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Foul Play


Chapter Thirteen

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.


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!
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Chapter Fourteen

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!”


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.
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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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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!
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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.


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!


Chapter Seventeen
Nasty Plot (Part Two)

Being in Shady House reminded Grimsley of his old mansion in Castelia City. His family’s mansion had marble flooring, pristine white walls, and many rooms with butlers ready to serve. The backyard was a lush garden filled with roses and small ponds. After his father had died, the mansion was sold and his mother moved to Mistralton City to live a quieter life. Grimsley frowned at seeing this mansion in such a bad state.

"Did you know who the previous owner of this mansion was?" Grimsley asked as he and Gladion took the stairs. His nose wrinkled at the lingering smell of alcohol and cigarettes.

"Not sure. I heard Team Skull took over Po Town and forced the last owner out."

Grimsley nodded in acknowledgment, and then he thought about Nebby. A large chandelier blocked the right side of the path, so they took the left side.

"You mentioned to Selene that Nebby is very important, and shouldn't be in Team Skull's hands. How come?"

"Nebby has the ability to create wormholes. They're supposed to be rare occurrences here. Recently though, the wormholes keep coming."

"So you're saying Nebby has been causing those wormholes?" Grimsley asked, raising a brow.

"I don't know. Either them or an Ultra Beast. You know what those are, right?"

"I've heard of them in passing." Grimsley then asked, "Do you have any idea why Lillie has Nebby?"

"She probably ran away with them because of our mother."

When he and Gladion made it to the second floor, they stopped. Grimsley gave him a baffled stare.

"Your mother?" He recalled Lusamine's press conference and mused how she and Gladion looked similar. Upon that realization, he said, "Then you're Lusamine Jubert's son?"

An odd noise left Gladion's throat. He shifted his gaze away from him and squeezed his right wrist.


Grimsley lowered his head, frowning. "What was your mother like?"

Facing back at him, Gladion said, "She was a good mother: read me bedtime stories and tucked me in every night; let me help care for the Pokémon in Aether Paradise. She was able to spend time with her family despite her busy schedule." He sighed and his shoulders slumped. "After Father disappeared, she changed. She grew more distant and demanding."

Grimsley's frown deepened. Before he could respond, someone's voice and footsteps caused him and Gladion to look forward. Guzma and his group had stepped back inside from the balcony. Grimsley and Gladion moved to the corner of the wall.

"That stupid bird ruined my sunglasses," Guzma said. "I blew so much money for these!"

"Don't worry, Big G!" Lorenzo said, slamming his fist on his palm. “I'll knock that Honchkrow out for you!"

"I still can't shake that feeling I've seen that Honchkrow before," Felicia asked, pursing her lips.

A beat, and then Guzma's face hardened. "That's the old man's Pokémon. He's creating a distraction."

"Huh? Why's that?" Dennis asked, tilting his head.

"Probably to help that girl get that Yungoos. C'mon, guys!" Guzma gestured his arm for them to follow him, and they headed to his room.

"We should help Officer Nanu and Selene," Gladion said, and Grimsley nodded.

They moved forward to the other side of the floor. Once they almost reached Guzma's room, the door still open, they stopped when they heard a conversation going on.

"I'm not here for you, bumhead!" Selene said sharply, followed by a Yungoos's hiss.

"No bone to pick with me, huh? Then it's for Yungoos, I guess. And you brought this washed out cop with you to help."

Grimsley and Gladion exchanged worried glances. While one of the grunts yelled for recognizing Nanu's Honchkrow, they stepped closer towards the door. Gladion stayed behind Grimsley, and they continued to eavesdrop on the conversation.

“You were snooping around my laptop, too. For what purpose?”

“I know your connection with Aether, and why you have your guys get Cosmog.”

Grimsley's forehead knitted into a furrowed brow. He stared over his shoulder at Gladion and asked, "Aether's working with Team Skull?"

"This is the first time I've heard any of this," Gladion said, wearing a similar expression. "Now I even have more questions for him."

Grimsley wasn't sure how to respond to that. He pointed his finger to the door.

"On the count to three." With each count, Grimsley flashed his fingers up. "One, two... three!"

He and Gladion dashed into the room. They were greeted by the sight of Guzma and his grunts surrounding Nanu, Selene, and her Pokémon: Meli and the sea lion Pokémon Grimsley had seen on television. The girl held the Yungoos against her chest. Everyone turned their attention to them.

"Gladion! Guzma!" Selene exclaimed, both out of relief and nervousness.

Nanu reacted with a slight twitch on his face. "You guys are late to the party."

"You got some explaining to do, Guzma!" Gladion said, pointing at him.

Guzma glared, then flashed him a grin. "Hi there, Glady boy. Don't tell me you're helping that girl, too?"

"I'm helping her so that I can talk to you."

"You think going against Team Skull will grab the boss's attention?" Lorenzo asked.

Guzma pressed his lips and folded his arms against his chest. "Actually, I shouldn't be surprised. My peeps told me how much you've been slacking on your duties lately." After he finished, Guzma directed his stare at Grimsley. "And who are you, kimono wearing dude?"

Grimsley narrowed his eyes, and he tugged on his scarf. Before he could respond, Selene did it for him.

"He's Grimsley from Unova's Elite Four. His Pokémon are very strong, so you better watch out!" she said. Meli barked in agreement.

"She's right on both accounts," Grimsley said in a coy voice. "Grimsley Thomas, one of Unova's Elite Four. I'm the real deal."

"Hold up, Elite Four?" Felicia asked in shock. "Jeez, no wonder he was able to beat us so badly."

Guzma raised a suspicious brow and snorted. "So you're from one of those Pokémon Leagues? I bet you heard about the one that's about to make its debut in Alola."

"I have, yes. I even gave some tips to Professor Kukui on how to run his Pokémon League."

Guzma glared at Grimsley. "That's so noble of you to help Kukui out." He grinned, and his fist slammed on his chest. "However, Alola needs no Pokémon League because I'm the strongest trainer on these islands!"

Selene laughed. "Oh, please! You said that when we first met, and I beat you!"

Guzma's eyes twitched, and he jerked his head in Selene's direction. "Trying to be a smartass, huh? That does it, I'm gonna destroy all of you!"

He pulled two pokéballs out and released his Pokémon. One was a Masquerain, fluttering around like a butterfly. Another Pokémon was one Grimsley never seen before-- a large arthropod creature with a hunched posture and armor plating. They raised their head and made clicking noises with their mandibles.

"Run!" Gladion yelled.

Everyone made a dash out of the room. Selene held Yungoos while her Pokémon followed her behind, Poppers riding on Meli's back. Both of Guzma's Pokémon unleashed jet streams of water and sharp gusts of wind at them, often missing and hitting the walls and ceiling. Grimsley glanced over his shoulder to see Guzma and his grunts trailing behind, so he and the others picked up their pace.

"Hey, let us help too!" Lorenzo said. He, Dennis, and Felicia released their Pokémon: Spinarak, Haunter, and Raticate respectively. Their Pokémon released a series of spiderwebs, frost-laced beams, and crimson-colored balls at the group.

“Great idea going through that man’s laptop,” Grimsley said sarcastically, and that earned a glare from Nanu.

“Not now! Just keep running!”

The four hurried down the stairs, avoiding the onslaught of attacks being thrown at them. Selene's Pokémon fought back with high-pressured water jets and sharp rocks but had to keep up with the humans. They soon made it to the floor and kept running, almost to the front door exit.

"Goliath, Spitball, block that door!" Guzma ordered from up the stairs, pointing at the door.

Goliath jumped down and blocked the door while Spitball dived down and fluttered next to the large arthropod. There was another door, but the grunts’ Pokémon blocked that too. That made everyone stop and back away.

“Hmph, don’t think you guys will get away easily.” Guzma’s face was split into a wide grin. Behind him, his grunts wore similar expressions. “Get them!”

“Looks like we’re having ourselves a Battle Royale.” Nanu pulled out a pokéball and released his Pokémon. An Absol appeared as he tossed his head up and howled. Grimsley lifted his forehead with great interest. He wondered if there would be a chance for Roulette and Nanu’s Absol to meet. Gladion also released his Pokémon, Null.

“I’ll take on Guzma while you guys handle the rest,” Selene said, still holding the Yungoos. Her Pokémon nodded in agreement and turned to Guzma’s Pokémon with determined looks.

All three grunts gave orders to their Pokémon. Spinarak fired off glowing barbs from his mouth, Haunter glowed yellow and released a blast of lightning, and Raticate opened his jaws wide and charged.

Grimsley, Nanu, and Gladion also gave out commands, and everyone’s Pokémon clashed. Raz countered Spinarak’s Poison Sting with Shadow Ball. The orb directly hitting him directly; the Spinarak squealed in pain. Null howled when Felicia’s Raticate sunk his teeth into their leg, but then they lifted a glowing claw, swiped the big rat’s face, and left a claw mark there. Nanu’s Absol crouched down and the horn on his forehead shined a dark color. He cut through the blast of lighting, splitting it and leaving sparks of electricity in the air.

Felicia narrowed her eyes and her lips twitched. “Freeze that kid’s Pokémon!”

“Iron Head, go!” Gladion said with the swipe of his arm.

Raticate inhaled and released a beam of cold energy straight at Null. The strange creature recoiled and some pieces of ice got stuck on their skin. Null dashed and rammed Raticate into the ground.

The Haunter was drawing close to Raz, so Grimsley had her stay on guard. Dark vapors formed around Raz’s leg, and she reached and swiped at the ghost with her extended claw. Haunter grimaced and backed away. In that instant, Lorenzo had Spinarak fire tiny missiles at Raz. Raz flinched a little at the stings, but otherwise still stood strong.

Grimsley’s lips curled into a small smile. “All right Raz, now go for--”

“Psycho Cut!”

Absol rushed forward, his horn glowing a soft pink. He slashed Spinarak, sending the small bug slamming into a wall. Spinarak collapsed upon impact.

“I was just about to finish it,” Grimsley said, furrowing his brow at him. This was the second time he had done that.

Nanu shrugged. “You still need to pick up the pace.”

Grimsley forced himself to not roll his eyes. Guzma and Selene’s booming voices filled the room, and he turned to see their Pokémon making their moves. Spitball screeched an ear-piercing cry and made Poppers wince, only for the sea lion to soak him with high-pressure water. Goliath and Meli collided head-on and pushed each other. After a short struggle, Meli pinned Goliath down and climbed on top of him. The two stared at each other, and then Goliath faded into red light. Guzma glared down at the pokéball on his belt.

“Stupid Emergency Exit,” Guzma grumbled. “Tassel, you’re up!”

He pulled out another pokeball and released a Pinsir. The stag beetle Pokémon moved his pincers and made clicking noises. A small yellow and orange orb was tied onto one of the pincers.

Grimsley did a double-take. Wait, was that a MegaStone?

Before he could think further on that, Raz’s screams brought his attention back to the chaotic battle. She and Raticate bounced off dark blobs and frost-laced beams at each other. Null and Absol were busy with Haunter, the ghost shooting beams of dark energy at them while the two unleashed their ghostly and green-lit claws at him.

“Poison Jab at Helmet-Head there!” Dennis said, pointing at Null.

Haunter cackled, his hand glowing purple. He jabbed Null’s throat, causing them to fall back. Null winced and could barely open one eye now, their legs shaking. A purple bruise blossomed where Haunter had hit.

“Null!” Gladion called out urgently. Despite not looking well, his Pokémon let out a reassuring bark.

Grimsley pressed his lips and pointed at the Haunter. “Get that Haunter mid-air!”

With an excited meow, Raz jumped up and sank her teeth into Haunter’s body. Haunter cried out in pain, struggling to let go of her grip. She flipped Haunter over mid-air and threw him into the ground like a hammer. Unable to get up. Haunter groaned and stayed still. Dennis’s face fell, and he reluctantly recalled his Pokémon.

“Yo, it down to you and our boss now,” Dennis said.

“I know.” Felicia gritted her teeth and clenched her fist. “Flame Wheel at everyone!”

Grimsley’s face tensed with Gladion and Nanu having similar expressions. Raticate’s body burst into flames, and he rolled at a blazing pace. A trail of burnt marks was left on the carpet. Raz and Null jumped out of the way. Absol attempted to move too, but Raticate struck him on his side and he fell. He picked himself up, grimacing at the small burns visible on his fur. Raticate resumed rolling around.

“Stop that Raticate before it gets you, Null!” Gladion said.

“You do the same, Raz!” Grimsley followed.

Just as Raticate reached Raz, she smacked the dark-furred rat with her glowing tail like a baseball. Raticate picked himself up but unable to recover when Null rammed him straight into a pile of furniture.

Barely standing, Null’s legs shook and they let out deep pants. The purple bruise on their throat turned darker. Eventually, Null collapsed and fell on the floor.

“No!” Gladion rushed to Null’s side. He dropped to his knees and stroked their fur. Grimsley, Raz, and Absol looked on in stunned silence. Nanu’s brow furrowed.

When Raticate was knocked out, Felicia returned him and glared at Grimsley, Nanu, and Gladion. “Not only we were beaten by those old dudes again, but also with that punk!”

Nanu grunted and narrowed his eyes. “Goes to show that you shouldn’t underestimate them.”

All three grunts exchanged frustrated glances at each other.

“Whatever man, we did our part.” Lorenzo whipped his head at Guzma’s direction. “Yo Guzma, we’re gonna bounce now!” He, Felicia, and Dennis dashed off in the direction of the other exit.

“Wait, what?” Guzma asked, glaring at his grunts. The second his gaze tore off from the battle, Meli fired off sharp rocks at Spitball’s wings and face. The Masquerain squealed in pain and fell down. Guzma’s eyes flew wide, and he gritted his teeth. “Son of a…”

“You should’ve paid attention!” The grin on Selene’s face disappeared when she noticed Gladion and Null. “Gladion! Null!”

Selene and her Pokémon rushed to Gladion and Null’s side. She kneeled down and pulled an antidote bottle from her bag, spraying it on them. Null made whining noises from the sting. Patting their cheek, Selene gave out shushing noises and reassuring Null that everything was going to be fine.

Guzma stared at Selene taking care of Null for a moment. He faced Grimsley and Nanu, flashing them a grin.

“While that girl is busy playing nurse, I’ll destroy you two!” He pulled out Goliath’s pokeball and the water bug was released once more. Both Goliath and Tassel gave menacing stares. “Goliath, Sucker Punch that Absol! Tassel, cut up the kitty real good!”

Both of Guzma’s Pokémon dashed forward, Goliath raising his right claw and Tassle’s pincers glowing light green. The two men grimaced, but then they called out their commands.

“You do the same, boy!”

“Dodge, and then Shadow Ball, Raz!”

When Absol and Goliath’s claws collided, they kept pushing each other. They exchanged several blows at one another, each one harder than the last. Soon they backed away, glaring at one another with long pants.

Before Tassel’s pinchers could reach Raz, she moved away and spat her crimson orb straight onto his back. That made Tassel flinch and almost lost his footing, only to then spin around and scream.

“All right big boy, Razor Shell at both of them!” Guzma said, pointing at Goliath and then Nanu and Grimsley’s Pokémon. “And you Tassle, provide backup!”

Torrential waters were formed on Goliath’s claws, and he rushed at his opponents. Both Raz and Absol were able to dodge his swipes, making it harder for Goliath to divide his attention to both. After she jumped away from another swipe, Raz’s tail glowed and she smacked Goliath’s face. Goliath backed away a few steps and shook himself, but still standing.

While Absol was distracted with Goliath, Tassel grabbed Absol’s horn with his pincers and squeezed him tight. Absol cried out in protest, struggling to get out of his grip, and the Pinsir slammed him down like a wrestler. The Disaster Pokémon picked himself quickly and a ghostly claw formed on one of his paws. He sliced Tassel’s face and left a large claw mark on them, making Tassel screech and cover his face.

Guzma’s eyes grew wide, and he grunted. “I have to admit, not too shabby you two. However, I’m done playing around. Let’s show them your true power, Tassel!”

He lifted his golden watch, a Keystone attached to it. Grimsley’s stomach jumped.

Guzma touched the Keystone and both he and Tassel were bathed in golden light. Grimsley and Nanu shielded their faces from the brightness, and when the light faded Tassel’s appearance changed.

A pair of yellow wings with orange blades sprouted out of Tassel’s back. The spikes on his pincers grew, and his eyes were the same color as his wings. Tassel flapped his wings, lifting himself in the air. Guzma crossed his arms, a wide grin stretching across his face.

Grimsley winched, having flashbacks to his battle with Ryuki. He glanced to see he didn’t have his Keystone with him; he had put it away in his bag, along with the Absolite, before he left Malie City. A part of him wanted to slap himself for doing that.

Gladion, Null, Selene, and her Pokémon all looked up Tassel in amazement.

Nanu stared up at the Mega Pinsir as if he already expected Guzma to have it. “Better watch out. When they fight, Mega Pinsir can get nasty.” He pointed at Tassel and told Absol to block any move Tassel makes.

Grimsley nodded and grunted in agreement. He stared at Goliath, commanding Raz to strike with her claws.

Raz’s ghostly claws clashed with Goliath’s water-covered ones. Liquid and vapor mixed together and created puffs of smoke. Their assaults bounced off each other like small explosions.

While Raz and Goliath were in conflict, Absol kept blocking Tassel’s glowing pincers with his horn. Tassel found an opening and struck Absol’s neck. Absol cried in pain and fell on the floor. Seconds passed before he picked himself up, his legs shaking. Buzzing with excitement, Tassel flapped his wings harder and spun around like a whirlpool.

Grimsley bit his lips and his fingers twitched. Type disadvantage aside, it seemed Guzma’s Pokémon won’t be easy to take down.

After she was done with Null, Selene’s eyes grew wide, and a determined expression crossed her face. She handed the Yungoos to Gladion, stood up, and thrust her arm at Tassel.

“Meli! Poppers! Help out!”

Both of her Pokémon barked and sprang into action. Poppers fired off a jet of high-pressure water while Meli jumped out and released several large rocks. Tassel dodged the Water Gun and some of the rocks, but then a few large ones hit his face and one inside his mouth. The Mega Pinsir wheezed and almost choked but managed to spit out the rock. Meli fired off more rocks at Tassel and one of them struck his wing. That caused Tassle to be unbalanced in the air and he crashed into the floor. Tassel got himself up quickly, and he and Guzma glared at Meli.

“Done watching over that boy’s freakshow, huh?” Guzma let out a sharp whistle. “Get her Pokémon, you two!”

His Pokémon obliged. Goliath rushed at Meli in a blink of an eye and swiped her with one of his claws, making her hit the floor. Tassel approached Poppers and about to use his pinchers at him, but missed when Poppers moved aside. The Mega Pinsir took this opportunity to strike Meli just as she barely got herself up. Tassel grabbed Meli’s throat and pinned her down. Once he let go, Meli stayed on the floor and unable to get up.

Knew Meli couldn’t hold on any longer, Selene sighed in defeat and returned her Pokémon.

“You did great, Meli,” she whispered to Meli’s pokéball with a sad smile. She glared at Guzma and his Pokémon.

Grimsley was taken aback by both of Guzma’s Pokémon’s strengths. Nanu’s expression from when Tassel had Mega Evolved hadn’t changed, but it was likely he had a lot on his mind.

“I’ll deal with the Golispod while you two take care of the Mega Pinsir,” Nanu said. Grimsley and Selene nodded at each other in agreement.

After Guzma yelled out his orders, torrential waters covered Goliath’s body and Tassel’s pincers glowed green. Absol formed a large claw, and he and Goliath went back and forth with their blows.

Raz spat out Shadow Balls at Tassel while Poppers sang and let out a beam of purple hearts. Tassel flew in rapid speed, avoiding their attacks.

Raz had battled through Mega Evolved Pokémon before. On occasion, it was against contenders who brought them to the Unova Pokémon League. Most of the time though it was through practiced battles with Roulette whenever she was in that form. Raz learned to push back her strength, and she was doing the same with Tassel whenever he approached her with his pincers.

Nanu and Selene’s Pokémon weren’t half bad either. Absol held himself well against a Pokémon with tough defenses, and Poppers while more passive than Raz still kept up the pace. Alolan trainers were truly amazing, Grimsley mused.

“Stone Edge at the Brionee and Liepard!”

Tassel screeched in excitement and slammed himself on the floor. Tall stone pillars popped up, moving toward Grimsley and Selene’s Pokémon. Raz and Poppers scrambled to get out of the way, but the stones caught up to them first. After being dropped on the ground, they slowly picked themselves up. Both had deep cuts on their bodies, Poppers more so than Raz.

“Selene! Grimsley!” Gladion yelled from the sidelines. He stood up with wide eyes, the Yungoos he was holding also frightened.

“Are your guys’ Pokémon all right?” Nanu asked, face hardened with concern.

“I think so, but Guzma’s tougher than the last time I went against him,” Selene said with narrowed eyes.

Upon paying closer attention, Grimsley noticed a part of Tassel’s wing had been clipped off and parts of his shell-skin damaged. Selene did battle with him while he and Nanu were busy with the Team Skull grunts. Tassel was indeed strong, and he was reminded of his fight with Mimikins.

“Foul Play at that Mega Pinsir!”

Guzma grimaced at that command. “Grab that cat and slam her on the floor!”

Opening his pincers wide, Pinsir swopped down towards Raz. The second he was near her, she moved aside and grabbed the edge of his right wing with her jaws, turning him around and throwing him on the floor. When Tassel didn’t get up, she meowed and lifted her head high.

Guzma took deeps, his chest rising and falling. Syncing his energy with Mega Pinsir had taken its toll. He returned Tassel back in his pokéball.

“Don’t celebrate just yet,” he said in a raspy voice and grunted. “I still have my boy Goliath here.” He pointed at Goliath, raising his claws and moving his mouth in a menacing manner. The other Pokémon were exhausted, too.

Selene gazed down at the Z-Ring on her wrist, and she pulled out a blue Z-Crystal from her bag. When she hesitated using it, Nanu held his hand up.

“Wait, your Brionne isn’t fit enough to do a Z-Move,” he said in a low voice. He faced Grimsley. “Grimsley, have you been practicing the pose for your Z-Crystal?”

Grimsley flinched and raised a confused brow. “Yes, I have. Acerola taught me it some days back.”

“Good enough for me.” Nanu pulled out another Z-Ring. It was a similar design to his, but the strap was red instead of black. “Catch!”

Nanu threw the Z-Ring, and Grimsley caught it with one hand. He wrapped it around his wrist, which was tight and cold against his skin.

“Are you ready, Raz?” Grimsley asked, pulling out the Ghostium-Z.

Raz threw her head back and meowed, which was more than satisfactory response. Grimsley put the crystal inside the Z-Ring, and the Ghostinum-Z sparkled in bright light.

Nanu also put a Z-Crystal inside his Z-Ring, which did the same. He looked over his shoulder at Selene.

“You should step aside, kid. This might get messy.”

Selene gasped in surprise, and then she picked Poppers up and moved to Gladion’s side.

Guzma snorted, folding his arms against his chest. “Yo Goliath, wait until they finish their Z-moves,” he said. Goliath made some clicking noises and stood on guard.

Nanu faced back at Grimsley. “On the count to three we’ll use Never-Ending Nightmare together, got it?”

Grimsley hummed in agreement. Nanu started the countdown: three, two, one...

He and Nanu kneeled down and swayed their bodies in a floating motion. They ended their pose with them stretching their arms forward, Grimsley feeling cold energy curling around him.

Absol and Raz dropped down in their best scary poses, and a golden aura surrounded them and their trainers. Like when Acerola had used that Z-Move, the air turned cold and purple flames burst out from both Pokémon.

During his training in Malie Gardens, Grimsley had practiced the pose for Never Ending Nightmare with Roulette and Raz. His Pokémon couldn’t do it fully due to them being on four legs, so they followed up with sharp stances. Kukui and Acerola had told him the pose and the move’s typing was only part of the equation, and that the most important rule was the strong connection between Pokémon and trainer. Grimsley was certain he had no trouble with his Pokémon’s bonds.

“Sucker Punch both of them!” Guzma yelled out.

Goliath dashed and, in a blur, was already in front of Raz. Before she could finish the Z-Move, Goliath punched her on the chin and she dropped on the floor. He did the same thing to Absol, and Nanu’s Pokémon also fell.

The light on Grimsley’s and Nanu’s Z-Crystals faded. They gave each other stunned looks. Grimsley thought it was clever Guzma had used Sucker Punch to his advantage.

At the sidelines, Selene and Gladion gasped. Grimsley spotted the girl looking down at her Z-Ring before facing back to the battle.

Raz and Absol got up, but they took deep breaths and their posture unsteady. Goliath looked just as exhausted, his shoulders and arms slacking.

Guzma burst into laughter, holding onto his stomach. “You guys think Z-Moves will work? Ha, think again! Now Goliath, finish those--”

He stopped when a burst of bright light covered the room. Selene commanded, “Hydro Vortex!” in a booming voice, and a violent whirlpool sucked Goliath in like a tornado. After being thrown into a pile of boxes, Goliath rose up and screamed with arms raised up high.

“What the?” Guzma jerked his head and glared at Selene. He snorted. “Of course you had to play a hero there.”

She let out a deep breath, her shoulders rising and falling. Her Pokémon was tired as well, and he collapsed.

“Poppers!” Selene rushed to Popper’s side and picked him up. He looked at her with weary eyes and gave a low bark. She hugged him, nuzzling his face.

Grimsley had seen Selene used a Z-Move when they battled yesterday, but seeing another one in action still made his stomach jump. He glanced at Nanu, his face having an indifferent expression.

“I’ll finish this,” Nanu told him and he looked at Absol’s direction. “We’re gonna try our Z-move again!”

Absol barked in acknowledgment and prepared his stance. Raz backed away to give him space, going to Grimsley’s side. Nanu executed the pose for the Ghostinum-Z again, and bright light bathed both of them. Purple flames covered Absol’s body, a rush of cold air passing by. Dark liquid pooled the floor like a tarpit.

“Counter with Liquidation!”

Goliath was barely standing now, but nonetheless he obliged. A burst of massive water surrounded him, and he hurried off. The black liquid didn’t slow him down one bit. Several tendrils sprouted out and attempted to grab him, but he swiped away each one. He and Absol collided, and an explosion occurred.

Puffs of smoke rolled in, causing everyone to cough when they inhaled it. As soon as the air cleared, both Goliath and Absol lied on the ground.

Grimsley sighed in relief, glad that Pokémon was finally defeated. Raz rubbed onto his leg, and he lowered himself to scratch her chin.

“Guzma, what is wrong with you!” Guzma yelled to himself after he returned Goliath. He pulled his hair and stomped on the floor.

Nanu returned Absol, gazing down at the pokeball in his palm. “Good work there, boy.”

“Same goes for you, Raz.” Grimsley returned her also.

Gladion put the Yungoos down, who shrunk back and took a step forward. He glared at Guzma.

“Did you know anything about Cosmog? And was it you that sent your guys to get them?”

Guzma seemed to regard him a moment. A wide grin crossed his face.

“Yes on both accounts. In fact, I’m sure Plumeria and her boys made a second attempt at Aether House already.”

Gladion’s voice cracked and his right eye twitched. His palm almost reached a pokéball, but then Selene grabbed his wrist and gave him a stern look.

“Don’t. It’s not worth it.”

Gladion blinked and his lips were pressed together in a slight grimace. He groaned in defeat and let go of Selene’s grip. Grimsley found himself agreeing with Selene there.

“Anyways, that’s all you’ll get from me. My gang and I are leaving Po Town soon. If you want to know what’s the deal with Cosmog, go ask Mother Dearest.”

Guzma opened the front door and left the mansion. Grimsley fixed his suspicious stare on him until he was no more.

“You know what Guzma meant by that, Officer Nanu?” Gladion asked with a confused look on his face.

“Your mother has been paying big bucks to have him and his crew return Cosmog to her,” Nanu said, and Gladion’s eyes grew wide.

“Wait, really?” Gladion grabbed his shaking wrist, trying to steady it.

“Why were you on Guzma’s laptop in the first place?” Grimsley asked. He recalled Guzma screaming at Nanu and Selene for sneaking into his personal space before he and Gladion barged in.

“A friend of mine wanted me to look up if there were any connections between Aether and Team Skull. I didn’t like what I found.”

"We have to check to see if everyone in Aether House is all right,” Selene said.

Nanu grunted in agreement. “We can do that in the police station. Your guys’ Pokémon can be healed there too. Let’s go outside.”

Everyone stepped out of the Shady House. There were no Team Skull grunts around, so Grimsley assumed all of them had fled.

When the group reached already halfway through the town, they noticed Nanu’s Honchkrow perched on a tree. Nanu whistled, which caused the bird to fly back to him. He said thanks for distracting Guzma and returned him inside his pokeball. At that moment, a loud shriek erupted the skies and Grimsley gazed up to see Hau and Acerola riding on a pair of Xatu.

“Uncle Nanu!” Once the Xatu landed, Acerola hopped off and approached the group. The Yungoos rushed to her, giving her a happy cry. She picked him up. “Thank goodness you guys are alright.”

“Is something the matter?” Nanu asked with concern.

“Big time,” Hau said, also getting off from his Xatu. “While you guys were away, Lillie disappeared.”

Everyone didn’t react to the news well. Grimsley swallowed hard and pressed his lips. Nanu’s eyes narrowed, staring into the distance. Selene gasped in shock. Gladion’s expression tightened.

“How?” Selene asked.

A deep frown crossed Acerola’s face. “Plumeria came back not long after you and Grimsley left. Lillie turned herself in so that no one else got hurt.”

“And you let that happen?” Gladion asked, his voice on edge.

Hau lowered his head and his shoulders slumped. "I'm supposed to be a trainer! But when it came down to it, Lillie had to protect me... Lillie, who's not even a trainer to begin with!"

Gladion raised a brow, and he seemed to consider Hau’s words for a moment.

Selene rubbed a fist against her chest. She faced Grimsley.

“You were right that this was a trap. If I hadn’t left in the first place, none of this would’ve happened.”

Grimsley frowned and pressed his lips. “What’s important now is what you plan to do next. I assume it’s getting back your friend.”

“That’s how you guys are gonna make up to me. I have an idea where Team Skull’s taking her.”

“Wait, really?” Hau asked, eyes growing wide. “Where?”

“Aether Paradise. That’s where Lillie and I came from.”

A horrified look crossed Nanu’s face. “No, you kids aren’t going there! You guys don’t know what you’re in for.”

Frowning, Grimsley believed they were charging into trouble far worse than Team Skull. It was better that they stay put.

“I agree with Nanu here. You already dealt one card when facing Team Skull. If I were you I would stop there.”

“But our friend is in trouble!” Selene said. “You’re telling us we should back out?”

“I also have to agree with Uncle Nanu,” Acerola said, her tone uncharacteristically serious. “You guys are amazing trainers, but I think this is better left to the adults.”

Selene and Hau’s faces fell. Gladion grunted and narrowed his eyes at Nanu.

“Remember when you told me I should do my second trial on this island, Officer Nanu?” Gladion asked.

“Yeah I did, what about it?”

“Well, a few days ago I went and did the trial in Mount Hokulani and I now I have two Z-Crystals.”

He approached Nanu and pulled out two Z-Crystals, the Ghostium-Z and a yellow one. Grimsley mused the second one must be the Electricium-Z Sophocles and Molayne had told him about.

“Oh yeah, I gave you the Ghostium-Z some weeks ago!” Acerola said, beaming.

“Wait, you’re taking the Island Challenge too?” Hau asked.

“I am, but got distracted with being an errand boy for Team Skull.” He faced back at Nanu. “If I can get your Z-Ring and Z-Crystal, then I’m more than prepared to face Aether.”

“Hey, I want a Grand Trial with you, too!” Selene said with raised fists. “If we win, then you have to let us go!”

A smirk curled on Grimsley’s lips. “So you guys are making a bet with him. I would like to see that.”

“Same here!” Hau said. “I want to see how Kahuna Nanu battles before I do my Grand Trial with him.”

Raising a brow at Hau, Nanu asked, “And what about you, Hala’s kid? You want a Grand Trial too?”

Hau jumped, looking flustered. “Oh, I’m not ready yet. I wanna help Selene and Gladion get Lillie back, though.”

Nanu stared at the children. After a moment, he sighed and ran his fingers through his hair.

“You guys just don’t know when to quit, huh? All right, you guys can do your Grand Trials tomorrow morning. Only if you win will I not stop you going to Aether.”

“All right!” Selene said, pumping her fist in the air. Gladion folded his arms against his chest and his nostrils flared.

“I would love to stay, but I have to take Yungoos back to the Aether House now. Also, tomorrow Sophocles is coming over for our Trial Captain meeting,” Acerola said. The Yungoos she held in her arms gave a soft growl.

“You two have a safe trip back!” Hau said.

“Thanks, we will! And good luck with your Grand Trial, Selene and Gladion!”

Acerola waved goodbye to them, and then she and Yungoos hopped onto one of the Xatu. They took off along with the other Xatu. Grimsley gazed up and let out a soft sigh.

“We should all call it a night,” he said.

“For once we agree on something,” Nanu said. “You all can stay in the police station for the night. Just be careful with stepping on the Meowth’s toys and food.”

Nanu headed toward that direction, everyone else following behind. While walking, Grimsley looked down at his Z-Ring and frowned.

He didn’t successfully execute a Z-Move because of Guzma making the first move. When Nanu did it on the second attempt and defeated Guzma in a draw, he was astonished at him more than ever before. He needed to properly do Never-Ending Nightmare to have Nanu take him seriously.

Author's Notes:
Guzma has a Mega Pinsir when you go against him in the Battle Tree in Moon and Ultra Moon. How he gets it will be discussed next chapter

As always, thanks to bobandbill for betaing. Next chapter, Grand Trial battle with Nanu! November is gonna be busy for me, but I'll try to have Chapter 18 within a few weeks. Catch ya next time!


Chapter Eighteen
Black Hole Eclipse (Nanu’s Grand Trial)

The early morning sun shone through the window glass, stirring Nanu from his sleep. He yawned and stretched his arms, his bones cracking. Most of the Meowth were awake, either playing or eating. While still on the couch, Nanu glanced around to that see no one else was inside.

Last night was very draining. Usually, he let Team Skull do whatever they wanted in Po Town, but after talking with his Interpol colleagues, he needed answers. He had several Z-Crystals under his disposal, and during his battle with Guzma, he used Never-Ending Nightmare because Black Hole Eclipse would be too much. It annoyed him that the children didn’t want to listen to him and he would have to do his Kahuna duties, but at least Tapu Bulu would stop pestering him.

After he, Grimsley, and the children had stepped inside the police station they called Becky. She confirmed that Team Skull had indeed came back and Lillie went with them willingly. Selene then told her that she, Hau, and Gladion planned to rescue Lillie but left out any mention of going to Aether Paradise. As expected, Becky was worried but wished them luck and the conversation ended. Nanu gave everyone potions and let them stay inside the police station for the night.

A loud cry interrupted Nanu’s thoughts, and he turned to see one of the Meowth tapping his paw on the empty plate. He grunted and rolled his eyes.

“All right, all right, just give me a moment,” Nanu said as he rose from the couch and went to grab a box of cat food on his desk.

Once Nanu was done with taking care all of the cats’ needs for the morning, he stepped outside to see everyone there. Both Hau and Selene were talking in quiet voices, their friend likely on their minds. Gladion gazed upon the sky and had his back rested on Null’s side. Grimsley was a little farther from the children, and Nanu moved closer to where he was.

Grimsley was attempting the pose for Never-Ending Nightmare with his Liepard and Absol. Nanu raised a brow at his second Pokémon, finding it amusing he also owned an Absol. When Grimsley finished his pose, dark vapors curled around both him and his Pokémon. The vapors grew bigger for a few seconds, and then they puffed away. A confused look struck Grimsley’s face, and his Liepard whined. His Absol tilted her head and made a noise.

When he and Grimsley attempted that Z-Move together, Guzma’s Golispod had struck their Pokémon first and caused them to lose concentration. Nanu now wondered if Grimsley would’ve failed to do the Z-Move if that didn’t happen.

“Practicing that Z-Move there, pretty boy?” Nanu asked, and that made Grimsley flinch. He faced him, frowning.

“For about half an hour or so. I’m wondering why my Z-Move isn’t working.”

“Maybe you did the pose wrong,” Nanu said, and Grimsley glared at him. “I’m joking. Actually, I think it’s because you and your Pokémon aren’t strong enough yet.”

Grimsley’s face fell, looking just as offended as before. “That shouldn’t be the case. Roulette and I can do Mega Evolution.”

“Wait, really?” Nanu shouldn’t be surprised; he was an Elite Four trainer, after all. He cleared his throat. “Z-Moves are more powerful than even a Mega Garchomp or Mega Salamence’s attack. I mentioned before it took me some attempts until I perfected my Z-Move. Maybe it’ll be the same for you.”

Grimsley seemed to regard him for a moment. Both of his Pokémon walked to his side and rubbed on him. Their trainer smiled and kneeled down to pet them.

“You’re being oddly nice to me,” Grimsley said. He picked himself back up, giving Nanu a suspicious brow.

“Well, you helped me with Guzma and Team Skull. I’m letting you keep that Z-Ring, but I won’t battle you until you get Never-Ending Nightmare down.”

Grimsley’s eyes grew wide, as if he was surprised to hear that.

“So wait, does that mean you’re seriously considering a battle with me?”

“Only so you will be quiet. But again, won’t happen until you do that Z-Move fully.”

Grimsley blinked, and then he chuckled.

“Perhaps your Grand Trial today might inspire me.” Grimsley turned quiet for a moment, and his smile faded. “Did you know how Guzma had his Pinsir’s Mega Stone?”

A lump caught inside Nanu’s throat. He furrowed his brow and pressed his lips.

“I heard the last kahuna got the Mega Stones from Poni Island and gave those to his daughter and Guzma. They held him in high regard.”

Grimsley’s eyes grew wide. “Poni Island? So Alola has Mega Stones too?”

“Yes, but they’re reserved as prizes over at that island’s battling facility, the Battle Tree.”

He knew the last kahuna’s daughter well. Like Guzma, she too had a Mega Stone but rarely used it. After the formation of Team Skull, she was by Guzma’s side, through thick and thin.

“The Battle Tree, hm? Perhaps I’ll check that out before I leave.” Grimsley raised a brow and asked, “Do you know anything about the last Kahuna? I recall you mentioned he did something bad.”

Nanu gave a single nod. “He formed a group that would later inspire the creation of Team Skull. Like Guzma, he wasn’t fond of Alola’s old traditions and thought Alola was behind on everything. He approved the construction of the Thrifty Megamart, but Tapu Bulu didn’t like that at all. Apparently, he got caught in the deity’s wrath while trying to calm it down, and hadn't been heard from since.”

He watched Grimsley’s face as he let all of this sink in. Nanu had been shocked when he first heard that story, but as the years passed he came to not underestimate Tapu Bulu’s power.

Nanu looked over his shoulder to see the children still where they were. “I think it’s time for their Grand Trial.”

He moved at a leisurely pace, Grimsley and his Pokémon following behind. When he approached the children, Selene and Hau stopped talking and Gladion picked himself up.

“Oh, we’re gonna do our Grand Trial now?” Selene asked eagerly. Gladion joined her.

“Right, kid.” He paused. “Now, after seeing you two battle yesterday, I decided on your guys’ Grand Trial. You guys are going to work together in a double battle against me.”

“Is that all?” Gladion asked, a smirk pulling on his lips. “Shouldn’t be too difficult.”

“Hold up, I’m not done yet. The catch is you guys have to knock out both of my Pokémon while your guys’ Pokémon are still standing.”

Both Selene and Gladion exchanged baffled looks. Even Hau and Grimsley had similar reactions.

“How come that’s our Grand Trial?” Selene asked.

“Yeah, that sounds harsh,” Hau said.

“Since you guys want to go to Aether, I want to see how well you two work together under adversity. This Grand Trial is the perfect opportunity for it.”

“And if we think this is unfair?” Gladion asked.

“Then there’s the exit,” Nanu said, pointing to the other side.

Selene and Gladion looked at one another.

“Can you give us a moment?” Selene asked. She grabbed Gladion’s arm, and they whispered to one another.

While waiting for their response, Nanu wondered if they would actually walk out and be sensible for once. He wouldn’t mind doing their Grand Trial under different circumstances. The two children soon finished talking and faced Nanu.

“All right, we’ll agree to your terms,” Gladion said.

Nanu’s face tensed. He shook his head and scratched the back of his neck.

“Geez, you guys don’t know when to quit, huh? Fine, get in positions, you two.”

“Oh, oh! Can I be a referee?” Hau asked, jumping up and down.

“Eh, sure,” Nanu said with a shrug. He was on the left side of the field while Gladion and Selene went on the right. Grimsley, his Pokémon, and Hau were on the sidelines.

Nanu pulled out his poké balls and released Persian and Honchkrow. Persian growled and stretched under the morning sunlight while Honchkrow threw his head up and cawed. Selene and Gladion took out their own poké balls and released their Pokémon.

“Okay Poppers, time for you to shine!”

“Let’s go, Null!”

Both Gladion and Selene’s Pokémon were out also. Poppers barked, twirling around and clapping his flippers. Null shook their head and crouched down in a battle stance.

Hau stepped forward and raised his arm. “This is the Grand Trial between Kahuna Nanu and Selene and Gladion.” He dropped his arm and shouted, “And begin!”

The two trainers said their first commands. Selene called for her Brionne to use Bubble Beam while Gladion told Null to strike first.

Poppers inhaled, firing off a series of bubbles from his nose instead of his mouth. Persian’s blue gem on her forehead glowed, and she countered Popper’s Bubble Beam with glowing rocks.The two attacks collided, creating an explosion.

Honchkrow swopped down to get closer at Null, but they acted first by rushing in a blur and slamming him hard. The bird squawked as the wind was knocked out of him, and backed away.

“Use Swift at both of them,” Nanu said.

Persian held her head up high and her gem glowed. She shot multiple stars with golden sparkles at Poppers and Null, hitting them both. Poppers covered his face while Null shook and turned their head away.

Selene directed her Brionee to use Disarming Voice. Raising his arms up, Poppers sang in a sweet but high pitched voice. Several heart-shaped vapors passed through Honchkrow and Persian, and both Pokémon cringing at the noise. Hau and Grimsley also flinched upon hearing Popper’s voice.

“X-Scissor, Null!” Gladion commanded, clenching his fist.

“Steel Wing!” Nanu told Honchkrow.

Honchkrow shirked, diving down with his wings shining a metallic color. Null’s claw glowed light green and he swiped at Honchkrow’s wings. The two bounced their attacks off each other like that several times until Honchkrow managed to smack Null’s face and left a cut there. Null shook their head and snorted.

“Icy Wind at both Pokémon, go!” Selene said, thrusting her arm forward.

Poppers inhaled, blowing out a blast of chilly air at Nanu’s Pokémon. Both Honchkrow and Persian winced and moved their heads away from the shards of ice showered at them. Some of the trees nearby had its leaves stripped away, while their trunks were impaled by ice. On the sidelines, Hau’s face and teeth shook while Grimsley narrowed his eyes and tugged at his scarf.

“Using Icy Wind to slow down Nanu’s Pokémon,” Grimsley said. “Good choice in this stage of the battle.”

“Both Selene and Gladion are something, huh?” Hau said, grinning.

When Nanu overheard their conversation, he grunted and his lips twitched. No matter, one Icy Wind wouldn’t stop his Pokémon from their tracks.

“Night Slash!”

With a squawk, Honchkrow’s wings flashed purple and he struck Poppers. Poppers fell but picked himself up and let out an annoyed bark. Selene gasped and glared at Nanu.

“Use your claws at Persian!” Gladion called out. His Pokémon’s claw shone brightly, and Null charged.

A faint smile pulled on Nanu’s lips. “Keep moving, and wait until your foe gets close.”

As soon as Null got close at Persian, she dodged at their swipe. Null made several attempts with their claws, but Persian kept jumping away and avoiding being caught by them. Another swipe, an opening, and Persian grabbed Null’s leg with her jaws. Null cried in pain, only for Persian to flip them over with all the strength she could muster. Persian panted hard while Null got up and growled.

“Null!” Gladion screamed, his voice trembling.

“Woah, what is that?” Hau asked.

“That’s Foul Play,” Grimsley answered. He looked down at Raz, who meowed. “Using a Pokémon’s strength to your advantage.”

Nanu frowned and folded his arms against his chest. So far he wasn’t impressed with their performance today. These children needed a wake-up call.

“What’s wrong, you two? Your Pokémon still tired from yesterday?” he taunted, and that caused Selene and Gladion to glare daggers at him.

“Maybe if you let us go to Aether instead of stopping us, then our Pokémon would be in better shape!” Selene countered.

“And let you guys go unprepared? You’re going to have to do better than this. Persian, Play Rough! And Honchkrow, Brave Bird!”

Both of his Pokémon made their moves. Persian pounced at Poppers and the two rolled over. A cloud of thick white smoke covered them, and while Nanu couldn’t see he could tell by their noises that the Pokémon were fighting each other. As soon as the smoke cleared, Persian and Poppers were still standing with scratches and dirt all over them.

Meanwhile, Honchkrow burst into flames and accelerated. He crashed onto Null, causing them to drop down, and flew back up. The bird cried in pain and flapped his wings slowly, hurt from using that move. Null picked themselves up, but barely as their body shook.

Back in the sidelines, Hau and Grimsley watched with keen interest.

“Strike again,” Nanu said without elaborating further. Honchkrow released a crimson-colored orb from his mouth while Persian blasted off multiple sparkling gems. Selene and Gladion called out their commands urgently.

Poppers opened his mouth wide and fired off a blast of water that passed through the Shadow Ball and hit Honchkrow right in the chest. Honchkrow was pushed back and his feathers were soaked.

Null was bombarded by Persian’s Power Gem, but they pushed through and rammed into her. Persian backed away and dug her claws into the ground.

Nanu’s brow furrowed. The children were more awake now, but this was still not enough. Time for more taunting.

“Just because you went against an Ultra Beast and beat up some Team Skull grunts, you think you’re all that, huh girl?” Nanu said, and a pensive expression crossed Selene’s face.

“Well, encountering that Ultra Beast was a big deal to me. And Team Skull has been bothering me since I started my island challenge.”

“Fair on both accounts. However, that overconfidence of yours will be your downfall.” He shifted his head towards Persian's direction. “Swift, Persian.”

Selene commanded Poppers to act quick, and he shot out several high-pressure bubbles from his nose. Persian lifted her head and her gem glowed. She blasted off multiple shining stars, which popped all of the bubbles and hit Poppers and Null. They turned their heads, backing away.

Nanu fixed his stare at Gladion. “And you, Gladion. You call that strong? Pathetic.”

Gladion’s face tensed, tightness in his eyes and face.

“Null is not pathetic! We’ve been working hard to get where we are today. X-Scissor!”

Nanu grunted and ordered Honchkrow to use Night Slash. Green claws collided with purple wings, tiny sparks flying. Honchkrow kept diving down while Null went on the defensive.

“Maybe the problem isn’t the Pokémon, but their trainer,” Nanu said, putting his hands on his sides. “Null would be better off with someone else. Same goes for the girl and your Brionne.”

“Are you saying we’re not good enough for our Pokémon?” Gladion asked, his eyes wide.

“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Nanu said with a shrug.

“You take that back!” Selene snapped, glaring at him. Gladion gritted his teeth and clenched his fist.

Nanu’s lips curled into a smirk. Hook, line, and sinker.

“Another round of Swift, girl.”

Persian obliged, and Poppers and Null were caught in a storm of sparkling stars once more. They fell and slowly got up back, both Pokémon catching their breaths. Selene and Gladion gasped and their faces fell.

“Hey, that’s not nice at all!” Hau complained, narrowing his eyes at Nanu. Next to him, Grimsley folded his arms against his chest and pressed his lips.

“Do you think a Dark-type trainer cares about being nice?” Nanu’s smirk widened.

“Nanu is right,” Grimsley said, giving an indifferent expression. “Us Dark-type trainers don’t mind playing dirty.”

Her shoulders slumping, Selene dropped her gaze on the ground. When she looked back at Nanu, a spark of determination filled her eyes.

“You’re right that I can be overconfident at times. However, this island challenge taught me a lot in bonding with my Pokémon and trusting each other.” She turned towards Gladion, flashing him a soft smile. “Gladion can be overdramatic, but I think he’s a great trainer and cares deeply towards his Pokémon.”

“Selene…” Gladion said in a low voice, his eyes growing wide.

Nanu gave her a shocked look, and then he grinned. Grimsley and Hau also seemed to be taken aback by her response.

“Gotta admit, I respect you for defending yourself and your friend there. This is a Grand Trial, though, and we’re not done yet.” Nanu raised his arm high. “Persian, Play Rough at Null. Honchkrow, Steel Wing at Poppers.”

“Icy Wind!” Selene ordered.

As Persian and Honchkrow charged at their respective foes, Poppers blew out a blast of cold air which pushed them back. Persian meowed in irritation while Honchkrow squawked and swung his head around. Satisfied, Poppers barked and clapped with his flippers.

Gladion grinned and raised his fist. “X-Scissor at Persian!”

Null howled and jumped at Persian, swiping her face with their green claws. Persian let out a painful cry and shook her head. A deep cut was left where Null had hurt her. Nanu and Gladion yelled out their commands.

“Brave Bird, and make it count!”

“Hold Honchkrow off with Crush Claw!”

Both Pokémon launched at each other, Honchkrow in a burst of flames at high speed and Null stretching his glowing claw wide. An explosion came in between them, the smoke obscuring everyone’s vision for a moment. When the air cleared, Honchkrow laid on the ground and muddy while Null stared down at him.

Raising his arm, Hau announced that Honchkrow was unable to battle. Selene and Poppers cheered while Gladion sighed in relief. Smiling a little, Grimsley closed his eyes and lowered his head. Nanu grunted and returned his Pokémon.

“You did good work there, birdbrain,” he said in a low voice. He faced the two island challengers. “Don’t celebrate this yet. Remember, if either of your Pokémon can’t battle anymore then that’s it,” he said, and that made Selene and Gladion expressions turn back to serious.

Everyone made their commands, and the Pokémon sprung into action. Persian fired off Power Gem at her foes while Null and Poppers used X-Scissor and Disarming Voice to block off her attack. When they were near her, Persian would move away from Null’s claws and Popper’s pink vapors. Power Gem didn’t have the same wide range as Swift, so she divided her attention between the two. Selene and Gladion would often give encouraging words to their Pokémon to keep up the pace.

While not smiling, Nanu’s expression grew less stiff. This was what he wanted to see, the two at their fullest and not holding back. After Persian, Poppers, and Null bounced off several more blows, they stopped to catch their breaths. This Grand Trial was nearing its end.

“Looks like everyone is on their limit. You ready to finish this, girl?” Nanu asked, and Persian responded with an agreed meow. He grinned, tearing the Darkinium-Z crystal out from the cord around his neck. “Then let’s prepare our Z-Move.”

His warning caused Gladion and Selene’s eyes to grow wide.
“Z-Move?” Hau said, his voice cracking. “Watch out, you guys!”

Nanu slipped the black crystal into the slot of his Z-Ring, and it sparkled into a multitude of color of lights. Like when he did Never-Ending Nightmare with Absol, Persian assumed a menacing stance while he did his movements for the pose. He dropped down to touch his feet, slowly picked himself up, and stretched out his hands. Bend down to touch his feet, slowly picking himself up, and then outstretching his hands.

Gladion and Hau stared blankly at how silly the pose looked. Grimsley raised a brow and his face tensed.

“Hey, Selene, have Poppers use a Z-Move while I have Null retreat to safer ground,” Gladion suggested. Selene was caught off guard by Nanu’s Z-Move also, but she then hummed and nodded.

“Right!” she said and performed her own Z-Move. She and Poppers moved their arms like an ocean wave, and a bright light covered them both.

A black hole hung above the trainers and dark mist formed around the battlefield. Raging winds blew over with the leaves and rocks being sucked inside the black hole, causing everyone and their Pokémon to brace themselves. Null backed away several feet while Poppers spun around and unleashed a swirling torrential of water.

The two Z-Moves clashed, the Black Hole Eclipse sucking in the water from Popper’s attack like a drinking straw. Soon the black hole exploded and all of the water burst out, splashing onto Persian and soaking her fur.

Poppers was still standing but barely, and Selene took deep breaths. They were still getting used to Hydro Vortex, but Nanu thought the two already progressed pretty fast.

“Finish off with Iron Head!” Gladion screamed.

Null let out a howl and slammed onto Persian hard. She was pushed back against a tree and collapsed upon impact.

“Persian is unable to battle!” Hau declared, raising his hand. “The winners of the Grand Trial are Selene and Gladion!”

Poppers fell backward and lay down, his chest rising and falling rapidly. Selene rushed to his side, picking him up.

“We did it, Poppers! We won our third Grand Trial!” she told him. Poppers gave out a happy bark, and they touched noses.

Gladion grinned and approached Null, scratching their chin. “You also did well today, Null.”

“All right, you guys did it!” Hau cheered, pumping his fist in the air.

“Congratulations, the both of you,” Grimsley said with a small smile.

Nanu stared at them for a second, and he followed up with a chuckle and shook his head. He approached them.

“I gotta admit, your guys’ Pokémon really worked hard for you. Here, these are yours.”

He pulled out two Darkinium-Z crystals from the pocket of his pants and handed them to Selene and Gladion. Gladion nodded at him and put it away while Selene held it up to Poppers and beamed.

“I got another Z-Crystal! Pretty great, huh?” Selene said, beaming. Poppers barked in response.

Facing back to Gladion, Nanu said, “I also have one other thing to give you.”

He pulled out a Z-Ring from his shirt’s pocket, giving it to Gladion. This one was different from his and Grimsley’s, the strap being purple instead of black or red. Gladion locked his gaze at the Z-Ring and then back at Nanu.

“Thank you. I’ll make sure to use it well,” Gladion said, grinning.

“I have no doubt you will, kid.” He paused. “Congratulations or whatever on finishing your Ula’ula trials. You kids got somewhere else to be, right?”

“Wait, before we go, I got a surprise!” Selene put Poppers down, and she pulled out three Z-Crystals from her bag. They were light green with an insect insignia on it. Everyone including Nanu gave her stunned looks.

“Did you steal those Buginium-Z from Guzma’s room?” Gladion asked, and Selene hummed.

“It’s not right that he gets these to himself, so I grabbed some for us!” Selene gave each one to Gladion and Hau, the latter saying thanks. She faced Grimsley, handing him one too. “This is for helping us with Guzma!”

Grimsley blinked in surprise, and then he smiled. “I’ll keep this safe.”

Gladion, Selene, and Hau offered one another determined faces.

“Team Skull has a few boats in Po Town we can use,” Gladion said. “We should be able to get to Aether Paradise by nightfall.”

“Once you guys get there, go see the Assistant Branch Chief. She should be able to help you.” Nanu believed mentioning that wouldn’t hurt, and to let the children know whom to go to if they were in any sort of trouble.

“You mean Ms. Santana?” Gladion raised a confused brow, and then he nodded. “All right, we will.”

“Let’s get moving then,” Selene said. She gave Nanu and Grimsley appreciated smiles. “It’s nice talking with you, Grimsley! And thanks for the awesome Grand Trial, Kahuna Nanu!”

“The next time I come back to Ula’ula Island, I’ll challenge you, too!” Hau said, a wide smile stretching across his face.

Selene and Gladion returned their Pokémon, and the three children headed out. Nanu stared at them for a moment, remembering his conversation with Gladion several days ago. There were some words of wisdom he wanted to give him.

“Hold up, Gladion,” he yelled out, and that made Selene, Hau, and Gladion stopped. Nanu moved several steps forward. “Tell me… If you’re really trying to get stronger as you say, then what are you depending Team Skull for?”

Gladion’s face fell. He opened his mouth, but no words came out. He turned around and left with Hau and Selene.

With a chuckle, Grimsley crossed his arms and grinned.

“I was amazed at how powerful Black Hole Eclipse was,” he said, and Nanu stared at him.

“Are you trying to lick my sandals?”

“I’m just genuinely impressed, that’s all.” Grimsley’s expression changed. “So, what now?”

“You remember the Interpol friend I told you about when we were in Haina Desert?” he asked, and Grimsley said that he did. “He and his partner are staying in Poni Island now. I need to tell them what I found on Guzma’s laptop.”

“Is it alright if I come with you? I would like to speak with the Interpol agent about Colress.” Grimsley paused. “Also, I’m interested in seeing Tapu Fini.”

“You want to see Tapu Fini?” Nanu asked in shock, raising a suspicious brow. “What for?”

“I read that Tapu Fini can create spirits of those who were deceased. I’m curious if that is true.”

Nanu gave Grimsley a pinched look. First, he wanted to go to the Ruins of Abundance, and now to see Tapu Fini. That man truly believed this was supposed to be a nice holiday. He dragged out a sigh and ran his fingers through his hair.

“You can come with me to Poni Island to see my friend. I also know someone there that can teach you the Buginium-Z’s pose. Tapu Fini is out of the question, got it?”

Grimsley frowned. That was the same disappointed face he gave before Nanu left the Aether House. His expression then changed to one of understanding.

“Fair enough.”

“Good. Let me get a few things from the police station, and then we’ll go.”

It wasn’t afternoon yet, and already today was interesting. A Grand Trial with two reckless but good-hearted trainers. He hoped the children didn’t destroy all of Aether Paradise in the process.

And now, to Poni Island.

Author's Note
Quick announcement: I edited Chapters 16 and 17! Both chapters I fixed some prose and Chapter 17 I fixed the beginning scene with Grimsley and Gladion. A reader pointed out Gladion giving out personal information was too quick and so I changed to him being more hostile.

Yes, a lot of the battle was inspired by Nanu's Grand Trial in the anime. Gosh I love anime!Nanu haha.

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

As always, thanks to bobandbill for betaing. Sorry for the delay, my beta and I got busy with some personal stuff (also I got distracted with SwSh and Fire Emblem 3 Houses lol). Next chapter we're starting the Poni Island arc! Due to wanting to get a head start on backlog for the final arc and planning another project, expect updates resuming on late January or February next year. See ya then!


Chapter Nineteen
Dark Pulse

It had been a while since Grimsley was on a boat. He and Nanu rented one from the boat shop next to Route 16’s shores, and were heading towards Poni Island. Through the windows, he gazed at the ocean glimmering in the late afternoon sun and the various water Pokémon jumping out. Blackjack was released into the water and swimming in pace with the boat, so Grimsley kept an eye on him.

His thoughts wandered towards Nanu’s Grand Trial earlier. He had seen Gladion and Selene battle before, so he already expected them to be great. While Nanu was far from friendly, Grimsley didn’t expect him to be capable of such harsh words to them. He wondered if the Kahuna would do the same to him once they have their battle.

Grimsley was genuinely amazed at seeing Black Hole Eclipse in action. A powerful black hole that could even suck in a raging whirlpool. Nanu and Selene’s Z-Moves clashing together was the highlight of the match.

Despite having two Z-Crystals now, he still hadn’t mastered any Z-Moves yet. Nanu claimed he knew someone in Poni Island who could help him with that, so he hoped that would be the case.

Letting out a soft sigh, he leaned back in his seat and looked at Nanu. He had been driving the boat for a few hours now with a bored expression on his face.

“So how much longer until we get to Poni Island?” he asked.

“Probably sometime after nightfall. We’ll sleep in the Pokémon Center and then in the morning we’ll find my friends.”

“You mentioned someone there can help me with Z-Moves. Can you tell me more about them?”

“Her name is Mina, and she’s a trial captain like Acerola. She trains Fairy-type Pokémon but knows several Z-Moves, including the one for the Buginium-Z. She’s also an artist, loves to draw and paint.”

Mina: Grimsley heard that name before. It was when he, Nanu, Acerola, and Becky stopped by the abandoned Thrifty Market. He glanced at the window, Blackjack still keeping up with the boat.

“She sounds fascinating. I recall Acerola saying she did her trial before.”

“Yeah, she did. Mina has her head in the clouds at times, but she’s a good kid.” Nanu’s face changed to a more serious expression. “Before we land Poni Island, some words of advice. To you, Alola is a place to sightsee and unwind. Alola is more than that, though. There are people here who are hurting and the dangers are real.”

Confused at first, Grimsley’s head flinched back slightly and his eyebrows squished together. Sure, he came to Alola for a vacation, but that didn’t mean he was ignorant of the people living here. Right? He frowned, unsure of himself.

Nanu’s words of Alola kept repeating inside his head like a broken record throughout the rest of the boat ride.


By the time they arrived at their destination, it was nightfall with a full moon and stars in view. Nanu left his boat by the port where the other boats were, and he and Grimsley headed to the Pokémon Center.

Seafolk Village was a small settlement in Poni Island where the seafolk resided. Several houseboats stylized after different Pokémon were clustered together around the dock, with floating platforms connecting the homes together. The outside vendors that sold the jewelry and vegetables were closed for the night, but when those opened the villagers and visitors often checked them out. Uphill was the Pokémon Center and the farms where the other half of the population settled.

Ever since Kahuna Sofu had passed away a few years ago, Nanu would oversee the Poni trials. Far less trainers taking the island challenge made all the way through here than the Ula’Ula trials. He couldn’t blame them, though. Poni Island had canyons, caves, and tougher Pokémon that weren’t suited for inexperienced trainers. Usually trainers from this island would begin their island challenge in either Melemele or Akala Island first. Watching over two islands took a toll on Nanu, so he hoped Tapu Fini would choose a new Kahuna soon.

He left the past buried deep in the pit of his stomach for now.

The Pokémon Center was on top of a hillcliff above Seafolk Village. The building has two floors and its architecture similar to the other Pokémon Centers. There was a large courtyard where visitors could sit on the benches and gazed below the village and ocean.

He and Grimsley found the Pokémon Center and stepped inside. As expected, the lobby was clean and organized. There were only a few people inside, two of them watching the television and another one feeding their Pokémon some food. Nanu went up to the reception desk where Nurse Joy was, who greeted him with a warm smile.

“Kahuna Nanu! It’s been a while!”

“Well I got kahuna duties back in Ula’ula, and someone needed to watch over those Team Skull kids.”

“Ah huh,” Nurse Joy said, nodding in understanding. “So you’re here to do a Grand Trial?”

“Personal business, actually.” Nanu pointed at Grimsley and he said, “I would like two rooms for us here.”

“Of course. Your trainer licenses, please.”

The men handed Nurse Joy their licenses, and she grinned at them. “Oh my, a kahuna and an Elite Four member here!” After a few minutes of putting the information into the computer, she gave their licenses back and cardkeys.

“Here you go! Your rooms are 345 and 346.”

“Thanks, appreciate it,” Nanu said. He faced Grimsley. “Our rooms are upstairs, come on.”

Nanu gestured Grimsley for him to follow, and they headed towards the stairs. Before they reached there, a woman’s voice made them stop.

“Old man Nanu, is that you?”

Mina was in front of them, giving Nanu a small smile. She carried a sketchbook with her, and her shirt and face was still splattered in paint. He offered her a weak wave.

“Hello, Mina. Still doing your art, I see.”

Mina hummed and nodded. “I’ve done sketches of the Oricorio here today. They really know how to show off their dance moves!”

“Right.” Nanu cleared his throat. “Good thing you’re here as I actually wanted to see you.”

“Oh?” Mina tilted her head. “You have some new trial goers for me?”

“Not exactly. I have someone here who could use your help on using Z-Moves.” He turned to Grimsley and had his elbow poked his shoulder. Grimsley flinched for a second and approached Mina.

“I’m Grimsley of the Unova Elite Four. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mina.” He and Mina shook hands.

“The Elite Four?” Mina let out a whistle. “Wow, that’s impressive. We don’t have those here, but I heard Alola gonna have their own Pokémon League very soon.”

“Indeed. I already had a sneak peak of the Elite Four thanks to Professor Kukui.”

“That’s also awesome! Anyways, Nanu said you need help with Z-Moves?”

“Yes. I have two Z-Crystals and would like to use Z-Moves for both.”

Grimsley pulled out the Ghostium-Z and Buginium-Z Crystals from the sleeves of his kimono and showed them to her. Mina gazed down at them on his palm and nodded.

“A Ghostium-Z and Buginium-Z? Nice. You know the poses for either of those?”

“I know the one for the Ghostium-Z, but I’m unable to execute the Z-Move properly.”

Mina regarded him for a moment, and she hummed.

“Sure, I can help. I’m usually out at Poni Beach, so meet me there tomorrow and I’ll see what I can do.”

“Poni Beach, tomorrow. Got it.”

Nanu stayed silent while Grimsley and Mina were talking, crossing his arms against his chest. He wondered how Looker and Anabel were doing. Should he ask her? It was a long shot, but better than nothing. He faced Mina.

“There’s something else I want to ask you. Have you seen a dark-haired man in a long coat and a purple-haired woman in a black suit?”

Mina threw him a confused stare, and she shook her head. “Nope, haven’t seen either of them. Friends of yours?”

“You can say that. They’re supposed to be staying here for a while.”

“I see, I see. Well, if I do see them I’ll let you know.”

“That would be great, thank you.”

“No problem! I have to get back home now, but it’s great seeing you two!” Mina waved one goodbye hand to them and left the Pokémon Center.

“Hopefully we’ll see your Interpol friends here,” Grimsley said. “Should we head to our rooms, then?”

Nanu grunted in agreement, having the same sentiment in wanting to see Anabel and Looker soon. They headed upstairs and retired for the night.


Nanu and Grimsley woke up late the next morning. After they ate breakfast, Grimsley watched the television in the lounge while Nanu used the videophone to call Acerola at the Aether House. He first told her that he would be away in Poni Island for a few days on a personal errand, and then went over how the Grand Trial with Selene and Gladion had gone.

“So Selene and Gladion completed their Ula’ula trial? I’m so happy for them!”

“They were a little soft at first, but after giving them some words of encouragement they pulled through.”

Acerola pouted and had her hands on her sides. “Oh, really? I’ve seen your Grand Trials and you’re more blunt than Kahunas Hala or Olivia!”

Nanu flinched and a “tch” sound left his throat. He narrowed his eyes at her.

“You got me there, kid,” he said, and Acerola giggled.

“Either way, wished I was there to see it! So they’re at Aether Paradise now, then?”

“They went along with their friend, Hau. I still think the rescue should be better left to the adults, but what can you do?” Nanu then asked, “Since I’m going to be in Poni Island for a bit, can you check on the Meowth until I get back?”

“Sure!” Acerola said, beaming. “I always love playing with them and rubbing their bellies!”

With a snort, Nanu shook his head. Every time Acerola visited the police station, she would play with the Meowth. Most of them liked her back, so it was better that way than them bothering him.

“Of course you do.” He shifted his gaze away from the screen for a second. “If you need anything, you know how to reach me.”

“Okay! You and Grimsley have fun in Poni Island!” Acerola said, flashing him a grin.

Once they hung up, the screen on Acerola’s side turned black. Nanu sighed and got up to where Grimsley was. He joined with him on the couch.

“You let Acerola know we’re in Poni Island?” Grimsley asked, and Nanu nodded.

“Told her we’ll be here for a few days or so. She’ll also be watching over the Meowth while I’m gone.”

Right now the television broadcasted the news. After the reporter finished warning about high surfs in Akala Beach, the next segment was on the upcoming Alola Pokémon League.

“Alola’s first Pokémon League is right on track on making its grand debut in spring next year. Construction of the stadium on top of Mount Lanakila is continuing without much delays. While the majority of the populace are excited, there are some that worry the Pokémon League will replace the island challenge and its traditions. We talked with Professor Leilani Kukui and two of the trainers he had chosen for the Elite Four, Kahili Hano and Molayne Velvet.”

The television screen switched to Professor Kukui, Kahili, and Molayne outside the Hokulani Observatory.

“When Professor Kukui first came to me on this ambitious undertaking, this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Kahili said, smiling at the camera. Molayne wore a similar expression. “I can’t wait to serve as one of Alola’s top trainers.”

“He assured us that the island challenge will still be here,” Molayne said. “Think of the Elite Four as an extension to our trial captains and kahunas. Miss Hano and I will help the islands with resources, check up on the trials, and oversee the final trial before the trainer takes on the Pokémon League.”

“I met with Kahili and Molayne over a week ago,” Grimsley said. Nanu glanced to see a small smile on his lips. “I think they’ll make fine Elite Four trainers.”

Back to the television, Kukui’s face was shown. He flashed the camera his widest grin.

“For our grand debut it’ll work a bit differently from other Leagues. It’ll be an all out tournament with the Elite Four, Kahunas, Trial Captains, and nominated trainers from Alola!” He paused. “I’ve always valued our old traditions here in Alola, but it’s time to make a Champion for the whole world to see! That’s why we’re having our own Pokémon League and Elite Four, yeah!”

Nanu watched the segment with an indifferent expression. He had no qualms for the Pokémon League being established here, he just didn’t want to be a part of the Elite Four.

“I didn’t know why some people were against a Pokémon League being here,” Grimsley said, sounding disappointed.

“Quite a few folks in Ula’ula Island held protests near where the construction site was,” Nanu said and shrugged. “I may not care for Kukui’s pet project, but I see no harm in him setting up one here.”

“Me neither.” Grimsley leaned back on the couch with his arm over his head. “Have any idea where on this island your Interpol friends are?”

“Most of Poni Island is barren land compared to other islands. We’ll start in this village first and then work from--”

“Kahuna Nanu, there you are!” Mina called out his name, interrupting him. He looked over his shoulder to see her grinning at him. “I found them!”

“Find who?” Nanu asked, furrowing his brow.

“Your friends that you told me about last night! The dark-haired dude with a long coat and the purple-haired lady in black, right?”

Nanu’s stomach jumped when he heard that. Guess he and Grimsley didn’t need to search for them. Grimsley tipped his head to the side.

“Yes, that’s them. Where did you find them?”

“I saw them inside the village’s restaurant while taking a morning walk. They’re outside where the benches are.”

“That easy, huh? Thanks for letting me know, kid.” Nanu gave Mina an appreciative smile, and he turned to Grimsley. “Let’s go.” They got up from the couch and left the Pokémon Center.

Outside, the sun grew brighter and a gentle breeze filled with ocean salt picked up. Nanu and Grimsley headed to where the benches were, and they stopped a short distance.

Anabel and Looker sat on the benches, their hands on their laps. They greeted Nanu with warm smiles.

“Good morning, Officer Nanu,” Anabel said. “Mr. Looker and I were surprised when Mina told us you’re here.”

“This was a last minute trip, to tell the truth. Grimsley and I came here to talk to you guys.” After Nanu said that, Grimsley nodded.

Both agents looked at Grimsley with lowered heads, and then Looker flashed him a grin. They got up and approached him.

“It’s been a while, huh Mr. Grimsley Thomas? If your memory is hazy, I’m Agent Looker.” He extended his hand to him, and they shook hands.

“I actually remember you. You were the agent that spoke with me and everyone else after Team Plasma’s takeover of the Pokémon League.”

“And I’m Agent Anabel, Looker’s superior,” Anabel said, also shaking hands with him.

“Grimsley wants to know more about your guys’ scientist and the Ultra Recon Squad,” Nanu said. He crossed his arms.

“You mean Dr. Colress Antimony?” Anabel asked.

“Yes, him,” Grimsley said. His eyes narrowed. “Is it true that he struck a deal with Interpol?”

Looker’s expression changed to a frown. “He did. He has done a variety of research with our organization already.”

An odd noise left Grimsley’s throat, and he grimaced. Staring at him, Nanu already expected him to not take that news well.

“When we visited Officer Nanu over a week ago, he told us that you knew him but you two had a fall out,” Anabel said to him. Next to her, Looker pulled out a small notebook and flipped through some pages.

“We knew each other, yes. Close, even. Long story short, we broke off contact when I found out he was in Team Plasma.”

With an understanding hum, Looker wrote down what Grimsley had said. “When did you find out about Colress’s connection to Team Plasma?”

“I would say over a year after Team Plasma took over the Pokémon League. I didn’t contact the authorities back then because I was too upset and wasn’t thinking straight.”

After Looker finished writing more of Grimsley’s words down, he gave him a sympathetic look.

“Is there anything else concerning Dr. Antimony you want to know or share with us?” Anabel asked.

“I was at the Lake of the Moone a few nights ago. Colress was with the Ultra Recon Squad and they summoned Lunala, one of Alola’s legendary Pokémon. He’s building a machine to subdue a Pokémon from the Ultra Recon Squad’s planet.”

Anabel and Looker gasped, and their mouths fell open. They turned to Nanu, who flicked his eyes at them.

“He told that story too when he came to my place. After the stuff I’ve been through in Interpol, I believe him.”

His colleagues regarded him for a moment, and they looked back at Grimsley

“We shall look into Dr. Antimony’s whereabouts further,” Looker said. “I believe that is all we need from you, Mr. Thomas.”

Grimsley grunted and lifted his chin. “There’s one more thing I want to ask. Have either of you seen Colress recently?”

“The last time we saw him was a while ago in Tapu Village at Ula’ula Island,” Anabel said.

A disappointed expression crossed Grimsley’s face. Nanu stared at him with slouched shoulders, believing this should be good enough for him.

“The three of us have other matters to discuss. You should probably go find Mina.”

Grimsley’s eyes fluttered, and he pressed his lips in a fine line. After some consideration, he bobbed his head.

“All right, I’ll leave you three alone then,” he said and did just that.

Nanu watched him walking away, his scarf fluttering against the breeze. He faced back to Anabel and Looker.

“Charlotte came to see me last week. She wanted me to find a connection between Team Skull and Aether.” When he said that, his friends jerked their heads back.

“Found anything noteworthy?” Looker asked.

“I did. Aether’s president has been in contact with Team Skull’s boss, Guzma. She’s offering him money for him to find a Pokémon.”

“She must want him to find Cosmog,” Anabel said. “Charlotte had told us how it was capable of creating wormholes. One of the president’s children ran away with it.”

“Yeah, that one. Team Skull got their hands on the girl and Cosmog and took them to Aether Paradise. Right now a bunch of kids went to save them.”

Anabel’s face fell. “Hold up, you’re telling me you just let some children go on a dangerous rescue mission?”

“I did initially stopped them, but they beat me in my Grand Trial fair and square. At least Charlotte is there in case anything goes wrong.”

Anabel gave him a suspicious glare. She sighed and shook her head.

“I still have my doubts, but you mentioning her puts my mind at ease somewhat.”

Looker chuckled and grinned. “I’ve recruited children to help out against shady organizations. It all worked out in the end!”

Nanu’s forehead and brow shot up. The corner of his lips twitched.

“Did you guys see Aether’s broadcast on the news last week?” he asked.

“We did,” Anabel said. “Headquarters ordered several agents including us to track down the Ultra Beasts more aggressively.”

Nanu’s stomach dropped. He turned to Looker, who had a deep frown on his face.

“That’s what I fear,” Nanu said as he sat down on the bench. He had his elbows on his lap and his hands on his face. “Found any leads while here?”

“The people here mention they noticed Pokémon feeling uneasy,” Looker said. “No Ultra Beast sightings, however.”

A short silence stretched between them. Anabel flinched when her bluetooth flashed.

“Oh, I’m getting a call right now.” Anabel pushed the button on her bluetooth and she spoke. “Agent Anabel speaking. Charlotte?” When Nanu heard her name, his heart raced. “Yes, we’re still in Poni Island. Yes, Nanu had mentioned that. Are the children safe at least? That’s good to hear. We can meet up at the Pokémon Center. All right, see you tomorrow.” She faced back at Nanu and Looker. “It’s Charlotte. She, Selene, and Lillie will be coming over to Poni Island tomorrow.”

“Did she mentioned anything what happened at Aether?” Nanu asked.

“She says she’ll explain everything once she gets here.”

Rubbing a brow, Nanu sighed and lowered his head. His gaze flicked over at Looker, a deep frown on his face. If Charlotte was coming over, then it couldn’t be good news. He considered if he should let Grimsley join them.

“Grimsley is half aware of the connection between Team Skull and Aether. Are you guys fine with him joining us tomorrow?”

His friends gave contemplative looks at one another. Anabel spoke first.

“Well he is an Elite Four member, and he did give us important information regarding Colress and the Ultra Recon Squad. I don’t see a problem with that.”

“Nor do I,” Looker said.

“Okay then, I’ll ask him if he would like to join us.”


Grimsley didn't have a hard time finding Poni Beach since it was near Seafolk Village. Some of the hot sand got inside his shoes, and his nose wrinkled at the scent of salt water. The beach was almost as barren as one next to the Aether House, saved for a few exceptions.

There was a stand for surfboards, and next to it was a wooden billboard with names and scores pinned on it. Several Mantine stayed by the shore, splashing and playing with each other. A few people were surfing on the waves, but on Mantine instead of the surfboards. The surfers on them pulled off crazy spins and high jumps.

Huh, so that's supposed to be Mantine Surfing, he mused. Perhaps he would try it out before leaving Alola.

While taking in the scenery, he spotted Mina doing a painting of one of the Mantine surfers. Both surfer and Mantine twirled in the air like a whirlpool. The different shades of blue and white used for the waves and sky were mixed well. It was almost like a perfect snapshot.

“That’s a lovely painting you have there,” Grimsley complimented. That caused Mina to stop and smile.

“Oh, thanks! Yeah, sometimes I draw the surfers and Pokémon here. I get so inspired by them, you know?” She then asked, “So how did your talk with Kahuna Nanu’s friends go?”

When Anabel and Looker confirmed that Colress was working with them, Grimsley’s stomach had churned. Mina was probably aware of them being Interpol agents, so she would understand that what they discussed was private.

“I talked to them over some personal matters and got most of my answers. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Mina hummed and bobbed her head. She seemed to follow, so that was good.

“Since you liked my painting, you wanna see more of my work?” she asked.

Grimsley responded that it was fine, and Mina handed him her sketchbook. There were drawings of landscapes, people, and Pokémon. One of the sketches was of Nanu with a bored expression, and another of a cheerful Acerola.

“I must say I’m impressed. These reminds me of an artist I knew back in Unova, Burgh Cortez.”

“Wait, did you say Burgh Cortez?” Mina grinned. “I love his stuff!”

Grimsley blinked at her. “You’re familiar with his work?”

“Ah huh! I visited his art exhibition in Castelia City and even talked with him! It’s cute how excited he gets over bug Pokémon.”

“That sounds like Burgh all right,” Grimsley said with a snort, and he handed Mina her sketchbook back. Burgh couldn’t stop talking about his Pokémon and that got repetitive after a while.

“Anyways!” Mina clapped her hands. “You’re here for some Z-Move training, right?”

“That’s what I was initially here for, yes.”

“Okay, okay. And it was the Ghost-type Z-Move you’re having trouble with?”

“Also correct.”

“Gotcha. Why don’t you bring out one of your Pokémon and try that Z-Move out?”

With a grunt, Grimsley pulled out his pokéball and released Raz. The feline stretched under the sun and dug her claws into the sand.

“Oh wow, a Liepard!” Mina said, sounding impressed. “We don’t have them here in Aola.”

Grimsley smiled a little at that compliment. He moved a few steps closer to Raz.

“We’re going to attempt the Z-Move Never Ending Nightmare again,” he said. Raz straightened herself and growled. He frowned. “I know, we weren’t successful the first few times. This young lady here is going to help us, though.”

Raz turned to Mina and regarded her for a moment. She let out a soft cry and bobbed her head.

“Good. All right, let’s get ready.”

He took several steps back while Raz turned away from him and waited. Grimsley held out his arms and did the pose for the Ghostinium-Z. A golden light surrounded them both, only for it to disappear several seconds later. Raz faced him, giving him a disappointed growl.

“Did Kahuna Nanu say anything as to why the Z-Move isn’t working for you?” Mina asked.

“He said that it’s perhaps my Pokémon aren’t strong enough for Z-Moves yet.” He kneeled down and scratched Raz’s chin, who rubbed into his palm in return. “Raz and I just need a little more of a push, I guess.”

“A little more of a push, huh?” Smiling, Mina folded her arms against her chest. “Maybe a Pokémon battle might help with that!”

An amused grin pulled on Grimsley’s lips. “Are you asking a battle against an Elite Four?”

“Sure, though not an intense one or anything like that. We’ll do a few turns each, and then both of us will try out our Z-Moves.”

“So, just enough to make Raz use Never Ending Nightmare.”


While considering Mina’s suggestion, Grimsley was reminded of the quick battle Professor Kukui and Acerola did to show him and the children Chavo’s Z-Move. A battle with Mina might be the push Raz needed.

“Then I, Grimsley of the Unova Elite Four, accept your challenge,” he said, smiling a little.

Mina did a small fist bump in the air. “Right on! Let me introduce you to Sally first.”

She grabbed a pokéball from her belt. A bright light formed, and a small bee-like creature appeared. They flapped their wings rapidly and the scarf around their neck fluttered with the breeze. Grimsley recognized that Pokémon.

“I’ve seen several of those back in Ula’ula Meadows, but don’t know what they’re called.”

“Sally’s a Ribombee,” Mina said as her Pokémon landed on her finger. She rubbed their chin. “She can sense the emotions of Pokémon and humans well.”

“How so?” Grimsley asked, genuinely interested.

“Why don’t I show you?” Mina gave a single nod to her Ribombee, and she flew off.

Raz cried in surprise when Sally landed on her head and screeched. She flapped her wings, and glitter scattered in the air. Grimsley gave a blank stare while Mina smiled.

“Sally says that your Liepard hopes she’ll pull off the Z-Move this time,” she said, and Sally flew back to her side.

Grimsley’s eyes grew wide, and he smiled. “I’m impressed you’re able to understand your Pokémon that way.”

“Sally and I have been together for a long time, so it’s easy for us to understand each other. Shall we get started, then?”

Grimsley grunted in agreement, and they and their Pokémon got into position. The two trainers gave their commands.

“Let’s start things off with Pollen Puff, Sally!”

“Counter with Shadow Ball!”

A purple ball of pollen formed in between Sally’s arms, and she threw it at Raz. Raz fired off a crimson orb from her mouth, and the two attacks collided in a small explosion. They exchanged Shadow Balls and Pollen Puffs at each other several more times until Grimsley and Mina gave out new commands.

“Go for Dazzling Gleam now!”

“Strike your opponent with your claws!”

Sally surrounded herself in a rainbow colored sphere and swooped down, the light getting brighter the more she descended. Dark vapors formed on Raz’s paw, and it was shaped into a large claw. They launched at each other, and another explosion occurred. After the smoke disappeared, they backed away and stared at each other.

“I think we’re all warmed up now,” Mina said. She raised her arm up, showing Grimsley her Z-Ring. “Time to get our Z on!”

With a sharp nod, Grimsley readied his pose for Never Ending Nightmare. He made his movements similar to a floating ghost, and ended it with his arms stretched out. He and Raz were covered in a golden aura, only this time Grimsley felt it growing stronger and stronger. A rush of cold air passed by.

He didn’t pay attention to Mina’s pose due to focusing on his own, but her Z-Ring glowed brighter than the sun.

Raz let out a large cry, purple flames bursting out from where she was. Black liquid oozed out into the sands, and several tendrils popped up.

Sally spat out a thread of silk, only for the tendrils to burn them. The tendrils then grabbed the Ribombee and she was engulfed in flames. Once the flames dispersed, Sally squeaked and dropped into Mina’s hands.

“Sally!” Mina called out her name in panic. When Sally made another squeak, she sighed in relief. “Great work out there,” she said and returned her to the pokéball.

Both Grimsley and Raz dragged out deep breaths. Already he was exhausted as much as when using Mega Evolution. His Pokémon collapsed on the ground and gazed up at him, as if asking, “Did I do it?” He chuckled and patted her head.

He and his Pokémon were finally able to do a Z-Move.

“You were marvelous,” he said in a soft voice. Raz lifted her head and licked his face.

“Congrats on doing that Z-Move,” Mina said as she approached them.

“I should thank you for helping us with that.” He helped Raz picked herself up, and then shook Mina’s hand. “That Z-Move Sally did earlier, what was it?”

“That’s Savage Spin-Out. Since you also have a Buginium-Z, it made sense for me to use that. Does any of your Pokémon know a Bug-type move?”

“My Bisharp. She knows X-Scissor.”

Mina hummed in acknowledgment. “If you like, I can teach you and your Bisharp that Z-Move.”

“That would be very much appreciated,” Grimsley said without thinking. He gazed down at Raz, who growled in agreement.

He knew how to use one Z-Move now. Another Z-Move wouldn’t hurt.

Author's Notes:

Here's the start of the Poni Island arc! The majority of the chapters in this arc will be a bit shorter for better pacing. While Grimsley will have some spotlight, Nanu will get the bulk of character development here.

I mentioned Seafolk Village's Pokemon Center being uphill instead of within the village itself. I'm going more with the anime's version of Poni Island from here out.

As always, thanks to bobandbill for betaing. I hope to have the next chapter ready either end of this month or in March. See you then!


New chapter time! As always, thanks to bobandbill for betaing.

Chapter Twenty
Throat Chop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

“Headquarters checking on our progress as usual?” Looker asked.

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh, you’ve been practicing what the Alolans call Z-Moves?” Looker asked.

“Only just recently. I think I’m finally getting the hang of them.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sure, I can do that.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I can join you three before I go see Mina.”

“It’s settled, then!” Looker said, grinning.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yoohoo, Triples!

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

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

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

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

“Grimsley, hm? Your name sounds awfully familiar…”

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

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

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

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

“I’m only acting as one of their Branch Chiefs. I actually work for Interpol and have been undercover.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Same here, kid.” Nanu raised a brow. “You’re the Aether president’s daughter, right?”

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

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

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

“Is that Cosmog?” Grimsley asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Officer Nanu is right,” Anabel said with a stern face. “There’s no guarantee this will work.”

“I--” Lillie stopped. She clenched her fists. “If I don’t stop my mother then who will?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“My goodness!” Lillie jumped in surprise.

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

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

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

“It’s been a while, Kahuna Nanu. I see you got some company with you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Now what’s so funny?” Selene asked, clenching her fist.

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

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

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

“But we don’t have time to wait!” Lillie said. “Mother could be seriously hurt by now!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Eh. I’m not the one to go waving ‘I’m a kahuna’ badge, but it worked this time.”

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


Chapter Twenty-One
Fake Tears

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

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

“Great, buddy! Now go for Stone Edge!”

“Jump and then dive down at him!” Grimsley ordered.

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

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

“I’m ready when you are.”

“Great! Alright Morgan, let’s go!”

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

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

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

Another Z-Move completed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His face was twisted in a grimace.

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

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

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

Mina tilted her head. “Oh? You two met before?”

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

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

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

“Oh? How so?”

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

Mina left her mouth wide open. “Huh, really? That’s cool, actually.”

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

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

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

“It’s my pleasure. If you ever want to talk again, here’s my card.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was time for that conversation.

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

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

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

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

Colress flattened his lips and furrowed his brow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colress lifted his head back, and their gazes met.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Okay!” Selene slammed her fist into her palm. “Let’s get that flute!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s fine. Just stick close with us,” Nanu said, and Lilie hummed in agreement.

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

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

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

Light rain started to pour while everyone was busy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sure, but be gentle!”

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

“Who’s a good girl?” she cooed. “Yes you are! Yes you are!”

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

“We need to take shelter. There’s a cave up ahead, let’s go.”

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

“Looks like we’ll be stuck here for a bit,” Nanu said as he crossed his arms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Thanks, you two. That means a lot.”

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

“I think it’s safe to go outside now,” he said, and everyone stepped outside.

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

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

“A rainbow!” Selene said. “How cool is that!”

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Lillie said.

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

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

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

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

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

Nanu raised a suspicious brow. “Really? I don’t see it.”

Charlotte pouted. “Come on, don’t tell me you don’t see a resemblance between Sana and Selene.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Edit: 6 minutes ago by bay


Chapter Twenty-Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We are," Selene said.

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

"I would be surprised if you backed down."

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

"Same here," Mina said and smiled also.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Wonderful. All right, come with me."

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hapu nodded. “I went to the other three islands’ sacred ruins to battle the tapu.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Really? Kahuna Nanu mentioned he didn’t have a choice in becoming a kahuna.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Of course I’m going,” Mina said. “I don’t want to miss this big moment of yours.”

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

With a grin, Hapu said, “Great! We’ll all go to the ruins tomorrow.”

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You two are going to break the news to Anabel.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s great news!” Looker said, beaming. “Now the Legendary Pokémon of Alola can be summoned.”

The smile on Anabel’s face faded. “A part of me still worried something might go wrong.”

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

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

“Anabel, there’s something Looker and I have to tell you.”

Anabel blinked. “Hm? What is it?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Anabel… You are not from this world.”

Anabel’s head flinched back and her brow squeezed together. “What does that mean?”

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

Anabel grew pale, the color draining on her face.

“Has there been any other Fallers before me?”

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

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

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

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

“An... Anabel, I’m deeply so--”

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

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

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

“You could’ve warned me at least!” Anabel shouted. “I… I trusted you two!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Chapter Twenty-Three
Beat Up

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

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

“I’m about to have breakfast with Lillie and Selene now. Would you like to join us?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ah huh!” Selene said, beaming. “Can’t wait to see Tapu Fini!”

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

“And how about Mina?” Grimsley asked.

“I’ll be riding on her Flygon,” Mina said. “It’ll be fun seeing you guys from above!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Did something happen between you guys?” Mina asked.

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

“Oh, Wicke told Selene and I that she’ll be at Poni Beach,” Lillie said.

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

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

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

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

Now, to the Ruins of Hope.


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

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

“Oh I’m curious, what are your Flygon’s and grandmother’s Mudsdale’s names?” Lillie asked.

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s not hard, just that the short stories she assigned were boring. Hau thought the same.”

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

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

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

“Okay, so we’re ready?” Mina asked with a clap of her hands.

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

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

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

Hapu closed her eyes and inhaled. “All right, let’s go.”

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

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

“You should bring Nebby out,” Selene said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mina wore a similar expression. “Of course. It’s not everyday you get to see a legendary.”

Selene and Lillie giggled and grinned at each other.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlotte chuckled. “Sounds like you two really cared for her.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlotte blinked in confusion. “You know these two?”

“Kinda. They’re a couple of kids from Team Skull who’ve been bothering me recently.”

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

“Hey, you guys distracted me and stole a kid’s Yungoos. I wouldn’t call that chivalry.”

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

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

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

“Why are you numbskulls bothering the officer?”

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

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

“Yeah!” Dennis followed up, raising his fist. “We were about to show him who’s boss.”

Plumeria narrowed her eyes at them. “That won’t be necessary. I’ll take things from here.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Kahuna Nanu and I are past acquaintances. I’m here for some important business.”

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

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

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

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

“You knew about Guzma’s connection to Lusamine and Aether Foundation,” he said. Plumeria glared at him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plumeria burst out laughing. “Guzma told me how you didn’t care about being a kahuna.”

“He’s not entirely wrong. I’m now waiting until I turn to dust.”

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m unsure. That wasn’t my initial plan here, but I can’t help but be curious…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Due to recent events and in support of the BLM movement, posting for Foul Play will be on hold until mid to late July. Those participating in the protests stay safe, and those supporting the cause in other ways keep it up!


Chapter Twenty-Four

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

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

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

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

“That’s wonderful to hear.” Eli turned to Hapu. “Do you have Tapu Fini’s blessing?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eli chuckled. “That won’t be a problem at all.”

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

“I can stay here a while longer.”

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

Everyone went inside the house, Grimsley following behind.


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

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

“That’s very cool!” Selene said excitedly. “I can’t wait to go against it!”

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

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

Selene beamed. “Yeah, that would be great!”

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

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

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

“That’s understandable,” Lillie said. “I’ll stay here and see if Hapu returns.”

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

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

“I’m very happy to hear that,” Eli said, grinning.

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We can ask the seafolk if they’ve seen her around recently and go from--”

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

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

“Yes,” Looker said. “The voice shouted ‘tapuuuu’, if I recall.”

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

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

“Yup. This island’s guardian is bad news, especially if you accidentally get inside their mist.”

“Mist?” Looker’s face jumped, his eyes growing wide. “Like the one coming out now?”

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

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

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

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

“It’s been a while, Chief,” Sana said, flashing him a grin.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’ve seen her battle a few times and she’s quite good. She’s also a great pilot.”

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

Grimsley’s face softened. “Of course.”

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

“Nope, recently retired from there. I’m now a kahuna and a police officer.”

“Kahuna? That’s one of those Alolan traditions, yeah? That’s actually great.”

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

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

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

Charlotte’s cheeks blushed and her hands touched there. She batted her eyelashes and said, “Why, thank you.”

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

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

“This is all Tapu Fini’s doing. They’re able to make spirits of our late loved ones.”

“Spirits? So she’s like a ghost?”

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

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

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

“Hey, I didn’t forget you, KR. What’s up?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Shadow Punch!” a new voice called out.

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

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

“Are you three all right?” Hapu asked.

“Yeah we’re fine,” Nanu said. “What are all of you doing here?”

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

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

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

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

Mina bobbed her head. “Ah huh. That’s the power of Tapu Fini.”

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

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

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

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

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

“All right Emet, you’re up first!” Hapu thrust her arm, and Emet her Golurk stepped forward.

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

“Let’s force them out with Stone Edge!”

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

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

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

Nanu pressed his lips hard. Each tapu could control the environment around them: Tapu Koko with electricity, Tapu Lele with psychic energy, Tapu Bulu with plantlife, and Tapu Fini with water. Hapu had guts going against the guardian of Poni Island, especially with the type disadvantage. Her next command pulled him from his thoughts.

“Great! Now, Heavy Slam!”

After dodging a few more of Tapu Fini’s waters in the air, Emet dived down and slammed Tapu Fini into the ground. The water guardian picked themselves slowly, bruises and dirt all over them. The liquid shell that was covering Tapu Fini glowed, and all of the dirt and wounds disappeared from their body.

“Looks like Tapu Fini used Aqua Ring,” Lillie said with concern. That meant Tapu Fini would heal themselves little by little, Nanu mused to himself.

Hapu gave a displeased look. “That’s not good. Okay, Stone Edge once more!”

Emet slammed their fist on the ground and the tall rock pillars burst out once more. Tapu Fini released large amounts of water that blasted each of the rock pillars except for one that poked through them. The water guardian regrouped and fired another Hydro Pump at Emet, soaking and pushing the golem back. Emet retaliated by having their fist surrounded in a ghostly aura and launching it at Tapu Fini. The Automation Pokémon threw several punches and landed each one, but Tapu Fini healed themselves thanks to Aqua Ring and shot out manipulated water that were shaped like hands at them.

“Get away from those!” Hapu urgently called, and Emet launched themselves into the air once more. Her Pokémon was able to keep away from the swirling waters for a while, but eventually Tapu Fini caught Emet’s leg with their powers and slammed them down on the ground like a hammer.

Tapu Fini didn’t wait for Emet to get up as they raised their arms and a raging whirlpool sucked them in. Hapu yelled for her Pokémon to launch themselves out of the whirlpool, and they did by shooting themselves back into the sky. Unfortunately Tapu Fini acted quickly by releasing a blast of pink energy and shocking Emet while they were in the air. Emet stiffened and dropped on the ground, a cloud of dust picking up.

When Emet didn’t get up, Hapu rushed to their side. Everyone but Nanu gasped in shock.

“That’s a technique I’ve never seen before,” Looker said, rubbing his chin.

“Nature’s Madness.” Nanu furrowed his brow. He had experienced that move firsthand. “The tapu used it when they’re very upset. Hapu definitely needs to watch out for that.”

“Emet are you all right?” Hapu asked, and Emet made a low grunt. Hapu sighed in relief. “You fought well there, you deserve some rest. Hapu returned Emet into their pokeball and pulled out another. “Come forth, Maybelle!”

A flash of light poured out, revealing the green-and-blue East Sea variant of Gastrodon. Maybelle squealed and lifted half of her body up.

Tapu Fini immediately fired off a Hydro Pump at Maybelle, who stood still and absorbed all of the water. The tapu glared while Maybelle jerked her head and gave a small cry.

“That’s Gastrodon’s ability, Storm Drain,” Charlotte said, grinning. “I took care of some Shellos and Gastrodon in Aether Paradise.”

“Hapu told me Maybelle’s ability will come in handy when she challenges Tapu Fini.” The smile on Mina’s lips faded. “That won’t stop the tapu, though.”

Hapu gave Maybelle a command, and she shot out purple sludge from her mouth. Tapu Fini weaved around and avoided most of the sludges saved for one that landed on her eyes. Pulsing blue light surrounded them, and the goo disappeared.

“Mud Bomb this time!”

Maybelle opened her mouth and shot out multiple balls of mud at Tapu Fini. The tapu dodged each one and lashed out controlled water at her. Nanu noticed that the water attacks sprouted out from the ground, so he realized the tapu was trying to trap Hapu’s Gastrodon instead of hurting her.

“Freeze each one!”

Whenever Tapu Fini’s manipulated waters got close, Maybelle inhaled and blasted ice-type energy at them. One of Maybelle’s Ice Beams missed, and a liquid thread wrapped around her waist and lifted her into the air. Maybelle made several pleading squeals, but Tapu Fini ignored that and slammed her on the ground. The Gastrodon picked herself up and winced.

“They can still use their powers to hurt Maybelle,” Selene said with a frown. “Should we help her?”

Mina shook her head, wearing the same expression as Selene. “This is little Hapu’s battle she has to face on her own.”

As if hearing their conversation, Hapu narrowed her eyes. She asked Maybelle to use Sludge Wave at Tapu Fini, and the sea slug Pokémon spat out large amounts of goo. Tapu Fini retreated into their shell and spun around, making Maybelle’s sludge bounce off. Nanu and everyone else ducked and scrambled whenever one of the goo clumps headed their way.

“Tapu Fini is getting out of control!” Looker complained as he ducked his head from another sludge.

“That’s the tapu for you.” Nanu also did the same when one sludge almost hit him.

Tapu Fini opened their shell and released shimmering pink energy straight at Hapu’s Pokémon. Maybelle took the hit, screaming in pain. While Maybelle tried to catch her breath, Tapu Fini used their water manipulation powers to grab Maybelle’s waist once more and flung her into a nearby tree. Maybelle collapsed upon impact, and Hapu dashed to her side.

“You fought valiantly, Maybelle,” Hapu said in a low voice as she nuzzled her Pokémon’s cheek. She returned her and turned towards Bricks. “It’s all up to you now, bud.”

Bricks stepped forward, raised his head, and screamed. He stomped three times, kicking dirt behind him. Hapu grinned.

“Double Kick and make it quick!”

Bricks swung around and used his back legs to kick Tapu Fini on the chest twice. Tapu Fini flinched and then fired high pressure water at him. The horse Pokémon was soaked but he shook it off, and an orange aura surrounded him.

“Oh, that’s Mudsdale’s ability, Stamina,” Lillie said, her face lighting up. “I read their defenses get stronger with each hit.”

“Tapu Fini seems to favor long distance attacks, though.” Mina said. “Don’t know how much that’ll help.”

“Okay, now for Heavy Slam and then Earthquake!”

After Tapu Fini blasted another Hydro Pump, Bricks avoided it and launched himself at Tapu Fini. He pinned Tapu Fini down with his front legs while his back legs stomped on the ground and caused the earth to crack. Everyone on the sidelines almost lost their balance when the Earthquake happened. Tapu Fini spat some water onto Bricks’ face and was let go from his grip.

As Tapu Fini and Bricks continued to exchange blows, Nanu found himself reminiscing the time he had battled Tapu Bulu. His Pokémon pulled off a variety of attacks, but Tapu Bulu’s grass and fairy-type powers were too overwhelming for them and were taken down one by one until Persian was left. He was grateful Tapu Bulu stopped there.

“So that’s the power of the tapu,” Charlotte said in a low voice. At that moment, Bricks threw several rocks at Tapu Fini, who countered each one with blasts of water.

Nanu snorted and a crooked smile pulled on his lips. “When I battled Tapu Bulu, they showed no mercy. Tapu Fini is doing the same here.”

“Hapu is gonna do her Z-move now, watch out!” Mina pointed out, and everyone backed away as fast as they could.

Hapu did her pose for the Z-move Tectonic-Rage, in which she had her left fist over her right one, dropped on one knee, and slammed the ground. She and her Pokémon were engulfed in a golden aura, and then Bricks stomped on the ground several times. The earth shook, stronger than the Earthquake Bricks used earlier; Nanu and Lillie fell on the ground, but Looker and Selene picked them up. A chasm opened up, and Bricks leapt up to stomp on Tapu Fini and have them fall within the hole.

Everyone waited with bated breath. A moment passed until a storming whirlpool shot up like Poni Coast Break’s geysers and both Bricks and Tapu Fini burst out. Bricks was still standing but took deep breaths and his legs shook. Tapu Fini took this opportunity to trap Bricks inside another large whirlpool.

Hapu yelled out for Bricks to get out, which he did by pushing through the waters and ramming into Tapu Fini’s chest. Tapu Fini recoiled from that hit while Bricks fell on one knee and barely kept his eyes open. The two gave each other long stares…

...And Tapu Fini smiled and clapped.

“Is this the end of the battle?” Selene asked, furrowing her brow in confusion. Looker wore a similar expression while Lillie and Charlotte tilted their heads.

Before anyone could respond, Tapu Fini approached Hapu and a sparkling crystal appeared between them. Everyone gathered around them just as she grabbed the crystal and opened her palm. A yellow crystal with the Alolan guardian symbol engraved on it. Hapu’s eyes grew wide and she inhaled.

“Does that mean…”

“It is,” Nanu said, and Mina nodded in agreement. He grinned at Hapu and put his hands on his sides. “You’re the new kahuna, kid.”

Hapu’s face brightened up at the news. She wrapped her arms around Bricks’s neck and nuzzled at his cheek.

“We finally did, Bricks.” Hapu held the new z-crystal in front of him, and Bricks made a joyful neigh.

“That’s a cool z-crystal there,” Selene said, beaming. “What is it?”

“That’s the Tapunium-Z. Each kahuna receives that z-crystal as proof of their connection to the tapu.” Hapu faced Nanu. “You have one yourself, don’t you Kahuna Nanu?”

“I do,” Nanu said. “I haven’t used it in a long while, though.”

“Well a hearty congratulations is in order!” Looker said, grinning. Lillie, Selene, and Charlotte also said their congratulations.

“You deserved it, Hapu,” Mina said, and her smile faded. “Oh, looks like the mist is clearing.”

Indeed the mist around them disappeared and the late afternoon light in Poni Wilds came back. Tapu Fini floated to the sky, heading somewhere far away.

“I should head back to my house and let my grandma know,” Hapu said. “You all can come if you want.”

“I’m sure that’ll make her very happy,” Lillie said, her grin widening.

Charlotte poked Nanu’s arm, causing him to look over his shoulder at her.

“Should we go look for Anabel now?” she whispered, and Nanu’s stomach dropped. He was so distracted with Hapu and Tapu Fini’s battle that he completely forgot.

“Yeah, we should.” He cleared his throat and faced Hapu. “You guys go ahead, My colleagues and I are in search of a missing friend. You don’t happen to stumble upon a woman with purple hair and in a dark suit, have you?”

Hapu shook her head. “No I haven’t, sorry. If I do see her, I’ll let her know you’re looking for her.”

Nanu frowned. “Thanks, I appreciate it.” He turned to Looker and Charlotte. “Come on, let’s go.”

He, Charlotte, and Looker headed out. Nanu hoped that Anabel was still fine out there.


After Grimsley finished talking about being in the Elite Four, he and Father talked about the many trips overseas they had together; his family used to have several villas across different regions, so they would visit those during the summer and winter season. During their conversation, Raz lay down next to Grimsley’s feet while Queen stood still and listened. He wasn’t sure how long he had been with him, but it felt like hours.

“You remember how I was away for a bit when we were in Hoenn? Well, me getting your mother a gift was half of it. What really happened was a Wingull stole my ring and I chased it for almost half an hour! Thank goodness Mr. Brine helped me or else.”

“That actually happened to me several days ago. A Murkrow stole your ring and I chased it down to an abandoned store. I managed to get the ring, but another Pokémon blocked my path and I was forced to battle it. Right, Raz?”

Grimsley gazed down at Raz, who looked up and growled. He chuckled and scratched her chin.

“Well I’m happy to hear that you still have my ring at least,” Father said with a hearty laugh. His smile faded. “You and your mother probably had a hard time adjusting after I died.

Grimsley frowned, his heart sinking. “It was rough for a little while, but then after going to several world poker competitions and joining the Elite Four we’re much better off.”

“I still feel bad for leaving you two.” Father hung his head down and his shoulders slumped. “If I wasn’t so sick, we could’ve been happier together much longer.”

Grimsley’s face fell when he heard that. He moved closer to his father and squeezed his shoulders, offering him a sad smile.

“Don’t blame yourself for that. There were times I wished I could go back and choose a different card, but I’m pleased where I’m at now.” Grimsley shifted his gaze away for a second, his sad smile turning into a genuine one. “I’m proud to be called your son.”

A wide grin stretched across Father’s face. “And as your father, I’m proud of you.”

Grimsley and his father shared another embrace. He was reminded of how warm his body was and how safe he was in his arms. When they let go, the mist surrounding them cleared and Father began to fade in gold glitters. His Pokémon noticed too, Raz getting up and growling while Queen frowned.

“I guess my time’s up,” Father said, his expression softening.

Grimsley frowned at first, but then he smiled back. “I’m glad that we’ve gotten to talk once more.”

“Same here. Maybe we’ll meet like this again someday.”

“I would like that.” He reached for his hand, and his father fully disappeared. His hand on his heart, he gazed up at the sky and whispered, “Goodbye, Father.”

Grimsley’s Pokémon went to comfort him. Raz rubbed at his side and Queen touched his shoulder. A small smile was pulled on his lips.

“Grimsley?” a familiar male voice asked. Grimsley turned around to see Nanu, Looker, and Wicke approaching him. When they stopped, he blinked at them.

“What are you three doing here?”

“We were trapped inside Tapu Fini’s mist for a while and only now were free from that. Did the same happen to you?”

Grimsley’s eyes widened, surprised the three were caught in that mist also. “Yes. I was heading back to the Pokémon Center, and then the mist happened.” A beat. “I met my father.”

Nanu flinched and his shoulders jumped. His colleagues reacted the same way.

“The three of us were also reunited with a lost loved one,” Wicke said with a small smile. “A nice girl named Hapu saved us before we were in the mist too long, though.”

“Hapu?” Upon Wicke saying her name, a realization hit Grimsley. “Wait, did she battle Tapu Fini?”

Looker hummed and nodded. “Indeed, she did! After a tough struggle, Tapu Fini chose her as Kahuna of Poni Island!”

“Really?” Grimsley chuckled and smirked. He folded his arms against his chest. “I guess that gamble of hers paid off.”

Nanu stared at Grimsley, the corner of his mouth twitching. After a brief moment, he sighed and ran his fingers through his hair.

“At least you’re okay in the end. We’ve got a bigger problem, though. Anabel hasn’t returned yet.”

“She hasn’t?” Grimsley asked with a raised brow, and Looker shook his head.

“We’re about to go searching for her now. Since our paths crossed, would you help us?”

Grimsley pressed his lips and his eyes narrowed. After some pondering, he nodded.

“I’ll help. And so will my Pokémon, right?” He turned to them. Raz lifted her head and growled while Queen hummed and bobbed her head.

“Good,” Nanu said. “Come on, we should try to find her before dark.”

Everyone did just that, Grimsley and his Pokémon following behind. His reunion with his father was on his mind, but his smile faded. He needed to focus on finding Nanu’s friend.

Author’s Notes

Tapu Fini's mist was inspired by the Sun/Moon anime episode Memories in the Mist, regarded by many as one of the most heartfelt episodes in the whole series. While there are similar beats, I make Nanu and Grimsley's versions of being under Tapu Fini's mist still their own thing.

Thanks to bobandbill for betaing as always. Something came up so there might be another delay, but will try to get the next chapter in next month. See you then!


Chapter Twenty-Five
Assurance (Part One)

After Nanu and his friends had found Grimsley, they all searched for Anabel until after dark. When she was nowhere to be found, everyone went back to the Pokémon Center. Nanu made a few video phone calls to find her location, and fortunately he got a lead when contacting the receptionist over at the Battle Tree.

“Why yes, there’s a woman with a Salamence here!” the receptionist Carla said, beaming through the video screen. “She battled several trainers earlier today and won every single one of them.”

“Really?” Nanu sighed in relief and smiled a little. It wasn’t surprising to him that Anabel had won those battles. She was an experienced trainer in another world and proved she was more than capable of watching herself. It sounded like she stayed in the Battle Tree to let out some steam. “Glad to hear Anabel’s all right. Is she around now?”

“I believe she’s in the middle of a battle now. Would you like me to let her know that you called and have her get back to you?”

“If you can, that would be great. Thanks for letting me know she’s safe.”

“No trouble at all! I’ll let her know then the next time I see her. You have a good evening, Kahuna Nanu.”

“You have a good night, too,” Nanu said and hung up, the screen blacking out for a second before returning to the home page.

He moved towards the lounge, where Grimsley, Looker, and Charlotte sat on the couch watching television. The group turned their heads when Nanu approached them.

“Any luck finding Anabel?” Charlotte asked, and Nanu nodded.

“She’s at the Battle Tree doing some battles there. I have the receptionist let her know I called and have her contact me if she wants.”

“The Battle Tree, hm?” Grimsley said, scratching his chin. “You mentioned that the last Ula’ula kahuna liked to go there a lot.”

“You think the chief will call you back?” Looker asked.

“Don’t know. I’ll give her a bit more time to herself before making any moves.”

“I can go to the Battle Tree tomorrow and talk with Anabel if you don’t hear her back,” Charlotte said.

Nanu considered her request a moment. Anabel was more likely to listen to Charlotte than him or Looker. This would be their best shot.

“That’s probably a good idea, actually. Sure, you can do that.”

After he said that, the automatic door opened. Nanu turned to see Mina approaching the group.

“Alola, alola! Found your friend yet?”

“Yeah. She’s over at the Battle Tree, so we will see if she calls me back first.”

“You’re not going over there now?” Mina asked as she tilted her head.

A lump formed inside Nanu’s throat. He stole a glance at Looker and Charlotte, both of them frowning.

“Let’s just say she’s not at speaking terms with me right now. Wicke will come see her tomorrow.”

“Oh, I see. At least you know she’s safe.” Mina gave out her easy going smile. “There’s another reason why I’m here. You’re all being invited to Hapu’s coronation.”

“Coronation?” Grimsley asked, raising a brow.

“When the tapu has chosen a new kahuna, they both perform a special dance in a ceremony in front of a small audience, in one of the altars.The kahunas from other islands are expected to join.” Nanu faced back at Mina. “You’re already going ahead with that?” he asked, and she nodded.

“Grandma Eli called both Hala and Olivia to tell them the news. They’ll be coming sometime tomorrow.”

“Guess I have no choice since I’m here, huh?”

Mina’s smile grew wider. “Nope!”

Nanu stared at her and sighed. He was never a fan of the coronations including his own. Wearing the costume that resembled Tapu Bulu and dancing in front of people made him uncomfortable.

“Well I’m interested in how this ceremony works. “Could be a new learning experience for me!” The smile on Looker’s face disappeared and he hung his head down. “Although, it would be nice if the chief comes too…”

“I also look forward to coming to the ceremony,” Grimsley said.

“Great!” Mina clapped her hands. “I’m gonna head home now. See you guys tomorrow at the ceremony!” She waved goodbye to everyone and left the Pokémon Center.

Nanu stared at the ceiling, annoyed that he needed to stay in Poni Island for longer.


As Nanu expected, Anabel didn’t return the call. When morning came, Charlotte had asked Nurse Joy if the Pokémon Center had a Pokémon that could take her to the Battle Tree fairly quickly. It turned out the place did and she was lent a Skarmory for her to borrow.
Charlotte and her Pokémon then left for the Battle Tree.

Morning rolled into late afternoon, and preparations for Hapu’s coronation were made. Several tables with food and drinks had been set up in the courtyard, purple tablecloths used because of the island’s official color. Chief Akoni stood in front of a barbeque cooking ground beef, the smoky smell lingering inside Nanu’s nose. Selene and Lillie sat on the bench playing with Poppers while Grimsley leaned against a lampost, the young dark-type expert flipping his coin. At the edge of the cliff, Looker stared at the ocean with his arms crossed against his chest. Nanu joined with Looker.

“I hope Charlotte will be able to convince the chief to come back,” Looker said, not tearing his eyes from the sea.

“I think she will. Charlotte’s pretty good with that kind of thing.”

Looker turned his head to look at Nanu and frowned. “She’s right that we betrayed her trust. I’m ashamed of myself for that.”

“You and me both.” Nanu lowered his chin on his palm. A small breeze picked up, stinging his face. As he and Looker went silent, a familiar boy’s voice called out to him.

“Nice to see you again, Kahuna Nanu!”

That caused Nanu to flinch and twist around to see Hala, Olivia, and Hau approaching him. He forced himself to not roll his eyes.

“Hello, you guys.” Nanu gave him a lazy wave.

“Didn’t expect to see you here!” Hala chuckled. “I thought Acerola would take your place instead!”

“I’m actually here on important business. I’ll be leaving after the ceremony.” Nanu paused. “You guys came here quickly.”

“I came with a Charizard from the PokéRide service while Hala and Hau used a ferry.” Oliva grinned at Looker, her hand on her hip. “Aren’t you going to introduce us to your handsome friend here?”

A stunned expression crossed Looker’s face and he pointed a finger at her. “You’re the Ms. Olivia that I bought the Thunderstones from!”

Olivia blinked, and after a moment she burst out laughing. “Oh, I remember now! I was confused why you bought those despite not having a Pokémon that evolves from a Thunderstone. I forgot your name, though.”

“Then let me introduce myself once more.” He gave a slight bow. “Looker is my name, a member of the International Police. Nanu and I are good acquaintances.”

“An old friend of Nanu’s, hm?” Olivia’s grin grew wider, and she stepped closer towards Looker. She pressed a finger on his throat and batted her eyelashes at him. “If you come back to Akala Island, I can give you another discount in my shop and we can have lunch together.” When she said that, a blush formed on Looker’s cheeks.

Nanu’s eyes flew wide and his mouth grew dry, taken aback at Olivia advancing on Looker like an Alolan Persian pouncing on prey. If he were drinking, he would choke. He glanced at Hala and Hau, the two having blank stares.

“Um, Ms. Olivia?” Hau asked in confusion, which made Olivia step away from Looker and shift her gaze from him.

“Oh, I’m sorry if I stepped out of bounds here. That won’t happen again.”

Smiling, Looker said, “Not to worry, Ms. Olivia. It is a lovely offer, but I have to politely decline on both accounts. I am on this island for professional business, after all.”

Olivia smiled back and nodded, quickly recovering from that initial embarrassment. “Right. I wish you luck on that.”

After a short silence, Hala faced his grandson and asked, “Why don’t we go meet with your friends now, Hau?”

“All right!” Hau said, pumping his fist in the air. He, Hala, and Olivia moved out first. Nanu made a few steps forward before turning around to see Looker staring back at the ocean.

“Aren’t you coming?” he asked with a raised brow. Looker turned around, a slight smile curling on his lips.

“You go ahead. I’ll wait here in case Charlotte and the chief returns.”

Nanu narrowed his eyes at first, and then he shrugged. He went to where everyone else was.

Selene and Lillie were still playing with Poppers, so when they noticed Hau their faces lit up.

“Hau!” Selene rushed over towards Hau and hugged him. “What are you doing here?”

“Gramps got a call from a friend that Hapu’s the new kahuna. He’s letting me join him for the ceremony.”

“Oh, you mean her grandmother,” Lillie said, smiling. “She’s helping Hapu with her gown right now. We should be ready to leave for the ceremony soon.”

“It’s nice to see you girls again!” Olivia said. “I take it you got through your third Grand Trial?”

Selene beamed and nodded. “Ah huh! Nanu wanted to do a double battle with me and another trainer for his trial. He kept saying how we’re not good enough, but we managed to beat him!”

Hala put his palms on his stomach, letting out a hearty laugh. “Not surprising. Several trainers would tell me the same thing.”

“I wanted to push their training skills further by giving them some tough love. It worked in the end.”

“Maybe,” Selene said as she held her chin high. She faced back at Hau and Lillie. “You wanna hear how Hapu became Kahuna, Hau?”

“Of course!” Hau cheered, and the three friends began talking amongst themselves.

Nanu glanced at Grimsley, who was still flipping his coin. He still wasn’t sure why that man was obsessed with that coin. It might be a good idea to introduce him to Hala and Olivia.

“Hey, Grimsley! There are a couple folks I want you to meet.”

That caught Grimsley’s attention as he stopped playing with his coin and turned to Nanu’s direction. He moved to where the group was.

“Oh? Are they friends of yours?”

“You can say that.” While Nanu continued to talk, he pointed to Hala and Olivia. “This is Hala and Olivia. They’re kahunas of Melemele Island and Akala Island, respectively.”

“Kahunas, ey?” Grimsley shook Hala and Olivia’s hands. “It’s a pleasure to meet you both.”

“Professor Kukui told me that you’re an Elite Four from Unova,” Olivia said with a smirk. “How are you liking Alola so far?”

“Alola isn’t what I expected, but it’s been a good experience for me. I’ve been told you’ll be this region’s Elite Four.”

“Yes, and I’m excited for that. Representing Alola on the big stage is a huge honor.”

“I admit that our culture takes some getting used to, but I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying it here,” Hala said.

While Grimsley was being introduced to the two kahunas, Nanu remained quiet and stared at the sky. Up ahead shadows of two Pokémon were zooming in and they let out strong cries. He squinted his eyes, trying to make them out through the blinding sunlight: one a Salamence, and another a Skarmory. His heart plumented.

“They have arrived!” Looker said excitedly, pointing up at Anabel and Charlotte. That caused everyone to also look up at the sky and gasp.

A moment passed until the two ladies and their Pokémon landed. Once Anabel and Charlotte jumped off, both Nanu and Looker rushed off to them.

“You’re back,” Nanu said, his mouth gaping.

No smile came from Anabel. Before she could speak, the whole group including Akoni, who finished with the barbeque, joined them.

“Alola, you two!” Hala said, doing the Alola rainbow sign with his arms. “I’m Hala, kahuna of Melemele Island.”

“And I’m Olivia, Akala Island’s kahuna.”

With a welcoming smile, Charlotte said, “Oh, I heard about you two! I’m Wicke Santana and I worked for Aether Paradise.” She paused and glanced at Nanu, as if hesitant to reveal their connection. When he nodded, a relieved smile formed on her lips. “Nanu and I are good friends.”

“And I’m Anabel, an Interpol agent. Nanu used to be my superior for a short time.”

“Good friends? Superior?” Olivia grinned and poked Nanu’s shoulder with her elbow. “Didn’t think of you as someone who’s into younger women!”

Nanu’s face fell. “What? No, nothing is going on with either of them.”

A short chuckle escaped from Grimsley. He opened his mouth, but Nanu’s glare stopped him from responding. Grimsley pressed his lips and faced away from him.

“It’s great seeing you again, Ms. Wicke!” Hau said, beaming. “Nice to meet you too, Ms. Anabel! Mr. Looker is an Interpol agent too, does that mean you two work together?”

“We are indeed,” Looker said. Despite some cheerfulness in his voice he remained reserved. “She’s actually my superior.”

When Looker said that, Anabel lowered her brow and shifted her gaze away for a second. She had one hand rubbed her arm.

“Will you two be staying for the coronation of Kahuna Hapu?” Lillie asked, and Anabel blinked in confusion.


“This island just got its new kahuna after several years without one,” Akoni said. “Today we’re holding a celebration for that.”

“From the look on your face, you’re not here for the coronation,” Grimsley said.

Upon hearing that, Nanu’s heart jumped in his throat. That man seeing through other people like a poker game got him uncomfortable. Anabel gasped, as if feeling the same way.

“No, I’m not,” she said, shaking her head. She fixed her gaze at Nanu and Looker. “We need to talk.”

“Of course.” He sighed and looked back at everyone else. “You guys go ahead. My colleagues and I have some stuff to work out.”

“Trying to weasel out of coming to the ceremony, hm?” Olivia said, earning her a glare from Nanu. She held her hands up. “I’m only teasing. Do make it for the barbeque, though.”

An indifferent grunt left Nanu’s mouth. Depending how long this talk might be, he might come in time for food. He and his Interpol friends headed toward the Pokémon Center.


The rooms in Seafolk Village’s Pokémon Center weren’t that different from the ones in other Pokémon Centers. They were fairly small, but there was enough room for him and his friends to talk privately.He and Looker sat on the bed, Charlotte took a chair next to the desk, and Anabel leaned her back against the wall next to the window with her arms crossed. There was a moment of awkward silence between everyone until Anabel cleared her throat and spoke.

“You already know how I stayed in the Battle Tree for a bit.”

“Yes,” Nanu said. “I let the receptionist tell you to talk to me when you’re free. You didn’t call back, so I assumed you’re still upset with Looker and me.”

“You’re right on that assumption, and to be honest I’m still hurt.” Anabel gazed out at the window, putting her hand on the glass. “It was funny, each time I battled there I got hit with a wave of nostalgia.”

Nanu’s forehead shot up. “Is it because of how you’re reminded of the Battle Tower?”

“Maybe. I’m grateful I can recall my time there at least.”

“I take it though Charlotte had persuaded you to come back to us,” Looker said, and Charlotte nodded.

“I told Anabel more about Sana and how much she reminded us of her. Sana’s passing affected us all.”

Pursing his lips, Nanu reminisced about his reunion with Sana last night. She had said she didn’t regret her time with her friends, and it stung his heart. At least he got some closure with her.

Looker hung his head down and said in a low voice, “There’s no denying the loss of Sana is why we kept you in the dark for so long.”

A sad smile formed on Anabel’s lips. “It was cruel, but I understand you and Nanu did that to protect me.” She dragged out a deep sigh, and her face grew serious. “I’ve been thinking of what I want to do next. I want to change Interpol from the inside and not have another Faller be used as bait anymore.”

Looker and Charlotte gasped while Nanu furrowed his brow. He rose up from the bed, standing up with one hand on his hip.

“That’s a huge undertaking there, kid. How are you going to do that?”

“The first thing is to fix the way the Ultra Task Force has been handled. It would require a lot of support from other agents. If it all goes well, I’ll take it to higher staff.”

“What if that causes Interpol to let you go?” Looker asked.

“Then that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I would rather try to make a change than do nothing. Will you three help me?”

“Well, I’ll support you in any way I can,” Wicke said, smiling. “I don’t want Sana’s death to go in vain.”

Looker stood up also and flashed her a grin. “I believe this is the best path towards justice. Count me in, Chief.”

“I’m always up for dismantling Interpol.” Nanu grunted, offering her a crooked smile. He didn’t need to think twice whether he was in support of Anabel’s cause or not.

“Thank you everyone,” Anabel said with an appreciative smile. “This will be a long process, but will be worth it in the end.”

Author's Note
So on AO3 I put up how many chapters until have at the end. Yes, I'm confident to say that this story will end at 35 chapters, or well 34 chapters and an epilogue. So we're almost there!

Thanks to bobandbill for betaing as always. This was originally one chapter but decided to split it into two shorter chapters to have better pacing. One more chapter until the Poni Island arc ends, which should be ready in September. See you then!


Assurance (Part Two)

Shortly after Nanu and his friends had left, it was time for the coronation. Grimsley moved in pace with Akoni, Hala, and Olivia while the children followed behind. The two kahunas and seafolk chief were having a conversation, which he wasn’t paying attention to.

It wasn’t hard for him to notice that there were some tensions going on with the Interpol group. Nanu coming back late a couple of nights ago and Anabel missing were signs of that. A part of him was curious about what went on between them, but Grimsley decided it was none of his business.

The group journeyed through the Poni Break Coast, the geysers sprouting out the water and stream every so often. Once they made it to the Ruins of Life, there was no pool of water there. Mina and Eli stood in front of the entrance.

“Alola, alola!” Mina greeted and did the Alolan rainbow sign as Hala did earlier. “Glad you guys can make it to the ceremony!” She paused, her smile disappearing. “Where’s old man Nanu?”

“He had to take care of something last minute,” Grimsley said.

“Oh?” Mina tilted her head and blinked. Her smile returned. “His friend just returned, right?”

Grimsley hummed. “Seems the two have a lot of talking to do.”

“Ah. Well, that’s more important, I guess. Come on, we shouldn’t keep little Hapu waiting!”

Everyone followed Mina and Eli inside the temple. While they moved from one room to the next, Grimsley looked over his shoulder to see Hala and Eli talking.

“It’s been a long while, Hala. Two years, has it?”

“Mhmm. I’m unable to visit due to being the kahuna and all. I heard your granddaughter traveled all over Alola to prepare herself for this.”

“She has, and I’m very proud of her.”

“Haha, no doubt you do!”

Their conversation ended once everyone made it to the second room. Hapu was on top of the altar, donning a short-sleeved blue and white dress. She wore a headdress shaped like Tapu Fini’s fins, and her hair was in a straight-wavy style this time. A large pendant was hung on her neck and another smaller one on her forehead. Grimsley thought she looked cute like that. While everyone else stopped in the middle, Eli made a few more steps forward and turned around.

“Welcome everyone to the crowning of our new Kahuna of Poni Island,” she said aloud with her arms spread wide. “Today we bare witness to an Alolan tradition that has been passed down through generations. And now, the ancient dance of the kahunas.”

As Eli joined back with the others, Hapu took a deep breath and started her dance. Her bare footsteps hit the wooden platform like drums, and her claps echoed through the walls. Everyone kept silent and watched as she continued her dance. Grimsley glanced over his shoulder to see Hala and Olivia grinning, as if they were reminiscing.

It wasn’t long until Tapu Fini appeared.

The guardian deity emerged from a pool of water from the back of the room and rose over the altar. They joined in with Hapu, showering her with sparkling dust. Grimsley held his breath as he witnessed this ancient tradition.

After a moment, both Hapu and Tapu Fini stopped. The new kahuna unwrapped the Z-Ring from her wrist and held it to Tapu Fini.

“Bestow upon me the role of watching over Poni Island and the waters surrounding it.”

Still holding her Z-Ring, Hapu closed her eyes as Tapu Fini twirled around her. The deity then stopped in front of her, sprinkled the Z-Ring with glittering dust, and took it by lifting it into the air. A small pool of water swirled around the bracelet, and then it returned back on Hapu’s palms. The new kahuna smiled and thanked them for blessing her Z-Ring.

When the dance was done everyone clapped, though Grimsley didn’t smile. The ceremony was nice, but seeing Tapu Fini ran chills down his spine. Hapu went down the stairs, joining with the others.

“All right, now there’s one last thing that Hapu needs to do to complete the ceremony, and it’s to use the Tapuinum-Z,” Hala said.

“Tapuinum-Z?” Grimsley asked, blinking.

“Each kahuna gets a special z-crystal called the Tapuinum-Z,” Hapu said. She pulled out a small tan crystal with the symbol of the tapu. “It’s a way to show a bond between the kahuna and tapu.”

“Oh yeah, Lillie and I saw Tapu Fini giving it to you after that battle,” Selene said. “Looks so cool.”

“Really? I take it there’s a special Z-Move for that?”

“Yup, and I’ll be performing it right now!”

“Okay folks, let’s head outside now so Hapu can do that Z-Move,” Mina said, and everyone followed her out of the altar.


Grimsley assumed that Hapu needed to be outside to perform her final act because the Ruins of Life didn’t have enough space for that. He was curious how the Z-Move looked, and how it went Nanu did it. Either way, doing it outside was better than accidentally setting a sacred location on fire.

Once outside, Hapu and Tapu Fini stood in the middle of the open space while everyone else stayed on the sidelines. She slipped the Tapinium-Z crystal inside her bracelet and faced Tapu Fini.

“I’m ready,” Hapu said, her face showing firm conviction. Tapu Fini hummed and nodded. As she chanted her next words,, her bracelet lit up. “Oh Guardian of Alola, lend me your strength to help watch over everyone here!”

She struck her z-pose by having her fingers form a heart and lifting one of her legs up, which Grimsley recognized as the same pose Mina did when they battled a few days ago. A golden aura engulfed them both, and the earth shook.

Grimsley and several others wobbled and almost lost their balance. A big chasm opened, rocks and dust flying. Two large hands reached out, and then a giant muscular being climbed out of the hole and stood up. It had no head until Tapu Fini floated up, closed their shell, and attached themself onto the giant.

“So that’s the Guardian of Alola I heard so much about,” Hau said in awe. He and everyone else were unable to tear their gazes off from it.

Hapu finished off the Z-Move by lifting her fist and slamming it on her palm like a hammer. The Guardian of Alola did the same, slamming one fist onto the chasm and making it wider. Another cloud of dust popped up, which caused Grimsley and the others to cough. Tapu Fini, as the giant being, lifted their head, punched their chest with their fist, and cried out their name to the heavens. After that, the golden being disappeared and Tapu Fini turned back to normal. Exhausted, Hapu fell on her knees and her body slumped. Her grandmother rushed to help pick her up.

“We now officially have our new kahuna!” Akoni declared with a grin. Selene and Hau cheered while everyone else clapped.

“Your grandfather would be very proud,” Eli said, smiling down at her and squeezing her hand.

“I believe so too, Grandma,” Hapu said and grinned back.

Grimsley pressed his lips and crossed his arms. Guardian of Alola was a Z-Move unlike any other. The tapus were just as powerful as the legendary Pokémon of other regions, if not more so. Distracted by his thoughts, he didn’t notice Tapu Fini was in front of him until they let out a soft, “Tapuuu.” That made him flinch and drew his head back.

“Urgh, what do you want?” he asked.

Tapu Fini responded by repeating “tapu” several more times. Unable to understand, Grimsley raised a brow at them.

“I think Tapu Fini’s apologizing for what happened yesterday,” Hapu said.

“Huh?” Grimsley’s eyes grew wide when he realized Hapu was talking about Tapu Fini’s special powers and his father visiting from the afterlife. He chuckled. “I’m actually glad to have that opportunity to meet my father one last time. Thank you.”

Tapu Fini gave out a pleased hum and floated back to Hapu’s side. Selene and Hau stared at him.

“Meet your father one last time?” Selene asked. “Does that mean you were in Tapu Fini’s mist yesterday?”

Grimsley’s heart jumped in his throat. Before he could respond, Eli spoke first.

“Tapu Fini’s fog was deep yesterday, so it’s not surprising that some folks got caught in it. It’s good then that my granddaughter saved you there.”

Unsure how to react to that, Grimsley cleared his throat and gave an awkward smile. “Yes, I’m glad of that.”

“Say, Grimsley, are you up for a Pokémon battle?” Olivia asked as she approached him. “Kahili and Molayne told me how they battled you, and that made me want to see how powerful you are.”

“Oh, I’m that inspiring, hm?” Grimsley rubbed his chin, considering Olivia’s offer a moment. “Sure, no harm in that.”

Olivia flashed him a grin and put her hands on her hips. “Great! I think you’ll like my Pokémon. They’re as tough as they come.”

After eavesdropping on their conversation, Tapu Fini let out an agitated cry and glared at them. Grimsley swallowed hard, their stare piercing through his heart.

“Tapu Fini says to have the battle elsewhere,” Hapu said. “They did enough damage when they were doing Guardian of Alola.”

“I totally get it. Wouldn’t want to cause trouble here.” Olivia faced back at Grimsley. “Want to do our battle outside the Pokémon Center, instead?”

“Sounds good to me,” Grimsley said.

“An Elite Four trainer and kahuna having a battle?” Hau jumped and raised his fist in the air. “This is gonna be great!”

Selene beamed. “Also can’t wait to eat! I’m starving!”

With the coronation ceremony finally over, everyone headed back to the Seafolk Village Pokémon Center. Smiling a little, Grimsley actually looked forward to his battle with Olivia.


As soon as Grimsley and the group made it back outside of the Pokémon Center, he and Olivia immediately started their battle. He sent out Queen up against Olivia’s Tyrantrum, a Pokémon that was extinct thousands of years ago. Even though Grimsley was aware of advanced technology that could revive fossilized Pokémon, seeing her with one was a pleasant surprise. She had nicknamed the Tyrantum Rexy.

Queen was able to cut through Rexy’s rough skin with her blades and avoid the hurl of rocks being thrown at her. The Tyranrtum was faster than Grimsley had expected as he managed to bite through Queen’s armor a few times earlier. Dragon-type Pokémon were never easy to take down, but Grimsley learned to overcome that from his battles with Iris and Drayden.

Olivia ordered Rexy to use Dragon Claw, so Grimsley had Queen counter that with X-Scissor. Both Pokémon charged at each other with claws and blades forming a green light. Everyone in the audience watched with anticipation, their gazes following their every movement.
After exchanging several blows, Rexy and Queen stopped to catch their breaths and glare at each other.

“All right, Rexy, are you ready for our Z-Move?” Olivia asked, and Rexy responded with a roar. She grinned, and the Z-Ring on her wrist glowed. “Great, then let’s do this! Devastating Drake!”

She did her pose by crossing her arms together, having them shaped like large jaws, and thrusting her hands forward. A purple aura bathed both Olivia and Rexy, and an orb formed in front of the Tyrantrum.

Grimsley grunted, pursing his lips. He and Queen immediately did their pose for Savage Spin Out, and a golden light surrounded them.

Rexy fired off the orb, which then changed into the shape of a dragon flying at fast speed. Queen shot out a string of white silk at the dragon, but it cut through that and slammed into her. An explosion of purple flames occurred, and after the smoke disappeared Queen dropped to one knee, barely opening her eyes. Rexy’s pants had gotten deeper.

Due to the effects of the Z-Move, Grimsley took deep breaths. Olivia grinned with no signs of exhaustion on her face. She likely had done the pose several times before.

“Looks like our Pokémon are exhausted,” she said. ”I think that’s enough.”

“I agree.” Grimsley approached Olivia, and they shook hands. Their Pokémon joined them. “That was a good battle. No wonder Professor Kukui chose you as one of the best Alola trainers.”

“I can see why you’re an Elite Four trainer myself.” Olivia scratched Rexy’s belly, which the Pokémon responded with a pleased grunt. “You know how to get through Rexy’s rough skin.”

Grimsley chuckled and touched Queen’s shoulder. “Queen’s blades are sharp enough to cut through even the toughest boulders. I’m rather impressed with that Z-Move of yours.”

“Me too!” Hau said cheerfully. “This is the first time I’ve seen it.”

“I mostly save Rexy for the Final Grand Trials. You might see him again in the Pokémon League,” Olivia said with a wink.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” When he heard that, Grimsley turned around to see Nanu and his friends joining with the crowd. Olivia glared at Nanu.

“Of course! Why wouldn't it be?”

“I mean, it’s a Tyrantrum. They’re not your typical cuddly Pokémon.”

“True, but Rexy is a sweetheart that wouldn’t even hurt a bug Pokémon. Right, big boy?” Olivia gazed up at him, grinning. As if understanding her, Rexy lowered his head down and let Olivia scratch his cheeks.

“He does look cuddly!” Selene said, beaming. Grimsley gave her a blank stare, not expecting her to say that.

Olivia gave her a satisfied grin and returned Rexy. “See, even Selene agrees!”

“Right,” Nanu said in a drawled out voice and rolled his eyes. He then said to Olivia and Hala, “I need to speak with you two in private.”

Grimsley watched as the three kahunas moved away from the crowd and towards the edge of the cliff. He turned around to see everyone else already dispersed into their own groups. The children, Akoni, and Mina were next to the table where the food was. Anabel and Looker grabbed themselves a drink and talked to one another. Wicke was alone, gazing at the Interpol agents. He went up to her.

“I take it the talk with you guys went fine?” Grimsley asked, and Wicke smiled.

“You can say that. Anabel plans to make some changes in Interpol and we’ll be helping her with that.”

“Is that so? Well, I wish you all luck on that.”

“Thank you so much. We’re going to need it!”

With a grunt and a nod, Grimsley wondered if Wicke and her friends would be able to accomplish that. That would be as if he wanted to change how the Pokémon League functioned. He then recalled that she and Nanu were once co-workers and he was curious about that.

“You and Nanu used to work together. What was that like?”

Wicke flinched and pressed her lips in a fine line. She gazed up at the sky with her finger tapping her chin.

“It was...interesting. He was blunt, but cared deeply for us. I couldn’t ask for a better superior.”

“Huh, I see.” Grimsley tried to imagine him being an Interpol agent. He could see him acting similarly to Anabel. “Nanu told me about how the Aether Foundation has been doing their research on the Ultra Wormholes.”

Wicke’s eyes blinked rapidly, and then she frowned.

“They are. As you can tell from Lillie and Selene’s story, it’s a big problem now. All we can hope for now is them bringing that legendary Pokémon and saving Madame Lusamine.”

Grimsley looked away, his finger rubbing the back of his ear. He was conflicted about having the weight of the world on those girls’ shoulders. When Hilda had saved Unova and then Nate two years after, they went from excited trainers with potential to ones that lost their innocence. He hoped that wouldn’t be the same for Lilie and Selene.


Nanu brought Olivia and Hala at the edge of the cliff, the ocean waves raging down below. He glanced at the crowd enjoying the festivities before facing back at his fellow kahunas.

“The Aether Foundation’s president had stolen the Moon Flute from Lake of the Moone. And right now she’s gone missing,” he said. Olivia and Hala let out stunned gasps.

“Really?” Hala asked. “How do you know?

“Lillie and Selene went to Aether Paradise earlier. They’re planning to use the flutes to summon the legendary Pokémon to bring her back.”

Olivia raised a brow. “Is that a good idea? Will they get help at least?”

“Mina and Hapu will take them to Vast Poni Canyon. My friends from Interpol will also help.”

Both kahunas gave him apprehensive looks. After a moment, Olivia sighed with her shoulders slumped.

“It’s good that they won’t be alone then,” she said. “I just hope they’re ready for the task.”

Nanu grunted in agreement and fixed his gaze at Lillie and Selene within the crowd. They were talking with Hau, Captain Akoni, and Mina, eating and laughing together. The faith of Alola in the hands of two children. He frowned at that thought as he would rather they live out normal lives than go through this.

“You’re also worried about them, huh Nanu?” Hala asked with a smile, causing Nanu to flinch.

“Huh? What makes you think that?”

“The way you’re gazing at the girls there, I haven’t seen that from you in a long time.”

Nanu mentally slapped himself for making himself look vulnerable there.

“I just think they should enjoy just being kids, you know? They don’t need such pressure this early in their lives.”

“I think so too,” Olivia said with a sympathetic smile. ‘Can’t help but admire their spirit, though.”

Nanu snorted. “Maybe a little too much spirit.”

Hala laughed, putting his hands on his stomach. “Why don’t we go to eat and join with the others?”

“Good idea,” Olivia said. “I’m actually kinda starving now!”

“Sure. Not exactly hungry yet, but I’m here, so might as well.” Nanu followed Olivia and Hala behind as they moved to join in with the others.


The festivities continued for the rest of the evening. Several more people joined in, which Grimsley assumed to be residents of the village. After his conversation with Wicke, he went to a table with Selene, Hau, and Mina. He listened as Selene told him and Hau what happened during Hapu's battle with Tapu Fini. From what the girl described, Tapu Fini's battle prowess wasn't to be underestimated. Hau then asked if they could play a game, which led Grimsley to propose an idea.

"I have some cards that we can play with. Be careful though, they're expensive and hard to come by."

For the next half hour, they played a kids-friendly version of blackjack, basically with no monetary bets, and slapjack. The latter Hau and Selene were the last two standing as they kept piling their cards together on the table until a jack card was turned. Both of them slapped it at the same time, Hau being the faster one.

"I slapped that jack card first, so I won!" Hau declared with a wide grin on his face.

"Nah-ah! I slapped it first!" Selene narrowed her eyes and faced Grimsley. "Who slapped it first, Grimsley?"

"Hau slapped it first just by a hair," Grimsley said, a smirk forming on his lips.

"Hah!" A smug expression crossed Hau's face. "See, I told you!"

Selene pouted and crossed her arms. "Fine, I'll let you have the win. But I'll win next time!"

Mina chuckled. "At least you did well at blackjack."

A proud grin formed on Selene's lips. "That's true! Maybe I'll be good at the real thing, too."

Furrowing his brow at her, Grimsley said, "I would wait until a few more years before attempting to do that seriously."

"Are you actually teaching kids how to gamble?" Nanu asked as he approached the group. He pressed his lips and had both hands on his sides.

"I'm not," Grimsley said, frowning. "We were only playing a couple of card games. No wagers whatsoever."

"Unlike some regions, gambling isn't legal here. I could say your coin-tossing tendencies are borderline to that."

Grimsley narrowed his eyes at him at first, and then he snorted. "Well, I would be bored otherwise."

Nanu glared at him, the corner of his mouth twitching. "Just don't have me catch you betting for real or else."

That caused Grimsley to flinch and laugh sheepishly. Behind him, Mina, Hau, and Selene gave him funny looks. He opened his mouth to respond but then stopped when Eli spoke.

"Thank you everyone for joining in to celebrate Hapu's coronation as the kahuna of Poni Island." Eli gazed down at Hapu, who was beside her. "This means a lot to both of us."

"It's about time that this island has a new kahuna," Akoni said with a grin. He cleared his throat and raised his plastic cup up. "A toast: may Tapu Fini watch and guide my granddaughter to be a wise and fair kahuna."

Everyone including Grimsley raised their own cups with several people cheering, "Here, here." Grimsley gulped his punch, which was warm and sticky inside his throat.

"We have one last thing we want to show you guys," Mina said. "All four kahunas will perform Z-Moves with their Pokémon!"

The majority of the crowd also cheered upon hearing that. Grimsley glanced at Nanu, who winced.

"Not a fan of crowds, eh?" Grimsley asked with a smirk.

"That much is obvious, isn't it?" Nanu sighed and shook his head. "Let's get this over with."

Nanu stood in front of the crowd along with Olivia, Hala, and Hapu. Nanu sent out his Persian, Hapu her Golurk, Hala his Hariyama, and Olivia a wolf-like creature that looked to be similar to Selene's Lycanroc but with red fur and standing on two legs.

"Is Olivia's Pokémon there a Lycanroc?" he asked Selene in a whisper.

"Ah huh. Lycanroc has three forms. Olivia's is the Midnight form and is very strong. My own Lycanroc barely was able to beat him."

"I recall Lillie mentioning that. He does look menacing."

Already all four kahunas began their Z-Pose. Nanu did this for the Dark-type, Hapu the Ghost-type, and Olivia Lycanroc's special Z-Move Splintered Stormshards. Hala's Z-Pose had him and his Pokémon make two big steps and thrust their arms several times.

Olivia's Lycanroc howled and several shards of rock flew up, which were pointing at Hariyama. That was similar to when Selene's Lycanroc did the Z-Move several days ago. As the shards flew straight at Hariyama, the heavy-set fighting type punched every one of them into smaller pieces, making the dust glittered in the air.

After Persian threw her head up and growled, a black hole appeared. Golurk made several shadows and tendrils appear that then eventually got sucked inside the black hole, which caused an explosion to occur. All four z-moves combined together created a fireworks display.

Everyone looked up in awe at the spectacle and clapped. Grimsley couldn't tear his gaze off the sky as he was being reminded of the Minior shower back outside the Hokulani Observatory. He glanced around to see Hau excitedly pointing the fireworks with Mina, Lillie and Selene holding hands, and Nanu's Interpol friends besides one another. Once the fireworks died down, the crowd cheered at the kahunas and their Pokémon.

"That was great, huh?" Mina asked, grinning.

"It was impressive, I must say."

"Glad to hear! Now I'm all pumped up to create several drawings tonight."

"I'm not surprised to hear that." Grimsley looked up at the sky once more, thinking his last night in Poni Island ended with a literal bang.


The next morning while he and Nanu were having breakfast, the kahuna told him that they had been in Poni Island long enough and that it was time for them to leave. After eating and packing up their things, they went to the port and met up with everyone except Akoni, Hapu, and Eli there.

“You sure you don’t want to stay and help us summon the legendary Pokémon, Hau?” Selene asked him, who shook his head.

“I still don’t think I’m strong enough for that yet. I think you and Lillie will be able to pull it off, though!”

“We’ll do our very best,” Lillie said, smiling.

Hala approached Nanu and put his hand on his shoulder. He said in a low voice, “If Olivia and I see any other threats, we’ll let you know.”

“I appreciate it.”

Hala offered him a small nod. He turned back to Hau and they held hands. They climbed aboard the ferry, and everyone waved goodbye to them as it set off. Grimsley felt a tap on his shoulder and looked over to see Olivia grinning at him.

“I would love another battle with you sometime.”

Grimsley blinked at first and then smiled. “Depends if I come to visit Alola again. But yes, I wouldn’t mind that, too.”

He and Olivia shook hands. After that, she said goodbye to everyone and hopped on top of the Charizard used as her PokéRide. They took off into the skies.

“We’ll be heading back to Aether Paradise later today and discuss with Gladion our next plan of action,” Anabel said.

“If you guys need help, don’t hesitate to contact me,” Nanu said.

“We shall do that if that is the case,” Looker said. Behind him, Charlotte and Anabel nodded in agreement.

Approaching Mina, Grimsley told her, “I want to thank you again for helping me with mastering Z-Moves.”

“No problem at all! Hope you two visit Poni Island again!” she said with an easy-going smile.

Grimsley responded with a grunt. He and Nanu exchanged small nods, and they headed towards their boat. Before coming inside, he turned to see Mina, the girls, and the Interpol agents waving and saying their goodbyes. He gazed at Poni Island one last time before joining with Nanu inside the boat.

Author’s Note:

So that ends the Poni Island arc and now we're heading towards the final arc, the Ultra Beast invasion arc. I'll be having a short hiatus as my backlog is shrinking and focusing on other projects. Hopefully I'll have the last arc ready to post by December or sometime after that. See ya!


Chapter 27
Jaws Lock

It was past sunset when Grimsley and Nanu made it back to Ula’Ula Island. While several Pokémon were roaming in the grasses, there were no Team Skull grunts as the men made their way through Ula’Ula Meadows and Route 17. Grimsley remembered Lillie and Selene mentioning they had met them at Aether Paradise. He wondered why all of Team Skull would be at that place and not return yet. Perhaps some of them went to find Guzma who had disappeared with Lusamine.

When he and Nanu stepped inside Po Town’s police station, they were greeted by the sight of Acerola playing with several of the Meowth. She waved a toy with a bell and feathers at them, and they jumped unsuccessfully to grab it. Acerola stopped once she noticed the men and beamed at them.

“Oh, hey you two! How was the trip?”

“It went fine for the most part,” Grimsley said as he sat down on a chair. Nanu went to sit next to his desk. “I believe you know Hapu?”

“Hapu? Oh, the girl with the Mudsdale! I met her a couple times in Malie City. Heard she’s the granddaughter of Poni Island’s last kahuna.”

“She is. Just recently Tapu Fini appointed her as the kahuna there.”

Acerola’s grin widened. “Really? That’s great news!”

“It’s true,” Nanu said, leaning back against his seat. “I witnessed her going against Tapu Fini and everything.”

“Did she really do that?” Acerola’s face fell and she giggled. “Wished I could’ve seen that.”

Grimsley swallowed and his hands grew tense. A part of him wondered how Acerola would react if she were stuck inside Tapu Fini’s mist and met her late parents. It probably would be a bittersweet reunion like with his father.

“You’d probably enjoyed it,” Nanu said. “She has a pretty strong Golurk.”

“Wow, really? I need to visit Poni Island soon!” Acerola paused for a second, and she beamed. “Oh yeah, Uncle Nanu! Iokua just called. He asked if we would like to join him for lunch tomorrow?”

“Hm?” Nanu straightened himself up and blinked. He seemed to contemplate for a moment. “Not thrilled about that after coming back from Poni Island, but I’m willing to go to Malie City tomorrow. I’ll give him a call in a bit.”

When everyone went silent for a moment, Grimsley realized that he didn’t mention to Nanu yet that he was able to use both Never Ending Nightmare and Savage Spin Out. He better do that now so he wouldn’t forget.

“Say Nanu, do you recall saying that you would battle me if I can do Never Ending Nightmare and Savage Spin Out?”

“Yeah. What about it?” Nanu asked with a raised brow.

“Well, I’m able to use those two Z-Moves now. You’re not backing out, are you?”

Nanu glared at him, his fingers tapping on the surface of his desk. “I actually haven’t seen you do them yet. You could be lying for all I know.”

Grimsley offered him a deepened frown. “So you don’t trust me, huh?”

“Well, you’re a gambler after all, and I’ve dealt with a lot of those.” The kahuna sighed and rose from his chair. “After I come back from seeing Iokua, I want you to show me one of the Z-Moves. Got that?”

Not pleased with that, Grimsley pressed his lips and crossed his arms. After some consideration, he sighed and rubbed his forehead.

“I guess it’s only fair. All right, I can do that.”

“I take it you’ll be training in the meantime?” Acerola asked.

“That’s not a bad idea, actually.” A small smirk curled around Grimsley’s lips. “I can prepare in anticipation of the battle.”

“You can train at the beach next to the Aether House! Hunter and Gracie would love to see you again!”

“I’ll go over there to train, then.” Grimsley was a little disappointed his battle with Nanu would be delayed a little longer, but he should be able to show him one of the Z-Moves easy enough. It shouldn’t be too long now.


After leaving the police station the next morning, Grimsley had Blackjack take him through Route 16 and to the Aether House. The waves were calmer than the last time they went through here, though Grimsley would still wince whenever water splashed on his face. Only a couple swimmers and some water Pokémon were out at the moment.

Once he and Blackjack reached the shore, Grimsley thanked his Pokémon and returned him back to his pokéball. He flinched when a bird’s shriek was heard, so Grimsley turned around to see Kukui and Kahili were having a Pokémon battle. One was an Altaria and the other was a Ninetales but with curly tails and blue fur instead of white. The two children Hunter and Gracie cheered from the sidelines. Both trainers yelled out their commands.

“Go ahead and hit hard with Steel Wings, Ally!”

“Counter with an Ice Beam, Diva, woo!”

Ally’s wings glowed and she swooped down towards her opponent. Diva took a stance and all of her nine tails stood up as she fired ice energy from her mouth. Before Ally could reach her, the Ice Beam hit her chest and she screeched in pain, but she was able to recover quickly.

Both Kahili and Kukui ordered their Pokémon to use Moonblast next. Ally and Diva released large pink balls of energy at each other, which collided with one another and created an explosion. Hunter and Gracie continued cheering while Grimsley crossed his arms and watched with a stern face.

“I see that you haven’t been slacking on your training,” Kukui said with a grin.

“Of course not if I don’t want to fall behind. However, we’re not done yet.” Kahili gazed up at Ally and a confident smile formed on her lips. “Are you ready to Mega Evolve?”

Grimsley’s eyes grew wide and a lump formed inside his throat. He didn’t notice until now that there was a pastel colored keystone attached to Kahili’s visor. When she touched the keystone there, Ally glowed and her body began changing shape. Eventually Ally’s Mega Evolution was complete and Grimsley couldn’t tear his gaze away at her. The Altaria’s face remained the same, but her blue belly was exposed and more cotton-like fluff on her neck and back. Her feathers shimmered like a rainbow in an afternoon. Kukui and the children also looked on in amazement.

“Woah, Kahili’s Altaria changed!” Gracie said, pointing at her.

“That’s Mega Evolution,” Kukui said, his grin widening. “It causes Pokémon to change form and become much stronger, yeah!”

“And you get to see it in action,” Kahili said to the children. She faced back up at Ally and whistled.

Her Altaria responded quickly by accelerating down in the blink of an eye and ramming into Diva. Diva fell hard on the ground, but she picked herself up quickly and shook the sand off her fur. Both Pokémon stared at each other while panting.

“Looks like our Pokémon are at their limits now.” Kukui held out his wrist, showing off his Z-Ring and a Z-Crystal attached to it. “Why don’t we end this with a bang?”

After his Pokémon offered an approved bark, Kukui began posing while Diva did a stance. He put his arms together, pulled them above his head, and made a swirling gesture. Diva howled, and a cold breeze swept through the air, causing Grimsley to grit his teeth and tug at his scarf.

“Ally, Protect now!” Kahili called out urgently, clenching her fist.

At that instant the Ninetales stood atop a large ice pillar and blasted a beam of ice straight at her opponent. Ally managed to form a green energy shield around her before the blast hit her, and more pillars of ice popped up. Within seconds all of the ice disappeared, small flakes glittering in the air. Ally was breathing hard and had some bruises on her neck and stomach, but otherwise was still standing.

“Thank goodness,” Kahili said with a sigh of relief. Her facial expression changed back to her looking more focused. “All right, let’s end this with a Flamethrower!”

Upon that command, Ally opened her mouth to release a stream of flames at Diva. Kukui urged her to watch out, which she did by moving away as fast as she could. Diva was able to dodge several of Ally’s attempts, but she got struck by one of the flames which engulfed her for several seconds. As soon as the flames disappeared, Diva collapsed on the ground and didn’t get up. Kukui rushed to his Pokémon’s side.

“You okay there, Diva?” he asked as he kneeled down and petted her. A few seconds passed until Diva opened her eyes and licked Kukui’s cheek, causing him to chuckle. “You did great out there. Take some rest, yeah?” he said and returned her.

“That was a great battle there.” Kahili approached Kukui with Ally, back to her normal form, behind her. Kukui stood back up, grinning.

“Same here, cousin!” he said, and they shook hands.

“I can’t wait to be a strong trainer like you guys!” Hunter said and beamed. Behind him, Gracie hummed in agreement.

A small smile formed on Grimsley’s lips. He had one hand on his side and said, “Indeed that was a fun match to watch.”

Both Kukui and Kahili gasped and turned around to see Grimsley. They gave him welcome smiles.

“Oh, Alola there Grimsley!” Kukui greeted him. “Kahili and I are preparing for the upcoming Pokémon League tournament.”

“That makes sense,” Grimsley said with a nod. He faced Kahili and Ally. “I’m surprised that you know how to use Mega Evolution.”

“I’ve been doing it for a couple years or so now.” Kahili stroked Ally’s cheek, who cooed and leaned against her palm. She chuckled and returned her back inside her pokéball. “TheGym Leader Winona taught me Mega Evolution while I was visiting Hoenn.”

“Winona, hm? I’ve heard about her from my friend Sidney, one of Hoenn’s Elite Four.” Grimsley didn’t know too much about her, just that she was the current gym leader of Fortree City, loved flying, and was on the quiet side.

“Speaking of her, is she planning to come see you compete in the Pokémon League?” Kukui asked.

“She just got back to me last night saying that she will and is very excited.”

Kahili turned her head for a second, a slight blush forming on her cheeks. When Grimsley noticed that, he blinked and wondered if there was something going on between the two. He thought back to Kahili’s battle with Kukui and an idea occurred to him.

“Kahili, you can do both Z-Moves and Mega Evolution, right? Have you ever attempted to do both at the same time?”

Kahili stared at Grimsley blankly, and she shook her head. “I tried that a few times, but I’ve been unsuccessful.”

“Z-Moves and Mega Evolution requires a lot of energy from the trainer and their Pokémon,” Kukui said. “Trying to both simultaneously won’t be easy.”

Grimsley frowned, slightly disappointed in hearing that. There was another topic he wanted to discuss with him.

"Have you heard about how Selene, Hau, and Lillie were at Aether Paradise a few days ago?"

Both Kukui and Kahili exchanged grimaced looks at each other. The professor sighed and had one hand rub the back of his neck.

"Magnolia had called me over that. I was about to go there myself, but she reassured me that Wicke is watching over them."

"I can confirm that's the case. I recently met with Lillie, Selene, and Wicke over at Poni Island."

“Oh, you met Lillie and Selene?” Gracie asked. “How are they?”

“They’re doing fine and are now finding a way to rescue President Lusamine from somewhere else.” Grimsley didn’t think it was necessary for the children to know the full details of Lillie and Selene’s grand plan.

"Kukui and I were talking about that earlier today," Kahili said. "If I had known, I would've gone to Aether Paradise myself."

Grimsley bit his lower lip. He couldn’t help but shake this feeling that something big was going to happen and he was going to be dragged into it.

At that instant, a loud noise that resembled thunder boomed. Grimsley flinched and gazed up, two swirling wormholes cracked open the sky with several streaks of lightning shooting out. The thunderous noise and wormholes grew louder, and two strange creatures appeared. Everyone froze and locked their gazes at them.

The first creature resembled a large mosquito but with a strong body. It threw its head up and flexed its muscles. The second creature had a large ball as its head and looked to be wearing a clown costume. Its head popped out of its body and rolled from one arm to the next like a bowling ball.

“Ahhhh, what are those things?” Gracie cried out, “I don’t like them.”

“Are they gonna eat us?” Hunter asked in a choked voice.

“They must be the Ultra Beasts, right Kukui?” Kahili asked.

“I believe so, yeah,” Kukui said with narrowed eyes. He turned to Gracie and Hunter. “You kids better run inside now. We’ll take care of them.”

Both children stared at him for a second, and then they nodded and dashed off towards the building. Kukui and Kahili pulled their pokéballs out.

“Okay Katsuo, I need your help!” Kahili released her Toucannon, who flew up and squawked.

“You too, Chavo!” Once Kukui let out his Incineroar, the dark-and-fire type roared and pumped his chest up, the flames on his belt bursting out.

"Looks like I'll be joining, too." Grimsley pulled out his own pokéball and released Roulette. She assumed a stance and growled.

The mosquito-like Ultra Beast jumped up in the air and lunged at Chavo. Chavo grabbed its arm before it landed on him and tossed him on the ground. The strange creature picked itself up quickly and a cold mist formed on its right fist. Chavo's own fist burst into flames, and when the pair collided an explosion occurred which caused them to back away from each other.

While Chavo and his opponent exchanged blows, the second Ultra Beast threw crimson orbs at Katsuo and Roulette. Kahili and Grimsley's Pokémon managed to dodge and slice through the Shadow Balls with Steel Wing and Night Slash. After Kahili ordered Katsuo to get close, his beak began to swirl around as he struck it into the Ultra Beast’s chest. That caused it to scream in pain, and when Katsuo moved out there was a big bruise on its chest. When the Ultra Beast popped its head out and threw it in the air, both Kahili and Grimsley's eyes grew wide.

"Watch out, you guys!" Kahili warned them.

Before Katsuo and Roulette could react, the ball exploded and scorching flames were showered at them. Both Pokémon cried out when the flames touched them, but they were able to shake those off easily. Within seconds, the Ultra Beast’s head had regrown just like that. Grimsley's brow furrowed and he pressed his lips.

"That thing's head can grow back?" Kahili asked in shock.

"It needs to be taken down quickly," Grimsley muttered. He gazed down at the keystone pinned on his scarf and then at Roulette. "You ready to Mega Evolve, Roulette?"

After a brief moment, Roulette looked over her shoulder and gave an excited bark. With a grunt and a nod, Grimsley touched the keystone. He felt his energy surging with Roulette's as she was engulfed in bright light. Like when she had battled against Ryuki's Garchomp, her appearance changed with her fur bristled and horn grown. She glared at her opponent, her teeth showing.

The Ultra Beast gave out a strange noise and threw several Shadow Balls at Katsuo and Roulette. Once they dodged those, Roulette's arm was fused with dark energy and she swiped at the Pokémon with her claws. The Ultra Beast screeched and backed away, claw marks left on its head.

"Good work, Roulette! Keep it up!" Grimsley said, clenching his fist. He watched as Roulette and the Ultra Beast exchanged blows, but turned around when an explosion was heard.

Apparently, Chavo and the other Ultra Beast continued to throw punches at one another, electric and fire sparks flying each time their fists connected. Eventually one of Chavo’s punches missed, which gave the Ultra Beast the opportunity to drop down and do a Low Sweep at Chavo’s legs. Chavo picked himself up quickly, but the Ultra Beast didn’t give him a chance to act by punching him on the chest several times.

Once the Ultra Beast stopped and moved away, Chavo breathed hard and could barely open one eye. Kukui grimaced.

“Kukui!” Kahili yelled worriedly. She faced Grimsley. “Grimsley, can your Absol hold off that other Pokémon on her own?”

“Huh?” Grimsley stared at her blankly but realized that Kahili was going to help Kukui. He looked back to see the other Ultra Beast having a dark fused claw and swiping at Roulette, but she was able to push back its assaults with her Night Slash. He grinned and said, “Roulette can take care of things from here.”

“Good, then.” Kahili gave an appreciative smile, and she looked up towards her Toucannon. “Alright Katsuo, let’s get ready with our Z-Move!”

Immediately, Kahili executed the pose for Supersonic Skystrike, her Z-Ring glowing brighter than the sun. Katsuo was bathed in golden light for a second, and he launched up into the sky like a rocket. In the blink of an eye, he dived down towards the mosquito-looking Ultra Beast and an explosion occurred. Katsuo flew away from a short distance and glared at his opponent, who stood up with bruises on its body.

Grimsley furrowed his brow. Kahili’s Pokemon barely made a dent on that Ultra Beast. When a loud yelp was heard, Grimsley turned around and his eyes grew wide when the clown-looking Ultra Beast threw its head in the air and exploded.

Like before, flames were showered down on Roulette and scorched her fur. The Absol jumped at her opponent with jaws wide open and crunched on the Ultra Beast’s right arm. The strange creature let out a confused cry and tried to shake her off. Roulette held on, so the Ultra Beast’s other arm fused with ghost energy and the Shadow Claw swiped at her. After crashing hard on the ground, Roulette picked herself up and growled.

The Ultra Beast attempted another Shadow Claw at Roulette, only for her to counter it with her own Shadow Claw. With extended claws, the two exchanged blows at one another like wild beasts. Eventually, the Ultra Beast dodged Roulette’s claw, cloaked itself in flames, and slammed into Roulette to cause her to crash on the ground again. Seconds passed until Roulette picked herself up and winced, her legs shaking.

Grimsley grunted and bit his lips. He could feel his own legs shaking from the energy used for Mega Evolution. He wondered if the odds weren’t in his and Roulette’s favor.

The sound of electric sparks popped up and the wormholes appeared once more. The two Ultra Beasts glanced at each other before gazing at the sky. They took one last look at the humans and Pokémon, and they hopped into their respective wormholes.

Grimsley stared dumbfounded at the disappearing portals for several seconds. Despite his, Kukui, and Kahili’s Pokemon knowing Z-Moves and Mega Evolution, the two Ultra Beasts were hard to take down. Would they be able to handle them the next time they showed up?

His breathing grew louder and he felt a little lightheaded due to using Mega Evolution. Back to her normal self, Roulette approached him and rubbed against his leg. With a frown, he petted her head.

More exhausted than him, Kahili dozed off and started to fall. Kukui rushed to her side, grabbing her before she hit the ground. Katsuo also approached them with a worried look on his face.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

It took several seconds until Kahili opened her eyes. “I’m fine, just a bit tired from using both Mega Evolution and a Z-Move immediately after.” Her movements were still sluggish, but she managed to stand back straight.

“We should get back inside. I need to call Magnolia and the kahunas.”

Both Grimsley and Kahili hummed in agreement. Everyone returned their Pokémon and headed towards the Aether House.

Reflecting that fight, Grimsley was astonished at how strong the Ultra Beasts were. He dreaded that this wouldn’t be the last time they would come here.

Author's Notes
Wow, I intended to have the hiatus lasted only for a few months, only for several months to have passed. I was distracted with writing Fire Emblem: Three Houses fanfiction for a while and then needed to sort out some real life stuff (and still do). I actually have Chapters 28 and 29 in my backlog. I barely made a dent with Chapter 30, but I hope I'll make some progress with that chapter before I post Chapter 29.

So yeah, updates will still come spontaneously. This is the final arc, though, so we're getting closer to the finishing line!


Chapter Twenty-Eight
Hyperspace Fury

Nanu and Acerola had left the police station late in the morning to go to Malie City. The air was cold at first but warmed up the further they went. Both were riding on Xatu, fairly fast fliers.

Once they reached Malie City, Nanu and Acerola had their Xatu land at the Pokémon Center. After Nanu talked with one of the nurses and arranged for him to look over the Ride Pokémon, he and Acerola went for lunch.

The Sushi Roller was usually busy during this time, with half of the tables already occupied. Nanu's nose wrinkled at the scent of raw fish and soup. He went up to Enzo at the front, who grinned at him.

"Kahuna Nanu! It's been a few weeks!"

Nanu gave a single nod. "Nice to see you too, sensei. Iokua should be here now. Can you take me to his table?"

"Yes, yes, of course," Enzo said and led Nanu and Acerola to Iokua's table.

Iokua and his wife Cora sat at a table that was some feet away from the bar. Cora's pregnant stomach was showing, her hands resting there. They greeted him with warm smiles.

"Alola, Uncle Iokua! Alola, Aunt Cora!" Acerola greeted them with the Alola Rainbow sign with her arms, and Iokua and Cora did the same.

"Glad you can make it, you two," Iokua said. "I know you just came back from Poni Island, Father. You must be tired."

"A little bit, but at least Po Town is quiet for a bit."

"Oh right, I heard that several of the Team Skull grunts are gone," Cora said and giggled. "You must be relieved now, huh?"

"You can say that." Nanu paused for a second. "So, how are you and the baby doing?"

"We're doing great, thanks. To think, seven more weeks and then our baby girl will be born."

Acerola gasped with her hand close to her mouth. "You guys are having a girl?" She squealed in delight. "Thought of any names yet?"

"We're set on Karla right now," Iokua said, his face softening. He squeezed his wife's hand, and the two shared a quick kiss.

A small smile formed on Nanu's lips, only for it to disappear. He used to be like that with Iokua's mother, Commnelia. Working in the International Police had put a strain on their relationship, and the two separated when Iokua was young. He genuinely hoped Iokua and Cora's relationship would last.

Eventually Enzo came to their table to get their orders. After everyone told him what they wanted, he went to the chefs to have them prepare their meals. It was half an hour until their food was ready, which consisted of ramen soup for Cora and sushi for everyone else. Nanu had his usual, the Z-Kaiskei: Ronin set.

"So is Grimsley still in Alola?" Iokua asked after he swallowed a piece of his sushi.

"He's actually on this island right now. He claims to know two Z-moves, but I want him to show me one of those first."

"Iokua had told me he's a very strong trainer from Unova," Cora said. "An Elite Four at that!"

"Maybe you'll get a chance to meet him, honey."

"Oh, oh! I want to see him use Never-Ending Nightmare!" Acerola said, beaming.

Nanu took another bite at his food and gazed down. He remembered Grimsley had talked to Iokua about his past, and his heart sank. He took a deep breath.

"Iokua, I'm sorry that I haven't been a decent father to you," he said, and that caused everyone to stare at him. "I have many regrets, and not being there for you or your mother is one of them."

Iokua gave him a small smile. "I was glad when you retired from your last career and settled back here. And at least you'll get to spend time with your granddaughter."

A crooked smile formed on Nanu's lips, and he snorted. "I don't have the energy to deal with kids these days. But in all seriousness, I think you'll be a great father."

"Thank you, that means a lot," Iokua said, his smile growing.

Nanu had found himself having more free time than he ever had while working for Interpol. Tapu Bulu was much more laid back as a boss despite being a powerful guardian. He didn’t get to spend much time with Iokua due to feeling ashamed of being a bad father, but perhaps this was a great opportunity to fix that.

While taking a sip of his water, he overheard an argument between a man and woman from the table behind him. They seemed to be a couple just about to finish their date.

"Come on, just for an hour," the man said in a smug voice. He slid a hand on top of hers, making the woman turn her face away from him. "We can get to know each other a little more."

"I appreciate the offer, but I really have to leave now. Maybe next time." The woman rose out of her seat, but the man immediately grabbed her wrist and she gasped. His face darkened.

"You're coming to my place with me, and that's final."

"No! Let me go!" she screamed, struggling to let go of his grip.

Several people stared at the couple. Nanu's lips curled and he swallowed hard. He couldn't stand seeing that man harrass that woman anymore, so he rose out of his seat and approached their table. Acerola called out "Uncle Nanu?", but he ignored it.

"Hey, you." Nanu tapped on the man's shoulder, who turned back and glared at him.

"What do you want?" he asked in a bitter tone.

"The lady here clearly doesn't want to go back with you. Let her go."

"And what if I don't?"

"You don't know who I am, huh? Does Kahuna Nanu ring a bell?" A smirk formed on his lips. Several people in the restaurant whispered to one another, excited that the kahuna of Ula'ula Island was here. He rarely went around announcing his title, but in this case he was going to have some fun.

"Wait, you're Kahuna Nanu?" the man asked in disbelief. He grunted and let go of the woman's hand. "Even if you are, this is none of your business."

"It is since I'm responsible for the well-being of everyone on this island." He paused, his lips twitching. "Tell me, what is your name, young man?"

"Um, Nigel."

"Nigel, huh? I'm not only a kahuna, but a police officer too with connections." He flashed Nigel his police badge, and his face turned pale. "I'm here quietly having lunch with my family, and I hear you threatening this woman. Care to explain yourself?"

"I, ah, well, you see..." Nigel stammered, his eyes darting back and forth. "I offered Lee to come to my place, but..."

"Thought so. Now, as both a kahuna and an officer, I don't take this kind of behavior lightly. Right now I'm deciding if I want to bring you to my friends over at the police station down the street."

Nigel chuckled weakly and rubbed the back of his head. "Oh, er, that's a bit harsh don't you think..."

"Tell you what, how about a compromise? You hand me your ID since I don't want you running off on me, and you go see Sensei Enzo at the counter and settle the full bill with him." Nanu shrugged. "Or we can go with the first option, your call."

"No, no, that won't be necessary!" Nigel handed him over his ID to Nanu and quickly went to the counter where Enzo is at. Nanu pulled out a small notepad from his jacket and began writing down Nigel's details.

"Sorry for intruding there, Miss. Looks like you needed some help there. I can arrange something with the guys at the police station and we can take this further."

"Oh no, that won't be necessary," the woman, Lee, said. "I wanted to leave earlier, but Nigel insisted we go to his place and that creeped me out."

"Men like that aren't worth your time." After Nanu finished writing down Nigel's information, he put his notepad away and faced her. "Would you need a ride back home?"

Lee smiled and said, "Thanks for the offer, but I can have my sister pick me up."

“That’s good to hear. You can stick with me while you wait for her.” He then asked, “How did you end up with that guy?”

Lee crossed her arms and frowned. “One of my friends from the Kantonian Gym set me up on a date with him. She warned me that Nigel can come off strong at first but to give him a chance. Ten minutes into our date and I already know that we’re not compatible.”

“Kantonian Gym?” Nanu blinked in confusion. There was one Pokémon “gym” that opened a while back here, and he heard how one strong trainer there specialized in Dragon-types. “Oh, you meant that building with the gold roof a few blocks from here?” he asked, and Lee nodded.

“Yes, I’m one of the trainers working there. Ryuki knows how to pump up the crowd with his music and Dragon Pokémon. Just several days ago, he went against Grimsley from Unova’s Elite Four.”
Nanu’s eyes shot wide open. It shouldn’t surprise him that Grimsley would be partaking in some battles here. A part of him was curious how that battle went, but he brushed that aside.

He looked towards Nigel and Enzo at the counter. Enzo handed Nigel his credit card back. “Looks like Nigel finished paying off the bill.”

He and Lee went to them. Nanu gave Nigel his ID back and asked that he never get near the woman again. Nigel responded with a “Yes, sir!” and hastily retreated outside. Shaking his head, Nanu was glad to finally be rid of him.

"Wow, I never thought of you as the heroic type," Cora said. She, Acerola, and Iokua approached them.

"You standing up to that woman is awesome, Uncle Nanu!" Acerola cheered.

"Eh, as I said it's my duty as both kahuna and police officer to help everyone here."

Iokua chuckled. "I knew that you care for the people on this island."

Nanu couldn't help but smile a little. There were some kahuna duties that he skipped, like traveling to the Ruins of Abundance on a regular basis. He wasn't like Hala or Olivia who enthusiastically went to each citizen like a politician vying for votes.But despite not wanting this title, he took it upon himself to watch over everyone here.

This peaceful moment he was having with his family was cut short when a booming noise was heard. Several people screamed and jumped out of their seats, some of them running towards the door. Nanu did the same with his family and Lee followed him behind.

As soon as Nanu stepped outside, his heart almost skipped a beat. Three bug-typed Ultra Beasts were terrorizing the people, scaring them off. One had large antennas, high-heels as its feet, and a slim figure. The other Ultra Beasts were large mosquitos with solid physiques that could rival the Masked Royal.

Back in Interpol, they were codenamed UB Beauty and UB Absorption.

“Are you okay, Father?” Iokua asked with a worried look on his face.

Nanu’s jaw tightened, and he took a deep breath to relax. Now was not the time to stand there like a fool.

“I’m gonna deal with those things while you guys go to safety.”

Iokua regarded him for a moment, and gave him an understanding nod. “All right. You stay safe yourself.”

“I wanna help!” Acerola said with a determined look, which was unusual for her. “My Pokémon can handle them.”

“I’ll help, too,” Lee said, pulling out a pokéball from her bag. She smiled. “I wanna repay you back for saving me from that jerk earlier.”

Nanu regarded them for a moment. “Okay, you two can help, but stay close.”

He, Lee, and Acerola went towards the Ultra Beasts while Iokua and Cora rushed in the opposite direction. Nanu released Honchkrow, Lee a Cinncino, and Acerola Nori, her Dhelmise. The latter was a dual ghost-grass type that resembled an anchor wrapped in sticky seaweed and a wooden ship wheel attached to them.

“You two take the big guys while I’ll deal with the fast-looking one,” Nanu said in a low voice. Both ladies hummed and nodded.

Nanu had gone against Beauty a few times before. They moved elegantly and in a blink of an eye, probably faster than an Extreme Speed. His Honchkrow flapped his wings and visible purple airwaves darted towards the Ultra Beast, but it dodged those easily. Beauty jumped up on the roof of a building, giving a judgmental look at Honchkrow and Nanu with its hand on its side.

“Try a Steel Wing this time!”

Upon Nanu ordering that move, Honchkrow’s wings glowed and he dived down at Beauty but missed. That gave the opportunity for the Ultra Beast to launch at Honchkrow and kick him three times on the chin. Honchrkow became dazed for a few seconds but quickly recovered.

“Hey, what’s going on here?” someone asked. Nanu turned real quick to see a man with unruly hair and tight clothing that made him wonder how he managed to breath through it. He carried a guitar case with him, and another trainer with him.

“Ryuki!” Lee called out his name. Her Cinncino jumped up and launched several glowing stars on both of the Absorption’s faces.

“Geez, whatever these things are, they need to get out this instant.” Ryuki turned to the trainer with him. “Eric, help Lee and the other girl out!”

The other trainer, Eric, nodded and released his Pokémon, an Arcanine. He and his Pokémon went to where Lee and Acerola were.

“Oh you’re that dude that hangs around the Kantonian Gym around a lot.” Nanu had heard about Ryuki whenever he visited Malie City, but never bothered to watch him in action. He turned back to see Beauty landing another kick on Honchkrow’s face. Nanu grimaced, not liking how his Pokémon was already getting his butt kicked by a bug posing as a model.

“Yup, that’s me. Looks like your little birdie is in trouble.” Ryuki grabbed a pokéball and released a Garchomp with a cord on his neck. Nanu blinked at that accessory but then noticed a Garchompite stone on it.

“Your Garchomp can Mega Evolve?” he asked.

“Hell yeah, he can. Dirk and I are gonna put on a spectacular performance!” He pulled out his guitar from his case and grinned at his Garchomp. “Ready to make some noise, Dirky boy?”

Ryuki’s Garchomp, Dirk, grunted and nodded. Grinning ear to ear, Ryuki opened his case and pulled out his guitar. He played several notes that resembled rock music, and both the guitar and Dirk’s Mega Stone were covered in multicolored sparks. Nanu at first wanted to ask him if his guitar was on fire but realized that a keystone was attached to it.

Dirk lifted his head and roared in triumph once his Mega Evolution was completed. The way Dirk’s head changed shape made him uglier, but the scythes and longer spikes on his body made him more menacing.

“Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!” Ryuki exclaimed while playing his guitar. “Help the man’s Honchkrow and strike at that thing on the roof!”

With lightning speed, Dirk flew up to the roof. His scythe grew purple, and he struck Beauty on its midsection. When Beauty backed away a few steps, Honchkrow spat a Shadow Ball behind its head and that caused it to twirl around. The Ultra Beast had to divide its attention between Honchkrow and Dirk, dodging and blocking their assaults.

Ryuki continued to play his godawful, ear piercing music while the residents scrambled to get out and Acerola’s group barely held off the two Absorption. Some of the people covered their ears as they escaped. Nanu gazed up to see Dirk’s claws missed Beauty and she kicked him on the stomach, which caused him to shoot out of the roof and crash on the pavement.

“Dirky boy!” Ryuki dropped his guitar and rushed to his Pokémon’s side. As he lifted his Garchomp’s head, Dirk gave out a low growl and he returned to his normal self. “You did fabulous, buddy,” he said in a low voice and returned him back to his pokéball.

Nanu bit his lips. If that Ultra Beast could beat down a Mega Evolved Pokémon like that, his Honchkrow couldn’t stand a chance unless he used Supersonic Skystrike. He pulled out the Flyinum-Z crystal from his jacket’s pocket and slipped it inside the slot of his Z-Ring. All he needed to do now was perform the Z-Pose...


At that moment a large figure came in a blur and rammed Beauty into a nearby building.

“What the?” Nanu jumped and he gazed up to see a deity with a shell shaped like bull horns and a tail bell swinging lazily. There was no mistake--

“Is that Tapu Bulu?” one of the bypassers asked.

“It is, and it came to save us!”

Like everyone else, Acerola noticed Tapu Bulu. With a beaming face, she jumped and waved at Tapu Bulu. “Oh, hey Tapu Bulu!”

Nanu snorted and shook his head. Leave it to Tapu Bulu to be late to the rescue. “Hey Tapu Bulu, think you can handle these pesky bugs for us?”

Tapu Bulu narrowed their eyes on him and grunted. Nanu knew the big guy was upset with him.

“Yeah, yeah, I didn’t do my job as a kahuna to prevent this from happening. I’ll make it up to you later, but right now I can really use your help.”

Tapu Bulu seemed to regard Nanu for a moment before they hummed and turned around. As Beauty charged and began a low kick at them, Tapu Bulu dodged and struck behind its back with their horns. That caused Beauty to scream and attempt another low kick, but Tapu Bulu withdrew into their shell to protect themself.

Noticing that Tapu Bulu was here, both Absorption turned their attention away from Acerola’s group. All of the Ultra Beasts kicked and punched Tapu Bulu’s shell, only for them to not budge.

“Looks like Tapu Bulu attracted the attention of those things,” Acerola said. She and her group joined with Nanu and Ryuki.

“Good, so that our Pokémon can take a breather,” Ryuki said.

“Ah oh, looks like Tapu Bulu is very mad now,” Lee said, pointing at the scene. As the Ultra Beasts continued to beat up Tapu Bulu, the deity’s shell began to glow. Nanu’s eyes grew wide.

“Everyone back away!”

Nanu grabbed Acerola’s arm, and everyone moved away as fast as they could. Tapu Bulu opened their shell and released a burst of pink energy, shocking the Ultra Beasts and pushing them away. The lampposts got broken in half and some foundations of the nearby buildings crumbled. The whole group stared at the damage Tapu Bulu had done.

“Tapu Bulu sure put up a show there,” Ryuki said.

“That looks like Nature’s Madness,” Acerola said in awe.

“It is. I saw Tapu Fini use it against Hapu.” Nanu turned back at the battle to see Tapu Bulu go against Beauty while the two Absorption went against Honchkrow and Acerola’s Dhelmise, Nori. He glanced down at his Z-Ring, remembering he was about to do a Z-Move before Tapu Bulu showed up. With a whistle, he glanced up at his Pokémon. “Hey, Honchkrow, are you ready to do our Z-Move?”

When Nanu had asked that, Honchkrow dodged one of the Absorption’s punches and scratched its face with his claws. He flew up and cawed in response. Meanwhile, Nori spat out a green energy ball at the other Absorption’s chest. Those pests needed to be taken care of now.

Nanu began his Z-Pose for Supersonic Skystrike, and both his bracelet and Honchkrow lit up brightly. His Pokémon launched himself to the skies and a blast of hot air hit Nanu’s face. As Absorption jumped up with its fist up, Honchkrow dived down and they collided.

“Let’s do our Z-Move too, Nori!” Acerola immediately did the Z-Pose for Never-Ending Nightmare, and Nori released a wave of dark energy and tentacles at Absorption. One of the creepy tentacles grabbed the Ultra Beast and pulled it into the shadows.

A large explosion occurred upon those two Z-Moves being used. As soon as the smoke cleared, both sides took deep breaths and glared at one another. Everyone but Nanu gasped.

“Just what the hell is that thing?” Eric asked.

“These are Ultra Beasts that Aether had warned you guys about,” Nanu said. It didn’t surprise him that it would take more than Mega Evolution and Z-Moves to defeat those things. “Acerola, you help me take down Absorption One while you two deal with the second one.”

“Okay, Uncle Nanu,” Acerola said with a serious face. Meanwhile, Lee and Eric hummed in agreement.

Nanu commanded Honchkrow to use Nightslash at Absorption One. Honchkrow flapped his wings and flashes of purple air struck at Absorption One’s sides and chest. The Ultra Beast jumped up and kicked Honchkrow’s face, causing him to squawk in pain. Honchkrow retaliated by having his wings shine like metallic steel and dived down at him. Absorption One’s back hit a nearby building and left some small damage there.

Acerola took this opportunity to have Nori use Energy Ball, which they did and it hit the Ultra Beast’s back. Absorption One charged at Nori with its fists covered in cold mist, only for Acerola to call for them to watch out. Nori disappeared into purple shadows before Absorption landed a blow on them, and several seconds later slammed into the Ultra Beast and caused it to crash into the ground.

Just as Absorption picked itself up, Acerola urged Nori to use Anchor Shot, their signature move. Nori shot out a large anchor chain and had it wrapped around the Ultra Beast’s waist and shoulders. After struggling for a bit, Absorption managed to break free from the chains, spun around, and lunged at Nori with full force. That made Nori crash into one of the nearby lampposts and damage it. When her Pokémon didn’t respond, Acerola gasped and returned her Pokémon.

“You did great Nori, you can rest,” she whispered to Nori’s pokéball.

Nanu bit his lips, feeling bad for Acerola and her Pokémon. He briefly checked to see Lee’s Cinncino use Aqua Tail and Eric’s Arcanine use Flamethrower at Absorption Two. After being hit with both attacks, the Ultra Beast slammed its fist at the Cinncino. When Lee’s Pokémon cried in pain and collapsed, she returned her Pokémon to her pokéball. Meanwhile, the Arcanine got hit by Absorption Two’s Low Sweep and fell on the ground. The Arcanine picked himself up and roared, but Nanu could tell he was getting exhausted.

Did those pests get stronger since the last time he went against them? Nanu got distracted from his musings when Absorption One struck an Ice Punch straight at Honchrow’s chest. Honchrow screeched, engulfed himself in flames, and dived down towards the Ultra Beast. Absorption countered with another Ice Punch, and both attacks collided, causing a small explosion.

Once the smoke cleared, Absorption One was still standing and stared at Honchkrow. Due to the recoil from Brave Bird, Nanu’s Pokemon took deep breaths and his gaze slightly dropped off.

While Nanu and Acerola were distracted with Absorption, Tapu Bulu withdrew themself inside their shell and allowed Beauty to abuse them once more. After several more hits from Beauty, Tapu Bulu opened their shell and slammed into the Ultra Beast. Beauty flinched for a few seconds and then shook it off. It swung its leg and kicked Tapu Bulu’s side, which caused them to flinch and be dazed for several seconds. Enraged, Tapu Bulu yelled and let out another Nature Madness that struck Beauty like electric bolts and pushed her back. Beauty kept gasping, her chest rising and falling.

At that moment, Tapu Bulu made his final move. They shook their tail and the bell rang, which made ominous chimes. Nanu’s stomach dropped.

“Those bells sound like a warning to us,” Acerola said in a worried voice.

Before Nanu responded, he inhaled and felt sweat rolling on his forehead. “You’re not wrong there, kid.”

Thick vines and roots burst out from the ground, lashing at Beauty like whips. The Ultra Beast kept kicking them away, but one of them grabbed Beauty’s leg and threw it in the air. Beauty crashed down on a tree that then collapsed and it was several seconds until it picked itself up.

Another set of vines and roots grabbed both Absorption’s wrists and waists. They struggled to get out as more vines would just trap them. Tapu Bulu took this opportunity to charge and slammed them with their horns, leaving them with puncture wounds. The Ultra Beasts were barely standing, their arms and legs shaking.

An Ultra Wormhole appeared, which caused Beauty and the two Absorption to look with relief at it. Once Tapu Bulu opened their shell back, the three Ultra Beasts gave them a glare and jumped inside the wormhole. Everyone stared dumbfoundedly at the scene for a moment.

“That Tapu Bulu is one hard rocker,” Ryuki said.

“I know, right?” Acerola said with a grin. She gazed up at Tapu Bulu and waved at them. “You were awesome out there, Tapu Bulu!”

Acknowledging Acerola’s thanks, Tapu Bulu made a happy noise and nodded.

“Those Ultra Beasts are the real deal, huh?” Lee asked.

“Yes. Trust me when I say they’re not to be taken lightly.” After he finished saying that, Honchkrow approached Nanu and pecked at his shoulder. A small smile formed on his lips. “You did good there, buddy. Take a break.”

Nanu returned Honchkrow inside his pokéball. At that instant, his smartphone rang and he picked it up.

“This is Officer Nanu of Po Town Police speaking.”

“Nanu! Thank goodness I’m able to reach you.”

“Kukui? Is something the matter?”

“Yes. A few Ultra Beasts had invaded the Aether House. Grimsley and Kahili helped me deal with them, but they then disappeared.”

Nanu’s mouth twitched. He recalled Grimsley going to train at the Aether House. That meant more Ultra Beasts popped up.

“Same thing happened to me in Malie City. Did you talk with the other kahunas?”

“I haven’t yet, but I’m about to after this call, yeah. Do you think you can come back to the Aether House real quick?”

“Yeah, I can. Acerola and I can be there now.”

“Okay, good. Will see you soon, then.”

Once Kukui hung up, Nanu put his phone away and looked down at Acerola. “Kukui just called. He wants us at the Aether House now.”

“I overheard that something happened there. Is everyone all right?”

“Kukui didn’t say anyone got hurt, so I think so.”

“That’s good to hear!” Acerola faced Ryuki and beamed at him. “Thanks for helping us out there!”

“Not a problem, little lady,” Ryuki said with a grin. “Dirk took quite a beating, so he’ll need some rest.”

“My sister is waiting for me, so I should be heading out,” Lee said and smiled at Nanu. Thanks again for saving me from that creep earlier.”

A small smile formed on his lips. “It’s the least I can do. You take care.” He faced back at Acerola. “Come on, let’s go get our Ride Pokémon back at the Pokémon Center.”

Both he and Acerola set off to the Pokémon Center. As they headed there, a sinking pit filled inside Nanu’s stomach.

Author's Note:
A bit later than intended in releasing Chapter 28, but it's here! Nanu confrontation with Nigel I based it off from one reddit post where one police officer saved one lady from going home with a slezzy guy. I can totally see Nanu do this haha.

Part of me is thinking I'll get Chapter 29 out sometime next month while at the same time try to get the story finished for July Camp Nano, or at least get a few more chapters written. Real life stuff is in the air atm, but I'll try my best at chugging the final chapters through. Thanks to bobandbill for the beta as always.


Chapter 29
Max Darkness (Part One)

Shortly after everyone went inside the Aether House, Kukui made some calls to the kahunas. He first talked with Nanu, who told him that a few Ultra Beasts had invaded Malie City. When Grimsley heard that, his stomach dropped. It sounded like he and Acerola were fine though, so that was a relief.

Right now Kukui was on a conference call with Hala and Olivia through his tablet, Grimsley and Kahili standing behind him while he spoke with them. Both kahunas had also dealt with some Ultra Beasts on their respective islands.

"So you went against an Ultra Beast that can have its head explode?" Hala said in shock through the tablet. He was in his room while Olivia was inside her jewelry shop. "Sounds like the same one my grandson and I ran into earlier."

"If that's the case, then there's probably more of those," Kukui said, and Hala hummed in agreement.

"Hau, Ilima, and several other strong trainers are preparing in case another Ultra Beast invasion comes."

"My captains and I are doing the same," Olivia said. "How about Nanu and Hapu? Have you heard from them yet?"

"I wasn't able to reach Hapu yet, but I did talk with Nanu earlier. Some Ultra Beasts were running around Malie City."

"So the Ultra Beasts had also landed on Ula'ula, too?" Hala shook his head. "This is far worse than I thought."

"Tell me about it. He and Acerola are on their way to Aether House now."

"That's good to hear," Olivia said. "I have to go back to work, I'll keep you posted."

"I need to head out myself and speak with Hau and Ilima on our next plan of action," Hala said.

"Thanks, you two for taking the time to speak with me." After Kukui ended the conference call, he put the tablet back on the receptionist desk and faced Kahili and Grimsley. "The kahunas are having their hands full with the Ultra Beasts right now."

"That's really bad," Kahili said as she crossed her arms and furrowed her brow. "They mentioned they're having strong trainers help them?"

"They did, yeah. I'm afraid that more Ultra Beasts will come and overwhelm everyone."

"Those alien Pokémon were super scary," Gracie said with her head down. She sat on one of the sofas, holding her Yungoos.

"I don't like those things either," Hunter said. He and Elekid also sat on the same sofa as Gracie and her Pokémon. "They look like they can eat us for sure!"

Grimsley frowned upon hearing the children's statements. He didn't blame them for being frightened as he was caught off-guard himself.

In that instant, the door automatically opened. Grimsley turned to see Nanu and Acerola stepped inside.

"Acerola!" Both Gracie and Hunter screamed in joy. They hurried to her, and Acerola greeted them with an embrace.

"Are you two all right?" she asked before letting them go.

"We are," Hunter said. "Professor Kukui, Uncle Grimsley, and Aunt Kahili took care of those scary Pokémon."

"Well, you guys are safe and that's all that matters." Acerola had her hands on her sides and glanced around the room. "Uncle Nanu and I need a moment alone with everyone."

The children nodded in understanding. They picked up their Pokémon and went to their room. Kukui approached Nanu and Acerola.

"I talked with Olivia and Hala earlier. Akala and Melemele Island also got hit hard with the Ultra Beasts."

"Really?" Nanu groaned and scratched the back of his head. "Those Ultra Beasts love being pests, huh."

"After Kukui called you, he told me and Kahili about it," Grimsley said. "I'm glad that you and Acerola are safe, though."

Nanu raised a confused brow and snorted. "Are you really worried about me? Or is it because you're afraid our battle would be delayed?"

Grimsley grimaced and he gave him a stern look. "I was seriously worried, especially with Alola now having a crisis."

"So what happens now?" Kahili asked.

"I know a couple of people that can help us. They should be staying at Aether's headquarters now."

"I can lend you my tablet and have you contact them."

Kukui grabbed his tablet and gave it to him. Nanu opened a call conference application, punched a phone number, and the screen lit up showing Looker, Anabel, and Wicke.

"Nanu!" Looker said in surprise. "We are in a dire situation here!"

"If it's about how the Ultra Beasts are running amok, I already know. I went against a few of them in Malie City earlier."

"We just found out about that from the data Professor Burnet sent to Aether," Wicke said. "Several other cities have been targeted."

"Ah, so you're the Assistant Branch Chief Wicke that Magnolia had told me a lot about, yeah," Kukui said, flashing her a grin. "I'm her husband, Professor Kukui."

"It's nice to finally meet you," Wicke said, returning a grin of her own. "She tells me nothing but great things about you!"

"Oh, has she?" Kukui rubbed the back of his head, his cheeks flushing. His face turned back to serious when he continued, "Anyways, I noticed you have some company with you."

"Ah, yes!" Wicke gave a quick glance at Looker and Anabel, the both of them nodding at her. "They're agents Looker and Anabel from the International Police. Aether has been working with them on the Ultra Beasts."

"Nice to meet the both of you." Kukui looked over his shoulder at Grimsley, Kahili, and Acerola. "Besides Nanu, I have three other exceptional trainers with me, yeah!" he said, pointing at them.

"Fantastico!" Looker said. When he spotted Grimsley, his grin widened. "I noticed that Grimsley is one of those trainers! We've met quite a few times before."

"It's nice to see you too, Looker," Grimsley said in an indifferent tone. At that moment, he wondered how the Ultra Beasts came to Alola in the first place. "You know what caused the Ultra Beasts to suddenly appear?"

"Selene and Lillie went to the Altar of the Sunne with some supervision," Anabel said. "After they played the Moone and Sunne flutes, Aether's President Lusamine Jubert and Team Skull leader Guzma fell out from a wormhole."

"The legendary Pokémon Solagelo and another strange Pokémon appeared in addition to that," Looker continued. "The two Pokémon got fused, and that was what caused so many Ultra Beasts to pop up."

Acerola gasped with her hand close to her lips. "Wait, Solagelo? Strange Pokémon? I never thought those Alolan tales would come true."

"Alola's Light, right?" Nanu asked with a raised brow. Grimsley stared at him, surprised that he knew of that story.

"Ah huh. According to the story, Lunala, Solgaleo, and a third Pokémon called the 'Blinding One' showered Alola with light. After the Blinding One used up all of their light, Lunala and Solgaleo shared their light with them, and then the Pokémon flew back to their original home."

"Yeah, you told me that story a bunch of times before." Nanu turned back to the screen. "You mentioned that the girls had some supervision. Who else was with them?"

"Trial captain Mina and Kahuna Hapu were accompanying them through Poni Vast Canyon," Wicke said. "They then met with Dr. Colress Antimony and he joined them."

Upon hearing Colress's name, Grimsley's stomach dropped. "I'm not sure that was such a good idea having him with them."

The two agents exchanged brief glances at each other, and then Anabel spoke. "Looker and I understand your concern as we haven't forgotten what you told us about him. He confirmed with us that he's working on a device to take care of the Pokémon from the Ultra Recon Squad's planet, Ultra Megalopolis."

"It was Selene that convinced us that his machine is the key to unfuse Solagelo and the other Pokémon. That other planet the chief mentioned is where Lillie and Selene are right now."

"Hold up," Kahili said with a furrowed brow. "You're telling us a mysterious Pokémon is the cause of all the Ultra Beasts all over Alola? And that Lillie and Selene are in another world?"

"Essentially, yes," Anabel said with a nod. "Mina and Colress are with the girls and are keeping us up to date on what's going on at Ultra Megalopolis."

"What about Lusamine and Guzma?" Kukui asked. "Are they okay?"

"Hapu is taking them to the Pokémon Center in Seafolk Village right now," Wicke said. "They should be fine, though."

Frowning, Acerola said, "I'm guessing the Ultra Beasts must be stopped somehow. Is there a way to do that without killing them?"

"The most humane procedure is to capture them with a special pokéball called the Beast Ball," Anabel said. "Both Aether and the Ultra Recon Squad have been working on that project for a while now and just recently began testing them."

"That does sound like the best approach there," Kahili said. "How are we gonna acquire those Beast Balls, though?"

"Um, if I may jump in," someone said. Everyone turned to see Becky and Headmaster, the Oranguru joining the group. While Kukui was busy talking to the kahunas, she made some contacts of her own. "Aether has recently given its employees the Beast Balls in case something like this happens. I have them here, hold on."

Becky gazed up at Headmaster, who grunted and headed towards the receptionist desk. Shortly afterward, he returned with a box and opened it to reveal the blue pokéball-like devices. Grimsley recognized those were the same ones Dulse had used for the Ultra Beast Adhesive.

"Oh, I've seen those balls before!" Acerola said, beaming. "That Dulse guy had one with him!"

A grin stretched across Looker's face. "Ms. Wicke, Anabel, and I grant permission for you guys to have a Beast Ball with you as an extra precaution."

Once everyone grabbed a Beast Ball, Grimsley stared at his own. The ball's surface was cold against his palm. He put it away inside his bag while Anabel spoke.

"Looker, Lusamine's son Gladion, and I will be heading to Tapu Village to help the people there to safety. The other UB Task Force teams will help out on other islands."

"Tapu Village is very close to here, so I'll go there myself." Nanu paused, and then said, "Hey, Anabel. Do be careful out there, okay?"

Anabel's face fell and she gasped. Shortly after, a small smile formed on her lips. "I will, thank you. We'll see you soon."

As soon as Anabel hung up and the screen turned black, Nanu handed Kukui his tablet back and rubbed his eyes. Grimsley frowned, musing that the kahuna must be exhausted.

"So. Besides Nanu going to Tapu Village, what's next?" he asked.

"I'll contact Molayne and see if he'll watch over the observatory," Kukui said. "Kahili and I can watch over Malie City." He looked at Kahili, who gave him a nod of agreement.

"The rest of you should come with me to Tapu Village as it isn't safe here. Tapu Bulu will be joining us too."

Hearing Tapu Bulu's name caused Grimsley to tense and raised a brow. "Wait. Did you just say Tapu Bulu is here?"

"They are, yes!" Acerola cheerfully said with a raised fist. "Tapu Bulu is resting outside right now!"

Grimsley exchanged shocked looks with Becky, Kukui, and Kahili. He stepped out of the building with everyone else following behind.

Tapu Bulu was indeed outside, sleeping next to a nearby tree. Everyone cautiously gathered around the tapu and stared at them. With an amused grunt, Kukui grinned.

"I shouldn't be surprised Tapu Bulu is here. Olivia and Hala mentioned their respective tapus had helped out also."

"The last time I saw any of the tapus was when I became Island Champion," Kahili said. "They became spectators on my back-to-back matches against the kahunas."

Still staring at Tapu Bulu, Grimsley's breathing slowed. They looked just like the picture from the book he had read back in the library. He didn't expect to see the guardian of Ula'ula Island at all. The same could be said for Tapu Fini.

"Nanu and I both saw Tapu Fini when we were in Poni Island, though at different times."

Nanu snorted and put his hands inside his pocket. "Meeting with Tapu Fini was an experience, that's for sure. Anyways, I'll need to wake up Tapu Bulu now."

"You sure?" Acerola asked, frowning. "Looks like Tapu Bulu is resting up after their fight with the Ultra Beasts."

"I see your point, but we might need them when we head to Tapu Village." He approached Tapu Bulu, gently knocking on their shell with his fist. "Hey, Tapu Bulu. We're going to Tapu Village."

Several seconds passed until Tapu Bulu stirred from their sleep. They blinked and stared at Nanu briefly.

"Tapu... Bululu?"

"Yes, Tapu Village. I know we had passed there already, but Ultra Beasts had come here too and we need to bring everyone to higher ground. You're okay with that?"

Tapu Bulu seemed to regard Nanu's suggestion. After a moment, they offered an understanding hum and nodded.

"I can take us to Tapu Village in my jeep," Becky said. "The kids can stay with the villagers for a bit."

"Looks like we're settled on Kahili and me going to Malie City while everyone else heads to Tapu Village," Kukui said. "You guys stay safe, yeah?"

"Same goes for you and Kahili!" Acerola said, beaming.

After Kukui and Kahili gave her appreciative smiles, they pulled out their pokéballs. A Brivary and Mandibuzz were released, cawing and flapping their wings. They hopped onto the Pokémon and took off into the skies.

"You guys go ahead into the jeep while I'll go get the kids." Becky went back to the Aether House while everyone else did just that.

A heavy burden sunk inside Grimsley's stomach. Everything was moving at a fast pace, and he was certain it wouldn't slow down anytime soon.


Right after Becky had grabbed the children, she drove the jeep and took everyone to Tapu Village. Tapu Bulu followed, flying above them.

The first time Grimsley stepped foot in Tapu Village, his guide Hannah told him about Alolan forme Pokémon and the village's history. Upon arriving there were several white vans and helicopters parked outside the village. Some of the men and women were dressed in white Aether uniforms, the same one Becky was wearing. They escorted the panicked and confused villagers from their homes and into the helicopters.

"Are those people in white also working for Aether, Becky?" Gracie asked as she tugged her pants and gave her a sad look. Hunter wore a similar expression.

"They do, I recognized some of them." Beck offered the children a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, they're nice people. Come on."

"I'll come too!" Acerola said, raising her arm up.

As Becky and Acerola took the kids to one of the Aether employees, Grimsley looked around his surroundings. Looker, Anabel, and Gladion were nearby talking to each other. When Looker spotted him and Nanu, he grinned and waved at them.

"Grimsley, Nanu! So glad that you can make it!" he told them as they approached the group.

Grimsley grunted and said, "I noticed several Aether employees are here. Are they evacuating the people from here?"

"They are," Gladion said. "The people are being taken to Akala Island for shelter."

"Looks like you guys are wasting no time here, which is good." Nanu shifted his gaze away for a second, then he faced Anabel and Looker. "I need to talk with you two in private."

The two agents exchanged knowing glances, and then Anabel said, "Of course."

Grimsley watched as Nanu and his colleagues moved to a farther distance. He faced Gladion, who crossed his arms and gazed down.

"So..." Grimsley started, scratching the back of his neck. "I didn't expect you to come here."

Gladion looked up at him with an indifferent expression. "I was watching over Aether's headquarters while Wicke was away on Poni Island. When she returned with Agents Anabel and Looker, they asked me to join the UB Task Force."

"And you agreed to that easily?" Grimsley asked, raising a brow. That led Gladion to stare at him for a moment.

"Not exactly. You remember my Pokémon, Null, right? Well, the three knew about them. After a long discussion with them, they agreed to not take Null away from me and let me use them against the Ultra Beasts."

Grimsley rubbed on his chin, contemplating what Gladion had said. He had seen firsthand how strong Null was, but could they stand against an Ultra Beast? He'd wager that they could.


Nanu had taken Anabel and Looker just outside the Pokémon Center. He glanced and frowned at the Aether employees still escorting the people from their homes. While he rather had them be safe, it upset him that the Ultra Beasts made such a mess of things.

"Are you two all right?" he asked, facing back at his friends. Both had dark bags under their eyes.

"I'm a bit tired, but otherwise I'm fine." Anabel stopped to yawn. "The other UB Tasks Forces have been doing the same."

With a worried frown, Nanu said, "I know you guys have your hands full, but don't over-exhaust yourself." He looked over to see Becky, Acerola, and the children talking with two of the Aether employees. "So, Interpol is working with Aether, huh? I find it kinda ironic considering you guys have been keeping an eye on them."

"Your concerns over us working with Interpol are valid," Looker said. "However, Aether has some of the best technology that Interpol can take advantage of."

After regarding them for a moment, Nanu sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. "I guess you guys have no choice.”

"Charlotte and Professor Burnet from the Dimensional Labs have been very helpful in tracking down the Ultra Wormholes." Anabel turned around and her eyes grew wide. "That is a Pokémon I don't think I've seen before."

"Huh?" Nanu also turned around to see several people gathering around Tapu Bulu. "Oh, that's Tapu Bulu. They joined my group, too."

"I noticed they have similar shells and markings as Tapu Fini," Looker said. "Are the two connected?"

"They are. Alola has these guardians called the tapu who then choose someone as the kahuna. Tapu Bulu and I are partners for life, kinda."

With a hum, Anabel gave a single nod. "Fascinating. Would you consider the tapu to be legendary Pokémon like Lunala and Solagelo?"

"They're all important in Alolan folklore, so yes I do." Nanu looked back at Tapu Bulu entertaining the crowd. The deity dropped a few seeds on the ground, and a large tree magically appeared. As everyone cheered at that, Nanu furrowed his brow and grunted.

At that moment, the sound of thunder boomed and Nanu's heart almost skipped a beat. He and everyone else gazed up to see the skies turning gray and two Ultra Wormholes appearing. Three Ultra Beasts popped up: two resembled an electric Christmas tree while another one had many smaller blocks stacked into a larger one on all fours. He and his friends exchanged tense looks.

"That's UB-03 Lightning and UB-08 Assembly," Looker said.

"UB-08? I don't remember us seeing that Ultra Beast." Nanu had remembered Lightning and how powerful their electric attacks were. This was his first time seeing Assembly, however.

"Assembly is a recent discovery," Anabel said. "We've determined that they have the same moves and biological components to rock and steel types."

Nanu grimaced, not thrilled at the possibility of more Ultra Beasts yet to be discovered. The two Lightning fired off electric currents that caused some of the trees to burst in flames while Assembly chased the screaming villagers away. He, Anabel, Gladion, Grimsley, and Acerola immediately released their own Pokémon: Krookodile, Pablo the Salamence, Null, Dice the Scrafty, and Pebbles the Palossand respectively. Pablo in particular wore a bracelet with the Salamencite on its front right leg.

"Ahhhh, it's those things again!" Hunter yelled as he and Gracie clung to each other.

"Becky, you and the kids go with the villagers!" Acerola called out urgently. After giving her a nod, Becky grabbed the children's hands and hurried off. The other Aether employees had also been trying to get the villagers to the helicopters.

Grimsley and Acerola had their Pokémon go against Lightning One. Dice attempted to slice the Ultra Beast with his claws infused in green flames, only for Lightning to dodge and kick him away. Acerola commanded Pebbles to splash sand onto Lightning's face, which she did. The sand got stuck on Lightning's face for a second before it wiped that out and shot a burst of electricity at Pebbles. That was too bad for the poor pest as Pebbles stood there unscratched due to her being immune to electric attacks.

Meanwhile, Gladion, Null, and Tapu Bulu focused on Lightning Two. Null's claws clashed with Lightning's hands that crackled with electric energy, and the two exchanged several blows with one another. Null dodged one of Lightning's punches and charged at its midsection at incredible speed. After the Ultra Beast recovered, it lashed its wires at Null, who backed away with whipped marks on their side. Tapu Bulu took that opportunity to ram into Lightning with their horn and pushed them away.

Believing the three had things taken care of, Nanu turned his attention to Assembly. The block-like Pokémon kept shooting hard rocks at Pablo, but the Salamence was able to dodge them and spat a flamethrower straight at one of Assembly's eyes in the middle of its stone-wall body. Nanu commanded Krookodile to use Earthquake, which he did by stomping on the ground several times and shaking the earth. A chasm opened up below Assembly and caused it to slip and fall down there.

"A great opportunity to catch Assembly now!" Looker pointed out.

"Right." Anabel pulled out a Beast Ball and threw it at Assembly. The Ultra Beast got sucked into the ball...

...And after two shakes, it popped out of the ball. Nanu, Anabel, and Looker jerked their heads back and gave out incredulous stares.

As Pablo and Krookodile approached closer, Assembly's eyes turned red and swung its arms around at them. Both Pokémon fell down but quickly got up. Krookodile jumped and grabbed Assembly's leg, sinking his teeth onto it. Assembly grunted in pain and shook Krookodile off.

"That thing looks like one tough cookie to beat," Nanu said as Assembly continued to be unfazed by Krookodile and Pablo's blows.

"I agree," Anabel said, gazing down at the pin with the keystone attached to her. "In that case, I'm going to need to Mega Evolve Pablo."

"Are you certain?" Looker asked in concern. "Mega Evolution can drain you more than you can handle."

A sad smile formed on Anabel's lips. "I understand why you're worried, but I can handle this."

His stomach sinking, Nanu couldn't help but feel the same. However, Anabel needed no one to babysit her. He offered her a lopsided grin.

"You're a grown woman, so I won't stop you. Just watch yourself, kid."

Anabel hummed. She gazed up at Pablo, who kept firing flames at Assembly.

"Pablo, I'm gonna need to increase your power. Are you ready to Mega Evolve?"

After dodging two flying rocks from Assembly, Pablo responded with an energetic cry. Anabel closed her eyes, inhaled, and touched the keystone. Golden light cascaded over Pablo and his body changed to his Mega form. His wings merged into one crescent-shaped wing, and his underbelly changed into an aerodynamic, vest armored frame. Nanu had seen Anabel Mega Evolved Pablo a couple of times before, but each time he couldn't take his eyes off his intimidating form.

Pablo let out a stream of green flames while Assembly countered it with a blast of steel energy. The two attacks collided, causing a small explosion between them. Assembly shot out several sharp rocks, only for Pablo to cut them in half with his wing. The dragon Pokémon fired off a Flamethrower, which hit and left a burnt mark on Assembly's head.

Assembly swung its leg at Krookodile once more, but the crocodile Pokémon dodged and swung his tail at its leg. The Ultra Beast flinched for a second, but then it jumped up and crashed down on Krookodile, trapping him inside. Nanu and Looker grimaced upon seeing that.

"Pablo, get Krookodile out of there!" Anabel called out.

With a roar, Pablo flew straight through Assembly at top speed. His crescent-shaped wing sliced half of its head, which dropped down with a heavy "thump". He grabbed Krookodile with his arms and dropped him down before flying back up. Assembly meanwhile moved like a blindfolded person, going in all directions.

Nanu watched Assembly closely before making his next move. His instincts were right when the sliced portion of Assembly's head exploded into several different lifeform pieces. They emerged with the rest of Assembly's body and its head regrew to normal—

—and Assembly turned towards Anabel.

"Run, Chief!" Looker shouted.

As Assembly got closer, Anabel gritted her teeth and fell to her knees. Nanu's throat grew dry, knowing that was the side effect of her being a Faller.

Sensing his trainer was in danger, Pablo swooped in and gathered Anabel as he did with Krookodile earlier. Nanu took this opportunity to have his Pokémon distract Assembly. Krookodile did so by grabbing onto Assembly's leg again and sinking his teeth, crackling with electric energy, there. A burst of electricity engulfed Assembly's body, and once Krookodile let go the Ultra Beast groaned and stumbled.

This time Nanu threw the Beast Ball. One shake, two shakes, three shakes...


Nanu wiped the sweat off his forehead and sighed in relief. He picked up the Beast Ball, feeling heavy under his palm. Looker, Anabel, and the Pokémon gathered around him.

"Assembly's capture is a success," Looker said.

Nanu gave the Ultra Ball to Looker and faced Anabel. "How about you, Anabel? Are you all right?"

"A little exhausted, but Pablo and I should still be able to help out with the rest of the Ultra Beasts." Behind her, Pablo growled in agreement.

Nanu turned to see everyone else still dealing with the Ultra Beasts. He didn't want to push Anabel too hard and for her to lure those Lightning either, but Pablo's Mega Evolution would only work with her around. While not as drained, her Pokémon also deserved some rest. He offered her a small smile.

"You've done enough today. You and Looker get started on researching Assembly while I go help the others."

After pondering Nanu's suggestion for a moment, Anabel nodded and hummed. "All right, good luck out there."

"Thank you." He turned to Krookodile. "You're ready to go, boy?"

Krookodile responded by roaring and raising his arms. Nanu grunted, and the two hurried off to where the other Ultra Beast invasion was taking place.


When the three Ultra Beasts landed in Tapu Village, Grimsley's stomach dropped. He and Acerola had their Pokémon focused on one of the Xurkitree, or so Gladion had told them its name. Xurkitree's electric attacks were useless against Pebbles due to her part-grounding typing, but it still was able to use other attacks to bypass that.

As Gladion and Tapu Bulu took care of the other Xurkitree, Grimsley was impressed at how powerful the tapu's horns and grass-type moves were and how much those could push back the electric-type Ultra Beast. Null was just as strong, their claws able to leave deep cuts on the Xurkitree's body.

Dice and Xurkitree had exchanged several blows with Dragon Claw and Power Whip respectively. Eventually, the Ultra Beast changed its tactics, fired off sparkling pink lights at Dice straight at his chest, and caused him to fall. A lump formed inside Grimsley's throat, aware Scrafty in general wasn't able to stand fairy-type attacks that well. Pebbles spat out purple sludge at the Ultra Beast's back, who screamed in pain from that.

"Dice, can you still fight?" he asked in a concerned tone. A few seconds passed until Dice barely got up and winced. Furrowing his brow, Grimsley knew Dice doesn't have much strength left. "If you can, go for an Ice Punch!"

Dice gave a brief glance at Grimsley, and then he charged at Xurkitree. He jumped up, punching the Ultra Beast's face with his ice-energy-infused fist. Xurkitree stumbled for a moment, but quickly recovered and began charging electricity. Before Grimsley could call out a command, a Krookodile jumped in between them and absorbed Xurkitree's Thunderbolt. Grimsley's face fell, and he turned around to see Nanu with his usual bored-like expression.

"Uncle Nanu!" Acerola cheered and beamed. "Did you and those Interpol agents take care of the other Ultra Beast?"

"We did. Agents Looker and Anabel are now gathering data for it." He faced Grimsley. "How is your Scrafty holding up?"

Before responding, Grimsley glanced at Dice who was breathing hard and barely able to open his eyes. He frowned.

"Not too good. That thing can use fairy-type attacks, which Dice can't handle well."

Nanu grunted and gave a single nod. "Krookie and I can finish it real quick." He turned to his Krookodile and called out, "Use Aerial Ace and then Crunch at that thing!"

Krookodile roared and rushed at Xurkitree in a blink of an eye. When their bodies collided, Krookodile pinned him to the ground like a professional wrestler, grabbed one of its legs, and sunk his teeth into the cords. That caused the Xurkitree to scream and push Krookodile away. The Ultra Beast countered by blasting pink energy at Krookodile's face, which made the crocodile Pokémon screech in pain and rub his hands there.

"Help Uncle Nanu with Earth Power, Pebbles!"

After giving out a hum, Pebbles' body glowed a golden aura. She slammed her fist on the ground which led the earth to open, with bright light flooding out. The golden cracks traveled underneath Xurkitree, which made the Ultra Beast wobble and fall down. Grimsley remembered Acerola having Pebble use that against Kukui and Chavo, and like before he and the others almost lost their balance from the aftershock.

"Finish off with Dragon Tail!" Nanu called out.

After Xurkitree had gotten up, Krookodile slammed his tail on its midsection and caused it to fly and crash into a tree. The Ultra Beast groaned in pain, not getting up.

Nanu turned to Grimsley and asked him, "Do you have a Beast Ball or two with you?"

"I have one, yes." Grimsley already figured out that he wanted him to catch that Xurkitree now. He threw the ball and watched as Xurkitree got sucked into it in red light.

After three shakes, it was caught.

Grimsley wiped his forehead and sighed in relief. He picked up the Beast Ball, which was warm and heavy against his palm. Dice joined and gazed up at him.

"You did well, Dice. You deserve some rest," he said with a small smile. He pulled out Dice's pokéball and returned him.

"I think Gladion and Tapu Bulu are almost done with the other Xurkitree!" Acerola said as she bounced her feet and pointed at the last battle taking place, which Grimsley and Nanu turned in the direction of.

Both Tapu Bulu and the other Xurkitree fired off pink blasts of energy at each other and an explosion occurred between them, pushing them back a few steps. Xurkitree then blasted off a green beam at Tapu Bulu, which hit them squarely on the face and blinded them for a moment. Gladion ordered Null to use Iron Head, which they did by slamming into Xurkitree with their helmet head. Just as the two collided Null's wooden helmet cracked and exploded into tiny pieces, revealing their face.

Null's face was covered in a silver mane and they had fangs on their lower jaw. They wore a feather crest on top of their head, and Grimsley couldn't help but be mesmerized by their silver eyes. Metallic drives were attached to each side of their head. Tapu Bulu hummed in approval while everyone else including Gladion stared in amazement at what just happened.

"Is that how Null really looks?" Acerola asked.

Nanu grunted and a half-smile forming on his lips. "Looks like the pup finally broke out of its mask."

"Null..." Gladion said in a soft voice, His hand shook, and his expression changed to a determined one. "No, Silvally! You ready to finish this?"

Gladion's Pokémon, now named Silvally, growled in agreement and hurried towards the Ultra Beast. As Silvally approached Xurkitree, their claws glowed in green bug-type energy and they left a deep cut on the Ultra Beast's chest. Xurkitree stumbled for a moment and released a Thunderbolt, only for Silvally to dodge and pounce on in. They held Xurkitree on all fours, and they lifted one paw to have their claws slash on its face. Xurkitree screeched and pushed Silvally off from its body.

For the finale, Gladion commanded Silvally to do one last Iron Head, which his Pokémon obliged. Silvally rammed into Xurkitree and pushed it at a nearby stone pillar. Xurkitree collapsed on the ground, now unconscious.

"Catch it now, kid!" Nanu yelled at him.

After responding with a grunt, Gladion threw the Beast Ball and Xurkitree was sucked inside it. One shake, two shakes, three shakes...

There was a clicking sound and the Beast Ball stopped wobbling.

A pensive look crossed Gladion's face for a brief moment before being replaced with a small smile on his lips. He picked up the Beast Ball, approached Silvally, and petted them.

"Great work, buddy," Gladion said, his smile widening. Silvally growled happily and licked his cheeks.

"Looks like we got all the Ultra Beasts!" Acerola said, beaming. Next to her, Pebbles cheered and raised their arms up.

"Good." Grimsley grunted and crossed his arms. "I may love a thrilling battle, but these Ultra Beasts are annoying to take down."

"For once, we agree on something," Nanu said. He looked away for a second. "Anabel and Looker are gathering information on the other Ultra Beast. We should have them look at these two also."

After everyone hummed in agreement, they followed Nanu to the Pokémon Center. As they headed there Grimsley looked over his shoulder to see Tapu Bulu resting next to a tree, likely exhausted from all the battling. He turned his head back, pulled out the Beast Ball, and gazed down. It was still heavy in his palm.


Tapu Village was a fairly small community with occasional visitors, so the nurses, trainers, and Pokémon in the Pokémon Center were easily evacuated. The building was empty, save for Grimsley's group and the Interpol agents. Everyone gathered around the lounge with Anabel, Looker, and Nanu sitting on one side and Grimsley and Gladion on the other. Silvally stood still next to Gladion, sitting on the floor.

"Your Null was able to break out of its helmet and defeat the Xurkitree?" Anabel asked.

"It's Silvally now, but yes they did," Gladion said with a proud smile. Silvally lifted their head and barked. "Silvally can take down any Ultra Beast in their path."

A grin stretched across Looker's face. "That's magnifico! Your Silvally will surely turn the tides of this Ultra Beast war we're having now."

"I don't know about turning the tides, but I agree that the kid's Pokémon was a big help," Nanu said. He turned to Anabel, who was holding a tablet. "Any info on that Ultra Beast blockhead? You mentioned they're classified as dual rock-and-steel type."

"You mean Stakataka? Apparently, they have 150 life forms that get stacked together and create a stone wall, hence its designated name. The Ultra Wormhole it came from is different from Xurkitree's."

"Wait, 150 life-forms?" Grimsley asked with a raised brow. That was way too many life-forms for his liking.

"That's what the Ultra Recon Squad's captain told us," Looker said and shrugged.

"There were two other Ultra Beasts that I ran into before. One looks like a bug-type Pokémon with a muscular build and the other had a ball as its head that can explode."

"You're talking about Buzzwole and Blacephalon," Anabel said. "Buzzwole has superhuman strength and can suck Pokémon's fluids. Blacephalon is also a recent discovery like Stakataka. It likes to use its head to create explosions and scare people."

Grimsley responded with a grunt and nod. He usually liked a challenge, but these Ultra Beasts he had encountered so far were troublesome.

"What's gonna happen to the Ultra Beasts?" Acerola asked.

Looker furrowed his brow and pressed his lips. "Protocol calls for them to either be killed or taken to Interpol." His lips formed a small smile. "The chief and I will do the latter and make sure that they're treated properly."

Acerola beamed. "I think that's the best approach! Killing them would be too cruel."

Grimsley hummed and crossed his arms against his chest. "Even though they were annoying, they would be better under your guys' care."

There were a few seconds of silence when an explosion suddenly occurred, causing everyone to jump and get up from the couches.

"What was that?" Acerola asked with a confused look.

"It's most likely another Ultra Beast," Anabel said.

After having a few sniffs, Silvally raised their head and barked. Gladion grunted and petted their fur.

"I think Silvally senses it too. Come on."

Everyone hurried out of the Pokémon Center. Upon stepping outside, Grimsley and the others froze.

A large crab-like beast stood in front of them, raising its large pincers up. It had a large head and a smaller one with eyes glowing the same color as its insides. It opened its jaw, which was stuck in the middle of its torso, and let out an ear-piercing screech. Grimsley's stomach dropped at the sight of that monster.

"No, it can't be..." Anabel muttered. The group watched as the monster grabbed Becky’s jeep, swallowed it whole, and screamed once more.

“What kind of Ultra Beast is that?” Grimsley asked as he faced Nanu, whose face fell for the longest time. When the kahuna froze and didn’t respond, a lump formed inside his throat. “Nanu? Nanu?”

Author’s Notes

It's been a couple months since the last update, huh? I paused on progressing Foul Play due to my muse wanting to focus on other ideas for a while and also distracted with gaming. I'm actually fairly close to finishing Chapter 30, then after that that's the last of my backlog. I'll try to have Chapter 30 ready sometime in September.

After that, even though I'm only a few chapters away from finishing, updates will still be spontaneous as those last chapters will wrap up plot threads, and I hope you guys look forward to it. Thanks to bobandbill for betaing as always, and catch you on the flip side!


Chapter Thirty
Max Darkness (Part Two)

A feeling of dread filled Nanu's stomach when he learned that the next Ultra Beast was sighted in Poni Meadows. That wasn't the first time Ultra Beasts were found in Alola, but reports of this Ultra Beast being more dangerous than the other ones he and his team had encountered left Nanu worrying over Sana and KR. But this was the order from Director Clarkson, so he couldn't reject the request.

According to the report, Glutton was hiding in Resolution Cave. Not too many people except for more experienced trainers went down there, and already the Ultra Beast had eaten several Pokémon. As the team trudged through the cave, Charlotte, the Pokémon Biologist, had been communicating with them through their headpieces and letting them know if they were close to their target.

They found Glutton at the end of the cave. The crab-like creature opened its jaws and Nanu’s nose wrinkled at its bad breath. The Ultra Beast’s two heads stared at the group, raised its arms, and screamed. He stared at it both in awe and in terror.

“Oh, that must be Glutton!” Charlotte called over from Nanu’s headpiece.

"Does that beast have to be killed?” KR asked. “It is inhumane."

"As hideous as it is, I agree with KR,” Sana said. “Whenever we kill those Ultra Beasts, we never get the chance to understand them."

"We've done this many times, and only now you two are questioning the morals of it. Interpol's protocol, so we have no choice."

“Triples is right, you all have this mission to fulfill,” Charlotte said in a sympathetic voice. “Do be careful, everyone.”

The hideous creature screamed again and stomped on the ground, causing the earth to shake and small debris to fall. They each sent out their Pokémon and had them attack it.

Nanu ordered his Persian to fire Power Gem at it, but Glutton swallowed those up like pokébeans. Persian's fur bristled and she launched a series of glowing stars, targeting Gluttony's face. The creature flinched for a second, but it then roared and smashed Persian's side with its tail. Persian crashed on the ground but picked herself up quickly.

Sana's Mightyena, Jackie, sank her teeth into the Ultra Beast's leg, but it easily pushed Jackie aside. When that happened, Sana had Jackie jump and go for Glutton's throat. Glutton screamed and punched her, causing Jackie to fly towards the wall and collapsed on impact.

"Jackie!" Sana called out urgently and returned her to her pokéball.

KR’s Crogunk, Dewy, leaped with his fists glowing purple and he jabbed at Glutton's knee. Glutton roared in pain, and Dewy punched at its back next. That caused the Ultra Beast to almost stumble.

Nanu called for his Persian to launch another Power Gem, which she did. The gem on her forehead glowed and Glutton was hit with glowing rocks, which made Glutton recoil. Dewy attempted several punches on Glutton's legs and back and Glutton wailed in pain.

At that moment, Nanu glanced at KR to see him gazing at Glutton with a sympathetic expression on his face. Dewy stopped and looked at his trainer with concern.

"KR! KR!" Nanu yelled.

KR still locked his gaze at Glutton, as if he was feeling sorry for the poor Ultra Beast. As soon as Glutton calmed down, it faced Sana with a hungry expression. At that moment, Charlotte asked through Nanu’s headpiece if everything was alright, but he didn’t respond. When a terrified look crossed Sana's face, Nanu's stomach dropped.

"Run, Sana!"

Sana didn't move, her whole body tensed.

Glutton grabbed her with one of its pincher hands and she screamed.


"Nanu? Nanu?"

Hearing Grimsley's voice snapped out of Nanu's daze. He turned around to see both Grimsley and Acerola giving him concerned looks.

"Are you alright, Uncle Nanu?" asked Acerola.

"Huh?" Nanu turned around to see Tapu Bulu, Gladion's Silvally, and Anabel's Salamence, Pablo, going against Glutton. The Ultra Beast was able to counter their attacks either with its arms or by swallowing any moves that didn't require physical attacks. He felt that flashback crawling in the back of his mind, so he mentally shook that off and grunted. "Sorry, I froze there for a second."

"Is that an Ultra Beast you dealt with before?" Grimsley asked.

Nanu dragged out a deep breath. "Yes. Back in Interpol it was known as Glutton."

Anabel had called for Pablo to use Flamethrower. The dragon Pokémon opened its jaws and let out blazing flames that hit Glutton's eyes and caused it to roar in pain. The Ultra Beast raised its arm and slammed Pablo’s side, making him lose balance for a bit. At that instant, Anabel fell to her knees and gasped. Everyone rushed over to her side.

"Chief, you shouldn't exert yourself!" Looker said and Anabel gave her a weak gaze. He helped her get up.

"I know, but we need to do something about Glutton."

Nanu regarded Anabel for a second before he turned to see Silvally go at Glutton in a blink of an eye and landed a hit on it. The Ultra Beast retaliated by swiping them with ghost-infused energy and that caused Silvally to be pushed back. Glutton attempted to reach Tapu Bulu next with its claws, only for the guardian deity to tuck themselves inside their shell for protection.

They need to lure Glutton out before this area took any more damage. Nanu’s forehead shot up, an idea hitting him

"Anabel, do you still have Raikou? I'll need to borrow them for a bit."

With a suspicious brow, Anabel asked, "Why do you need Raikou?"

"I'm going to lure Gluttony into the desert, and I'll need a fast Pokémon for that."

"Wait, you have a freaking Raikou?" Gladion asked with wide eyes.

"She does," Looker said. "There is no other partner better for Raikou than the Chief."

Anabel's forehead was squeezed into a furrow, but she seemed to consider Nanu's plan. After a moment, she nodded.

"Promise that you'll bring them back," Anabel said, and Nanu responded with a grunt of agreement.

She pulled out an Ultra Ball and Raikou was released in a flash of light. The sabertooth-tiger-like legendary stretched their neck and roared, which rumbled like thunder. Their fur crackled with electricity, and their purple mane bellowed like a curtain in a breeze. Everyone gazed at the beast in awe.

"I've heard stories of Raikou from my mother and others that were lucky to catch a glimpse of them,” Grimsley said. “This is my first time laying my eyes on them."

"Same here!" Acerola exclaimed. "It's so cool that you have Raikou!"

Not too many trainers owned a legendary Pokémon, so Nanu had taken a double-take when he first saw them under Anabel's possession. Interpol let her keep Raikou, Alakazam, and Snorlax while her Weavile and Salamence were given to her. Her Raikou was a powerhouse against Ultra Beasts, and there was no doubt they could handle Glutton. Still, Nanu would need some help and so he turned to Grimsley.

"I believe your Pokémon can distract Glutton for a good while. Will you help me?"

A smirk crossed Grimsley's lips. "Of course."

"I want to help too," Gladion said. "Silvally was created to go against Ultra Beasts."

Nanu's stomach lurched. A part of him was hesitant in bringing in a kid to help with Glutton, but knowing Gladion he would be too stubborn to listen.

"Alright, you can come too but stay close with us."

"Before you guys go, take these goggles!" Acerola took out three goggles from the bag she had been carrying and handed them to Nanu, Grimsley, and Gladion. Nanu mused that she must've still carried Becky's goggles with her.

"Thank you, Acerola. This will help out a lot."

Nanu put on the goggles, as did Grimsley and Gladion. He gazed up to see Glutton turning his attention to Tapu Bulu now. A dark aura surrounded Glutton's claws and it swiped Tapu Bulu's side. Tapu Bulu retaliated by slamming into Glutton's back and making it fall down on the ground. That caused the ground to shake and everyone almost lost their balance. Nanu whistled and that brought Tapu Bulu's attention.

"Hey, Tapu Bulu. I'm gonna lure Glutton into the desert!"

Immediately Tapu Bulu let out an agreed "Bulu!"

Nanu acknowledged Bulu's response with a low grunt. He turned to Looker and placed one hand on his shoulder. "Watch over Anabel and Acerola, Jean."

Looker flinched over Nanu saying his real name, and his face softened. "I will make sure that they are safe."

"Looks like Glutton is still down, now is your guys' chance to run," Anabel said. She gazed up at her Pokémon. "Pablo, you can take a much-deserved break."

Pablo let out a roar and Anabel returned him inside his pokéball. Nanu and Grimsley hopped on Raikou's back while Gladion went on Silvally's. Grimsley wrapped his arms around Nanu's waist, which caused him to flinch.

"Never felt a man's arms around you before?" Grimsley asked in a teasing voice, and Nanu's ears burned. Oh hell no, he wasn't going to fall for that.

"This isn't the time for jokes, vampire boy!"

After he snapped at him, Glutton roared and picked itself back up. Crap, they need to make a run for it now. Nanu gazed down at Raikou and patted on their side.

"Go, go, go!" he urged, and immediately Raikou took off with Tapu Bulu and Silvally following behind.

They needed to get through Route 13 first in order to reach Hania Desert, which luckily wouldn't take too long. When Glutton picked up speed, the Pokémon did too. Both Nanu and Gladion took out Honchkrow and Crobat, who evolved from Golbat recently it seemed, respectively.

Gladion had ordered Crobat to use Cross-Poison, so Crobat's wings glowed purple and he dived down to slash Glutton's face and caused it to scream in pain. It swung its arm at Crobat and smacked him, but he recovered quickly and let out sharp gusts that hit Glutton's eyes and blinded him for a second.

Meanwhile, Honchkrow and Tapu Bulu let out dark airwaves and pink electric bolts on Glutton's back which left several scars there. Glutton swung its claws at them, but they dodged and continued to throw their attacks at it.

"Looks like the Pokémon are distracting Glutton well there," Grimsley said as he watched over his shoulder.

"Yeah, but not for long. We're getting closer to the oasis just before Hania Desert's entrance."

"Some of the Aether employees went there earlier to have the people and Pokémon evacuate with the Tapu Village people," Gladion said as he and Silvally picked up Raikou's speed. "We shouldn't worry too much about other people getting hurt."

It wasn't long until the group reached the oasis and caravan. There was no one outside, and the food stands and shops were closed. The PokéRide ranch was also closed with the open field empty. Up ahead was the entrance to the Hania desert.

Nanu looked over his shoulder to see Glutton still chasing them. It swung its larger arm at a nearby palm tree, breaking it in half. Its tail also hit one of the food stands, destroying the top roof. Crobat, Honchkrow, and Tapu Bulu continued to dish out various attacks to distract it from gaining on Raikou and Silvally.

"We're almost there!" Nanu announced, and that led Raikou to pick up the pace.

After passing the oasis, caravan, and businesses, the group finally made it to Hania Desert. The sandstorm picked up, but despite the reduced visibility both Raikou and Silvally managed to push through fine. Nanu was glad that Acerola had given him googles as it would be hell to have sand in his eyes. Just a little more...

Nanu glanced over his shoulder to see Tapu Bulu used its horns to ram into Glutton's back. Gladion ordered Crobat to use Air Slash, which Crobat did by letting out airwaves that slashed at Glutton's legs. Both of those assaults led Glutton to scream in pain.

Glutton retaliated by slamming its arm straight at Tapu Bulu and Crobat's faces. Crobat squealed and flapped his wings frantically while Tapu Bulu flinched and needed a few seconds to recover.

Nanu narrowed his eyes, not liking that Glutton was getting dealing of damage to the Pokémon. He called Honchkrow to use Steel Wing, who swooped down with glowing wings. Before Honchkrow reached the Ultra Beast, Glutton grabbed the bird's waist with one of its pincers and crunched his right-wing.

"Honchkrow!" When Honchkrow squawked in pain, Nanu's heart almost skipped a beat and he bit his lips. Raikou stopped so that Nanu and Grimsley could hop off.

"Roulette, go save Honchkrow!" Grimsley pulled out his pokéball and released his Absol, who had a necklace with the Absolite attached to it. As soon as she was out, he touched the keystone that was attached to his scarf and it glowed alongside the keystone.

As expected from a Mega Evolution, her appearance changed with the back of her fur standing out like wings and her horn widened. Nanu had seen Mega Absol several times before but not Grimsley's, so he gazed at her in awe due to how majestic she looked.

A dark aura surrounded Roulette's claws, and she leaped up to swipe at Glutton's eyes. The Ultra Beast screamed in pain, causing it to open its mouth and let go of Honchkrow.

Roulette jumped up and caught Honchkrow's neck with her mouth before he fell to the ground. As soon as they landed, Roulette gently put Honchkrow down and Nanu rushed to his side.

"Are you alright, Honchkrow?" Nanu picked him up, noticing his right-wing was badly damaged. Honchkrow would need to be taken to the Pokémon Center as soon as possible. When his Pokémon let out a low squawk, Nanu smiled a little. "You actually did great there. Take a rest."

After he returned Honchkrow back into his pokéball, he looked up to see Tapu Bulu and Silvally dissing out Wood Hammer and X-Scissor at Glutton. The Ultra Beast screamed when it got hit by those attacks and swiped them with its shadow-infused claws. Both Tapu Bulu and Silvally were left with deep scratches on their horns and side respectively.

A loud howl caused Nanu's heart to race. He turned around to see Raikou stretched their back and immediately dark clouds gathered. The sandstorm changed into rain within seconds, the droplets of water soaking humans and Pokémon alike. That led Glutton to stop fighting with Silvally and Tapu Bulu and be distracted by the rain.

"Raikou can learn Rain Dance?" Gladion asked.

"Anabel had Raikou use it a few times before," Nanu said. "I have an idea what they’re doing next."

Right on cue, Raikou roared and large streams of electricity surrounded their body. The Thunder attack struck Glutton, stunning them for several seconds.

"Try to stun Glutton too, Tapu Bulu!" Nanu urged. "Follow up with Shadow Ball, Raikou!"

Tapu Bulu let out a mighty scream and their horns glowed. They slammed into Glutton's back, the horns digging into the Ultra Beast's skin and leeching some of its lifeforce. Glutton cried in pain and pushed Tapu Bulu away with its elbow. Before Glutton could take a moment to breathe, Raikou spat out several crimson-colored balls that hit its eyes and made it stop to rub its eyes.

Grimsley ordered Roulette to use Night Slash and Aerial Ace. The Absol's horn glowed and she leaped up to slash at Glutton on the back of its neck. The Ultra Beast jerked its head and attempted to swipe at Roulette but missed, giving Roulette the opportunity to rush forward and ram into Glutton's side.

Glutton almost lost its balance, but once it straightened itself up its body flared up in a blue aura and slammed Roulette like a truck. Roulette crashed on the ground and picked herself up, her fur soaked with mud from the rain still falling.

"Cut through that Ultra Beast's legs," Gladion ordered, gesturing his arm forward. Silvally's claws glowed and they swiped at Glutton's lower leg. Glutton cried in pain, so it retaliated by slamming its fist into Silvally and knocking him out for a few seconds. When Silvally picked themself up, they shook the mud off their body.

Satisfied with that blow on Silvally, Glutton changed their attention towards Raikou. It used its arm to try to grab the legendary beast, but they kept dodging. Raikou soon released a burst of electricity straight at the Ultra Beast, stunning it.

Tapu Bulu took that chance to use Nature Madness by letting out a stream of pink energy at Glutton's mouth. Glutton made a bleching sound and flailed their arms around. A blue aura surrounded the Ultra Beast, and it rushed towards Tapu Bulu. When their bodies collided, Tapu Bulu was pushed back at a fair distance and dazed for a second.

Once Tapu Bulu recovered, they screamed out "Buluuuu!" and the earth pulsed with green light. Thick vines sprouted out from the ground, wrapping around Glutton like a lasso. The vines pulled Glutton down, who screamed and crashed on the ground. Tapu Bulu took deep breaths, likely a little exhausted from pulling the Ultra Beast down.

When a few seconds had passed and Glutton hadn't gotten up, Nanu threw a Beast Ball at it. Glutton was sucked inside the ball with Nanu, Grimsley, and Gladion waiting with bated breath.

First shake.

Second shake.

Third shake.

Nanu was ready to sigh in relief, only for the Beast Ball to break and Glutton to burst out. The Ultra Beast screeched and stomped on the ground.

"****," Nanu said through gritted teeth. "Just when things were turning around for us."

"Well, I'm not ready to fold yet." Grimsley turned his attention to Roulette. "Try to wear it down a bit more, Roulette!"

After making a bark of acknowledgment,, Roulette's horn glowed. She jumped up and slashed Glutton's back, leaving another deep cut there. Roulette dodged several of Glutton's Shadow Claws, but one landed on her and she got swiped on the face.

Both Raikou and Silvally took action also. With electric sparks crackling onto their teeth, Raikou crunched Glutton's foot and stayed there for several seconds until Glutton shook them off.

Before Glutton could act, Silvally rushed in at incredible speed and collided with the Ultra Beast. Glutton slammed its claw down, only for Silvally to counter with their own claw. They attempted to push their claws at each other until Silvally managed to outdo Glutton and slashed at Glutton's lower jaw. The Ultra Beast screamed in pain and punched Silvally on the side, causing them to fall on the ground.

"Silvally!" Gladion rushed to his Pokémon's side and helped them get up. Silvally assumed a stance and growled.

Grimsley narrowed his eyes and pressed his lips. "That hideous beast just won't go down easily, huh?"

Nanu was about to respond but stopped and his mouth hung open when a thundering noise was made. It wasn't from the rain that was still falling; instead, an Ultra Wormhole appeared and a creature came out. It seemed to be an Ultra Beast with black armor and wings that resembled the crescent moon. That thing just came right on time.

"What the hell..." Nanu stared in awe. He couldn't help but feel like he recognized that Pokémon before.

At that moment, the mysterious Pokémon screamed and its wings glowed, releasing several moonbeams at Glutton. After being hit with those, Glutton made sweeping arm gestures but recovered and swiped them with its ghost-energy-infused claws.

"Wait," Grimsley said, his eyes widening. "That's Lunala!"

"Lunala?" Gladion said in shock. "But hadn’t Nebby turned into Solagelo?"

"I think that's the same Lunala I saw the Ultra Recon Squad with. But why is it in armor? Unless..."

This was the first time Nanu had seen Lunala up close, only knowing of the Moone Legendary from stories and pictures. He didn't remember reading Lunala having dark armor, however. That other Pokémon released a large stream of dark energy at Glutton, hitting its back. Glutton surrounded itself in a blue aura and punched the dark-armored Pokémon with its large pincer arm. At that moment, Nanu figured something out.

"That's not Lunala," Nanu said and faced Grimsley. "Necrozma is the Pokémon the Ultra Recon Squad folks mentioned, right?"

"Yes," Grimsley said. "Colress told me that Necrozma and Lunala can fuse together, so that must be it. This is Black Kyruem all over again."

While Necrozma and Glutton continued to dish out ghost and dark-type energy at one another, Tapu Bulu took action by firing Nature's Madness at both Glutton and Necrozma. Both Pokémon flinched and Necrozma released its pillar of moonbeams at Tapu Bulu, pushing it back several feet. Upon seeing that, an idea hit Nanu and he faced both Gladion and Grimsley.

"I have an idea, you two. We're gonna unleash our Z-Moves at Glutton."

"But Roulette can't use Z-Moves now due to being in her Mega form," Grimsley said. He furrowed his brow, as if unsure of this plan.

"And that is why you'll bring out another Pokémon that can. How about you, Gladion? Does Silvally know any Z-Moves?"

"Silvally can, yes," Gladion said.

"Alright, then. Then get ready, everyone."

Both Grimsley and Gladion grunted in acknowledgment. Grimsley took out Raz's pokéball and once released she stretched out her whole body.

Nanu pulled out a Z-crystal from the pocket of his short-sleeved jacket. It wasn't his usual Darkninum-Z, but instead a Tapunium-Z with the Alolan guardian engraved on it. He couldn't remember the last time he used it, as it wasn't often that he and Tapu Bulu worked together. Now was as good as any.

With a small crooked smile, Nanu glanced at Glutton, who went back to battling both Tapu Bulu and Necrozma. If this idea succeeded, he would have his payback at Glutton.

"Hey, Tapu Bulu!" Nanu called out their name, which grabbed the guardian's attention. "Are you ready to show off Guardian of Alola?"

Tapu Bulu regarded him with a stare, and after a moment hummed in approval.

Both Grimsley and Gladion prepared their own Z-Moves first. After Grimsley performed the Z-Pose for Never-Ending-Nightmare, Raz screamed and the ground burst into purple flames with liquid oozing out. Tendrils also burst out, grabbing Glutton's arms like chains.

Meanwhile, Gladion did the Z-Pose for Savage Spin-Out. Silvally howled and unleased large amounts of silk which covered up Glutton's waist. With both arms and waists covered, Glutton struggled to get out.

After Nanu slipped the z-crystal inside the slot of his z-ring, he inhaled and did the z-pose for the fairy type. He felt both his and Tapu Bulu's energy in sync, a feeling he hadn't felt in a long while. Just then a large chasm opened and a muscular being climbed out from there. Tapu Bulu floated up and attached themselves onto the giant as its head.

While all of this was happening, Necrozma pulled away at a distance and simply watched, as if immersed with the light from the Z-Moves

Nanu finished off the Z-Move by lifting his fist and slamming it on his palm. Tapu Bulu did the same and slammed their fist onto Glutton. A small chasm opened beneath the Ultra Beast and engulfed it in golden light. Once the light faded, Glutton collapsed and fainted.

Tapu Bulu let out a proud roar before turning back to normal. Exhausted, Nanu dropped to his knees and he took deep breaths. It really had been a long while since he had done this.

"Nanu, are you alright?" Grimsley asked in concern as he and Gladion approached him.

"I'm fine, don't worry about me."

Nanu picked himself up and glanced at Glutton, still unconscious on the ground. His palm touched the Beast Ball attached to his belt, but he stopped there. For ten years that Ultra Beast was the source of his and his friends' nightmares and sorrows. And yet, it didn't feel right for him to do so. He looked up at Grimsley.

"I think you should be the one to catch Glutton."

Grimsley's eyes grew wide. "What, me? But why?"

A smirk formed on Nanu's lips. "Us getting through Glutton is good enough for me. Now, if you'll do the honors?"

After regarding him for a moment, Grimsley hummed in understanding. He pulled out the Beast Ball from the knot wrapped around his waist and threw it at Glutton. The Ultra Beast was sucked inside the ball--first shake, second shake, third shake.

There was a clicking sound, and Glutton was caught.

Author's Note:
So this chapter took several months on and off writing it and why this is the last of my backlog. Starting to losing steam, real life obligations, and my muse wanting to write other ideas is why I struggled for a while.

I contemplated to end this portion with capture of Guzzlord and Necrozma events mentioned in background, but decided that next chapter will wrap up the Necrozma stuff as I did set some pieces for Necrozma's appearance. Upfront this will be slightly different from the games and inspired more from the anime's version. Nonetheless, I hope you guys will look forward to that.

Since I exhausted my backlog, it might be a while until a new update comes. I'm actually going to focus on a few other fanfic projects for now, so consider this another short hiatus. After I finish those projects through I hope to come back to this. Thanks to bobandbill for betaing as always!