The world of Pokémon. An entire planet filled with wonder and mystery. Cultures from every inch of land, sea, and sky have formed a harmony with these fascinating creatures. No matter where you travel, you will run into Pokémon. And where there are Pokémon, there can be Pokémon trainers, people as young as ten years to as old as a century that form an unmatched bond with their partners. Pokémon battles are not simply fights to see when one side loses or one wins, but tests of the compassion and courage of both Pokémon and trainer. While some trainers can start their journey as young as ten years old, some can begin several years later, or even during the middle of their life. One such person has just received a letter that could very well give him that opportunity…
“Perr! Pelipper!” a white and blue feathered Pokémon sporting an enormous bill flapped its way across the sky over a small unassuming town, a small bag strapped around its body and a tiny postal service hat fixed atop its crest. The Pelipper went around, depositing mail in the various mail slots and mail boxes, occasionally landing on the ground to drop a package off from its satchel.
After delivering another package onto a doormat, it briefly stopped to preen its feathers before returning to the air to drop off the last mail at its final destination. The Pelipper mail carrier dived through the streets of the tiny town, already becoming busier and busier as the sun rose over the horizon. Several citizens began their daily routines of opening their window shutters, picking up the same mail that the Pelipper had dropped off, and beginning to cook breakfast for themselves or their family.
Finally, the mail carrier Pokémon touched down at the final house in Santan Town, the tiny beach-side community in the unassuming and small region of Palhm with a population that barely peaked at over a hundred people. Only a single envelope to be delivered, and judging from the waxed stamp sealing it, the letter within had to have some sort of significance. This wasn’t in Pelipper’s interest to find out as it was for his job to get it to its destination, so into the mail slot it went.
“Perrr!” the water and flying-type Pokémon gave a hearty croak as it lifted off to return to the post office. Inside of the two-story house with peeling blue paint, a stone stairway leading up to the door, and brand-new solar panels fixed to the rooftop, the denizens inside began to go about their own morning routine.
“Well, looks like the client canceled the appointment. He’s been having to deal with another Nincada infestation,” Gaston, a burly and hardened man with a fading mullet checked his phone’s newest received message, “At least that means I can get started on repainting the house.”
“Wow, a Nincada infestation this time? Last time it was a Combee nest, then it was Spinarak, now Nincada? At least he isn’t too afraid of bug-type Pokémon,” Tsuzuki shuddered at the mere thought, pushing her long black hair from her face as she started up the stove.
“Bummer. Well…” Gaston took in a sniff, “now what may you be cooking there?”
Tsuzuki looked back and smiled, “Your favorite. Eggs with sliced Tamato berry and herbs from the shop down the street.”
“Whew. Smells great, and I can’t wait for that to- hey. Isn’t Owen up yet?” Gaston looked towards the staircase.
“Are you really asking that?” Tsuzuki chuckled faintly, “Skitty!”
“Nyu?” the tiny pink Pokémon’s ear perked up at its name being called as it was sleeping on the windowsill.
“Go wake up Owen, why don’t you? He’s gonna have to start early to help his dad with painting the house,” Tsuzuki told the kitten Pokémon, and at once, the tiny pink creature bounded from the window sill and rushed up the stairs. After coming to the top, its eyes rested on the first door to its right. It was slightly ajar, so all that Skitty had to do was push its head against the gap, and squeeze right in.
Skitty entered the room filled with Pokémon memorabilia, as well as school supplies. Sprawled across the bed was the child in question, fourteen-year old Owen, snoring in his pajamas with the shirt having a Drowzee print. Skitty leaped on top of the bed, walked over, and began to bat at Owen’s freckled face. His nose scrunched up and he rolled over, his back now facing the Pokémon.
Skitty leaped over to the other side, and repeated the same process. Batting his nose, cheek, whatever. Again, Owen turned over flat onto his back.
“Mmm… ten more minutes…” he mumbled.
Skitty had lost its patience, and its tail straightened. The puffy pink section on the end began to glow, signalling that it was charging a move that Skitty had learned purely from repeating this morning routine many times in the past.
Skitty used Wake-Up Slap!
An aggravated scream came from upstairs, and Gaston rolled his eyes and chuckled as he opened the newspaper, “I’m telling you, better than any alarm clock.”
Owen descended the staircase, both his cheeks highlighted with the mark of Skitty’s tail, a groggy expression fixed on his face, “Morning.”
His mom smiled up at him as she fixed up the dishes for breakfast, “Gotta get up early today. You’re gonna help your dad repaint the house.”
“I thought he had to go down south to meet with a client or something.” Owen plopped himself down at the table while giving Skitty a few scritches on her head.
“Nincada infestation over at his house. Looks like I’m staying home today”, Owen’s dad noted, “and painting up everything.”
Owen looked down at the eggs and Tamato berries, and took a whiff of it in. The moment he did, his stomach rumbled, “Wow, at least this is something to look forward to waking up to. Thanks mom!”
Then, Gaston picked up the only envelope that came into the mail today. It was addressed to Owen himself.
“Hm. Well whaddya-”
When he turned it around, he noticed the wax stamp seal.
He looked again at the seal on the back, and although it was a pain to read from the letters that circled around the stamp, he could make out ‘Melemele Academy’.
“Oh my- Owen? I think this is for you.” Gaston passed the letter to its recipient, who was in the middle of a bite.
“Hm?” he took the letter, turned it over, and he too noticed the wax seal. He nearly choked on the eggs and berries in his mouth and spoke through his food, “Mmm! Mohm! It’z from the acadhmie!”
“Wait, really?!” she turned and walked over to her son, “Well, open it up!”
Owen wasted no time tearing open the envelope after swallowing his meal, and looked over the letter, reading it to his parents.
“This is to certify that Owen Lyon has been accepted into Melemele Academy- no way! I actually got accepted to go!” Owen stopped reading right at that part and jumped up from his chair, practically shouting from enthusiasm.
“Nya! Nya!” Skitty also joined in with the ruckus, having no idea what caused it in the first place as it began to chase its tail.
“Hold on, read the rest”, Gaston urged Owen, and got him to read the rest of the letter.
“Oh, right. Okay… your application has provided us with the wonderful possibilities for us to invite you over to the Alola region to participate in the largest academy program we have made just for trainers of all backgrounds and aspiring ages. Enclosed will be a plane ticket from Palhm Airport to Melemele International on August 25th… okay, so four days from now!” Owen could hardly contain the excitement.
The fact that no Pokémon professor resided anywhere near the Palhm region had meant that Owen couldn’t become a Pokemon trainer from age ten, and with other troubles such as pursuing more and more classes as the local school to eventually have the chance at becoming a trainer in the future finally seemed to be coming true right now.
“Congratulations Owen! Oh, I’m so proud of my little boy!” Owen’s mom squeezed him in a hug, to which his dad joined in too, practically crushing him between his two parents. Skitty also wrapped its tail around Owen’s leg, brushing her head against his leg.
“Awh, jeez! I can’t-” Owen finally gasped for air when his parents broke the painful embrace.
“I gotta pack up and get ready! I’m actually going to become a Pokémon-”
“Woah, hold on there buster. That’s three days away. And today…” his dad dropped a bucket of paint onto the table, “you’re helping me paint this house up.”
Owen’s enthusiasm quickly died, and he grabbed a paintbrush, groaning.
The car door opened, and Owen stepped onto the concrete of Palhm International Airport. A small traveling depot for an equally small region, it still kept to the aesthetic of palm trees swaying back and forth in the breeze. The airport was a three-hour drive from Santan Town, a three hours that Owen could hardly wait through as every second brought him closer to a new land, new people, and new Pokémon. Suitcase in hand, he wrapped his grey hoodie around the carrying case as a way of identification. A tan T-shirt with a faint pattern of Rayquaza was accompanied by grey shorts.
“Look at my young man, going off to Pokémon Academy to finally become a Pokémon trainer…” Owen’s mom wrapped her son tightly and kissed his forehead, “Now don’t forget your sunscreen. Alola’s sun can really make that place sweaty and hot. Even more than here.”
“Yeah, mom. I know.” Owen nodded and returned her hug, “Thanks so much. I’ll be sure to video-chat you when I can.”
“And take lots of pictures, okay?” Owen’s dad took him in for a hug, “And watch out for those Alolan girls, if you get my drift.”
“Dad!” Owen couldn’t help but roll his eyes.
“Goodbye, sweetheart!” Tsuzuki waved her hand as Owen disappeared into the airport.
Checking in and going through security was smooth enough as the airport wasn’t a major hub for Owen. Despite this, he had never traveled alone before. Most of the time he would fly was to travel with his parents to his grandpa and grandma who were living in Nimbasa City in the Unova region.
“Well, an hour to pass before the flight…” Owen thought to himself as he eyed the numerous people and Pokémon that were by their side. He could recognize a few, such as a Snubbull accompanying a woman who was talking on her phone, and a Furret that was scampering alongside a man, rushing to catch a flight.
Then, something caught Owen’s eye. It was also apparent that it was catching the eyes of many others around him as well. Strolling down the aisle way was what was obviously a trainer, and an experienced one at that as trudging right next to him was a gigantic blue-bodied and red-winged dragon-type Pokémon known as a Salamence. Several onlookers gasped at seeing such an extraordinary Pokémon so close up, the dragon-type paying no mind to the numerous eyes that have befallen onto it.
“Woah!” Owen couldn’t help but exclaim as he turned and saw the massive Pokémon.
The trainer stopped as he heard Owen’s voice, and glanced in his direction. Spiky black hair accompanied with a black and white jacket along with grey pants turned to Owen. His necklace that he wore had a tiny rainbow-colored stone affixed to it.
“I’ve never seen a Salamence before! Let alone one this close!” Owen started to view the magnificent Pokémon from every angle he could, the Salamence looking a bit less-than amused.
Immediately, the trainer put his hand in front of Owen’s face before he could take out his phone to snap a picture, “Hey, look. I’m not here for any gawking, alright?”
“But… then why do you have your-”
“Isn’t it obvious? Everywhere I’m going, I’m trying to find trainers that are at the very least competent to battle with. It’s an invitation.” the trainer rolled his eyes, “Just figures that I’d have a connecting flight in this literal ‘where’ of a place.”
Owen pursed his lips and stepped back, “Oh, well- hey! The Palhm region isn’t-”
“Really? And where’s your Pokémon league?”
Owen rose his finger, but quickly put it back down as the answer was obvious.
“Not even a Pokémon professor to start out new trainers. Let me guess, a local? Figures, since you don’t have a single Pokéball.” the trainer nudged Owen aside with his palm on his shoulder, “Now move aside and stop taking up time that I could be using to find someone who at the very least has a Pokémon.”
As Owen watched the boy and the Salamence walk past him, he could hear a faint muttering come from the trainer.
“Palhm region. What an absolute joke of a place. Why did my connecting flight have to be here…?”
Owen was about to retort, but realized the futility of it. A souring to his mood now engraved within him, he sat down in the waiting lobby. He just watched the clock as the arm ticked away…