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Foul Play

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Bay, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Bay

    Bay YEAHHHHHHH

    Foul Play

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

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

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

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

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

    Chapter Index

    xxx

    Chapter One
    Knock Off


    Another battle, another loss for Grimsley.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    xxx

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

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

    -If you guys didn't catch, yes I had Grimsley nickname his Liepard, Raz. Reason for that is there's actually a poker game called "Razz poker." I don't know how approriate to link gambling sites here, so I'll refrain from that and let you guys check it out yourselves. In fact, I'm gonna have the names of Grimsley's Pokemon based around gambling somehow.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  2. jirachiman876

    jirachiman876 The King of Kirby

    Well, this is certainly an interesting take on an Alolan adventure so far. I quite enjoy this. I always did want to write a fic that this. Have an established trainer with pretty powerful Pokemon and then go on a journey or even find a team to break up. Seems like this is going to be something like that, so I'll live vicariously through you.
    I do enjoy Grimsly's character. He does seem like the type that would be rather sullen. I do like the gambling aspect of his character too. I'm sure it's referenced in the games but it's been too long since I played those that I don't remember too much of his character.
    I like how you've kind of set the scene of this whole fic so far too. It seems like we're about halfway through the events of Sun/Moon So i'm exciting to see how this story pans out. Will it be mostly Moon and Hau taking out Team Skull or will Grimsly be the one to do the most damage.
    Nanu was always such an interestingly uninterested character in the game and I like how you've kind of portrayed that in this chapter too. But of course he has a soft spot for some good trainers.
    The only things I had a problem with was a couple descriptions of the Pokemon and even some of the places. Now knowing Nanu has a Persian in the games and it prolly being the Alolan version is nice. But as a reader who totally forgets these types of details. I want to be treated as someone who hasn't played any of these games and doesn't know there's a difference between the two Pokemon. You did do it with the Skull Grunt's Raticate which was helpful, but it was about halfway through the battle.
    I know we're kinda of setting up Grimsley's characters and there wasn't much to really go with on his first day in Alola, but it could help to see how he felt about being in the new tropical climate. How did it differ from his home of Unova? What comparisons is he making in his head? We get it a little bit with Nanu, which is why I'm really enjoying him so far.
    But hey, It's an interesting take on a journey fic, and I love it. So I'll be sticking around a bit too.
    jirachiman out ;385;
     
  3. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine a lonesome harp guitar

    You've got a great Grimsley here – like, he's so bored, and that's just perfect. Grimsley's whole thing is his ennui and his gambling as a kind of defence against that, and that comes across really strongly here. At the start, when he's trying to come up with ways to regain his spark, you really get the sense that he's almost bored with ideas as soon as they get suggested. Like Iris suggests a vacation and then he thinks about it, but the only way he can get himself to engage with the idea is to make it into a gamble, staking his vacation on the toss of a coin. And then again when it comes up heads and he goes, he makes the vacation itself into a gamble with that metaphor at the end of the section. It's great. And it just keeps happening, in conversation after conversation, Grimsley making wagers out of anything anyone suggests to him.

    Then of course there's Grimsley's backstory, which depending on how you interpret it could easily be one of the bleaker canon backstories, and which you treat here with a kind of understated sadness that I think really nicely sets off Grimsley's apathy. I like the way you tie the family history back to the gambling, too, making his mother his mentor. You get across this sense of Grimsley's arc through life without you ever actually needing to go into detail about it, which is cool.

    Also, I love the casual reference to Team Plasma taking over the League. I just find it hilarious that Grimsley calls that 'a rather unpleasant experience', especially when like the whole League showed up to fight Team Plasma, and then just … didn't do anything, while the player character fought their way through a zillion grunts and then N and Ghetsis without any backup whatsoever. It's just a perfectly Grimsley understatement. “Remember when we completely failed to do our jobs for more or less no reason and got saved by a thirteen-year-old?” “Yeah, that was kinda rough.”

    Once he arrives in Alola itself, we get a really interesting view of the region that is both based on and different to what we get in the games. In-game, Alola is presented as massively dependent on the tourist industry, with information bureaus, resorts and hotels everywhere, but because the games have you playing as a kid who lives there and is more interested in pokémon training than the service industry, it doesn't really make much of it. But here, because we're following Grimsley, who actually is on vacation, we get to see a whole bunch more of that, and that's really cool.

    Then there's Nanu, and like Grimsley, you hit all the right notes straight away. It never really occurred to me that it'd be interesting to have the two of them meet, but of course they fit really well together; they've got the same borderline depressive apathy and nonchalantly devastating skill, although of course Nanu helps out much more than Grimsley does and probably cares quite a lot, in secret, as you point out here. (Admittedly, Nanu gave me more trouble than he should have done because throughout my first run of Moon most of my team was weak to dark, but I do think he's meant to be strong.) I guess it's a really interesting direction for Game Freak to have taken dark-type specialists in, after Karen from Johto who was more into the spooky theme than the actual type itself. Either way, yeah, I'll be really interested to see how they get along together when they bump into one another. Looking forward to more!
     
  4. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Definitely a winter

    Elite Four characters are always intriguing because, with a few exceptions, they just kind of show up, say a few lines, and then that’s it, unless we’re talking about the Adventures manga. My impression of Grimsley in SuMo was that he was just kind of a walking zombie, going through the motions and all that. And he seems very detached from everything in this opening chapter. He doesn’t really emote beyond some slight smirks or shrugs, and that fits him well. At the same time, the introductory scenes do paint a different picture of the E4 compared to the games. They have a bit of a celebrity status to them. And I do like that you show that off through things like Grimsley’s living accommodations or the fact that the league just happens to have a helicopter at their beck and call.

    Onto Alola itself, while I figured this would run along SuMo’s story, I didn’t actually expect Moon and Hau to be name-dropped (or at least, right off the bat). This makes me interested to see if you’ll be covering Grimsley and/or Nanu meeting with them at all. And it’s nice to see the Tourist Bureau and Marina get a little bit of attention. Game Freak went to the trouble of designing them, but they feel pretty useless in the games. On the other hand, kind of weird seeing a Team Skull Grunt pull a knife, given they’re treated as total jokes everywhere. I was expecting Nanu to mop the floor with them right away, but I guess they did get blown back by Black Hole Eclipse.

    There was one thing I noted, however, and that was some instances of awkward grammar. Mainly just phrasing or verb tense issues. These ones caught my attention:

    Think you might need to say, “...would react to him taking…” The way it’s written it sounds like the rest of the E4 are going on leave too.

    “Before I became part of the Elite Four…” Otherwise it sounds like Marshal is the entire E4.

    “Passed her shoulders”

    “...the Island Challenge that fit Iris’s island-hopping…”

    Also:

    You put “of two young males” twice by accident. Whoops!

    Otherwise, it’s an entertaining start. And I’m wondering what’ll happen when Grimsley and Nanu meet. They both have such flat affects, so I’m excited to see what sort of dyanmic you give them.
     
  5. Sike Saner

    Sike Saner *aromatisse noise*

    Backstory for what the heck Grimsley was doing in Alola? Yes please. :D I find it interesting that he's essentially showing up in the middle of the Sun/Moon storyline. I'd wondered just how long he'd actually been there by the time you encounter him in-game. I kind of like the answer being "not very". Means he gets to get acquainted with a new region during a Very Special Time in its history.

    Related: it'll be interesting to see what he thinks of Team Skull. He's definitely in for a surprise if he's expecting Plasma Pt. III, to say nothing of the whole Aether business.

    On the subject of Team Skull: that's a relatively ruthless pair of grunts there. If all the grunts were more like them Skull'd be a more threatening entity. I'm led to wonder, at least in this context, if the more comic-relief grunts in-game are actually not all that representative of the gang as a whole. Maybe they're getting up to rather nastier stuff here than we'd realized.

    Also I enjoyed getting to see Nanu set off a black hole eclipse. Two reasons. One: the attack itself is honestly pretty badass. Two: the accompanying z-pose will ALWAYS be funny, especially when his deadpan *** does it. XD
     
  6. Psychic

    Psychic Really and truly Staff Member Moderator

    I am so down for dark-trainer interactions. I really liked Nanu in the games, and I would love to see him interacting a bunch with Grimsley so they can be bored and grumpy together. <3

    I really like the idea of an Elite Four member, who got to where they are due to their love for and dedication to training, losing their enthusiasm, and deciding to join the throng of newbies to do as they do. Assuming he does take the Island Challenge, I would imagine he would pretty much steamroll the captains and kahunas unless the challenge is changed to be more appropriate for an Elite Four member somehow, haha. I think there’s a lot more potential in watching him take down Team Skull with a veteran cop, though, so I’m most excited about that part. (I would so watch that version of Castle.)

    I am already really liking your portrayal of Nanu. Your portrayal already feels like a nice expansion of his personality from the games. I really loved Nanu’s interactions with Rachel, especially back at the police station. He shows real compassion for her Golduck, and adorably doesn’t want to let this kid down. I can’t help but hope there are many more opportunities for him to interact with trainers in this fic.

    Now I’m super looking forward to seeing how these two interact! They both seem aloof and unenthused about life, which I kind of love. Even while on vacation, Grimsley seems detached, seemingly only taking in the sights without really feeling or thinking anything about it (assuming that was intentional). Nanu pretends not to care, but he’s a big softie. I can't help but wonder what ways they’ll be similar and what ways they’ll be different.

    That said, there were points where I would have loved to get a bit more description that tells us what the characters feel and think in a given situation. That might not be your writing style, but as I reader I want to feel what the character is experiencing, while also understanding why they do the things they do, especially in a character-driven story.

    The dialogue came off as a bit stilted in some places. People tend to speak far more casually than they write, and usually use more small talk (when not in emergency situations like during the confrontation with the Grunts). The conversation between Nanu and Rachel was perfect (and also adorable), but something about the Grimsley interactions go beyond just seeming to-the-point to making all of the characters look a little awkward. I'd suggest reading your dialogue out loud and figuring out how to make it a bit more natural.

    I also found your writing a little awkward and overly wordy at times. There were instances of using the wrong prepositions, the wrong verbs, and even conjugating words unnecessarily. I think reading your stuff out loud might help with this. I'll cover nitpicks, as well as bits that made me laugh, below.

    I would love to see some description of Whimsicott here to animate the scene a little more. Is it scratched or bruised? Does it look excited, tired, nervous? How are the two interacting?

    I had trouble visualizing this. Is Grimsley on a platform above the battle arena? Is the entire battle area suspended above the ground?

    I assume this is his in-game dialogue. Does he say this to every trainer? How does his voice sound – defeated, hopeless, or is he trying to put on a show of sounding positive for Kelly? I would love to have some insight into what he's thinking in this moment.

    There is a bit of a recurring issue I see with using the wrong prepositions. In this case, you hold something “in” your arms, or you wrap around your arms “around” something.

    Maybe show his thought process here so we get a better idea of what's going on in his head. Also, it should be “hung from the ceiling.”

    This should be “Grimsley asked skeptically.”

    Hah, I couldn't help but wonder: “if it lands tails, does he do nothing and stay miserable? Would the fic just end?”

    I don't entirely understand why this is Iris's reaction here. It sounds almost like she is getting the news that he is going to Alola for the first time and is just saying the first thing that comes to her head about the region (especially considering nobody else present necessarily cares about dragon Pokémon). Like, if my friend who doesn't like literature told me they were going to England, my first reaction would not be to say "oh, the literary scene there is fantastic." It's true that people can be pretty self-involved and don't take those kinds of social cues, but I'm not sure if that was what you were going for with Iris.

    This conversation between a mother and son feels a bit weird. Most people start conversations by asking how the other is doing (which Grimsley definitely should ask of his own mother, unless the intention is for him to come across as self-centered) and then some small talk before getting into big announcements or news.

    I would say “took a ride in a carriage pulled by a Tauros.” Tauros don’t really have arms to carry things!

    Should be “departs” here, but you can end this sentence at “schedule,” since the rest of it isn’t necessary and sounds stilted.

    The verb tense for “sat down” implies people were just sitting down as he arrived, but I think you mean they were already sitting when he arrived, so it should be “More people were sitting in the seats”

    Unless something interesting is happening, you don’t have to describe every mundane action, and can skip uneventful things. This paragraph can be summarized as something like “When night fell, Grimsley made his way back to his hotel, passing the receptionist still helping guests in the lobby on his way up to his room. He turned on the light.”

    Chibi mentioned the “of two young males” but I'd also add that unless it's in a report where describing suspects, “male” works better as an adjective than a noun, so I would refer to them as “men” here.

    This is a great moment to add a bit more texture to your description. Something loud and crazy and unexpected just happened! What does it sound like? What does it feel like? How do the characters respond to this? The writing should reflect the unexpectedness, confusion and excitement of the moment and really draw in the reader so that they can feel it. Describe the world shake beneath their feet, Nanu’s ears ringing, his heart pounding in his chest, his mind racing with concern for the local wildlife while trying to analyze the situation as he grits his teeth and reminds himself he just has to do his damned job and get there as soon as possible.

    I don’t think the grunts would call each other by their names – it kinda ruins the whole point of wearing a bandanna over your face.

    “Dived” should be “dove,” and “feet’s claws” should just be “claws.”

    “Seethe” is a verb, not really an adjective, so it might work better as “Felicia seethed through gritted teeth.”

    Not gonna lie, I had to Google “worriment” because I wasn’t familiar with how to use it, and Google defines the word as an “archaic or humorous term for worry.” So you can just say “her voice laced with worry.”


    I'm still really looking forward to more of this fic! I'm enjoying your portrayals of these characters so far, and I imagine a lot of juicy interactions between them when they get together. Also, this dark duo taking down Team Skull. Count me in!

    ~Psychic
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  7. Bay

    Bay YEAHHHHHHH

    Hey guys, dropping by to talk about Chapter Two's progress. Funny story, originally I was going to have Grimsley and Nanu meet next chapter, but then after some comments mentioning Grimsley's thoughts on Alola more, I decided to write out a new chapter during Grimsley's stay in Hau'oli City. So now Grimsley and Nanu's meeting is pushed back to Chapter Three. Besides that, been busy with judging both PokeCommunity's Get Together writing contest and Serebii's Platonic Contest oops.

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

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

    jirachiman876 Yes, gambling is a big aspect of Grimsley's character and there will be more of that throughout the story. Concerning Moon and Hau's appreance, a lot of that will be behind the scenes though Grimsley will be involved in some events.

    The descriptions of the Pokemon I admit I'm used to not do that much since I'm the type that's like, "people know these Pokemon don't have to describe them." Next chapter I have Grimsley see an Alolan Pokemon for the first time and I described a bit how it looks like. I also had some people in another forum mention have Grimsley compare Unova and Alola more, and next chapter I expanded more on that.


    Cutlerine: Glad you like Grimsley here so far and yeah those points are what I'm trying to get across. Your comment on Team Plasma, lol yeah it baffles me why the Elite Four didn't do anything while the gym leaders did. I'll make more references of that.

    With the tourist stuff, yeah there will be more of Grimsley sightseeing.

    Yeah, the two having this bleak apathy is one of the reasons I'm curious how they would interact. Some of the stuff I've written with them together provides some interesting results so far.

    Ambyssin:The Elite Four celebrity status I probably took some ideas from the anime, but yeah I figured because training is a big thing in Pokemon the Elite Four are likely highly regarded.

    With Nanu and Grimsley meeting Hau and Moon, I'm thinking of having them meet with the kids. I have a few ideas how that'll happen, though there are also some things I'm mulling over. On your comment with the grunt having a knife, funny story as originally I was going to have them use a gun, but then my beta said that's a bit extereme and he suggested knife instead.

    Sike Saner: Yes, Grimsley dropping by alola during all the chaos haha. And yeah, there will be a few instances of him comparing Team Plasma and Team Skull.

    I like to think there is room for comic relief Team Skull grunts and the more serious ones. I just realized with USUM coming and Team Skull might make a reappreance, perhaps Team Skull might be slightly more serious with the games advertising the story not what it seems.

    Hahaha, yeah Nanu's face when he does his z pose is funny. I think Grimsley will have fun being taught by Nanu much later in the story lol.

    Psychic: Yeah Grimsley won't be taking the Island Challenge since he's too old to partake in it, lol. When Grimsley first appeared in Ula'ula Island saying "why people bothered to come here" yeah I feel he seems somewhat detached. There will be some instances where a few times in Alola will catch his interest.

    Glad you like Nanu and Rachel's interaction. I did have fun writing it. You'll see him interact similar with Acerola, so look forward to that.

    I'm in the process of fixing some wording and description based on your suggestions, as I mentioned above. I did read this chapter aloud before sending it to my beta, but it's still hard for me to catch some mistakes. But yeah, I'll have the edits ready same time I get to posting Chapter Two.
     
  8. Bay

    Bay YEAHHHHHHH

    Ok, Chapter Two finally ready! Before we get to that though, I made some edits to Chapter One. Most of it is changing some of the wording and expanding on the descripiton. Biggest changes though:

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

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

    Edit 3/28/2018: For those that read Chapter Two in other sites, I made a few changes. Originally I had a flashback scene with Grimsley at his father's funeral, but I took that out in this version. For those interested in the original Chapter Two, I have it at Dreamwidth for comparisons shake.

    Chapter Two
    Brutal Swing


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Try Revelation Dance instead!”

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

    “Huh, what just happened?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Rock Blast!”

    “Sucker Punch, again!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Of course. You have a good rest.”

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Try Revelation Dance instead!”

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

    “Huh, what just happened?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Rock Blast!”

    “Sucker Punch, again!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Of course. You have a good rest.”

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

    Encountering a criminal organization and seeing a wormhole in action. This wasn’t what he expected on the first couple days of his trip. Now he wondered what else Alola has in store for him.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
  9. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Definitely a winter

    Evidently, Grimsley doesn't think much of Shopping Mall 9. Because that place is supposed to be huge (by DS Pokémon game standards).

    I think it's very much in-line with his character for Grimsley to end up in the kimono by luck/chance/whatever you want to call it. And I liked his total WTF reaction to the whole Battle Buffet. Because that's exactly how that concept makes me feel. "Let's make our Pokémon beat each other up so we can eat!"

    Grimsley's boredom with the battle at the start is spelled out clearly with how nonchalant he treats the Oricorio, especially once he know it's a type disadvantage. And his reaction to Alolan Graveler is very ho-hum. Which is perfect, because he's not exactly an emotional guy. The games of chance theme naming for his Pokémon (and the advice he gave Ricky) was pretty cute, too. Though, I'm surprised the kid picked up on it right away, if I'm honest.

    I've got mixed opinions on the funeral tidbit. I do like the glimpse into Grimsley's past there, and how it could be possible motivations for his hobbies/behavior now. But I kind of wish it could be expanded on a bit. Especially since it immediately lapsed into Team Skull being their usual, ineffective selves. Of course, you may be planning this in the future. So, you can totally ignore this if that's the case.

    As for the ending, Ultra Wormholes! Grimsley's reaction is ridiculously stoic. I don't know if that was intentional, but it works because he strikes me as a guy who never gets phased by anything. I'm curious if you intend on doing a take on that little tidbit we saw in one of the USUM trailers. I do think that particular UB would be a good opponent for Nanu and Grimsley, given the whole dark-type theme we have going on.

    Before I go, just a few typo things I spotted:

    Caught a missed paragraph space here.

    You used its and her for Oricorio here.

    Did you mean "retaliated?"

    Should be "wonder."
     
  10. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine a lonesome harp guitar

    Ah, I was looking forward to the explanation for why the Gym Leader from Fake America turned up in Alola wearing a kimono. It's perfectly in character, too; your character portraits continue to hit all the right notes.

    I also love your description of the Battle Buffet, which is like objectively the worst idea for a restaurant ever (violent contact sports among the dining tables! nothing about that could possibly ever go wrong!); it's such a fun setting to put a character like Grimsley in, you know? Like, he's so laid-back it's almost a clinical condition (and arguably maybe it actually is), and then you have all this chaos swirling around him. The contrast is great.

    Man, I love Grimsley. Like okay, cool, I just saw the fabric of space and time tear open, but you know, this stuff happens. I've never really thought about him as anything other than a one-dimensional threshold guardian, but that's the great thing about fanfiction, I guess, that you get to see all these characters as you've never seen them before, through the eyes of others.

    Your prose itself is pretty solid, but occasionally there are a few moments where it could benefit from a little polish:

    I think it's Brycen-Man, rather than Bryceman.

    I feel like maybe it's a bit odd to have this in present tense when the rest of the story isn't? I guess it's because it's something Grimsley's thinking, but since it's not explicitly identified as a thought, more in the way of free indirect discourse, I think putting it in the past tense would work best.

    As it stands, that sort of implies the oricorio dresses in the skirt right now; to imply it was already dressed that way, adding 'was' before 'dressed' would work.

    Another tense confusion thing – I think it should be 'had'.

    'Glimpse' isn't usually used with a preposition like that. 'He often glimpsed the names engraved, etc' or 'He often glanced at, etc' would work better.

    Anyway! Another chapter, another great character portrait, another string of interesting interactions – and a bunch of intriguing developments, too. Alola has some wonderfully weird stuff in there, with the UBs and all, and I'm definitely hyped to see the Nanu and Grimsley interaction you've been promising. Looking forward to more!
     
  11. TikTok13

    TikTok13 Lost in a desert

    To quote Grimsley, "Man oh man"! This is a really good Fic, like really good. I love how you wrote Grimsley; he's so bored, as if all the differences in Alola hardly leave an impact on him, and he's just kind of like "Oh, things are different here. Oh well.". The way that you portray him just shows how much of a blank canvas most of the E4 members are - your Grimsley is very different to mine. If fact, your Fic makes me regret cutting mine off (but I'm working on a new project, so that's by the by).

    Onto Nanu. I love how you've portrayed him here as well. You seem to have captured the very essence of Nanu and bottled it and changed it into words. I'm definitely looking forward to the interactions between Grimsley and Nanu, who are undoubtedly some of my favourite characters in the entire gameverse, the former being my favourite Dark-specialist.

    Regarding the rest of the Fic - you've got a plethora of characters that makes me wonder if any of them will be returning in future, and I love your Team Skull descriptions. Also, the picture you paint of Alola is fantastical! You really managed to create accurate and vivid imagery, and creates the sense of being in Alola - I could picture this actually being canon.

    Other than a few typos, this is a really good Fic, and I can't wait to see what else you've got in store for us!
     
  12. Bay

    Bay YEAHHHHHHH

    Ambyssin: Yeah the concept of Battle Buffet is amusing when you think about it. I'm like, "better be careful with not destorying the restaruant while doing Pokemon battles."

    Glad you thought Grimsley's nickname theme there is cute. I had fun coming up names for his Pokemon there.

    Well, to be honest I might reference a bit more of Grimsley's backstory, but I won't go too much indepth since I want Grimsley and Nanu's interactions be more of the focus. And concerning the UB stuff...


    I skimmed though the text dump of US/UM's story, and unless I missed something I didn't see mentions of Nanu and Guzzlord. Most likely it'll be a cutscene with no dialogue. Either way though, I still plan to have Nanu, Grimsley, and a couple characters go against Guzzlord and it should be fun to write.

    Cutlerine: I've been getting a lot of comments, here and elsewhere, over the Battle Buffet haha. I thought of different ways how to approach it and I came up with this.

    I like that line from Grimsley too, lol. I was thinking how he experienced the Pokemon League being taken over and Kyruem, and his apperance in Sun/Moon seems he isn't fazed much by Team Skull with the way he warns the player casually.

    Thanks for pointing out some of the grammar stuff there, I think I fixed most of those. I didn't change Bryceman to Brycen-Man though because I was checking Serebii's page on that PokeStar Studios minigame and the way the series is spelled like Bryceman. Although, the dropdown menu has it "Bryce-Man Strikes Back Harder". The website is being inconsistent. x_x

    TikTok13: Yoooo glad to hear you're like this so far! Yeah, I was sad when you mentioned you're stopping your Grimsley story, I was digging your take on him too. I did see you're working on another story, hopefully I'll have time to check that out someday.

    I'll be introducing more characters, both original and canon ones, and some of them will be making reappearances. Ronald is actually one of the NPCs in the Battle Buffet and in it he has a Toucannon. ;)

    Dropping by to say also that I had sent Chapter Three to be beta'ed, and if things go according to plan I should be able to post it before US/UM's release next week!
     
  13. Bay

    Bay YEAHHHHHHH

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

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

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

    Chapter Three
    Flatter


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Xxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “I appreciate it, thank you very much the both of you,” Grimsley said with a small smile and bowed his head. Today he did travel for a while and was already overwhelmed upon his visit in the Aether House, so some rest would be good.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2018
  14. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine a lonesome harp guitar

    Ah, right, that makes sense. See, I think I got it from Bulbapedia, which confusingly calls it “Brycen-Man”, so now there's a complete and total lack of consensus, I guess. I have no idea which one is right, if any. Weird.

    But onto this chapter! I do like how Grimsley absorbs his knowledge of unfamiliar things by reference to what he knows already – when he compares Malie to Johto, for instance, or finds similarities between Tapu Bulu and Terrakion. It's a subtle but effective way of rounding out his character; you give us these brief windows into his past and the points of reference he's picked up over the years. I wouldn't have made the link between Bulu and Terrakion myself, and the fact that Grimsley does is quite characterful.

    And Nanu returns, in as fine form as ever. Gruff, grumpy, and secretly attentive. He and Acerola bounce off one another really nicely – I did notice that in-game, too, and it's cool to see you building on that here. There's a lot of cool attention to in-game detail in this chapter, actually – the oranguru turning up in Aether House, for instance.

    But of course the main draw of this chapter is that Grimsley and Nanu finally meet. It's an understated sort of meeting, of course, these two being who they are, but it feels like a promising start! Nanu's reaction to Grimsley's coin-tossing nonsense is possibly the first sensible one so far, and there's a strong sense of clashing personalities. Clearly this is the point where things pick up, so while I do have a couple of early thoughts about the direction of the plot I think I'll hold back on them until I've seen a little more of where you're going from this point.

    Also, I love how you have the skarmory interrupt Grimsley's signature coin flip thing. I could say that it's a great emblem of him being pushed out of his routine, and it is, but mostly it's just quite funny.

    A few little things:

    I think a word might be missing here – 'went', between 'Pelipper' and 'soaring', maybe? Or possibly 'soaring' should be 'soared'. Whichever you choose, in the second half of the sentence 'soaring' doesn't agree with 'Wingull and Pelipper'.

    You might be missing the end of the sentence here – from context, I'm guessing something like 'them' or 'this place'?

    This sentence is definitely missing its end. Looks like it got cut off somehow.

    I think you're missing a full stop after 'that'.

    Less of a grammatical issue than a sound one, but I think 'Dust and sand' might sound a bit more natural.

    That should be 'save' rather than 'saved', I think.
     
  15. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Fiiiinally sitting down to review this! Sorry it took so long! \o/

    [spoil]Chapter 1:
    Less than a page in, and I already feel for the guy.

    Iris, I have to admit, is very cute here. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of her because she does a lot of explaining here (defining what Alola is, telling Grimsley that it has no Elite Four, letting him know who’ll take his place while he’s gone, that sort of thing), but on the other hand, it’s adorable that she’s really reaching out to Grimsley and trying her best to assure him that he can take a vacation without having to worry about much. In short, she’s acting like the leader of the Elite Four, and to be honest … I can’t entirely recall a fic that portrays the champion in that sort of light—like they’re responsible for keeping the Elite Four together and helping them when they’re in need and all. Idk, it feels like a minor point to bring up, but long story short, it’s just nice to see Iris shoulder her champion’s duties, yanno?

    I do have to admit that I’m trying my hardest not to crit too much right off the bat, but I also feel like the conversation with Grimsley’s mother could probably be dropped here. See, Grimsley already decided to head out, and the scene with the Elite Four did a lot to solidify his reasons for going and how much he needs to go in the first place; the scene with his mother almost seems to double back on the same sort of feel you’re going for in the previous scene. (As in, it’s another scene where Grimsley voices his concerns about being burned out and about whether or not he should go on vacation, and another character/characters expresses that, no, he definitely should go if that would make him happy.) So, I’d go with one or the other, and sad to say, the Elite Four are more recognizable as characters than his mother (and thus, we understand their relationship to Grimsley more than his relationship with Minato), which means Grimsley’s interaction with the Elite Four tends to be more meaningful because we have a better idea of how much their advice would mean to him and what they mean to his character in general.

    (You could probably also cut out all those bits about how he traveled from Unova to Alola. Less exposition means you get to spend more time building a scene, yanno?)

    I will say this, though: I love how, in your work, one can get a sense of a character within a few lines. Like, Nanu just barely spoke, and already, we know exactly what kind of person he is and just how much grumpiness this man carries around on a daily basis. I almost had to laugh because this line was just concentrated Nanu, which means it’s great.

    But! I do have to say I’m surprised by how rough Nanu is with Team Skull. I mean, it’s an interpretation (and I’m the last person one should ask about canon compliance lmao), but idk. I’m so used to interpretations of Nanu as this fatherly figure that it’s just interesting to see how he just straight-up schools the Skull kids hard. ...And honestly, come to think of it, it’s kinda more canon compliant than the father-figure idea, isn’t it? I mean, sure, Nanu’s worried about the state of his island, but then again, he’s also canonically a little irritated by the invasion of Po Town, right? Even going as far as to wishing the player luck for doing something as stupid as going in? So! In other words, idk, I’m thinking as I’m writing, but I think the point is that I’ve never really seen a Nanu that’s so closely canon compliant as yours, which is actually a good thing (because not everything is fuzzy and pure, Tumblr).

    Also, that’s the kickassiest Z-move description I’ve read. Just sayin’.


    Chapter 2:
    The battle here was actually really well done! The pacing’s great, and the choreography is excellent, especially around the Queen vs. Graveler part. In that part, you amped up the description a little, so rather than having a pokémon get floored rather quickly, you can really see Queen and Graveler trading blows. It helps that you utilized Graveler’s element rather well by throwing off sparks and rocks left and right, so it’s easier to visualize what’s going on without, yanno, it fizzling out like Revelation Dance did, haha. Not that having Ricky use Revelation Dance against a dark-type was a bad thing at all! If anything, that part showed his age and lack of experience, which in turn added a little depth to the start of the battle (because who else but a kid would try to claim a pizza for themselves and then decide to battle for it?), not to mention to the scene on the beach afterwards (with Grimsley attempting to mentor Ricky just a little).

    I do think that some of the language and transitions could be smoothed a bit more, though. For example, the flashback to the funeral for Grimsley’s father kinda comes and goes, and while it does tell us what he’s doing there and where his mind basically is (and a little bit of his backstory), it also sort of removes us from the action and present for several paragraphs, then plops us back into the present. It also sticks out a bit also because this is the only time the story does this so far, so it feels a teeny bit more jarring because it’s hard to say whether or not this is going to be a consistent part of the style. It might be better simply to summarize or to elaborate in the present what’s going through Grimsley’s mind. Maybe something like, “He remembered this about his father’s funeral. He could feel this about it,” and so on and so forth, you know?

    That and some of the language is just a bit … off. (“Deep pants,” for example.)

    Still, this was a good way to establish Grimsley’s character, you know? He feels a little detached from his position of authority and, well, everything else, but at the same time, it’s very clear that he cares on some level. I mean, he fought Team Skull because it was just right, you know? He went after Ricky to encourage him, and he protected Ronald and his pokémon. It’s clear that Grimsley’s got a good heart, and it should be fun to watch him interact with Nanu. :D

    Chapter 3:
    Ngl, Acerola is adorable. (I miiiiight just be biased, tho, lmao.)

    I’d hate to offer a lot of crit for this chapter, but I feel like it’s rougher than last. In some cases (e.g., “potions and other stuff”), the text reads a bit too conversationally when it should be a bit tighter and more specific. Other times (for example: “Team Skull mostly kept themselves inside Po Town except on some occasions”), the text can be either redundant or contradictory to itself. (In the cited example, it’s a bit redundant because mostly already implies that there are times when Team Skull doesn’t keep themselves inside Po Town.) And other times, you include details that aren’t quite necessary, either in the dialogue or the narration, except seemingly to give the reader a complete picture. (For example here, knowing the full details of what Grimsley ate in Sushi High Roller isn’t necessary for driving forward the story, yet it’s still listed anyway.)

    One of the interesting things about this is that it seems like a lot of these issues are actually mirrors of your personal way of speaking. For example, the bit about “potions and other stuff” is definitely something you would say. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; a lot of successful writing involves bringing in the author’s personal voice on one level or another. It’s just that sometimes, understanding the root cause of odd habits in your writing—such as, in this case, training yourself to use language a certain way on a day-to-day basis and thus bringing it into your fics—might actually help in untangling what would otherwise be a persistent frustration for you. ‘Cause, yanno, I know you’re always worried about precisely the sort of thing I’m describing here. In other words, sometimes, improvement needs to happen outside of your work as well as within it. Training yourself to avoid describing things as “stuff,” for one example (not to abuse a phrase), might help you avoid it in writing when you don’t need it. Taking note of how you talk about your day to someone else might help you figure out the best strategies for doing it in writing. That kind of thing.

    Of course, I should definitely emphasize that it’s not a bad thing that there are rough spots. We all have rough spots in our writing, even if people don’t always point them out. So as critical as this note may be, don’t stress out too much! I know you’ve worked hard for years to improve, but sometimes, improvement is imperceptible. So … yeah. Juuuuust throwing that in there too.

    Anyway!

    I mean, fair, but still, Nanu. :V

    Also, I am here for mimikyu messing with Grimsley. 10/10, absolutely adorable interaction. I mean, doubly so because Grimsley has, so far, been this super-serious, slightly broody character. Sure, he’s had moments of tenderness and vulnerability (especially in the last chapter), but he’s far, far from the sort of character who I’d imagine as having a sense of humor. So in other words, it was actually quite nice to see you rough him up a bit in the latter half of this chapter—you know, with his stomach doing backflips during the ride over and the yungoos and mimikyu messing with him and all. It makes him just a teeny bit more human … or at least more of a target than he would be otherwise, lmao.

    Hunter is also adorable af. Like, just the bit about how he’s super-determined to take on an Elite Four member with just an elekid. A+, kid. Live your dreams.[/spoil]

    In short, I admit there were a few rough spots here and there, but underneath the roughness, there’s definite potential. And what’s a bit awkward about the rough spots is that it’s often hard to communicate precisely what’s rough—or, well, more accurately, what general rule you can take away to avoid it in the future. I honestly think, though, that a lot of it just has to do with training yourself to use language a certain way outside of fic or being a bit more aware of how you speak and how it relates to your writing because, absolutely, a lot of the issues I’m seeing are quirks I’ve noticed in the way you speak and convey ideas in chats. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but that might be why you feel like you’ve hit roadblocks so often.

    But! Like I said, there’s definite potential here. Grimsley is a likable character with a clear sense of depth, despite the fact that he’s actively trying to be passive. That is, he wants to kick back and relax, and part of that involves divorcing himself from his duties and responsibilities as a member of the Elite Four. But at the same time, he can’t help but fulfill part of what that means by being aware of the problems around him and serving as both a protector and mentor. I mean, just look at how he interacts with literally every small child. Ricky, Hunter … it doesn’t matter. He clearly respects them and takes time to guide them, even in little ways.

    Nanu, although he hasn’t had quite as much screen time, seems to have been cut from the same cloth as Grimsley … which, knowing what you had in mind for this fic even before you posted it, was probably 100% intentional. The only real difference between Grimsley and Nanu seems to be the fact that Nanu is apparently rougher. Sure, Grimsley has also beaten up Team Skull grunts, but he did it simply because, well, as you do when faced with Team Token Evil. (I, too, did not miss the references to Team Plasma, on that note.) But Nanu? Nanu is clearly flippin’ tired. He could’ve arrested the Skull grunts, but he didn’t. Instead, he just scared them off, which honestly says quite a lot. I suppose there are a few streaks of fanon Nanu here, the sort that views Skull as a nuisance but more of the misguided troublemaker variety than of the “needs to be dragged kicking and screaming to jail” variety.

    But between Grimsley’s curiosity and Nanu’s no-nonsense attitude thus far, it should be interesting to see how their slight differences make them clash. Especially since Grimsley’s forcing Nanu to head to Haina Desert.

    In short, not a bad first three chapters! :D Keep up the good work!
     
  16. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Definitely a winter

    Even though I played USUM recently, I can't remember if those books Grimsley are reading are ones the player can peek at in Malie's library. I'm pretty confident they are, which makes that beginning scene a neat little Easter egg. Not to mention, Acerola gets a tip of the hat. Grimsley continues to be so casual and nonchalant about the destructive Tapu Bulu. Nanu having a son caught me by surprise. Maybe it was his indifferent attitude or the crazy cat lady atmosphere in his police station, but I got the feeling he didn't really have much family to speak of. But that's what creative liberties are for, I guess. Nanu seems very exhausted, for lack of a better word, going through that battle tidbit. Acerola's as cutesy as ever, playing off of Nanu's complete indifference to everything. Having him not bothering to visit Tapu Bulu is most definitely something he'd do, too.

    The sightseeing tidbit on the flying-types has a healthy smattering of little Alola tidbits without getting too bogged down in one thing in particular. RIP, Alola Forms. Your true potential was never discovered. Though, I'm going to question how Becky can grab a Mimikyu and pluck it off Grimsley without yanking its disguise off and cursing everyone. Game logic, I suppose. With all these canon characters showing up in one place in the Aether House, you definitely nail them all. Even lesser ones like Hunter, who kinda charged headfirst into a battle with that Elekid.

    I find these little age jokes amusing, but this one in particularly is even more amusing in light of USUM...

    ... where an NPC specifically mentions Grimsely as being a retired E4 member, so he's definitely gotten older in that universe, anyway.

    Anyway, don't want to repeat myself too much. But this chapter in particular reads like a set of events that could easily be happening behind-the-scenes during one of the Gen VII games. The actual meeting between the two is not what you would call exciting. But in this case, that's appropriate considering who Nanu and Grimsley are to begin with. Acerola's providing all the energy in this case. Thus, it all makes perfect sense. Nice work.

    I should point out, I think there are a few instances where the narration lost the past tense for a moment. Probably just some typos. I spotted this one:

    And:
    The location's Blush Mountain, not blue.
     
  17. Sike Saner

    Sike Saner *aromatisse noise*

    Chapter 2:

    Heh, I bet Ricky thought his birdie was gonna weather that psycho cut just fine. GUESS AGAIN, NERD. >:D That's the sort of thing that happens when you're dealing with an elite's pokémon. An elite's pokémon who knows something that crits left and right, what's more. Tough break, kid!

    Anyone going to that restaurant is automatically braver than I am. Like, I like pizza and whatnot, but not enough to risk a graveler to the face. XD;

    Four hours later the slowpoke was probably like "...ow wtf" :p

    Chapter 3:

    Nanu definitely comes across as someone who does his job out of pure obligation, no enthusiasm whatsoever, much as he does in-game. Props for hitting that mark; it's one of the most interesting things about him as a character. It's gotta feel Not Great, after all, being forced into a role you didn't ask for.

    Also the mention of people playing with his persian's head just made me think of this.

    Oh yeah, and it was cool to get an answer as to where the heck the skarmory Grimsley mentions in-game could've possibly come from. :D
     
  18. TikTok13

    TikTok13 Lost in a desert

    Hey, me again!
    This chapter is another great one. I still love your characterisation of Grimsley, and the links you put regarding the games. Like the Skarmory for instance, and Grimsley's reaction felt perfect when it took his coin. I also quite liked the way you linked the Aether Foundation to Team Plasma, and it was quite a clever little connection that Grimsley would be bound to pick up on.

    I love how Acerola and Nanu bounce off of each other, and it's such a realistic chemistry. But hold a diddly minute. Nanu has a family?! Is that actually Canon? I always pictured him as a lonely old cat man and didn't see the need for other people. Either way, it's an interesting twist, and I still love him to bits. Keep up the good work!
     
  19. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    Hey! I told ya I'd get around to this. Is two months or something too late? lol... Thanks for the patience. :p

    Chapter One

    I like this mantra a lot. For an Elite Four member who has a lot of influence over other trainers, this is super important on both a professional and personal level.

    Grimsley's stubborn, eh? I'm not really sure how he's portrayed elsewhere, and he never stuck out at me as a character in the games, but you portray his character pretty well. He doesn't seem like the type to take people's advice and would rather leave things to chance. The coin flipping thing only adds to his gambling habit that poeple keep bringing up throughout the chapters so far.

    Going to Alola does seem like a huge commitment without much thought put into it, though. He thinks about money and other people he knows, which fits with what I know of his character, but surely as an Elite Four member he's got other commitments he can't leave? I'm not sure what the job is like in this fic outside of battling challengers.

    Heh, early title drop. It's an apt title for sure. I like it a lot. :3

    Chapter Two

    Trying to find trainers to present a bigger challenge in battles is a goal for characters I've seen before, but your version of Grimsley is interesting because of the rather unconventional means he'll go through to find such challenges, ie. the gambling and whatnot.

    This is adorable. XD

    Chapter Three

    Lol, I also like Nanu's character here. He's not quite so broody like I see him written in other fics. Him and Grimsley seem like they'll hit it off just fine, too, haha. Neither of them seem too glad to be in each other's presence, so I anticipate lots of shenanigans and sarcasm between them and their travels. :p

    Looking forward to more!
     
  20. DreamSayer

    DreamSayer Dreamzone Trainer

    Review for Chapter 1

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

    We already see Nanu being a badass in the second half of the story, and I find it interesting that this takes place at the same time as SMs plot, which makes more sense the more i think about it. Regardless, I look forward to seeing where this goes.
     

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