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Pokemon Island Sun

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by FlamingRuby, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Pokemon Island Sun (on hiatus)

    (rated E10+ for frightening images and fantasy violence)

    Unlike the other six stories in the Pokemon Anime Remix Project, this one, Pokemon Island Sun, will be told as a series of letters Ash is writing to Serena about his Alolan vacation, using a blend of the games, the show, and my imagination to create something totally new.

    So be warned--this is not quite the Sun and Moon you are playing through, nor will it be the anime you will see!

    Letter 1: Welcome to the Islands

    Dear Serena,

    I made it to the Alola region! It's beautiful out here--I really wish you could join me, Misty, and Brock in this piece of paradise.

    The flight went well--Mom and Dad saw me off (with a lot of hugs and tears), and not only did Misty and Brock meet me there, I also met two of the people they've met--Hikina and Mahina, two of the professor's good friends. Hikina knows just about everything about this area, so he was happy to give me a crash course in the Alolan language (everything is bilingual there--even Misty and Brock have picked some of it up)

    Mahina is the artistic one--she's never without her ukulele, and isn't too shabby a puppeteer either. She played me a welcome song as soon as I got off the plane, which Tintri liked. (Brock told me later it was called "Alola, How Do You Do?")

    We traveled to the professor's house, where the local professor, Prof. Kukui, met me. He's very laid back, so it's not unheard of to see him in a lab coat and swim trunks.

    Next in the parade of guests was Lillie, one of the professor's assistants. She may be a little shy, but she'll open up once you get to know her. She is a bit of a bookworm, so she'll have a book on her at all times. Brock's learned a lot of interesting stories from her collection of Alolan folktale books.

    I was tired from the flight, so after I commandeered a hammock for a much deserved nap, we had lunch (your typical Alolan plate lunch--some kind of meat, noodles, and rice. The meat can be nearly anything, but so long as you've got a meat, some noodles and rice, you've got the basic recipe)

    After lunch, we all went to visit Prof. Oak's cousin Samson--he gave me a Z Crystal to set in my Mega Ring--if I use my Heart Song to invoke it, Tintri can use a very powerful move called Gigavolt Havoc--which we proceeded to practice on a beach overlooking the house. It wore Tintri out after a few tries, but I'm sure he'll get better with it as we travel.

    Next, I went to sign up for the Island Challenge--instead of Gyms and badges here, you compete in trials--that may or may not involve battling, depending on the trial captain's mood. While we were there, I read up on some of the trial captains:

    --Mallow, a captain who specializes in Grass types. She is said to enjoy cooking almost as much as Brock.

    --Lana is the Water type captain. I have a feeling she and Misty will get along very well when we finally meet her

    --Kiawe, a local dancer who is also a Fire type captain. He is never without Kame, his Turtonator. He promised to show me a traditional Alolan fire dance in return for my taking his trial.

    Then there's Sophocles--the Electric type tinker that reminds me of Clemont a little bit. He can be a little shy, people have told me.

    But the Cheri Berry on top for my first day of vacation? I actually got to see one of the guardians of Alola, an Electric type bird-like Pokemon named Tapu Koko.

    He appeared to me in the middle of the night, which surprised both me and Tintri, and proceeded to supercharge the Z Crystal in my Mega Ring.

    When I told everyone about it this morning, Mahina was the most surprised--Tapu Koko apparently doesn't appear to just anyone--he is a playful Pokemon by nature, so to have him appear to you is something very special indeed. Hikina added that getting to battle him is equally special.

    Even the Pokedex here is something special--the design resembles a Rotom, so it's called a Rotom Pokedex. It's not often seen outside of Alola, or even within Alola itself, so it'll likely be my most valuable souvenir.

    So today we went exploring and Tapu Koko appeared to me again--and this time, he wanted to battle me! And battle we did, complete with Tintri finally pulling off Gigavolt Havoc. He was still tired from using it afterwards, but just seeing Tintri use it was enough to please Tapu Koko.

    Our battle was all Mahina could talk about, even after Tapu Koko had fled, and so she decided to write a song about it (which I can hear her working out the melody on her ukulele). Maybe Brock will add a guitar part to it, and it expand into an epic ballad about my time here.

    If you're ever lucky enough to come out here, here are some basic Native Alolan words to know:

    --Alola can mean the region itself, a greeting, a farewell, or refer to love, affection, kindness and goodness

    --Mahalo--this means "thank you". Even though it is labeled on most trash cans, mahalo does not mean “trash”! (Mahina had to gently correct me on this)

    --Kokua--this means "help or support" so often times for charity events and telethons, you'll hear them say "Mahalo for your kokua". (you'll often hear people slip Native Alolan words into an English sentence--which may sound strange when you hear it at first, but it's great motivation to learn the language!)

    --Mauka and Makai--instead of saying "north and "south", you use these words. "Mauka" is "towards the mountains" (eg. north), and "Makai" is "towards the sea" (eg. south). No word on what the words for "east" and "west" are, although I'm sure there are words for them too.

    --Poke--No, I didn't forget to write "mon", poke is actually a kind of food! It's deliciously yummy cubes of raw seafood (typically Magikarp) mixed with sauces and onions. If you get it over white rice, it's called a Poke bowl--not to be confused with a Poke Ball!

    --Pono--this is another catch-all word. It is most often defined as righteousness, but can also mean proper, moral, or fair.

    --Haole--Traditionally means a foreigner, but mostly refers to Alolan residents not originally from the region now. It has been used in a not-so-nice way, but most people mean well when they use it.

    Howzit?--an informal greeting. Hikina uses this a lot.

    Honu--the Native Alolan name for Wartortle

    Ohana--you probably know this one from "Lilo and Stitch"--"Ohana means family, and no one gets left behind."

    ʻOno--this means "delicious", so if someone says a place has "'ono grinds", they mean "delicious food".

    Malasada--a kind of doughnut-like pastry popular in Alola. One of Hikina and Mahina's friends, Hau, runs a malasada shop with his family--and they really are 'ono!

    Da kine--used to name something you don't remember the name of, or don't know the name of--something like "whatchamacallit" "thingy", or "doowatchie"

    Kamaʻāina--used to refer to a long-term resident of Alola, regardless of origin. (true native Alolans have their own word, but I can't remember it.)

    Lanai--a balcony or patio--lots of Alolan houses have them, and they come in every shape and size.

    Wahine and Kane--Kane is "men" and wahine is "women"--you'll usually see them on public bathroom doors. (luckily, almost everything here is bilingual, so I didn't accidentally walk into the wahine bathroom!)

    Auntie and Uncle--what kids are taught to call their elders, regardless of their actual connection. Brock's been called "Uncle Brock" a few times already by the local kids, and I'm sure I'll probably get called "Uncle Ash" a few times while I'm here.

    Well, it's getting late, so I'd better get to bed--got another adventure tomorrow!

    Your friend,
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
  2. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 2: Of Friends and Foes

    Dear Serena,

    Well, I figured out why it's called a Rotom Pokedex--it addition to looking like a Rotom, an actual Rotom lives inside it. The one inside of mine is named Sparks, and we hit it off right away. He can be a little goofy and eager to do everything, but will calm down if you ask him to.

    Having a Rotom inside your Pokedex can also turn it into a general guidebook, a camera, a scanner, and a number of other things, but 90% of the time, it's just your average Pokedex.

    Mahina has a Rotom Pokedex too--the Rotom in hers is named Hekili (Native Alolan for "thunder", if you're curious) She's like Mahina in almost every way--very much a performer, and always up for a good story or a good song. (she seems to like Mahina's ukulele, so she'll come out whenever Mahina plays it)

    Sparks seems to like my Pokeflute and my whistles, and actually came out to listen to me practice last night. I was a bit nervous about starting my Island Challenge, so he told me a little bit about what to expect, and that he and Hekili would be there to cheer us on all the way.

    So today the three of us were actually blessed for our island trial--you need to see or take part in a traditional Alolan blessing ceremony at least once in your life.

    The chant the priestess used goes something like this (as per Mahina's translation):

    O my guardians, from remote antiquity
    Watch over these travelers
    As they embark on a great journey
    May they find favor on the road
    May they learn all they can
    May they share good company
    May they return with memories to share
    Watch over and protect them all
    Ward off all that may trouble them as they travel
    (the prayer) is freed

    Then, Hala--Hau's grandpa and the kahuna of the island, gave us our challenge pendants. I got a ruby--one of the luckiest stones you can get--because of my courage and deep love. Not surprisingly, Misty got a sapphire, and Brock got an emerald.

    The last step in the ritual was choosing our starter Pokemon. I didn't really choose mine--the Litten chose me instead! (I would've picked the Rowlet, but the Litten pounced on me before I could choose--so he was mine. I named him Popoki--Native Alolan for "cat".

    Brock picked the Rowlet (he named him Kia'i, which is Native Alolan for "guardian") and Misty picked the Popplio (she named her Mele, which is Native Alolan for "song")

    Sparks was more than happy to give me info on all three starters:

    "Litten, the fire cat Pokemon. While grooming itself, it builds up fur inside its stomach. It sets the fur alight and spews fiery attacks, which change based on how it coughs."

    "Rowlet, the grass quill Pokemon. This wary Pokémon uses photosynthesis to store up energy during the day, while becoming active at night."

    "Popplio, the sea lion Pokemon. This Pokémon snorts body fluids from its nose, blowing balloons to smash into its foes. It’s famous for being a hard worker."

    I was excited to go catch some of the native Pokemon here, but before Popoki and me could go Pokemon hunting, we spotted Lillie departing town in a hurry, so we followed her out to the Mahalo Trail.

    It turned out Lillie was in a panic because the strange Pokemon she has had gotten ambushed by Spearows, and was stuck on an old bridge. Just seeing the little frightened puffball (Lillie had named him Nebby) brought back flashbacks of my attempting to protect Tintri from Spearows back when I first started my own journey.

    Lillie pleaded with me to do something, so I made a flying leap onto the bridge in an attempt to save Nebby, but moments after I had thrown myself over Nebby to act like a shield, the part of the bridge we were on broke.

    Misty understandably panicked, but on the way down, I got the idea to invoke my Heart Song--Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul…

    As Misty, Brock, and Lillie watched in awe, Tapu Koko--one of the four guardians of Alola--came and rescued me before I could hit the water. I gave him a mahalo nui--a big thank you!

    Lillie was relieved Nebby was all right, but all the excitement tired her out, so Brock suggested we go back to town.

    Hau wanted to battle with me, but after Brock explained what had happened, he was stunned, and went and told Mahina.

    Mahina told us that by nature, Tapu Koko is a trickster, and he may or may not decide to help you, so to have him rescue me was very unusual indeed. Hikina figured that maybe Tapu Koko saw something in me and decided to rescue me, a hypothesis Hala agreed with.

    Hala also warned us about Team Skull, who are apparently the local evil team here--Misty was relieved that at least Team Rocket wasn't here--better a group of hoodlums in black and white than a guy and a girl with a talking Meowth.

    Naturally, both Sparks and Hekili wanted to know more about Team Rocket, so we told them both (and our starters) about our previous adventures and encounters with them.

    We talked late into the night--or at least until Popoki started nudging me towards a hammock, so I guess he knew it was time for us to get to bed.

    He's waiting for me to finish this letter, so I'll call it a night here--I can't wait to embark on the Island Challenge with my best friends! I only wish you could be going with me, as well.

    Your friend,
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
  3. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 3: A Festive Fishing Trip

    Dear Serena,

    The festival honoring Tapu Koko got underway--the rituals are a sight to see. Then Hau immediately wanted to battle me to make up for not getting a battle yesterday. Popoki had no problem with Misty, Brock, and our two guides, Hikina and Mahina, watching us.

    After we finished our battle, Mahina told us that one of the events during the festival was a fishing contest. But this is no ordinary fishing contest--rather than sitting on the shore and waiting for the fish to bite, you go out on the water aboard a Lapras (or a Sharpedo, for the more adventurous, but that brought back bad memories of Houen, so I opted to ride on a Lapras. This also meant putting on wetsuits and flotation belts (this way, if any of us fell off, we'd still float on the surface) Of course, Popoki was more than happy to keep the bug Pokemon away from our bait. (even though he wanted to eat some of it on a few occasions, much to Brock's chagrin)

    Now, one thing to keep in mind about Misty that isn't readily apparent from her dispatches to us while we were traveling together is her fear of bugs. We're talking standing on a chair screaming. I have managed to get her to tolerate butterfly Pokemon (she thinks they are pretty) and Ledybas (those are good luck), but anything else that crawls, bites, and stings--no go. Thankfully, Popoki proved himself a fine bug catcher (even if he did gross everyone out by eating a dead Metapod in full view of us)

    Metapod eating aside, we soon set sail aboard a fleet of Laprases--me, Misty, and Brock on one, and Hikina and Mahina on two others--they were our "chasers" if something went wrong. Misty was equally enthralled by being on the water--and riding a Lapras is a very calm and relaxing way to go out on the sea.

    Hikina showed us a good way to look for where the sea Pokemon were biting--look for churning water. This proved to be good advice--I found a Magikarp that was 20 inches long (and netted me a silver medal in the beginner's division of the competition) Supposedly, Lana, the captain of the trial at Brooklet Hill over on the next island, once caught a Magikarp that was 35 inches long, but even Brock was unsure if that was true or not (he did acknowledge that it could be true, because "sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction".)

    Mele, Misty's Popplio, is a real joy to be with. As per Hekili:

    "This Pokémon can control water bubbles. It practices diligently so it can learn to make big bubbles."

    And make big bubbles she did--she was happily blowing bubbles the whole time--or at least until one popped on top of Popoki--he was NOT happy about being wet, and definitely not happy about us laughing at him as Brock dried him off.

    He did, however, seem to like Mele blowing bubbles in shapes after Misty suggested she try blowing a square (which she did, and then proceeded to blow a replica of the Cascade Badge (or at least, that's what Misty claimed it was--Mahina suggested it looked more like a teardrop, which the Cascade Badge resembles)

    But our leisurely trip was spoiled when two Team Skull grunts out looking to stir up some trouble approached us in an attempt to steal my Magikarp and claim it as theirs. It turned out we didn't need to battle them at all--a lot of what they claimed to have caught by themselves were actually pilfered from others, so we circled around the lagoon, giving back what catches they pilfered.

    Even though we didn't battle Team Skull per se (as doing so outside of the festival arena was bad luck--but these Team Skull hoodlums don't look like the type to respect ancient traditions.) Mele did frighten them off with a HUGE bubble--that popped directly over their heads! (she was laughing about the dripping wet grunts all the way back to shore)

    Our catches were then judged, and I won the silver medal in the beginner's division, as I told you before. As soon as the contest ended, some kids came asking Brock to share some of his stories, and he gladly obliged with "The Princess on the Glass Mountain" (he's still getting used to being called "Uncle Brock", though.) The kids loved the adventure, so we told them a few more (and played a few tunes for them too) Off the top of my head, we performed "Team Rainbow Hunts the Red Gyarados" (adapted to Alola by having a character frighten off a Wishiwashi) "The Gold Pidgeot" (the kids loved my doing Kitsune's voice--Brock, of course changed her from a normal Ninetales to the Alolan variety, which looks almost dream-like (I have a picture I plan to enclose with this letter) Hala liked "The Lucky Warrior", and Misty led the telling of "Two of a Kind". We told some other favorites, as well, and Mahina pitched in by telling us a few Alolan tales and playing her ukulele.

    But the Cheri Berry on top? Hikina and Mahina are going with us on my Island Challenge! My first trial is the Verdant Cavern, just outside of Hau'oli City. Before that, though, we've got a few other Pokemon to pick up and a performance for the local trainer's school (which Prof. Kukui asked for us to do).

    So all in all, the festival was wonderful, and I have a new challenge to undergo--and I can't wait to show my skills to the trial captains!

    Until next time,
  4. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 4: Of Shopping and Stages

    Dear Serena,

    You would probably love the shopping in Alola--in addition to the obligatory souvenirs one must get from an Alolan vacation (I did get you a flowery shirt and a ukulele for Bonnie--comes with a case and a lesson book) there's some other stores you won't find anywhere else.

    Everyone that I've traveled with has their own unique shopping style Myself--I'm probably one of those weird guys that actually LIKES shopping (Brock would also be one of these). I tend to follow your approach--visit every store, but don't buy until you're absolutely sure you've found the best deal.

    Brock takes a more tactical approach to shopping--know what you want before you go, and keep an eye out for a deal. (making a list or doing appropriate research before you go) This means he will spend hours before the shopping trip reading reviews and comparing prices and features before leaving for the store--but he has been pleasantly surprised by a cheap brand or impulse buy.

    Misty's no impulse buyer by any means, but she has been known to have us carrying home a ton of packages. Luckily, she knows the budget if we give her one, and sticks to it.

    Being frequent visitors to the Hau'oli Galleria, Hikina and Mahina are very relaxed shoppers--come in, look around, maybe buy something, but mostly window shop.

    A few highlights from our shopping trip:

    --Popoki going bonkers for catnip Rattatas in the Pokemon supply store
    --Trying Alolan shave ice for the first time (I got Oran, Misty tried Blue Alola, and Brock got a citrus rainbow (a mix of Oran, Nomel, and Meli)
    --Mele entertaining some kids with her bubble blowing skills
    --Meeting up with Hau and Lillie (luckily Nebby behaved himself and stayed in Lillie's bag the whole time
    --My reuniting with Kirisame (he had somehow stowed away in Misty's bags), and Brock reuniting with Tarina (Lillie had picked her up from the airport--and had already gotten quite a fan club thanks to her red mage-like attire--even when it's 90 degrees out, she will not take off her red mage's cap and red cloak--She did have a Pichu-sized Alolan shirt on underneath the cloak.

    She immediately wanted an Alolan shave ice, so back to the shave ice shop we went. Mahina recommended she try the LOA flavor (Lilikoi-Oran-Aguav)--she thought it too sweet, but enjoyable nontheless.

    Then a hula dancing show started on the center stage in the central plaza, so we watched that for a while. Mahina was more than happy to answer Tarina's questions, and Hikina pitched in when Mahina didn't know an answer. (she was floored to learn that guys do the hula just as often as girls--and that while hula is the most recognized Alolan dance, there are other kinds as well.)

    Tarina was getting bored with the show after a few numbers, so we decided to head over to the toy store. Brock reminded her that she was only getting one thing per location we stopped at, so even though she was floored at the size of the toy store, nothing was really worth buying that she couldn't find just as easily at home.

    About then, we found the music store. Hikina was happy to tell us what to look for in buying a ukulele, so finding one for Bonnie was easy as pie.

    Our other big event for the day was performing for the Trainer's School--Principal Emily is really nice, and not too shabby a trainer--Popoki had no trouble taking down her Magnemite and Alolan Meowth.

    The show went over very well--we led off with "The Language of Pokemon", then I led "The Legend of Susanoo", Brock told "The Legend of Lake Akai", and Misty had everyone laughing with "The Great Feast"--we did humor Tarina with some adventurous tales (any version of a Moltres story will do, as well as tales about epic quests.)

    Needless to say, Tarina was out like a light when we made it back to the hotel tonight--Popoki seems to like her--he is standing guard over her little bed so no one wakes her up. Since we didn't get to see the entire mall in one trip, we'll be headed back there tomorrow, plus some time on the beach.

    Until then,
  5. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 5: Letting the Fur Fly

    Dear Serena,

    Well, so much for more shopping and beach time--Popoki got into a tussle with Team Skull and got in way over his head, so it took me a couple of days to nurse him back to health.

    "How'd he get all banged up to begin with?" you ask?

    It all started as we were going back to the shopping district yesterday morning. A Persian hissed at him, which he interpreted as a challenge. And Persians from Alola aren't the sleek cream yellow cats you see at home in Kanto--they are more muscular and bulky, with rounded heads and purplish fur with a blue jewel on their foreheads instead of a red one.

    So you can imagine a tiny little Litten doesn't stand a chance against the Alolan Persian--it was a miracle Popoki wasn't killed!

    We learned while at the Pokemon Center the Alolan Persian in question belonged to one of those Team Skull hoodlums--and there were rumors going around that they were up to no good at the marina.

    Misty wanted to tear that Alolan Persian limb from limb for hurting Popoki, but Brock told her that if Popoki wanted to defend his honor, that was his prerogative. Misty was still stewing that Popoki had gotten in over his head and taken on a Pokemon much too strong for him.

    As we were waiting for Popoki to come out of the exam area, we met the Trial captain for Melemele Island, Ilima. Like most native Alolans, he is very friendly and laid back, but Ilima has a strong sense of justice--so he was none too pleased that Popoki had challenged a Team Skull Pokemon and nearly been killed.

    Thankfully, Popoki seemed well rested when he came out of the exam area some time later. Nurse Joy told us to let him rest at home for a few days before he attempted to battle again--and especially keep him away from that Alolan Persian.

    Ilima let us stay at his house, and pitched in with caring for Popoki. I mentioned we were on the Island Challenge, and he replied he knew from our Challenge pendants, and that we were more than welcome to take his trial. I told him we would as soon as Popoki was ready to battle again.

    To say Popoki was treated like an Alolan chief of old was an understatement--Ilima gave Brock some locally caught Magikarp to feed him, we all pitched in with our musical abilities (I asked Brock and Misty to play "Minor Swing" in your honor to give Hikina, Mahina, and Ilima a taste of Kalos, and they were more than happy to oblige. Even Popoki couldn't resist trying to dance, never mind that it hurt even for him to move!)

    Mahina loved the song, and immediately went to work trying to pick it out on her ukulele. When that proved too difficult, she switched gears to, surprisingly enough, "The Hearthome Pilgrim"! When I asked how she knew the song, she explained she had heard it in the movie "The Voyage of the SS Anne", and thought it sounded nice. I decided to join in on my Pokeflute for another rendition, and we pretty much serenaded Popoki all day teaching each other tunes. (I can say that now I know a few Alolan songs and traditional tunes on the Pokeflute--I'll have to play a few of them for you on my next video dispatch.)

    Popoki was back to his old self again today, so the first thing he wanted to do? Go to the marina and take down that Persian.

    Both Ilima and Misty tried to talk him out of it, but Popoki was dead set on defending his honor. He told us that the Alolan Persian had called him a wimp, and he wanted to prove he was as strong as it was. So despite Misty's misgivings, we all went to the marina in hopes of finding the Alolan Persian. Ilima went with us as well, in case something went wrong.

    It didn't take long for two grunts--one of them being the owner of the Alolan Persian--to arrive. And boy, did Popoki fight! It was like his recovery period had made him stronger. The Alolan Persian may have been strong, but Popoki had an advantage his opponent did not--speed!

    Try as the Alolan Persian might to wound him again, Popoki seemed to know when his opponent was going to attack, and dodged every time before attacking himself.

    After a very long and drawn out battle, the Alolan Persian finally yielded, admitting that Popoki was the stronger of the two, even though he was owned.

    Seeing his pet defeated, the two Skull grunts fled the marina in terror. Even after that fierce battle, Popoki was none the worse for wear--a far cry from yesterday!

    Ilima was impressed that we didn't even need his help after all. When I told him that I still wanted us to take the trial, he instructed us to meet him at the trial site--a place called the Verdant Cavern.

    With all the excitement today, we never did get around to our shopping and beach time. Oh well--there will probably be more opportunities for us to shop as we travel.

    For now, I'm gonna get some rest--I still have my first trial to get ready for, and I'm sure Popoki will be ready for whatever Ilima has up his sleeve!

    Until then,
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
  6. ChloboShoka

    ChloboShoka Writer

    This is a really cool idea. I really did sense Ash's character in these letters. I would like to see Serena's replies to the letters.
  7. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Maybe I could include Serena's replies to a letter as a placeholder if I have to cut an episode (since I am writing this remix live as the Alola arc airs), or as a lead up to meeting Sina and Dexio in the game--that's a cool idea!

    Keep in mind this is not quite the games you remember, nor is it the anime you remember--my goal is to create a re-imagined version of the anime combining the games, the real show, and my own imagination.
  8. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 6: Hatching a Paradise

    Dear Serena,

    Today we got to tour Lillie's mansion, after Samson entrusted us to give an egg to Lillie. Myself...I don't know what is in the egg, I was just the errand boy.

    I also have my second Alola Pokemon--an Oricorio. According to Sparks:

    "This Oricorio has sipped bright yellow nectar. Her bright, cheerful dance melts the hearts of her enemies."

    She also melted Misty and Brock's hearts as well with her cheer like song. Lillie told us that it can also come in three other forms. I liked the Flamenco form the best, so I'll be keeping an eye out for some Red Nectar once we get to Ula'ula Island.

    What did I name the Oricorio? I named her Alegria, at Brock's suggestion. She and Tintri hit it off right away, but Popoki was a little iffy around her--one swipe and she gave him a pecking he won't forget for a while. (much to Kia'i's, Tarina's and Mele's delight)

    Tarina wanted to play "Ponyta" with her, so we let them run around the spacious garden area while we toured the rest of the house and looked for a place to put the egg. Lillie was a little hesitant about accepting the egg at first--and with Nebby as mischievous as he is, her concern he would crack it was understandable. But her chief butler (whose name was Donovan) assured her that there were egg holders in the nursery on the second floor--and Brock added they hold up to being dropped and knocked over, which assured Lillie enough to accept the egg. She actually looked pretty happy posing for a picture with the egg (which I will enclose with this letter as well as all the pictures we took of the mansion itself.)

    The Diancie statue in the main foyer made me think of you and the adventure we had with her. So when Lillie asked about our adventure with Diancie, I told her, Hikina, Mahina, and her staff all about it. (even though Misty and Brock have heard the story before, they didn't mind hearing it again.

    Also on the main floor was one of three huge swimming pools. So after Tarina and Alegria found us in the foyer, we wasted no time suiting up and having a grand time splashing around in it. (Lillie looked so pretty in a shimmering white one piece--Misty wore her cyan bikini, I had my thunderbolt trunks, and Brock had packed his silvery trunks)

    Once we had dried off, we were treated to lunch as thanks for our errand. This was way more than your standard Alolan plate lunch--this was about on par with my welcome luau, if not more. Lilie had made some coconut bread with Pinap chunks in it (which Tarina loved, so Lillie gave us two more loaves--one for later, and one for on the road)

    Also on the menu was salad (with this very sweet dressing-Lillie told me later that it was a special honey-Meli dressing she had made herself.) It was enough to make Tarina WANT to eat her vegetables--I think she ate more salad than anything else, which surprised Brock.

    Normally, Tarina is very good about eating her vegetables, but sometimes it takes a little coaxing if the vegetables in question are not ones she's eaten before or if they have an unfamiliar dressing or sauce on them. But Brock just tells her that she only has to eat a "courtesy bite"--and if she doesn't like it after the courtesy bite, she doesn't have to have any more. But one bite of the salad and she was asking for more faster than the cooking staff could bring out fresh bowls. She would've eaten her weight in salad several times over if Brock hadn't told her to save room for the main course and dessert.

    The main course was a selection of meats from the grill--the shoyu Combusken and the kalua Tepig were my favorites. But dessert was another Alolan delicacy--haupia, a coconut pudding-like dessert that you'll often find at any luau or Alolan food restaurant. Mahina told us that it's more like proper Jello than a pudding. Hikina added that haupia is usually served cut into squares for easy eating.

    The haupia was a little too sweet for Tarina's liking, but Lillie had some Pinap and Nomel tarts as a backup dessert if the haupia didn't go over well.

    We were really full from lunch, but that didn't stop Tarina from wanting to check out the athletic complex. So after leaving her to ride Alegria some more around the track, we discovered Pool #2 (but Misty was in no mood to swim any more), so Tintri and I ran on the treadmills while Misty showed Lillie how to ribbon dance, and Brock practiced on the archery range (Lillie was impressed he could hit a target from 300 feet away (the maximum length away her targets could be moved). But this is Brock we're talking about--asking someone who has shot down Team Rocket's balloon multiple times from farther than 300 feet to shoot from 300 feet is cake for him.

    Alegria caught the tail end of Brock telling Lillie how we shot down Team Rocket at Johto's famed Swap Meet, so he had to start again so she and Tarina could hear the story too.

    I could go on and on about the mansion, but by the time we finally left around 8 PM, we STILL had not seen all that Lillie has to do there. But Lillie said we were more than welcome to come back and visit if we wanted to.

    Both Alegria and Tarina are zonked out on the mattress near my desk, and Popoki's giving me the 'Hey, are you done writing at all?' look, so I'll wrap this up and get to bed--we head for our first trial in the morning!

    Until next time,
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
  9. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Interlude: Christmas in Alola

    Dear Serena,

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas (or as they say in Native Alolan, Mele Kalikimaka.)

    There are, in fact, Christmas trees out here, but they have to be ordered and shipped here well in advance. If people don't want to wait that long, they just wire Christmas lights around palm trees.

    That's exactly what Professor Kukui did this year rather than wait for the Christmas tree ships. (when they arrive, all the harbors are packed--it gives "I saw three ships come sailing in" a whole new meaning.)

    We did receive some Christmas gifts from our Alolan friends--flowery shirts for everyone, and candy and malasadas galore (Hau even made them all festive with beach-going icing Delibirds). Popoki got some catnip toys, and Tarina got a picture guidebook to the region. She was oohing and ahing over all the pictures all day--Brock assured her that yes, we would be going to many of the places in the guidebook.

    With everyone else cooking up food for a massive Christmas luau, I decided to read up on what to expect in my trial in the Verdant Cavern (like the Gyms at home, the trial sites are closed down for the holidays--we'll get our first trial done after the new year).

    One thing all the trials have in common is what's called a Totem Pokemon--a larger and more powerful version of a Pokemon. Depending on how many people are facing it, it will adapt its tactics accordingly.

    Verdant Cavern is unique among the trials in that depending on when you decide to challenge the trial, you may face a different Totem Pokemon. Go in during the day, and you'll face a Gumshoos. Go in at night, and you'll see a Raticate. Given the choice, I'd much rather face the Gumshoos--Hikina says that the Rattatas and Raticates are Dark type, and given I have no Fighting types currently with me, that would be a very difficult, if not impossible, trial.

    If we win, we can earn another Z Crystal--I learned the one Samson gave me is officially called the Pikapaz (Pikachu and Topaz--clever name if you ask me) Tintri's been very protective over his Pikapaz, but Mahina was nice enough to get it made into a necklace for him-and he hasn't taken it off yet!

    Remember I said I'd bring back a ukulele for Bonnie when I left? Well, I ended up getting a ukulele of my own from Mahina. She's offered to give me lessons while we travel, but right now, I'm just trying to translate what I know from guitar to ukulele. Brock says that its easier if you think of guitar chords a fifth upward, it's easier. (or so he read in one of the lesson books.)

    At the moment, I only know three chords, but Mahina assures me that "three chords and the truth" also works on the ukulele--but we'll see once I get C, F and G7 down.

    Popoki and Alegria are very patient with me trying to practice. Alegria doesn't seem to mind my constant going back and forth between chords, but every time I sit down to practice or have a lesson, Popoki gives me an annoyed look--as if he's saying "Are you gonna actually play a song rather than plunking on the same three chords all day?" I guess some Pokemon don't realize that if you want to do something well, you practice.

    Mahina did tell me that "Happy Birthday" uses the three chords I know--so maybe I'll surprise someone on their birthday by playing that while everybody sings. The closest birthday I know about is Bonnie's in January--so if you can get her to join you for a video chat on her birthday, we'll have a little surprise for her (I should have that and a few songs down by then)

    For now, I can only play something that only vaguely resembles "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". (much to Popoki's chagrin)

    Tuning the little guy was probably the hardest part so far--but Mahina told me that I can still use an E note as a reference--luckily, Brock was already in tune, so I just used a guitar's high E as my reference. (a ukulele's third string is the E, if you're curious. From there, you tune the fourth string (A), then go back and tune the first string (G), then finish with the second string (low C). If you did it correctly, it should create a little melody one can remember by the sentence "My Litten has fleas" (this really got Popoki mad--he was protesting that he did not have fleas for about five minutes until Mahina assured him it was just a memory aid)

    Misty found Popoki's offense to "My Litten has fleas" bemusing. Tarina's already talking about when she can sing along with me (she actually sounds very nice for a Pichu), and Mele and Kia'i don't mind listening to me practice.

    I only forced him to listen for only a few minutes after I finally got in tune and Mahina taught me my first three chords. As I said before, it's a bit of a learning curve, and it's definitely a little scary not having the two extra strings a guitar has, but thanks to Mahina's patient guidance, I'm getting the hang of it.

    So for now, we're enjoying what's left of the Christmas luau--there's still plenty of kalua Tepig and shoyu Combusken--enough for all of us to have plate lunches for the next year.

    Lillie did come by with more of her Pinap and coconut bread, and she got a kick out of my new ukulele too. I joked that so far, the only song I knew was "My Litten has fleas", which got everyone laughing (and annoyed Popoki).

    As much as I hate to bother Popoki with my practicing, it is a nice way to pass the time until we can hit the road for the trials--so I'll go practice now while he's outside playing with everyone.

    Until next time,
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
  10. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 7: Just a Normalia Day!

    Dear Serena,

    We did it! We cleared our first trial!

    The day we traveled to the Verdant Cavern dawned bright and early--Hala came with Hau and delivered us breakfast. Over breakfast, I told him about how Tapu Koko rescued me and wanted to battle me. Hala replied that if Tapu Koko had such an interest in me, it was possible he had chosen me as a hero (which if Alolan stories are any indication, is more common than you would think.)

    Hala went on to tell us that he was the one that makes all the Z Rings. Misty wanted to see his workshop, and Hala agreed to let us take a tour if we defeated him in the Grand Trial--and in order to do that, we had to clear the trial in the Verdant Cavern.

    On the way, Hau told us that Hala preferred Fighting types--which would not be a problem for Alegria and Kia'i. He also regaled us with a few Tapu Koko stories (there are three other Tapu--one for each island. But I don't know what the other three are yet) Misty liked the one about how Tapu Koko pulled up the Alola region's islands with his strong arms, and Brock liked the one about how he invented the kite and released the winds. I'll have to have Misty and Brock perform that one for you on my next video dispatch--Brock even sings as Tapu Koko!

    Hau turned out to be a decent storyteller, and so the trip to the cavern flew by. Ilima was waiting for us at the cavern entrance, and escorted us inside. As our guides, Hikina and Mahina were not allowed to go in with us until we had cleared the trial.

    Once inside, (and after letting us gawk over the mossy rocks and natural crystals in the cavern for a minute or two), Ilima gave us our challenge: collectively defeat three hiding Pokemon, then challenge the Totem Pokemon.

    This was a harder task than it sounded, because there were hundreds of little holes in the rock, and every time we thought we had a Pokemon cornered, it would escape and emerge from another hole! Eventually, Misty got the idea to have someone block the Pokemon's primary and secondary exits. so we managed to corner and defeat a Rattata this way.

    Brock then spotted a Zubat fluttering among the stalactites, but as we were trying to corner it, we ran into the two Team Skull grunts we defeated before. But all Brock had to do was nock an arrow to scare them away. I actually heard one say as they fled the cavern--and I quote--"If we don't get out of here, we gonna be target practice, homie!"

    I can only hope Brock won't have to make a Team Skull goon target practice.

    Tintri managed to shock down the Zubat, and I didn't even have to invoke the Pikapaz--you know well how far a single Thunderbolt can go.

    After we cornered and defeated a Rattata for our third Pokemon, I asked Sparks what to expect for the battle with the totem. He told us that every Totem Pokemon has a status boosting aura--and the Totems of the cavern had a defense boosting aura. Misty asked him about Gumshoos, and he told us:

    "When it finds a trace of its prey, it patiently stakes out the location...but it’s always snoozing by nightfall."

    Even though Mahina was outside, Hekili managed to come inside and find us. She told us:

    "It adores having Rattata and Raticate for dinner, but as it’s diurnal, it never encounters them. Gumshoos does, however, boast incredible patience."

    Brock mused that that explained why there were two Totems of the cavern, but I was thankful to be facing the Gumshoos and not the Raticate.

    With that, the three of us entered the Totem's den.

    The battle with the Totem Gumshoos was somewhat easy--and not only did it have the defensive Aura, but protective barriers. Brock dispelled those with some arrows while Kia'i was on standby, Misty, Tarina, and Mele distracted all the ally Yungoos the Totem summoned, while my team and I focused on the Totem itself.

    It was a longer battle than I thought it would be, but in the end, we all pulled through to win!

    With the Totem defeated, we claimed our first Z Crystal from the pedestal in the den--the Normalia Crystal. When invoked, it lets any Pokemon with a Normal move use the Z Move Breakneck Blitz, which is basically a high powered Tackle attack.

    Ilima congratulated us on a job well done, and invited us to come visit him after we completed the Grand Trial. We agreed, and started back to Iki Town.

    But then something weird happened while we all slept--someone took the Pikapaz in the middle of the night, but left the Normalia Crystal untouched. After we turned the guest house upside down looking for it this morning, Tapu Koko appeared to me again, and told me I could only have the Pikapaz back if I could defeat Hala. I accepted his challenge, and so we all went to train near the Mahalo Trail for the battle in the morning.

    I've never backed down from a challenge before, and I will not back down from this one--I will prove to Tapu Koko I am worthy of the Pikapaz, or die trying.

    Popoki's pacing near the hammock again, so I'd better finish this up and get some rest for my match with Hala tomorrow.

    I can only hope Tintri can do well without the Pikapaz...

    Until next time,
  11. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 8: A Show of Strength

    Dear Serena,

    This is so surreal...not only did I beat Hala, without the Pikapaz, but I also got two Z Crystals out of the bargain--Tapu Koko let me have the Pikapaz back, and Hala gave me the Fighting Z Crystal, the Fuerte Amber.

    Popoki, Tintri, and Alegria were raring to go when we got up today, so on the way to the massive battle platform in the center of Iki Town (which Mahina told me was called the Arena of Champions), Sparks gave me the rundown on the three Pokemon Hala tended to use when battling trial goers.

    Mankey and Makuhita I had seen before, but Crabrawler seemed interesting, so Sparks gave me his info first:

    "While guarding its weak points with its pincers, it looks for an opening and unleashes punches. When it loses, it foams at the mouth and faints.

    Tarina found this disgusting, but Brock quickly assured her that that did not mean Crabrawler was prone to rabies (much to her relief)

    Hekili still gave me info on Mankey and Makuhita just because:

    "Its raging tires it out and causes it to fall asleep, but the anger resonating in its dreams causes it to wake up—which infuriates it all over again."

    "Their daily routine consists of training together first thing in the morning, eating and napping in the afternoon, and then more training afterward."

    Sparks also had this to say about Makuhita:

    "It was originally brought in from another region, but now Makuhita from Alola are famous all over the world."

    Both Rotoms were floored when I told them I had been to Houen, where Makuhita and its evolution Hariyama came from--Brock assured them that we'd tell them about it later, after my match with Hala.

    The match itself wasn't too terribly hard--Popoki made short work of Hala's Mankey, and his Makuhita was no problem for Alegria. But when Tintri faced off against Papai, Hala's Crabrawler, then it started to get difficult.

    Although Tintri was fast, Papai was even faster, blocking Tintri with his claws before he could even attack. Minutes before Tintri could attempt his famous Thunderbolt, Crabrawler whacked him with a Crabhammer, almost sending him out of the arena (which would've counted as a defeat)

    Just as Tintri came crawling back to me, battered and beaten, part of me wished I really had the Pikapaz to turn the tide. But I've been up against the wall like this before, and probably will be a few times for as long as I am a Trainer, but no matter how many times I've been against the wall, we've come through every time.

    This time, it was the Normalia Crystal that came through for me--I found it in my shirt pocket, and invoked it--and Tintri went charging at Papai so quickly, he was nothing more than a silvery blur. The impact from the attack was so hard, it could be felt at least a few feet away.

    Brock wondered just what in the world Tintri had done to turn the tide--Misty figured his Volt Tackle had evolved, but Hala said they were both wrong--Tintri had used the Normal Z move Breakneck Blitz to finally win the match and our first Z Crystal of the day--the Fighting Z Crystal, the Fuerte Amber.

    Moments after I gave Hikina the Fuerte Amber for safekeeping, Tapu Koko appeared to me, and said he was very pleased with our battle--and I had more than earned the Pikapaz back. He got a mahalo nui--a big thank you--for that.

    Hala told us that some Z crystals had more than one Z Move inside of them--and the Pikapaz was one of these. In addition to Gigavolt Havoc (which it shares with the Electric Z Crystal, the Astrapi Topaz), the Pikapaz also has two other special moves of its own--10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt and Catastropika (which boosts Volt Tackle to a crazy high power level) We also learned that there are a whole lot more Z Moves out there to discover, but so far, only 26 had been ID'ed. I told Hala I would let him know if we discovered a new one on our travels.

    We hiked back to Hau'oli City to catch the ferry to the next island, Akala Island--it'll probably be late when we get there, but I'll have time to at least practice my ukulele before bedtime (Tintri doesn't mind me plunking out what vaguely sounds like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"--although he prefers to hear me practice the flutes and whistles more.)

    Lillie and Hau were interested in hearing about our adventures in Houen, so Brock and I told them all about it. Even Sparks and Hekili came out of our Pokedexes to listen as we reminisced on the ups and downs, and laughed over favorite memories.

    We still have a ways to go before we reach Akala, but I did do some reading on what to expect on the three trial captains there. Misty's already excited to meet Lana, Tarina's already excited to see Kiawe do a traditional Alolan fire dance, and Brock's eager to talk recipes with Mallow (who knows? He might learn some Alolan recipes from her)

    At the moment, Misty's watching the sea go by, Tarina's napping on Brock's lap (have I mentioned that the Pikachu family looks cute when they sleep?) Brock's reading over the chapter on Akala Island in the guidebook, Hau's gorging on malasadas from the snack cart (again), and Lillie's having a nice conversation with Tintri--he's already eager to take on Lana.

    Popoki wants to lie in my lap and watch the sea, so I'll wind this up and give him some space to relax--next time, I'll have pictures and stories of a new island!

    Until then,
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
  12. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 9: Down on the Ranch

    Dear Serena,

    We arrived in Heahea Harbor not long after you logged off yesterday--I hope Bonnie liked her birthday concert.

    Some notable locations in the city include the Dimensional Research Lab (which sounds fascinating), and the historic Tidesong Hotel.

    The kahuna of the island (a beautiful lady named Olivia) and Mallow, the Grass type captain, met us at the ferry terminal when we arrived. Not surprisingly, Brock was already talking recipes with her (and surprisingly did not go gaga over her--maybe because Olivia was watching him like a Braviary?)

    It turns out Mallow and her family live on a ranch not far from Paniola Town, which in turn was just up the road from Heahea City. She's good friends with the other trial captains here, Lana and Kiawe. After teaching Brock how to make a Nanab and coconut cake, she spotted my ukulele in my bag and asked me to play something. So I played "The Silk Napkin" and a few other trad tunes that I felt sounded good on a ukulele. (although Misty found it amusing that "Ninetales' Blessing" and "Saddle the Ponyta" worked on a ukulele)

    Native Alolan's still a bit of a tongue twister for me, so I was a little thankful I can't quite sing and play ukulele at the same time yet (I can at least play the accompaniment to someone while they sing, as you and Bonnie saw)

    After we bid Olivia and Mallow goodbye, Misty wanted to go see the hotel, but before we could get in the next tour group, who should we run into but Sina and Dexio!

    Sina wanted to know how you were, and I explained that you were getting settled back in Kanto before leaving for Houen--she and Dexio say hi!

    Dexio asked if we had seen any glittering green blobs anywhere, and when we said no, he explained that they were Zygarde cells and there were known to be larger red ones called Zygarde cores--and if we collected 100 of them, something cool would happen. So now we have a Zygarde Cube (a gift from Clemont) to collect them in.

    After saying good bye to Sina and Dexio and taking our tour of the hotel (which I took a ton of pictures of), we made our way up the hill to Paniola Town and the ranch.

    Hau met us in Paniola Town, and asked to battle Brock. Brock agreed, and won handily. But not only did Kia'i evolve, so did Mele and Popoki!

    Sparks at least gave me info on what Popoki had turned into:

    "Torracat, the fire cat Pokemon. At its throat, it bears a bell of fire. The bell rings brightly whenever this Pokémon spits fire."

    Hekili pitched in by telling me about what Kia'i and Mele had become:

    "Dartrix, the blade quill Pokemon. It throws sharp feathers called blade quills at enemies or prey--and it barely, if ever, misses!"

    "Brionne, the pop star Pokemon. It cares deeply for its companions. When its trainer is feeling down, it performs a cheery dance to try and help."

    Misty found this endearing, and gave Mele a big hug--never mind she wasn't the one battling!

    After we wished Hau good luck on his own trials, we arrived at the ranch. Mallow welcomed us to the ranch, where we met her family and her resident Tsareena, Nene. (short for Kukaenene, a kind of black berry native to Alola--Mallow told us that while people can eat them, they don't really have a taste--the wild Pokemon like them more)

    Hekili was happy to tell me about Tsareena:

    "It is known for the beauty of its well-shaped legs, so it sometimes appears as a mascot in advertisements for beauty salons."

    Mallow's mom warned us that while Nene was generally good natured, she would not hesitate to kick you if angered, bothered, or annoyed.

    About then, some Team Skull grunts looking to stir up some trouble barged onto the ranch grounds--Brock was about to fire an arrow, but Nene gave them a kicking they wouldn't forget. Her battling was almost like a dance--so I made a mental note to acquire a Bounsweet (what Tsareena starts as) of my own.

    Mallow's dad was relieved Nene had scared off the Team Skull grunts, and suggested we hold a luau in her honor. Mallow thought that a great idea, and so the kitchen went in a flurry of activity. On top of that, Lana and Kiawe arrived to join the party and pitch in.

    Tarina wanted to see Kiawe's traditional fire dance, but he assured her that if we came to the trial site on Wela Volcano, he'd be happy to demonstrate some Alolan dances--in his words, "This is not a good place for fire to burn, iki kaikuahine.--we'd burn down the whole ranch if I danced here." (Brock had to explain that "iki kaikuahine" meant "little sister")

    Lana wondered what we could do after our huge meal, and Brock suggested a sing-along--we teach our new Alolan friends some songs and stories from our travels, and they teach us some Alolan songs and stories.

    Mallow thought this was a great idea, and asked me to play "The Silk Napkin" on my ukulele again for Lana and Kiawe. I agreed, and threw in a few tunes on both Pokeflute and whistle as well--of course, Misty and Brock eagerly joined in with their own instruments, and before long, a grand session was underway.

    By the time we finally started feeling tired, it was late into the night. Mallow let us sleep in today from playing all night last night, but after we take today to rest, we'll be off to Brooklet Hill, where we can take on Lana's trial and earning the water Z Crystal, the Aquas Sapphire.

    Until then,
  13. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Reply 1: From One to Another

    Dear Ash,

    Hello from back home in Kanto! Getting something from you is already a big event, whether it came from the mailbox or the waves of cyberspace.

    Don't worry, I still talk to Clemont and Bonnie every day--this was how I got Bonnie with me for her birthday concert last week. (she says thank you for playing for her, by the way) Even though the song you're learning came out in fits and starts, I'm sure you'll have it up to speed in no time, considering how well you love to practice.

    As for me, I got my Contest Pass in the mail at about the same time your last letter came, so Krystal, Espoir, and Bijou are one step closer to Contest stardom in Houen! (they say hi, as well)

    When I told them where you were, the first thing Bijou did was try to hula dance (but thanks to a Sylveon's feelers, it looked more like a ribbon dance--she says to ask you if there is such a thing as ribbon dances in Alola)

    It's great you're meeting so many new people on your Alolan adventure--Lillie is a real sweetheart, and Hau reminds me of you--eager for anything, brave, and a fondess for sweet things (malasadas sound so good--maybe you can track down a recipe so I can attempt to make them myself?)

    Speaking of sweet treats, I should have a box of creme puffs and some chocolate chip cookies from Delia on their way to you, in case you get homesick. You're welcome to share them with your Alolan friends.

    The Island Challenge sounds interesting--I can't wait to hear what the other trials are like. Did you go back and see Ilima before you left for Akala Island? Or did Misty get to see Hala making Z-Rings? Prof. Sycamore is intrigued by Z Moves--maybe while you're doing the favor for Sina and Dexio, you can tell him about it?

    Having a Pokemon in your Pokedex must be a handful--but considering how rare they are even within Alola, I'm sure every Rotom has their own personality.

    I think Popoki already has some aspects of you--your never say die attitude and tenacity, as well as the tendency to act before you think (but you're getting better about acting before thinking--believe it or not, you weren't kidding when you said that actually has helped you on your adventures)

    As far as news from home, this part of Kanto's undergoing a cold snap--having Krystal here is better than any heater. It reminded me of our adventure and camping every night--I hope you remember to give your own guitar some love when you get home, as fun as a ukulele is to play. (Don't worry, Delia's giving it a wipedown every week, so it will look its best when you decide to play it again.)

    Bonnie wants to know if Brock's come up with any more folktale ballads since you left--she really liked "The Ballad of Brian and Epona" and "The Search for Moltres" (for some reason, the long stories lend themselves well to songs--so if you wondered why she was singing the chorus of "The Ballad of Brian and Epona" during your concert for her, the chorus is just that catchy!)

    We'll go no more a roving, a roving in the night
    We'll go no more a roving, let the moon shine so bright
    We'll go no more a roving...sorry, it's stuck in my head too! I have to commend Brock for thinking up a tune, writing the music and lyrics, practicing it all, and playing something that long! I don't know if I have the skill to do that!

    In other news from home, they finally finished that sandwich shop they were building before you left. I decided to check it out and write you a report. In addition to sandwiches, they have soups, baked potatoes with just about every topping imaginable, and an array of handmade baked goods. (When you get a chance to go there, I highly recommend the baked potato soup) The decor reminded me of all the little bistros in Kalos--remember those?)

    Krystal says she misses you--she says that practicing dancing's not the same without your whistle, but I'm sure we can come up with some new appeals for our travels in Houen.

    Since you've been there, any places that are must sees and must dos outside of the Gyms and the Contest Halls? I want to get the same experience your friend May did when she traveled with you. (she says she's thinking of you, by the way--just passing the word along!)

    May tells me that the format for the Contests in Kalos were borrowed from Shinou's rules--I'd actually like to meet Dawn as well, and hear about your adventures in Shinou too--the Houen Contests sound a little stripped down compared to the three events in Kalos contests. It's okay, though--I'll still give my all, and should I be lucky enough to win the Grand Festival this time, I will dedicate that to your near victory in the Kalos League--I don't think anyone in Kalos will forget all the things you did there.

    Well, as I write this, Krystal is sprawled on the beanbag chair in my room watching it snow, Espoir is meditating in the corner by the bed, and Bijou is trying to tickle my feet with her feelers--her way of signaling something's going or getting your attention. I think she's trying to tell me mom's calling for dinner, so I'll wrap this up here. If you want to video chat, I should be free tomorrow--thankfully the way to the post office is within walking distance, so I'll have this mailed tomorrow too.

    I look forward to your next letter and our next chat!

    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  14. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 10: Questions, Answers, and Arrivals

    Dear Serena,

    Thanks for your letter! It's always nice hearing what's going on at home (and I am quite looking forward to trying that new sandwich shop when I get back!)

    To answer all your questions (as best as I can):

    --We did go back and see Ilima before we left for Akala Island--he congratulated us on earning the Normalia Crystal, and gave me an Everstone (which Popoki happily wanted to hold, so Ilima showed me how Everstones are traditionally given to a Pokemon in Alola--a quick prayer wishing the Pokemon happiness as it is ground into powder (it still retains its evolution suppressing powers even when ground up or consumed) and rubbed into the Pokemon's fur.) So now Popoki will remain a Torracat--which is probably a good thing--I've seen pictures of Incineroars (Litten's final evolution) and it gives me the willies! But Popoki assures me he's happy just the way he is.

    --Misty did get her wish to see Hala's Z-Ring workshop. Hala usually makes them out of metal, but he has made a few from native Alolan wood. They're not completely wood, either--they're actually reinforced with metal, so they don't bend or break.

    Once he has the basic ring shape cut, Hala decorates the ring with all kinds of cool designs before setting the stone in it--every stone has a meaning, as I've told you before.

    To answer Bijou's question: Yes, ribbon dancing is performed in Alola, but it also has elements of hula in it. If I ever get to watch such a performance, you'll be the first to know! (If I get permission, I may even take a video.)

    Brock has been enjoying himself collecting Alolan folktales to perform, but so far, he hasn't really found any that are worthy enough to set to music yet (but we've only covered two out of four islands so far, so there may be stories on the other islands that are ballad worthy he hasn't found yet.)

    I'm actually in the process of going through my Houen photo album in an attempt to find some places for you to visit while you are in Houen--if you can, drop by Petalburg City and say hi to May and her family for me.

    In addition to the Gyms and Contest Halls, I would recommend exploring Granite Cave near Dewford Town (keep an eye out for the large gem mine and the cave paintings!) and the Trick House if you're into brainteasers--the experience is different every time!

    Of course, no trip to Houen should be complete without trips to Worlds of Fantasy, the Mossdeep Space Center, and the Jeweled Memorial (The memorial marks where we managed to seal Groudon and Kyogre and defeat Houen's twin evil teams--Team Magma and Team Aqua. May will be happy to tell you the tale if you ask.)

    If you visit the memorial, you'll notice that the Omega Ruby (where Groudon is sealed) and the Alpha Sapphire (where Kyogre is sealed) are under heavy guard--this is so Groudon and Kyogre can never be released again.

    I'll have some more recommendations on our next video chat.

    As for the three of us--we're making steady progress towards Brooklet Hill--it's been raining a lot lately, but Mahina tells us that the hill is one of the wettest spots in Alola, making it a prime spot to look for Water Pokemon (you can bet that Misty's going to try and catch some when we get there)

    We met up with Lillie on the way to the hill, where we found out the egg I gave her had hatched into an Alolan Vulpix! Unlike the Vulpixes at home, Alolan Vulpixes are all white--and Ice types.

    Lillie named hers Keokeo (Native Alolan for "white"), with Brock's approval. Seeing Lillie cuddling Keokeo gave Brock more resolve than ever to find an Alolan Vulpix of his own, so Hinata will have a playmate. He tells me he plans to name it Yuki should he get one. According to Sparks, one can find wild Alolan Vulpixes near Tapu Village, which sits at the foot of Mt. Lanakila, the highest peak in Alola. They're also plentiful on the mountain proper, if you're up for braving the cold.

    Popoki and Keokeo hit it off right away--they spent a good twenty minutes just romping around the Pokemon Center. I don't think Popoki even noticed I was practicing on my ukulele (although since he evolved, he's been a little more tolerant of my plunking around trying to memorize chords). It's a lot of fun trying to figure out some trad tunes I already know how to play on Pokeflute and whistle on ukulele, but Hikina and Mahina have been working to find me more Alolan songs to try (I've already exhausted the initial songbook they made for me)

    So today was one of the rare sunny days around this area, so we happened to stumble upon an artisan's market. Lillie tells me that one of the bigger markets to find handmade items and trinkets is in Konikoni City, on the west side of Akala. We didn't walk away from this market completely emptyhanded, though--Misty bought a handpainted Primarina carving, and Brock got a peridot necklace for Tarina (they are said to protect against nightmares and bad luck)

    But i do know what attracts Popoki--if my ukulele keeps him away, just play any flute and he'll come listen--be this one of my whistles from home or the little wooden flute I got at the market--Misty is convinced it is a piccolo, but Brock says it is actually a little bit bigger than that (which would explain why it sounds like a combination of a whistle and an ancient bansi) I'll have to play it for you on our next video chat.

    Right now, Lillie is helping Brock with dinner, and Tarina, Keokeo, and Popoki are sprawled on the floor playing "Go Magikarp" with Misty's playing cards. I've been doing some research on Lana's trial--and we'll have to work as a team to pass it!

    Until next time,
  15. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 11: Two Snowy Hearts

    Dear Serena,

    Remember when I told you Brock wanted an Alolan Vulpix of his own?

    Thanks to running into Samson on the way to Brooklet Hill, he got one!

    It turned out he had a second Alolan Vulpix egg that had hatched, so Brock got the second one--not surprisingly, he named her Yuki, as he had promised.

    Tarina and Kia'i immediately hit it off with Yuki--just like Keokeo, Popoki seemed to like Yuki too. But the biggest "aw" moment was with Hinata--the two of them were nuzzling noses immediately. (Vulpixes rub noses with each other as a sign of acceptance and friendship, but they will also rub noses on a human's cheek to indicate the same thing)

    Not surprisingly, Yuki immediately rubbed Brock's cheek, but Lillie wondered why Keokeo didn't do the same thing with her. This puzzled all of us, so Brock put his knowhow of Pokemon to good use, and attempted a controlled introduction.

    Misty suggested making a spot for Keokeo to be alone, and then attempt a controlled introduction. This seemed to help, as Keokeo immediately took to the soft blankets and toys Brock left for her. But when it came time to introduce Keokeo to Lillie, Keokeo didn't want a thing to do with Lillie--she was interested in her toys. We figured that she would be ready eventually, and decided to try again later.

    The next day, she was venturing out from the safe space, but kept fleeing back there when Lillie tried to interact with her. Brock reminded her that to a small Pokemon like Keokeo, humans are effectively giants. So if you want a good interaction, get down onto her level.

    Not surprisingly, when he bent down and urged Keokeo to come to him, she came! After petting her a little, I talked Lillie into trying that. But when she got down on Keokeo's level, she fled!

    Misty wondered if the problem was not Keokeo, but Lillie. The rest of us agreed--we had noticed that Lillie was unusually fearful around Keokeo. I suggested that since Vulpixes and other Pokemon can sense fear, Keokeo was also sensing Lillie's fear?

    Our focus shifted from introducing Keokeo to Lillie to Lillie gaining confidence to interact with Keokeo (and theoretically Nebby, but he didn't come out to look at Keokeo) I talked with Lillie a little last night, and asked why Lillie was so afraid of something as cute as a Vulpix (I didn't phrase it exactly that way, but that was the basic gist of my question.)

    Lillie explained that she was afraid of getting scratched, bitten or frozen. I just assured her that you can avoid many Pokemon related injuries if you learn to read their body language.

    The next day, Misty suggested Lillie play with Keokeo in an attempt to establish a bond. So one piece of ribbon later, we started seeing progress--Keokeo actually played with Lillie for a good thirty minutes!

    Brock took the time to explain to Lillie what the different Vulpix tail positions mean:

    --erect usually means contented and happy
    --drooped down between the legs usually means sad or fearful
    --wagging vertically like a fan means they are ecstatic about something
    --wagging horizontally is an intimidation display, so that's the one to watch--doing it lightly means they want to play, but big swishes are a warning to attackers to back off.

    There was a beach not far from the house we were staying in, so we took Lillie and Keokeo down there for more bonding time, and allow Mele a chance to be out.

    Alolans are big on hospitality, so rather than camping in the wilderness, there are hundreds of these little roadside guest houses (according to Mahina, they are called hale, which not surprisingly is Native Alolan for "house"), so you don't have to spend the night in the elements. It's still a good idea to pack camp gear if you're in a more remote location and you can't hike down to find a hale. As a general rule, hale are usually on well traveled roads near towns and on the roads to towns and locations where people gather--so it makes sense there be some on the way to Brooklet Hill.

    Hikina tells me there's a proper Pokemon Center by the hill itself, but most hale are pretty nice.

    So while we were relaxing on the beach near our hale, some Team Skull goons decided to try and stir up some trouble. Lillie called for help, and what happened next was truly amazing--Keokeo rescued her moments before Tintri and I could help, and she even froze a few of Brock's arrows to intimidate them even more! (Icy arrows, no matter what the surrounding temperature is, tend to sparkle in the sun)

    Not surprisingly, the Skull goons ran for their lives at seeing the sparkling arrow aimed right at them. We then gasped as for the first time after several days of coaxing her, Keokeo rubbed Lillie's cheek. She was beyond happy that Keokeo had finally accepted her--she was actually a little depressed figuring out why Keokeo had not wanted to bond with her.

    I just assured her that if you show your Pokemon you are confident. they'll trust you and look up to you. Granted Lillie still has a lot to learn, even this basic lesson, but finally getting Keokeo to accept her was the highlight of the day.

    The rest of our beach excursion was uneventful--I did a little surfing with Tintri, Misty trained Mele a little bit, Brock helped Tarina build a sandcastle, and Hikina and Mahina played Frisbee for a while before Tarina spotted a volleyball net in the sand.

    So after a round of volleyball (Lillie proved to be a fast learner and helped the girls beat us boys), we returned to the hale for the night.

    As I write this, Lilie's helping Brock with dinner while the Vulpixes play with Popoki--they look so cute chasing him!

    Hikina says we should be getting close to Brooklet Hill, but we'll see what else we find on the road tomorrow!

    Until then,
  16. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 12: My New Best Friend

    Dear Serena,

    What a day! After a harrowing encounter with some Lycanrocs (what Rockruff evolves into), we have custody of Rocky, the professor's Rockruff. He seemed to take a liking to Brock the best, even though he is very loving and affectionate to all of us.

    "How did we encounter Lycanrocs to begin with?" you ask?

    We met Prof. Kukui in one of the Pokemon Centers on the way to Brooklet Hill (not the one we need to get to, but one of the other ones on the way there), in a panic--his Rockruff Rocky had been mysteriously leaving during the night and returning all scratched up, as if he had tried to pick a fight with a bigger Pokemon. Misty wasn't sure if this was the case, so with the professor's help, we rigged a tracker with video capability in Rocky's fur, with the intention of reviewing the video in the morning.

    When we did review the video, we saw Rocky was going to a place known as Clawed Hill--a sacred place for Rockruffs, where they battle the two Lycanroc chiefs that live there to prove themselves (and potentially evolve, if they are old enough to do so.

    Misty asked the professor about the hill, and Kukui told us a local folktale that explained why Rockruffs (both wild and tame) prove themselves at the hill; which Brock dutifully copied down.

    According to Brock's notes:

    Long ago in Alola, there was a man who owned a Rockruff he had raised from a puppy, naming it Wiwo, after its courageous personality. ("Wiwo" is one of the Native Alolan words for "courage" if you're curious)

    One night, the man came to the house and panicked when he saw that Wiwo had somehow disappeared. He looked all over the place, but a few hours later, Wiwo returned, lagging as if wounded. Genji wondered how Wiwo could have gotten tired, but still gave him fresh food and water.

    The next night, Wiwo disappeared again, only to return a few hours later, exhausted. After this wore on for several nights, Genji wondered where Wiwo was going, and why. So that night, he followed Wiwo from a distance.

    It turned out that Wiwo was going to the top of a hill, where every year in the spring, young Rockruffs would prove themselves to the two Lycanrocs who watched over the mountain. Those that triumphed would be initiated into the pack, and evolve if they were old enough to do so. So the man would lead Wiwo and some of the other Rockruffs into town to trade, and they would come back loaded with many rare and beautiful items and supplies. But their route went over the mountains, which was often treacherous. In addition to the wind, rain, and snow, there were also rogue Lycanrocs, Ursarings, and bandits to worry about.

    One day, as they neared the peak of a particular mountain, Wiwo stopped, and warily eyed a large bush by the road, as if ready to attack at any moment. When an Ursaring emerged from the brush, the man realized Wiwo was doing more than protecting the pack--it was a matter of pride, and Wiwo wanted to prove he was the strongest.

    Wiwo and the Ursaring fought for hours until both sides were exhausted, and then went their separate ways.

    The next night, Genji wondered how he could help Wiwo triumph over the Ursaring. He considered hiring a hunter, but knew that would hurt Wiwo's pride. Inspired, he took some butter left over from dinner, and rubbed them on Wiwo's fur, until the butter hardened like armor.

    The man went with Wiwo to the mountain again, and watched as the Rockruff and the Ursaring clashed beneath the moonlight. But this time, the Ursaring's claws slid right off the little Rockruff, allowing Wiwo to Headbutt him. The battle raged even fiercer than before until finally, exhausted and mortally wounded, both Wiwo and the Ursaring perished at the same time.

    Heartbroken, the man buried them both on the mountainside, and Rockruffs from miles around came to mourn him. Ever since then, the two Lycanrocs have claimed the hill for themselves, and the hill came to be known as Claw Hill, in memory of the brave Rockruff that gave his life for the pack.

    Mahina told us that the two Lycanrocs that watch over the hill are named Alaula (Native Alolan for "dawn") and Ahiahi (literally means "twilight", but can also be translated "dusk" or "evening") Hikina added that depending on when the Rockruff evolves, it will look completely different. If it evolves during the day, it becomes a Dawn Lycanroc, which is basically a Rockruff with more Mightyena-like features--it keeps its pale brown fur, with more white and a little black around its ears and neck. If it evolves at night, it turns into the Midnight Lycanroc, which looks almost demonic, with ruby red eyes, almost blood-colored fur, and a white mane!

    Sparks cautioned us about the Midnight Lycanroc:

    "The more intimidating the opponent it faces, the more this Pokémon’s blood boils. It will attack with no regard for its own safety."

    This naturally frightened Rocky, but Hekili assured us:

    "When properly raised from a young age, it will become a trustworthy partner that will absolutely never betray its Trainer."

    Hikina asked Rocky what form he wanted to be, and he told us he wanted to be a Dawn Lycanroc. It was about then that Prof. Kukui realized that proving himself to Alaula and Ahiahi was what Rocky really wanted to do, and so turned Rocky over to Brock's care--so now Brock has five Pokemon now: Tarina, Hinata, Kia'i, Yuki, and now Rocky.

    Brock's first order of business was helping Rocky build his strength and agility--particularly if he was going to face the two Lycanroc chiefs of the hill. So we spent all day yesterday training--Tarina and Tintri helped by making a lightning maze for Rocky to navigate. He only got shocked twice, which being a Rock type, only caused him a little discomfort. The rule was that if he got shocked, he had to start over.

    After making it through Tarina's maze without getting shocked, I had Tintri make a longer and more difficult one. A Pikachu's electricity is more powerful, so while it didn't faze Rocky, it still caused him discomfort--thankfully, he only got shocked once before he made it through.

    Next, Misty measured his speed by seeing if he could catch an arrow in flight. So she had Brock fire a shot, and Rocky had to run and catch the arrow while it was in the air. It took him a few tries to get this, but once he got the hang of catching arrows, Kirisame challenged him to try catching a Water Shuriken or two. While a shuriken has more surface area than an arrow, they also move faster, so this was harder for Rocky. Yuki helped by freezing them into ice shuriken, which slowed them down enough for Rocky to catch. Misty noticed that the ice shuriken gave Rocky motivation to keep trying until he got one (He did eventually catch one).

    After one more training exercise (dodging Kia'i's blade quills) we all made the journey to Claw Hill, where Alaula and Ahiahi were waiting for us.

    Alaula welcomed Rocky, and told him that if he wanted to join the pack, all he had to do was defeat him and Ahiahi in battle. Ahiahi added that even if he lost, he would always be an honorary part of the pack, even if he traveled with humans.

    We watched, and Rocky easily took down Alaula--dodging Kia'i's blade quills really helped him dodge Alaula's Accelrock (a really fast Rock type move--Brock was stunned at how quickly Alaula moved.)

    Ahiahi proved a bigger challenge--although Rocky gave his all, he was no match for the Midnight Lycanroc and his Rock and Dark attacks.

    While Mahina tended to Rocky. Alaula congratulated him for his efforts, and Ahiahi told him he would be a great chief himself one day. Rocky just replied that while being chief would be fun, he wanted to stay with Brock, and learn all he could. The two Lycanrocs thought this a grand idea, and with their blessings (a simple group howl at the moon), we continued on our way.

    I don't think Prof. Kukui will have to worry about Rocky--he's in good hands with Brock.

    Until next time,

    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  17. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 13: Getting an Adventure Started

    Dear Serena,

    Apparently, while we were playing on the beach yesterday, Popoki, Tintri, Kia'i, and Mele got into a little adventure of their own.

    See, we stumbled upon the beachside town of Kolio Town on our way to Brooklet Hill, and Misty wanted to take a break from traveling, so we decided to hit the beach instead of another day of walking.

    Now, even though she is a Brionne now, Mele is still capable of blowing bubbles, but these bubbles are even bigger than the ones she made as a Popplio. She was practicing this while we were busy exploring the beach, but somehow she made one large enough to trap Kia'i--a Dartrix--inside!

    Panicked, Popoki, Mele, and Tintri followed the bubble with Kia'i inside into the town, where it popped in the middle of a park. Luckily, Kia'i was all right--he had landed in a flower garden, so those cushioned his fall.

    Mele was very apologetic, but Kia'i was none the worse for wear. He figured that since they were in town, they may as well explore it. Tintri thought this was a grand idea, and allowed Kia'i to lead the way, since he likely knew the area well.

    After spending a good hour exploring the park, they emerged on the streets of the town. Tintri was a little worried that we would discover them missing and panic, but Popoki assured him that the beach was visible from the town, so when they were ready to go back, they could. This calmed Tintri a little, and so the four of them went exploring.

    Luckily, Tintri still had plenty of money in the little bag Mom made for him before we left, so if they wanted to sample some of the many treats and street food on offer, they could. But they did get a lot of free food for being Pokemon--according to Tintri, they got lots of shaved ice, a malasada or two (including a huge chocolate cream one that even Hau would have trouble finishing) and Pokemon sized portions of every combination of Alolan plate lunch you can imagine.

    It wasn't just food they sampled--they sampled a lot of Alola's arts and traditions too. They watched a hula dancing show on the square, and wandered through the craftsman's market (Tintri didn't see anything he felt I would like, but Kia'i liked seeing bows made from native wood--Brock would certainly make an impression on his audiences by using a stage bow made of something like koa wood!

    The craftsman making the bows regaled the Pokemon with stories of Akala's guardian, Tapu Lele. She is both destructive and creative with her shimmering scales--according to Alolan lore, she is seen as the giver and taker of life. By themselves, the scales can heal anyone or anything they touch. But touch too many of them at one time, and they will harm you.

    Mele shuddered at this, but Tintri copied down a few of the stories for Brock's research.

    As they rounded a corner into an alleyway, they did not expect to find Team Skull waiting for them! Kia'i pinned a few grunts to a wall with some blade quills, and Mele heaved a Bubblebeam to buy the group time to escape, but it was not long before the Skull goons were hot on their trail.

    I happened to hear Tintri calling for help as they neared the beach, so after alerting everyone that our starters and Tintri were in danger, we hurried towards the path into town, where we met our starters.

    Mahina was relieved the Pokemon were okay, but the next question was what to do with the Skull goons. Luckily, Brock managed to frighten them off with merely nocking his bow to shoot (I still wonder why they freak out at just seeing an arrow aimed at them, never mind that the arrow Brock is aiming is dulled, and so would not harm them even if he were to shoot. Misty just blew it off with "Well, I would run too if I had something sharp and pointy aimed at me!", but Hikina had a much cooler sounding explanation--Decidueye, Dartrix's evolution, is said to protect people in danger by firing its shining wing feathers at foes in a manner similar to arrows. So maybe the Skull grunts think Brock is a huge Decidueye?

    Misty was relieved that Mele was all right, and asked her how they had run into the Skull grunts to start with. Mele confessed everything, and pleaded with Misty to not punish her for practicing her bubble making abilities. Misty assured Mele she would not punish her for a natural talent, but to be aware of anything (or anyone) that could be in the area before doing any bubble making. Brock added that if the Pokemon wanted to go anywhere on their own, to tell someone where they were going, and what time they expected to return. I did commend them for traveling in a group--who knows what would have happened if any of them were by themselves.

    Relieved that her master wasn't going to punish her for an innocent mistake, Mele then demonstrated Bubblebeam for Misty, much to her awe, and happiness that she had learned a new move. Even Popoki was impressed, and eagerly shot fire balls into the sky for Mele to extinguish.

    By the time both of them showed any sign of being tired, the sun was going down. We decided to stay in a beachside hale for the night, then see the city for ourselves in the morning.

    So for now, Kia'i is watching the sun set from the window, Popoki is playing with Tarina, Rocky, and the Vulpixes, and Mele is doing some bubble making under Misty's supervision. Tintri is perched on the dresser overlooking the hammock I'm lying on to write this, waiting for me to finish this.

    I can't say I blame him for being tired--he had an exciting day today. Hopefully tomorrow we can see what the Pokemon discovered in the city.

    Until then,
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
  18. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 14: Sparks' and Hekili's Rescue Rotoms

    Dear Serena,

    Remember the cartoon "Pichu Bros. Rescue" we used to love as kids? Turns out it's alive and well in reruns, and it has quite the following in Alola. It's not just kids that watch it either--every episode is a family affair, with everyone crowded around the TV to watch.

    It turned out my knowledge of that show helped us track down the Pikapaz, again. (to be fair, Z Crystals are powerful, so it makes sense that people and Pokemon go to great lengths to find one, buy one, or otherwise get one)

    It started when we finished watching today's episode (the one about the flying carpets), and Hekili noticed that the Pikapaz was gone. After turning the living room of the hale upside down looking for it (including looking in the couch cushions), I next asked Misty and Brock if they'd seen it. (Misty had been outside helping Prof. Kukui with something, and Brock had been making lunch, which didn't put them anywhere near the living room when it disappeared.)

    Hikina and Mahina were also cleared, because they had been with me watching "Pichu Bros. Rescue" at the time of the crime. Hikina put forth the theory that Tapu Koko was testing me again, but Mahina wasn't so sure.

    The day's episode of "Pichu Bros. Rescue" sent Sparks' imagination into overdrive--what if those flying carpets we saw in the episode were real? Prof. Kukui assured him that "magic carpets only exist in fairy tales, yeah!"

    But Sparks wasn't going to give up--he and Hekili proclaimed themselves the Rescue Rotoms, and vowed to get my Pikapaz back. as their cry of "Rescue Rotoms, away!" echoed across the island, Misty just sighed "They really need to cut back on TV..."

    Our first break in the case was an underground tunnel in the yard. Sparks believed this to be the work of King Meowth and his goons, but Brock assured him it looked closer to a Diglett hole to us.

    Hekili realized Brock was onto something, and happily told us about the Alolan Diglett:

    "Its golden hairs function as sensors. It pokes them out of its burrow to monitor its surroundings."

    The question was, where were the Digletts, and why did they want the Pikapaz? It was very clearly the wrong Z Crystal for them, so they obviously couldn't tap into its power.

    As we were debating what to do next, an Alolan Diglett popped up from the hole! Misty demanded to know where the Pikapaz was, but the Alolan Diglett assured us that it didn't have it. Misty's response to that? "Well, if you don't have it, who does?"

    Brock calmed Misty down, and explained to the Alolan Diglett the Pikapaz was very special to me--so that was why we were all looking for it.

    Sparks, ever the dreamer, speculated that maybe an Alolan Meowth wanted it, and tasked the Alolan Digletts to give it to him. Our Alolan Diglett replied that he had received it from another Alolan Diglett, and passed it on to another, but he was not the original recipient.

    Misty was not looking forward to climbing in a Diglett tunnel, but given our options for finding the Pikapaz were limited, we pretty much had no choice but to climb into the tunnel. Since Diglett tunnels are so large and vast, humans can easily walk in them, rather than crawling through them. Brock took along his bow and some arrows, just in case we had to fight something.

    Poor Misty--she had to put up with Sparks rambling on about past "Pichu Bros. Rescue" episodes. First he talked about the episode about a Croconaw sabotaging a human opera, then the episode where Zap and Bolt disguised themselves as idols and sang "The King Meowth Stomp" (which Brock and I both knew all the words to--so we proceeded to annoy Misty by singing the song.)

    Hekili wondered if some mad scientist was taking Z Crystals to power an enlarging ray, but Tintri reminded her that the show was just fantasy.

    It turned out that an Alolan Dugtrio wanted any and every Electric-type Z crystal he could find, in a (futile, in my opinion) attempt to become the world's first Electric and Ground type Pokemon. Misty blew off the Dugtrio's ambitions as fantasy at first, but then noticed that the Alolan Dugtrio was wearing a necklace with an opal that had the Team Skull emblem on it!

    Hekili told Brock to try and shatter the stone, in hopes it would break the spell. Just like that, the arrow pierced the opal, and shattered it, bringing the Alolan Dugtrio and its Alolan Diglett companions back to their senses.

    When Misty explained to the Alolan Dugtrio what was going on, he laughed and blew off what he had believed to be real moments earlier as "a plot right out of 'Pichu Bros. Rescue'". He then proceeded to tell his Alolan Digletts to start returning the Z Crystals they had collected to their rightful owners. The Pikapaz was one of the first ones they returned.

    Back at the hale, we told our Pokemon and Prof. Kukui what had happened. Mele thought it would make a good story, and Prof. Kukui told Misty "I'd totally read that fanfic, yeah!"

    So after commandeering Prof. Kukui's PC, Misty set to work writing our adventure as a "Pichu Bros. Rescue" fanfic, and posted it to WriteWorld. (If you want to read it, it's called 'Digging Up the Dirt'--and is currently ranked as one of the top ten hot new fics in the "Pichu Bros. Rescue" section.)

    Sparks was so pleased he had seemingly saved the world--he's still on his Rescue Rotoms kick, never mind our adventure took place three days ago.

    Knowing Sparks, he'll probably have a new obsession here in the next day or so.

    Until next time,
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  19. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 15: A Sweet Beginning

    Dear Serena,

    Remember when I said I wanted a Tsareena of my own?

    Well, we finally made it to Brooklet Hill's Pokemon Center (the hill itself should actually take a few more days to get to), and a passerby was so touched by a good deed we did for Mallow today, he gave me a Steenee! (Bounsweet's second stage--it becomes Tsareena from this form) As I promised, I named her Kala.

    In order to understand what we did for Mallow today, I first have to tell you about the forms of Oricorio and how they evolve.

    Oricorio is a bit of a unique Pokemon in that it doesn't evolve per se, but it changes form when it drinks a certain type of nectar. While every island has the flowers that produce all four colors, it's easier to find a certain color on a particular island.

    For example, on Akala Island it's easier to find Pink Nectar, which turns Oricorio into the Pa'u type (Sparks did show me a picture--it looks very much like a traditional hula dancer!) He added that because of its knowledge of hula, this increases its psychic energy, which it then fires at its enemies. (his words) This fascinated Misty, and she even told Mahina "Who knew hula dancing could be both beautiful and powerful?"

    Tarina, on the other hand, wanted to see if hula would increase her electrical powers, but I only made it through the introduction of Prof. Kukui's work song before she fell asleep--I guess she was either tired from traveling a long way, or my meager ukulele skills can put Pokemon to sleep.

    Mallow met us in the Pokemon Center not long after we arrived and got our teams taken care of. She told us that she had a problem on her hands, and wondered if we could help. Not surprisingly, Brock decided to play the hero and asked what was bothering her. Mallow explained that she was in the process of trying out a new recipe (sizzling rice soup), but her first attempt put emphasis on the "sizzling" part--it had us all running for the closest bottle of milk or piece of bread we could find! She went on to tell us she wanted to try again, but she specifically wanted a cup of Yellow Nectar in an attempt to dull the spice and sweeten the dish a little. We promised we would give our best effort to help her out, and set out to look for a yellow meadow.

    This proved to be easier said than done, and we considered flying back to Melemele to get some from the massive yellow meadow there. But as we were coming back to the Pokemon Center, Popoki discovered a route leading to a small one overlooking the beach.

    It didn't take us long to find the meadow, and before long, we were happily crushing petals to fill a jar Brock had brought along to carry the nectar (Mallow had marked on the jar how much she needed before we left, but we agreed to bring back a little extra, just in case)

    As we were working, we ran into Lana, the Trial Captain of Brooklet Hill. After exchanging hellos and explaining what we were doing, Lana told us that the reason it rains a lot on Brooklet Hill is because of the Totem--and a lot of rain traditionally meant it was angry. To appease it, massive sacrifices of Magikarp and Goldeen were made.

    Misty naturally wanted to know what exotic Water Pokemon one could find on the hill, and Lana told us you could find Dewpiders, as well as the elusive Feebas, Finneon, Poliwags, Psyducks, Alomomolas, and lots of Wishiwashis. I had to remind her to focus--we could go look for Water Pokemon after we did this favor for Mallow and got to the hill itself. I did let Lana know we wanted to attempt the trial when we got to the hill, so I have that to look forward to at least.

    We said our goodbyes and got back to work, but the sweet smell of nectar attracted some Team Skull grunts looking to stir up some trouble. Luckily Rocky alerted us to them before we saw them. But it wasn't our Pokemon that frightened them off. Brock didn't even have to shoot an arrow, either--in our efforts to protect our haul of nectar, the Skull grunts disturbed a Beedrill hive--THAT scared them away!

    Once sure everyone was okay, we headed back to deliver our haul of nectar. Mallow was already cooking up her second attempt at the soup when we arrived, but the look on her face when she saw how much we'd gathered was priceless.

    Luckily, her second attempt at the soup was much less spicy--the nectar added enough sweet to counter the spice. But the recipe made a lot, so we decided to share some of it with the other patrons present.

    Another trainer on his way to the hill asked if we wanted to take care of his Steenee as thanks for the soup. His family was moving to the city, and they wouldn't have enough space for the Steenee to run and get the sunshine it needed. I agreed to take care of her, and named her Kala.

    So now, my active team looks like this:


    Kirisame is with me too, but he is on standby at Kukui's Lab if I ever need him. (fingers crossed I wouldn't have to need him--he deserves this vacation as much as I do)

    It's fairly quiet in the Pokemon Center right now, but we'll be on our way to the hill in the morning--I can't wait to prove myself for an Aquas Sapphire!

    Until then,
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  20. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Letter 16: The Second Guardian

    Dear Serena,

    One of the reasons for a vacation is to get away from it all. As enjoyable as its been exploring Alola alongside some of my best friends and meeting new friends, today Tintri and I went on an adventure by ourselves--and had another encounter with an Alolan guardian!

    The guardian I met? Tapu Lele, the elusive tapu of Akala Island.

    It all started as i was perusing all the tourist's brochures in the Pokemon Center this morning--one of them talked about a place called Treasure Island, which you could reach from Brooklet Hill via series of bridges.

    Tintri was all excited about gold, jewels, and pirates, so after telling everyone where we were going and when we'd be back, we headed out.

    The way there was uneventful, but as soon as we set foot on the island, did we see something pink that resembled a lady, dancing and spreading these shining scales around. I did remember to pack the little wood flute before I left (to serenade any Oricorios I found), so I played a little bit for the odd being.

    It was only after I finished performing, did she reveal herself as Tapu Lele!

    She wanted to know what I was doing there with Tintri, and I explained I had come on my own free will, to look for treasure. She just smiled and told me that I already had far better treasure than gold and jewels--I had my friendship with you, Misty, Brock, my other companions, my family--but most importantly, I had Tintri.

    In her words, my friendship with Tintri was "forged in a trial of fire, and has traveled from the heights of heaven, to the depths of the abyss. Take care of your companions on your journeys, hele, and they will take care of you."

    Mahina was stunned when I told everyone about my encounter some time later. Sparks was quick to tell me that Tapu Lele was not always that nice:

    "She is guilelessly cruel. The fragrant aroma of flowers is the source of her energy.

    Hikina assured us that judging how Tapu Lele was nice to us, we probably earned her favor.

    This spurred Mahina to tell me a story about Tapu Lele blessing the good and punishing evil. She had recorded this story for Brock earlier, so when I mentioned I wanted to include the story in this letter, Brock let me transcribe it from the recording. So what you are about to read is Mahina's words and Brock's in character voices in my writing.

    Tapu Lele's Poi (as performed by Mahina Kale, and recorded with her permission by Brock Harrison)

    Long ago, Tapu Lele, in the form of an old woman, walked down a mountain toward a village to wander among the people. She came to a large home thatched with ti-leaves, a sign of the family's high rank. The windows of the house opened out onto a lovely garden of taro, Coco palms and Nanab Berries. The setting was beautiful, and so Tapu Lele peered inside. She saw a family of well-dressed people sitting around a table, clearly enjoying a feast.

    "Alola," she called, and the man of the house turned, startled to see a stranger at his door.

    "Alola," he said, but he did not sound happy. "Can I help you?"

    Tapu Lele nodded. "I have walked a long way," she said, exhaustion in her voice. "I am very hungry. Perhaps you would be kind enough to offer me a pot of poi. I see you grow a great deal of taro in your beautiful garden."

    Now, the women at the table had spent many hours pounding the potato-like taro root and cooking their delicious poi; the men had worked hard at their harvest. And all they could think was that if they gave some away, that would be less for them later.

    "I'm afraid we have too little left to share," the man said. "This will have to last us for a long, long time."

    "Then perhaps a piece of fish?"

    "Ah, it's all gone, I fear."

    "A few berries for an old woman? To quench my thirst."

    "Oh, our berries are green. You probably cannot see they are green because your eyes are so old."

    However, Tapu Lele's eyes are anything but old, and now they gleamed with fire, but she caught herself from dousing the house with her scales. Instead she simply bowed and backed away.

    Tapu Lele continued down the road until she came to a neighbor's house, this one a small hut on a narrow patch of land. She stopped at the gate and watched as a family talked and laughed together in their little garden. They were enjoying the sight of the setting sun beyond the slopes in the distance, the slopes that many said led to heaven, where the four Tapu dwelled.

    "Alola--I see you have finished your supper, which is a shame since I hoped to have a little poi. I'm very hungry."

    The poor farmer smiled at Tapu Lele, and everyone in the family smiled as well, each one radiating warmth, as if they had been blessed by the guardians.

    "Come in, You are more than welcome. Please, make yourself comfortable."

    Before he had finished speaking, his wife had prepared a pot of poi for the old woman and led her to a mat on the floor. Tapu Lele ate heartily, dipping her fingers again and again into the delicious poi. When she had eaten her fill, she looked up and asked, "Have you any more?"

    Without hesitation, the woman filled the pot with another helping of poi, and once again Tapu Lele ate it all. Then she looked up. "Any more?"

    Again the woman did not hesitate to fill the pot as full as she could. "I'm so sorry," she apologized, "this is the last of our poi. As you can see, we have a small garden and little taro."

    When Tapu Lele finished eating the third pot, she rose from her place on the mat. She moved more slowly now, for she was full, but her face glowed with the light of pleasure as she revealed her true form.

    "From this day forth, whatever you plant in your garden at night will be full grown by morning, and you will have as many crops in your garden in one day as your neighbor will grow in 10 years."

    Then she walked outside, and when the family turned to wave goodbye to her, she had vanished.

    The next morning the poor man awoke and walked into his garden. He stared in wonder, for everywhere he looked, ripe Nanab Berries hung on new, sturdy plants, and full-grown taro stood ready to be harvested. His sugarcane plants reached so high he could barely see the tops.

    Then the poor farmer looked across the road toward the beautiful garden of his rich and powerful neighbor, and saw that the rich man's garden was bare.

    And so he understood that he had been blessed by Tapu Lele, because of his hospitality to a guardian of Alola.

    I don't think I'll forget meeting Tapu Lele--maybe she's granted me favor for my next trials?

    Until next time,

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