and even unexpectedly Colress appeared. They were riding on a large lion-like majestic beast with their head glowing bright stars. The other Pokémon's body was engulfed in orange energy and collided with Necrozma, causing it to back away.

"That must be Nebby!" Gladion pointed out. When he mentioned that name, Grimsley immediately recognized Sogaleo from Alola's Light, the beast that devoured the sun. He was now seeing the lion made of steel and sun with his very eyes.

Nebby took the chance to dive down and landed on the ground. When everyone jumped off their back, the Sunne Pokémon flew back up and slammed onto Necrozma with Zen Headbutt. Necrozma reacted back with Night Daze, dark-type energy shocking Solgaleo's body and causing them to roar in pain.

"Looks like we meet again, Grimsley Thomas and Kahuna Nanu," Dulse said to him, pulling Grimsley away from Nebby and Necrozma's fight. He and his group approached Grimsley, Nanu, and Gladion.

"It has been a while, yes," Grimsley said. "Dulse from the Ultra Recon Squad, correct?"

"I'm pleased that you still remembered me," Dulse said with a small, satisfied smile. He then faced Gladion. "And who you might be, young man?"

"I'm Gladion," Gladion introduced himself as he crossed his arms. "I've heard a bit of you guys."

"He's also my older brother!" Lillie said, beaming.

"Ah, you must be the Gladion that Lillie mentioned to me earlier. It's a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance."

"It's also great to see you Grimsley and Kahuna Nanu!" Selene said, her cheerful expression matching Lillie's. Grimsley greeted her with a small smile while Nanu made a grunt. The young trainer turned in the direction of Grimsley, Nanu, and Gladion's Pokémon and gasped, pointing at Tapu Bulu and Raikou. "Hey, are those Tapu Bulu and Raikou?"

"Yup, that's the big guy," Nanu said. His lips slightly parted. "Unfortunately those two and all our other Pokémon are pretty tired right now."

After glancing at the exhausted Pokémon, Lillie gave a concerned look. "I'll use some potions and have Comfey and Clefairy heal them real quick."

"I'll help too," Gladion said, and his sister nodded.

Lillie pulled out two pokéballs from her bag and tossed them up in the air. The pokéballs cracked open and bright light poured out, revealing Lillie's Clefairy and Comfey. Once Lillie instructed them that some Pokémon would need to be healed, Clefairy and Comfey made understanding chirps. She, Gladion, and her Pokémon headed to where the exhausted and injured Pokémon were.

When facing Colress, a deep frown settled on Grimsley's lips. He recalled the evening they had their goodbye kiss under the Alolan sunset and went their separate ways. Colress seemed to be taken aback too, wearing a similar facial expression.

"I didn't expect to see you again," Grimsley said.

"Neither do I," Colress said. "But we must catch up later. I'm brought here under the request of Dulse."

"Colress is telling the truth," Dulse confirmed. "He has the necessary technology to separate Necrozma and Lunala."

There were a thousand questions Grimsley wanted to ask Colress, but after gazing up to see Necrozma and Nebby exchanging blows, dealing with that other beast was more important. He hummed and gave a agreed nod.

"So you have another Colress Machine with you?" Selene asked with a curious expression.

"Indeed I have!" Colress pulled out a small and thick silver device with a blue antenna. Its screen lit up, revealing a blue moon like the symbol Grimsley saw back in Lake of the Moone. "The one I used back in Ultra Megalopolis was the N-Solarizer while the device I'm holding now is the N-Lunarizer."

When both Grimsley and Nau gave confused looks, Mina explained, "Back at the Altar of the Sunne, Nebby evolved into Solagelo and created a wormhole that later Lusamine, Guzma, and Necrozma came out from. Necrozma then fused with Nebby and they became Dusk Mane Necrozma. Colress eventually separated them when we came to Ultra Megalopolis."

"A lot has occurred at Ultra Megalopolis that we can explain in full later," Dulse said. "At this time Necrozma and Lunala need to be separated."

"Right, just give me a moment to set it up," Colress said. He began inputting several commands on the screen.

While Colress was doing that, Grimsley gazed up to see Necrozma and Nebby continuing to clash. Nebby's body burst out in bright light and rushed toward Necrozma just as it unleashed moonbeams at the Sunne Pokémon. Their attacks collided, creating an explosion between them. Once the smoke faded, both Pokémon took deep breaths and stared at each other.

Grimsley turned his attention away from the fight and noticed that Lillie, her Pokémon, and Gladion were still tending to the other Pokémon's injuries. At that moment, the stormy clouds from Raikou's Rain Dance cleared up and the sky opened up again.

"Hey, Colress, are you almost done with that machine of yours?" Nanu asked with a furrowed brow.

"Almost, just give me a few more seconds!" Colress input the last few commands and the antenna on the device glowed. A proud grin stretched across his face. "There! Now, to target it at Necrozma..."

Up in the skies, Necrozma and Nebby resumed their battle. After Nebby sunk their teeth into Necrozma's wings, it screeched and shook the Sunne Pokémon off. Necrozma flapped its wings and another Night Daze engulfed Nebby, causing them to roar in pain.

As the Pokémon continued to get distracted with their fight, Colress pushed one final input and aimed the N-Lunarizer at Necromza. A bright blue beam of light shot straight at Necrozma's armored forehead. That caused it to freeze and scream in agony. After what seemed like a minute or so, Necrozma was consumed in white light and the black armor burst out. When the light faded, the real Lunala was revealed just as Grimsley remembered.

"Lunala is back!" Gladion shouted while pointing to the sky. He, Lillie, and her Pokémon had finished healing the Pokémon, just in time to witness what had occurred.

Lunala didn't last long as they let out a drawn-out cry, closed their eyes, and began falling. Nebby acted fast by diving down and catching the Moone Pokémon with their back. The majestic lion landed on the ground with shaking legs and gently rolled Lunala off their back. Everyone rushed to the legendary Pokémon duo.

"Is Lunala okay?" Selene asked.

On the ground, Lunala took deep breaths. Dulse stared down and shook his head.

"Being under Necrozma's control drained almost all of their energy," he said in a solemn tone, and both Selene and Lillie gasped. Dulse glanced at Nebby's bruises all over their body and added, "Solagelo is also badly injured."

"Comfey and Clefairy should still be able to heal the both of them, right you two?" Lillie asked her Pokémon as she turned around to face them. Comfey and Clefairy chirped in agreement.

"I also brought in a few special potions as I already anticipated this would be the case." From his bag, Dulse pulled out a few mint-green potion bottles similar to the design of a Max Potion and handed it to Selene. Both girls and Lillie's Pokémon began healing Lunala and Nebby.

"Hey guys, I think Necrozma is returning," Mina warned in a worried tone.

Grimsley gazed up and his stomach dropped when all of the black armor was magically put back together and formed Necrozma's prism form. Its body was constructed from black crystalline material and a menacing face that possessed multi-colored shapes as its eyes. Three sharp claws were attached to its large hands.

"Well, I'll be damned," Nanu said in both awe and at being disturbed at the real Necrozma.

"I'll have Naganadel keep Necrozma away from us for a while."

Dulse pulled out a Beast Ball from his belt and tossed it in the air. White light burst out and a purple creature with insect and dragon features appeared. At the bottom of its abdomen, a slender stinger stuck out. Grimsley mused that Ultra Beast looked familiar...

"So looks like your Adhesive has evolved into Stinger," Nanu said, his expression unreadable to Grimsley. Even so, it was obvious the kahuna was familiar with that Pokémon too.

"That is correct. We call it Naganadel in our world." Dulse faced Naganadel. "I need you to keep Necrozma busy until Lunala and Solgaleo are recovering."

Naganadel immediately made a screeching sound and flew up to where Necrozma was.

"I'll help distract Necrozma too," Colress said as he pulled out his pokéball and released his Metagross, Mercury. He commanded his Pokémon to help out Naganadel, which they obliged and headed to the skies with Naganadel.

Grimsley watched as Naganadel and Mercury clashed with Necrozma. Nagandel shot out large gushes of purple poison from its stinger that stuck on Necrozma's right face. While Necrozma tried to take the goo off, Mercury lifted its arm that glowed a golden hue and slammed Necrozma's back. That startled Necrozma and it retaliated by showering crystalized jewels at its opponents.

Wondering how Lunala and Nebby were doing, Grimsley turned his attention to Selene and Lillie with them. Both girls were finishing up using the special potions Dulse had given them. Lillie's Comfey and Clefairy were also using their healing powers on the legendary Pokémon, Clefairy sitting down out of exhaustion. Lillie praised her Pokémon for doing a job well done and returned them.

"You think that's enough?" Grimsley asked. Both Lunala and Nebby's wounds have been mostly healed, so he believed that was a good sign at least.

"I don't know," Lillie said with a small frown. "My Pokémon did all they could, and the potions Dulse gave us should help too."

"I'm sure that Lunala and Nebby appreciate all the effort," Grimsley said in his most empathic voice.

Lillie and Selene's efforts seemed to indeed pay off as Nebby released a strong roar and Lunala floated up several feet in the air. Both legendaries shined brighter than the sun and moon and Grimsely felt his body bathed in warmth. His eyes grew wide, confused at what was happening. He glanced around to see everyone else and their Pokémon having a faint glow around them and looking just as startled as he was.

"Hey, what's going on?" Selene asked. After she said that, the Z-Ring around her wrist glowed. "And my Z-Ring is glowing!"

At that moment, Grimsley and everyone else also noticed their Z-Ring sparkling. The light was so warm and comforting that he was unable to turn his gaze away from it.

"Lunala and Solagelo are sharing their light with you and your Pokémon," Dulse said. "Perhaps as a way to help all of us regain our strength."

"Sharing their light to us...like the Alola's Light story," Lillie said. After she said that, everyone's Z-Rings stopped glowing.

Mina nodded and raised her chin. "Indeed, though I wonder what Nebby and Lunala want us to do next."

"Based on how our Z-Rings glowed just now," Colress said, "I conclude they want us to use our Z-Moves to help restore Necrozma's true form."

Once they finished sharing their light with everyone, Lunala approached Gladion while Nebby went to Selene. Their foreheads glowed, and two Z-Crystals Grimsley had never seen before suddenly appeared. The Z-Crystals were dropped onto Selene and Gladion's palms. Both young trainers made stunned gasped.

"Are these Nebby and Lunala's Z-Crystals?" Selene asked.

"I believed so," Dulse said. "They must deem you two worthy as their partners."

Gladion raised a confused brow. "Partners for what? Performing their Z-Moves with them?"

"That must be the case, yes." After Colress said that, he pulled out his tablet and read through the screen. "According to the data I have, both legendaries are primarily psychic-types. They also have secondary types with Lunala's being ghost and Nebby steel."

A confident grin stretched across Selene's face. "Gladion and I know those Z-Poses, so it shouldn't be a problem."

"I want to do Nebby's Z-Pose with you, Selene!" Lillie said, smiling. She held Selene's hand, her friend beaming back at her.

"That's a great idea! We can do it together!"

"Excellent!" Colress clapped his hands. "We shall call these Z-Crystals Solganium-Z and Lunalium-Z!"

"If we're going to be using our Z-Moves, then you'll sit this one out, Raikou," Nanu said to the legendary beast. When Raikou responded with an understanding growl, the kahuna made a low grunt and crossed his arms. He glanced up at the skies, and his brow furrowed. "Probably a good thing we've gotten that light as it looks like Stinger and Colress's Pokémon there aren't able to hold out much longer."

The second Nanu pointed that out, Grimsley gazed back up to witness Mercury and Naganadel's fight with Necrozma winding down. Naganadel released a beam of draconic energy straight at Necrozma, who dodged. Mercury followed up with Metal Claw, though Necrozma also evaded just in time and slashed the Metagross's face with dark-type energy. Backing up several feet, Necrozma's prism glowed red and it launched pillars of light that engulfed both Pokémon.

"Nagandel!" Dulse cried out as he raised his arm. "That is enough, I need you for an attempt to restore Necrozma's light!"

"The same goes for you, Mercury!" Colress called out in the same urgent voice.

Upon hearing their trainers' command, both Naganadel and Mercury retreated to Dulse and Colress's sides.

"Since we'll be doing our Z-Poses, I'll bring out my Ribombee to join in." Mina pulled out her pokéball and released Ribombee, who made a happy cry and flew around her. "Should we go ahead and get our Z on now?"

"Yes," Dulse said. "Selene, Gladion, start performing your Z-Move with Solagelo and Lunala. Everyone else gather your Pokémon and do the same."

Everyone did as Dulse told them and joined with their respected Pokémon. When Grimsley approached Raz, his fingers stroked at her fur and she made a pleased purring sound.

"Hey Raz, you're ready to do that Z-Move again?" he asked, and Raz responded with a positive meow. A pleased smile formed on his lips. "Good. Let us put on a good performance for Necrozma!"

Before Grimsley did his Z-Pose with Raz, he checked to see Selene, Lillie, and Gladion already beginning their Z-Poses with Nebby and Lunala. Selene and Lillie struck a series of poses similar to Corkscrew Clash while Gladion's poses were like Never-Ending Nightmare. Once they finished, a brilliant glow engulfed all three trainers. Both Nebby and Lunala also shined brightly, the former being consumed with orange-yellow energy like wildfire and the latter shrouded in light blue energy like the full moon.

Necrozma didn't waste time heading straight at the legendaries, but its opponents were quicker. Nebby let out its mightiest and loudest roar, spun around, and slammed onto Necrozma like a heavy truck. Meanwhile, Lunala screeched and fired six blue beams of energy from around their body at Necrozma.

The other trainers also performed their Z-Poses with their respected Pokémon: Nanu and Tapu Bulu's Guardian of Alola, Mina and Ribombee's Twinkle Tackle, Dulse and Nagandel's Devastating Drake, and Colress and Mercury's Corkscrew Clash. Tapu Bulu was a giant once more and golden light engulfed Necrozma. Everyone else's Z-Moves also struck Necrozma with full force.

While everyone was doing their Z-Moves, Grimsley began his pose for Never-Ending Nightmare. After several movements with his body, Grimsley raised his arms in a sinister manner and felt his energy flowing with Raz's. Like what happened with Glutton, his Liepard cried and the ground burst into purple flames with liquid and tendrils oozing out. Their Z-Move also shot straight at Necrozma.

Overwhelmed at absorbing all of the light, Necrozma turned gold, and its body kept growing bigger and bigger, possibly towering over all of Alola. Soon the light burst out into sparkles, revealing Necrozma's true form. It resembled a large dragon with a pair of wings on its shoulder and another on its hips. Its face was covered with its crystalized armor and its red and blue eyes shimmered. Necrozma's chest and legs were also covered in its former armor, and it swished its spiky tail. As if finally calmed, Necrozma stared down at the group and Pokémon with great curiosity.

"So this must be the Blinding One..." Grimsley said in awe, captivated by its beauty and strength. Everyone else also seemed to be just as mesmerized by Necrozma's new form.

With a small smile, Nanu hummed and nodded. "I didn't think I would witness this during my lifetime."

"Oh, this is fascinating!" Colress praised as he read through his tablet. He handed it to Dulse for him to look at. "The readings here are off the charts!"

Dulse gave a satisfied nod and gave the tablet back to Colress. "These findings will be of great use at Ultra Megalopolis. Thank you, Colress."

Just as Dulse finished saying that, Necrozma released a piercing cry and pulsed in bright light. Once more Grimsley was enchanted by Necrozma's light, but then he felt something poking at his feet and sandals. He gazed down and his eyes grew wide at seeing grass growing around him.

"Look everyone, there are flowers everywhere and a lake also!" Lillie pointed out.

Indeed there were many flowers in a variety of colors blooming and rolling grass stretching across the land. A large lake had also formed, clear as the Alolan waters. Seeing the Haina Desert brimming with life motivated Tapu Bulu as they floated up, swung their tail several times, and their bell chimed in a sweet melody. Pink dust was sprinkled all over the land and more beautiful flowers and even trees popped up. The scent of the lush vegetation filled Grimsley's nose.

Several moments passed until Necrozma finished giving its light to all of Alola. When its body stopped glowing, Necrozma shrunk back into a much smaller size but still fairly tall. Both Selene and Nebby cautiously approached it.

"Hey Necrozma," Selene said in her most gentle voice and waved at it. "You must be happy getting some light back, huh?"

Necrozma regarded Selene for a moment before nodding and making a low growl. It then turned to Nebby, who responded with a roar.

"Looks like Necrozma is thanking both Selene and Nebby," Mina said.

"It's not just them, but all of us did our part," Gladion said as he crossed his arms and smiled.

After Necrozma and Nebby exchanged several growls and roars, Lunala joined with the two. The Moone Pokémon and Necrozma spoke to each other for a short while also. When they were done talking, the dragon-like creature let out a large cry, and a wormhole from another dimension tore into the skies. It flew into the wormhole, closing soon after. Everyone stared at the skies in stunned silence until Lillie spoke.

"Where do you think Necrozma went off too?"

"I suspect back to its original home, Ultra Megalopolis," Dulse said. "I'm certain everyone there will be pleased to see Necrozma back to its original form."

"I'm just glad both Glutton and Necrozma are dealt with," Nanu said with a "hmph" sound.

"As do I," Grimsley said as a chuckle escaped from him and he petted Raz's head. Despite what had occurred, he hoped that Necrozma was better now. He gazed up at the Alolan skies, the brightest he had ever seen since arriving here.

Author's Notes 2:
So remember when I mentioned this chapter's inspiration will be from the Necrozma arc in the anime with Ash? Yup, it's finally here! Also geez we're already several episodes in the Horizons anime.

Thanks to bobandbill for the excellent betaing as always! Next chapter the group takes a breather and reflect what has occured with the Ultra Beasts and Necrozma.
 

Bay

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Chapter Thirty-Two
Night Slash

After the crazy battles with Glutton and Necrozma, everyone headed back to the Pokémon Center in Tapu Village. Nebby used their psychic abilities to transport the group there within several seconds. Nanu felt a bit woozy from the aftermath of that. Dulse returned Lunala to their Beast Ball while Nebby shot up to the skies and flew away somewhere.

Once they stepped inside, the Pokémon Center was still empty save for Looker and Acerola. The two noticed the group and rushed over to them.

"Uncle Nanu!" Acerola greeted him as she flung her arms around his waist. "Are you and the others alright?"

"We're fine, though our Pokémon are quite exhausted." Once Acerola let go of him, Nanu asked Looker, "How is Anabel?"

"She is still resting, but should be fine," Looker said. He faced the group. "I take it that both Glutton and Necrozma have been taken care of?"

Grimsley hummed and pulled out the Beast Ball he had used to capture Glutton. "I caught Glutton in this Beast Ball."

"A lot has happened after Lusamine caused Necrozma to escape from Ultra Megalopolis," Dulse said with his arms crossed. He turned his attention toward Nanu, Grimsley, and Gladion. "I promised you three that I would explain what had occurred there."

"Yeah, I want to hear about that, too!" Acerola said, bouncing her feet off the ground. "I also want to know how Glutton was defeated and caught!"

Everyone sat down on the couches in the middle of the Pokémon Center and listened as Gladion and Grimsley recounted their battle with Glutton. Acerola beamed and cheered when Grimsley mentioned Nanu and Tapu Bulu performing Guardian of Alola together and the kahuna letting him catch Glutton. Nanu still couldn't believe that the three were able to make it out from that Ultra Beast's claws alive.

It was then Dulse's turn to tell his tale. He, Zossie, Mina, Colress, Lillie, and Selene rode on Lunala and chased after Necrozma who was fused with Nebby back then. Once they arrived at Ultra Megalopolis, Soleria and Phyco greeted them and directed them to Dusk Mane Necrozma. Colress used his first machine, the N-Solarizer, to separate Nebby from Necrozma. Unfortunately, Necrozma immediately fused with Lunala and together they were Dawn Wings Necrozma. Nebby and Necrozma fought each other for a while before Necrozma got away and went back to Alola. Dulse had Zossie stay behind with Soleria and Phyco before joining the group following Necorzma.

Once Dulse finished with that story, Mina, Selene, and Lillie told Looker and Acerola everything that happened with Necrozma when it arrived back in Alola. Both of them were impressed with Necrozma's true form and that Haina Desert has since been filled with flowers and a lake.

"Wow, I can't believe that you guys's Z-Moves revealed Necrozma's true form," Acerola said. "I would've loved to join in doing that!"

"Yeah, I'm sure you would've loved that," Nanu said with a small smile. When he turned his attention to Looker, his face slipped back to serious. "We'll need to report this to Charlotte and headquarters."

Looker grunted in agreement. "I'll take care of that, don't worry. Should I also go ahead and have the people that were evacuated return here?"

"That would be appreciated, thank you." Feeling his eyes getting heavy, Nanu rubbed them and sighed. "Today has been a wild ride. I battled so many Ultra Beasts today."

"Same here," Grimsley said and followed up with a yawn. "We all should probably eat something and rest for the night."

"The Pokémon Center should have some sandwiches and chips here, let me go get them," Mina said as she rose out of her seat and went to the dining area where some of the pre-made packaged foods were.

The rest of the night everyone ate the sandwiches and chips that Mina brought for them. Looker also went and let Interpol know that the people could leave the shelter from Akala Island and return here. Once Nanu finished with his food, he and everyone else retired to their rooms to sleep.

That night, Nanu didn't have the usual nightmare with Glutton. He instead dreamed of the time Charlotte took that picture of him, Sana, and Looker. The dream then switched to him watching in awe as Necrozma, Lunala, and Nebby showered Alola with golden light.

xxx

The next morning, Nanu was awakened to Tapu Village's Pokémon Center being reopened to the public. The nurses and doctors had returned, so he and the others had them checked on their Pokémon for any serious injuries they might've missed. Anabel also woke up and felt much better, much to the relief of both Looker and Nanu.

He and everyone else, saved for Colress and Dulse who had left to take care of some things, were eating sausages and eggs for breakfast as they waited for the staff to check on their Pokémon. During their meal, they brought Anabel up to speed over what happened with Glutton and Necrozma.

"I must say, that is remarkable that you all managed to handle Glutton and Necrozma back there," Anabel said before chewing on some of her eggs. "I'm also pleased that Raikou was also of great help."

Beaming, Selene said, "I still can't believe that you're able to train such a cool legendary Pokémon like Raikou!"

Anabel let out a giggle. "It's not always easy, but I'm fortunate to have Raikou by my side."

At that moment, one of the male nurses approached their table and greeted them with a warm smile.

"So how are all of you enjoying your breakfast today?" he asked.

"The food is delicious, thank you so much!" Acerola said, a grin stretching across her features.

"I'm happy to hear that!" the nurse said, grinning back. "I'm here to tell you that most of the Pokémon are in great condition!"

"Oh, that's great to hear," Lillie said with a pleased smile.

"However, Kahuna Nanu's Honchkrow's wing is badly injured. The doctors are almost done operating on him, but after that, he'll need several days to recover."

Nanu's stomach sank upon hearing that. He had a feeling that Honchkrow was badly hurt, but not to that extent. He made an acknowledged grunt.

"Thanks for letting me know, nurse."

"One of the doctors can tell you more once they're finished. I'll let you know when they're ready to speak with you." A grateful smile was formed on the nurse's lips. "I also want to thank you and the International Police for taking us to safety and dealing with those dangerous Pokémon yesterday."

"It's no trouble at all," Anabel said, smiling. "The people's safety is our top priority."

The nurse hummed, as if satisfied with Anabel's response, and left their table.

"I'm glad to hear that your Honchkrow will be able to pull through," Grimsley said after swallowing a piece of his sausage. "With one of your Pokémon down, though, how do you want to do our battle now?"

"Good question." Nanu leaned back against his seat and scratched his chin. "We've been delaying our battle for a long time already. We might have to go for a shorter number of Pokémon."

"How about having Tapu Bulu take your Honchkrow's place?" Gladion asked. His suggestion caused Nanu's eyes to grow wide.

"Tapu Bulu?"

"Well, I saw you two worked well together and did that special Z-Move twice." Gladion shrugged and added, "Tapu Bulu probably won't mind."

While considering Gladion's suggestion, Nanu mused how well he and Tapu Bulu made a great team while going against Glutton and Necrozma. Ula'ula Island's guardian would be thrilled to go against a strong trainer like Grimsley. He wasn't sure if the dark-type trainer would be comfortable with that arrangement.

"I might consider letting Tapu Bulu join in, but only if Grimsley is fine with that also," Nanu responded as he fixed his stare at him.

After considering Nanu's proposition for a moment, Grimsley smirked and there was a devious glint in his eyes. "This is the first time I'll go against a legendary Pokémon, so it should already be an exciting battle. I have no problem at all with this."

A satisfied grunt escaped from Nanu. "Good. Our battle will be in two days at the front of Lake of the Moone."

"I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming battle, I'm certain it'll be a riveting experience!" Looker raised his cup of coffee, sipped a drink from it, and faced Gladion and Selene. "And how about you Selene and Gladion? What will you two be planning next?"

It took several seconds until Gladion lifted his gaze away from his food and at Looker. "My Pokémon and I will keep getting stronger. I also plan to travel overseas for a bit and then resume the island challenge."

"You told Selene and me about that last night, and we'll still support you one hundred percent!" Lillie said, beaming.

A grin stretched across Selene's face. "What Lillie said! I'm sure you'll love Kanto and Johto."

"I take it you'll be finishing up your island challenge then, Selene?" Mina asked.

Selene nodded and hummed. "I just need to do Poni Island's trials, including yours, battle Hapu, and I'm all set!"

"It's good that you're all pumped up there. However, both the trial with Kommo-o and my trial are the toughest ones the trainers have faced. Hapu is no pushover either. I hope you're well prepared.

"Don't worry, I look forward to the challenge," Selene said, her grin widening.

After sipping his coffee, Nanu couldn't help but smile a little at Selene's excitement there. He thought she was bothersome the first time they met, but after his double battle with her and Gladion, the kid had a lot of potential. He believed she would do well with Poni Island's final trials.

"Say Officer Looker, do you know where Colress and Dulse went off again?" Grimsley asked once he finished the last of his sausage and eggs.

"They should be where the abandoned Thrifty Megamart is at," Looker said. "Do you need something from them?"

"I guess you can say that. Now, if you'll excuse me."

Nanu watched with a raised brow as Grimsley rose out of his seat and left the Pokémon Center. He was aware that he and Colress had a history together, so maybe they still had some issues they needed to talk about. In the end, though, he decided it was none of his business.

His thoughts soon wandered to his upcoming battle with him. It was unfortunate that Honchkrow had to be out of commission for a while, but he was glad he made it in the end. He just needed to let Tapu Bulu know about this arrangement and they could start preparing.

xxx

The last time Grimsley went to Route 14 was some weeks back with Nanu, Acerola, and Becky. They were riding Becky's jeep to get to the abandoned Thrifty Megamart back then, but this time Grimsley was taking a leisurely stroll. He remembered the dried black sand, broken roads, and the ocean with the destroyed buildings underwater.

Once Grimsley reached the large cracked road leading to the abandoned Thrifty Megamart, he picked up his pace and took the uphill path. It was several minutes until he made it to the top and saw the Thrifty Megamart straight ahead.

This was where he was first reunited with Colress and met with the Ultra Recon Squad. He also went against the Totem Mimikyu and handed off the Ghostium-Z. Grimsley wanted to talk to Colress, but about what? He wanted to know at least what Colress planned to do after he finished his business with Necrozma and the Ultra Recon Squad.

Grimsley was pulled from his musings when he spotted Dulse and Colress in front of the store. As he approached closer from behind, he peeked at Colress's tablet screen and saw several windows pop up, some of them with pictures of Lunala, Nebby, and Necrozma. There was also one when Necrozma was fused with Nebby, and another when it fused with Lunala. He eavesdropped on some of their conversations.

"So this is all the data you have when Necrozma became Dawn Wings and Dusk Mane?" Dulse asked.

"Yes. Necrozma can dominate Lunala and Solgaleo's bodies and minds once it fuses with them. It can also replicate their signature moves, Sunsteel Strike and Moongeist Beam. The most fascinating findings here are how Necrozma would absorb Lunala and Solgaleo's energy and why they were constantly radiating light!"

Hearing the enthusiasm in Colress's voice and seeing the spark in his eyes caused Grimsley's chest to flutter. He was reminded of whenever Colress would tell him excitedly about his research.

"All of that does make sense," Dulse said and nodded. "Perhaps that is how it can open multiple Ultra Wormholes and let all of the Ultra Beasts enter your world."

"I agree with that assessment, too." After Colress said that, he glanced over his shoulder and noticed Grimsley. He turned around, smiling at him. "Why hello, Grimsley! Are you here to know more about our research on Necrozma?"

"I do. I overheard you two speaking about Necrozma taking over Lunala and Solagelo's bodies and making multiple Ultra Wormholes."

With a grin, Colress said, "Yes, that is what Dulse and I were able to deduce from the data we had gathered. In its original form, it can only open one Ultra Wormhole at a time. When it fuses with either Lunala or Solgaleo, it can open several of them."

"Hmph, I see." Grimsley slightly lowered his chin, scratching there. "I recall the last time we spoke Necrozma's light is what causes the Z-Crystals and Z-Moves here."

Dulse said, "That was proven to be true when we demonstrated our Z-Moves at Necrozma yesterday. Now that the Blinding One has regained its light back, the aura that surrounds the trainer and Pokémon when performing a Z-Move shall be much stronger than ever before."

"Is that so?" A part of Grimsley wondered if that meant he and Nanu could go all out in their upcoming battle. He indeed would prefer that they hold nothing back, making him even more excited for that. "How about Necrozma? Has it returned to your homeworld yet?"

"I contacted Captain Phyco last night and he said that Necrozma has returned to Ultra Megalopolis. He and the other Ultra Recon Squad members have been keeping a close eye on it."

"I had given all of the research we managed to compile on Necrozma to the Ultra Recon Squad's leader," Colress said. "I'm certain he'll put it to good use."

After Colress said that, the top right corner of his tablet's screen started blinking. He pressed his finger there and the screen showed Zossie and Soleria from the Ultra Recon Squad behind a tall tower. Outside was very bright, more than Alola's afternoon sun. Grimsley's eyes grew wide and his shoulders tensed upon seeing those two.

"Oh, hello Soleria and Zossie!" Colress greeted them with a welcoming smile. "I take it you finished looking over the data I had sent to you and Captain Phyco?"

"We have," Soleria said. "Captain Phyco was very fascinated by the sections that detailed Necrozma's psyche when fused with Lunala and Solagelo. He is also impressed with the Blinding One's full capabilities when in its true form."

"Necrozma's psyche?" Grimsley asked with a raised brow.

Immediately recognizing him, Zossie beamed at him. "Oh, you're the trainer that Dusle and I met a while back! But yeah, basically Necrozma goes even more in a frenzy when fused with Solgaleo and Lunala."

Grimsley narrowed his eyes, recalling that moment from yesterday. "Yes, I do remember Necrozma being on a rampage when it took over Lunala."

"It is not surprising to me that Captain Phyco was pleased with our research," Dulse said. "And what is the status of Necrozma?"

"Zossie and I have checked on Necrozma shortly before contacting you and Colress. At the moment it is residing at Megalopolis Tower, and is behaving very well."

"The people here are thrilled with Necrozma's light!" Zossie said cheerfully, raising her arms.

"Ah, so all of the light pouring out at your end is from Necrozma, then," Grimsley said.

"Yeah! I still can't believe that you guys were able to get Necrozma into its true form with your Z-Moves!"

Soleria hummed in agreement. "As do I. More importantly, I think we have learned from the past and will not make the same mistakes as our ancestors."

"That is great to hear!" A pleased smile pulled on the corners of Colress's lips, and he faced Dulse. "We should meet up with the Interpol officers back at the Pokémon Center later and discuss our findings with them."

"That would be a good idea," Dulse said. He fixed his gaze back at the screen. "Do keep us up to date on Necrozma's progress and report to me if there are any changes."

"We certainly will," Soleria said. Right after, she and Zossie disappeared and Colress's screen went back to its default state.

"Shall we go ahead and head back to the Pokémon Center now?" Dulse asked.

Before Colress responded, he stole a glance at Grimsley that sent a chill down his spine. He turned back to Dulse and said, "Actually, Grimsley and I have a few things to discuss first. It shouldn't be too long."

"I understand. I shall wait until you are ready." Dulse made a slight nod and moved to where the fences were.

When Grimsley and Colress were alone, an awkward silence stretched across between them for several seconds or so. There were many things Grimsley wanted to discuss with him about, but he wasn't sure where to start. He cleared his throat and spoke.

"Looks like the Ultra Recon Squad has been keeping you busy there."

"Well, a lot has happened these past few weeks, especially with Necrozma threatening Alola." He then added with a small smile, "It made things all the more exciting."

Grimsley couldn't help but smile a little at his response. It was typical of him to be very enthusiastic about his research, and was what had drawn Grimsley to him in the first place. He thought back to his help against Necrozma yesterday and what he had told him that occurred in Ultra Megalopolis. His smile faded and he frowned.

"I wanted to apologize for doubting you had an ulterior motive while working with Interpol and the Ultra Recon Squad."

Colress's eyes grew wide, as if taken aback by Grimsley's apology there. He chuckled and shook his head.

"Oh, no hard feelings there. I understand completely why you didn't trust me to help them. I guess in a way, it's to atone for my past mistakes."

Grimsley swallowed hard, regarding Colress's words for a moment. His regrets while working with Team Plasma seemed to be genuine there. While he still couldn't bring himself to forgive him for what happened a few years ago, Grimsley could tell Colress was making steps in moving forward from that.

"You mentioned before that here a Pokémon's potential power lies within our Z-Rings and the Z-Crystals. Do you think it surpasses the Mega Ring and Mega Evolution?"

"It's hard for me to say. Both have unique ways of bringing out that Pokémon's potential. That is also the same if you compare Z-Moves to Galar's Dynamax or Paldea's Tereastal. What I can say is all of those have in common is the extreme trust and bond in both the trainer and their Pokémon."

After grunting in agreement, Grimsley asked, "Do you still plan to work with the Ultra Recon Squad and Interpol?"

"I do, yes. Necrozma may be taken care of, but there's still a lot from my research that we need to go over. And how about you? Will you be returning to Unova soon?"

"I am after Kahuna Nanu and I have our battle."

With a wide grin, Colress said, "Oh? I wasn't aware that you and the Ula'ula Island's kahuna are doing that. If I weren't so busy I would be willing to watch."

Grimsley's heart almost skipped a beat. He was certain that Colress would analyze his and Nanu's battle to the last digit if he came to watch. Another short silence came over them until Colress spoke again.

"I'm about to head to the Pokémon Center with Dulse and have my Beheeyem transport us there. Do you want to join?"

Grimsley took a moment to consider Colress's offer, and he shook his head. "That's alright. I think I'll take in Alola's scenery a while longer."

"An excellent idea, enjoying your last moments in Alola before you leave." Colress glanced over his shoulder at Dulse, who was still waiting by the fences. "Hope the rest of your day goes well, Grimsley."

Colress gave him a quick goodbye wave and left to where Dulse was. Grimsley watched as the two men exchanged some words and Colress released Dawson his Beheeyem. Seconds later, a soft blue glow engulfed Dawson, Colress, and Dulse, and all three disappeared.

Grimsley smirked, satisfied with his and Colress's conversation overall. He turned away from the Thrifty Megamart and took the downpath back to Route 14.

xxx

A little before lunchtime, one of the nurses informed Nanu that the doctor wanted to see him. The doctor let Nanu see Honchkrow, who squawked with joy and playfully pecked at his shoulders upon seeing him. A small smile settled on his lips, glad that Honchkrow's spirit was high despite his injured wing.

After hearing the news of Honchkrow's condition from the doctor, Kukui and Molayne came to visit the Pokémon Center to check up on him. Nanu had told them what had happened with Glutton and Necrozma, and they were astonished at those events. Molayne then mentioned his encounter with the Ultra Beasts in the observatory while Kukui watched over Malie City with Kahili. Both men then needed to go to the construction site of the Pokémon League and speak with the construction workers there–before they left, Molayne and Kukui wished Nanu's Honchkrow a speedy recovery.

Nanu decided to take a walk around Tapu Village. Several people and children that came back were outside, going about their day as usual. He scanned around his surroundings and was relieved to see the aftermath of the Ultra Beasts' invasion didn't leave too much destruction here save for a couple of light poles, some damage on the shop roofs, and several deep holes in the ground. One of the kahuna duties he took seriously was making sure the people on this island were safe.

Up ahead he spotted Anabel, Looker, Raikou, and Tapu Bulu at the ruins. Looker and Anabel sat together on one of the stones while Raikou lay down on the ground and Tapu Bulu floated around them. Curious over what his former Interpol partners were up to, he went to the hills and hid himself behind the ruins, eavesdropping on their conversation.

"I must say, Dulse and Colress's research on Necrozma is very impressive," Looker said. "Charlotte might convince headquarters to use it for good deeds."

Anabel hummed in agreement while petting Raikou's back. The legendary beast purred at her touch.

"I'm glad that Necrozma is doing well back in Ultra Megalopolis, and the people there are not taking advantage of it as before."

"Same here, chief." Looker grinned, but shortly after his expression changed and he frowned.

"Is something the matter, Mr. Looker?" Anabel asked with a raised brow.

Before Looker responded, he shifted his eyes to the sky. "Do you believe I've been slowing you down as of recently?"

Giving him a blank stare, Anabel asked, "What makes you think that?"

A hesitant look crossed Looker's face, and his shoulders tensed. Whenever he wore that expression, Nanu could tell his friend had a lot on his mind. After a moment, Looker sighed and fixed his gaze on Anabel.

"When the Ultra Beasts began invading here, you and Nanu managed to deal with them fantastico while I just stood there like a fool."

Nanu's stomach sank at him hearing Looker say that. When they worked together, his partner had self-doubts over his battling skills and sometimes compared himself to the other agents. He was also aware Looker still felt guilty over the losses of Sana and his Croagunk.

Anabel seemed to be having similar thoughts, a deep frown settling on her lips. That was brief as soon after she offered him a small smile and gently squeezed his hand.

"No, you're not slowing me and Nanu down. You've contributed a lot during our investigation of the Ultra Beasts. I also appreciate how much you've been looking out for me."

Taken aback by Anabel's compliment, Looker gasped and his eyes grew wide. He lowered his gaze down to his lap.

"Even then, I wanted to help when the Ultra Beasts caused trouble here, but I wasn't able to."

Anabel's smile widened, and she shook her head. "Mr. Looker, you're one of the best detectives I've ever worked with. You also don't need to be a great trainer to be worthwhile."

This time a small blush formed on Looker's cheeks, and a grin spread across his face.

"I'll keep that in mind then, chief."

Looker and Anabel fixed their gazes at one another. When some seconds passed, their faces leaned toward each other. Nanu immediately grunted before they could go further.

"I hope I'm not interrupting anything," he said while having both hands on his sides. That caused both Anabel and Looker to be flustered and let go of their hands. Looker cleared his throat and scratched his cheek.

"The chief and I were just having a heart-to-heart talk, that's all."

"Yeah, I overheard you two talking." Nanu dragged out a deep sigh and joined with his friends. He furrowed his brow at Looker. "I agree with Anabel that you're cutting yourself short. You're not a half-bad Pokémon trainer, and you did great work in handling the Ultra Beast invasions. You should be lucky you don't have to be chained to a guardian deity your whole life."

Looker blinked at him, as if unsure how to react to Nanu's last statement there. After a moment, he burst into laughter and pulled Nanu and Anabel in for a tight embrace.

"I do appreciate the kind words from both of you!" Looker said before letting them go. "I feel much better now."

"I'm happy to hear that," Anabel said with a pleased smile.

Nanu couldn't help but smile a little too at Looker being in a better mood now. He noticed Tapu Bulu still floating around the ruins and remembered that he wanted the guardian deity to take Honchkrow's place for his battle with Grimsley. Now would be a good opportunity to see if they would agree.

"Hey Tapu Bulu, you got a minute?"

Nanu's shouts caught Tapu Bulu's attention. They turned around and approached him with a curious look.

"Bulu, lu?"

Nanu didn't respond immediately as he tried to come up with how to make his request to Tapu Bulu. A part of him didn't feel right asking this after all what the guardian deity did to save Ula'ula Island. If Tapu Bulu declined his offer, then he would respect that.

"So, there is one favor I want to ask of you. I'm slated to battle against Grimsley in a few days. The problem is one of my Pokémon got injured during that battle with Glutton and won't be able to fight for a while. I want to know if you're willing to be my battle partner once more."

"Bulu, bu bu?"

Nanu assumed that Tapu Bulu asked him if he was serious about that request. He expected that they would need some convincing. Looker and Anabel seemed to be interested in what was happening.

"Yes, I'm serious. I know I haven't been the best kahuna, and you did so much for Ula'ula Island when the Ultra Beasts barged in here uninvited. If you do this favor for me, though, I'll come visit the temple more often and will take my kahuna duties more seriously."

Tapu Bulu regarded him with narrowed eyes. While waiting for their response, Nanu's throat grew dry and he rolled his shoulders.

"Bulu!" Tapu Bulu exclaimed though Nanu wasn't sure if the guardian deity sounded happy or not.

"Wait, so does that mean you'll help me, then?"

This time Tapu Bulu shouted, "Bulu, bu!" in a more positive tone and their bell chimed, emitting a sweet melody. A satisfied grin settled on Nanu's face.

"I'm happy that you and Tapu Bulu are working together once more!" Looker said, beaming.

"I look forward to how your battle with Grimsley will go," Anabel said with a small smile. At that instant, her Raikou stood up and growled at Tapu Bulu. That made her giggle. "Looks like Raikou is itching to battle Tapu Bulu."

Amused at Anabel's Pokémon wanting to fight, Nanu snorted. Raikou and Tapu Bulu battling would make great practice for his match with Grimsley. He gazed up at Tapu Bulu.

"Hey Tapu Bulu, do you want to do a few rounds with Raikou to warm ourselves up before our battle with Grimsley?"

Already Tapu Bulu made an enthusiastic sound, much to Nanu's delight. Both Anabel and Looker also wore eager smiles on their faces.

"It's been so long since we trained together," Anabel said. "It'll be like old times."

"Indeed," Nanu said, offering her a smug smile. He actually missed when they used to train together for hours on end. For certain Anabel had improved immensely since then. "Alright then, let's get started."

It had been a while since he felt excited for an upcoming battle. Despite taking a while, Grimsley proved himself to be a worthy opponent to prepare for.


Author's Notes:
This chapter is a bit of a breather before we get to one last action sequence in Chapter 33 and the Nanu vs Grimsley battle in Chapter 34. Very excited to showcase those chapters soon!

Thanks to bobandbill for the excellent betaing as always! Next chapter Grimsley and Queen do some training before the battle with Nanu.
 

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Chapter Thirty-Three
Kowtow Cleave


After his short walk through Route 14, Grimsley returned to Tapu Village. Several of the villagers had returned and were outside, acting calm and doing their usual day-to-day business. He was glad that they were all safe and hoped that they wouldn't be forced to be driven out of their homes like that again.

Grimsley went towards the path leading to Mount Lanakila. A chilly breeze passed though, likely coming from the much harsher climate of the mountains. There weren't gates blocking the route anymore, so it must mean construction, at least in this section, was finished. He halted when he spotted Kukui, Acerola, and Molayne together.

"So the stadium is almost done, then?" Molayne asked.

"That's what Vincent had told me when I called him this morning, yeah!" Kukui said, grinning. "I was worried the recent Ultra Beast invasions would delay things, but likely the construction guys were able to get things going again."

"That's great to hear!" After Acerola said that, she noticed Grimsley. She beamed and waved at him. "Oh, hello Grimsley!"

Both Molayne and Kukui's faces lit up and they greeted him with warm smiles.

"Well, it's a pleasant surprise seeing you here!" Molyane said.

"I was just taking a short afternoon walk and saw that there aren't gates blocking Mount Lanakila anymore."

"As I told Molayne, the Pokémon League is on track for its grand opening in a few months!" Kukui's grin widened. "Not even Ultra Beasts can stop us Alolans from making this happen!"

Grimsley responded with an amused grunt, charmed by the professor's enthusiasm. At that instant, he wondered how Becky and the children from the Aether House were doing, so he faced Acerola.

"Say Acerola, have you heard anything from Becky and the children?" he asked.

"Oh, they recently came back this morning with the rest of the villagers!" Acerola said with a relieved smile. "They're doing great and happy to return to the Aether House."

"Very happy to hear that!" The smile on Kukui's face slipped away and his face grew serious. "Kahili and I had to fend off several Ultra Beasts near Blush Mountain. They hit harder than a Tinkaton's Gigaton Hammer on a Corviknight!"

Grimsley held himself from rolling his eyes, aware of the rivalry between those Pokémon in the Paldea region. He cleared his throat and said," Gladion and I helped Nanu and his Interpol friends deal with the Ultra Beasts here."

"Indeed, Nanu told me about what had occurred with Necrozma and Guzzlord earlier. Sounds quite an experience there, cousin!" The grin on Kukui's face returned and he asked, "So you and Nanu will have your battle in a few days, yeah?"

"We are, yes. I take it you'll come to watch?"

"That's right, cousin! I don't want to miss this battle, woo!"

"I'm also very interested in checking that battle out," Molayne said. His eyes grew wide and he beamed at Grimsley. "Say, I have an idea. Do you know the Pokémon, Kingambit?"

Grimsley raised a brow, taken aback by Molayne's question. Kingambit was Bisharp's final evolution and resembled a samurai. They often craved battles and served as the trial leader of groups of Pawniard and Bisharp. He had seen those before when his family vacationed there a few times and Queen, back then a Pawniard, was always fascinated by them.

"I do. They're more common in the regions of Paldea and Kitakami than other regions."

"That is correct. The reason Kingambit isn't as common in other regions is because of the item Leader's Crest. It's hard to find Bisharps with that item."

"Oh, I heard of that Pokémon from Nanu!" Acerola said, clapping her hands excitedly. "Have you considered evolving Queen into Kingambit, Grimsley?"

"I have. Queen and I tried to find Bisharps with the Leader's Crest on occasion but we're unable to find them in Unova."

Molayne hummed and nodded. "Mars and I have done the same and are in a similar situation...until recently."

Before Grimsley could ask what he meant by that, Molayne pulled out a pokéball and released Mars in dazzling light. Instead of a Bisharp, a black and red humanoid Pokémon that resembled a samurai appeared and let out a war cry. A large machete-shaped blade was attached to his head, and a large mustache was composed of two black, red-lined blades. His armor gleamed from the Alolan sun. Mars's flowing black hair was tied with a red ribbon. Grimsley's breath slowed and he couldn't take his gaze off Molayne's Pokémon.

"That's a Kingambit!" Grimsley exclaimed in a stunned voice.

Acerola gasped, just as surprised as he was. She grinned. "Oh wow, Mars evolved! Congratulations!"

Kukui crossed his arms, a chuckle escaping from him. "I'm already aware that Molayne's Mars evolved as he showed him to me beforehand."

A proud smile formed on Molyane's lips, and he patted Mars's shoulder. "There have been quite a few Bisharps with the Leader's Crest over at Route 17 near Po Town. This is a great opportunity for Queen to evolve and a big advantage for your battle against Nanu, Grimsley."

Already a smug smile tugged at the corners of Grimsley's lips. He already imagined Queen evolving into a Kingambit and using her blade to cut across Nanu's Pokémon. That would be very satisfying.

"That's a great idea." Grimsley stopped to glance at Mars, standing proud and tall. "Queen as a Kingambit might be the ace in the cards that I needed."

Kukui's grin widened, and he placed his hands on his sides. "I need to get back to check the progress on the Pokémon League. I think Queen will be able to evolve into Kingambit in no time, woo!"

"I also need to head back to the Aether House and help out Becky," Acerola said, also smiling. "I do wish you luck in getting Queen to evolve!"

"Thank you," Grimsley said, smiling in gratitude. When he faced Molayne, the other man returned Mars to his pokéball.

"We should get a head start and head to Route 17," Molayne suggested, and Grimsley nodded in agreement. They turned around and began heading to Route 17 together.

xxx

It took almost half an hour for Grimsley and Molayne to pass the Aether House and go through Route 15's waters. Grimsley rode on Blackjack while Molayne had his Metagross carry him. They passed by several Pokémon and swimmers, Grimsley's hair and scarf whipping wildly while his Sharpedo swam at a breakneck pace. While they crossed Route 15, Grimsley told Molayne what had occurred in Haina Desert.

"Oh wow, I can't believe you guys managed to bring out Necrozma's true form!" Molayne said with an impressed smile. "Makes me wish that I had been there!"

Grimsley chuckled and said, "I'm sure that you would've loved it. Did you have to deal with the Ultra Beasts too?"

"We did when several of them went for the observatory. Soffy and I managed to fend them off, though."

"That's good." After Grimsley said that, he wondered what Molayne had been doing since they last spoke. "So how are you doing these days? You're still juggling the observatory, Pokémon storage, and Elite Four duties?"

"I am." A soft gaze stretched across Molayne's face. "Maintaining those three jobs is a challenge, but I'm able to find a balance. I also have Soffy and my assistants helping out at the observatory and Pokémon storage."

A small ache formed inside Grimsley's throat, feeling sorry for Molayne handling those duties all at once. While not the same, it wasn't easy for him to balance being an Elite Four and a professional gambler. Sounded like Molayne had some support, which was good.

"Nothing wrong with needing help, and I'm sure Sophocles will love the challenge."

Molayne gasped, as if taken aback by Grimsley's words. He beamed at him.

"I'm sure he does. There's no need to worry about me, though I appreciate you caring about my well-being."

Molayne's beaming smile widened, and his face glimmered when the sun shined at him. Grimsley's heart raced, his initial feelings for Molayne returning once more.

It was several minutes until they reached the shore and entered Ula'ula Meadows. They passed by the Oricorio that sang and danced, and the usual sweet fragrance from the flowers filled Grimsley's nostrils. He glanced at Molayne wearing a peaceful expression on his face.

"I take it you've been to Ula'ula Meadows before?" Grimsley asked.

"Sometimes, though I should come here more often. Alola has a few beautiful meadows like this one where the other forms of Oricorio reside."

"Yes, I've heard about the different Oricorio here. Perhaps I should visit those other meadows before I leave."

Offering him an approved smile, Molayne said, "You should if you have some spare time! You're interested in Professor Burnet's research also, yeah? I'm sure she'll love to talk more with you too."

The corner of Grimsley's lips twitched slightly. He wasn't sure if he would have time to check the other meadows. He wanted to visit the Dimensional Research Lab and talk with Burnet more about Type Bias and Ultra Beasts. Maybe he could pay a quick visit there after his battle with Nanu.

He and Molayne pushed further through Ula'ula Meadows, and it wasn't long until they entered Route 17. The light clouds covered portions of the sky, but otherwise, Grimsley could see the sun up ahead. Several Ledian flew past them, and a Fearow's loud shriek could be heard across the area.

The last couple of times he visited he didn't pay full attention to the Pokémon living here due to getting distracted with Team Skull. He still didn't forgive Nanu for that finishing blow when they went against those two grunts together. Grimsley was pulled from his musings when he spotted a gathering of Bisharp and Pawinard together. He and Molayne moved closer and saw that the group was watching two Bisharp battling each other.

Both Bisharp had scratch marks on their armor, so Grimsley could tell that they had been fighting for a while already. The first Bisharp had a part of the blade on their right arm chipped while the other Bisharp's blade on their torso had cracks on it. They countered each other's Night Slash, the sound of clashing blades filling the air, and were able to predict each other's movements. Grimsley could tell the one with the chipped blade on their arm was male while the one with cracks on their torso's blade was female. While he and Molayne were watching, the latter spoke.

"Before the Ultra Beasts invaded here, Kukui and I wanted to see how the Pokémon on this route were doing. We noticed two Bisharp fighting like right now, and Mars was itching to battle."

"And that's when you had Mars go against those Bisharp and how he evolved into Kingambit," Grimsley said, and Molayne responded with a nod and hum.

"He went against three Bisharp before evolving, but yes. Also, did you notice something both of those Bisharp have?"

Grimsley first gave Molayne a blank stare before returning to the Bisharp fighting. Each one had a shard of a gold and silver blade hung on their neck. Grimsley's heart jumped inside his throat when he recognized what those were.

"The Leader's Crest."

"Yes," Molayne said with a satisfied smile. "After their fight, you might be able to have Queen go against one of them."

"If the winning Bisharp still has some strength in them, I would be fine with that," Grimsley said as he turned his attention back to the fight. After both Bisharp finished their rapid Night Slash succession at each other, the female one's blade on her head gleamed brightly. She rammed into the male Bisharp's torso and pushed him to the ground. The other Bisharp quickly picked himself up and took a fighting stance.

Grimsley couldn't tear his gaze away when both Bisharp crossed blades once more, immersed in their elegant battle dance. He reminisced when Queen and Mars fought against each other back in Mount Hokulani.

He pulled away from that memory when Queen suddenly popped out of her pokéball. Grimsley's eyes grew wide in surprise while an amused smile formed on Molayne's lips.

"Looks like Queen wants to watch the match too," Molayne said with a chuckle.

"I believe so, too." With a smirk, Grimsley faced Queen and asked, "You want to see how this fight ends?"

Already Queen responded with a firm nod, her gaze fixing at the fight. He and Molayne had their attention back on that fight too and watched its final moments.

The female Bisharp blocked off her opponent's Fury Cutter with Night Slash, sparks of dark and bug-type energy flying. After several blows, they backed away some feet to catch their breaths and glared at each other. A brief moment passed before the blades on their forehead glowed and they rushed at one another.

When their bodies collided, the female Bisharp was stronger as she pushed and slammed her opponent at the nearest tree. The other Bisharp collapsed on the ground and didn't get up immediately. The victorious Bisharp pumped her arm in the air, and the rest of the Bisharp and Pawniard in the group clapped and cheered.

He and Molayne exchanged impressed smiles. Seeing that match made Grimsley even more excited to have his Bisharp going against one of them. He gazed at Queen, who didn't move her stare away from the victorious Bisharp. Grimsley already understood what she wanted.

"You want to challenge that Bisharp," he stated.

Queen faced Grimsley and hummed. He offered her a pleased grin, indicating to her that she had his approval. Queen nodded back and moved to where the other Bisharp was, still celebrating her victory with the crowd. When the Bisharp noticed Queen, she pulled away from them and stood in front of her.

Grimsley watched as Queen and the other Bisharp exchanged some words with each other. Queen thrust her right arm forward, showing that she wanted to challenge her. After regarding Queen for a moment, she gave a single nod and raised her blade in the air--she accepted her challenge. Behind her, the Pawniard and Bisharp cheered.

"That group of Pawniard and Bisharp must be very excited to see another duel coming up," Molayne said with a small smile.

A confident smile formed on Grimsley's lips. "I think they'll be surprised at what Queen is capable of."

Queen and her opponent immediately went to their positions and prepared their battle stances with their blades crossed against their chest. A small breeze began to pick up, and after several seconds passed they let out their rally cry and rushed at each other.

Queen's blade glowed mint green while her opponent's blade was engulfed in dark-type energy. Her X-Scissor clashed with the other Bisharp's Night Slash, and they traded off several blows at one another. She managed to find an opening and slashed at the Bisharp's shoulder, causing her to flinch.

The other Bisharp quickly shook that off and crossed her blades. With a battle roar, she raised her arms and twirled around like an ice skater. When she finished, the Bisharp glared at Queen.

"That Bisharp just did a Swords Dance!" Molayne exclaimed. "Looks like she's getting serious already."

Unfazed by that, Grimsley smirked and called out to Queen, "Wait until the other Bisharp strikes, and then you can make your move!"

The other Bisharp's blade shimmered brightly, and she rushed at Queen. A dark glow filled Queen's right fist, and she waited until the last second to dodge her opponent's Iron Head. She punched the Bisharp's torso and knocked the wind out of her.

The other Bisharp fell on one knee, but she picked herself up quickly and retaliated by slashing her arm with Night Slash. Queen yelped in pain but recovered quickly and her blade flashed green. Her opponent's blade also flashed green but a fainter color, and they crossed blades once more.

While watching their duel, Grimsley had a hard time keeping track of their fast-paced and elegant movements. He glanced at Molayne, also trying to keep up from his slight eye twitches. The crowd of the Pawniard and Bisharp watching continued to cheer and raised their arms.

After they exchanged several blows, Queen found an opening and slashed at the other Bisharp's left arm. That left her opponent distracted, and Queen took that opportunity to ram at the Bisharp's abdomen with Iron Head. She plummeted the other Bisharp into the ground like a bird Pokémon diving for food.

A brief moment passed until Queen's opponent slowly picked herself up with trembling legs. Grimsley watched with great anticipation as he was certain what was going to happen next. When she approached Queen, the Bisharp pulled off the Leader's Crest from her neck and tied it around Queen's neck. The two warriors shook hands.

All of the Pawniard and Bisharp's cheers and claps grew louder at the showmanship both Bisharp displayed there. Grimsley gave a small, proud smile at the sight.

"Oh, looks like there's a couple of new challengers approaching, a Kingambit and a shiny Bisharp."

When Molayne pointed that out, Grimsley fixed his stare at the two Pokémon approaching Queen. One was a shiny male Bisharp with blue armor instead of red, and the other a Kingambit. Both of them also wore Leader's Crests shards around their necks. Grimsley believed they were from a different tribe and were interested in Queen. Both Kingambit and the shiny Bisharp exchanged a few words and pointed their blades at her.

Queen seemed to consider their challenge seriously, giving them a lingering glare. She turned to Grimsley, as if awaiting his approval. A part of Grimsley wanted to tend her injuries and let her rest a little bit first, but he was certain the Kingambit and Bisharp wanted to battle right away. He glanced at Molayne, who wore a concerned look on his face, seemingly thinking the same thing. Grimsley and Queen held their gazes at each other.

"Are you still good to battle, especially going up against two Pokémon now?" he asked her.

Already Queen responded with a hum and a nod. A satisfied smile formed on Grimsley's lips, and he nodded back.

"Then make sure that you emerge victorious back there."

Queen returned with a small smile of her own, and she faced the Bisharp and Kingambit. She pointed her blade at them, indicating that she accepted their challenge. Her challengers grunted and acknowledged her response.

All three Pokémon went to their battle positions, Queen on one side while Kingambit and the shiny Bisharp on the other. Several seconds passed by until her opponents let out their battle cries and blitzed towards her.

Queen braced herself for their upcoming assaults, blocking both of their Night Slashes with her X-Scissor. Despite going against two Pokémon, she was able to predict their movements and acted accordingly with great focus.

The shiny Bisharp changed tactics, the blade on his head gleaming metallic silver. Grimsley quickly deduced it was going to use Iron Head, so he called out for Queen to look behind her. The Bisharp rushed at Queen, but she dodged in time and used Sucker Punch to punch the Bisharp behind his leg. He fell to the ground, but quickly picked himself back up. Meanwhile, Kingambit roared at the skies and twirled around, performing a Swords Dance.

That Kingambit is already going for high cards, Grimsley mused. He shouted to Queen, "Be careful with that Kingambit, he's planning something!"

Queen glanced over her shoulder at Grimsley and nodded. She resumed her clash with her challengers, her shimmering green blades colliding with the blue Bisharp's Metal Claw and Kingambit's Night Slash. The shiny Bisharp managed to slash Queen's face, but she retaliated and slashed at his chest. She turned her attention to Kingambit and they exchanged several blows before she struck at his shoulder, leaving a deep cut there.

There was a pause. Kingambit kneeled down and had his forehead touch the ground. With a raised brow, Grimsley wondered if he was apologizing or already surrendering. Queen seemed to feel the same way, staring at him.

Grimsley and Queen being taken aback by Kingambit's act was the perfect opportunity for him to act. He launched at Queen and slashed across her chest. Queen screeched in pain and backed away some feet--there was a wide cut where Kingambit had attacked her.

"Say Molayne, that's Kowtow Cleave isn't it?" Grimsley asked, still taken aback by what that Pokémon just did to Queen. Kowtow Cleave was Kingambit's signature move. He recalled seeing it before during a family trip long ago.

"Indeed it is," Molayne informed him. "Shortly after Mars evolved, he used that move and I was impressed."

"A very sneaky move if you asked me." A part of Grimsley was actually excited for Queen to use that move once she became a Kingambit, but he was thinking ahead and she needed to not be fooled by Kowtow Cleave again.

As expected, Queen was able to quickly resume her fight with the shiny Bisharp and Kingambit. Her opponents were aggressive with their blades and on occasion almost found an opening, but Queen was able to parry them at the last second. Throughout the match, the Pawinard and Bisharp were cheering and pumping their fists in excitement.

Eventually, the blue Bisharp switched moves with his blades glowing green and did several back-to-back slashes at Queen–Fury Cutter. Quite a few scratches were scattered all over her body. Unfazed, Queen's blade on her forehead shimmered and she rushed at the shiny Bisharp. When their bodies collided, she slammed him down on the ground and backed away a few steps.

Some seconds passed until the shiny Bisharp slowly picked himself up with a painful groan. Worried that Bisharp still wanted to fight, Grimsley's heart almost skipped a beat. That wasn't the case as he kneeled on one knee and raised his blade, surrendering the fight.

The crowd of Pawinard and Bisharp reacted with loud cheers and pumping their fists faster. Grimsley mentally sighed in relief but then narrowed his eyes as there was still the Kingambit that Queen needed to defeat also.

From Queen's deep breaths and rising shoulders, she was quite exhausted. Her opponent didn't give her much chance to take a breather as his blades were consumed with dark-type energy and he rushed towards her. Queen quickly had her blades glowed green, and her X-Scissor clashed with Kingambit's Night Slash.

Like Queen's fight with the last Bisharp, Grimsley was fully immersed in their battle dance. He glanced at Molayne and the cheering Pawinard and Bisharp, also watching the fight with great interest. Both Pokémon managed to leave several deep cuts on each other.

After one last thrust of her blade that Kingambit managed to block, Queen's blade on her forehead shined brightly and she bolted towards Kingambit. The Big Blade Pokémon dodged Queen's Iron Head with ease and took that opportunity to kneel down.

Realizing the Kingambit was preparing for Kowtow Cleave, Grimsley's pulse quickened. He shouted to Queen, "That Kingambit's going to use that move once more, so get ready!"

Queen understood his warning as she nodded and made a grunting sound. At that instant, Kingambit's feet bounced off the ground and he rushed towards her. She crossed both arms against her chest, bracing herself for the incoming impact.

Their bodies collided with a loud clunk sound that rang through the air. A painful scream escaped from Queen and she backed away, revealing a deep wound above her chest from Kingambit.

Both Queen and Kingambit stared down at each other and took deep breaths, their shoulders tensing. Grimsley knew that they were at their limit and one final move would determine the outcome of this fight.

For their last moves, Kingambit used Night Slash while Queen went for X-Scissor. They rushed towards each other with raised blades and ended up at opposite sides to where they first started. Grimsley, Molayne, and the crowd of Bisharp and Pawniard all watched in silence with bated breath.

Several seconds have passed, a cool breeze passing by. Kingambit's legs trembled and he collapsed on the ground.

Shortly after, Queen's body glowed brightly and the shape of her body changed. Once the light faded, she grew about a foot taller and wore armor that resembled a samurai's. The blade on her forehead became much larger, and long, flowing black hair cascaded down below her back. Queen was now a Kingambit.

Grimsley's eyes widened in amazement, and a jubilant grin stretched across his face. When he approached Queen, they shared a tight embrace. Behind them, the Bisharp and Pawniard let out their loudest cheers since Queen's fight with the first Bisharp.

Once Grimsley and Queen let go of their embrace, she noticed the other Kingambit still lying on the ground and breathing heavily. She went to help pick him up and they shook hands. The shiny Bisharp approached Queen and they also shared a handshake. Grimsley smiled softly at the display of positive showmanship from everyone.

"Congratulations to the both of you!" Molayne exclaimed with a wide grin.

"Thank you," Grimsley said. Next to him, Queen smiled in appreciation. As he knew that his Pokémon was exhausted, he faced her and said, "Why don't we go to that tree over there and tend some of your wounds?"

Grimsley, Molayne, and Queen went to the large tree nearby and sat down against the trunk. He pulled out a lemonade can and a malasada from his bag for Queen to drink and eat. While she was chewing on her meal, Grimsley sprayed some hyper potion on her wounds and wrapped some bandage dressing on her right wrist.

"After Queen gets some rest, why don't Mars and I help you prepare for your upcoming battle with Nanu?" Molayne asked, and Grimsley's heart almost skipped a beat.

"That won't be too much trouble for you?"

"Kukui and I have already checked with the construction workers, and the Hokulani Observatory won't reopen until next week. I'll need to contact Soffy and check the Pokémon storage but it won't take too long." He beamed and added, "This will be great training as one of Alolan's Elite Four!"

"If you're absolutely sure, then I'm fine with us training." Grimsley turned his head and asked Queen, "How about you, Queen? Ready for more training in a little bit?"

After Queen finished swallowing a piece of her malasada, she hummed and nodded. A satisfied smile formed on his lips.

"Queen is also good for more training."

"That's great! I'll contact Soffy in a few minutes and take care of any maintenance the Pokémon storage might need. After that, we can start training."

"That sounds good."

Already Grimsley's head was buzzing with excitement. With Queen now a Kingambit, his upcoming match with Nanu just got more interesting.

Author's Notes:
YOOOOOOO we have Queen evolved into Kingambit! So for Kingambit's evolution method, I decided to do things slightly different than what occurred in Scarlet/Violet. Two reasons I have Queen go against two Bisharps and a Kingambit. The first reason is it would be hard for me to keep track/not get repetitive having four Bisharps including Queen go against each other lol. Second reason is to show off Kingamibt and their signature move, Kowtow Cleave.

Next chapter we finally get to the main event, Nanu vs Grimsley! I have the rough draft of the whole battle done, but it got much longer than anticipated and it'll be split into two parts! Also, I decided to have the final chapter and epilogue their own updates, so now the chapter count is up to 37. I promise this will be the last time this happens lol also don't make fun of this on your comments if you made it this far

Thanks to bobandbill for the excellent betaing as always!
 
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