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Foul Play

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

  1. Bay

    Bay YEAHHHHHHH

    Chapter Thirteen
    Payback


    The next day, Grimsley used his Page Rider to have a Pokémon be dropped for him. He rode on a Flygon, who took him from Malie City to Route 16. As they soared through the skies, he gazed down to see them passing through the grasses and palm trees of Route 11, the rocky and desert terrains of Routes 12 and 13, the ruins of Tapu Village and Route 14’s abandoned supermarket, and the waters of Route 15. Grimsley’s hair whipped through the rushing air, and the beat of Flygon's wings vibrated against his ears.

    He gazed down to see some land, a Pokémon Center, and another building with the Aether Foundation’s star symbol. There were some people and children outside. He let Flygon know this was his stop, and she swooped down.

    When they finally reached Route 16, she landed close to Ula’ula Meadows and he jumped off from her back. He thanked her for dropping him here, then Grimsley watched her take off for a moment before he set foot inside Ula’ula Meadows.

    Wild red flowers bloomed throughout the meadow. Grimsley's shoes creaked against the wooden bridge as he inhaled the sweet nectar that hung in the air. Red birds reminiscent of tango dancers popped out and flew frantically, which Grimsley assumed to be the Oricorio Iokua had warned him about. They looked similar to Ricky's Oricorio that Queen had battled against some days ago. He continued to move further until he saw a sign that indicated Po Town was to the left, Lake of the Moone to the right.

    While pondering where he should go first, Grimsley stroked his chin. After a moment, he pulled his coin out and gazed at it on his palm.

    "Heads, Po Town. Tails, Lake of the Moone."

    Grimsley tossed the coin up in the air, and then caught it with one hand. He opened his palm to see it landed on tails. He grunted and headed towards Lake of the Moone.

    The bell-like curved trail towards there was several minutes long. He stopped when he reached a massive shrine that looked to be generations old. It was surrounded by a lake that sparkled like the moon. In front of the bridge to the shrine was a decorative tower with compass roses in the middle. There seemed to be another tower that had fallen and broken in half. Grimsley crossed the bridge and stepped inside.

    Grimsley's footsteps echoed through the ruins' empty and hollow chamber. There were cracks on the walls and floor, and some rubble was left behind. The temperature inside was colder than the Ruins of Abundance. His nose wrinkled at the dust and spiderwebs that had formed. He wondered if this was a temple or sanctuary where people would worship Lunala.

    He took the steps down, continuing forward. It was a long hall with many wooden doors. Grimsley tried to open a few of them, but they were either jammed or blocked by more rubble. Water leaked through the walls like a small cut on the skin. Grimsley could make out light from a short distance, and so he followed that path.

    When Grimsley made it outside, he thought he was in a garden. There were several tall trees and bushes with white flowers. A dirt path was formed that then branched into three paths. The left path was blocked by a small cliff while the right was blocked by large boulders. Grimsley took the straight path that led him to a stone wall and some stairs. In front were two compass rose towers, like the ones just outside the ruins. Grimsley touched one of the towers, cold and rough against his palm.

    Grimsley took the stairway up, but then stopped where two pedestals with the moon symbol stood. It was exactly like the flute drawing from Alola's Light. He shifted his gaze, and his eyes grew wide when a flash of white light appeared up ahead.

    Right now, Colress, Dawson his Beheeyem, and the Ultra Recon Squad stood on top of the platform.

    Grimsley's throat was tied in a knot. He hid behind the pedestal and eavesdropped on their conversation.

    "This is where we'll meet with one of your other members?" Colress asked.

    "I'm positive," Dulse said. "I already send Soliera the coordinates. She should be here any moment."

    "Oh, I wonder if she's gonna ride Lunala or Solgaleo here!" Zossie said, her feet bouncing.

    Grimsley quirked a curious brow. Did she mean Lunala and Solgaleo from the Alolan folklore? Dulse cleared his throat and faced Colress.

    "According to our research, the Lake of the Moone brushes up against another world like Alola. A parallel universe, if you will."

    Colress grinned. "I've read about those from various scientific journals. Both here and the Altar of the Sunne are fascinating places."

    Grimsley pressed his lips, his forehead knitting a furrowed brow. He still wasn't sure what to feel about alternate dimensions days after he had talked to Burnet about those.

    "She's coming, she's coming!" Zossie jumped up and down, pointing to the sky.

    A thunder-like clap exploded in the air. Gazing up, Grimsley spotted a small wormhole opening up. A majestic bat-like creature that resembled Lunala popped out, letting out a shrill cry. Their wings sparkled like stars with each loud beat. A woman that wore the same spacesuit as Dulse and Zossie rode on their back. They eventually landed on the platform, and the woman hopped off.

    "Soliera!" Zossie rushed and hugged her on the waist.

    “It's great to see you too, dear," Soliera said with a warm smile, returning the embrace. After they let go, she approached Colress. "I'm Soliera, another member of the Ultra Recon Squad."

    "Colress, at your service." He and Soliera shook hands.

    "Dulse and Zossie told me that you'll be helping us restraining Necrozma."

    "Indeed, I am. I'm almost done with the machine. I just need as much information on Necrozma as possible to fill in some data!"

    "I have it all right here." Soliera pulled out what looked to be a flashdrive and handed it to Colress. He nodded.

    "Thank you. This should be very useful!"

    Soliera frowned and faced Dulse. She folded her arms against her chest.

    "Captain Phyco wasn't happy when you made that request. Necrozma is getting more unstable by the minute. He’s also weary that the International Police are watching over us."

    “The International Police are indeed keeping tabs on you,” Colress said. “As long as you help with my and Aether’s research, there’s nothing to worry about.”

    "Colress has proven to be experienced with the ways of Pokémon," Dulse said. “This shouldn't be a problem."

    "Yeah, Mr. Scientist Man here is really smart!" Zossie said, grinning. Dawson approached her, the gems on his fingers flashing. She giggled and patted him. "His Pokémon are also very friendly!"

    Soliera seemed to regard them for a moment. "All right, I trust you two's judgment."

    Lunala cried and flapped their wings. Their body lit up in white light, brighter than the sun. Dawson squeaked and hid behind his trainer. Looking up at the legendary Pokémon, Colress grinned.

    "I must say, your Lunala radiates so much light. It's astounding!"

    Grimsley couldn't tear his gaze off of Lunala. He was reminded of the Alolan folklore when Lunala and Solgaleo would give their light to reawaken the Blinding One from their long sleep. Another few seconds passed until Lunala's light faded.

    "Lunala had passed down some of its light to Necrozma, but it wasn't enough," Dulse said. "We were afraid it would get too greedy, so we kept Lunala far away from Necrozma as much as possible."

    "Necrozma sounded so sad," Zossie said, sounding more upset than her usual joyful self. She hung her head down. "That's why Dulse and I volunteered to go to Alola and find a way to help it."

    "Once I have the machine ready, Necrozma won't have to suffer anymore," Colress said.

    Grimsley shifted his gaze away from the group and grimaced. An uneasy feeling settled in the pit of his stomach. He could tell the moment Colress had laid his eyes on Lunala that he wanted to use them for his own means. The same could be applied to Necrozma. The Ultra Recon Squad were foolish to have him help them.

    "I should head back to Ultra Megalopolis," Soliera said. "Captain Phyco won't be able to handle things alone."

    "Aw, you can't stay here longer?" Zossie pouted. "I think you'll love Alola!"

    "I'm sure Alola is lovely, but I'm needed back there." Soliera dropped to one knee and touched her shoulder. "If there's anything else you three need, let me know."

    "We will!" Zossie said, her face lit up. She and Soliera embraced.

    "You and Lunala have a safe trip back home," Dulse said.

    Soliera nodded and did the Ultra Recon Squad's version of the Alola rainbow sign. When she approached Lunala, they lowered themselves so that she could hop on their back.

    "Lunala, to Ultra Megalopolis!"

    Lunala bellowed with enthusiasm and the wormhole popped up. They and Soliera took off, going through that wormhole before it closed up and disappeared.

    "Now that I have what I needed, shall we head back to Aether Paradise?"

    "Yes, that is fine," Dulse said.

    "Wonderful!" Colress said, looking at his Pokémon. Dawson nodded and his eyes glowed green. White light surrounded everyone, and they vanished.

    Grimsley stared at the empty platform in stunned silence. He put his back on the pedestal, and released a deep breath. He and Colress definitely needed that talk.

    xxx

    After Grimsley had left Lake of the Moone, he was still digesting everything he had seen there. He reminded himself that he was initially here to talk with Nanu, so he brushed off his thoughts on Colress and the Ultra Recon Squad for now.

    The red Oricorio were still dancing wildly and the nectar’s scent grew stronger. He moved further until he saw Nanu in the middle of a field of those red flowers. Smirking, Grimsley jumped off the bridge.

    “I didn’t think you would be the type to admire this kind of beauty,” he said while approaching Nanu, who glared at him.

    “You already want a battle against me? The answer’s no if you’re wondering.”

    Grimsley frowned. “While I still wish for that to happen, that’s not why I’m here. I talked to Iokua recently about a certain past of yours.”

    “You mean during my time as an Interpol officer?” Nanu asked, and Grimsley nodded. He sighed. “What did he tell you?”

    “That you were pretty down after that incident. Also, that your mission might’ve been involved with a certain type of powerful Pokémon.”

    That last statement made Nanu freeze, and his face tensed. Their eyes locked, and Nanu gave him a hard stare. Red petals floated in the air, swirling around them.

    “Let’s go to the police station.” He dusted off some of the petals that landed on his hair and clothes and started walking. Grimsley followed behind.

    As they exited Ula’ula Meadows and slipped into Route 17, Grimsley glimpsed around the several grass fields and rolling hills. Gray skies hung over them and a cold breeze caressed his skin. He lifted his gaze at the large wall that stood as tall as towers; Grimsley assumed that must be Po Town.

    It wasn’t long until they made it to the police station and stepped inside. Grimsley cringed upon seeing the many clothes and piles of papers left alone, and he was astonished over the several dark-furred Meowth that took over inside. Grimsley sat on a couch while Nanu sat next to his desk.

    “Oh my, you have a horde of Meowth here.”

    “Meowth are all right. They don’t care about you or anything.” Nanu leaned against his chair, stretching his arms behind his head. “You were talking about the Ultra Beasts, huh?”

    “Yes,” Grimsley said after he swallowed. “Iokua and I talked for a bit, and he thinks you know something about them.”

    Nanu nodded. “When the Ultra Recon Squad showed us Adhesive a while back, I got upset. Aether’s president then announced another one of those things appeared in her little Pokémon utopia. From experience, I know the Ultra Beasts aren’t beings to be taken lightly.”

    As Grimsley listened to Nanu’s explanation, a Meowth rubbed against his leg. His gaze fell on the little feline, and when he scratched his chin the Meowth purred in delight.

    “I recall you scoffing at Becky’s suggestion in letting the Aether Foundation help you with Team Skull. Is that why you’re wary of them?”

    “Sorta.” Another Meowth curled around Nanu’s desk and he scratched behind her ear. “We’ve been getting word Aether have been doing their own research on the Ultra Wormholes, but there’s no proof that the foundation was responsible for those. At least, not yet.”

    “How about the Aether Foundation working with the Ultra Recon Squad? You think their collaboration is genuine?”

    “To be honest, I don’t know. Based on our interactions with the Ultra Recon Squad, they seemed serious about that.”

    “Yes, that looks to be the case.” Grimsley recalled that night when Nanu had told him about the woman in the picture. He asked, “That late colleague of yours. Can you tell me a bit about her?”

    Nanu stopped petting the Meowth, who growled sadly at him. He sat straight back up, furrowing his brow at him. After a moment, he dragged out a deep sigh.

    “Her name was Sana. As I said before, we didn’t get along but still worked well together. She didn’t remember much of her past, except that she was from Unova and a scientist. A much more competent battler than our other member, Agent Looker.”

    “She sounds interesting. How come you two didn’t get along but still worked well together?”

    “We knew one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and kept each other in line. She was one of the better agents I’ve worked with.” Nanu stared at the ceiling, rubbing his forehead. “Now it’s your turn.”

    “Huh?” Grimsley asked, genuinely confused. “My turn for what?”

    “I’ve told you a little bit of my past, so it’s only fair you do the same. Like, I know you’re from Unova and of the Elite Four, but nothing else beyond that.”

    “Oh.” Grimsley tapped on his chin while he pondered over what he was willing to reveal to Nanu. “Well, I did mention to Iokua how I came from a wealthy family. Several villas across the globe, servants, fancy parties, the works.”

    “So you were a spoiled rich brat, huh?” Nanu snorted. “I can imagine that.”

    “I would be lying if I didn’t say that all of that felt good.” Grimsley glanced down to see the Meowth now lying on the floor and he scratched his neck. “My mother used to be a professional gambler, but then stopped shortly after I was born. My father had owned a hotel chain and a few sports teams. One of those hotels had a casino, and that was how my parents had met.”

    Nanu grunted, a crooked smile on his lips. “Somehow that fits you and your parents.”

    “As you said, I was a spoiled brat. That ended though when my father had passed away and left me as the head of the house. There were heated discussions over my father’s inheritance and his side of the family wouldn’t help us.”

    “How come?”

    “They never approved of my father’s marriage to my mother. Thus, we were on our own. Luckily she had taught me her trade at a young age, so I was able to support us while I traveled through Unova.”

    Nanu regarded him a moment, as if sinking all of Grimsley’s story in. “Huh, no wonder you're into talking about chances and carrying that coin of yours all the time. What got you into Pokémon training, then?”

    Grimsley stopped playing with the Meowth and lifted his gaze at Nanu. He smirked at him.

    “I learned that gambling and Pokémon battles aren’t so different. Both require some thought on what moves you want to make, and both have a winner and a loser. In the end, there’s always a risk and a reward.”

    An amused grunt escaped from Nanu. “I must admit that is some comparison you have there, vampire boy.”

    Being called that again led Grimsley to furrow his brow, but then his face relaxed and he chuckled. When he finished petting Meowth, the feline bounced off and went to play with one of the other Meowth.

    “Mr. Dark and Gritty already has a nickname for me, hm?”

    Already Nanu tossed him a stern look.

    “Don’t push it. And never call me that again.” He cleared his throat. “Anything else you want to talk about?”

    Grimsley pondered over that for a moment. His mind flashed back to Colress and the Ultra Recon Squad in Lake of the Moone. He didn’t want to think about that again, but what had happened there was important for Nanu to know.

    “Do you know anything about the Lake of the Moone?”

    “It used to be a sanctuary where people would worship Lunala. Why you ask?”

    “I was visiting there earlier today. Colress was with the Ultra Recon Squad, and another member of theirs had Lunala with them.”

    “What? Seriously? The more I hear about those guys, the weirder they get.”

    “Well they’re apparently from another planet, but yes that’s what I saw. One of the members delivered something for Colress’s machine.”

    “If what you said is true, then I can let my former colleagues in Interpol know about that.”

    Grimsley grunted and offered Nanu a solemn nod. He hoped that would lead Interpol into investigating Colress and the Ultra Recon Squad more.

    Just then, a stone shattered the window and hit the wall, several pieces of glass lying on the floor. The Meowth on Nanu’s desk screeched and jumped off due to that noise. Both Grimsley and Nanu stood up and exchanged baffled looks. Someone’s cackle could be heard from outside.

    “Yo, police officer! Your old pals Dennis and Felicia here want to have a little chat with you,” a male’s voice yelled out. Nanu groaned, which made Grimsley look at him over his shoulder.

    “You know those two?” he asked, arching an eyebrow.

    “They’re Team Skull grunts residing in Po Town. I kicked their butts some weeks ago. You wait here.”

    Nanu flicked his wrist, and then he stepped outside. Curious about them, Grimsley did the same.

    When Grimsley stepped out of the police station, he was greeted by two people in dark baggy clothing and doing their unusual poses. He recognized their wardrobe to be of Team Skull based on his last encounter with them. Nanu narrowed his eyes at the grunts.

    “You guys should've stayed put in Po Town,” he said in a gruff voice.

    “After the way you wrecked us bad last time, we want a rematch,” the female grunt, that Grimsley assumed would be Felicia, said.

    “Yeah!” the male grunt, Dennis, said and pumped his fist. “Like our big bro, Guzma, you can’t take us down that easily!”

    As Grimsley glanced over his shoulder, he caught Nanu fixing his stare at the grunts. He faced back at Dennis and Felicia, making a few steps forward.

    “Man oh man, what is going on today? Two Team Skull grunts harassing a police officer, it seems?”

    “Who the hell are you?” Dennis asked with wide eyes, tilting his head.

    “Oh, me?” Acting surprised, Grimsley gasped and pointed a finger at himself. “Just a trainer passing through this little region.”

    An unimpressed look stretched across Felicia’s face. She had her hand on her hip.

    “Hold up, D. I think this is the kimono guy that crushed Jo-Jo and Mikey back in Melemele Island.”

    “For real?” Dennis stared at Grimsley and grunted. “Sounds like you ain’t from around here.”

    “Either way, our cop friend there got himself a new buddy to make this even.”

    Glaring at him, Nanu said through gritted teeth, “I thought I told you to stay inside.”

    “It wouldn’t be wise of me to leave you alone with those two in case something happens,” Grimsley said, his voice dropping slightly. An idea came to him, and he looked back at the grunts. “You two want a rematch against Nanu, correct?”

    “Of course,” Dennis said with a raised brow. “So what’s it to you?”

    “A Pokémon battle always has a winner and a loser. It’s pathetic to make a big deal out of losing if you aren’t prepared.” Grimsley craned his neck back, flashing his teeth. “So tell me, do you have the right cards to win this next battle?” he asked, and Dennis and Felicia shot him perplexed looks. Grimsley glanced at Nanu, his glare still locked at him.

    “What are you blabbering on about?” Dennis asked with his shoulders hunched. “You tryin’ to mess with our heads, man?”

    Grimsley shrugged. “I was just asking if you two are prepared. But how about we wager for real?” He pulled out the coin from his kimono, his fingers rubbing at its edge. “Heads or tails. One result will be you guys leaving Officer Nanu alone. The other result will be a Pokémon battle against us.”

    Once more, the two grunts exchanged baffled expressions. When they faced back at him, Felicia said, “Fine. Heads.”

    “Are you sure this is a good idea?” Nanu asked, raising a suspicious brow.

    In response, Grimsley gave an amused grunt. He tossed the coin in the air, waiting a few seconds until catching it. When he opened his palm, the coin landed on heads. Nanu slapped his forehead and groaned.

    “Nice going there, genius,” he said, but Grimsley ignored the sarcasm there. Both Felicia and Dennis chuckled and grinned.

    "Looks like we'll have our payback after all," Felicia said, and she turned to Dennis. "You take that cop while I handle the other dude."

    "You go it!" Dennis said, and he and Felicia threw their pokéballs up in the air. Two Pokémon were released, one Grimsley recognized as Haunter and the other a Raticate, but with darker fur and much bigger cheeks. Haunter screeched while Raticate opened his mouth wide to show off his fangs.

    Nanu and Grimsley also released their own Pokémon onto the battlefield. Grimsley had sent out Queen, who dropped on one knee like a sworn knight. He jerked his head to see Nanu's Persian screech and preparing a battle stance.

    "I focus on my guy, and you do the same," Nanu said.

    "Of course." As Grimsley faced back at his opponent, he smirked. "I've seen my fair share of Raticate in Unova, but nothing like yours."

    "Raticate and I are pretty tight, so you better watch out," Felicia said with a glare and thrust her arm forward. "Let's wreck that dude's Pokémon with Hyper Fang!"

    "Counter with X-Scissor!"

    Felicia's Raticate opened his jaws, showing off his sharp teeth, and launched at Queen. Queen's arms flashed green and she blocked Raticate's assault when they collided. Raticate sunk his teeth onto Queen's right arm, which caused her to unfurl her arms and slash him. Raticate screamed. A minor gash had been left on his face. Felicia furrowed her brow and her lips twitched.

    “Go ahead and slow that Raticate down with Thunder Wave!”

    “Avoid it and get back with Ice Beam!”

    A charge of electricity formed around Queen's raised arms. She launched her Thunder Wave at Raticate, but he jumped at a nearby tree and used his tail to hook himself on the branch, avoiding being paralyzed altogether. While upside down, he inhaled and fired sparks of ice cold energy right at Queen’s chest. Queen grunted and stumbled a little, but she shook it off.

    A smug grin pulled on the corner of Felicia's lips. "Now go for Flame Charge and kick its ass!"

    "Thunder Wave one more time," Grimsley commanded, his voice calm.

    Raticate jumped out from the tree, cloaking himself in flames while in the air, then he landed on the ground and rushed at Queen. Queen's arm crackled in electrical flashes once more. Before Raticate rammed into her, she punched him in the face and that caused him to bounce off and back away. Queen dusted off some flames on her arm and hands, but there were still some scorch marks there.

    The flames around Raticate's body vanished. He glared at Queen, flashing his fangs at her, but then he screeched and his body grew stiff. Felicia stared with wide eyes when that happened.

    Grimsley grinned as this was exactly what he wanted.

    He glanced over his shoulder to see Nanu’s Persian still in good shape while Haunter looked tired and some of his outer skin ripped and deformed. Haunter let out large amounts of electricity at Persian, but the feline dodged in time and shot glimmering crystals straight at her opponent. Believing the man was perfectly fine there, Grimsley turned his attention back to Felicia.

    "Take this chance to strike hard, Queen!"

    "Pull yourself together, bud!" Felicia said with a clenched fist. "Try to shake that paralysis off with Hyper Fang!"

    Still struggling to move, Raticate's body twitched and he hissed in frustration. That gave the perfect opportunity for Queen to slam into Raticate with her forehead and push him against a nearby tree. Raticate crashed onto the trunk, branches and leaves shaking. Raticate collapsed on the ground, and then seconds later got up and spat dirt off from his mouth. Two large bruises bloomed on Raticate's forehead and cheeks.

    Felicia glared at Grimsley and her hand jerked. “Oh, why I outta… Raticate, get wild with Wild Charge!”

    “Stop their assault with Sucker Punch!”

    Able to shake off the paralysis, jolts of electricity shrouded all over Raticate’s body. As Raticate rushed at her, Queen’s arm was veiled in dark energy, and she punched his stomach when he got close to her. Raticate skidded backward with grass and dirt flying everywhere, but he managed to stop himself by digging his feet and tail on the ground. Having the air knocked out of him, he wheezed and his cheeks puffed out. A confident smile tugged onto Grimsley’s lips.

    “That does it, bounce back and give Flame Charge another try!” Felicia lashed out. Her Raticate bared his teeth and his fur burst in flames once more.

    “Let’s end this with one last Iron He—”

    Before Grimsley could finish his command, someone interrupted by yelling out, “Power Gem!” and Nanu's Persian immediately stood in front of Queen. The gem on the feline’s forehead glowed and a bright beam shot at Raticate’s chest. Raticate shrieked and got launched into the air, and he dropped on the ground with a loud thump. With another shaky breath, the rat Pokémon slowly stood back up, but not for long as he collapsed back down and fainted.

    Queen grunted and glared at Persian when she held her head up high, as if proud of herself. Grimsley looked on with his gaping mouth for a moment, and he jerked his head to see Nanu next to him.

    "I thought we weren't supposed to interfere with one another."

    “You were taking too long to finish,” Nanu said in a flat tone. He returned his Pokémon and had his hands in his pockets.

    Grimsley raised a brow at him, and he turned back to see Felicia glaring at them after she had returned her Raticate. Dennis joined her and wore a similar expression.

    “You just got served yourself?” Felicia asked.

    “Yeah. That police officer’s Persian messed Haunter up good again,” Dennis said, his frown deepening. A ringtone, which sounded like rap music, was then heard and he pulled out a phone from his pants’ pocket to answer it. “Yo, what’s up? You guys just got out of the Aether House? Sweet. And how’s our big sis Plumeria? Nice. Yeah, Felicia and I went to battle the dude and he brought a friend with him. Okay, cool, we’ll meet you up at Po Town, then.” Dennis put the phone back in his pocket and told Felicia, “That’s Tommy. He and Mika finished what they were doing.”

    Grimsley’s eyes widened and his stomach jumped when he heard Dennis said “Aether House.” He glimpsed over his shoulder to see Nanu just as stunned as he was.

    “Aether House?” Nanu said with a furrowed brow. “What are you guys doing there?”

    “None of your business, just something our boss wanted us to do. Let’s go and scram outta here, Felicia.”

    “I’m with you on that.” Felicia nodded in agreement, and then she faced and pointed at Grimsley and Nanu. “We’ll be coming back for you two again.” She and Dennis made a run for it.

    “Great, just freaking great,” Nanu grumbled as he ran his fingers through his hair. “Come on, let’s check back with Becky and the kids. Acerola is probably there, too,” he said, and then Grimsley and Queen followed him to the police station.

    As soon as everyone stepped inside, Nanu went to his desk and pushed the numbers on the computer’s touchscreen while Grimsley and his Pokémon watched. It was a few moments until Becky showed up on the screen, a worried expression on her face.

    “Kahuna Nanu, Mr. Grimsley, thank goodness!” Becky said. “Something terrible just happened. Team Skull went and stole one of the kids’ Pokémon.”

    “They did what?” Grimsley said in shock.

    “Did you try to stop them?” Nanu asked, his eyes narrowed.

    “I did with Headmaster, but one of their leaders Plumeria was too tough for us. She mentioned how she has a bone to pick with Selene.”

    Grimsley swallowed upon hearing Selene’s name. He had been hearing that name several times now since he came to this region.

    “Is Acerola here with you now?” Nanu asked, and Becky shook her head.

    “She’s away with Hau and Selene for their trials at that abandoned store. I think they should be back soon.”

    Grimsley crossed his arms and bit his lips as he pondered over the situation. During the lingering silence, he glanced to see Nanu lean back in his chair and rub his forehead. An idea then hit him.

    “I’ll be coming over there very shortly. I want to meet with Acerola and the others. Perhaps we can come up with a plan to get the Pokémon back. ” He glanced at Nanu, who shot him a long stare.

    “I think that would be appreciated,” Becky said with a smile. “Thanks so much you guys for checking up with us! Please stay safe.”

    “You do the same,” Grimsley said, and the screen on Acerola and Becky’s side blacked out. Nanu closed the program from the computer and grunted.

    “Whatever Team Skull’s up to, I don’t have a good feeling about it. Here, catch.”

    Nanu threw him a yellow and red spray bottle and Grimsley caught it. A burn heal potion.

    “Thanks.” Grimsley looked at his Bisharp, her face tired and arm covered in burnt marks, and frowned. He used the burn heal, spraying several sips on her. “Neither do I. That’s why I want to see if I can help in any way.”

    While giving him an indifferent stare, Nanu grunted. He then said, “I’ll be outside patrolling Po Town and making sure Team Skull doesn’t cause more of a ruckus. And oh, I took some sneak peeks at your battle against one of the grunts. You weren’t bluffing when you said you’re from the Elite Four.”

    Grimsley stared at Nanu as he stepped outside of the police station. It sounded like he had just complimented him, which caught him off guard. He gazed back at Queen, who responded with a shrug. The majority of the burns on her arm had faded, and she looked a little more upbeat now. Grimsley patted her shoulder and sighed, exhausted from all that happened today and afraid what he would find upon his return to the Aether House.


    Author's Note: And the Dark Uncle Squad is back! Expect more of that in future chapters.

    As I mentioned before, August 8 is Foul Play's 2nd anniversary. I'm going to try my best to have Chapter 14 be posted on that day. If not, then a few days after at least. Thanks bobandbill for the beta as always! See you all in August!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  2. Bay

    Bay YEAHHHHHHH

    Chapter Fourteen
    Crunch


    After returning Queen and leaving the police station, Grimsley checked his Ride Pager to see that all of the Pokémon were unavailable at the moment. He instead went to Route 16's shores and took off with Blackjack to Aether House. As he rode on his Pokémon, his mind kept racing over what had occurred there. Team Skull stealing one of the Pokémon reminded him how Team Plasma had done that on several occasions—the thought of that made him bite his lips.

    A dash from the police station to the beach was an hour or so. Blackjack was faster than a jet ski, so it took less time for them to reach Route 15 and land on the shore. He hopped off from his ride, and then he stroked Blackjack's chin.

    “You wait here for a little while, all right?” Grimsley said, and Blackjack responded with a growl. He moved several steps, and then stopped when he heard more noises from him. He walked back to him with a raised eyebrow. “Is there something that you want?”

    Blackjack growled and opened his jaws, causing Grimsley to back away a few steps. After pondering for a moment, Grimsley smiled a little. He pulled a Pokepuff bag out from the bag he was carrying, and immediately Blackjack grabbed the food from his palm.

    “Hmph, thought so. That should entertain you while I’m away,” he said before heading to Aether House.

    By the time Grimsley stepped in, Becky and the kids gathered around. She and another person he didn’t recognize, a blonde girl in a white dress and carrying a large bag, were trying to comfort Hunter and Gracie. Around them, a few of the tables and chairs had been overturned and damaged and papers scattered everywhere that indicated a confrontation had taken place.

    “Why did they have to take Yungoos?” Gracie said through her sobs.

    “Team Skull just do as they please,” Becky said as she wiped the tears on Gracie’s cheeks. She dragged in a deep sigh and her shoulders slumped. “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to save him.”

    “You did all you could,” the other girl said, giving Becky a reassuring smile. “I would’ve helped, but didn’t want Plumeria to see me.”

    “I agree, you at least tried to stop them,” Grimsley said as he approached closer. Everyone turned to look at him.

    “Grimsley, you made it!” Becky said, as if relieved he was here.

    “I did say I would come to check what’s going on.” He turned his attention to the girl with the large bag. “And I don’t think we’ve met before.”

    That led the girl to flinch and gasp, but then she regained her composure.

    “Oh, I’m Lillie. Becky and Acerola let me stay here while I travel through this island.” Lille took a closer look at Grimsley, and her eyes grew wide. “Wait, aren’t you Grimsley from the Unova Elite Four? I’ve researched a little on different Pokémon Leagues, including the one from your region.”

    With a satisfied smile, Grimsley had both hands on his hips and said, “Finally, someone recognizes me immediately!”

    At that moment, the front door slid open and Grimsley jerked his head to see Acerola and two other people, a boy and a girl he didn’t recognize, stepping inside. Both of them had dark skin and were a few years younger than Acerola, not in their teen years just yet.

    “Grimsley, what are you doing here?” Acerola asked, shooting him a stunned expression.

    “I heard about Team Skull stealing a Pokémon over at the Aether House,” Grimsley said. “Nanu and I got in contact with Becky to make sure everyone’s all right.”

    “Are any of you hurt?” the boy asked, sounding worried.

    “Headmaster took quite a beating and needed some rest, but otherwise we’re all fine.”

    “Well, that’s no good,” Acerola said in dissatisfaction, frowning. She looked at Grimsley. “I’m glad that you’re here because we do have a big problem in our hands.”

    “Acerola, you know this guy?” the girl asked.

    With a big smile, Acerola said, “Yes, I do.” As she continued to speak, she pointed at the two kids. “Grimsley, this is Hau and Selene. They recently finished one of my trials. Oh, have you been introduced to Lillie yet?”

    “Mr. Grimsley and I have been already acquainted,” Lillie said with a small nod.

    Upon hearing Hau and Selene’s names, Grimsley’s brow furrowed. “Wait, you two are Hau and Selene? I’ve heard you guys had crossed paths with Team Skull several times before.”

    Selene flashed him a proud grin. “That’s us! Hau and I kept running into them as we were doing the island challenge, but we end up kicking their butts each time.” Beside her, Hau had his head over his arms and laughed.

    “They’re more of a distraction than anything.” The smile on Hau’s face slipped away. “But like Acerola said, we’re in big trouble.”

    “How so?” Grimsley raised an eyebrow. Selene let out a deep sigh and pinched the bridge of her nose.

    “After I finished Acerola’s trial, Team Skull came after us again,” she said. “Their ‘sister’, Plumeria, told us that if we want to get that Pokémon back, their leader wants me to come to Po Town alone.”

    “And with no backup! Outrageous, right?” Hau raised his arms up high, and then he hung his head down and his shoulders slumped. “Because I couldn’t stop them, Selene is in this mess.”

    “Hey don’t be hard on yourself,” Becky said as she approached Hau, squeezed his shoulder, and gave him a sad smile. “I wasn’t able to stop them myself. They were lucky that Plumeria came with them.”

    “Becky’s right, it’s no one’s fault here,” Lillie said. Her gaze shifted away from the group for a second. “It’s awful how Team Skull would do such a thing.”

    There was a short moment of silence before a determined look crossed Selene’s face. “A town of grunts doesn’t scare me. I took down Guzma once with no sweat; I can take him down again.”

    As Grimsley surveyed the room, everyone seemed to be taken aback by Selene’s response. Amused more than anything, he chuckled.

    “Getting very confident, are we?” he said. “Just because you defeated a few grunts on occasion, you think you can take on the world.”

    Selene glared at him. “Guzma seems to see me as a threat if he doesn’t want me to come with backup.”

    “Maybe so, but have you considered as to why they wanted you alone? This might be a distraction to keep you away for a while.”

    “So you’re saying this is a trap,” Selene said in a low voice.

    “We can’t let Team Skull get away with kidnapping Yungoos, though,” Becky said. “The Aether Foundation’s goal is to protect Pokémon from harm. I would get in serious trouble if the higher-ups find out about this.”

    “Grimsley, you’re an Elite Four trainer, right?” Lillie said as she gazed up at him. “Perhaps you can go with Selene to Po Town.”

    While he pondered over Lillie’s suggestion, Grimsley started scratching his chin. “I actually visited near Po Town recently and had to face a couple of those grunts that wanted payback at Nanu. He wasn’t happy when I got myself involved, so I don’t want to get on his bad side again.”

    “Hold up, this guy here is one of those strong trainers from another region?” Hau said in a stunned voice, pointing at Grimsley. Both Acerola and Lillie nodded.

    “Ah-huh!” Acerola said, smiling. “Grimsley is from the Unova region, and one of the best trainers there.”

    “Oh wow! Not long ago I asked Selene who would be stronger, our kahunas or the Elite Four.” Hau chuckled and grinned at him. “To think, one of you guys is here right now!”

    The corner of Grimsley’s mouth twitched. He had asked Nanu to consider battling with him before he departs Alola, but it looked like the kahuna wouldn’t accept his challenge anytime soon.

    “Didn’t you promise you would save Yungoos if he ever gets in danger?” Gracie asked, pulling Grimsley’s scarf.

    Grimsley’s heart sank and he frowned. He did promise her that during his video phone conversation with Becky a while back. If this was in any other circumstances he would do it in a heartbeat.

    “If possible, yes. However, this is likely a trap. I don’t have a good feeling about this.”

    “Oh,” Gracie said in disappointment. She let go of Grimsley’s scarf and lowered her head.

    "Wait, so you're an Elite Four member and you're backing down?” Selene took a step forward and clenched her fist. “You don't care that Team Skull had stolen a Pokémon?"

    With a stern face, Grimsley said, “I may like a good game of cards now and then, but even I know when to back down.”

    Selene fixed her stare at him, as if disregarding his warning. After a moment, she grunted and crossed her arms.

    “You know what, it’s all right. I don’t need your help, anyway. Even if this is some kind of distraction, it just doesn’t feel right neglecting that Pokémon.”

    “You’ll need a ride Pokémon if you want to cross Route 15’s waters and get to Po Town,” Becky said. “I can call one for you.”

    “That would be great,” Selene said with an appreciative smile. Becky gave her a single nod and went to the reception desk to do that call. Gracie reached Selene and pulled her shirt.

    “Will you be able to save Yungoos?” the little girl asked and sniffled. Her eyes were red and puffy.

    “I should be once Becky gets me a ride Pokémon,” Selene said with a reassuring smile. She squeezed Gracie’s shoulder. “We’ll get him back, don’t you worry.”

    Gracie wiped a tear on her cheek and gave her a weak smile. “Okay.”

    “While she does that, we should start cleaning up this mess,” Acerola said, and everyone agreed. Selene, Hau, and Acerola started putting the furniture back together while Grimsley, Lillie, and the kids picked up the papers and anything else on the floor.

    “So Lillie, you’re participating in the island challenge also?” Grimsley asked after he picked up a pile of papers and set them aside on a coffee table.

    Lillie stopped to face Grimsley, shaking her head. “I’m Professor Kukui’s assistant, but I decided to travel around to study the tapus’ ruins here.” A small smile formed on her lips. “A nice trainer named Hapu took me to the Ruins of Abundance a few days ago. Without her, I wouldn’t be able to get through the desert alone.”

    “I visited that place not long ago myself. I agree with the desert being treacherous, but the ruins itself has its charm.” Grimsley found himself thinking about Nanu again. He had looked almost peaceful, relaxed as he prayed to Tapu Bulu. He wouldn’t mind seeing more of that side of him.

    While Selene was helping Hau overturned one of the pieces of furniture, she asked Lillie, “Did you and Nebby find what you wanted?”

    “Not really,” Lillie said in a disappointed tone. “Nebby seems to sense Tapu Bulu’s presence, but it didn’t appear before us.”

    “Nebby? A Pokémon of yours?” Grimsley asked with a raised brow. Lillie flinched, a hesitant look on her face, and then she gazed down on the floor.

    “You can say that…” In that instant, Lillie’s bag moved and she gasped. She held her bag tighter as whatever it was inside got more aggressive, and Lillie was unsuccessful when it got free and squealed in delight.

    A small creature that resembled a nebula floated around the room. Everyone— except for Becky who was still talking on the phone—stopped what they were doing to look at it. Acerola and the kids gazed at it in awe while Hau, Selene, and Lillie were more stunned that it had gotten out. Grimsley couldn’t take his eyes off from it, having never seen it before and immersed by its appearance.

    “Aw, I think Nebby here wants to play,” Acerola said and giggled.

    “You guys have seen it before?” Grimsley asked everyone.

    “Ah huh,” Hunter said, a huge grin on his friend. “Gracie and I were following it around, but then Lillie told us to stop.”

    “Nebby, you can’t be out here after what happened yesterday!” Lillie held her bag up high and said, “Back in the bag you go now.”

    The Pokémon, Nebby, frowned and let out a sad “pew.” It then reluctantly returned back inside and Lillie zipped the bag up. She sighed heavily and faced Grimsley.

    “I’m sorry you have to see that. Nebby isn’t supposed to be seen like that.”

    “It’s all right, it’s no trouble at all,” Grimsley said. “Though I must ask, why is that Pokémon isn’t allowed out?”

    “There are some people that want it, so Lillie tries to keep it hidden,” Selene said. She chuckled. “However, Lillie needs to be better at keeping an eye on it.”

    Lillie pouted with her hands on her hips. “I’ve been keeping an eye on it! Nebby just gets out too quickly sometimes.” She turned back towards Grimsley. “Please don’t tell anyone else about Nebby.”

    “Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me,” Grimsley said. He thought about asking Lillie why some people wanted Nebby so much but held himself back from doing that. Just then Becky approached everyone, looking dissatisfied.

    “Bad news. I called a couple of different ride Pokémon services, and all the Sharpedo and flying Pokémon have been taken right now. Yvonne at least told me she would call me back when she has something available.”

    “Really?” Selene said and groaned. “So there’s a chance this might take a while?”

    Acerola gave Selene a sad smile. “I understand you want to do this now, but it looks like there’s nothing you can do but wait.”

    “Did I hear you mention Sharpedo?” Grimsley asked. The mention of that Pokémon piqued his interest.

    “Yeah I did,” Becky said. “There are some boulders off the coast and a Sharpedo is able to break through them.”

    When swimming over Route 15 with Blackjack, Grimsley did notice the boulders that looked to be hard to pass through and the rough waves. With the Pokémon that were able to get through that route unavailable at the moment, there was an alternative solution. He looked at Selene, grinning as if he had won the biggest jackpot in a casino.

    “Maybe you need my help, after all,” he said, and that made her give him a confused stare. Everyone else had the same reaction. “I do happen to have a Sharpedo with me.”

    “Hold up. So you’re willing to lend your Sharpedo to me, even though we just met?” Selene asked.

    Grimsley’s grin grew wider. “I didn’t say I would give it to you for free. If you’re as good as you say, then battle me to earn it.”

    Everyone turned their attention at Selene. Her lips slightly parted and her head tilted to the side. She looked to be taking his offer seriously. After a moment, she said, “All right, I’ll accept.”

    “Are you sure you’re ready for that?” Lillie asked, her eyes wide. Next to her, Hau too looked just as surprised.

    “After Professor Kukui told me about building a Pokémon League, I’m curious what it’s like to go against an Elite Four.” Selene flashed everyone a fearless grin. “I’m not going to pass that opportunity up!”

    “Oh, a battle!” Hunter said, his feet bouncing. “I wanna see, I wanna see!”

    “So do I!” Gracie said enthusiastically. She seemed to feel a little better than a few moments ago.

    “Selene against an Elite Four,” Hau said. Beaming, he flung his arms over his head. “I’m excited to see this, too!”

    “I guess I don’t mind seeing it myself.” Lillie wasn’t as optimistic as the others, but she still smiled.

    “Looks like your guys’ battle will have an audience,” Acerola said in a chipper voice.

    Grimsley responded with a pleased hum on his lips. “Good. We can have our match at the beach down the slope.”

    “You guys go ahead,” Becky said. “I’ll stay here in case Team Skull comes again.”

    “Aw, it sucks that you’ll miss it.” A slight frown reached Acerola’s lips, and then she smiled once more. “But yeah, probably a good idea if one of us watch over.”

    “Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s hit the beach now!” Without waiting, Selene rushed out of the building, much to everyone’s bafflement. Acerola and Hau laughed.

    “You have to love her spirit,” Hau said, grinning. “We should head out before she waits too long for us.”

    Everyone but Becky exited out of the Aether House. The beach was just down the slope, so it didn’t take them that long to catch up to Selene. A large wave crashed onto the shore, almost reaching up to Grimsley’s shoes. He glimpsed around to see a few other people around, some fishing while others were picking up the seashells that just washed up. Acerola, Hau, Lillie, and the kids gathered around Selene and Grimsley.

    “Man oh man, what is going on today?” Grimsley said with an unimpressed frown. “Somebody bothered to come to this sad place.”

    “Hey, you’re the one that suggested we battle here,” Selene said in a smug voice. She held her chin up, her hands on her sides. “So, how do you want to do this battle?”

    “Let’s make this a single battle with us using two Pokémon each. Sounds good?”

    Selene nodded. “I’m cool with that.” She grabbed a pokéball from her bag, and said, “All right, Meli, let’s do this!”

    The ball got tossed up in the air and cracked open. Bright light poured out from the capsule and a few seconds passed before a wolf-like Pokémon with orange fur appeared. She shook off her large mane, sharp rocks sticking out from there, and howled. This was another Pokémon that Grimsley hadn’t seen before.

    “Oh, is that a Lycanroc?” Hunter asked. His face lit up in excitement. “Kinda looks like its Midday Form, but its fur is darker and fluffier.”

    “She is, but this is her Dusk Form,” Selene said with a proud smile. She approached Meli and rubbed her fur affectionately. “Meli’s a sweet girl, but she also has a fighting spirit of her Midnight Form counterpart."

    “I think Professor Kukui said how Lycanroc of that form are very rare, right Lillie?” Hau asked Lillie, and she nodded.

    “There have been only a few written records of Lycanroc’s dusk form if I recall,” Lillie said. “But yes, Lycanroc’s Dusk Form aren’t seen all that often.”

    Grimsley continued to stare at the Lycanroc with great interest. Midday, Midnight, Dusk. So this Pokémon had at least three forms, possibly more. And he was still getting used to the Alolan form Pokémon.

    “I know which Pokémon I’ll choose already.” Grimsley looked to see a fin moving around, and whistled. Blackjack popped up from the waters and grunted.

    “Woah, so that’s your Sharpedo,” Hau said, taken aback by his presence.

    “Oh, looks very strong!” Acerola said, grinning.

    Both Gracie and Hunter gasped in amazement while Lillie gripped her bag tighter but held her gaze at the shark Pokémon. Selene’s Lycanroc snarled, as if threatened.

    Grimsley tightened his lips in a hard frown. At that moment loud squawks were heard, and he gazed up to see two wild Skarmory flying above. He thought back to the Skarmory that wanted his coin, and an idea came to him. He turned to Selene and her Pokémon.

    “Your Lycanroc looks like a fine Pokémon there and I’m eager to see how she fares in combat. Before we do that, though…” He pulled his coin out and tossed it a few times. “Uncle Grimsley is going to flip a coin to determine who goes first. Will it be heads or tails?”

    Grimsley and everyone else waited for Selene’s reply. Her eyes squinted at the coin on Grimsley’s palm and her forehead puckered. She gave a sideways glance at both Skarmory, and her lips curled into a smug smile.

    “Neither. I know you’re about to have one of the Skarmory take that coin from you,” she said, pointing to the sky.

    Grimsley’s mouth grew slack. He peered over his shoulder to see everyone else just taken aback as he was. When Grimsley faced back at Selene, he smirked at her.

    “Astonishing. I had indeed been planning to have either of them snatch it out of the air as it spins in the sky. Since you figured out my scheme, you make the first move.”

    With a large grin, Selene raised her chin. “If you insist! All right girl, let’s start out with Rock Throw!”

    Meli howled and jumped up high. Several rocks swirled around her, and when she moved her tail the rocks were thrown straight at Blackjack.

    “Crunch them!” Grimsley said. Blackjack opened his jaws and crunched them like hard candy, turning the rocks into dust. “Good! Now strike hard with Aqua Jet!”

    “Not so fast!” Selene made a sweeping gesture with her arm. “Meli, Accelrock!”

    A veil of water covered Blackjack and he took off like a jet ski. Meli also rushed in, becoming nothing but a blur. An explosion occurred when they collided, and both Pokémon were pushed back. There were some scrapes on Blackjack while Melie was soaked and had deep cuts in her fur. Realizing Meli’s cuts were from Blackjack’s Rough Skin ability, Grimsley hummed in satisfaction.

    “Accelerock again!”

    “Take the hit, and then jab her!”

    Once more, Meli went full speed at Blackjack and launched onto him. She landed on a nearby boulder, only to wobble and winced thanks to Blackjack’s Rough Skin again. Blackjack cried at being hit, and then he shook it off. His fin glowed purple and he rushed at Meli, stabbing her on the side. Meli roared in pain and crashed onto the sand. The wolf Pokémon picked herself up, sweating and her face a slight shade of violet.

    “Oh no, looks like Meli is badly poisoned!” Hau said worryingly, and Selene’s eyes flew wide.

    “Are you okay, girl?” she asked. Meli turned to her and grimaced, but let out a determined bark.

    Grimsley grunted and folded his arms against his chest. “Your Lycanroc being poisoned and hurt by my Blackjack’s Rough Skin will drain her soon.”

    Selene gasped, one hand near her face. She narrowed her eyes and slightly pursed her lips.

    “We’re gonna avoid physical contact for now! Stone Edge, go!”

    Meli howled and slammed her paws on the ground. Several boulder pillars popped up, even underneath the sea. Blackjack screamed when one of those boulders stabbed underneath his stomach, leaving a small wound there.

    “Crunch her leg!” Grimsley ordered.

    Blackjack swam towards Meli and crunched her leg. The Lycanroc gave a series of painful barks and struggled to remove her opponent’s jaws off from her.

    “Shake it off and Rock Throw!”

    After a few more attempts, Meli broke free from Blackjack’s grip and leaped up. Several small boulders swirled around her, and she threw them at Blackjack’s face. Meli landed on the ground and panted hard, her legs shaking. The violet shade on her face grew darker.

    “Selene’s doggie looks very tired now!” Hunter said with a worried face. Selene glanced over her shoulder at the group and bit her lip.

    “Meli, we need to end this now. Time to unleash our Z-Move!” Selene raised her arm up, showing off her Z-Ring. Meli looked over her shoulder and barked in approval.

    “Z-Move?” Grimsley muttered to himself, arching a brow.

    “What Z-Move will Selene use?” Lillie asked, and Hau beamed at her.

    “I think I know which one! You’ll love it!”

    Selene pulled out a small tan-colored stone and slipped it into her Z-Ring’s slot. Once her Z-Ringlit up, she began her pose which had her flexing her muscles and stretching her right leg forward. A golden aura also surrounded Meli.

    “Our hearts harder than stone, Splintered Stormshards!”

    Meli lifted her head and released her strongest roar yet. After she slammed on the ground, several large shards of rocks flew in the air. When the shards stopped and pointed at Blackjack, she jumped on them.

    After she finished her Z-Pose, Selene heaved deep breaths and her arms shook.

    “Protect!” Grimsley ordered urgently, and a green forcefield surrounded Blackjack. Both Meli and the shards shot straight towards him, Blackjack enduring the impact.

    Another explosion occurred, this time causing a big splash of water to burst out. Meli and Blackjack glared at each other, both breathing hard and barely able to keep their eyes open. Eventually, Meli collapsed onto the ground, and Selene rushed at her side. Everyone at the sidelines gasped.

    “Meli, are you all right?” Selene asked as she pulled her Pokémon against her chest. A few seconds passed until Meli whined and licked her face, which made Selene giggle. “Thank goodness!”

    “Selene, here’s a pecha berry Meli can eat,” Lillie said as she approached Selene. She handed her a peach-colored berry, and Selene nodded at her.

    “Here girl, take this.” Selene held the berry in front of Meli’s face. She gave it a few sniffs before chewing on it slowly.

    Grimsley swallowed hard, his face tensed. Usually when he had that kind of advantage that pleased him, but this time he felt remorse causing Meli that much pain.

    “If you want, you can always forfeit. There’s no shame in that.”

    Selene gasped and gazed up at him, as if considering his suggestion. She gave Grimsley a hard stare.

    “No, I’m sticking through this until the end.” She turned to Lillie. “Can you watch over Meli for me?”

    “Of course,” Lillie said with a single nod. She gently pulled Meli on her lap and stroked her cheeks. Meli rubbed against her palm.

    “Wow, my grandpa is right! The Elite Four are super strong!” Hau said in an awed voice.

    Acerola beamed. “Yep! No wonder Mimikins is very fond of Grimsley!”

    Grimsley furrowed his brow and looked over his shoulder at Blackjack. “You’re still hanging in there?” he asked, and Blackjack nodded. He faced back at Selene and shrugged. “If you insist.”

    “Your Sharpedo is very strong but looks very exhausted now. Franziska, it’s your turn!”

    Selene pulled out another pokéball and released a pink bug-like Pokémon that resembled a praying mantis. Her upper body gave an appearance of them wearing a dress while her legs looked like striped pants. The wing-like appendages on her back flared up, and she crossed her arms similar to Queen with her blades.

    “Oh wow, a Lurnatis!” Gracie said in excitement, pointing at her. “She’s very pretty!”

    “I agree, she looks marvelous. However…” Grimsley snapped his fingers. “Blackjack, Ice Fang!”

    Blackjack jumped out of the water and opened his jaws wide, his teeth glowing blue and cold mist coming out from his mouth. Selene commanded Franziska to counter with Leaf Blade, which she did by having her right arm glowed dark green and blocking Blackjack’s assault. When Blackjack sunk his teeth deep into Franziska’s arm like raw meat, she pushed him away and caused him to drop back into the sea. Small shards of ice were left on her arm, but she shook those off.

    “That’s all right! Now Franz, Sunny Day and start charging!”

    Franziska gave a quick nod and raised her arms high. A white beam appeared between her hands, which shot up towards the sky and caused the sun to shine brighter. Sweat dripped on Grimsley’s forehead and he loosened the scarf around his neck, the air around him warmer and humid. He assumed Selene was having her Pokémon use Solar Beam so she could charge up the move faster.

    “Hurry and use Poison Jab!”

    Blackjack’s fin glowed purple, and he rushed towards Franziska while she began charging her supposed Solar Beam. A large yellow ball formed above her, absorbing the harsh sunlight into herself. What Selene said next caught Grimsley off guard.

    “Solar Blade, now!”

    Franziska raised her arm, and the yellow ball turned into a giant bright blade. Before Blackjack could reach her, she slammed the blade down onto him and another big splash of water exploded. Blackjack floated and collapsed in the waters, several burnt marks all over him.

    “Selene took down one of his Pokémon, yeah!” Hau said with his fist up in the air. Besides him, Gracie and Hunter cheered also.

    Grimsley winced at that sight. He grunted and returned Blackjack inside his pokéball.

    “You did well my friend, time for some rest,” he said in a low voice to the pokéball.

    Selene grinned at him. “Solar Blade is Franz’s signature move. Impressed?”

    Grimsley was reminded the same thing happened when he battled against Kahili’s Toucannon. He frowned.

    “Not the first time this has happened. Still, we’re not done yet.”

    He pulled out another pokéball and released Roulette. She crouched on all fours and growled, as if trying to intimidate Franziska. She was refreshed and ready to go after that battle with Ryuki’s Pokémon. Franziska flinched for a moment, and then she regained her composure.

    “Go and grab Franziska by the arm!” Grimsley ordered.

    Roulette jolted right at the Lurnatis. She jumped and sank her teeth onto Franziska’s arm, similar to how Blackjack did earlier. Franziska screamed in pain and eventually shook her off; there were large bite marks on her arm.

    “Now time for Night Slash!”

    “X-Scissor!”

    Roulette howled and the horn on her forehead glowed purple. Meanwhile, Franziska’s arms glowed light green and she crossed them against her chest. Roulette’s horn clashed against Franziska’s arm, and they kept pushing at each other. Eventually, Roulette had the upper hand as she whipped her head and slashed Franziska’s chest, which caused her to back away. Franziska glared at her, touching where Roulette had left that deep cut on her.

    Selene narrowed her eyes. “The sun’s still up, Franz! Go for Solar Blade this time!”

    Grimsley’s eyes grew wide, already aware of his opponent’s plan. “Block it with Shadow Claw!”

    Roulette gave Grimsley an agreed bark and a dark aura covered her paw that then turned into a large claw. At the same time, Franziska absorbed the sunlight and the large blade appeared once more. Both of their attacks collided like swords, sparks flying between them, and once more they pushed at each other. This time Franziska’s Solar Blade won over, and she swiped Roulette like a baseball bat. Roulette flew up in the air for a few seconds before dropping down.

    A cloud of dust popped up, obscuring Grimsley’s vision for a moment. As soon as that faded out, Roulette picked herself up and shook the sand off her fur. She glared at Franziska, her breathing growing louder. A confident grin pulled on Selene’s lips.

    “Solar Blade again!”

    As Franziska started charging up once more, Grimsley’s brow furrowed. He needed to have Roulette strike first before she took even more damage. An idea came to him, and he smirked.

    “Push her down with Aerial Ace!”

    Roulette howled and rushed at the Lurnatis with a high burst of speed, becoming a blur. Franziska just finished charging up her Solar Blade, but before she could strike Roulette rammed into her like a freight truck. That caused Franziska to fall backward and drop her blade, which slammed into the sand and left scorch marks around it.

    “That’s so cool!” Hau said with both fists clenched. “I wasn’t able to avoid Franz’s Solar Blade like that!”

    “I agree!” Acerola said, beaming. She gazed up and gasped. “Oh, looks like the effects of Sunny Day’s almost gone!”

    Grimsley blinked and he looked up at the sky. Indeed the sunlight became less harsh, and the air wasn’t horribly humid anymore.

    Selene’s eyes grew wide, and then she glared. “We’re not done yet! Leaf Blade!”

    “Night Slash!”

    Roulette’s glowing horn clashed against Franziska’s green arm, and they attacked one another like fencers. To Grimsley, their movements were similar to how Roulette and Ryuki’s Garchomp had fought. After several more attempts, Roulette’s horn swiped at Franziska’s arm and made her scream. Franziska backed away and she winced, her chest heaving rapidly. Roulette also panted hard and barely kept one eye open, but looked to be in much better shape.

    Everyone in the sidelines looked on with anticipation.

    “Now, end this with Aerial Ace!” Grimsley ordered, stretching his arm out in a dramatic gesture.

    With the last ounce of her strength, Roulette bolted at Franziska with lightning speed and launched into her. Franziska screeched and fell backwards, crashing onto the sand. After the cloud of dust faded, Franziska collapsed and didn’t get up.

    "The winner of this match goes to Grimsley!" Acerola announced, raising her arm up.

    “Franz!” Selene rushed at her Pokémon’s side and helped pick her up. Franziska struggled to stand up straight, but she gave her a weak smile. Selene giggled and they embraced. “You did great out there!”

    Grimsley couldn’t help but smile at that. Roulette approached him, nudging at his hip. He looked down and scratched her cheek.

    “Excellent work there,” he said in a soft voice. Roulette barked and licked his cheek.

    “You guys are awesome!” Hau said, grinning. “Even though Selene lost, that was still fun to watch!”

    “Couldn’t agree with you more!” Acerola said in her usual cheerful voice.

    “Aw, wish the battle was longer!” Hunter said. Both Acerola and Lillie chuckled.

    “If it was, we probably would be here all day!” Lillie said. Next to her, Malie barked in agreement.

    “What about Yungoos?” Gracie said, her voice cracking. She walked up to Selene, and they held hands. “Does this mean Selene can’t save him now?”

    Everyone’s face fell, including Grimsley’s. He stared up at the sky, a knot forming inside his throat. He had won this match, but it wasn’t satisfying. A deep sigh escaped from him.

    “If somebody wins, then the person who fought against them will lose,” he said as he walked up to Selene and Gracie, both staring at him. “However, there are good ways to lose and bad ways to win.”

    “Huh? What are you saying?” Selene arched a confused brow at him.

    “The results of that battle weren’t what I wanted. Because of that, I’m breaking our agreement.”

    A surprised look crossed Selene’s face, and she squeezed Gracie’s hand harder. “Wait, does that mean...?”

    Before Grimsley responded, he gazed down at Roulette and she gave him a single nod. He looked back at the girls, smiling.

    “That I’ll help you get that Yungoos after all? Then yes.”

    Gracie and Hunter reacted favorably at that announcement. They cheered and hugged around Grimsley’s waist, which took him aback. Acerola giggled, her palm close to her mouth.

    “Looks like the children are very happy!”

    “Ah-huh! Also now Selene doesn’t have to do this alone!” Hau flashed Grimsley a large grin. Next to him, Lillie smiled and nodded in agreement.

    Grimsley glanced at Roulette, Meli, and Franziska. Everyone looked tired and had minor injuries all over. Not only that, Roulette and Meli’s fur were dirty. Blackjack also needed some medical attention.

    “Our Pokémon need some rest first,” he said to Selene. “We can leave tomorrow morning.”

    “That’s fine by me!” Selene said, closing her eyes and grinning.

    Grimsley gave Selene a small smile. When he stared at the ocean and what awaited beyond there, his smile faded. He had faced Team Skull a few times before, but he had a feeling this upcoming encounter wouldn’t be as easy.

    Author's Notes:
    Happy 2 years, Foul Play! 14 chapters and over 80K isn't a lot, but this is my second longest work yet and there are several moments I'm proud of. I haven't seen anyone else write a Nanu and Grimsley fic so it's up to me to make that content.

    So I decided to go with Selene instead of Moon from now on. If I were to describe her, she's like the female version of DPPt rival Barry. She's going places.

    Last thing! If you guys have been enjoying this story and know anyone else that are interested in Nanu, Grimsley, sorta rewrite of SM/USUM, or all above, spread the word! Now is a great time to do so.

    Thanks to bobandbill for the great betaing! Next chapter is the start of the Po Town mini arc. I got some cool ideas for that and hope you guys look forward to it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  3. Bay

    Bay YEAHHHHHHH

    Chapter Fifteen
    Sucker Punch


    Grimsley and Selene took their Pokémon to the Aether House for them to rest. It was already sunset, so they agreed to wait until morning to leave.

    Hunter and Hau excitedly recapped the battle to Becky, and Selene followed up by bragging about how good her Pokémon's moves were. Becky gave good-hearted chuckles while Grimsley hummed in amusement; Selene was brash but full of potential. Gracie sometimes chimed in, so she started to sound happy once more. To Grimsley, that was a good sign.

    Later in the evening, Grimsley was in the lounge talking with Hau, Selene, and Lillie. He got to know Hau and Selene better. Hau was the grandson of Hala, the Kahuna of Melemele Island. Both he and Selene did his Grand Trial and won, but it was rough. Selene actually came from Kanto and had been in Alola for over seven months now. She moved to this region with her mother, and so far they both loved it here. Grimsley asked why she was starting her Pokémon journey here instead of Kanto, and she beamed.

    "Yeah, so my mom's returning to school and studying over at Hau'oli City University. I already graduated from the trainer school back in Kanto, but I still needed to get approved for a trainer's license for Alola and take classes in between my journey. Ms. Emily was tougher than I thought!"

    "And how!" Hau said with a chuckle. "Her Rowlet almost got my Litten real good despite me having the type advantage."

    Grimsley smiled a little, thinking about how Aspertia City gym leader Cheren was like that. "That reminds me of someone I know. He's also a school teacher, and his students complained how tough he was."

    "What kind of Pokémon that teacher has?" Lillie asked.

    "He trains mainly Normal-types because he's also a gym leader. Before that, he used a variety of Pokémon when he battled in the Unova League."

    "Nice! He must be super strong if he made it to the Pokémon League and is a gym leader!" Hau said in amazement.

    Grimsley hummed, and the smile on his lips faded. He faced Lillie.

    "So Lillie, you mentioned being Professor Kukui's assistant earlier. How did you meet him?"

    Lillie flinched, and then she looked down with her hands clasped. "Oh, well I left home to learn more about Nebby and talk to Professor Burnet. She got her husband, Professor Kukui, to let me stay in his home and help investigate Nebby's origins, too."

    "Lillie got lost trying to find Professor Burnet and collapsed on the shore," Selene said, giving Lillie a soft smile. "I can't imagine myself doing that, so I admire her for that."

    Lillie's cheeks turned soft pink. She gave Selene a grateful smile. "Thank you, Selene."

    Grimsley regarded the two girls with a small smile. He only met them today, but they seemed like close friends already.

    "Perhaps we should talk about how Selene and Grimsley will get through Team Skull," Hau said, breaking the silence.

    “I agree." Grimsley turned to Selene. "Do you have a plan on how to deal with Team Skull?”

    “Oh, um… I thought I would just barge in and punch their leader Guzma right on the face!” Selene said with a sheepish laugh.

    “Terrible idea.” Grimsley forced himself to not roll his eyes. “Perhaps we can talk with Kahuna Nanu since he lives next door to them.”

    "I agree," Lillie said and nodded. "The Ula'ula Kahuna should know what to do."

    “Kahuna Nanu?” Selene asked in a surprised voice. “Acerola mentioned him once or twice before. Do you know him?”

    Grimsley’s face tensed, and he frowned. “Not personally. Like me, he trains Dark-types. He’s not easy to talk with, but that may be due to his mysterious past.”

    “Yeah, Acerola and Hau said something similar. Still, I’m considering challenging him for his Grand Trial after this.”

    “Huh, is that so.” Grimsley briefly wondered what that battle would be like. If it was like his battle with Selene, then she should be fine.

    "How about you, Hau?" Selene asked him. "You thinking of challenging Nanu?"

    "Me?" Hau's face contorted to an unsure expression. "Maybe. I want to train my Noibat a bit more first, though. I saw him battle with my grandfather a few times, and he seems tough!"

    "You guys are talking about Uncle Nanu?" Acerola asked. She was with Gracie and Hunter earlier and was now approaching the group.

    "Grimsley and Selene are going to see Kahuna Nanu about helping them with Team Skull," Lillie said.

    Acerola beamed. "Ah, okay! I can call him tomorrow and let him know you guys are coming!"

    "Lillie and I will stay here in case Team Skull come back," Hau said. He turned to Lillie, who nodded in agreement.

    "That would be great!" Acerola clapped her hands. "Becky and I could use all the help we can get."

    "Don't worry about us, we got this!" Selene flashed everyone a confident grin and looked over her shoulder at Grimsley. He returned with a small smile of his own.

    "Yes, I'm sure we'll handle them just fine." Tomorrow he and Selene would head out to Po Town to see Nanu and go from there. It would be a slight hindrance, but that was fine.


    xxx

    The sun was already bright the next morning. A warm breeze picked up, the waves rolling in gently. Before Grimsley and Selene departed, everyone wished them luck and to stay safe.

    They rode on Blackjack’s back, Grimsley holding onto his fin and Selene wrapping her arms around his waist. The rest of Route 15 was a small water route with tough boulders that Blackjack was able to break. They passed by several Water-type Pokémon, swimmers, and small islands. Due to how fast they were going, their hair and Grimsley’s scarf whipped wildly like a flag on a windy day. Droplets of water splashed on their faces.

    “Wahooo!” Selene screamed as she raised one arm up. “Riding on a Sharpedo is so much fun!”

    Grimsley gave her a firm look and shook his head. It is. You just have to take some precautions."

    "Yeah, yeah, I know. Must be tough training a Sharpedo, though."

    A knowing smile curled on Grimsley's lips. "They're called the Brutal Pokémon for a reason. Blackjack was tricky to raise at first, but then we grew closer as time passed." He quickly patted Blackjack's forehead, and he responded with an agreeable growl.

    "That's cool! I hope to have a great bond with my Pokémon like yours."

    "From our battle, I could see you care for your Pokémon very much. I think you're on the right track."

    “Really? Wow, can’t believe an Elite Four told me I got potential!” Selene shifted her head, and then she said, “Hey, is your Mental Pattern towards Dark-type Pokémon?”

    “My mental what?”

    “Mental Pattern. A way to know how well you connect with certain types of Pokémon.”

    “Oh, that. I remember that being a study Professors Oak and Juniper had conducted.”

    Professor Oak and Professor Juniper had published their study on Mental Patterns shortly after Grimsley joined the Unova League. It was a special image with brain mapping thrown in, and it was used on both trainers and Pokémon. Pokémon with the same type had similar Mental Patterns, making it easier for trainers to connect with them. Many research facilities would use a scanner to conduct their studies.

    “Yeah! So like my friends and I went to the Dimensional Lab, and Professor Brunet used a scanner to determine our Mental Patterns. I got Water-type, Hau had Psychic-type, and Lillie the Fairy-type! I might ask Lana to help me train more since she favors Water-types.”

    “That might not be a bad idea. And the Water-type suits you.” He paused. “I believe Nanu might have a bias towards Dark-type Pokémon also.”

    “Probably! I heard Dark-type Pokémon are just as tough to raise as Psychic and Dragon Pokémon, so having that bias helps.” Selene then asked, “If you had a Pokemon battle with him, who would win?”

    Grimsley’s shoulders jumped as he didn’t expect her to ask that. “I’ve actually asked him for a battle, but he keeps refusing.”

    “That must’ve sucked. It’s still cool that you and Nanu have the same Mental Pattern.”

    “I guess.” He found it ironic that he and Nanu had the same Mental Pattern, and yet he didn’t want to battle him. The next chance he had to speak with Burnet he would like to discuss Mental Patterns with her.

    He looked around his surroundings, seeing some land a short distance from them. They were getting closer to their destination now.

    xxx

    In the morning Nanu did his usual routine: patrol Route 16 and 17 with his Pokémon; feed and play with the Meowth until they get tired, which more often than not lasted a while; go on his computer to do his daily reports and check on the news; play with his kendama if he got bored. As he was doing just that, the phone rang and he picked it up.

    "Po Town Police Station," he said in a monotone voice.

    "Hi, Uncle Nanu!"

    It was Acerola. Nanu's heart jumped and he sat straight up.

    "Acerola?" He sighed in relief. "Thank the tapu you're all right."

    Not long after Grimsley had left the police station, he couldn't stop thinking about Acerola and the children. Sure, Gracie and Hunter were a handful, but he knew how much Acerola loved them. She would be upset if anything were to happen to them.

    "Of course I am!" Acerola said, her voice bringing Nanu back to reality. "I guess you knew about how Team Skull came inside Aether House and stole a Pokémon?"

    "Yeah, Becky told me. Grimsley heard too, and he went there to check up on the place."

    "He did come! I actually called to tell you that he and another trainer, Selene, are coming to Po Town to rescue that Pokémon!"

    "What?" Nanu yelled. "I hope they're prepared for what's coming."

    "I'm sure they are!" Acerola then said, "You know Uncle Nanu, I just realized something. Why don't you try to go and get Yungoos yourself?"

    Nanu grimaced, pulling his head back. His fingers tapped on the desk.

    "If I do, that would cause more harm than good. I would rather have Team Skull cause trouble here and not anywhere else."

    "Really? Well, if you say so. Will you at least keep an eye on Yungoos until Grimsley and Selene get there?"

    Nanu pondered that for a second. His hand almost slipped from the receiver.

    "Yeah kiddo, I'll do that."

    "Wonderful! If you do see them, say hi!"

    "Yeah, yeah, I will." Nanu stopped and asked, "Before I go, how was your visit to your parents’ graves?"

    "It was great, thanks for asking! I was telling them about our trip to Hania Desert and how fun Grimsley was to be with! All of my Pokémon were with me, too!"

    Nanu's face softened. "That's great to hear. I'll keep you updated if anything happens in Po Town."

    "Okay! Talk to you later!"

    "Sure, same here."

    Nanu hung up on the phone. Grimsley and Selene should be here at any moment. They might talk to him about how to deal with Team Skull. He might help them if they asked, but to what capacity…

    Nanu opened the top drawer of his desk. He had several Z-Rings there saved for any trial-goers starting out in Ula’ula Island. He pulled out two of them. One was red and another purple. Grimsley and Gladion weren’t able to perform their Z-Moves yet, so he would give them their Z-Rings when the time was right.

    He put the Z-Rings in his shirt’s pockets, grabbed his kendama, and leaned back in his chair. One Meowth sat on his desk and tried to grab the red ball with his paw. He raised a brow at him.

    "Still not tired, hm? I don't want you to pull the ball from its string."

    The Meowth whined and he jumped off from his desk. Nanu grunted, returning to playing with his kendama. He waited.


    xxx

    Several minutes passed until Grimsley and Selene made it to shore. After they hopped off Blackjack’s back, Grimsley patted Sharpedo’s forehead and offered him a poképuff.

    “Thank you for bringing us here,” Grimsley said while Blackjack chewed on the poképuff on his palm. When finished, he licked the crumbs on his mouth and Grimsley returned him.

    “All right, Po Town here we come!” Selene pumped her fist in the air and rushed forward, Grimsley following behind.

    They entered Ula’ula Meadows and crossed the wooden bridge. As before, red petals swirled around and the scent of sweet nectar overwhelmed Grimsley’s nose. At the grasses, several red-feathered Oricorio danced with each other.

    “Oh, those must be the Baile-style Oricorio Hau and Lillie talked to me about!” Selene said excitedly, pointing them out.

    “Baile-style?” Grimsley asked, more out of curiosity than confusion.

    “Ah-huh! There’s supposed to be four types of Oricorio, and Ula’ula Island has the red ones.”

    “I battled a young trainer with a pink feathered Oricorio. That one has a skirt and can use Psychic attacks.”

    “You’re talking about the Pa’u-style ones. You can find those in Akala--” Selene stopped there, her eyes growing wide. “Get behind that tree!”

    Grimsley let out a baffled grunt, and Selene grabbed his hand. They hid behind a tree.

    “What’s going on?” he asked with a raised brow.

    “There’s this guy I met a few times named Gladion,” Selene said, leaning back against the tree. She had her arms over her head. “Total idiot.”

    Grimsley blinked, taken aback by her language there. “How so?”

    “He calls Hau a brat and claims he doesn’t take battling seriously. Also, he keeps saying how you can’t protect anything when you’re weak.”

    Grimsley didn’t respond at first and instead took a peek from behind the tree. There was a blonde-haired boy in dark clothing, staring at his surroundings. His bangs and face seemed awfully familiar...

    “Does the person you’re talking about have blonde hair and dark clothing?” he asked, facing back to Selene.

    “Yeah, that’s him!” Selene pouted and crossed her arms against her chest. “I’m not sure what his problem is.”

    Grimsley chuckled. “Maybe there’s someone he dearly wants to protect.”

    A stunned look spread across Selene’s face. She shifted her gaze away from him, furrowing her brow.

    “Probably. Still, it won’t hurt him to be nice for once.” After a brief moment, Selene’s face brightened up. “I have an idea!”

    Selene grabbed Grimsley’s hand once more, and they came out from hiding. Grimsley winced when she had her hands in front of her face and screamed, “Hey, Edgelord!”

    That caught Gladion’s attention of course. He turned and glared at them.

    “Selene?”

    Selene narrowed her eyes at Gladion, her hands on her hips. “I take it you’re here for some Team Skull business?”

    “Sort of. This is their home and all.” He then noticed Grimsley and pointed at him. “Who is that old dude with you?”

    Grimsley flinched and the corner of his lips twitched. “I’m Grimsley from the Unova Elite Four. And I’m thirty years young, thank you very much.”

    “Wait, for real?” Gladion asked in shock, and Selene beamed.

    “Yep! I even battled him yesterday and he’s super good!”

    “We indeed had a Pokémon battle,” Grimsley said. “She’s not half bad herself.”

    Gladion regarded them for a moment and grunted. “What are you guys doing here, then?”

    “We’re on a rescue mission to save a Pokémon that Team Skull had stolen! However, we might need your help.”

    “How so?” Gladion stepped forward, giving Selene a skeptical look.

    “Well, big bad Guzma wants me to come to Po Town alone. Grimsley’s gonna help me, and I need a way for him to get inside. You can talk to them, right?”

    “Even if I do that, they won’t listen. We don’t get along at all.”

    “Oh.” Selene pursed her lips, and then her eyes lit up. “Then how about you distract them with your Pokémon?”

    Gladion’s eyes grew wide, and he squeezed his shaking wrist. He lowered his head, closing his eyes.

    “I”m sorry, but there’s no reason for me to help save a random trainer’s Pokémon. I wish you guys luck.” He flicked his hand and headed off.

    Grimsley stared at him for a few seconds. He looked over his shoulder at Selene and asked, “What now?”

    The Oricorio continued to sing as their red petals got stuck in everyone’s hair. A pinched expression appeared on Selene’s face. She glanced around uneasily, bringing her hand to her neck. Selene closed her eyes and clenched her fists.

    “I’m sorry, Lillie,” she muttered. When he heard that, Grimsley blinked. She took a deep breath, holding it in. “I know where Cosmog is.”

    That caused Gladion to stop and twist around. “You do? Where is it?”

    “My friend Lillie has been taking care of Nebby. They’re safe in Aether House.”

    “Lillie, and Nebby…” Gladion’s lips quivered, and then his face turned back to serious. “Did Team Skull try to hurt them?”

    “They did, but I managed to take them down!” Selene said and slammed her fist on her palm.

    Gladion gave a shocked look and sighed in relief. “Well, that’s good to hear.”

    Grimsley furrowed his brow and rubbed his chin. Lillie did have that Nebby, apparently a Cosmog now, and Selene had mentioned several people wanted it. He lowered himself to Selene’s height.

    “Do the people looking for Cosmog you told me about happen to be Team Skull?” he whispered behind her ear.

    “Ah huh,” Selene said and nodded. “Gladion warned me about them the last time we met. I didn’t trust him at first.”

    “I don’t blame you for that.” Grimsley glanced at Gladion, who folded his arms against his chest and closed his eyes. He had an idea of what Selene was trying to do. “Let me finish this.”

    Grimsley stood back up and cleared his throat. “You want to find out why Team Skull wants Cosmog, am I correct?”

    A strangled gasp escaped from Gladion. “How do you know?”

    “I met with Lillie and Nebby in Aether House yesterday. I can confirm that they’re doing just fine.”

    A part of him felt bad that he broke his promise to Lillie, but he and Selene had no choice. He forgot to ask Selene why Team Skull was after Nebby, so he wanted to know.

    With a raised suspicious brow, Gladion asked, “What you’re getting at, old man?”

    “Again, I’m not that old!” Grimsley sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Anyways, if you help us, then you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for.”

    Gladion’s lips pressed together in a slight grimace. He turned away from him and Selene for a moment, pulling his shaking wrist close to his chest once more. Grimsley wondered if he had an injury or condition whenever he did that.

    “All right, I’ll help,” Gladion said, turning back to them. “Will the three of us be enough, though?” He looked up at Grimsley. “No offense, but even with you by our side we’re still outnumbered.”

    “None taken,” Grimsley said in a flat tone. “I wasn’t going to be here at first, but I had a change of heart.”

    “Grimsley and I are about to ask Kahuna Nanu to help, too!” Selene said.

    “Good idea. He should know what to do.”

    “Great! C’mon, we better hurry!”

    Without waiting, Selene dashed forward. Grimsley and Gladion followed shortly after, catching up to her.

    Finding Gladion was a surprise, which Grimsley was glad had happened. Now to talk to Nanu and see what he had to say.

    Xxx

    As before, the Po Town police station was nestled within Route 17. The breeze today was as cold as yesterday's, gray clouds covering most of the sunlight. The tall walls covering Po Town was still there, but seeing them this time filled Grimsley with dread inside his stomach.

    He, Selene, and Gladion stopped in front of the police station. Grimsley knocked on the door, and he waited a second until a response came.

    "The door's open," Nanu said from inside.

    Grimsley glanced over his shoulder at Selene and Gladion, the two staring at him blankly. He shrugged, and everyone stepped inside.

    The front lobby was a mess and overtaken by the Meowth. Nanu sat on his desk, playing with what looked to be a kendama. He stopped and stared when he noticed Grimsley, Selene, and Gladion coming in.

    "Woah, so many Meowth!" Selene squealed. She went over to two Meowth that sat on a pile of files on the couch and scratched their cheeks. The Meowth rubbed against her palm and fingers. "Hey there, little kitties."

    "That was my same reaction when I first came in," Grimsley said with a chuckle. At the corner of the wall, Nanu's Persian curled up and was taking a nap. A Honchcrow, which also seemed to be Nanu's, was perched on her back and snoozing himself.

    "Nice Meowth cafe you have going on here," Gladion said. One of the Meowth came up to him and dug her claws into his legs, causing him to scream.

    "Think of it more like a bona fide Meowth sanctuary." Nanu had his stare locked on Grimsley. "I sort of expected you to return."

    Grimsley smirked. "Oh, didn't realize you missed me already."

    Nanu glared daggers at him. "One more wise crack out of you, and it's jail time."

    Grimsley gulped, tugging at his scarf. He cleared his throat, moving his gaze away from him briefly.

    "Nice to meet you, Kahuna Nanu! I'm Selene!" Selene said as she went up to Nanu's desk. She held out her hand to him.

    "Same here kiddo, I guess," Nanu said in a less enthusiastic tone, and they shook hands. "You guys can just move those papers and have a seat on that couch."

    Both Grimsley and Selene grabbed the papers and set them aside on the bookshelf nearby. After everyone sat down on the couch, one of the Meowth grabbed onto Grimsley's scarf and kept rolling on the floor. Grimsley petted her for a little bit, and then his smile wavered when he looked at Nanu.

    "We want to talk with you on how to deal with Team Skull."

    "Is that so?" Nanu had his elbow on his desk, his chin resting on his palm. "First tell me what happened in Aether House."

    "Team Skull barged in and stole a Pokémon while I was doing Acerola's trial," Selene said. The Meowth that Grimsley had petted before jumped on the couch, and Selene scratched behind her ear. "Their big sis Plumeria told me that Guzma wants me alone."

    "I met with Selene, and then after a wager, I decided to help her out," Grimsley said.

    "Wager?" Gladion asked with a blank face. Nanu had a similar expression.

    "We did a battle to see if I'm good enough to go to Po Town." Selene grinned. "I lost, but Grimsley decided to come with me anyhow!"

    "Huh. I shouldn't be surprised, but I am." Nanu picked up his kendama and began twirling it. "And why are you helping?"

    "I've dealt with Team Skull before, so I'm not afraid of them. Also, I've promised Gracie that I would rescue her Pokémon."

    Nanu stopped, the red ball dangling like a loose thread on clothing. He grunted.

    "So you promised a little girl that you would do it. Didn't think of you to be the knight in shining armor type."

    Grimsley chuckled. He pulled out his coin, flipping it a few times as he spoke.

    "I'm not. I just don't want to see her get upset."

    Nanu raised a brow, as if not convinced. He shrugged and turned to Gladion, who had his back against the wall with his eyes closed.

    "How about you, boy? Are you gonna help them too?"

    Gladion moved his head slightly at Nanu's direction. "There are a few questions I want to ask, especially to Guzma. About a Pokémon they're after."

    Nanu narrowed his eyes. He relaxed in his seat and played his kendama once more.

    "Must be some Pokémon if you want to talk to the big man himself."

    Gladion's forehead twitched. He turned his head and said in a sharp tone, "The specific details are none of your business."

    Grimsley blinked, taken aback by Gladion's voice. Selene frowned and did a fake cough. The Meowth she was petting growled and jumped off from the couch. Both Persian and Honchcrow woke up from their nap and raised their heads at the noise.

    After giving Gladion a hard stare, Nanu snorted. "And I thought we were becoming friends after our last talk. Did you guys have a plan yet?"

    "Not yet except using Gladion's Pokémon to our advantage," Selene said. "Grimsley says you may be able to help since you live next door to them."

    Nanu rose from his seat, regarding them a moment. He sighed and rubbed his forehead.

    "I don't like the sound of any of this. However, perhaps I can lend a hand."

    "Really? That would be awesome!" Selene jumped off of the couch and pumped her fist up.

    "Woah, easy there little miss," Nanu said, his hands up in a slow down gesture. "We need to come up with a plan first."

    “Selene can get in easy since Team Skull wants her,” Gladion said. “My Zoroark will help Grimsley and I get inside.”

    "Wait, you have a Zoroark?" Grimsley asked in surprise.

    "He does!" Selene said enthusiastically. "I take it you've heard of them before?"

    Grimsley nodded. "Zorua and Zoroark are known to create illusions and have a mischievous nature. Several of them reside in Unova." That made him remember the time he had battled against N, and one of his Pokémon was a Zoroark. He had seen Zoroark's ability firsthand.

    Selene beamed. "Yeah! Jester's ability will come very useful!"

    Nanu folded his arms against his chest and gave slow nods. "That's a start. All right, we'll hash out our plan a bit more, and then we'll head out to Po Town tonight."

    Grimsley grunted in agreement. That gave them some time to make sure their plan would work before going forth with their rescue mission. They should be prepared as much as possible.

    Author's Note:
    So, any folks here been playing Pokemon Masters? I did Grimsley and Nanu's chapter a few nights ago and oh my gosh everything about it is perfect. DENA bringing in the soul food.

    The Mental Pattern stuff Grimsley and Selene were talking about I got it from TaurusVersant's Eldritch. Took a long time for me to get through up to its Pokemon League arc (the story just only one chapter left wow), but it's worth it. Hau has Psychic bias like in that story, but I gave Selene the Water bias and Lillie the Fairy bias. There will be lots more Eldritch inspiration once we get to the Poni Island arc.

    Thanks to bobandbill for betaing as always. Up next, Po Town. I should have the next chapter up late September or early October!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  4. Bay

    Bay YEAHHHHHHH

    Chapter Sixteen
    Nasty Plot (Part One)


    When night fell, Grimsley and the others went outside. They gathered next to a large tree that was a short distance from the walls. Gladion had Jester, his Zoroark, by his side.

    "Brad and Trek are outside the walls, but they're busy with their phones,” Gladion said. “I think we're good."

    “Brad and Trek?” Grimsley asked.

    “Team Skull. Brad is the dark-haired one. Trek is the bigger guy with green hair.”

    "Okay, let's run through our plan before we begin," Nanu said.

    “Jester will pretend to be you, and I go inside,” Selene said. “After that, you guys come in and we take on any Team Skulls coming at us.”

    “Team Skull should have the Yungoos inside their mansion, the Shady House,” Gladion said. “We’ll provide backup while Selene rescues the Pokémon.”

    “And if luck is by our side, Gladion will be able to talk to Team Skull’s leader,” Grimsley said.

    “Good, good. Are your guys’ headpieces working?”

    "Yup!" Selene said. She and Grimsley tapped on the bluetooths behind their ears. Nanu had provided them those, mentioning these had been lying around in the police station for a while now.

    "Okay." Nanu faced Gladion. "Now boy, your Zoroark."

    "Right." Gladion turned to his Pokémon and gave him a single nod. Jester closed his eyes, and sparkling purple light cascaded over his body. Seconds later, he transformed into Nanu. He chuckled and flashed a toothy grin at everyone.

    Grimsley's eyes grew wide, and he pulled his head back. He looked over his shoulder to see Nanu with his usual deadpan expression. An amused smile formed on Grimsley’s llips.

    "Well, I can already tell who's the real Nanu and who's not," he said, and Nanu glared at him.

    "Save the jokes for later. Get in position, everyone."

    "Okay Jester, that's our cue!" Selene said, and Jester nodded enthusiastically. They walked off.

    Grimsley and Gladion peeked out from the tree. Selene and Jester approached the two grunts who had their backs on the walls. They stopped playing with their phones and stared at them. Grimsley's bluetooth began to pop with static, and he listened in on the conversation.

    "Alola, y'all!” Selene greeted in an upbeat voice. “Ya boy Guzma wants to meet with me!"

    "And you might be?" the first grunt asked. He was smaller and skinnier than the other grunt so that one must be Brad.

    "Um, Selene? The trainer that defeated you guys a bunch of times, and Guzma not that long ago?"

    The two grunts exchanged baffled expressions, and then Trek glared at Selene.

    "Oh look, that lil' girl is finally here," he said. "And she brought that old cop with her."

    "Yeah, what does he want?" Brad asked, pointing at Jester.

    "Easy there guys," Jester said. His voice was exactly like Nanu's. That caught Grimsley off guard there for a second. "I'm only here to let her inside."

    Both grunts gave Selene and Jester suspicious looks, and Brad shrugged.

    "All right, you may come in. Don't expect to go through the rest of us easily, though."

    They moved aside, and let Jester and Selene step forward. Gladion's hand covered his ear, where the bluetooth was.

    "The code is 23115," he whispered through the device.

    Jester punched in the code on the gate’s door. After Selene stepped inside, the door closed and Jester stepped back. He gave a quick glance over his shoulder, giving a thumbs up.

    "All right, showtime for you guys," Nanu said, and immediately Grimsley and Gladion moved out from hiding.

    "Now, Jester!" Gladion yelled.

    At that instant, Jester's illusion faded and he returned to as a Zoroark. Both grunts' faces fell at that act, and when Gladion and Grimsley approached them they sneered.

    "Yo, Brad, Trek!" Gladion faked a grin.

    "What the heck is going on here?" Trek asked, and Gladion’s face turned back to serious.

    "I need to talk to Guzma, it’s urgent. Is he here?"

    Trek snorted. "He is, but he’s busy at the moment."

    "And how about your other friend there?" Brad pointed at Grimsley, who stared at him.

    "He's helping Selene get that Yungoos. Now if you'll excuse us, let us in."

    Already the grunts laughed aloud, their hands on their stomach.

    "You think we’ll let you in easily?” Trek asked. “You didn't do your job half the ti--"

    Before he could finish, Jester had his claws in front of Trek’s face. He swallowed hard while Brad's face twitched. Even Grimsley's eyes grew wide.

    "Step aside, or Jester will make mincemeat out of your faces."

    “I would do as he says,” Nanu said, approaching everyone. He folded his arms against his chest. “I’ve seen how wild Zoroark can get. They can do some nasty work.”

    Jester growled, his claw inching closer towards Trek’s throat. He took a step back and held his hands in defeat.

    "Okay, chill dude! We'll get out of your way!" He and Brad moved aside to let Gladion punch in the code. The door to the gate opened, and Grimsley followed Nanu, Gladion, and Jester inside.

    "You didn't have to go that far," Grimsley said in a low voice.

    "Grimsley's right," Nanu said. "I would've come talk to the guys myself."

    "Sorry," Gladion said, though his apology didn't sound too genuine. "I'm just tired of them not taking me seriously."

    Grimsley frowned. "We need to help out Selene as much as we can. Come on."

    As they moved forward, Grimsley glanced around his surroundings. All the houses and stores were abandoned, and the grass in the front yards was dried up. The Pokémon Center they just passed had cracks on the windows and was closed, too. The paint was splattered all over the cobbled roads and buildings, several of them either Pokémon or pokéballs. Most of the lamppost had lit up, but some weren't working and their glass was also broken.

    "Man, oh man. Po Town is even sadder than the beach next to the Aether House," Grimsley said.

    "I already told you how Team Skull had taken over the town,” Nanu said. “No silly gambling antics while in here, all right?"

    An annoyed grunt escaped from Grimsley.

    He, Nanu, and Gladion passed a few more houses and buildings, and they stopped when they saw Selene going against a grunt. At that moment, Selene's Lycanroc jumped up and threw several rocks at a Drowzee. After being hit, the Drowzee shot a colorful psychic beam at Meli, but she dodged and rammed into him.

    "There's Selene!" Gladion said, pointing at her. Right now the Drowzee picked himself up, but wobbled and took deep breaths. Meli had some scratches and was dirty, but otherwise was in much better shape.

    The grunt Selene went against gritted his teeth and clenched his fist. "Zen Headbutt, Lil' D!"

    "I think we're about done, Meli. Stone Edge!"

    Meli howled and her paws slammed on the ground, causing the boulder pillars to pop up. Lil D's forehead glowed pink, and as he was rushing at her the boulder struck him in the stomach. He flew in the air, dropped down on the ground, and collapsed. The grunt's face fell, and he returned his Pokémon.

    "There's a whole crew coming to get you, girl! Right now I'm outta here!" the grunt warned, and then he took off.

    Selene stared off in the distance, and then she looked down at Meli. "We can beat the rest of them, right girl?" Meli responded with a cheerful bark, and Selene giggled. When she noticed the group, she beamed. "Oh, hi you guys! You missed me kicking that Team Skull's butt!"

    Smiling a little, Grimsley said, "Wished I could've witnessed that."

    "You can brag about that later," Gladion said. "We should head to the Shady House now."

    "Not so fast!" a female voice called out. Everyone turned around to see three grunts. The one that spoke was on top of a car while the other two squatted in front of it. Gladion glared at her.

    "Hello, Violet." Gladion lowered his stare back to Violet’s other companions. "Jo-Jo. Mikey."

    "Don't tell me you're helping this brat here," Violet said. She pursed her lips, folding her arms against her chest.

    "I've heard of what you guys did to that little girl's Yungoos, and you won't get away with it."

    "Yeah!" Selene said, taking one step forward. Meli barked. "I'm gonna save Yungoos, no matter what!"

    All three grunts gave the group sharp looks, and then one of them pointed at Grimsley. "And who's this guy here?"

    Grimsley faked a gasp, and he did a dramatic pose. "Me? I'm just a tourist that happens to get caught up in all of this."

    "Yo Jo-Jo, isn't that the dude we met back in Melemele Island?" one of the grunts, Mikey, asked.

    Jo-Jo blinked, and his eyes narrowed. "You're right! His Pokémon got us good!”

    Grimsley’s smirk grew. “Oh right, you’re the men that stole Roland’s Pokémon and then ran with your tail between your legs.”

    Both Jo-Jo and Mikey gritted their teeth and balled their fists. Jo-Jo grunted and said, “You’ll pay for what you did!”

    After Violet jumped off from the car's roof, all three grunts approached them. Grimsley pressed his lips and pulled out his pokéball. Nanu narrowed his eyes, his hand near his belt where his pokéballs were. Gladion and Jester glared at them and their backs touched. Selene clenched one of her fists while Meli assumed her attack stance and growled.

    "Selene, Nanu, go to the Shady House," Grimsley said. "We'll handle them from here."

    “Right!” Selene and Nanu gave each other nods, and then they along with Meli dashed off.

    "I'll take on Gladion while you two deal with the other guy," Violet said. She released two Pokémon, a Houndour and a Grimer that was in green slime instead of purple--an Alolan form.

    "You got it, sis!" both Mikey and Jo-Jo said. They got out their pokéballs and released their Pokémon, an Arbok and a Trubbish. The latter Grimsley was reminded of the several Trubbish he came across in the alleys of Castelia City.

    "Two against one?" Grimsley said, smirking. "Fine, I'll play that way." He tossed his pokéball, and Dice was released. He pulled his shredded skin up above his waist and stared at the Arbok and Trubbish.

    “Stay sharp, Jester,” Gladion told his Zoroark, who nodded and growled. He pulled out another pokéball. “Null, you help out too!”

    A bright light flashed, and a Pokémon Grimsley had never seen before appeared. They had a body of a canine, but their head was covered in a helmet and fish scales as legs. The Pokémon Gladion named Null lifted their head and howled.

    And they had Grimsley and Gladion’s clash with Team Skull in Po Town.

    "All right Tubby, Sludge Bomb!" Jo-Jo commanded.

    "And you go for Aqua Tail, Mack!" Mikey ordered after.

    "Avoid their attacks, and then target one of them!"

    Tubby acted first, hurling a large amount of brown sludge at Dice. Dice dodged to the left, causing the sludge to spray onto a lamppost. A small yellow mist formed, leaving a slight smell there. Mack slithered and loomed over him, raising his tail that was filled with torrential waters. Just as he was about to strike, Dice jumped in the air and made Mack miss. While dropping back down, he kicked Mack's face and knocked the wind out of him.

    "Go for Mud Bomb instead!" Mikey said.

    "Try Rock Blast this time!" Jo-Jo said.

    “Use Dragon Claw at the incoming attacks, and then at the Trubbish!”

    Both Mack and Tubby inhaled, spitting out a muddy bubble and several small boulders respectively. Dice's claws were shrouded in green flames, and he was able to slice at the incoming attacks like diced carrots. He then approached Tubby and slashed him, tearing one part of his bag. Tubby squealed, covering his face.

    “Hey Violet girl, how you’re holding up?” Jo-Jo asked.

    “What do you think?” Violet shouted, and Grimsley glanced over his shoulder to see her and Gladion’s double battle. Jester released dark waves of energy at Violet’s Grimer and Null swiped Houndour with their large claws. Violet ordered her Grimer to attack the Pokémon with the helmet, which she did by hurling purple sludge at them. Gladion’s Pokémon dodged, moved at a blitzing pace, and rammed into Grimer, knocking them out. Violet gasped and returned her Pokémon, and Grimsley pulled his attention back to his own battle.

    "Ice Punch at the Arbok!"

    "Poison Fang, Mack!"

    Mack's fangs glowed purple, and he lunged at his opponent. Dice leapt just in time, and while in the air, his fist was covered in cold mist and a blue glow. He dived towards Mack, punching him in the face. Mack whipped his head, a large bruise on his cheek.

    "Sludge Bomb on his back!" Jo-Jo said, doing that rapper pose he had done the first time he and Grimsley had met.

    Before Dice could turn around, Tubby spat out brown sludge onto his back. Some goo got stuck there, and Dice's eyes squinted when he tried to wipe them off. Even Grisley plugged his nose with his fingers and his forehead wrinkled at the smell.

    "Smack that Scrafty while he’s still distracted!" Mikey did a similar pose with his arms.

    Grimsley was about to call for Dice to watch out, but then an idea came to him and he grinned. "Take the hit, and then get back at your opponent!"

    Mack hissed and his tail was covered with water once more. After Dice took off the remaining sludge on his back, he stood still and let Mack slammed his tail onto his face. Dice's face was soaked and he fell down, but he quickly picked himself up and a ring of energy began to form around him.

    Both Jo-Jo and Mikey gave each other baffled looks.

    "Don't tell me that lil' dude is gonna--"

    Before Bo could finish, Dice screeched and the ring blasted at Mack with great force. Mack flew backward and crashed at a nearby tree, collapsing on impact. Mikey gritted his teeth and returned Mack.

    "It's all on you now, Jo-Jo!"

    "I got your back!" Jo-Jo said. He glared at Grimsley, clenching his fist. "Seed Bomb, Tubby!"

    "Zen Headbutt!"

    Tubby inhaled and spat out several glowing green seeds straight at Dice. Dice's forehead lit up a soft pink color, and he rushed through the seeds head-on. He rammed into Tubby, causing him to go up for a second and then drop down. Tubby didn't get back up.

    "Tubby, no!" Jo-Jo grunted in frustration, returning his Pokémon. "No way you're just some ordinary tourist."

    “You’re right, I’m not.” Grimsley shrugged, and Dice went to his side with his chin raised. “Either way, you guys lost.”

    Both grunts’ faces turned red and their hands shook.

    “Man, this is wacked,” Mikey said. “We’re outta here!”

    Jo-Jo nodded, and then he turned his head. “Hey Violet, we’re leaving now! Catch ya later!” He and Mikey bolted off.

    Gladion was also close to finishing his battle with Violet. Violet just ordered her Houndour to use Flamethrower at Jester, but he dodged and swiped the dog with his claws. The Houndour had scratches on her skull and dirty fur. Some of Jester’s fur was burned, but he was still in much better shape.

    “Huh, what gives?” Violet asked, annoyed and baffled. She was distracted by Jo-Jo and Mikey leaving, which gave Gladion the opportunity to tell Jester to use Shadow Ball. After the crimson ball struck the Houndour on the face, she fell and didn’t get up. When Violet turned back, she screamed. “Did you just hurt my Pumpkin while I wasn’t looking?”

    “You should’ve paid better attention, then,” Gladion said. Next to him, Jester gave what sounded like a cackle and Null snorted.

    Violet glared at Gladion, biting her lips. “Guzma’s gonna beat you down real hard when he sees you.” She ran off.

    Grimsley hummed, glad that those grunts were taken care of. Gladion dragged out a deep sigh and ran his fingers through his hair. His Pokémon went to his side, the one with the helmet on their head rubbing against his cheek. Ever since they appeared, Grimsley took a great interest in them.

    "I have to say, that is one tough pup you have there,” Grimsley said, and Gladion stared at him.

    “Null’s isn’t a cute puppy. They've been my most loyal partner, and I’m willing to do anything for them.”

    “Willing to do anything for them, huh?” Grimsley hummed in amusement. “I suppose that goes for me too if any of my Pokémon are in danger.”

    Gladion regarded him for a moment, and then he said, “Me and Null... We're more alike than we might look. We're both what we're made out to be." Gladion turned his gaze away from Grimsley, and at the Shady House. “We should move.”

    Grimsley nodded in agreement. They returned their Pokémon and hurried off.

    Up ahead there was a large mansion that appeared to be in ruins. More graffiti was sprayed on several spots, and the infrastructure and many of the windows were cracked. There were two floorboards on the lower roofs that led to an open window.

    As they headed towards the mansion, Grimsley hoped that Nanu and Selene were all right.

    Xxx

    Nanu had been inside the Shady House many times before, mostly to make sure the Team Skull kids stayed where they were supposed to. Whenever he visited, the grunts would either tell him to leave or tease that he was old enough to be their grandfather. Today’s visit though they might be more hostile to him.

    The walls were filled with graffiti, and some of the paint was chipping off. Several shelves and broken furniture had been left behind like a thief store. The carpet was dried and sticky against his sandals, most likely from the soda and beer that was spilled on it. Nanu’s nose wrinkled at the smell of alcohol and cigarettes that lingered.

    “Hey, did you get to see that broadcast from the Aether Foundation?” Selene asked as they went up the first set of stairs, her Lycanroc following behind.

    “Hm?” Nanu blinked, and then he raised a brow. “I did, yeah. What about it?”

    “Well, the president showed off that video of my Brionee going against that Ultra Beast!”

    “Wait, that was you?” Nanu said in surprise. They stopped before where the stairs had split into two.

    “Ah-huh!” Selene said with an enthusiastic nod. “That thing is strong, but Poppers is even stronger!”

    Nanu’s forehead twitched, and he felt his blood pressure rising. “Those Ultra Beasts aren’t like the usual Pokémon you battle with! They’re extremely dangerous, and need to be handled with precaution.”

    Selene’s face perked up. “Have you encountered those things before?” she asked seriously.

    Memories of his encounter with UB Symbiont came back to him like a static VHS recording. He, Looker, and Sana went deep inside Lush Jungle and encountered three of those jellyfish monsters. Their Pokémon sustained hard hits but managed to subdue them. One of them being experimented on by an Interpol scientist, screaming. Nanu mentally took a deep breath.

    “It doesn’t matter,” he said in a gruff voice. When he didn’t follow up on that, Selene tilted her head and gave him a suspicious look. Meli seemed to have a similar expression, her tail wagging.

    “Fine, you don’t have to tell me.” Selene shrugged, and then she said, “You’re the kahuna, right? Can we do the Grand Trial after this?”

    Nanu regarded her for a second, and then he snorted. “Sure, if we get out of here alive.”

    Selene raised her chin and had her hands on her sides, staring at him. “Wow, such a downer.”

    “Eh, not the first time folks had said that to me.”

    “What’s this, intruders in our crib?” another voice called out. Nanu and Selene looked down to see two female grunts approaching them. He recognized them as Deedee and Jazzy.

    “What you’re doing here, old cop?” Deedee asked.

    “Oh, just checking the premises as usual,” Nanu said in a flat tone.

    “If so, then why you have a little girl with you?” Jazzy said, pointing at Selene.

    “I’m here to get a Pokémon back! And to kick your guys’ butt!” Selene said, her foot taking a step forward. Meli barked.

    Both grunts laughed, and then Jazzy said, “Aw how cute. She thinks she can take us down.”

    Selene grunted and clenched her fist. Meli did an attack stance and growled. The trainer opened her mouth, but Nanu raised his hand.

    “You go find Guzma. I’ll handle these clowns here.”

    Selene gasped, and then she hummed in understanding. She and Meli took the left side of the stairs. When Nanu was left alone, both Deedee and Jazzy chuckled and pulled out their pokéballs.

    “Felicia and Dennis told me that you had beat them twice. We’re gonna show you who’s boss, gramps!” Deedee said. She and Jazzy released their Pokémon, a Golbat and a Mareanie respectively.

    Nanu made a bored grunt, went down the steps, and took out his own pokéballs. Krookodile and Sableye came out, doing their battle poses. The crocodile Pokémon roared and caused the grunts’ Pokémon to flinch and back away. Satisfied that Krookodile’s Intimidate ability was working, Nanu cracked a smile.

    “All right Dolly, Spike Cannon at that Sableye!” Jazzy said, thrusting her arm forward.

    Deedee did the same gesture and yelled, “Air Cutter, Goldy!”

    “Deflect with Power Gem, Sableye,” Nanu said calmly. “As for you Kookie, slam that Golbat with your tail.”

    Dolly squealed, her spikes jumping up like hair being rubbed by electricity. She fired several pin missiles towards Sableye, but Nanu’s Pokémon countered by having her gem glow and release a number of bright stones. Both assaults collided in a small explosion. When the remaining gems showered onto Dolly, she whined and covered herself with her tentacles.

    Meanwhile, Goldy flapped his wings furiously and razor-sharp air struck Krookodile on the chest. A few cuts were left there, but Krookodile wasn’t fazed one bit. He stomped hard on one foot and swung his tail, glowing green, into the Golbat. Goldy was sent flying into a pile of furniture, and after he screeched was immediately returned to his pokéball. Soon a Salandit popped up and took Goldy’s place on the battlefield instead.

    Deedee’s face fell. “Hey! What trick did you pull, geezer?”

    “Dragon Tail switches your opponent’s Pokémon.” Nanu had one hand on his side.

    Deedee groaned and clenched her fist. “Gonna play it that way, huh? Come on Sal, burst out your flames at them!”

    Sal hissed and swung his tail wildly. Flaming liquid flew out from the red patterns on his body, which splattered on both of Nanu’s Pokémon. Krookodile shook the liquid off and grunted in annoyance while Sableye was stunned for a second and wiped her eyes.

    “Good work there, bud!” Deedee faced Jazzy and said, “So Jazzy, can we move our sushi date tomorrow from the afternoon to later?”

    “Huh?” Jazzy blinked at her, and then she nodded. “Sure, no prob. Why, though?” She turned back to the battle. “Full-on Knock Out on that Krookodile!”

    Were the girls talking date plans during the battle? Nanu brushed that off and focused back on the battle. “Punch that lizard, Sableye. Kookie, you use Thunder Fang at the Mareanie.”

    Sableye grinned and her fist form a blue aura with cold air swirling around. She punched Sal’s jaw, knocking him backward and making him screech. He picked himself up and hissed, some pieces of ice stuck where Sableye had hit.

    Krookodile’s fangs crackled with electric sparks, and he charged at Dolly. Dolly jumped up and swung two of her tentacles at Krookodile, but he grabbed one of them with his teeth and shocked her with large amounts of electricity. After he let go, Dolly wobbled and had a dazed expression on her face. She was left with several burns all over her.

    Both Deedee and Jazzy glared at him.

    “Dragon Rage at that Sableye, Sal!” Deedee said. She glanced at Jazzy. “Got a call from that malasada shop, sayin’ they’re willin’ to interview me.”

    “Oh my gosh, that’s great news, girl! And you Dolly, Poison Jab at Krookodile!”

    Nanu sighed and rolled his eyes. “Can your guys’ conversation wait until the battle’s over? Use your tail at the Salandit, Kookie. Sableye, Shadow Sneak.”

    Sal inhaled and released a blast of purple flames at Krookodile. To counter, he raised his tail and swung at the flames, causing them to disappear. Krookodile then slammed his tail at Sal, who got squashed on the floor and collapsed.

    One of Dolly’s tentacles glowed purple, and she swung at Sableye. At the last second, Sableye dodged and backed away with a giggle. Her eyes turned red, and a shadow of herself appeared behind the Mareanie. Dolly looked around in confusion, and when she finally noticed Sableye’s shadow it punched her several times without warning. When Sableye was done, she pulled her shadow back and Dolly fainted.

    “What the…” Jazzy said with a dumbfounded face. She and Deedee returned their Pokémon.

    Deedee had a similar expression, and then she grinned. “It’s okay, babe. I still got Goldy.” She released her Golbat, who screeched and flew around frantically. “Get back at that Krookodile!”

    “Strike first with Aerial Ace!” Nanu said, raising his voice.

    Goldy’s wings shined a metallic color and he dove down, only for Krookodile to charge at the Golbat in a blur and rammed him into the wall. Goldy collapsed on impact. There were a few cracks on the foundation. Deedee returned her Pokémon with a fuming face.

    “How can a sleazy cop like you defeat us?” Deedee asked.

    “I’m also a Kahuna, so of course I’m stronger, ” Nanu said. Krookodile raised his snout and snorted while Sableye cackled.

    The female grunts stared at him, and then Jazzy said, “Guzma’s stronger than you, so you better watch out, yo!” They held hands and exited the mansion.

    Nanu released a tired sigh and looked at his Pokémon. “What a hassle,” he said, and both Sableye and Krookodile made noises of agreement. He returned them and took the left side of the stairs.

    When he made it to the hallway, that sinking feeling inside his stomach returned. As Nanu moved forward, he glanced at the paintings that were ruined by the graffiti and pinned pictures of Team Skull. He stopped when one picture caught his attention. It was a picture of a younger Guzma with several other kids around his age and an older man. His eyes grew wide.

    “Kahuna Laney,” Nanu muttered to himself.

    Laney was the Kahuna before him. His title was stripped away from the tapus due to a shady group he had formed. He did that because he thought Alola’s customs were outdated and the region wasn’t keeping up with the world, or so the rumors went. No surprise where Guzma got his beliefs from.

    “It’s your fault that we lost! Your tank top was too tight and it distracted me!” someone yelled, and Nanu was pulled away from his thoughts. He turned to see two other female grunts storming out from one of the rooms. Nanu moved to the corner.

    “My fault? Your Raticate kept messing his moves up!”

    The girls passed by Nanu, not noticing him, and went down the stairs.

    “Your Rattata wasn’t so hot, either! Also, when was the last time you washed your tank?”

    “Zip it!”

    Nanu’s forehead wrinkled. When he turned back, Selene and her Pokémon came out of the room and were in front of him. She held Poppers close to her chest while Meli was behind them.

    “You know what’s going on with those two?” he asked.

    “You mean with the grunts I had just beat? They wore each other’s shirts and were sore that they lost to me.”

    “Wearing each other’s shirts?” Nanu raised a brow and shrugged. “Kinda stupid to get worked up over.”

    “I know, right!” Selene said. Poppers squealed and clapped his flippers. Meli barked, seemed to also in agreement.

    Nanu shushed them and said in a low voice, “Not so loud. There are still some grunts here. There’s one walking right now.”

    A short distance from them, a grunt paced around the hallway with his phone and headphones on. He rapped on a song he was listening to, his shoulders moving and head bobbing. Nanu recognized him as Lorenzo.

    “Don’t know what ya want from me, bro. Already used up all my cash on cigars, Julio. Gonna fly high up in the sky. Come and catch me, if you wanna try!”

    After he finished that verse, the grunt turned around and headed the other direction. Nanu didn’t react as he had seen more than one grunt do that. A pinched expression crossed Selene’s face.

    “Their singing always hurt my ears,” she said.

    “Eh, you get used to it.” Nanu shifted his gaze for a second. “Let me ask you something, girl. Do you really want to battle Guzma?”

    Selene’s face fell, and her gaze fell on the floor. Poppers looked up to her and gave a sad squeaking sound.

    “To be honest, not really. I just want to get the Yungoos back, but I’m not afraid of him.”

    Nanu regarded her for a moment, and then he said, “Okay, good. There’s something of Guzma’s I want to check. His laptop, to be specific.”

    “Oh, you’re trying to get some dirt on him? How you’re gonna do that?”

    “I’ll force him out. And I know the perfect Pokémon to do so.”

    Nanu pulled out a pokéball from his belt and released Honchkrow. As the bird cawed and flapped his wings, Selene and her Pokémon gazed up in awe.

    “I need you to distract Guzma and his guys for a while,” Nanu said to his Pokémon. “Can you do that?”

    Honchkrow nodded and screeched, which Nanu assumed to be a yes. He pointed to a large vase that was next to one of the windows.

    “Break that vase over there, and then once Guzma’s out, go get his sunglasses.”

    After Honchkrow glanced at the vase, he opened his beak and fired a crimson ball straight at it. The vase was shattered into several pieces.

    “Huh, what’s going on?” the grunt from earlier yelled. Nanu, Selene, and her Pokémon hid behind old furniture with boxes piled on there. When Nanu peeked from the corner, Lorenzo approached Honchkrow and glared at him. “Yo Big Bird, what’cha doing here? Tryin’ to find some shiny bottle caps?”

    Honchkrow screeched and pecked at his face. Lorenzo kept crying “ow, ow, ow!”, shielding Honchkrow’s attacks with his arms.

    “Hey, Lorenzo, what’s all that noise?”

    Nanu immediately recognized that voice to be Guzma’s. The man himself appeared with Dennis and Felicia behind him.

    “This Honchkrow broke that vase, and is now pecking me!” Lorenzo said while Honchkrow kept doing that.

    “Really?” Guzma asked. “Why’s that?”

    With a hard stare, Felicia said, “That Honchkrow looks familiar…”

    Nanu’s heart thundered against his chest. He hoped their cover wasn’t blown this early.

    “Hold up, Feliz. You don’t mean…”

    Before Dennis could finish, Honchkrow stopped hurting Lorenzo and turned his attention to Guzma. He grabbed Guzma’s sunglasses with his claws and flew outside towards the balcony.

    “Get back my sunglasses, you brat!” Guzma screamed, shaking his fist. He and his group rushed outside.

    Nanu sighed in relief. “That should buy us some time. Let’s move.”

    Everyone hurried to Guzma’s room, which was on the other side of the hallway. After Selene opened the door, they stepped inside.

    It had been a while since Nanu had entered Guzma’s room, but he remembered it well enough to know it hadn’t changed much. Nanu stepped on one of the many beer cans scattered across the floor. Up ahead there were some stairs and a sofa that had been torn and dirtied. A large banner with Team Skull’s logo was pinned on the wall. That spot had been referred to as Guzma’s throne; a far cry from proper royalty. The scent of alcohol and cigarettes that first lingered on the first floor stuck around here also.

    “You try to find the Yungoos while I snoop around his laptop,” Nanu said. Selene nodded, put Poppers down, and then she and her Pokémon began searching the room.

    He took the stairs and approached Guzma’s laptop, which was on the small stand that was next to the sofa. It was on sleep mode, so he pressed a key and the laptop lit up back to life. The login screen asked for a password. Nanu pressed his lips in annoyance.

    “What kind of password Guzma would use?” he muttered. Guzma would probably have his favorite Pokémon for that. After remembering what that Pokémon was, he typed “Golisopod” and hit enter.

    That password failed.

    If favorite Pokémon didn’t work, then the Pokémon’s nickname. Now, what was it? He recalled Plumeria saying it was Goliath, like that character from that one story. He typed “Goliath” and hit enter.

    That password was successful, and he greeted with the laptop’s wallpaper of the Team Skull logo and splattered paint. That made finding the information he needed faster.

    Nanu opened the browser and clicked on a tab, QMail. Guzma’s information was saved, so he was shown his inbox already. Many of the emails were newsletters and promotions from various companies, but there were some from the Aether President, Lusamine Jubert, that made Nanu’s stomach jump. He clicked on one of those emails.

    From: yaboyguzma@qmail.com
    To: lusaminejubert@aetherfoundation.org

    Hey, Madame Prez. Can you run down to me again why this Cosmog is so important?

    From: lusaminejubert@aetherfoundation.org
    To: yaboyguzma@qmail.com

    Cosmog has the ability to open Ultra Wormholes and bring beings from other dimensions. If someone were to have that Pokémon and not used its powers properly, that can spell disaster.

    Here is all the information you need regarding Aether’s research on alternate dimensions. Have your men bring Cosmog and Lillie back to me, and you will be paid handsomely.

    Attachments: aether_wormhole_research.pdf

    From: yaboyguzma@qmail.com
    To: lusaminejubert@aetherfoundation.org

    Wow, that’s a lot of info to take in. I don’t understand half of the alternate dimensions mumbo jumbo, but this sounds serious. Don’t worry, my guys and I will take care of that for you.


    Nanu furrowed his brow and rubbed his chin. He didn’t remember anyone mentioning a Cosmog when he was in Interpol. Could this be the Pokémon Gladion and Charlotte had mentioned that Team Skull was after? Also, why did Lusamine want her daughter back? Nanu was under the impression Kukui had hired Lillie as his assistant on the spot.

    He glanced over his shoulder to see Selene and Meli checking out a chest full of z-crystals, the dog sniffing at the contents. Meanwhile, Poppers looked behind a shelf filled with alcohol bottles. Nanu clicked on another email thread and read it.

    From: yaboyguzma@qmail.com
    To: lusaminejubert@aetherfoundation.org

    Yo, Madame Prez! Thanks so much for sending in the money. My homies and I are gonna live like kings, thanks to you!

    From: lusaminejubert@aetherfoundation.org
    To: yaboyguzma@qmail.com

    That’s only the first half of the payment. You get the rest once Lillie and Cosmog are in Aether Paradise.


    Nanu pulled his head back and made a “tch” sound. That meant Aether’s president had been pulling the strings all this time. It was no wonder he was suspicious of the organization.

    “Hey, I found Yungoos hiding behind Guzma’s bottle stash!” Selene said cheerfully. She approached Nanu while holding the mongoose against her chest. Yungoos growled and flashed his teeth, a bit shaken up. Behind them, Meli and Poppers cheered also.

    “Thing must’ve been scared half to death if he’s glad to see a wretch like me.”

    “Maybe. I won’t be surprised if Team Skull had harmed him beforehand.” Selene glanced at the laptop, and then asked, “Did you find anything good?”

    “I did, and it’s big. Apparently Aether’s president had been Team Skull’s secret benefactor.”

    “What, really?” Selene said in a shocked voice.

    “Yup. She gave some money to Team Skull and wanted them to bring Lillie and Cosmog back. Lillie is Lusamine’s daughter.”

    Selene sucked in a breath and frowned. Meli and Poppers looked up at her with sad faces.

    “That explains why the president had acted strange when Hau mentioned her. Does Gladion know about this?”

    “I’m not sure, but we can ask.” Nanu closed the browser and snapped the laptop shut. “We better get back to him and Grimsley before Guzma sees--”

    “Why the heck are you guys inside my throne?”

    Both Nanu and Selene flinched. They slowly turned around to see Guzma, Lorenzo, Dennis, and Felicia surrounding them. The Team Skull leader had his hands on his sides, and a wicked grin spread across his face. His sunglasses were on his forehead, so he got them back.

    "The hated boss who beats you down and beats you down and never lets up... Yeah. Big bad Guzma is here!"

    Nanu fixed his stare at him. Selene glared, holding the Yungoos tighter. Meli assumed a stance and growled while Poppers barked angrily.

    "I don't really get you, kid," Guzma continued, "but at least this is a change of pace. It's not everyday someone comes straight to me for a beating!"

    "I'm not here for you, bumhead!" Selene immediately said. Yungoos in her arms hissed at him.

    "No bone to pick with me, huh? Then it's for Yungoos, I guess." Guzma shrugged, and then faced Nanu. "And you brought this washed-out cop with you to help."

    "I knew I recognized the old dude's Honchkrow before!" Felicia said. "You were creating a distraction. aren't ya?"

    "Maybe," Nanu said flatly. Honchkrow was outside the mansion, so he would have to get him later.

    Guzma glanced at his laptop and narrowed his eyes. He jabbed a finger above Nanu’s chest.

    “You were snooping around my laptop, too. For what purpose?”

    “I know your connection with Aether, and why you have your guys get Cosmog.”

    All three of his grunts shot confused looks at their leader. Guzma scrunched up his face and then relaxed.

    "I gotta admit, that's bold of you guys to get Yungoos like that." He grinned, licking his lips. "However, I'm gonna teach you to stay out of other people's business!

    Guzma’s grunts chuckled and took a step forward. Nanu gritted his teeth and already had his hand near a pokéball. Selene gasped and gazed down at Yungoos, who hissed and wiggled. Her Pokémon stared and held their ground.

    Before anyone could make their move, Gladion and Grimsley showed up and everyone turned their attention to them.

    Nanu’s face twitched. About time.

    Author's Notes:
    1. Real quick, went ahead and fixed the grammar and prose in Chapters 12-15!

    2. Originally Nasty Plot was going to be one chapter, but it became a bit too long and so I have it split into two chapters. The big Guzma battle will be next chapter.

    3. Forgot to mention last chapter, but one of my readers ScarletMage did some fanart! It's based off the Murkrow thief back in Chapter 5 and it's cute. Please check it out and give them your support.

    4. Also! Twitter user Amyliobat is doing a Grimsley & Nanu comic called En Prison. GO CHECK IT OUT.

    Yeah, I think that's it. Thanks to bobandbill for the beta as always. I might aim for Chapter 17 to come late October or early November. See you then!
     

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