~Fifteen Years Before~
It was a cool night in the town of Azaela, so to escape the chill, the town came together and made a big bonfire. The sun had set an hour ago, but the people were still about. The adults sat around and chatted, while the children ran around and laughed. Some of the elders were carving pokeballs, when Kurt, the wisest of the people stood.
"It is growing late." He announced. The kids groaned, but a smirk grew on his face. "But I believe before we return to our homes, you all deserve an old legend."
The children cheered, as one father began to look around. He spoke something to his wife, before he stood and walked through the throng of people. He smile as he spotted a familiar figure, hugging his pokemon.
"You treating Slakoth good, ___?" Norman smiled at his daughter, as she spun around. Slakoth was hugging her front, fast asleep, as the little girl giggled and ran over.
"Uh huh! He's fast asleep, nothing's gonna wake him now!" She chirped, as she made her way over. Norman laughed, as he swooped her up into his arms. She was getting big, it was sad seeing his baby girl grow up.
"Good job, my little sloth." Norman kissed ___'s forehead, as he walked back over to the main group of people. He sat down across from his wife, as he set ___ down in the grass. She had a perfect view of Kurt who threw some dust-like substance into the fire. The bonfire roared and colorful smoke rose from the flames, as some of the villagers drummed on their log seats.
"This is the legend of the first champion... A person who befriended Pokemon, who travelled all the regions, and met legendaries! They fought them with their companions and saved their people from danger that came from both Pokemon and people." Kurt started, as some percussion filled the air. Kurt clapped his hands together and began to sing. "Abandoned by their parents and raised by the gods, who could see they were destined for greatness. Though they were no bigger than you or me as a baby, they were a champion!"
Kurt danced around the fire, reenacting his lyrics. He zigzagged through the kids, ducking beside some as he extended his hands in exaggeration.
"With lightning speed! And they gave our people all the things we need, yes indeed. We were crawling on the ground. They looked around and said, "You need a little more space!" And they raised the sky!" Kurt rose up and raised his hands to the starry night sky. "So we could walk, so we could fly!"
"We were crawling on the ground. He looked around and said, "You need a little more space!" And he raised the sky. So we could walk, so we could fly!" The older kids repeated and laughed, taking each others' hands and spinning around together.
"We were walking in the dark, 'til our champ found a spark, down in the Spirit world. They climbed up higher and higher, bringing the gift of fire!" Kurt sung, hopping up onto a stump.
"We were walking in the dark, 'til Maui found a spark, down in the Spirit world. They climbed up higher and higher, bringing the gift of fire!" The adults repeated this part, with full gusto.
"When our champ was around, we were unstoppable. We shattered all the rules, ran free. We tore down every wall and we answered the call of the sea!" Kurt sung, as a sea breeze blew through the area. ___ shivered, her smile growing with every word. "We used to sail with gods, we were unstoppable. To islands, we could go explore. With every breaking dawn, our adventures would go on beyond the shore!"
___ rose from her spot on the grass, handing Slakoth to her mother, before she began to spin around. Her parents beamed at her excitement. Norman knew her soul was destined to be a champion. But at the moment, the little one's heart was somewhere else. Far beyond the land of Johto.
"Our champ taught us how to see the waves. Our champ taught us how the sea behaves. Our champ taught us how to see the skies. How to see the way the Wingull flies!" Kurt continued to sing. "Our champ taught us how the stars can guide us! the secrets that the ocean can provide us. How to see our way through wind and rain and know the way back home is there inside us!"
The fire roared as everyone hummed or danced along. Even Pokemon gathered around the surrounding area to watch the spectacle, everything seemed to be filled with joy and excitement.
"We ran the world, we were unstoppable. We learned to sail the seas alone. With every escapade, we were brave and unafraid of the unknown!" Kurt stuck a torch into the fire and lit it. He began to spin it in the air, it's flame dancing within his grasp. "We gathered up our strength, we were unstoppable. We chased the long horizon line. We faced tremendous odds. But we rumbled with the gods, and we were fine!"
Slowpoke lied against trees and fell asleep to the music, Wingull nested in the trees about and chirped along with the tune, and Kurt's Shuckle even swayed his head in enjoyment. Kurt tossed the torch into the air, causing it to swirl, before he caught it once more.
"Hey, master of disguise! They could assume any form, any shape or size. They used to fight fantastic monsters. Take 'em by surprise!" Kurt shouted into the air.
"Master of disguise! They could assume any form, any shape or size. They used to fight fantastic monsters. Take 'em by surprise!" The crowd of people repeated back.
"Until the fateful night, the only time he ever lost a fight. A thousand years ago, against a demon named..." Kurt trailed off.
"A-Mal... A-Mal... A-Mal... A-Mal..." The crowd murmured.
"A-Mal was a brutal steel Pokemon. Legend says, she devoured the champ whole, and with the disappearance of our champ came the end of our voyages." Kurt spoke, rather than sing as he recounted the events. He frowned slightly and shook his head. "The villainous A-Mal did the impossible. And our champ, just like that, was gone. Our champion, our friend, fought for us until the end. And they live on."
___'s eyes widened at the turn of the story. Despite being a champion, their hero still fell to a Pokemon? And now, people feared traveling across every region and remained on their own. ___ curled his little fists. No Pokemon would scare her from the sea.
"For a thousand years, we have made Johto our home. But there can be a new champ, a new generation!" Kurt looked to the children with a bright smile. Norman looked down to find ___ missing.
"____?!" He hurriedly stood up.
"I am ___, I am unstoppable! I know how big the world can be! If the champ lives in you, we can sail across the blue unending sea!" The little girl sang, as she rushed through the forest trees. They stopped to an open view of the ocean. "We're ready for what's next, we are unstoppable! We want to see the world beyond the shore! For our champ years ago, taught us everything we know, so let's explore!"
The sea breeze rushed through her hair as she stepped across the sandy beach. The night sky glittered above and she stepped into the water.
"We want more, we want more! I want more! Unstoppable!"
The land of Hoenn flew beneath you as you clutched onto your Crobat who skimmed across the water. You laughed as the wind ripped through your hair. Remoraids fly out of the water beside you, even a Mantine surfaces and waves to you. This was your land and you knew every inch of it.
Only a year ago, you started your journey with your first Pokemon partner. You got all the gym badges, made an incredible team of Pokemon, stopped Team Magma and Aqua, and beat the Pokemon League. You were now the champion of Hoenn and you accomplished everything you had plan to. And yet...
You sighed, and flattened against Crobat. You didn't feel... Accomplished, like something was missing. It frustrated you. You encountered Kyogre, Groudon, and Raquaza. You even had a boyfriend now.
What was wrong with you?
Crobat shrieked as he landed at the edge of Littleroot. You slid off your Pokemon and rubbed the side of his head. You slid out Berry, which he accepted happily. You smiled, before recalling him into his pokeball.
"___!" Your mother rushed over and pulled you into a hug. "How's my baby girl?!"
"I'm good, Mom." You smiled, as she released you and brushed your hair out of your eyes. She looked you over, smile growing.
"My little champion."
"Yeah, your champion..."
"And how's my future son-in-law?"
"Steven is fine. He's at work right now, but we're going out with Zinnia tonight."
"Oh, good. Zinnia is a beautiful, young lady. I'm glad you're both spending time with her." Your mom chatted as you both stepped over to the family home. She opened the door and you stepped in, becoming surprised. Your father was putting dishes away in the kitchen, but looked over as you stepped in.
"My little sloth!" He laughed, putting the rest of the glasses away before walking over and pulling you into a hug. "How are you, ___?"
"I'm alright, just same-old, same-old." You held him back, before releasing him and stepping back. You fixed a curious look on him. "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at the gym?"
"Got shut down for the week, didn't you hear?" You father frowned, before pulling out his phone and pulling something up. He handed it to you and you read it.
"Strange Steel Phenomenon! Written by Alexa
"Several regions are seeing strange steel appear. Whether it be steel shards appearing in sidewalk cracks, melted steel across tree-tops, Pokemon running around steel messed up in their fur or scales, or the worst-case scenario, we've had reports of objects and even Pokemon found completely in cased in steel.
"Professor Kukui has carefully studied the metal in cased Pokemon and shockingly announced that their vitals are fine. They are alive. But for how long? And what is the source of this strange disaster?"
"That same stuff in the article has been appearing around the gym. For the safety of trainers and Pokemon, we've told them to best avoid the city." Your father sighed, leaning against the wall. "I've never heard of anything like this and I can't help but worry. Who knows when or if it will stop."
"Your father and I talked about it, ___, but we'd like you to either be here or with Steven until this all dies down." Your mother also became solemn. You felt a heat of frustration move through the pit of your stomach and you looked to your parents.
"I've literally fought the legendaries who control the land, ocean, and atmosphere and you're saying I'll only be safe with Steven?" You accused, folding your arms.
"We didn't say that." Your father rose his voice, not happy with your snap. "We know you've done incredible things, but this is different, ___. We don't want you getting hurt."
"I'm the champion! I befriend Pokemon, fight legendaries, and protect my people! I'm not gonna hide behind a man! That's not me!" You argued.
"___!" Norman snapped himself. You shut your mouth and averted your gaze to the ground. He sighed and placed a hand on your shoulder. "___..."
"I'll make sure to be around you guys or Steven..." You stated, pulling away from his touch. He didn't seem happy with your response, but he nodded.
A/N: A-Mal will be the legendary Pokemon the Reader faces in the story (the equivalent to Te Ka). It's a different Pokemon, but it's name sounded less... Graceful in the song. So, I decided to give it a different name. Like how Zeus is also called Jupiter, doesn't mean he's not Zeus. He's the same guy with different names.
You sent a glance at your mother, before stepping out of the house. You let out the breathe you were holding and felt your heart sink. Why couldn't they have trust in you?
You stepped over, through the palm trees, and stepped onto the beach. You looked out at the empty horizon, wondering if Johto was straight ahead. The ocean breeze ran through your hair, again.
"I count the steps from one end of this island to the other. It's a hundred steps from where I sleep to the sea and when I say I've learned all there is to know. Well, there's another little island lesson that Zinnia shows me." You removed your shoes and stepped into the water. It was cool and moved around the form of your feet, as you stepped in deeper. "I know where I am from the scent of the breeze. The ascent of the climb, from the tangle of the trees, from the angle of the mountain to the sand on our island shore. I've been here before."
You smiled, before pulling out a pokeball and releasing your Pokemon. Mightyena appeared on the beach and barked happily. He crashed into the waves, splashing around in excitement. You laughed lightly, making your way over.
"There's gotta be more, I know there's more. There's always more! Someday I'll be out on the sea, and I'm gonna see more!" You made it to Mightyena and he barked, standing upright and wagging his tail at the sight of you. You grinned, before running back to the beach. He followed, hot on your heels as you picked up a stick. "There's gotta be more, I know there's more. There's always-"
"___, slow down!" Your father warned, as you rushed past with Mightyena.
"Sorry! I'm in somebody's way, they do the same thing everyday. They work, they eat, they sleep, they pray, they tell me-"
"___, calm down!" You said at the same time as a couple of your neighbors. Some sent you scolding looks, while others were amused. You ignored the looks and ran around the town. Kids laughed as you and Mightyena sped by, some also wanting to play with your Pokemon.
"The other kids just dance and play. How can you play? There's so much out there to explore!" You tossed the stick over and Mightyena snatched it up happily. A couple kids began to pat him down and he happily accepted the affection. You smiled at the sight, backing up to your house. You suddenly caught word of your father speaking with your mother.
"She stares at the sky, she stumbles down the beaches. She mumbles all the names that her friend Zinnia teaches." He began to explain. You felt a wave of hurt run over you. He never approved of your friendship with Zinnia, saying she filled your head with stories. He wasn't entirely wrong, but she was your friend.
"And I wanna soar!" You started softly.
"With one foot here and another in the distant past."
"So much to explore!"
"She's growing up too fast!" Your mother excused. You didn't want to hear anymore as you made your way back over to Mightyena. He had shook himself dry, so you weren't afraid to embrace him. He nuzzled against your head, playfully.
"Like I've said before, there's gotta be more. I know there's more, there's always more. One day, I'll be brave and sail on the wave that leads me to more!" You sang, standing to your full height. You snuck your way back to the beach, with Mightyena at your side and placed your feet back in the sand. It coursed around your print and you could smell the fresh salt better, again. "There's gotta be more, I know there's more. There's always more!"
You sat down on the sand and Mightyena moved to lie beside you. He placed his head in your lap and you happily brushed your hand through his wild mane.
"My father, he's brief, says don't cross the reef. But, oh, every turn I take, every trail I track, every path I make, every road leads back to the sea. I'm standing at the edge of the sea, as they all say-" You could hear the echoes of warnings you had heard for so long in Hoenn.
"___, slow down."
"___, dream small."
"___, don't drown."
"Can you drown at the call of the sea? 'Cause I can hear it calling me..." You paused and closed your eyes, hearing the crash of the ocean waves. You swore you heard a distant call, of a voice you didn't know. "A thousand years ago, we used to sail to distant islands. A thousand years ago, the champ spoke to the sea. So maybe, just maybe, I was born to break the silence. I know my story could be extraordinary. I know my story doesn't end at the shore!"
Mightyena whimpered and nuzzled your side. You smiled sadly, lying back to look at the blue, cloudy sky. Wingull flew above, a stray Pidgey here or there. You closed your eyes, again, listening to the waves.
"There's gotta be more. I know there's more. There's always more! I'm gonna break through and find something new. I'm gonna find more!" You opened your eyes, again, and rolled onto your hands and knees. You rose to your feet and looked back out to the ocean. The open sea appeared to call you, just like it frequently did. "There's gotta be more, I know there's more. There's always more! One day, I'll decide to roll with the tide, and I'm gonna see..."
"___, stand tall!" You could imagine your people saying.
"I will cross the divide! I will ride! I will see what's on the other side!"
"___, stand proud!"
"With the ocean as my guide on the tide. I will go where no one's ever been before! There's always more!" Mightyena howled at your last part, as you felt yourself panting. You had overwhelmed yourself. You didn't think you were feeling that much stress from all of this. Your phone rang and you pulled it out. Steven. "Looks like playtime is over."
Mightyena grunted, brushing his snout against your leg. You smiled, scratching behind his ear. His tail wagged at that. You recalled him back, before looking back to your home. Looks like you needed to let them know about your departure. You didn't want to worry them.
~Meanwhile in Alola~
I sat on the beach, looking out to the empty expanse of the ocean. I frowned, my thoughts far from where I was. Weird crap was happening to Alola and apparently it wasn't the only affected region. It even freaked out Kukui. And yet, Hala insisted on training despite the fear for the region.
Golisopod appeared from the waters and waded onto the beach. He made some clicking sounds and he made his way to me, dropping some items beside me. I looked down to find shards of steel.
"This is bad... Even worse than that nerd said it was..." I scowled and got to my feet. "Better tell Ma and Pa, before going to Hala."
Golisopod clicked in agreement, before I returned him to his pokeball. I followed the trail from the beach and was easily able to make it to my home.
"Guzma, back from the beach?" My mother stood up straight from the plants she was watering in the front year.
"Yeah, Ma. Come inside, I need to speak to you and Pa." I explained, making my way into the home. I stepped into the home and found my father on the couch, watching the news. Ma stepped in and closed the door behind us, as Pa looked up.
"Guzma, what's going on?" Pa questioned as I walked over and dropped the shards of steel on the coffee table.
"The steel appearances Kukui is goin' on about. It's just off the shore of home. I gotta bad feeling about all of it." I began, sending them both a warning look. "I'm gonna meet with Hala and tell him. Maybe see if we need to get out of here or-"
"Guzma." My father cut me off, sending me a sharp look. "We are not leaving home just because of a little metal showing up on the beach."
"If this were serious, we would be notified. By Hala or Professor Kukui, they know what they're doing. If we were in actually danger, they would let us know." Pa argued, not convinced of my warnings. I clenched my fists, before stomping over and shutting the TV off. "Guzma!"
"Shut up, old man! I'm trying to save your pathetic lives and you're deciding to blow off my help! Screw you!" I snapped back, slamming my hand on the coffee table. My mother jumped as my father narrowed his eyes. "Looks like you trust the kahuna and that "perfect" scientist more than you're own son."
"You haven't given us much reason to trust you." Pa glanced over to the golf bag filled with broken clubs in the corner. I gritted my teeth and drew back. Why did it feel like a knife was thrusted into my abdomen?
"Fine... Go die for all I care. I'm gonna go warn my bois and gals, since I care about them. At least I know they'll listen to me." I spat, storming out of the home. I could hear my mother call for me to come back, but mentally, I was long gone.
~Back in Hoenn~
Mossdeep City was as bustling as ever. You made your way home, as people happily greeted you as you passed by. You greeted them in return, used to the attention. Everyone knew the champion, and they all knew she was dating the former champion. Star-crossed lovers was a hot topic.
You made it to your shared home with Steven and opened the front door stepping inside. You dropped off your bag in the living room, your pokeballs hooked to your belt, and made your way to the study. You smiled, finding your two best friends inside. Steven and Zinnia were pouring over books, manuscripts, and both had an electronic open up for research.
They had two very different ways of studying though. Steven's side was filled with factually proven science books, while Zinnia's side was filled with legends, artifacts, and folklore. Aster, Zinnia's Whismur, sat on the table next to her work, nodding off. You leaned against the doorway.
"You guys look busy." You commented, causing the both of them to look over in surprise. Steven stood from his seat, sending you a small smile.
"___, I'm glad you arrived home safely." He made his way over and cupped your face with his hands. "You heard about everything happening?"
"Yeah, my dad informed me." You glanced back at the overfilled desk. "Is that what you guys are researching?"
"Yes. Zinnia has claimed to have found the answer, but it's not backed up by facts and statistics." Steven shot the wise girl a look. Zinnia just rolled her eyes, closing up an ancient scroll.
"They don't call me the Lorekeeper for nothing." Zinnia stood from her seat and looked to you, her expression softening. Aster woke from her nap and hopped to her feet, she squeaked happily seeing you. "Legends have come true time and time, again. ___ is living proof of that."
"Okay, so I put Groudon and Kyogre back into slumber. Big deal." You tried to brush off her appraisal.
"And you fought off Rayquaza to save our world, and you've ridden on the twins Latias and Latios, and awakened the colossal legendary trio!" She rambled off and you scratched the back of your neck in embarrassment.
"I mean, yeah... Those were fun times."
"Those were dangerous times!" Steven scolded, frowning slightly. "You could've died in all those scenarios."
"But I didn't."
"It's one out of a million to be able to have experiences like that. And I believe this is another one of those experiences." Zinnia slipped the scroll she had rolled up into a protective stone pod, Aster watching in interest. She looked back to you, furrowing her eyebrows. "Let me explain to you what I believe is happening."
"Maybe we could save it for tomorrow? I promised my love that we'd go Pokemon-back riding." Steven took your hand in his and pressed a kiss against your knuckles. You smiled a little at the gesture. Your boyfriend looked back to Zinnia. "And you said you would join us."
"..." Zinnia looked unsure, but sighed and gave a smile. "Alright, let's go have some fun tonight and then turn our complete focus to what's important."
A/N: So, unfortunately, you and Guzma don't officially run into each other until Chapter 5. There's a bit of filler before that, but the wait is worth it.
Chapter 3: Next Stop, Anywhere
A/N: The song in this chapter belongs to Tangled: The Animated Series. The whole soundtrack is pretty good.
WARNING: Blood and serious injury.
You thanked the rancher as you climbed onto the back of their Zebstrika. The Pokemon huffed, shifting his hooves in anticipation. You pulled on his reins and he trotted out as you met with the others. Steven waves you over on the Mudsdale he was riding and Zinnia was patting the side of the Rapidash that she was on. You smiled as your Zebstrika made his way over.
"Alright, they said we could ride across all of the island as long as we're careful with their Pokemon." Steven reminded, before he looked to you, some adoration filling his gaze. "Let's have fun until the sun sets."
"Sounds perfect." You slapped the reins and Zebstrika sprinted past the two, happily getting into his fastest speed. Your hair whipped around as you grinned, racing across the route. Inspiration filled your veins once more. You began to sing as Zebstrika hopped over a fence that was in your way. "I wanna break every rule and cross every line. I wanna show all the stars how stars oughta shine. I wanna do as I please and knock the world to its knees. And go wherever the breeze is blowing!"
Zebstrika ran into the rows of trees and began to zig-zag through, with speed and precision. You felt safe, knowing he could easily smash through the trees if worse came to worse. He broke out into an open field and began to race across it.
"Next stop, anywhere! Gotta a whole wide world to see, nothing's stopping me! Next stop, anywhere! 'Cause there's so much waiting, I know it's waiting!" You laughed, lowering your head as the Pokemon gained blinding speeds. Everything became a blur for a few moments. "I feel it waiting out there, everywhere!"
"___!" Zebstrika slowed as you pulled on the reins. You looked over to Steven who made his way up to you on Mudsdale. He looked concerned. "Slow down! We don't want to lose you!"
"I'm fine. I'm always fine."
"I know, it's just..." He smiled now and looked to the reins in his hands. "I know I've been so busy, that I haven't been able to spend time with you. I want to make it up to you while I can."
"Yeah... Maybe when things slow down, we can go somewhere new. Have our own adventure together!" You offered, hope filling your heart.
"___... I..." He bit his lip, not meeting your eyes. But he sighed and looked back to you, his soft smile returning. He hummed. "We're gonna toss out the maps and follow the sun..."
"We're gonna place our own path and go on the run!" You sung after he did, feeling honored to hear him sing. It was a rarity from your boyfriend, but you enjoyed it nonetheless.
"We're gonna get out and do what nobody's done!" He sung happily, slapping the reins and racing forward. You urged Zebstrika forward to match his speed, their hooves slapping the ground below.
"There's so much out there to do, we've barely begun!"
"We're gonna take every dare!"
"And feel the wind in our hair! With no one telling us where we're going!" You both sang in harmony together, your Pokemon beginning to zig-zag around each other. "Next stop, anywhere! If you're there I'm gonna be, where I'd wanna be! Next stop, anywhere! And the world is calling, it keeps on calling!"
Your Pokemon broke through another row of trees and found themselves on the coast of the island. They slowed as they raced across the beachfront now.
"Just think of all that we'll share, everywhere!" You both trailed off, as Zinnia came into view on her Rapidash. She smiled and raced up to the both of you.
"How's the ride?" She asked.
"Good, so far." You commented, slowing your stead.
"Great, I think this was a good idea. Relax our minds, before diving into legend solving." Zinnia smiled warmly. "I know if we all put our heads together, we can find out what's really going on."
"I have a feeling tonight will be full of surprises. Good and bad." Steven added, shooting a strange look to Zinnia. You raised your eyebrow in confusion, but the Lorekeeper just laughed and pulled on her reins to guide her Rapidash forward.
"Oh, Steven Stone. You always put your plans into action. Too bad you only rely on facts." She grinned and flicked her reins. "Instead of putting hope into the mystery."
"Zinnia!" You called out as she raced forward across the beach. You slapped your own reins to go catch up.
"Next stop, anywhere! Gotta feeling things'll be happening suddenly!" Zinnia sung happily as you appeared at her side.
"Next stop, anywhere! Gonna chase my destiny, find my best in me!" You smiled and sang along.
"Next stop, anywhere! 'Cause it's time we went to be where we're meant to be!" Steven raced up to your other side, joining in.
"Next stop, anywhere!" You all sang in harmony.
"And the world is waiting!" Zinnia shouted into the air.
"I feel it waiting!" Steven laughed.
"It's all just waiting out there!" You smiled, singing with your friends as you looked out to the sea.
"Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere!" You all sung together as your Pokemon slowed to a trot. The sun was beginning to fall low in the sky. Zinnia looked to the both of you and smiled sheepishly.
"Hey, I saw something in the water earlier. I'm gonna check it out, but don't let me stop your guys' fun." She tugged on her reins and her Rapidash turned, making her way back down the beach. You watched her go, before looking to Steven.
"Y'all are keeping secrets from me, huh?" You raised your eyebrow at him. He gave his own sheepish laugh, his eyes averting down.
"I'm sorry, we have seemed shifty for a while." Steven reached out a hand and you reached out to take it. His hand was rough from working with minerals everyday. "Can you forgive me?"
"... I would at least like to know why."
"It... It's hard to explain." Steven seemed to hesitate, before gave a sigh. "I... Maybe I can tell you. Can we rest the Pokemon here for a moment while I do?"
"Sure." You were confused by Steven's request, but complied. You led the Pokemon over to the line of trees and got off them to give them a short break. Steven stepped toward the ocean and you watched him in curiosity. "Steven?"
"You're the most miraculous trainer I've ever met, ___." He started. "You were just starting out when we first met and I was amazed to see how far you would reach. I'm glad you were the one to knock me from my throne. I couldn't imagine anyone else doing so."
"Well... Thanks. I worked very hard to be able to do that. But this isn't anything you haven't told me before." You stepped over, but stopped directly in front of Steven. "What's going on, Steve?"
"___... I love you so much." Steven smiled, again, reaching down to take your hands in his. "You bring me so much happiness and I cannot thank you enough for it. I don't even know if I could repay it, but... I know one thing and that's... I would like it to never end. Us being together."
"St-Steven?!" You were startled by his words. But you became more shocked, as the former champion dropped down to one knee and pressed his forehead against your hands. You couldn't form words.
"___, my lovely trainer, the world's greatest champion, would you do the honor of marrying me?" Steven asked, releasing one of your hands to retrieve something from his pocket. He revealed a beautiful sapphire ring and offered it to you.
"I, uh, well..." You couldn't form a sentence. And even worse, you didn't have a clear answer. One part of you said yes, you loved him, he loved you, everyone loved you together. He would keep you safe, provide for you, and never betray you.
But another part of you, a quieter part said no. It said you didn't know real love, you only had dated one man and it was the one proposing to you. Did you really love him? Or was it something you convinced yourself of after he had asked you out?
"___?" He broke your thoughts and you looked to his hopeful expression.
"Steven, I..." You bit your lip, settling on an answer. But before you could give it to him, a scream ripped across the area. You jumped, ripping your hand away from Steven. You'd recognized that voice from anywhere. "Zinnia!"
"We can settle this later. We need to check her." Steven hurriedly got to his feet and raced over to the Pokemon with you. You threw yourself onto Zebstrika and raced towards Zinnia's pained scream. Steven was right behind you as you spotted Zinnia on the ground, blood pooling beneath her.
"Zinnia!" You screamed at the sight, dropping off of Zebstrika and coming to her side. You examined her and your eyes widened in horror. Something sharp had stuck through her whole torso and you looked over to see sharp, steel plates sticking out from the sand. The steel phenomenon. "We need to get her and us out of here, Steven. This place is dangerous."
"Fly her to the Pokemon center. I will lead the Pokemon back." Steven ordered, but you agreed wholeheartedly. You sent out your Crobat and with Steven's help, carefully maneuvered Zinnia onto his back. You carefully held her as your Pokemon launched into the air and towards the nearest center.
~Meanwhile in Alola~
"You are free to stay the night, Guzma. But know that you can't run away from all of your problems." Hala set a mug down in front of me. I nodded in thanks and took a sip of the hot drink. Tapu Cocoa, my favorite. Hala always made it nice, adding a cinnamon taste to it.
"Thanks, boss man." I scrunched my nose at the memories of earlier today. "You believe what I told you, right?"
"You don't fly across islands to warn your team members for nothing."
"They're not my "team members"... They're just my kids, gotta look out for them."
"You care much for them and went out of your way to warn them." Hala affirmed, sipping out of his own mug as he sat across from me. "I'll speaking with Kukui about it tomorrow. I promised to head out with him in the morning to investigate the disaster further."
"You're not gonna be around for a while?"
"Until we can figure out the source and stop it, I won't be around the house." Hala confirmed my thoughts. "Your free to stay in my house until I'm back, though I would prefer your father and you making up."
"Yeah, like that will happen." I rolled my eyes. "He has a tight grip onto the past... He doesn't believe I can change."
"There's no one you have to prove yourself to, except yourself." Hala smiled a little. "I've seen a change in you, Guzma."
"Hope you're right, old man..." I rubbed my eyes. "I'm beat, mind if I crash after I'm done with this cocoa?"
"Not at all, you're my guest. Feel free to rest."
"Guest, right. Thanks." I finished my cocoa and stood from the small table. I made my way over towards the guest room, but stopped in the doorway. "Night, Hala."
And without another word, I headed to bed.
Chapter 4: Gaze at the Sea
Warning: Character Death Ahead
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
You paced around the lobby of the Pokemon Center, waiting to hear about Zinnia. Steven was with you, but was remaining a lot calmer as he sat in a chair in silence. Your Swampert had felt your distress and exited his Pokeball to comfort you. He watched in worry as you paced. He made a croaking sound and you looked to him in shame.
"Swampert... I'm so sorry... I..." You stepped over and dropped in the seat he was lying beside. He lied his head in your lap and you wrapped your arms around his neck. He rumbled comfortingly, but it wasn't enough to ease your worries.
"___, things will be alright." Steven moved over a seat to be right next to you. He rested a hand against your back. "You'll be alright."
"But what about Zinnia?! Will she be alright? We left her alone, Steven. This is on us." Tears began to fall from your eyes as a helplessness filled your chest. "We might lose her... Our dear friend..."
"Mr. Stone, Miss. ___." Nurse Joy appeared and you both hurriedly got to your feet. You returned Swampert. You both sent a questioning look to her, but she gave a solemn look in return. You choked, as Steven placed a hand on your shoulder. "She's still with us and she wishes to speak with the both of you. She has thirty or so minutes..."
"Thank you." Steven nodded as he kept his arm around you as you made your way down the hall. He quietly opened the door that held Zinnia and you both stepped in. She looked horrible. The blood was cleaned away and the sheets covered the injury, but all sorts of things were hooked up to her and she was pale. Aster was cuddled into her side, whimpering.
"Zinnia..." You choked, again, breaking away from Steven to make your way to her. She smiled softly at you as you took her hand. It was cold. Tears flooded down your cheeks, as your body shook. "I'm sorry! I'm so sorry..."
"It's okay, it's okay. It was my idea to go off on my own. I did this. Neither of you were to blame." She assured you, squeezing your hand. Steven made his way to her other side and took her other hand, his expression forlorn.
"So, you're really...?" He spoke softly and Zinnia sighed, giving a sad smile.
"I'll be okay for a bit longer while hooked up, but the damage... Isn't repairable." She closed her eyes, as Steven tightened his grip on her hand.
"It isn't fair."
"It never is. But now I can return to my other friends, the lorekeepers... And I'll wait patiently for you both." Zinnia opened her eyes and gave a genuine smile. Her eyes shifted and she looked to Steven. "I wish to speak with ___ in private before I go, if it's alright? It's selfish, but-"
"Of course, you're allowed to be selfish right now." Steven leaned down and kissed Zinnia's forehead, brushing her hair back. "You're a dear friend of mine. You'll be missed, but I will never forget our time together."
"Neither will I." Zinnia released Steven's hand and he made his way out of the room. She turned her full attention to you, as the door closed behind him.
"Why did you wish to speak to me alone?" You questioned, though honored.
"I know the source of the steel appearances and Steven wouldn't listened to me. It's up to you to stop all of this." Zinnia reached over to her bag and pulled out the stone scroll container she had used earlier. She handed you the container. "Now listen carefully, because I won't have much time to remind you over and over. Follow these instructions and you can save everyone else form my fate."
"O-Okay! I'm listening!"
"Fly or sail to Alola and land on one of the four big islands, search and ask for the Kahuna of the island, tell them to take you to the Treacherous Waters, only the kahunas will know the location." Zinnia tapped the stone scroll container. "Once at Treacherous Waters, use this to guide you to the ancient treasure, take it and with the kahuna, head to A-Mal."
"A-Mal?!" You paled. "Isn't that the Pokemon who killed the first champion?!"
"That's a misconception, he was not killed by her." Zinnia laughed softly, but her expression became serious, again. "But she is dangerous and has risen, again. She seeks revenge and only you can stop her. Go with the kahuna and stop her."
"I... I don't know if I can do this."
"___, you're the only one who can do this." Zinnia smiled. "I see the way you look at the sea. I know you're looking for Johto or another far off region. Adventure has always been held high in your heart, above winning, fame, and even Steven."
"___, I love you and I hate seeing you doing everything everyone expects of you." Zinnia smiled and gave a shudder, as her eyes slid close. "If you would for me, listen to and follow your heart from now on..."
"Zinnia..." Her hand fell limp in yours. Fresh tears appeared in your eyes as you leaned down and pressed your forehead against hers. "I love you, too... I... I won't let you down... I'll do this, for you... And me..."
Aster cried, seeing her best friend pass on. You carefully picked up the crying Pokemon and held her close, rubbing her back. You felt your heart crack. But you also felt a determination begin to swell in your heart. You released Zinnia's hand for the last time and turned, leaving the room.
Your tears stopped, but trails remained on your face as you stepped back into the lobby. Steven, seeing you with Aster, knew what had happened. He made his way over to console you, but was surprised when you carefully handed Aster to him. He gave you a questioning look.
"I need some air... I'll be right back." You plastered on a smile, lying through your teeth. But he bought it and nodded slowly, before holding Aster close and pulling out his phone to contact people. You grabbed your bag, without him noticing and made your way out into the cold night air. It was dark out and stars glittered in the sky. It was a clear night.
You stepped away from the center, looking up at the sky. A breeze blew through the area, swaying your hair. You took a deep breathe and clenched your fists.
"She showed me day after day how to find my way. She taught me how to rely on the wind and sky. She saw me gaze at the sea, she believed in me." You began walking towards the shoreline, brushing your hair back as your heart began to race. "I know we used to be bold from the tales she told. I know she left me prepared from the things she shared. There was more she wanted to see."
Your walk gradually became a ran and you sprinted across the mix of grass and sand beneath you. The sound of waves crashing became louder as you got closer and closer to the shoreline.
"Staring at the barrier together on the shore. We practiced all the names of everyone who came before me. Voyagers, warriors, champions in our line. Their heart runs in mine." You sang into the quiet of the night, your voice rising with every word. You slowed down as you reached the shore. "She always knew more! She hungered for more. She taught me more! And somehow I know she'd want me to go!"
You took the scroll container from the pocket you placed it in and slipped it into your bag. You zipped up your bag, before tossing out your Crobat. He shrieked happily, ready to fly wherever you needed him. You knew he couldn't make the whole flight to Alola, deciding you'd have to switch him out with Swampert for surfing when he tired.
"To navigate, you have to keep your island in your mind. You know what lies ahead if you remember what's behind you. Want to find the answers to the questions that you still don't know. You just have to go find more!" You hesitated, looking back but your heart gave another heavy thud. You weren't being selfish now. You were going on this adventure, not just for your own pleasure, but to save your friends and family from the future disaster. They needed you to take this step. "I wanna know more, there's always more. How can I stay? She taught me the way!"
You adjusted your mega stone bracelet, shifted your back pack to make sure it wouldn't fly off, before climbing onto the back of Crobat. He gave a shriek, wanting to know where to go.
"We're going to Alola." You answered. He didn't even hesitate, soaring up into the sky and then skyrocketing away from the island. You watched as the rest of Hoenn flew past you and away. You glanced back and watched as it slowly disappeared in the distance. "Every turn I take, every trail I track! Every path I make, every road leads back to the sea! I am flying to the edge of the sea!"
You looked forward, allowing your fears and regrets to fall behind you. What mattered now is that you did what Zinnia said. And the first thing you needed to do was get to Alola. You ducked down as Crobat sped up.
"And it calls me, "___, go now," "___, don't stall," "Don't worry about how," "Just answer the call of the sea!" There's nothing there holding me. If I had time, I'd say goodbye." Your hair whipped around you, your new quest ahead. The ocean blurred beneath you and that call in your heart was encouraging. You were finally doing this. "I will cross the divide, I will ride. I will see what's on the other side with the ocean as my guide on the tide! I will go where no one's ever been before! There's always more!"
And you disappeared into the clouds.
~Meanwhile in Alola~
I had woken up the moment sun had flooded through the window. I was startled, finding myself in a different bed than my own, but remembered I had stayed the night at Hala's. And possibly the next couple nights.
I was quick to clean up and head out, finding the house was empty. Looks like Hala already left to go help Kukui. I decided to take the day and help my grunts, er, kids out. I wanted to make sure they would be safe if things got worse.
And that's where I found myself now. My hood was pulled up to avoid the falling rain as I helped bring in food and other supplies for my people. The former team members were hard at work, fixing up damages to the mansion, cleaning and organizing the place, creating more room for members and supplies, etc. Plumeria had even stopped by to help.
"Hey, Guz." Plumeria hopped down from the table she was standing on, throwing the rag she was using across her shoulder. She cocked an eyebrow at me. "Ya think we'll be safe here, even with everything going on?"
"Should be, it hasn't gotten serious, yet. But even then, we ain't too close to the sea and the walls should help." I rubbed my chin, after setting the supplies down. A bad thought came to mind and I frowned, looking back to Plumeria. "But if things get bad, we'll evacuate tah the Pokemon League. It's the center of the island and high up, it's gotta be the safest place to go."
"It's a dangerous path to get there."
"That's why we'll be there, and we'll make sure these punks make it up."
"..." Plumeria smiled, punching me lightly in the shoulder. "Glad you're here to help out, Guzma. We've missed ya for a while now."
"My parents gave up on me... Didn't want things tah repeat. I'll make sure these kids are cared for." I gave an unconvincing smile, as a couple boys ran up to the two of us.
"Yo, boss!" One of them cried.
"Wassup?" I looked back to him, curious at their hurriedness.
"Some older guy out there wants to talk to you." The other one answered. I narrowed my eyes. An older guy? They were well acquainted with Nanu and they knew about Hala, what older guy could it be?
"Thanks, boys. I'll go see about it." Guzma patted the boys' shoulders, before making his way out of the Shady House and to the front gates. He opened the front door and frowned. "Pops."
A/N: The song featured here is "More (Reprise)," from Moana.
I wasn't happy to see my father at the front door of my team, but he could be just as stubborn as me. He wanted to talk, but in private and not while around the others. So, we went to the seashore. It was out of the rain. I wasn't too worried about steel being there, considering the only sightings of it were at Melemele.
"Son... Guzma..." My father sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. He looked tired and seemed to be struggling for words. "Look, I'm not really one for apologies."
"Neither am I." I scowled, folding my arms. "I know Ma put you up to it. Just go home. Tell her we made up and just leave me alone. I don't have time to deal with you."
"Your mother did not send me here." He corrected. "I came here of my own accord."
"... What are you trying to play at, old man?"
"I don't agree on what you said, but I didn't want to leave things the way they were. Guzma, as much as you frustrate me, you're still my kid." He looked out to the ocean and sighed, dropping his head. "Part of me blames myself for letting you turn out the way you did. I should've been there, I should've been more supportive. But... I pushed you away."
"... Ya didn't do anything wrong." I should my head. "I was screwed up from the start. There was always something wrong with me. The temper tantrums, the restlessness... I was always strange to other kids, aside Kukui."
"But I should've helped you. And now you've turned out..."
"I've turned out?" Anger filled my veins as I clenched my fists and looked to my father. "What's wrong with me now, huh? I know I was a crook in the past, but I've mended my ways! I help out kids that are thrown away. I fight for them! And when I'm beat down, I get back up!"
"Guzma, you're still a thug. You haven't done anything to earn you any good credit. You're no hero. You're just a lost boy." My father rubbed his forehead. "Let's just... Get over what happened earlier and-!"
"Screw you!" I snapped, grabbing my head and beginning to shake in anger. I bent over, huffing out in rage. "Why can't you just be proud of me for once, Pa?! Can't ya see any good in me?"
"Shut up! Go to hell! You'll never change!" I flew back up, pointing a finger at him. But I paled, seeing something behind him. It was like a wall of melted steel, rising up behind him. "Dad!"
But I couldn't get in another word, as it dropped on top of him. His arms flung out for a moment, but they were swept up in the melted metal. I rushed over, ready to grab him out. I threw my hand out, but hit solid metal. I choked, stepping back.
I had heard about this. Kukui said the metal was incasing Pokemon alive and he wasn't sure whether they were kept alive or not. And now, the same thing had happened to my father. Left behind was a boulder shaped mass, no visible sign of my father. I slammed my fists into the object, but it didn't take any damage or budge. Something warm dropped down my face, as I collapsed to the ground.
~Somewhere Above the Ocean~
You had been flying for hours and the sun had finally risen above the waves, but Crobat showed clear signs of exhaustion. He shrieked weakly and you encouraged him to fly down into the water. You didn't like getting your clothes wet, but sacrifices had to be made. You returned him after getting in the water and sent out your Swampert. You happily climbed onto his back.
"Alright, bud. We still got a ways to go. We need to get to Alola and pronto!" You patted his side and your first partner Immediately began to sail across the water at high-speeds. You hope his effort would get you the rest of the way. You weren't sure how far Alola was, but your Pokemon seemed to be knowing where they were going.
You didn't know much about the grouping of islands, only hearing little here and there. To start, they didn't have gym leaders. Though they did have an elite four and champion of their own. They had something instead called trial captains. They also had kahunas, leaders chosen by mystical Pokemon.
It was all very interesting, even if you didn't fully understand it.
You held on tight to your friend, as you gradually closed the distance between you and Alola. You didn't take notice of the swirling clouds in the sky and how the water became more rapid. A storm was approaching and it would catch you before you caught sight of it.
~Back With Guzma~
I informed the team about the situation and encouraged them to pack to head to the Pokemon league.
"Everything looks slow now, but if y'all see anything out of place. Call me, and begin booking it to the league." I warned them, as they all listened intently. "Pack emergency supplies now, in case your forced out."
"And where are you going, boss man?" A girl piped up.
"Gonna go tell Kukui's wife 'bout what happened. Only one I know who can tell that nerd what's up."
Everyone nodded in understanding, before setting to work on fixing up an emergency bundle. Plumeria stepped over and rested a hand on my shoulder.
"I've gotta a bad feeling, boss..." She started, pursing her lips. "Like we won't be hearing from ya when we least expect it."
"That's a pretty messed up feeling." I cocked my head, a little confused by her comment. She shook her head and offered a smile.
"Stay safe, no matter what you do."
"You got it, Plumes." I ruffled her hair, before heading out. I pulled my hood up and sent out Vikavolt. He buzzed happily, before I climbed on and rubbed his head. "Let's head to Ten Carat Hill. Hope the nerd's wife is home..."
Vikavolt sparked in acknowledgment, before gliding up into the air. I was crouched on his back, holding on with one hand as the wind rushed past. It wouldn't be a long flight, but I still feel like nerves were coursing through me. Something wanted out and I knew what. Every Pokemon trainer felt the need now and then.
Though I really hated bursting into song, I couldn't help it.
"Maybe I make things a mess and maybe you're right to have doubts in me... Maybe, but nevertheless. If you for once could just trust me." I tightened my grip on the flight. I closed my eyes, focusing on the rush of the wind in my hair. "Just this once let me come through for you. The way that you want me to!"
Vikavolt began to dive down over Melemele. I opened my eyes and lowered even further down as to not fly off. Vikavolt had taken me to the secluded empty field, a little off from Kukui's home. I hopped off my Pokemon and returned him.
"Let me make you proud, let me show you the best in me! Let me give you a reason to believe that I can stand tall!" I circled the area, extending my arms out. I sighed and dropped them, before making my way to the entrance back onto the normal route. "And when I return and I'm more than you dreamt I'd be! Maybe then you will realize that you never actually knew me at all."
I made my way through the fields of grass, ignoring any of the weaker Pokemons' attempts to distract me.
"Sure, I've made lots of mistakes. I know that I've disappointed you. Still, though, whatever it takes. I'm gonna fix it, just watch me!" I walked through the dark tunnel, ducking Zubats. I hopped across some of the lower slabs of stone, puffing out my chest at the end. "Just you wait, I'll make it up to you. If it's the last thing I ever do!"
I dropped from the rocks and ran out of the tunnel, being met with the sun shining down on the open beach.
"I will make you proud, I will make you have faith in me! I will prove that the way I used to be is all in the past!" I shouted into the air. I spotted my old friend's home and began to rush through the grass. "I will save the day and come back here triumphantly. 'Cause I long for that look of surprise when you see your son rising at last! The pride in your eyes when you see your son rising at last!"
I panted, slowing to a stop in front of the house. I hesitated, before knocking loudly against the doorframe. This was much more important than my own ego at the moment. I waited, tapping my foot impatiently, before the door clicked open.
"Hm? Guzma?" Burnet stood at the doorway, surprised to see the me. I sighed, running a hand through my messy locks.
"Burnet... We need to talk..." I frowned, a surge of confidence hitting me as I looked directly in her eyes. "It's about the steel appearances. Things are getting bad and we need to inform Kukui."
"Arceus..." Burnet cursed, but held the door open as I slipped inside.
"Guzma, I'm... I'm so sorry to hear about your father." Burnet frowned, sending a sympathetic look. "I can't imagine..."
"Nothing I can do, but help the best I can." I shrugged, averting my eyes. "Everything feels like it's spiraling out of control."
"Kukui and I have felt it, too. There's a lot of stress." Burnet pulls her legs up and hugs them. "I worry about him... Especially with hearing accounts like yours. But I'll let him know, right now actually."
Burnet stood from the couch and grabbed her phone, before sitting on the arm of the couch. She tapped a few things in and waited.
"What do you plan on doing now?" She asked, waiting for Kukui to answer.
"Don't know, guess I'll tell Ma about what's going on and then head back to Po Town." I scratched my cheek, wishing I knew a way to stop all of this. But I was out of luck. A Rockruff suddenly clambered in through the Poke-door from the outside and barked, as he ran over to us both. He ran up to Burnet and began to attack her feet.
"He's trying to show us something. Can you go see while I call my husband?" Burnet requested, bending down to scratch the Rockruff's ear.
"Sure thing. C'mon, pup." I whistled and the Rockruff scurried over, before booking it to the front door. I followed, clicking open the door and stepping out into the sun. I shut the door behind me, as I watched the Pokemon run off towards the beach. What's so urgent over there? I stepped through the grass, following the young Rockruff before it hopped onto a large rock on the beach and barked at something on the other side of it.
"What's got ya so worked up, huh?" I went around the rock and my gaze dropped down, as what little color I had left my face. There was a young woman, passed out on the ground. She was drenched and a large, water Pokemon lied beside her. He looked exhausted, they both did.
I stepped closer and the Pokemon beside her lifted his head. He looked somewhat related to a Quagsire, but wasn't as friendly, as he gave a guttural growl. I raised my hands in defense.
"Hey, pal. I'm not here to hurt your girl. 'Ruff here led me over. All I want tah do is help." I doubt he understood what I said, but I hope he understood what I was trying to say to him. The Pokemon gave another growl, but Rockruff came in with a couple choice barks. Finally the Pokemon made a croaking sound, before getting to his feet and shuffling to his trainer. He pressed his head against a Pokeball on her waist and returned inside of it.
I gave a sigh of relief, before carefully stepping closer. I got down on my knees and rolled the girl over from being on her stomach and onto her back. I brushed her hair out of the way, before looking across her. She wasn't pale, but that didn't mean a lot.
I hesitated, before lowering my head down to her chest. I listened and paused my movements, before feeling a steady heartbeat. She was okay, just knocked unconscious. I hooked my arms under her body and lifted her up from the sand, before carrying her back to the Professor's home.
A/N: The song included here is from Tangled the Animated Series. The song is called, "Let Me Make You Proud," as you can guess.
You woke up with a start. Images flashed through your mind, of the rapid waters, the sky darkening, and finally you and Swampert being swallowed up in the waves. You panted, now finding yourself in a foreign room. You were in a bed, up on a platform in the home that overlooked the ground floor. You didn't recognize the home, but jumped at the clearing of a voice.
"You okay, dear?" You looked over to a pretty woman with tan skin and pure white hair. She looked young, despite the hair color. She wore casual clothes, even a sweatshirt wrapped around her waist and seemed easy-going. But you were still on edge.
"Where am I?" You asked, looking over the woman cautiously.
"My home. You were found knocked out on the beach, drenched from head-to-toe. I hope you don't mind, but I changed you out of your wet clothes into some dry ones. Didn't want you catching a cold." She gave a sheepish smile, as you looked to your borrowed clothes. You were dressed in a flowing, grey shirt that reached to your knees along with soft, purple shorts. Definitely lazy-day clothes.
"It's okay. Thank you." You nodded in thanks. You felt your arms and legs, becoming relieved when you found no cuts or bruises. The last thing you needed was to get injured right away. You looked back to the woman. "Thank you for bringing me in, Ms..."
"Mrs. Burnet Kukui." She smiled. "And I wasn't the one who physically carried you in. I just fixed you up."
"Hey, Mrs. Professor. Where do you want me to the-?" A new figure climbed up the ladder to the strange platform you were on, but stopped mid-sentence upon seeing you. He was a man, probably a couple years older than you. "Huh, beach girl's awake."
"Oh, I guess I didn't catch your name either, dear." Burnet looked back to you with a gentle smile.
"It's ___." You answered.
"It sounds familiar..." Burnet hummed, before gesturing back to the man. "This is Guzma. He's the one who carried you back from the beach."
"Oh, thank you." You hesitated. "Are you Burnet's husband?"
"Arceus, no!" He about choked, as Burnet laughed lightly.
"He's actually my husband's old friend." The women smiled. "Anyway, Guzma found you washed up on the beach with your Pokemon."
"Your Pokemon didn't really like me messing with ya, though." The man, Guzma, commented. He sat on the edge of the platform, smirking slightly. This man was surely the strangest sight you had seen. Black hair that was bleached a striking white, bags under his eyes, baggy clothes with contrasting blacks and whites, along with a pair of bright yellow sunglasses seated in his nest of hair. He sort of looked like destruction in human form.
"You mean Swampert? That sounds like him. He's very protective." You smiled. "And he's my most trusted partner."
"A Swampert? You must be heralding from Hoenn then." Burnet' eyes widened at this. "Why have you travelled so far?"
"It's sort of an emergency."
"An emergency?" Burnet furrowed her brows, before suddenly a phone started to go off. She looked towards the direction, before looking back to you. "Sorry, I need to get that. Be right back!"
Burnet stood from her seat and easily jumped down from the platform, hurrying around the corner. You licked your dry lips, before looking back to Guzma. He brought up a foot to place against the edge of the platform, leaning his elbow on it. He looked to you and cocked an eyebrow.
"Hoenn, huh? They're the region suffering from the steel appearances as much as here, right?" You were surprised. He had a good idea of why you were here. He must have read your expression, because he huffed and averted his gaze. "So, you're here because of that... Why?"
"I came to find a kahuna." You answered, reaching down for your waterproof bag and pulling it onto the bed. "My friend knows the source of all of this and she entrusted me to stop it. I need a kahuna to lead me to a location that only kahunas know."
"And where's that?"
"The Treacherous Waters." You answered. Recognition flicked across Guzma's eyes and it occurred to you that he might be a kahuna himself. "I can disclose the rest of the information to a kahuna who's willing to help me."
"Let's say, I know a kahuna. What are you going to do to "stop the source"? Professors have been doing anything they can think of, what makes your theory different?" Guzma didn't look completely convinced by your quest. You scowled slightly. He was starting to remind you of the mockery you had received from evil team leaders.
"The source is a legendary Pokemon, one led by revenge. My theory's different because it's based on legend, rather than fact." You eyed the strange man, straightening your position. "Tell me, Guzma. Do you believe in legends?"
"Oh, kid." Guzma chuckled lowly, before giving you a dark, distant look. "You have no freaking clue."
This chick was sending off some weird signals. In some ways, she reminded me of the kid who defeated my team and I, and became champion. Confidence, hope, and a visible love to her Pokemon team. But on the other hand, she seemed... Aged, wise. Her eyes seemed a bit empty, and I recognized it as loss.
I was sure my eyes looked just as hollow. But at least she had some hope shining through.
I was beginning to think she was crazy for traveling this whole way. Hoenn to Alola, to find a Kahuna, and head to Treacherous Waters? I knew where it was, I had travelled there once when I was a kid with Kukui. We bee-lined back, since the area was dangerous and almost destroyed our boat.
But the girl changed my view with her question. I KNEW that legends were true, I had taken part in one. Visiting another dimension, being in the presence of a legendary, and even battling a hero. I had enough with legends, but...
Hala was gone and the other kahunas were busy with protecting their islands, the champion left to guard Hala's own. They wouldn't be willing to leave their people unguarded, but me... I knew where she needed to go and Plumes had the team in good hands. A part of me froze up in fear, not ready to dive into more trouble.
"Guzma... Please, I need help stopping this and I need to stop it before more people get hurt." The woman insisted. I looked her over. That hope was directed towards me, and I couldn't help but be reminded of my father. If I wanted his praise I needed to help her.
"I'm..." I looked away, scratching the back of my neck. "I'm the kahuna of this island, Melemele. And I can take you to Treacherous Waters."
"Thank Arceus! I know we can solve this problem and I promise that it will work."
"Sorry about that, what did I miss?" Burnet stepped back into the room, sending a curious look. I bit the inside of my cheek, hoping the girl wouldn't blow my cover.
"I'll sum it up. I know how to stop the steel disaster and Guzma's gonna help me!" ___ answered, sending her a smile. She lifted up her bag and threw it over her shoulder.
"Really?!" Burnet was surprised and looked to me. "You're willing to help her?"
"I want this steel stuff as gone as anybody else." I shrugged. "I won't let my pride get in the way of that."
"But we'll be sailing off somewhere." The girl paused in thought, before looking back to me. "You have a boat, right?"
"Don't worry about that." Burnet smiled, placing her hands on her hips. "If you both need a boat, I can provide. Especially if you're planning on stopping all these catastrophes! What kind of boat were you thinking?"
"What would you suggest?" ___ directed the question back to me.
"Something fast, but can also take a bit of a beating. We're going to some rough waters." I answered, leaning forward to glance at Burnet. "Got something like that?"
"I know where I can get something like that." She winked. "Give me a couple hours to request it into the port. In the meantime, rest up. If you're going somewhere dangerous, you'll need all the energy you can get."
"That sounds really good. I'm really tired from flying and surfing all night." The girl yawned, lying back down on the bed. Burnet began typing on her phone as she left the room. The Hoenn girl hesitated, before grabbing her Pokeball belt from the bedside table. She looked to me, gripping the belt. "My friends... They need healing. I'm putting my trust in you that you'll get them to the center and back?"
"Hesitating? What? Don't trust me?" I sent her a cocky grin, but her expression remained unmoved.
"I've had experiences with people wanting to steal my Pokemon. It's hard trusting strangers with something like this." Now, that took me by surprise. A part of me worried that maybe she could see right through me. See my sins and various mistakes. But her face remained unchanged.
"Here." I pushed myself up into a standing position and made my way over to stand beside the bed. I reached into my pockets, procuring my pokeballs. I dropped them in her lap, as she looked to me in surprise. "You hold onto my team, while I hold onto yours. That way, you can trust I won't run off with them."
"... Okay." She nodded, her expression seeming to relax. Good. She held out the belt and I took it, looking to the pokeballs. But when counting, I was surprised to find only five of them. "You missing your sixth Pokemon?"
"I recently released one, hadn't had time to add another one to the team." She admitted, before counting the pokeballs I had given her. She furrowed her brows and looked back to me. "You only gave five, too."
"Yeah, well... I might've given one away." Which was true. Ariados was a good friend, but after babysitting a younger grunt for a while, he grew attached. Loved the guy, but it wasn't too hard to let him go. I couldn't break up a friendship like that. "Rest up, punk. We got a long trip ahead of us."
"I'm on it." She smiled, and curled onto her side. My team's capsules rested beside her and I couldn't help but stare. Something curled inside my chest, but I ignored it, hooking the belt around my torso like a sash. I dropped from the platform and made my way out of the home.
"Yeah... As soon as possible..." Burnet was chatting on the phone with someone, but gave me a wave as I made my way out. I sent a salute back, hoping she got the message that I'd be back. She must've, because she nodded and continued her conversation on the phone.
"Alright, now to..." I went to grab Vikavolt, but face-palmed instead. I left him back with the girl. Looks like I would be walking to the Pokemon Center. I grumbled and began to head towards the nearest one.
A/N: We made it, guys! Sorry it took so long to get to this point.
Chapter 7: Charm
"Here." You were surprised when a pair of clothes were suddenly shoved into your face. Burnet beamed at you as you accepted the clothes.
"What are these for?" You questioned, checking the given clothes. She gave you a pair of black shorts and a cute tank-top with a surfing Pikachu on it.
"You wrecked your clothes coming in. They are recoverable, but I noticed you didn't have spare clothes. They're almost done in the wash, but it's never bad to have a second pair of clothes." She smiled, placing a hand on her hip.
"Oh, well. Thank you." You changed out of her borrowed PJs and into the new outfit. It fit good, not too loose and not too tight. They were also perfect for the weather of Alola, which was different from Hoenn's.
You got an hour nap in before Guzma returned with your team. Excited and rested, you hopped down from the platform and asked Burnet about the boat. She said her friend would bring it to the shore of their home soon. So, you decided to let out your team and let them adjust to the new environment.
"Let's go guys!" You tossed out your five team members who flashed out onto the sand. They all clattered in excitement, beginning to play on the beach. Guzma watched in amusement.
"Not familiar with all of these Pokemon, to be honest." Guzma leaned against a palm tree, looking to you now. "Specifically your giant Politoad thing and the Rockruff."
"Swampert is nothing like a Politoad." You walked over and hugged your big lug around the neck. He chirped happily, pushing his head against yours. "He's a powerful water-ground type and my most trusted partner. And that thing you think is a Rockruff is actually a Mightyena."
At the sound of his name, he perked his head up from the ocean and barked, running over and tackling you into the sand. You laughed, as he licked your face. You finally pushed your Pokemon off and looked back over to Guzma. He nodded to your Crobat.
"You flew on him when coming here, right?" It was a rhetorical question, but you got to your feet and answered anyway.
"Yeah, he got quite a ways, but couldn't make it the full trip." You began to step over to Guzma, when suddenly your Luxray stepped between the both of you. Your electric Pokemon eyed the kahuna in suspicion and let out a warning hiss. You were surprised by his actions and got down onto a knee, to run a hand through his thick fur. "Now, what's wrong with you, huh?"
"Doesn't look like your Luxray likes me." Guzma raised an eyebrow, now watching your Pokemon with some caution. Luxrays were quite large and could thoroughly damage a person, but yours was usually very warm around others.
"He usually likes people. The only people he's been harsh around are... Well, they're the leaders of Team Magma and Aqua. But they're villains." You didn't notice the way Guzma paled as you spoke. You were too busy, pressing your forehead to Luxray's. "Hey! No more being mean now, okay? He's gonna help us."
Luxray gave a low growl in the back of his throat and sent a glare towards Guzma, but strutted off. He was no longer interested in the situation. Guzma watched your Pokemon walk off, looking slightly more wary. He jumped when your last teammate dropped in front of his face.
"What the heck is that?!" He stumbled back.
"I am sorry." Your Beheeyem apologized, moving his arms in slow motions.
"Did... Did your Pokemon just...?"
"Talk? Yeah, he does that. He's a psychic. A very smart one." You walked over and placed a hand on Beheeyem's back. He made a whirring sound in content. "Don't surprise Guzma too much, alright? He's new to all this."
"I will do my best." Beheeyem's speech was like a different voice entering one's mind. It took some adjusting, but it didn't take too long. Guzma still looked disturbed though. You smiled and placed a hand on your hip.
"Hey, I don't know Alolan native Pokemon very well. Maybe I can meet your team and make it even?" You offered. "I mean, I most likely will get freaked out somehow."
"Alright... Sounds fair." Guzma emptied his pockets and tossed his team out. "Come out, y'all!"
You recognized three of his Pokemon, a Pinsir, Masquerain, and Scizor. But there were two newcomers that you hadn't recognized, who must've been natives to the island. You decided to take it one Pokemon at a time though. You approached the Pinsir first.
"Hey there, little guy." You gave the Pinsir a warm smile and knelt to face him directly. He clicked in warning, but you held a hand up in defense. "I'm not here to hurt you."
The Pinsir clicked again, but moved forward and pressed his forehead against your palm. You smiled as you began to gently pet him.
"Uh... Whatcha doing there?" Guzma watched, confused and surprised at your actions.
"I do this with my friends' Pokemon, anyone I'm going to be working with. It's best to gain their pokemon's trust, so they know I'm here to help and protect their trainer just as much as they are." You answered, as Masquerain flew over and circled around your head. You stood up from Pinsir, as Masquerain gave a soft buzz. You reached out and brushed the side of her face, causing her to close her eyes happily. "Aw~ You're a sweetie, huh?"
"Hey, now. You're talking to the toughest group of fighters you'll ever meet." Guzma countered, seeming a little embarrassed. You laughed a little, lightly brushing Masquerain's legs.
"It's not suppose to be an insult. I think my Pokemon are sweet, but they're very tough, too." You stepped back from Masquerain in time for one of the new Pokemon to drop in front of you. He was winged, too, with a large pincer in front of him. His wings and flaps were sharp and electricity sparked around him. "Now, this one I don't recognized. What is he?"
"That's Vikavolt. Bug-electric type. Fast and dangerous." Guzma answered, folding his arms and looking a big smug. You looked for safe spots to pet, before reaching an arm forward and rubbing his head. The Pokemon buzzed in happiness, you having found the right spot.
"He's a sweetie, too." You smiled, rubbing his wing flaps, too.
"What? No! He's a servant of chaos! Just like his boi, Guzma!" The kahuna tried to counter, but it only caused you to laugh.
"A servant of chaos, huh? You both are too cute for that." Something pressed against your back and you turned around to find the Scizor trying to gain your attention. She clicked a little and you smiled, rubbing the side of her head. She pressed into your palm, happy for the attention. "She's cute, too!"
"Let's face it, Guzma." Burnet laughed, walking over from the house. "She loves all Pokemon and they all love her."
"Tch, there's no way they can all like her." Guzma scoffed.
"They're all gravitating to her at the moment. Even your Golisopod has taken an interest." Burnet pointed out. You were unfamiliar with the name and a chill crept down your back as a shadow fell over you. You spun around to face an enormous bug-creature. It clicked menacingly at you, moving its smaller arms in an uncanny fashion.
"Scared now, right?" Guzma called out and you looked over to him. He was smirking, and almost leering at you. "Golisopod can strike fear into just about anyone!"
But you wouldn't be scared off. You've face legendaries for goodness sakes!
"Hi there." You lifted a hand in peace, looking back to Golisopod. The Pokemon cocked its head at your actions, surprised you weren't afraid. "You're a big fella, huh?"
The Pokemon, Golisopod, shifted his antennas as he leaned down to inspect you. His smaller arms poked at you in caution, as his bigger arms dug into the ground beside you, probably a form of intimidation. His antennas flicked and you couldn't tell how he was feeling through his eyes. So, you decided to shoot in the dark. You reached up and rubbed the top of his shell.
"You're a good boy, huh?" You coaxed the Pokemon. It must've worked, because it gave a happy hissing sound and lowered its head more. You pressed your forehead to his, continuing to pat his shell. "Aw! You're just a big softie, huh?"
Golisopod clicked in affirmation, pushing against you for more affection. You laughed, looking over to Guzma. He looked completely flabbergasted.
"So, Guzma. What type is he?"
"Uh, he's a water-bug..." Guzma grabbed fistfuls of his hair, shouting into the air. "What in Arceus' name is going on?! How come you ain't afraid?"
"I mean, I was." You admitted, rubbing Golisopod's underbelly carefully. "But there's love in every Pokemon, you just have to earn it."
"It's about time to head-off, you two." Burnet announced, pointing out into the sea. You and Guzma looked over to see a sailboat making its way towards the shore. You returned your Pokemon, clicking them to your belt, again.
"A sailboat?" You bit your lip and looked to Guzma. "You know how to steer one of those, right?"
"Been some years, but yeah." Guzma shoved his hands into his jacket pockets. "It will be like riding a bicycle... You know, except those aren't popular in Alola. Never rode one myself."
"You should visit Hoenn."
"Now, I made these up for you both." Burnet shoved some neatly wrapped cloth-sacks, filled with a couple containers you could feel through the fabric into both your hands. "That should be enough for three meals. Don't go snacking on them, you hear? Hopefully neither of you will be out too long."
"Thank you, Burnet." You placed the meals into your bag, before stepping forward and hugging the woman. "Thank you for all your help."
"Of course." She held you back. "You're gonna help a lot of people by getting to the bottom of this."
"Alola!" You pulled away to look over to the temporary captain of the ship. To your surprise, it was a young boy, barely in his teens. He had dark skin and his hair was pulled back in a ponytail. He wore loose, Alolan clothes that matched his carefree aura. He beamed, dropping the sails and carefully bringing in the boat right before the sand. "Sorry it took a bit, Burnet! I wanted to clean out the boat, before getting it out."
"It's okay, Hau. Here's who will be captaining your ship." Hau dropped into the water as Burnet spoke, before making his way over. Burnet gestured to you and Guzma. "We have ___ from Hoenn and Guzma."
"'Sup, Guzma?" Hau sent a little wave to Guzma, but the kahuna rolled his eyes at the gesture. The kid didn't seem to mind as he turned to you. "Alola, ___! You've come a pretty far way, promise to keep my grandpa's ship in good shape?"
"I promise." You held a hand out and he happily took it, shaking it lightly.
"You best be off then. Be careful!" Burnet waved the two of you off. Guzma was way ahead of you, already climbing up the side of the ship. You followed, dropping onto the wood floor.
"Let's get out of here. I'm not one for mushy goodbyes." Guzma grumbled, as he began to draw up the sails and angle them accordingly. He did seem to struggle a little, but he was able to get the hang of it fairly quickly.
"I don't really like goodbyes either." You admitted. You sent one last wave to the two down on the beach, before setting your bag on the stairs leading down into the cabin. You looked to Guzma, ready to help in any way you could. "What do you need me to do, Captain?"
"First, don't call me captain." Guzma sent you a pointed glare, but continued. "Second, stay out of the way. When we're out of the rocky areas, then maybe I'll teach you how to use this boat."
You frowned, not liking his attitude at the moment. But you decided to let it go. He's a kahuna, he knows what he's doing.
Chapter 8: The Prophecy
I finished adjusting the sails and looked back to Melemele. It was already disappearing behind us. I never imagined to be in this position today. The sun was setting low in the sky, meaning my father had been trapped ever since this morning. I looked over at the girl, to find her gazing back at Melemele, too.
She was strange, but she wasn't bad looking. Hopefully she didn't turn out to be a psycho. I've had enough of those.
We had packed away our supplies in the cabin below. It contained an alcove with mats across it, probably where we'd go to rest. Luckily there was lots of room on it, and we made it silently clear that we wouldn't break any barriers. No way did I want to get touchy with a complete stranger.
"Hey, punk. Ya want to learn how to sail a boat or what?" I called to her. She snapped her gaze to me, but was quick to nod and made her way over.
"Alright! So, how do we do this?" She gestured to the main sail. I backed up and gestured to it.
"This is the jib, it's what's propellin' us forward. Now, ya see its tight because it's being pushed by the wind. That's good, means we're advancin' in the water." I tapped the mast the jib was hooked to. "If it's slack, ya got two options. Either tighten the sail tah catch what wind there is or steer away from the wind."
"Tighten the sail or steer from wind. Got it." She smiled, before pointing east of the boat. "What if I suddenly wanted to sail in that direction?"
"If ya want to change directions, check the wind indicators." I point up to a small flag waving in the wind. "That flag will show what direction the wind is flowin'. Just adjust the sail so it still catches the wind, but now pushes the ship in a different direction. Make sense, punk?"
"Yeah, it makes sense." She nods, but then grins. "Punk, huh? It that a term of endearment? Or a sign of disrespect?"
"Guess it doesn't mean anything at the moment."
"You could call me by my name then." She climbed up onto the front of the deck and stood gazing out in the direction of where we were headed.
"I don't really do names."
"Not my style."
"Speaking of style, I meant to ask about your jacket." She turned back to face me, looking curious. "You taped out that skull symbol. Why?"
"Tryin' to get rid of memories..." I frowned and folded my arms, taking a seat on the steps that led up to the front deck.
"Shoot. Sorry. I didn't mean to touch a sensitive spot." She sounded sincere, but hopefully she wouldn't continue to pry. Her steps resounded off the wood of the boat as she stepped over. She took a seat on the step above the one I was on, sitting so she was in my eyesight. "I thought maybe it would be good to discuss the scroll now. So, then we have time to think about what it could mean."
"Don't want tah dampen your spirits, but I'm not the best at puzzles." I huffed, but gave her a humorous glance. I doubt I could help in the area at all.
"Two heads are still better than one." She gave a small smile, before slipping out a stone container. She said an important scroll was in there, telling us what and how to get what we needed from Treacherous Waters. Maybe even how to stop all of what's going on. She clicked open the container and slipped out an aged scroll, unfurling it. "Alright... I'll just read all of it."
"Okay. "Those who journey to the demonic waters, with a blessing from a legend, will gain entrance to its dangerous coves. Those who enter will have to leave behind worldly possessions and journey the caves, without the aid of creatures. Beware the aurora that will chase, when the treasure is in your hands it will signal a new dawn." And that's it." She frowned, placing the scroll across her lap. "Some of it it's clear, but other parts..."
"Sounds like a typical old prophecy."
"You've heard many?"
"Alola is filled with legends. Every island worships and tells stories about the deity guarding it." I shrugged lightly.
"Maybe you can decipher more of it than you think." She smiled, reading over the text, again. "Okay, with the first part, I think it makes sense. Anyone can get to Treacherous Waters, but the treasure lies within some underwater caves of it. But the only way anyone can enter is with a blessing from a legendary Pokemon."
"I mean, you know. You're a kahuna." The girl became sheepish, scratching her cheek. "A blessing from a legendary means... It chose to make a connection with you. A sign of trust. It means, in an absolute emergency, you could summon it and they would protect you."
"Oh? And you have a blessing?"
"I do actually. I helped free a legendary Pokemon and in return, he gave me his blessing." She smiled, tucking some hair behind up her ear. "So, if I ever really need him, he will show. And your a kahuna and you can't become one without a legendary's blessing, so we're both qualified."
"Alright, I think the second part is mostly clear, too. We can't take in any worldly possessions, aside from the clothes on our backs. And it also sounds like we can't take our Pokemon along." She continued to decipher the scroll, but I didn't like that last part.
"I don't like the sound of that."
"I don't either, but if it's the only way." She bit her lip, looking to me. "Then I guess sacrifices will have to be made. We will have to leave them on the ship."
"Guess we could leave a couple out tah keep watch."
"Now, that is a good idea." She laughed, before scanning the last part of the scroll once more. "I think the last bit is the most confusing... An "aurora that takes chase" and the treasure signaling "a new dawn." I can't think what all that could mean."
"I can take a guess." I leaned back against the stairs, draping my arms back on the step behind. "That first part is a warnin' about... Whatever that aurora is. And when we get the treasure it will be the start of something. Maybe something good? Bad? Can't tell ya there."
"So, we will have to be careful. Sounds just like a real treasure hunt." The girl rolled up the scroll and placed it back in its stone container. She glanced at me for a moment, before a small smile came to her face. "Oh. That reminds me, I had a question for you from earlier."
"Yes, the white hair is bleached."
"Ha! No, not that. But I must admit. You look good in the white hair." She emphasized her point, by reaching out and tugging lightly on one of my white strands. "Most people would end up looking old with white hair."
"You look like a punk rocker. Which isn't a bad thing. Ironic, since you're the one who calls me punk." She clears her throat. "But I was actually going to point out your specialty. You're a bug-type trainer."
"I think that's awesome!" She perked up, shifting onto her knees. "I know water, ground, normal, steel, etc. specialists, but I've never met a master of the bug-type!"
"Is that right? Why's that?" I rose an eyebrow at that. Usually every region had at least one master in their type. Strange to hear Hoenn was lacking.
"I don't know, but I think it's a shame. Bugs are so... Complicated and they behave so much differently than other Pokemon." She gushed, her gaze drifting off. She sighed and looked back to me. "What got you interested in them?"
"It's, uh... Well..." I did not sign up for this. I wasn't one to get personal or sentimental and I did not want to share information with someone I had just met. "It's not really interesting, to tell ya the truth..."
"..." Her eyes wandered over me, before her expression relaxed somewhat. She wrung her hands, looking down to her lap. "Maybe I can share some stuff, too. Swampert is my first partner and I picked him out of Treecko and Torchic. But I picked him, not only because of love at first sight but also because he was a water type. I wanted to surf away from Hoenn with him."
"Ya wanted to leave home, why?"
"Hoenn might've been where my journey began, but it's not home. I was born in Johto and lived there until I was nine. My dad got a job as a gym leader and we moved to Hoenn. I lived there ever since." She leaned her head back against the border of the boat. "I just always wanted to... To choose my own path. Go where I wanted to go, whenever I wanted to go."
"And did ya?"
"... I thought I did." She dropped it there, and she looked like she was fighting with herself. I huffed, rubbing my cheek in exasperation. I did not want to share my own experience, but since she went to the trouble of sharing her own...
"Golisopod was mah first partner." I started, as she looked to me in newfound interest. I cleared my throat, avoiding eye contact. "He's a lot smaller in his previous form. Same size as a Surskit, actually."
"Aw, cute~" She gushed, as I chose to ignore her comment this time. I shifted to better face her, bringing my feet up to rest on the step I was sitting on.
"Anyway, we didn't have any fancy professors tah give us starter Pokemon back in the day. Alola is sorta behind other regions. Ya could probably see that, considering we only recently got a league." I scratched my arm, finding that I was already beginning to ramble. "My... Friend, he went out and befriended a Rockruff. But Pokemon in the grass, they all fought as soon as I came. I might've been a tough kid, but people still can't fight a bunch of Pokemon on their own."
"So, Wimpod didn't fight?"
"Oh no, he did something sillier." I laughed. "He ran like hell froze over! But he was different. When I ran into other Pokemon, they'd get mad or they were disinterested. But Wimpod ran and, well, it reminded me of... Me."
"... I've done a lot of running in my life. From home, from the island trials, from people... Not because I didn't want those things, but I always tended to hurt people. Guess now I just assume that everything I touch crumbles, so..." I unconsciously rubbed a thumb over the Ultra Ball that Golisopod rested in. "I could see he had that same fear. That no one wanted him around. Long story short, I lured him out with some pokebeans and he's been my partner ever since."
"And I can tell you love him. He's a very happy Pokemon."
"Lots of people think bug Pokemon are gross and scary. Don't want them around their home, much less in them. They're unwanted." I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath. "Guess I can relate to that."
Chapter 9: Alpha
Night fell quick, but Guzma was refusing to retire with you. It had been a long day and you could tell from his appearance, he didn't get much sleep anyways.
"Come on. You said we still had twelve hours before the ship reaches Treacherous Waters. That means it will be okay to sail while we rest." You pointed out, leaning on the mast as he avoided making eye contact with you.
"But what if we're attacked, or we need to avoid smaller islands, or passin' ships, no one will be there to steer us." Guzma tried to excuse, but you weren't having any of it. You sent out Beheeyem, who stretched and was glad to be out once more.
"Beheeyem, could you keep watch for us during the night? If you see anything Goldeenfishy, you can come down and warn us about it." You requested. Your Beheeyem saluted, rather than answering, knowing that Guzma wasn't used to his telepathic speaking. You looked to Guzma, who sent you a light glare.
"You're stubborn, ya know that?"
"So I've been told." You gestured to the lower cabin. "Let's go, kahuna."
You and Guzma stepped into the cabin, finding it pitch black. The sun wasn't out to illuminate the room. Guzma tossed out his Masquerain. A few moments passed, before her wings lit up and illuminated the room in a soft orange glow.
Something that didn't occur to you during your efforts, was the fact that there was only one bed. It sat towards the front of the ship and it was very large. You could fit three people across it, though the ceiling was low to it. Even sitting up, you might bonk your head on the ceiling.
"I'll sleep on the ground." Guzma quipped, opening some cupboards and pulling out a spare sheet and pillow. You were surprised at his quick decision, but not satisfied.
"No way. You're helping me out and you can't help me if your tired or aching." You rubbed your forehead and sighed. "Look, let's just lay out the obvious. I'm not having sex with you and I'm sure you don't want it with me. And if you do, my Pokemon could easily stop you and I'm keeping them on my sides. Sleeping beside each other isn't going to hurt anyone."
"Stubborn AND blunt. You're the whole package, huh?" Guzma joked, sending you an amused smirk. "I don't mind as long as ya don't."
"Doesn't bother me." You sent your own smirk towards Guzma. He was a strange guy, but you didn't have any attraction towards him. But you found it funny that he seemed to be the exact opposite of Steven. Lazy clothes, slang, attitude, the man certainly didn't keep you bored. And he loved his Pokemon, the most important trait any person could have.
You removed your shoes, climbed up into the bed and slid under the covers. You unhooked your belt and slid it to sit beside you, but tied the end of it to one of the loops of your shorts. You weren't going to lie on your Pokeballs, but you would keep them close. Just in case.
You pulled the sheets up and looked over to Guzma. He had removed his bracelets, watch, sunglasses and shoes, along with his dark jacket. That left him in his dark sweats and white tank-top. He stretched out his arms and back, before following you and climbing into bed. You both kept to the far sides of the bed, facing away from each other.
"Goodnight, Guzma." You spoke softly.
"Night, punk." He grunted, re-summoning Masquerain and sending you both into darkness. You could barely hear Guzma's soft breaths over the the smooth rocking of the boat. It was somewhat relaxing, the motion it made. And it was comforting to know you had another human companion to help you along the way. It would be the first time you shared a big adventure with someone else.
You had lots of lonely nights during your adventure in Hoenn.
You drifted off quick, peace in knowing that things were going up from here. You would be alright. You would avenge Zinnia. You could return to your life.
But did you want that?
"___!" Your eyes flew open at the sound of your Beheeyem's voice. You quickly noted your position and recoiled in shock. Guzma had fallen asleep on his back, but managed to stay on his side of the bed. You on the other hand had managed to move right beside him and rested one of your hands on his chest. How embarrassing! "___!"
"Huh?" You looked to your Beheeyem, who was flashing colors in a panick. "What's wrong, Beheeyem? What's going on?"
"Not good! A ship approaching! You need to come see for yourself!" He rattled off quickly. You looked back to Guzma who remained asleep, despite your jerky movements. You'd have to get him up, too. Who knew what was going on up above?
"Guzma." You grabbed the older man's shoulder and shook him gently. He snorted and groaned, before pushing himself onto his elbow. He looked to you through baggy eyes.
"What's goin' on?" He grumbled, rubbing the tiredness from his face.
"Beheeyem saw a sketchy ship up above. He has a bad feeling about it."
"Ugh, if it's nothing, I'm sleepin' for the rest of the trip." Guzma grumbled, as you both slid out of bed. You tugged on your shoes and belt, while he managed his own, deciding to leave his other accessories behind. You both then stepped up onto the main deck. It didn't take you long to spot the large boat through the morning mist. You made your way to the front of the boat and peered at it.
"Seems like an ordinary boat to me..." You mumbled, narrowing your eyes. That's when you spotted it. Fluttering through the wind was a familiar Alpha symbol. Your eyes widened at the sight, as you looked to Guzma in surprise. "Get ready to battle."
"Say what?" Guzma looked to be a mix of surprise and annoyed. "You know that boat? Or something?"
"Not the boat, but the people on board."
"Avast! A ship in sight?" A voice rang from above, as the big ship drew near. It stopped beside your boat and cut off the winds from the sail, causing your boat to cease its progression. A familiar figure stepped onto the railing of the large boat and peered down. "And who it be that we cross paths with?"
"Archie." You scowled up at the villainous leader. There was a pause, until suddenly Archie jumped down from his placement above. He landed in front of you and braced himself with a crouch. He rose, still two heads taller than you and smirked.
"Well, if it isn't the champion of Hoenn. It's been a long time, young'un."
"Archie? And champion of Hoenn?!" Guzma looked to you in surprise. "You kinda left that part out."
"Sorry about that... Wait, you know Archie?" You asked, your own confusion sparking.
"Aye, I remember this one." Archie scowled at Guzma. "I worked with a couple other leaders to invade Alola, but this landlubber and the champion of Alola decided to get in the way."
"Can't take all the credit." Guzma chuckled. "You got throttled by a kid... Twice. Since it seems this punk gave ya a hard time, too."
"Trust me. I did." You unclipped one of your Pokeballs. Archie noticed the action and grunted.
"What brings you to the sea, champion?" Archie shifted gears, watching you with suspicion. "Yer not one to leave the nest."
"You don't know me."
"Perhaps you have a point... You wanted to leave the nest, but yer father wouldn't have approved." Archie smirked, again. "I'm willing to bet he doesn't know your out now. It's seems our champion isn't so perfect."
Before you could respond, a Pelipper and a Swanna swooped down and snatched both you and Guzma up. You didn't have time to struggle, before you were tossed onto the deck of the bigger boat. Guzma hissed at the harsh landing, but hurriedly got to his feet. Archie appeared on the back of his own Crobat.
"What's the big idea?" Guzma growled, clenching his fists.
"A chance to seek revenge on two previous foes? I won't let this slip through my fingers." Archie cackled, before throwing a hand out in exaggeration. "Crew! Take these opponents down!"
The crew of Aqua grunts cried out and sent forth their Pokemon. They all were water type and you knew you didn't have to worry much. You sent out your Luxray who roared in excitement.
"Let's light things up!" You brought your fists up, your mind clicking into battle mode. "Discharge, Luxray!"
Your Luxray growled, before sending out a burst of electricity. It fried most of the water type Pokemon in one hit. Luxray's level and experience was far past those in Team Aqua, and was ultimately an unfair fight. The only one who could rival, was Archie himself. Guzma stepped in, tossing out his own Pokeball.
"A'ight, Vikavolt! Give 'em a thunderbolt!" Guzma cheered. The sharp bug Pokemon send out flashes of lightning, taking out the remaining water Pokemon. The grunts grew wary, but started to throw out their next Pokemon. They probably only had two or three each, all with low experience. Guzma looked to you and gestured to Archie. "These punks will be easy, you go show the boss a lesson."
"Sounds good to me." You looked to Archie, sending him a glare. His eyes widened in surprise as he quickly made his way up to the top deck. You climbed onto the back of Luxray and patted his side. "After Archie, Luxray. We got to give him a piece of our mind."
Luxray roared, the air becoming staticky around the both of you as he sprinted after Archie. Your Pokemon jumped onto the higher deck and you skidded in front of Archie, blocking any further escape. His surprise turned to anger as he glared at you and your Luxray. You smirked slightly, sitting up straight on your Pokemon.
"End of the line, Archie. You made a mistake crossing our path."
"It doesn't matter if you defeat me or not. You could always fight against those who are deemed evil." A grin slid onto Archie's face. "But you're submissive when it comes to the view of the public."
"You don't know what you're saying."
"I do know what I'm saying. I see the way you look at the sea. Your heart yearns for it, just like my own. But for far different reasons." Archie extended his arms. "I love the prospect of the sea, the Pokemon that inhabit it and wish there was more. But you... You wish to explore it and all the world. But you're chained to expectations. To abandon all you worked for... You would be a disgrace to your family. To Hoenn."
"I don't care what they think!" You said it, but it felt wrong saying so. He was right.
"Denial doesn't look good on you, girlie. When you prove that you can break your chains, maybe then you can deny my accusations." Archie threw out his Pokeball, unleashing his Sharpedo. He also immediately tapped the MegaStone hanging out his neck. His Pokemon shifted into a far more powerful form.
"What the heck was that?!" Guzma exclaimed, appearing at the top deck with his Vikavolt. He was watching Sharpedo in amazement.
"Mega-Evolution." You explained. "Some Pokemon can shift into a temporary stronger form while in battle. Swampert can do it. Maybe I'll show you later."
"Sharpedo, Night Slash!" Archie bellowed. His Sharpedo's fins glowed a dark purple-black and the water Pokemon leapt forward. You were in clear danger, considering you were on the back of Luxray. Guzma skidded beside you, his Vikavolt flying to guard the whole group.
"Vikavolt! Spark!" Guzma ordered.
"You, too, Luxray!" You commanded. Both Pokemon charged a beam a light within their jaws, before launching them forward. They slammed into Sharpedo, stopping his attack and knocking him out in the first turn. The electricity was too much for him.
"You win this time, champion." Archie growled, returning Sharpedo. His eyes displayed eagerness with a hint of insanity. "But your weakness is shining through. You won't be so confident for much longer. Remember that."
Chapter 10: A Legendary's Blessing
"Ya left out a few details about yourself, Hoenn champion." You were relaxing on the deck of your shared sailboat, when Guzma finished shifting the sails to take full advantage of the wind. He came over and sent you a sharp look. You felt bad for not mentioning it, but reactions to you being champion were never good. Either people chose not to like you or worshipped the ground you walked. You didn't like either reaction. "Well?"
"I'm sorry. I just didn't think it was too important to mention." You admitted, scratching the back of your head. "I didn't want anyone to judge me differently for my status."
"..." Guzma stared at you hard for a moment, before sighing and taking a seat on the deck, too. "Would've made ya more credible for your "legendary" claims. I thought ya were some crazy person at first."
"But you believed in me without knowing my title."
"Yeah, but I wouldn't have doubted in the first place." Guzma folded his arms. "Anymore secrets ya need to spill?"
"No. Everything else is either, not a secret or something personal that doesn't effect you." You smiled a bit sheepishly. You decided to shift the conversation. "How about you, do you got any secrets?"
"Heh, nothing ya need to know." He blew it off, but you couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at that. You had a feeling you SHOULD know anything he might be hiding from you. For a kahuna, he wasn't an open book.
"Anyways, how much longer to Treacherous Waters?"
"About an hour, maybe we can throw together lunch. After that, we will only have enough food fer one more meal." Guzma pointed out. "That means, after gettin' the treasure, we need to either stop in Alola or see if we can gather supplies from somewhere else."
"Guess we can keep an eye out, but plan on Alola for the time being. Let's go eat up, we'll need the energy for what's up ahead." You suggested, as you both made your way to the lower cabin. Treacherous Waters wasn't going to go easy on you and without Pokemon, it might be the riskiest challenge you have yet to face.
Being champion explained a lot about the girl. Her proficiency in a Pokemon battle, her ability to charm Pokemon, even her quirky and strange side to her. She was a lot like Alola's own champion, though more wise and mature. She's been doing what she does for a long time. Though, one downside, was that she was very observant and I could tell she was starting to catch on to me.
The last thing I needed was her figuring out about my criminal past. She's a champion, she could destroy me.
We finished lunch and after discarding our scraps, we stepped onto the deck to see our destination in sight. Ahead was a strange area of water. There was a mist hovering over the spot and the waters were visibly rapid at the edges. Deeper inside it was probably even worse. It was the same as when I visited it with Kukui.
"Can the boat even make it through there?" The champion spoke up, furrowing her brows. I made my way over and dropped the sails, slowing the descent of the boat.
"Last time I came here, mah boat was nearly destroyed. It's best tah anchor this one right outside the waters." As I spoke, I released the anchor for the boat, to keep it in place. The boat slowed right before the waters.
"So, are we alright to bring our Pokemon within for the start or...?"
"Let's head in with 'em first, see if we can get a good look around the area. Said we couldn't bring 'em into the caves, never said anything about the waters outside." I took out Golisopod's Pokeball and released him. He splashed into the water and clicked, waiting patiently for me.
"Here, Swampert!" She released her main Pokemon and pressed her forehead to his when he appeared. "I'll be gone for a bit. Protect the boat for us, won't you?"
The Pokemon croaked in response, nuzzling her face. I took out another Pokeball and released Pinsir. He crackled at me and I sent him a salute.
"Watch the boat with her Pokemon, aight?" I ordered, despite phrasing as a question. He clicked his pincers together in response and took up guard duty. Won't have to worry about anyone taking the boat now. I carefully hopped down onto Golisopod's back. I turned around and offered a hand to the champion. "Ya coming?"
"He's a water type?" She hesitantly stepped onto the edge of the boat before hopping down. I caught her by the arms and helped her gain her footing.
"Yer not the only one who's closest partner is a water type." I smirked, releasing her as I faced the waters and I kneeled on Golisopod's shell. "Let's go, Golisopod!"
Golisopod clicked and began to swim forward. We reached the churning waters and broke through the mist. A cold washed over us and we both shivered as our sights were hindered. We couldn't see anything and we were completely reliant on Golisopod at his movement.
"You said last time you were here, your boat was nearly destroyed. Do you even know if there's an entrance to the caves through here?" The girl asked, as she knelt beside me and placed her hands on the shell for balance. The water was rougher through here and occasionally splashed up at us, it didn't help with the cold temperatures.
"There's some small bits of land in here that I was able tah see. Now we just need tah run into one." As I finished, silhouettes of rocks pierced the mist. Golisopod swam as best as he could through the rapids to the largest piece of earth.
"Let's see about this one." The girl hopped off the shell and stumbled onto the piece of land. She began to examine the area as I climbed off of Golisopod, too. "There's no openings for a cave here, so... Wait."
She gestured me over and I walked over to join her. She motioned towards the ground and I looked to see what she was so interested in. It didn't take me long to catch it. Across the ground was a carving of a hexagonal diamond with ribbon-shaped carvings around it. Above the carving was a small rock platform that jutted out of the ground.
"This must be the entrance." The champion straightened up and removed her belt, hesitating for a moment. I recognized the look she had and removed my pokeballs, too.
"We'll have Golispod watch them, to make sure nothing happens to them." I offered. She visibly relaxed and nodded, liking the compromise. Golisopod stepped out of the water and stood protectively over the pokeballs, as we placed them on the platform. But the opening still remained shut.
"That's right... The blessing." The girl clicked her tongue before walking over to the carving and placing a hand in the diamond carving. She closed her eyes, and suddenly a blue marking appeared underneath her hand and it revealed an Alpha symbol. She opened her eyes and looked to me, offering a smile. "Come on, we need to open the cave entrance."
"Uh, well... You see..." I had forgotten about the blessing thing. I knew it was coming, but of course it had slipped my mind. Now I needed to find a safe way to spill the beans. "I'm not..."
"I think I know what you're saying." I looked to her in surprise, but her smile became warm. "You're a younger Kahuna, right? Like how I'm a young champion, you probably haven't done anything this crazy."
"Take my hand. I'll show you, Guzma." She offered her free hand out. She wasn't gonna let me get a word in, so I sighed and took her hand. I was surprised to find her hand was lightly calloused, they had been put to use at some point. She tugged me down to kneel beside her and gently positioned my hand against the carving. "Place your hand flat against the service and then pray."
"It sounds simple, but legendaries are very simple creatures." She met my eyes and tilted her head. "They protect what's dear to them, just like you do as kahuna."
"Right, just like how I do..." I took a deep breathe and closed my eyes, lowering my head. I prayed, I don't know to who or what, but that somehow I could get out of this situation. That somehow I can protect my team and earn my father's pride. That I could do something more than get in the way.
"Guzma." The girl placed her hand on my shoulder as I felt a warmth grow beneath my hand. I opened my eyes to see a red carving begin to etch itself across the ground. My eyes widened in surprise, as the markings finished off. "Tapu Bulu..."
Before I could question how or why, the diamond carving cracked through the middle and opened up to reveal a long staircase leading down. Surprisingly, a warm, humid breeze flowed from the opening as the girl and I stood to our feet.
"This is it, we enter in without our teams, find the treasure, and make our way back. Easy enough." The girl rolled her shoulders, before beginning to make her way down the staircase. I followed from behind as the darkness slowly consumed us.
It didn't take long for us to step into a dimly lit cave system. The ground was covered in an inch of water, which glowed a light blue and illuminated the walls with its blue glow. Our steps made splashes, scaring off a couple smaller Pokemon. Mostly Corsola and Staryu's it looked like.
While walking, I noticed a bright white stone sitting on the ground. I immediately recognized it and picked it up, shoving it into one of my sweatpants' pockets. It was material to create a Z-Ring.
"The Pokemon here seem more benevolent than I would've thought. Maybe they're just scared." The champion ran a hand through her hair, as I spotted something slithering up in the water. I gripped the girl's shoulder and ducked her out of the way of an attack. We both looked over to see a Dragonair charging another attack.
"We need tah move!" I pushed the girl forward, as we raced down the tunnels of the cave. We took sharp turns, not exactly sure which paths might be wrong. But soon enough we were getting deeper into the cave system and managed to lose the Dragonair. We slowed to a stop to catch our breathes.
"This might be more difficult than I would've thought..." She mumbled, before straightening up. Once we caught ourselves, we both began to catch some noise. Splashing, squawking and a very faint, frantic buzzing. I would know buzzing like that from anywhere, it was a Bug type Pokemon. My instincts kicked in.
"Let's go check it out." I announced, beginning to head towards the commotion. A hand gripped my wrist, halting my movements.
"Are you crazy?! We're defenseless as it is! How can we help a Pokemon in danger if we can't even protect ourselves?" She tried to reason, but my resolve was firm. I looked back to her, narrowing my eyes.
"You'd fight for Swampert, even without Pokemon. Right?"
"I mean, yes, but-"
"Look, I don't have a plan fer this. But we can't let any Pokemon get hurt, when we could've done something." I affirmed, removing my wrist from her grip. She stared at me for a second, a hint of realization filling her gaze. I looked away as she sighed.
"Steven would've ignored this and moved on."
"Who cares whatever this Steven-guy does? What are you gonna do?" I turned the question back to her. She set her mouth in a straight line and nodded slightly.
"Let's go save that Pokemon." Is what she said, but her eyes seemed to say something different altogether.
Let's go save you.
"Come on, can't let this fight go down any longer." I turned back to the commotion and hurried down the hallway, the champion at my heels. She was catching on to me bit-by-bit, she was pretty good at reading both Pokemon and people. Hopefully she didn't read to deep into me.
"So, do you have any sort of plan?" The champion asked as we peeked around the corner. Looks like my instincts hadn't failed. There was a lone Cutiefly who was being ambush by a group of Tentacool and Pelippers. She kept trying to buzz away, but none of the Pokemon allowed her to make an escape.
"One... But only if you're willing." I drew back with her and gave her a serious expression. This was serious, the bug needed help. "I work with bug types, I can attract her over to me. Meanwhile, you need to distract the other Pokemon."
"It is, but it would be good to have a Pokemon helping us."
"... You're right." She sighed and nodded her head slightly. "Where will I meet you?"
"There was that small dead end from earlier. Looked like a room we could tuck away in." I suggested.
"Alright, make it quick." She smiled, brushing her hair out of her face before quietly making her way over. I watched her carefully make her way over, before sending me a thumbs up. She let out a whistle, catching the attention of the Pokemon. "Hey! You're just jealous that she isn't a joke Pokemon like y'all are! News flash! No trainer would be caught with you two!"
The Pokemon probably didn't understand her, but were upset anyway. They began to charge towards her, as she ducked out of the way. I took the chance and cupped my hands over my mouth, sending out reverberating buzz sound. Cutiefly heard it and looked over to me. I gestured her over and seeing no other option, she quickly flew over.
"Ya, alright? No broken wings?" I mumbled softly, inspecting the little bug. She was clear of any obvious harm and happily allowed me to check her. Seeing as she was okay, I made a motion to ___. "Think you can help my friend there?"
Cutiefly looked over to see the champion rolling out of attacks, but she was starting to get banged up. Her clothes were wet and her hair hung in loose strands. A Pelipper managed to cut up her leg with a flurry of feathers. She winced, but remained standing. Cutiefly ruffled up her fluff and flew over. She released spores at the enemy, temporarily paralyzing them
"Let's go!" I called over to the girl. She nodded, scooped up Cutiefly and we ran back to take shelter.
"Ah!" You bit your lip, as Guzma finished wrapping up the cut on your leg. It wasn't cleaned or bandaged correctly, yet, but he made do until you could get to the boat. He had torn the bottom part of his jacket off and took the red duck tape on it off to hold it in place.
"Should last until we get out of here." He commented, getting to his feet and slipping on the remains of his jacket. The sweet, little bug flew in front of your face, buzzing in concern. You smiled and petted the small fluff. Guzma watched, before huffing in amusement. "She likes ya, you know?"
"Well, I like her too. She's a Cutiefly, right?" You cupped the little bug and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "I'm glad you had us turn around to get her."
The room you were taking cover in didn't have a layer of water on the ground and some flat boulders were set across the room. You were seated on one as Guzma fixed you up. There was some strange, faded drawings on the walls. They were black and white, probably from the chalky powder and black ash littered across the floor. Maybe fire types previously lived in the room.
"One things clear though, the Pokemon here are too dangerous. It's too dangerous tah walk around on our own and Cutiefly isn't enough tah protect us the whole way." Guzma sighed and turned away, folding his arms. You got a good look at the symbol that was previously covered by the duck tape. It was reminiscent of a skull, shaped into an "S." You'd have to ask him about it later. Before you could think of any ideas, Cutiefly buzzed frantically and began to circle around Guzma.
"What is it, Cutie?" You got to your feet and watched as she buzzed about. Guzma watched in confusin, too, before she flew to the wall. You both looked to find a faded drawing and you decided to examine it closer. It was a couple crude drawings of normal Pokemon and something was scaring them off. "A... Skeleton?"
"Think she's trying to tell us that the Pokemon around here are afraid of skeletons... Or maybe the dead." Guzma paused, before his eyes brightened and he began to gather up chalk and charcoal from the ground. You watched curiously as he smothered his face in chalk, before grabbing up a piece of charcoal. He stepped back close to the hall and looked into the lit water at his reflection, beginning to trace charcoal across his face. You were very confused by his actions.
"What are you doing?"
"Give it a sec'..." He brushed off your curiosity. You waited, as he worked the charcoal across his face and left black marks in his path. A minute passed, before he lifted his head and looked to you. You then understood perfectly. He created an inverted-colored skull drawn across his face.
"Wow, where'd you learn how to do that so well?"
"Hung out with a lot of kids and got a lot of practice. Now, sit down. Gotta make you look good, too." He smirked and gestured to go sit down. You raised an eyebrow at him, but didn't question as you went to take a seat, again. He sat on the boulder in front of you and began by charcoaling the sides of your face. It seems he would be giving you a normal skull pattern.
Guzma gently took ahold of your chin as he got to work and it was... Strange. His hands weren't especially rough, but you felt parts of his skin pressing up a little. Scars. From who knows what.
The situation gave you a good chance to look him up close. His bleached hair was always a mess, but you could tell he took great care to get like how it was. Especially considering you could see the roots were black. How would he look with black hair?
His onyx eyes were focused on his work and it seemed to make his bags under his eyes a bit lighter. He always looked a bit tired. His mouth was fixed in a line as he worked on you, but looking at him now, you could see a lot you couldn't before. He looked... Broken. Though, you could see that a small flame was still lit in him.
It reminded you of yourself. Your flame had diminished. No, it was still very much there, but hidden away. You didn't allow it to grow and spread. You were so scared of others' thoughts, you never thought about your own dreams.
The man before you, he didn't even have the chance to live his dreams. You could see that. But he wasn't as fortunate as you, you still had a choice to do so.
"There." He finished, smirking and sitting back to admire his work. You stood up and walked over, before looking down into the water reflected back at you. The skull drawn on your face was a striking white and seemed to pop out in detail.
"You did a good job." You complimented, looking back to him.
"I don't slack in my expertise." He chuckled, brushed the chalk off on his sweats. He made his way over and checked the corridors to find them empty. "Alright, you ready to scare some Pokemon? I mean, you probably have a lot in the past."
"You don't intimidate Pokemon when trying to battle or catch them?" Guzma looked back at you and raised an eyebrow.
"Don't need to with my team." You shrugged a little.
"Okay, okay." Guzma turned to fully face you. "Give me your scariest face."
"You're joking, right?"
"Heck no. You think the makeup is gonna do all the work? No! You gotta snarl and twist your face." Guzma proceeded to send a few scary looks to emphasize. They ranged from psychotic to disturbing, this man surely had diverse expressions. "Now, you try."
You sent him a glare and he rolled his eyes.
"You couldn't even scare a Flabébé with that look." Guzma rubbed the back of his neck and sighed, looking a little hesitant. "I can't believe I'm going to do this, but... Do trainers sing when they feel intense emotions in your region?"
"Not just trainers, why?"
"I think the only I can help you is to inspire you. Otherwise, you're a loss cause."
"Wow, thanks." You folded your arms and looked him over. "Go on."
This should be interesting, inspired singing was a tradition in both regions you had lived in. You didn't realize that Alola had similar traditions. Unfortunately, not all trainers could sing and you weren't sure about Guzma.
"We've got a job to do, we need to survive. So you're afraid, good, that means your alive. No matter what we face, we run the show. It's time to use your face to let 'em know." Guzma began to sing as he stepped out onto the watery corridor. His singing wasn't bad actually, there was a roughness to it, but there was a swing to it, too. "Now take your fear, pain, joy, rage. Mix 'em up together into something that the world still hasn't seen."
"What do you mean?" You harmonized, causing him to grin. Cutiefly flew over and took cover in Guzma's hood, hiding herself away. You both began to make your way quickly across the ground. You entered into an open room where some Pokemon lingered.
"Warrior face. Show 'em you mean business with your warrior face. Put 'em all in line. When you face challenges and dangers, you fix your face to face the world. Prepare your face to face the world!" Guzma moved forward and scowled harshly at the Pokemon. They whimpered and scampered away, afraid of the signs of death. You began to make your way down a hall when a Dratini appeared. Guzma pushed you forward, giving you the "go ahead." You looked to the Dratini, drumming your head for ideas.
"Hah!" You shouted, raising your hands and trying to appear scary. The Dratini tilted its head in confusion.
"Lower." Guzma tried to advise. You did as he said, deepening your shout. The Dratini tilted its head to the other side. "Stronger!"
"Hoh!" You curled your fingers and stomped, trying to scare off the dragon-type. It still watched on, not sure how to act.
"Come on, ___." Guzma sighed in exasperation. You felt your annoyance rise and you slammed a foot down and yelled as fierce as you could. The Dratini finally got the message and slithered away in fright. Guzma placed a hand on your shoulder. "Better."
You felt a heat rise to your cheeks as he moved ahead of you. And then a thrill filled your chest. That inspiration stuff was working, this was all suddenly becoming... Fun. You both moved downward, reaching the bottom of the cave closer and closer.
Running into Pokemon was becoming more frequent.
"Now make a face that puts the bad guys in their place, 'til they regret the decisions they made that day that led to standing in your way!" You both harmonized, as you took turns scaring off Pokemon.
"In my way!" You sung, laughing slightly.
"Warrior face! Teach 'em there's no foolin' with your warrior face! Show 'em what's in store! Warrior face, knock 'em back and school 'em, with the face of a warrior!" Guzma sung as you both entered into a very different room. The room dropped into one large pit you couldn't see the bottom of, aside from a bridge that branched from your entrance to an exit on the other side. You both carefully made your way over. "You have the face of a warrior!"
You both carefully made your way across the stone bridge. The surface of it was thankfully not wet and slick like most of the other surfaces.
"Doesn't matter how you feel inside. Don't reveal inside, you keep it real inside." Guzma sung softly now, as Zubats suddenly flew down to bother you. You waved and shouted them off, which seemed to work. "You make a face that makes em terrified. You make em scared inside, your teeth are bared, alright."
"Heh!" You scared off the rest of the Zubats, before you both make it across and entered a larger chamber. Many Pokemon suddenly veered up at your appearance. You both looked to each other before nodding. Now, you both worked together to scare off the Pokemon.
"We're getting out of here alive!" Guzma sung, scaring off some Tentacool.
"We're getting out of here alive!" You harmonized with him.
"You gotta help us to survive!"
"You gotta help us survive!"
"We're getting out of here alive! You're gonna help us to survive!" You sung together, your voices echoing off the walls. The Pokemon scattered out of the room as you both made your way to the only other opening of the room. It was one long corridor, but you both could see a strange red flow at the end of it. It must be the end. You both began to run towards it.
"With your warrior face. 'Til it's second nature, make your warrior face! Sing your warrior song! Oh, that warrior face! Time to demonstrate that you've been a warrior all along." Guzma laughed as you both slid to a stop in the room, lit torches led to a treasure seated on a stone surface at the back of the room. "You've been a warrior all along..."
Note: As the chapter title says, the song here is "Warrior Face" another cut sing from Moana.
"You know, you don't have a bad voice for someone who's slang is horrendous." The girl joked, nudging me as we approached the treasure. I shrugged, shoving my hands in my pockets.
"What can I say? I must've been blessed for a reason." I smirked and she smiled back. I felt a sting in my chest and wondered what that was about. I looked back to the treasure and the sting lessened. I don't like that feeling, I have a bad vibe about it. We finally made it up to the slab of stone and we both looked down at the treasure. "... We must've taken a wrong turn."
"A harp?" The champion carefully reached down and touched the silver instrument lightly. She plucked a string and it rang softly across the room. "This is it."
"This is what's gonna help us stop all of this steel from appearing?! What are we gonna do? Play a song 'n pray everything turns out alright?" I scoffed, running a hand through my hair as I examined the harp. It was fancy, but didn't seem special otherwise. I then noticed the slab it sat on had carvings across the stone. I furrowed my brows and pointed at the carvings. "What's this?"
"A message! Maybe it says the purpose of the harp." The girl smiled, again, and focused her attention on the writing. "Its not a language I know. Let me look at it for a moment, Beheeyem can read my mind later and translate it for us."
"Sweet, we're getting somewhere." I folded my arms, patiently waiting for her to finish staring at the carvings. But my patience cut off as I heard a quiet splash. I looked around the room and noticed it's horrible setting. Rocks jutted up and down the room, allowing many places for Pokemon to hide. "Hey, punk..."
"We might need to hurry it up. I got a bad feeling about this place." Cutiefly hummed from inside my hoodie, seeming to be in agreement.
"We'll scare off any Pokemon that might show up, just like before. No worries."
"You know, most of the time, treasure is guarded, right?"
"That's what all those Pokemon were doing out there."
"Yeah, but didn't that little prophecy of yers mentioned beware the "aurora"? Maybe this aurora is somethin' to worry about." I glanced across the rocks and I choked, seeing something step out from beside one. It was a larger Pokemon, the size of a Mudsdale. It was sleek, blue with a purple mane that billowed behind it and white ribbons twirled about it.
"We'll deal with it when it happens."
"What the hell's that?!"
"Guzma, what are you-?" The girl looked up and over and her jawdropped. "That's a... A Suicune."
"Yah know what that thing is?"
"Yes, it's a legendary from Johto. I heard many legends about it when I was little." The champion eyed the legendary, as the creature lowered itself in a defensive position. "We need to go now."
"Suicune is the Pokemon of auroras... He's here to stop us. He won't let us go without a fight. He's incredibly fast, but maybe we can outsmart him. Get ready to run..." I tensed up at her words, pushing Cutiefly deep down into my hoodie as I began to back up. The champ slowly lowered her hand, before swiping up the harp. "Lets go!"
We broke into a run, as the legendary let out a roar from behind us. This time, we ignored the Pokemon we flew by, the only objective now was getting back to the top before that Pokemon tore us to shreds. We skidded around corners and we could hear the legendary slam into walls behind us. He was quick, but the only reason he couldn't catch us is some of our sharp turns and the slippery ground.
"We're getting close!" The girl called ahead, as I began to recognize some subtle features in the caves. We were getting close. Just then, she slipped and face planted in the water. I didn't hesitate to yank her up and begin to drag her alongside me.
"Now's not the time to be clumsy, champ!"
"I didn't do that on purpose!!" She snapped, but tightened her hold on my hand as we raced through the corridors. We turned into a hallway that was flooded with light, signaling the entrance to the cave. Charging up the stairs, I glanced back at the Suicune. It was veering closer and it opened its mouth, revealing that it was charging an ice beam.
"Shoot!" I pulled my hand from the girl's and shoved her out of the entrance, ahead of me. She crashed to the ground of the small island, as I dropped to the floor of the entrance just as Suicune released its attack. The ice erupted beside me, catching the side of my body, but mostly missing. The ground glowed beneath us both, before the cave sealed itself, again.
"Guzma!" The champion rolled to her feet and hurried over. She got down on her knees and gently touched my side which was covered with a thin layer of ice. "Arceus... Does it hurt?"
"Just freaking cold. I need to get rid of it 'fore I get frost bite." A shiver wracked from my body as the cold began to spread through me. Golisopod moved over, clicking in worry. He lowered himself down to face me and I smiled, reaching my untouched arm up to rub his head. "I'll be fine, pal. Don't worry."
"I have some aspear berries in my bag! If we get you to the ship, they can help!" The champ rose to her feet and looked to Golisopod. "Can you carry him if I can get him on your back?"
Golisopod clicked in confirmation, causing her to smile.
The girl struggled, but she had managed to drag me onto Golisopod and surfed us back to the ship. Her Swampert happily greeted her, but she only managed a pat on the head before she rushed off for her bag. I lied down in the deck of the boat, rubbing my arms to try and gain some warm. But it was pointless and the cold only grew.
"Here, start eating this." The champ reappeared on deck and shoved a berry into my hands. I scoffed at her exaggerated worry, but did as she said, biting into the fruit. Once swallowed, a warmth began to spread from my core to the rest of me. I sighed at the feeling and continued to eat the Aspear more fervently. "How are you feeling now?"
"Still cold, but gettin' better." I answered, taking another bite.
"Good. The frost is already starting to melt, too." She offered a smile, tracing her fingers across my arm. I paused, watching her as she showed off the water coating her hands now. A different warmth began to bud at my chest, but I ignored it as I looked away. I took another bite of the berry, helping rid my body of the frost. "Oh! I have one more thing that could help!"
The girl pulled out one of her pokeballs and released her Mightyena. The dark Pokemon gave out a bark, shaking his tail in excitement. She smiled and rubbed his head, gesturing to me.
"Our friend here got a little frost bite, can you help him warm up?"
"Huh? No, that isn't-" Before I could argue, the Mightyena yipped and already pushed himself underneath my side. He caused me to sit up, curling himself around my back before lying down. He fell calm, as I adjusted and reclined against the furry Pokemon. Admittedly, he was really warm and provided a lot of comfort.
"Is he helping a little?" Speaking of comfort. The champ knelt in front of me, offering a small smile. The mist seemed to clear around her, making details stand out. The chalk and ash I had used on her face were smeared slightly from her fall and the water that had caught her face. Her eyes were warm, but also had a tint of concern in them.
"Hate tah admit it, but yeah. He's helpin' out real good." I smiled, moving my arm to rub the pokemon's head. Mightyena wagged his tail at the action, clearly pleased. Something buzzed and suddenly Cutiefly flew out from my hoodie. She hummed, flying around us both before nuzzling ___'s cheek. She laughed, cupping the little bug type.
"You made it out with us! Now you're free to go wherever you want and you won't have to worry about anyone hurting you anymore." The champ announced, rubbing the little pokemon's head. The fairy swung her legs and gave a soft buzz. I understood perfectly what she was trying to say and it seemed the girl knew, too. She looked surprised. "You... You want to journey with me?"
"Why wouldn't she?" I cut in, raising an eyebrow. The champion didn't seem to be convinced and sent me an unsure look. I bit back some more... Personal reasons that would have been evidence and favored the obvious. "You're the champion, any Pokemon would love to join yer ranks."
"Pokemon don't care about that. They care about the character of a person." ___ furrowed her brows and looked back to the small Pokemon. "Are you sure about this?"
The Pokemon gave a happy buzz, twirling in the air.
"Well, I do need one more team member." The girl rummaged through her bag, before pulling out a Fast Pokeball. She stepped back and tossed the ball in the air, catching it and becoming dramatic. "Go, Pokeball!"
She tossed the ball forward, catching Cutiefly who flew into the capsule. The ball fell and bounced back into the trainer's hands. The Pokeball only flashed once, before clicking signaling a successful catch.
"Come out, Cutefly!" She called, sending out the Pokemon and clicking the new Pokeball to her belt. Cutiefly buzzed happily, flying all around the boat. Golisopod watched in interest, surprised by the newest member. ___ placed a hand on her hip and looked back to me. "She's a bug type, you know? So, you'll have to show me all the ropes."
"Yeah, yeah. Whatever you say." I rolled my eyes, but smirked a little. She laughed, before moving about the ship. I wasn't sure what she was up to, until I felt the boat shift and the sails raised. The boat began to sail out of Treacherous Waters and back out to the calm ones surrounding it.
The champ reappeared and walked over, sitting down beside me and rubbing Mightyena's back. The ship sailed slowly and wasn't making much distance, considering we didn't have a set destination, yet.
"It's time to let Beheeyem read that message that was carved. See if he can make anything of it." She unhooked another one of her Pokeballs and looked to me. "Ready for it?"
"I'm not sure what we're ready for." My eyes drifted to the harp sitting upon the deck of the ship. "Hopefully it was worth all the effort getting that harp."
"It will be."
"I wasn't able to get all of it since it was from memory, but I will recite what I could read and translate." Beheeyem removed his arm from ___'s head. It was an interesting process to observe, I had noted. Beheeyem's arm had little gems at the end which glowed as he read her memories. They dimmed now, but it was still amazing what he could do. "Are you listening?"
"With anticipation." The girl sighed, waiting patiently.
"Okay, it said, "Follow the North Star to... the legendary A-Mal, whose... has been stirred for years... the instrument in hand, two... will work together to set... free. A mark of pain... companionship will mark their flesh... the full story comes into... surface." That's all I was able to read." Beheeyem admitted, flashing a couple colors. He seemed a bit disappointed, but his trainer took his arm in encouragement.
"Then it will be enough." She reassured, before falling into deep thought. "So... We will follow the North Star and we will find A-Mal. The instrument needs to be used against her and the both of us need to set something free. Not sure about that mark of pain or companionship is about.... And then everything will be revealed when we do it."
"How about some clarification then?" She looked to me in confusion and I sent her my own confusion back. "What the heck is A-Mal?"
Note: Remember, A-Mal is the legendary Pokemon mentioned earlier in this fic.
Chapter 13: What Do You Want?
"So, A-Mal is some sorta legendary? People thought the champion was killed by her, but she didn't. And for some reason she's been asleep all these years, but she's decidin' to wake up and kill everyone now?" Guzma recited back what he had remembered from your explanation. You were both lying on the bed of the cabin, Masquerin napping as she lit the closed area around you both. Empty mugs of Cocoa were sitting on the window sill.
"There's a lot of puzzle pieces that seem to be missing, but that's the gist if it." You frowned and looked out to the water through the window of the cabin. With Guzma's guidance, you had maneuvered the sail of the boat to proceed towards the direction of the North Star. "Nevertheless, we need to stop her. We don't need anyone else getting hurt."
"And save anyone who might be in the consequences." Guzma added, his own gaze drifting off. You felt a tug in your chest at his look and you decided to ask.
"Do you know anyone like that?"
"... Mah old man."
"Oh my Arceus." A lot of things started to make sense now. Burnet was so surprised by Guzma's eagerness to help, it must've been since his father was in the crossfire. Your thoughts drifted to Zinnia and a deep empathy formed. "If you don't mind me-"
"He isn't dead." Guzma confirmed, closing his eyes. "The steel swallowed him up... Heard it was in attackin' Pokemon like that. They all could still be alive, but that isn't assured unless I can do something 'bout it."
"..." You sighed, feeling weights you were ignoring pull you down. For a moment, you took deep breathes as a reality you were avoiding stepped through your door. You would never speak to Zinnia, again, or get texts from her or fly with her or anything else, ever again. She was gone and she left a hole in your heart. Aside from Steven she was your closest friend and she was gone. "The one who passed on this prophecy to me, was my friend. She was killed by the steel."
"..." Guzma looked to you in surprise, a flicker of shame running across his features. You felt bad for causing his reactions and rested a hand on his shoulder.
"We're gonna help your dad, Guzma. I promise." Despite the sting in your heart, you smiled a little to help reassure him. He looked over you for a moment, before exhaling and relaxing his shoulders. He allowed a lazy grin to cross his features as he watched you from the corner of his eye.
"Enough with the heavy stuff. You mentioned a "Steven" earlier. Made it sound like you care about what he thinks about you." Guzma brought up, raising a brow. "What do you care what he thinks?"
"Well, um..." You played with a lock of your hair, awkwardness settling in around you. For some reason, talking about Steven seemed like the last thing you wanted to talk about with Guzma. Aside from the recent death of your best friend. "He's sorta... My boyfriend?"
"That sounds like a question." Guzma narrowed his eyes, the corner of his mouth twitching. He seemed slightly... Disappointed, though you weren't sure why. Maybe it wasn't the answer he wanted?
"It's complicated, right now." You chewed on a nail. "So, the night I left to Alola he might've proposed to me."
"Then he's yer fiancé."
"Thing is... I wasn't able to answer him. My friend was attacked by the steel and I wasn't able to give an answer." You further explained, realizing how problematic your situation sounded.
"Alright, then it depends on how you were gonna answer him, right? What was gonna be your answer to him?" Guzma folded his arms behind his head, his tone a little sharp now. You hesitated, wondering how you should answer this. Should you be honest? Or only tell half the truth?
"I was gonna say yes..."
"But I wasn't sure about it." You were surprised by your honesty. You had never told anyone about your thoughts on your relationship with Steven and that sentence summed up the whole thing. You weren't sure about it.
"Let me get this straight. You were gonna say yes to marrying a guy and being with him for the rest of your life, but you were unsure about your answer?" Guzma dropped his arms and looked to you, a whole new expression washing over him.
"No offense, but are you freaking STUPID?!" Guzma rubbed his face in exasperation. "Who the heck says yes to being married when they're not even confident about it? What if you end up regretting it? What if you learn that no was your answer? You could've gone five years into the marriage and not realize it!"
"You sound like you speak from experience."
"Promise I've always been a bachelor. But I've made long-term, unsure decisions before and trust me, they're like taking a trip to the Underworld." Guzma frowned. "Why would you say "yes" when you're not even sure?"
"Because it's what everyone wants." You brushed your hair back. "Steven wants it, my parents want it, the region wants it... It's the perfect pair. The champion and hero of the region with the former champion and most successful businessman in the region. It's like a fairytale come true."
"Doesn't sound like a fairytale for you." Guzma looked over you, before his eyes drifted to his Masquerain. He reached out and rubbed her head gently. Her wings fluttered a little, but she didn't wake up. Guzma sighs. "What do you want?"
"You heard me."
"... I don't know."
"I think you do know." Guzma looked back up to you and his onyx eyes seemed to pierce through you. Like he could see your soul. It was a surprise, because you thought you could see through his exterior. Maybe he's been peeking through the cracks, too. But you met his dark eyes, a sharp contrast to Steven's bright blue. "But personally, I think you should do whatever makes you happy. Even if it hurts some people."
You woke up later that night to find that it was still pitch black out. Masquerain was returned and wasn't providing light anymore, so you lied there as your eyes adjusted. The first thing you saw was the bit of moonlight shining in from the window. And then your eyes drifted to the man sleeping across the mattress from you.
Guzma was snoring slightly as he lied on his back, an arm draped above his head and his other arm across his stomach. His white hair seemed to glow in the dark with the help of the moon. He looked especially pale with the moonlight against him. But he looked relaxed, peaceful even.
You on the other hand, weren't. You had been woken by nightmares, of seeing Zinnia hurt or of you failing her. Images of your loved ones turning to dust or being stabbed with steel had flashed before your eyes. Some sweat dropped down your back as you shifted onto it. You weren't sure you could get back to sleep after that.
You inhaled shakily as your hand grabbed at your shirt. You tried to will away the images, but they always seemed to resurface. Some tears fell from your eyes, your throat feeling dry. She was really gone.
You hadn't noticed the silence of the room, until a hand covered the one gripping your shirt. You jumped and looked over to see Guzma awake. He stared at you through half-lidded, tired eyes. He seemed to read you, glancing at the tear tracks across your face.
Embarrassment filled your chest, of course he had to see you weak like this. Just great. But the shame was quickly replaced by surprise. Guzma, with ease, pulled your body closer to his. You turned on your side to better face him.
Your guard shot up and you were about to kick this man out of bed, when he released you. Your arms were curled up against his chest and your legs gently brushed against his, but that was all the contact he gave. He grabbed the sheets and stretched them better across your form. He tucked you in, before pulling his arm back to his side.
You looked to him in question, but he only managed a small smile before his expression dropped and his eyes shut in exhaustion. You watched his face for anymore signs of wakefulness, but the man was out. He wasn't snoring now, since he wasn't on his back. You hesitated, before curling slightly closer. You rested your head on his chest, feeling the steady rhythm of his heartbeat.
Feelings of confusion swirled in your chest. On one hand, you felt guilty... Because you didn't feel guilty by being this intimate with another man. You should feel bad, you have a boyfriend! One who wants to marry you for Arceus' sake!
But on the other hand, Steven had never been this intimate with you. Sure, he hugged and kissed you. But he did it because it was typical. But when you had nightmares at home, you would wake up beside him and leave to sit outside. He never followed you, you weren't even sure he noticed your absence.
In most cases, when you were upset, he left you to yourself. You were strong, sure, but sometimes you needed someone to pull you close and let you rest your head on their chest. You stare at Guzma's white tank top, your eyelids drooping. Something unfurled within your chest and you allowed it to, as you fell asleep against the man.
"Since we have some time before we reach A-Mal, I remember I promised you to show you how Mega Evolution works." You stood on opposite ends of the deck, prepared for a mock Pokemon battle. You had changed and cleaned the wound on your leg from yesterday's encounter and Guzma was fully recovered, no longer cold and back to his usual self. You both tossed out a Pokemon, revealing your Swampert and his Golisopod. "Now, it's easy. All you need is a MegaStone, a MegaStone container, and a Pokemon connected to that specific MegaStone."
"That's it?" Guzma bent down, watching in curiosity.
"Yep, and then you tap the stone to release the power." You brought up your arm where the MegaStone bracelet wrapped around your wrist and tapped the stone. "Swampert! Unleash your power!"
Your Pokemon gave a roar, before he transformed in front of the both of you. His figure was far more massive and clearly strong. He hit his fists together, showing off his powerful new form as energy rippled off of him.
"Arceus! He really did change. And it's not permanent?" Guzma stood up to his full height and looked to you in surprise.
"Nope, once the battle is over, he returns back to normal. It's a temporary power-up." You clapped your hands together and summoned back Swampert. "That's it for the day. You did a good job, Swampert!"
"We have something like that." Guzma added, summoning back his Golispod. "Also requires a bracelet. They're called Z-Moves. They're not transformations, but instead a super powerful move you can only use once during battle. It uses the complete determination of both the trainer and the Pokemon."
"Oh, can you show me?"
"Wish I could, but I don't have a Z-Bracelet." Guzma looked out to the ocean. "But I'll make one when I get back. Maybe I'll show ya before you go home."
Something pinched your heart and you realized. Once this adventure was over, after you defeated A-Mal, you would be going home. Guzma would return to Alola and you'd never see him, again. You'd have to return to Steven and sort out your problems back home. You discovered a feeling growing inside of you last night and it was still hard to accept it.
You looked back to Guzma, your heart drumming in your chest.
Chapter 14: The Truth
We were heading farther and farther north, but Alola was still the closest region to us. Probably half a day aways now. There wasn't any sign of steel, but hopefully we were moving closer to this A-Mal. I was relaxing on the deck and watched as ___ hopped around, adjusting the sail to the wind and using the compass on her Pokedex. I looked away, my thoughts trailing to this morning.
I had woken up before the girl, but almost completely lurched out of bed. She had an arm across my middle and we each had a leg tangled together. I had a foggy memory of grabbing ahold of her last night. She had looked so broken and I did the only thing I could think of, bringing her closer. I thought it had been a dream, but I was definitely wrong.
Despite my mind's protests, I took a moment to examine her up close. She was a lot more relaxed than last night and it was sort of cute how her hair splayed around her. An adorable, chaotic mess. She was a little warm and her hand draped over me caused my side to tingle. I managed to maneuver my limbs from her without waking her, but I haven't been able to look the same at her since.
Seeing her beside me like that, made me finally cave into my strange feelings. The champion was cute. I wasn't in love with her, I had only known the punk for a couple days. But she was head-strong, funny, patient, likable, stubborn, and a complete nut. I liked all those things about her.
But despite the small crush, I was frustrated with the feelings. I knew they were all in vain. To start out, she had a boyfriend. Sure, that was rocky terrain, she had a significant other.
And second, she was champion. She could have anyone! Why would she lower herself to garbage? To nothing?
And third, I have lied to her. A lot. She was eventually gonna find out the truth and what then? She'd hate me. She wouldn't be able to forgive me.
These feelings were going nowhere and I hated that they were even there. But might as well make this last day of the adventure worth it. I wouldn't ruin what we had built, it was thin as it was, but I would leave it on a high note.
She had finished adjusting the sails and dropped back down, sliding her Pokedex away. The sun was beginning to set in the sky and seemed to illuminate her form. She looked over to me, as I stood and faced her. We both watched each other for a moment, before she smiled, tucking some hair behind her ear.
"What is it?" She questioned, looking amused.
"You know, considerin' I'm not ecstatic about bein' dragged into danger, I'm glad you're the one who dragged me into it." I admitted, shoving my hands into my pockets.
"Thanks." She seemed slightly surprised, as she leaned back on one of her feet. "I'm glad you're the one I dragged in. I haven't had this much fun with someone since... Well, ever."
"..." Guilt began to weigh in on my mind. I looked to her and her beaming expression. Maybe before all of this went down, I should tell her the truth about me. "___... There's something I need to-"
The boat suddenly lurched and we both toppled to the ground. ___ hissed in pain, bringing a hand to the bandage across her leg. I groaned and got to my feet, looking out. I didn't see it at first, since there was a light fog in the air, but then a silhouette moved and shifted before us.
"What is that...?" I got to my feet, looking out at the figure. It shifted and didn't seem to have a defined shape. As the boat moved closer, I noticed it seemed to be a giant blob of steel and it could take on any form it pleased. There seemed to be other metal parts to signify joints.
"A-Mal..." ___ brought her Pokedex back out and scanned the Pokemon.
"Melmetal, the Hex Nut Pokemon. Revered long ago for its capacity to create iron from nothing, for some reason it has come back to life after 3,000 years." The Pokedex dinged, supplying information.
"So, A-Mal is just a nickname?" I looked to the champ, slightly surprised and amused.
"Sort of like how the legend called Suicune by Aurora. Names were different in the past." She slipped her 'dex away, again. "It's time we do this. We need to prevent any other disaster."
"Right. I'll keep us sailin', you get the harp." I made my way over and held onto the ropes of the sail, as the water became more rapid. I sent out a few of my Pokemon, including Golisopod, Pinsir, and Scizor. "Guard the ship, you three!"
They all chirped in response, positioning themselves around the boat to protect it. The writhing silver form, finally seemed to decide a form and hardened. It also appeared to finally have spotted us. It let out a sound like the tearing of metal and it grated on my ears, as I bit the inside of my cheek.
"I got it!" ___ resurfaced, with the harp in her hand, as she released a few of her Pokemon, too. Her Swampert, Mightyena, and Luxray appeared. "Protect us as we move closer, alright. Attack if you see an opening."
Her Pokemon growled in acknowledgement, all three of them bracing themselves. Melmetal shot out some spears of steel, but our trios of Pokemon easily defended against the attack, together. As we moved closer, ___ gave a test strum of the harp and let out a yelp. I looked to her, confused.
"What's up?" I asked, gripping the ropes to turn the sail to slow the ascent forward.
"Nothing, it's just... It felt like I got poked. My mind must be playing with me." She shook off her feeling and held the harp aloft. "Let's get in close and see what this harp can do to her."
I set my lips in a thin line, not sure how to respond to her own confusion, but did as she said. I moved us closer, but slowed the speed, to allow her time to act.
"A-Mal, Melmetal, we won't allow you to hurt anyone else!" The girl brought the harp up and glided her fingers across the strings. Melmetal groaned in hurt from the instrument. To both our surprise, ___'s arm holding the harp had purple markings crawl from the tips of her fingers to the middle of her forearm, before disappearing. She hissed, dropping the harp on the deck as she clutched her hand. "It felt like my arm was sliced!"
"The harp..." I glanced down at the instrument, before focusing back in sailing. "The dang harp hurts you every time you use it. Is it suppose to do that?"
"I... I don't know. It didn't leave any cuts behind, but it felt like it." She rolled her wrist, frowning. "I... I can try, again."
"Are ya crazy?! If it hurt ya before why do-"
"We have to stop Melmetal at all costs!" She picked up the harp, again, and strummed the strings once more. The markings appeared, again, but disappeared as her hand spasmed from pain. She brought the harp into her other hand and looked to me with a hopeless expression. "I can't..."
The legendary let out a roar, bringing up a fist of steel to bring down on us. She wasn't happy from the slight pains of the notes we were able to play. My eyes widened. There was no way we could move away fast enough to avoid the attack. I released the ropes and jerked back, grabbing the harp from the girl's hands.
"Guzma, wait, no-!" I struck down on the chords and felt what seemed to be a blade slice up my arm. The markings appeared on my arm, before disappearing. But it did the job. Melmetal screeched in pain and when she slammed down her arm, she missed the boat, slamming into the water in front of the ship. The collision created a large wave, which sent the boat back flying miles away from the fight.
I blacked out before I could see anything else happen.
Hours passed after the events of your encounter with Melmetal. Night had fallen soon afterwards, and you were left to the darkness of the sea. Luxray helped light the surroundings of the boat, but everything still felt cold. Hopeless.
Guzma still hadn't woken up and lied across the deck. You checked his vitals and he was alright, just shocked into sleep. His released Pokemon watched over him with concern, but they were all patient for his awakening. You had placed away your other Pokemon, allowing them to rest and sat with Luxray. You ran a hand through his mane as you reflected on everything that had happened.
The harp was a mystery. Even away from Melmetal, the instrument send a wave of pain up the arm holding it. Additionally, it created those strange purple marks every time, but in different shapes and forms each time. It looked similar to henna.
Luxray gave a small growl and you sighed, pressing your head to his. Your group was doing so good and everything looked like it was going according to plan. How wrong you were. Everything went bad, fast.
Your head shot up at the sound of a groan and you looked over to see Guzma shifting awake. You left Luxray and hurried to step over beside the kahuna. You knelt beside him, your chest knotted with worry.
"Guzma, Guzma are you alright?" You asked as he came to. His eyes slid open and he pushed himself into a sitting position. He sat there for a moment, his eyes wandering the ship before they landed back to you. There was a mix of emotions surprise, fear, but mostly defeat.
"We almost died." He started.
"I wouldn't say that." You offered a sad smile, placing a hand on his arm.
"Shut up. I know you're naturally optimistic, but open your eyes already." Guzma pulled his arm away from your grip. "We would've died staying there any longer."
"Maybe you're right, but we're okay now and now we have a second chance to-"
"We almost died and you already want to go back?! Are you nuts?!" Guzma hissed, giving you an incredulous look.
"Guzma, we can't let Melmetal continue on. We need to defeat her before she causes anymore destruction. It's our duty as a champion and a kahuna, so-"
"I'm not a kahuna." Guzma stated, looking you dead in the eyes. You faltered, as confusion filled you.
"Look, I should've told you sooner, but I lied. I'm not a kahuna. Heck, I'm not even a normal trainer. I used to be the leader of a villainous team, just like Team Aqua." Guzma's gaze dropped from yours and he looked away, his frown deepening. "I'm not a good guy, just a waste of space. I don't have a legendary's blessing. I'm not even sure how I made it this far..."
"My father was right. I haven't given anyone any reason to trust me..."
"Look." Guzma sighed. "I understand if you're mad at me, if you can't forgive me, I'd do the same thing-"
"Guzma, why would I be mad?" That seemed to be the thing that shocked you the most from what he's revealed. He thinks you would be mad? Guzma also looked surprised at your statement. "I'm confused, sure, and maybe a little upset. But I'm not mad at you, why would you think that?"
"Because I lied to you, and all I've been is a burden." He frowned.
"You couldn't be more wrong." You placed a hand on his shoulder, meeting his onyx eyes. "Maybe you lied about who you were, but you didn't lie about what you would do. You led me to Treacherous Waters, you fought alongside me, you helped me find the harp, you even protected me. Your actions spoke much larger than your words. And you said you would help me fix this. All of this."
"..." Guzma's eyes wavered, before he sighed and got to his feet. He didn't look to you as he began to make his way to his cabin, recalling his Pokemon. "Looks like I lied about that, too."
You sat on the edge of the ship, your legs dangling over the water. You had put away your Pokemon, leaving your belt on the deck. The ocean was still at the moment and the sky was open before you. Your eyes drifted up to the stars that dotted the sky, as dread set into your heart.
"What was I thinking? What made me think that I... That I could do this?" You brought your arm up, tracing the places where the markings had been. You frowned and clenched your fist. "I should've stayed home. I'm not a hero. I'm just a simple champion. I'm just meant to sit on a throne and do what I'm expected of. There's not something more for me out there..."
You hung your head. The problem would have to fix itself on its own them. Someone could take this responsibility instead. Someone more worthy. Someone who was destined to do this. A real champion.
You decided you might have to turn in for the night. You would have a long day of sailing back to Alola ahead of you. It was certainly gonna be awkward with Guzma. It will be awkward just being in the same room as him.
You began to stand up, getting to your feet. But once your foot made contact with the edge of the boat, it slid out from beneath you. A yelp escaped your mouth, before you dropped into the water.
You opened your eyes and gasped at the sight. You were high above the clouds and you were on the back of Latias. She looked back to you and gave you a happy chime. But how did you get here?
"___." Your head snapped over to see Zinnia. She sat on the back of Latios and was giving you an amused look. "Relax, she's gonna go easy on you."
"Huh?" You noticed you were clutching onto Latias' fur. You loosened your grip and looked to Zinnia. "What are we doing up here?"
"I know you're scared to fly long distance, but I promised you a flying tour of Hoenn." She grinned, rubbing Latios' neck. Her hair flowed in the wind. "What better way than on the back of Latios and Latias?"
"Aren't they as fast as jets?"
"Oh, yeah. This is the best way to break you in. You need to be able to fly high, far, and fast if you're gonna battle Rayquaza." Zinnia lowered herself on the legendary's back, her expression becoming serious. "Ready?"
"Too bad. Latias follow us, but be gentle." Zinnia soared forwards and you lurched after her as Latias followed.
"Life's been so unsatisfying. Look, suddenly now I'm flying! Freewheeling from cloud to cloud to cloud." Zinnia happily sung, as Latias brought you up to fly beside the two of them. You clutched to the legendary for dear life. "Wings spread, and the sky below me. There's no one to stop or slow me, pure freedom and everything's allowed!"
You both flew over Petalburg Forest, the legendaries flying down low right above the trees. Beautiflies and Dustoxes flew out from the trees in a beautiful array of color. It helped push down your fear a little.
"Down there, I know there's tons of burdens I must bear, somewhere..." Zinnia looked down in melancholy and you looked to her with empathy. There was so many things you wish you could escape, too. "But from up here, the world looks so small and suddenly life seems so clear. And from up here, you coast past it all, the obstacles just disappear!"
Latias and Latios sped up and flew to the largest feature in Hoenn, Mt. Chimney. They flew in spirals around the base of the volcano, circling upwards. You held tight, feeling the heat of the landmark.
"You never feel heavy or earthbound, no worries or doubts interfere. There's nothing but you looking down from the view from up here." Zinnia, to your surprise, suddenly pushed herself up, and was now standing on Latios' back. Your eyes must've been large, because she just laughed and gestured you to do the same. "I got you."
"Okay..." You hesitated, before willing yourself to do the same.
"Stretch out with the wind behind you," Zinnia sung, stretching her arms out to remain balanced. You carefully began to push yourself onto your feet, an urge to sing with her coming to you.
"Here we go..." You sang to the side at the same time as her melody.
"Float up, let the current find you!"
"Look out below..." You managed to get your feet and wobbled a little, but you stayed up. You were doing it.
"Keep climbing, and sail from breeze to breeze!" Zinnia jetted forwards, speeding up with Latios.
"Stay close, don't leave me, please!" You begged, fear striking your heart. But Latias was cautious with you and you remained upright.
"Head up to the stratospheres with only the stars to steer us. Just think of the possibilities!" Zinnia chirped, as you and Latias gradually made it back to her side.
"I think I've got it!" Confidence flooded your chest, as things began to become easier.
"Below, we spend our whole life trudging to and fro, now-"
"Whoa!" You lost balanced, but Zinnia reached out and caught your hand. She helped steady you and you gave her a grateful smile.
"And from up here..." You harmonized with her.
"The world looks so wide." She sung, looking ahead.
"Yet every horizon seems near." You sang after her, also looking forward. Sky Pillar pierced the sky ahead of you and both circled around its base as well. Spearow flew about you, not minding your addition.
"And from up here..." You harmonized once more.
"No path is denied." Zinnia released your hand, allowing you to balance yourself out.
"You choose which direction you veer." You reached a hand out, brushing against clouds that you could reach now. It was cold, but nice.
"And suddenly you can breathe easy."
"Just gliding on through, looking down at the view from up here." You sung together, as you descended to fly right below the sea. Mist sprayed up, cooling you down further. Latias and Latios chirped happily. "And from up here, the world is all yours, each mountain and meadow and mere. And from up here, life's duties and chores are barely worth shedding a tear."
Zinnia and you both sat back down on the legendaries, before they suddenly shifted directly upwards. You held onto Latias, as they shot directly up into the sky. The wind roared in your ears as you pierced the clouds and just about reached the heavens. They turned back to horizontal positions, but maintained their high speeds. Your hair whipped around you.
"And all of the sky lies before us, straight up to the far stratosphere. So head for the blue and let's take in the view from up here!" You harmonized once more. You looked to Zinnia and she smiled back at you. "It's just me and you looking down at the view from up here!"
For once, it felt like you were free from your duties. You wish you could feel this all the time. You wish someone could free you from all of these expectations. Zinnia couldn't, she had her own responsibilities. But she could release you for this small moment.
But the moment ended. You had loosened your grip on Latias too much and suddenly you slipped off as she made a sharp turn. You shouted, throwing your hands up to try and grab onto Latias, but missing. A hand shot out to grab yours.
You gasped for air as your head broke through the water. Guzma kept a firm grip of your hand, his other gripping your arm to pull you out of the water. You both collapsed onto the deck of the boat. You choked up some more water, spitting it out onto the deck. Your throat felt raw and dry from the salt water.
"Are ya okay?" Guzma brushed back wet strands of your hair to get a better look at you. "Ya look like crap."
"What... What happened?" You looked to Guzma with confusion.
"I should be askin' you that." Guzma grunted, sitting down beside your form. "I was down in the cabin, when suddenly I heard ya scream. I ran out here and couldn't find ya, but I found water splashed over the side there and realized ya fell in."
"Fell in..." The moments before slowly faded into mind and you felt ashamed for almost really hurting yourself. "I... I was getting up, but misplaced my footing and fell in. I must've been out for a moment, because... I relived a memory."
"Good or bad memory?" Guzma leaned back in his hands, frowning.
"Good, but kind of sad now." You sighed and looked to him. "Thank you."
"Don't mention it, I might be a bad guy but I wasn't just gonna let you drown." He shrugged slightly, looking away.
"You're not a bad guy." You argued. He looked to you, looking ready to argue that point. You shook your head. "Guzma, don't fight me on this. Archie and Maxie would've let me drown, they're bad guys. You're just... A good guy in a tough spot."
"That's a nice way to put it."
"It's an honest way."
"..." Guzma's features were illuminated by the moon which sent sharp shadows across his face. His dark eyes watched you and you felt those familiar feelings curl within your chest. Feelings you should've kept down, feelings you should've felt guilty for. But you let them unravel when you slept against him last night. He sighed lightly, hanging his head as some hair felt to the sides of his face. "So, you really gonna try and fight A-Mal, again?"
"Yes, I have to. There's no one else here to do it."
"And I can't talk you out of it?"
"No, I've made up my mind."
"How confident are you in fighting against her?"
"As confident as I can be." You rubbed the back of your neck. "But I'm honestly just gonna improvise."
"Arceus help us all..." Guzma shook his head, but a half-hearted smile came to his lips. "Don't make me regret this."
"You're... You're gonna help?"
"It's like you said. No one else is coming to help." Guzma took a deep breath. "Looks like it's up to us to put that blob out of its misery. Gotta set her spirit free."
"... Say that, again."
"What? Gotta set her spirit free?" Guzma raised an eyebrow, as you brushed your wet locks back and sat in thought. You got to your feet as Guzma watched you, curiously.
"Follow the North Star to the legendary A-Mal, who has been stirred for years. With the instrument in hand, two will work together to set free. A mark of pain, companionship will mark their flesh. The full story comes into surface." You recited the prophecy before whirling to Guzma. "A-Mal has been bother for years and we need to put her out of her misery, we need to set her free! And two have to do it... A mark of companionship with be on their flesh."
"Wait, marks... You mean..." Guzma's eyes widened in realization.
"We both have to hold the harp and play it together at the same time."
A/N: The song is "The View From Up Here," from the Tangled Animated Series.
She was crazy, but I had worked with crazier. And at least her heart was in the right place. Was I freaked out? For sure, but while sitting in the cabin, I reflected on everything. On my mistakes, on my father, on Team Skull, on the Hoenn Champion, but mostly just me.
What did I want? I wanted to go home and forget about all of this. But the longer I sat I thought of what everyone else wanted. The team would want me to prove everyone wrong. The girl would want me to believe in her encouraging words. My dad?
He wouldn't care.
I tried to deny the thoughts, but they were his thoughts. He had never been proud of me and me saving the region? Saving his life? It wouldn't change those things and I needed to accept it.
Maybe I could never fix my father's opinion of me, but maybe I could be the person that other people saw in me. The person she saw in me.
And that's how I was now standing on the deck with ___, again, as we approached the bits of island that held Melmetal. We could already hear the tearing of metal as we approached closer. The champ stepped up beside me, the harp clutched against her chest as she looked to me.
"Ready?" She asked.
"No, but don't got much choice now." I kept my eyes on the form shifting in the distance. Melmetal broke through the mist, screeching at us. Our Pokemon stood on the deck at the ready, whether it be to attack or to defend. The legendary shot shards of steel towards us, but our Pokemon shot them out of the air before they could come near us.
"Here." ___ offered the other side of the harp to me. I hesitated, before taking it. The instrument was cool underneath my fingers, but I feared what it could do to me. "Think... Think we need to sing a song or something?"
"The inspiration isn't really there for me right now. Sort of freaked out by the legendary blob and the harp of pain." I answered honestly.
"I... I think I have something, but we need to trap A-Mal. We can't risk her attacking or getting away." She pointed out, before lifting up her free arm. "Luxray! Trap Melmetal in an electric terrain!"
"Scizor, put a light screen around the boat to protect us!" I commanded my own Pokemon. They did as they were told. The electric Pokemon roared and sent out what looked to be a cage of lightning around the large legendary. Scizor clicked and a psychic field formed around the boat, lightly protecting us. Melmetal struggled against the terrain, but the electricity harmed the Pokemon. "Looks like it's caught."
"We better use this time efficiently then." She took a deep breathe, peeking at me from the corner of her (E/C) eyes. "Don't let go of the harp."
"Not planning on it." I assured.
"Okay... Here we go." She looked to the legendary, her face set with a look of determination. The wind brushed her hair back and I gulped. Arceus, maybe I do love her. She brought her hand up and glided it across the harp. The marks ran up our arms, again, but the pain wasn't there this time. "Locked inside a tower, kept behind a wall, sheltered from a world you’ve barely known. That’s the way they treat you and what’s worst of all, who's to blame? Just you and you alone."
Her strumming drew quicker. The marks on our arms would disappear for moments, before reappearing as she plucked more strings. They always took on different forms and shapes, but with that shade of purple. Reminded me of my old tattoos.
"There's much more inside of you than anyone can see and now the choice is yours. Life waits beyond the doors. So step on through, the time has come and only you can set yourself free!" She belted, her voice crossing even the waves of our boat. Melmetal writhed in pain and the metal tearing sound almost sounded like a cry. "No one else can tell you what to do or who to be! No one gets to say if you will stay or go!"
I started to focus on her words and began to wonder. Was she talking about herself? A-Mal? Me? Maybe all of us?
"So use the gifts you're given, make the world your own! Look inside your heart and find the key and set yourself free." A smile graced her lips as her face suddenly turned to face me. I was shocked, as she continued her song. "Bound up by your worries, trapped by your mistakes. Forced to play a role you never chose. Why not test your limits? You've got what it takes, let it out and follow where it goes."
Her expression, especially her eyes, were soft as she looked to me. I wondered if she could still read right through me.
"No more letting someone else define you to a "T." You know that you are strong, you've known it all along. So seize the day, let down your hair! You’ll find a way to set yourself free!" She directed her attention back to Melmetal. To both our surprise, the legendary seemed to calm and... Even our own Pokemon had calmed. They looked almost upset, but remained quiet. "Now it's up to you and what you'll do, and who you’ll be. You get to decide how far and wide you go."
Melmetal released one last ear-bursting screech into the air. The harp glowed underneath our fingers and the markings crawled all the way up to our elbows.
"So look to the horizon, open up your wings! Fly away to find your destiny and set yourself free!" ___ sung, but shouted as the harp flashed before us. We both felt the familiar pain cut up our arms, causing us to release the harp. It clattered to the ground, before shattering into tiny pieces.
"Crap..." I clutched my right arm from the pain, before moving my eyes down to look at it. The marks were still there and this time, they weren't leaving. A mark of pain... And companionship. I looked to ___ to see similar marks were running up her left arm.
"But..." She held her arm, too, but her eyes were directed forward. Ahead, Melmetal still stood above the water. But her form shifted and to our surprise, a bridge of steel formed to the boat, leading to the legendary. ___ stared at the bridge for a moment, before taking a step towards her. Panicked filled me and I grabbed her shoulder with my uninjured arm.
"Don't!" I scolded. "You'll get killed."
"We have to set her free, right?" She looked to me and gave a little smile. She reached up with her okay arm and placed her hand on top of mine. "I'll be fine."
"And how come you're so sure?"
"We made it this far, right?" She clutched my hand in hers, gently removing it from her shoulder. "I'll be right back."
I remained silent, but let her go. My arm dropped to my side, as I watched her step onto the steel bridge. She took out a Pokeball and released her Beheeyem who hovered by her side. Things began to make more sense. She was gonna talk to the legendary. I stood back, but remained cautious along with the other Pokemon.
"Beheeyem, what is A-Mal saying?" You asked, as you stepped closer to the legendary. The metal screeching continued as Beheeyem buzzed.
"She's trying to share a memory!" Beheeyem exclaimed.
"A memory... Can... Can you show it to me?" You stopped right before the electric terrain that held Melmetal. Beheeyem didn't answer you, but opted to touch your head with both his arms. You were sent into the memory.
You blinked suddenly finding yourself looking through the vision of A-Mal. The first scene depicted a dark, wet cave. But the atmosphere was anything but. Squirming happily around you were baby Pokemon. Meltans. There was about a dozen of them and they were carefree and happy.
The scene shifted and suddenly you found yourself battling a human. He was dressed in regal clothes with a mane of long dark brown hair. He ordered his Torkoal to attack Melmetal and powerfully did. Words filled your head, words A-Mal remembered said from this human.
"She's a monster!"
"She'll kill us all!"
"Legendaries are supposed to protect us! So, why is she creating an army?!"
The scene shifted and you felt a wave of hurt, as you looked around the empty cave. They were gone. All gone. He had taken them, and you weren't sure if he captured them or destroyed them.
You were sent to one final scene. Here, you find yourself being beaten by waves as the human looked on, but was also almost collapsed to the ground.
"I was wrong... About you... About everyone..." He looked torn, like he had felt a similar loss. His hair also had white streaks in it. He revealed the familiar harp from his cloak. "I can't set things right, but someone else will..."
You opened your eyes to find yourself standing in front of Melmetal once more. She let out a soft metal clang. It sounded like a mourning cry now. You let what she showed you wash over you.
"That was the champion... And he took your family from you." You closed your eyes, remembering the baby Meltans. "It hurt you, tore you apart and he wouldn't fix it... Couldn't fix it... He did something to fix things, but didn't complete it... So, when you woke up, you wanted revenge..."
A-Mal softened as her hex nut eye stared back at you. She let out another cry.
"She says, "I lost everything to him! So, I decided to take away from humans, too."" Beheeyem translated for you.
"But they're not the ones who had hurt you!" You shouted back, feeling a pain from the thought of Zinnia. "I never attacked you! Nor did my friend! That loss you feel, I feel it, too! But it didn't bring your children back!"
A-Mal shifted back, looking affronted.
"If I were to hurt you, it wouldn't bring Zinnia back either." You continued softer. "The champion called you a monster. And all you're doing is proving him right. You're bending to his expectations! Why do that, when you can be the person, the Pokemon you want to be?"
The legendary paused for a moment, seeming to deflate but relaxed their appearance at you. She cried, again.
"Did you want to be champion?" Beheeyem translated. You paused at the question.
"Yeah, I did. But now..." You looked back to Guzma. "I think I want to be something else now... Even if it brings disappointment from those I love."
You stared at Guzma for a moment, your heart fluttering slightly. Saying it out loud, somewhat relieved you. No doubt now, you had feelings for Guzma. Maybe not deep, but they were taking root. You looked back to A-Mal and shifted again, taking on her human-shaped form.
"You're right, champion. I just wish I could've seen sooner. Unfortunately, I cannot stop my spread of steel on my own hand." Beheeyem translated for Melmetal. You became nervous at her statement.
"But you know how to stop it?" You questioned.
"Yes." Beheeyem translated as A-Mal brought her steel fists up. "You must destroy me in a battle."
A/N: "Set Yourself Free" is another song from the Tangled Animated Series.
Chapter 17: Something to Remember Me By
You were stunned by A-Mal's answer. You had to kill her to stop her worldwide spread of steel, but it felt so wrong to you. You clenched your fists and looked to her with questions in mind. But her form simply nodded, answering all the questions you had. It was the only way.
You made your way back to the boat, as Guzma watched you with a questioning look. He hadn't been able to hear the conversation. You didn't give him a response, instead stepping onto the boat as the steel bridge shattered behind you. Spinning around,you held a hand out.
"Swampert! This is it! Time to end this!" You called your oldest partner. He made a croaking sound and jumped into the water, ready for the fight. Luxray got rid of his electric terrain, as A-Mal braced for battle. "Use earthquake, Swampert!"
Your water Pokemon cried out and the small bits of land in the ocean began to shift. A pair of islands crashed into Melmetal, causing serious damage. The legendary shouted, before surging forward, swinging her fist at Swampert. He easily dodged the move by swimming swiftly through the water.
"Let's finish it with a hammer arm!" You called out. Swampert leaped out of the water and struck down on A-Mal. The blow was powerful, alarmingly so. Swampert dropped back into the water, as cracks began to form along Melmetal's body. With one last cry, she shattered into millions of shards.
The sea around the boat calmed, as the storm clouds receded, revealing the sun high up in the sky. Swampert climbed back into the boat and you made your way over to rub his head.
"Good job, Swampert."
"So, that's it?" Guzma finally spoke up, watching you with a neutral expression. But you could see a hint of awe in his eyes.
"She said defeating her would be the only way to stop it." You looked around for any sign of Melmetal, but found nothing. But you noticed little steel blobs on one of the small pieces of land. Meltan. You smiled and looked to Guzma. "I think it's finally over."
"Thank Arceus." He smirked slightly, placing his hands on his hips. "You know, I don't think I'm gonna forget this. Especially since I have no choice not to now."
He emphasized by raising his arm, the permanent purple markings trailing up to his elbow. You stepped over and held your marked arm up to his.
"Looks like we're matching."
"Looks like it. Didn't think my first real tattoo would be matching a champion's." Guzma's smirk became devious. "Lots of bragging rights to come."
You laughed lightly, the wind rustling through your hair. The wind ruffled the white tufts of his hair, as his smile relaxed. With the worst behind you, it was time for you both to go home.
~One Day Later~
You and Guzma had arrived to Melemele island early that morning. You returned to Burnet's house, where you also met her husband, Professor Kukui. Apparently he was childhood friends with Guzma, despite the former leader's denial of it. After cleaning up and getting some well deserved food, you realized that now, since the adventure was over, you would need to return home. Your chest turned in hurt, but you knew it was your responsibility to return.
So, you announced it to the others. Burnet and Kukui understood, suspecting it was the case and was already helping you to get ready to get home. Guzma had slipped away after you had announced it and you were worried that either he cared too much or not at all.
And that's how you found yourself here. Crobat was healthy and ready to travel as far as he could to get home. Your clothes were washed and you didn't have to borrow Burnet's anymore. All six of your Pokemon were hooked to your belt and you had everything you needed to get home alright.
You had said your goodbyes to Burnet, Kukui, and even Hau as they returned to their respective homes. But now, you were hesitating. You stood at the edge of the water, for once, it felt like the island was calling you rather than the sea.
"Ya weren't gonna leave without a goodbye, were ya?!" You jumped and looked over to see Guzma as he ran down through the grass and onto the beach to meet you. He slowed to a stop beside you, panting lightly.
"I... I thought you sneaking off was your way of saying goodbye." You admitted, feeling slightly embarrassed. "But I'm glad you're here now. You looked like you've been running everywhere."
"Sort of have. I had a... "Friend" fix this up for me." Guzma reached into his sweatpants' pocket, before pulling out a intricately designed bracelet. A light green gem was hooked into it. "Also had to rush home to grab a Buginium Z for it."
"Oh! The Z-Ring! I almost forgot!" You became excited. "You need to show me how to do a Z-Move before I go."
"Heh, how about I TEACH you a Z-Move? Only two people in Alola know the Bug Z Move." Guzma offered, a grin coming to his face. "You'd be learning from the master."
"I'm honored!" You brought a hand to your chest dramatically, laughing lightly. "Sure, if you're okay with me trying your Z-Ring."
"Don't mind at all." Guzma stepped over and carefully slipped the Z-Ring onto your left wrist, over the purple markings that now marked your arm. The contrast of the white and purple was nice. Guzma stepped away from you, but still fully faced you. "Alright, just mirror my movements. Ya have to do this motion, or the move won't work."
"Okay." You watched carefully. He made a peculiar motion, but most of the focus was on the arms. After he showed it twice, you decided to follow it for yourself.
You arched your arms forward, crossing them at the wrist before swinging them both down to the right. You brought your arms over your head and curved your wrists like the motion of a Leavanny. Finally, you brought your right arm down, raising your left before thrusting them in the opposite direction they had went.
"Not bad, put all your power into those trusts and they should be perfect. And remember to shout "Savage Spin-Out" when you do it, a'ight? Ready to try it?" Guzma seemed impressed by the quick learning.
"Yes! Let's do it!"
Your Cutiefly was out and was facing against Guzma's Scizor. Guzma stood across from you, placing a hand on his hip, and grinned. You smiled, before taking a deep breathe. Here we go.
"Cutiefly!" You performed the Z-Move. As soon as you began, the gem locked into the ring began to glow and a light green glow surrounded Cutiefly. You struck the last move, looking to Cutiefly now. "Savage Spin-Out!"
Your Bug Pokemon was surrounded by powerful energy as she began her attack. She flew forward, before shooting out webbing made of the green energy, which wrapped around Scizor. She proceeded to pull on the webbing and you watched as Scizor was repeatedly slammed into the ground. It was borderline gruesome. She finished the attack by flinging Scizor up into the air and she proceeded to slam into the ground.
"Are you alright, Scizor?" You called out. Fortunately, the fellow Bug Pokemon managed to get to her feet without any trouble. You smiled and looked to Guzma, your hand going to slip the Z-Ring off. "Now, that was awesome."
"Good, 'cause it's yours." Guzma's grin widened as you about dropped the Z-Ring.
"Wha... What?" You looked to him, incredulous. "But... This is yours. You earned it fair and square."
"Yeah, well, guess I want you to remember me by something other than a painful tat'." He gestured to your matching tattoos. "Beside it looks better on you."
"..." You frowned looking to the Z-Ring on your left wrist and then to the Mega Bracelet on your right. An idea clicked into your head, and you removed the stone currently in the Mega Bracelet before you shuffled through your bag. You brought out two other Mega Stones, before walking over to Guzma. You slipped off your Mega Bracelet and offered the items to him. "Then these are for you."
"Nah, I can't." He brought his hands up in refusal. "They're really yours."
"Swampert's my only teammate who really uses them and you have two Pokemon who could." You held each stone up respectively. "Scizorite and Pinsirite. They can mega evolve your Scizor and Pinsir, and trust me, they'll look awesome."
"..." Guzma sighed, cocking an eyebrow at you. "Ya really sure?"
"I want you to remember me, too."
"How could I ever forget?" He took the Mega Bracelet and Mega Stones. He fixed one of the stones into the bracelet, but slipped the other stone into his pockets. He slipped the bracelet onto his right wrist and your heart fluttered, seeing your old bracelet on his wrist and over your matching tattoos. He flexed his arm, showing off the bracelet. "It look good on me?"
"Very." You smiled, before your expression softened. "Thank you, Guzma. For everything. Really."
"No big deal, but hey, if you ever think of visiting Alola drop by Po Town, won't ya? Wouldn't mind giving you a free tour of the region." He offered and you smirked slightly.
"That would be nice and the offer stands in Hoenn, too." You recalled Cutiefly, hesitating before sending out Crobat. "And hey..."
"About your dad. If he couldn't see the best in you ever, than he isn't worth your time." You looked back to Guzma and gave him a serious look. "Stick with the people that can see your potential. Maybe you're not a kahuna, but you have the blessing of a legendary in you. And even without the blessing, I know your more than what meets the eye. I'm proud of you."
"I..." Guzma seemed a little bewildered by your statements... Compliments. He cleared his throat, averting his eyes. "Thanks..."
"No problem." Your cheeks filled with heat, as he looked back up and you gave a shy wave. "I'll see you around."
"Yeah... You, too..." His smile wasn't as genuine this time, but he still had an air of cockiness. Even if it was shaky. You climbed onto Crobat and he took off into the sky. You didn't look back as you soared through the clouds.
I watched as she soared off on her Crobat and felt my chest twist in hurt. I looked to Scizor who gave me a sympathetic look. I scoffed, but smiled and stepped over to my teammate. I rubbed her head as she clicked softly at me.
"Hey, now. Don't look so down. You heard what she said. She'll be back around." I glanced at the new bracelet wrapped around my wrist and traced the carvings along it. "It's not goodbye forever... We'll see her, again."
Scizor pinched at my jacket, still not looking sure about my response. I pulled out some Pokebeans and fed them to her.
"We will see her, again. And in the meantime, we need to get stronger. She's gonna expect a Pokemon battle this time around and we need to work on getting you stronger in this form and your mega form." I encouraged. Scizor chirped happily and I chuckled at her response. "Now, let's go check on the rest of the Skull fam'. No doubt they're scrabbling around, wondering where I went... Plumes's gonna kill me."
I recalled Scizor, before sending out Vikavolt. The memory of my father being incased in steel filled my mind and made me wonder if I should check on him first. But her words filled my mind, again, and I clenched my fists. I should check on my REAL family first. Then I would see about my Pops.
I climbed onto Vikavolt, before taking off into the air.
Chapter 18: The Kahuna of Ula'ula
The trip back to Hoenn seemed to go by a lot faster this time around, probably because you had a lot on your mind. So, when the region appeared in your visage, you weren't sure how to feel. You felt a mix of many things. You had been gone for at least a week and there was a lot of baggage you had left behind.
Swampert pushed the last mile, before the both of you made it to the shore of your parent's town. You kissed Swampert's head, before recalling him and wading through the last bit of ocean onto the beach. Kids were running around as usual, with a couple elders sitting on porches. They didn't seem to take notice of you, as you made your way up to your parents' home. You hesitated at the door, before clicking it open and stepping it.
"___!" You were surprised to find Steven sitting in your living room with your mother. They were both looking over documents, before you had stepped in. Steven had jumped to his feet and swiftly made his way over, pulling you into his arms. "We were so worried about you!"
"Where were you?" Your mother stepped over, looking extremely relieved. Her gaze travelled to your arm and she gasped in shock at the purple markings. "What happened to your arm?"
"It's..." You started as Steven pulled away, his gaze falling to your arm, too. His hands had slipped down to take yours and they were familiarly rough. Your mind drifted to Guzma, with the light scars across his own hands. How he grabbed your chin, slept beside you, how he treated you not like a champion but like... You. "It's a long story."
You explained everything to your mother and Steven, who waited patiently and listened to every bit. There were a few details you had left out, more personal experiences, but you kept the main points there. Near the end of your tale, the front door opened to reveal your father. He looked over in surprise, before coming over and dropping down to hug you.
"You're really here... You're really okay..." He brought a hand up to hold your head, as you laughed awkwardly.
"Of course I'm okay. I've been through harder situations." You stated, as he pulled away from you.
"I can explain the whole story to you later, honey." Your mother spoke up. "She just explained everything to both Steven and I, and I think she deserves some downtime."
"___." Steven spoke up, standing from his spot. He stepped over and offered you a hand. "Would you like to go on a walk with me? Wherever you'd like to go, of course."
"A small walk along the route sounds good." You admitted, as you took his hand and you got to your feet. Your parents began discussing as you both stepped out into the cool night air. You had arrived in Hoenn in the evening, and night had fallen soon after. You walked through the old town and down the worn route, in silence at the moment. The familiar sights and smells reached you, but it only seemed to make your nerves uncomfortable.
"Are you alright?" Steven looked to you, noticing your stiffness.
"Honestly?" You slowed your walk, before stopping beside some tall trees. Steven stopped with you, tilting his head in curiosity. You bit your lip, looking at the starry sky. "It doesn't feel like I'm home."
"A lot has changed." Steven frowned. "It... It might not ever feel the same. It hasn't, since you left. Since Zinnia..."
"... She really is gone, huh?" The wind blew through your hair.
"She is... But not all of her is gone. Her spirit, her courage, they're still with us. There will always be a piece of her with us." Steven stepped closer to you, bringing his hand up to trace his hand against your markings. You flinched back and he looked surprise to you in surprise. You felt bad, bringing your other arm over to cover it.
"Don't be. You just got this yesterday, right? It must still have a sensitivity to it. Physically and emotionally." Steven gave a sad smile. His gaze went to your wrist. "Your Mega Bracelet is missing, but now you have that bracelet?"
"The one who helped me, Guzma, he gave me his Z-Ring and I gave him my Mega Bracelet." You admitted. "It's so we wouldn't forget each other."
"With the adventure you went on, I'd be surprised if either of you would forget." He seemed to hesitate, too, before he exhaled deeply. "Those documents you saw on the table. They're Zinnia's will and testament."
"She made a will?" It was your turn to look surprise.
"Yes, shortly after she met us." Steven nodded slightly. "She didn't have much, but she wanted you to have some things of hers."
"Ironically, her Mega Anklet. She left it to you. I suppose you have a use for it now." Steven smiled slightly. "And she's leaving Aster to you."
"Aster? But... Being champion, I don't know if I'll have time to take care of her." You felt honored to have Zinnia's only family placed in your hands, but she needed special care compared to most Pokemon. For one, she hated being in her own Pokeball. It would be constant care twenty-four/seven.
"She must've known you would say that, because she says something akin to, "Aster will go to ___, I trust she will find her a loving home." She did know you very well, didn't she?" Steven mused, his smile brightening slightly.
"She did..." You ran a hand through your hair. "I will find a home for her, if she thinks I can find one."
"Speaking of finding a home... You had a lot of time to think out there and I know... You didn't have time to answer my question." Steven lightly took your hands in his. "___, would you do the honor of marrying me?"
"..." You thought when it was brought up, again, you'd have a hard time figuring it out. But for some reason, hearing him say it... It felt wrong. Your purple marks seemed to tingle, as you clenched your fists. "No."
"... What?" Steven blinked in surprise, releasing your hands.
"I can't." You shook your head. "Steven, being out there on the ocean. I've realized I can't do what everyone wants me to do anymore. I want to do what I want to do."
"..." A small smile graced Steven's features and even though you could see some hurt in his eyes, you also saw a sparkle of curiosity. "What do you want to do, ___?"
"I..." You brought a hand up to touch the Z-Ring, gripping it lightly. "I want to see the world. I want to see it with those who are proud of my dreams. I want more, more than this life I've lived so far."
"You want someone who can give you that." Steven added.
"Then go. Follow that dream." Steven placed a hand on your shoulder, cocking his head to the side. "And give him my regards. He has captured the heart of someone I care much for."
"I'm sorry I couldn't..."
"Don't be. I wish to be with someone who loves me and if you don't, then I'll keep searching." Steven released your shoulder. "Go, ___. Don't waste anymore time."
You hesitated, before nodding and running off. You had a long trip ahead of you, but at least this time, it was something you wanted.
The Team was okay. The steel had crept onto the land, but hadn't breached the walls of Po Town. As I thought, Plumeria was outraged and gave me an hour long scolding. But after she was done, she got the team together for a group hug. She was worried and mad, but the relief was evident.
I had checked on my Pops afterwards and he was fine. He was going to stay at the hospital for some recovery, mostly physical therapy, but he was gonna be fine. I didn't tell him about where I was and what I was doing, he assumed I was doing nothing. Fine by me, I wasn't going to seek his approval any longer. I should've stopped years ago.
And now, I found myself sitting in Nanu's office. All the visits before were arranged by him, but this time? This time, we were meeting up after I had called. The kahuna shooed some Meowths off the desk that I was sitting at, two mugs in his hands. He offered me one and I took it, taking a drink.
"Coffee? Really?" I grimaced at the bitter drink, as Nanu merely shrugged and took a seat across from me.
"I like the stuff, keeps the mind running." Nanu sat back in his seat, quirking an eyebrow up. "So, you wanted to meet with me. That's a first. What do you want?"
"Answers. Not sure if you have them though, Old man." I set the mug down and hesitated, as his gaze shifted to the marks on my arm. He heard about me going off with a champion, but he didn't know the details.
"I think I want some, too." His gaze drifted back to my face. "Go on, Guzma."
So, I did. For the next hour, I explained everything. From my father, to the champion, to the legends, Treacherous Waters and more. Leaving out a few unnecessary details. Once done, I trailed back in the story.
"What I wanted to know goes back to Treacherous Waters. To get into this old cave, we had to open it with the blessing of a legendary. But both of us needed one." I finished off the offered coffee, setting the mug down a bit roughly. "Obviously the champ has it, right? But Big Bag Guzma wasn't suppose to."
"But you did." Nanu nodded slightly. His expression was bored, but there seemed to be a hint of understanding in his eyes. I narrowed my own.
"Do you know about this?"
"Tapu Bulu's Blessing he placed on you? Sure."
"How come ya didn't tell me about it?! Why did he even put it there in the first place?!" I slammed my hands on the desk, causing some Meowths sleeping by the desk to mew in annoyance.
"Calm down. Look, it's... A long story. To start, Tapu Bulu warned me not to reveal this to you." Nanu started.
"But why? Shouldn't I know about this?!"
"It would've been revealed to you, eventually." Nanu sighs, rubbing his forehead. "Look, Guzma. How do I put this... The Island Guardians, they know a lot more than us. What they do is in preparation for things to come. One thing they foresee is potential future kahunas."
"What? Bulu knew you were gonna be kahuna way before he chose you?" I scoffed.
"He didn't know, but he knew it was a possibility. I didn't know he had foreseen it until I became so." Nanu corrected.
"And so what does this have to do with me?"
"You don't get it, do you?" Nanu shook his head, before his gaze became serious. "Guzma, Bulu believes your a potential future kahuna."
My blood ran cold and I gripped my sweatpants.
"You're lying." I spat.
"Why would he give you that blessing then?" It was Nanu's turn to scoff. "Legendaries don't just hand out blessings to whoever they please, you know?"
"But you expect me to believe that?"
"Trust me, sometimes it's hard for me to believe too. But Bulu knows what he's doing." Nanu frowned. "When he revealed it to me, it was after I had met you on your Island Trials. It was when you finally got stuck and gave up on the Trials. I was sitting here in my office and it was pouring rain outside. I see you, this drenched teen, storm by towards Po Town."
I remembered that day. I didn't have anywhere to go. I couldn't go home, last time I had been there, I had a huge fight with my dad. I went to Po Town, because I knew of an abandoned house I could crash at there. It was pouring rain on the route when I made my way there.
"He doesn't appear, but Bulu chimes to me. I realized, he was telling me he had chosen you to take my place when the time comes." Nanu smirked a little now. "I thought it was a joke and tried to reason. This kid was grumpy, had a temper, and he didn't even believe in himself. How could he run and protect an island?"
I looked away, my frown souring further.
"You making Team Skull made my doubts larger. So, I kept an eye on all of you. But when I pushed past the crimes and ego, I saw that you cared about those kids. You still do, more than yourself." Nanu sat up now. "That's the most important part about being a kahuna. Putting others before yourself."
"..." I shook my head. "The people of this island won't want me."
"Then prove them wrong." Nanu rolled his eyes lightly. "And you can start by learning to have some self-compassion."
"Are you my therapist now?"
"No, but a gentle prod in the right direction doesn't hurt." The kahuna got to his feet, retrieving the empty mugs. "So, that answer your questions?"
"Guess it does..."
"Just remember. Even if Bulu sees a kahuna in you, it doesn't mean it's set in stone. Your future decisions determine that." Nanu walked over to his small kitchen, setting the mugs inside.
"I think I get the picture." I got to my feet. "Thanks, I guess."
"Before you go." Nanu stepped over to the desk, again, and opened a drawer. He tossed something to me and I catch it upon reflex. I turn it over to look at it, before looking to him, incredulous.
"A Z-Ring?" It was a deep purple and managed to match the markings up my right arm. Despite sitting in a drawer, it was in perfect condition.
"To match your Mega Bracelet." Nanu grinned, shoving his hands in his pockets. "Stay out of trouble, alright?"
"Nanu." I slipped the Z-Ring onto my left wrist, a grin spreading across my lips. "When do I ever get into trouble?"
Chapter 19: Clarity
Early the next day, I was working with the kids in Po Town. My absence had slowed down the progress of helping out the kids. I was helping them to train to be better trainers, while also working with Plumeria to help them get jobs. It was a hard, arduous process, but we knew it would be worth it in the end. The kids deserved better futures then what we could provide.
I was in one of the smaller houses, finishing up a practice battle with one of the kids. I was explaining to him about type advantages, abilities, the use of items, etc. Suddenly, a different grunt ran into the shack, and panted as she slowed to a stop.
"Boss! There's a girl at the gate asking for you! What should we do?" The grunt exclaimed, looking worried.
"A girl? Do ya recognize her? Is it someone we know?" I asked, calling back my Pokemon. The grunt shook her head.
"No, boss. She ain't anyone we know, but she says she knows you."
"Hold off any attacks. Let me see who it is, I'll deal with it if it ain't a problem." I walked past the grunt, stepping out into the rain. I pulled up my hood and made my way to the front gates where a bunch of my team members stood, all looking fidgety. We haven't had any trouble since the Aether Foundation fell. I pushed past my team and to the front door. Plumeria stood there, but looked up at my approach. "Recognize the girl at all, Plumes?"
"No, but she's insisting she knows you. She won't budge. I was gonna battle her, but we wanted to see if what she said was true first." Plumeria moved away from the door. "Be careful, Guz. She looks like a veteran battler."
"Nothing I can't handle." I scoffed and clicked open the gate door, stepping out of the town's boundaries. A figure in a raincoat stood off, her arms folded as she waited silently. But she turned after hearing the door open and my breathe caught. "... ___?"
"Hey." She smiled, despite looking a little chilled from the rain. "About time. Your team tried to shoo me off. But when I saw the skull symbols, I knew you had to be here. The rain is sorta crazy here."
"Yeah, it's been like that for a while..." I cleared my throat and moved over to her, shoving my hands in my pockets to keep them warm. "What are you doing here?"
"I thought you said if I came around Alola to come find you here." Her smile turned into a grin, as she slightly tilted her head. "Didn't realize you were just trying to be polite."
"It's not that! I do want ya here!" I blurted out without thinking. I looked away, not wanting to see her reaction from that outburst. "Just thought... Maybe it'd be at least a month from now. Not two days."
"Sorry, maybe I should've gave you a heads up." She laughed lightly, bringing a hand up to brush back some of her hair, that had gotten wet, out of her face.
"It's fine, but... You're a champion, right? You have responsibilities that you probably had to make up after the fiasco. And you said your family would be worried? Did you even get a chance to talk to them?" I began to ramble, seeing as these things seemed to be important to her.
"I got it all settled, Guzma. I met with my family and they were happy to see I was okay. And I explained to them about me coming here, and they actually were very supportive. My Dad was a little hesitant, but he knew he couldn't convince me otherwise. And..." Now it was her turn to look away, becoming slightly sheepish. "I... I gave up the title of champion. I'm just an ordinary trainer now."
"... What? Why? Why would you give it up?"
"When I got home, nothing felt right. And when Steven brought up his proposal, I suddenly knew my answer with certainty and it was no. He helped me realize that being champion wasn't what I wanted, and being with him? It was something that only others wanted." She explained, stepping closer. I noticed a glint and saw an intricate anklet going up her leg, where a mega stone sat. It suited her. "I wanted adventure and I want to be with someone who will share in that adventure. Someone else who wants more."
"So, why come here?"
"... I can't be clearer, can I?" She sighed, but continued to smile. "Guzma, I haven't known you long, but I would like to. You made a hard, sad adventure some of the greatest memories I'll ever treasure. And I would like to have many more with you."
"This sounds like a proposal."
"It isn't, yet!" She exclaimed, but broke into laughter. "But I would certainly like to see if this could work out."
I paused, taking everything in. She broke up with her perfect boyfriend, gave up the title of champion, left behind family and her home to come here. To come to me in the hopes that we could maybe become something more. She was vague, but the message got across. Doesn't mean I wouldn't mess with her.
"Hm... I don't exactly know what you mean. What is "this?" Maybe you could be more clear." A smirk crawled onto my face, as her smile turned into a scowl.
"Guzma." She snapped.
"I'm sorry, what's that?"
"You know what I'm talking about."
"I don't think I do."
"Arceus, kill me."
"Now, that isn't how ya ask for a kiss." I stepped up to her, bringing a hand up to cup her face. "First thing you need to know about me. I'm very straight-forward."
"That sounds refreshing. I'm so tired of asking for intimacy and politeness." She sighed, before she reached up and grabbed the collar of my jacket. She pulled me down, our lips crashing into each other. I adjusted and reciprocated the kiss. Her lips were cold from the rain, but they were sweet. We pulled away and she exhaled softly, her warm breathe fanning my face.
"Let's get you out of the rain. Can't have you getting sick after a confession like that. 'Sides, you need to meet the rest of the family." I wrapped an arm around her shoulders and led her back to the gate.
"That sounds great. I was hoping for a better introduction to them." She leaned her head against my shoulder as I clicked open the gate and led her inside. I squeezed her shoulder, ready to start her tour of the Alolan islands.
~Reader's P.O.V. - One Month Later~
"Great job! You've improved so much since our last battle." You placed a hand on your hip, as Cutiefly chirped and flew about you in excitement. The little Team Skull Grunt, you caught her name yesterday it was Uma, you were battling sighed in exasperation, walking up to her Fomantis and petting her head.
"We'll beat them next time, Fo." Uma assured her Fomantis. The grass type Pokemon appreciated the attention. The grunt recalled her Pokemon into her Pokeball and looked back to you, bristling slightly. "You say I've improved, but I still can't beat your weakest Pokemon!"
"But you're getting so close!" You admitted, stepping up to the young trainer. She had to be only eleven. She rested a hand on her shoulder. "With the love you have for your Pokemon and some extra training, you'll get stronger in no time! I would even go as far to say that you could try the Island trials now."
"I'm not that good!"
"But you are! You're just being too hard on yourself. Don't you want to see Fomantis get stronger?" You asked, causing her eyes to avert down.
"Yeah... I love her and want to see her become her best."
"And she thinks the same as you." Her words stirred you and something in her eyes reminded you of someone else. She was determined and you could see an old soul in her. "Can I give you something?"
"What is it?" Uma looked up at you with curiosity.
You both stepped into the refurbished Pokemon Center of Po Town. Ever since you arrived in Alola, Po Town had become your regional home. But it was in a ruined state and you wouldn't be having any of that. With your status of former champion to help, you worked with the Pokemon League to start fixing up Po town. The first thing fixed was the Center, to allow Pokemon to be healed.
You and Guzma had left Po Town after the Center's renewal to travel the islands. They were beautiful and you had lots of fun with Guzma. There was some spots he didn't enjoy revisiting, but your excitement at the new seemed to keep his spirits up. You both returned to find some smaller houses of Po Town fixed up, while the rest of the buildings were beginning the transition. The kids and Plumeria were grateful for your assistance in saving their old town.
It still rained like no other.
You wrung out your hair in the center, before walking up to the PC with Uma. She still wasn't sure what you were up to, as you began typing on the PC.
"What's your account name?" You asked.
"I changed it when I joined the team. Grunt Uma." She answered.
"Okay..." With a couple more taps, you transferred a Pokemon to her PC before the Pokeball appeared in the deposit of the station. You took the Pokeball and handed it to the young trainer. "This is for you."
"You're giving me a Pokemon?" She looked incredulous. You nodded and she hesitated, before releasing the Pokemon. Aster, the Whismur, appeared in her arms and gave a soft coo. Uma's jawdropped and she looked to you, shaking her head in protest. "This is the Pokemon that you're always taking care of! I can't take her!"
"Aster was given to me by a dear friend. She told me to find her a good home." You rubbed Aster's soft head and gave Uma a small smile. "You love your Pokemon, Uma. I can see that clear as day and Aster needs a lot of love. Can I trust you to take care of her for me?"
"..." Uma looked down to the Whismur in her arms. The fluffy Pokemon made cooing noises and looked between the both of you. That determined look came back to Uma's eyes and she nodded firmly. "I'll take good care of her! She's part of my family now and I'll show her as much love as I can."
"Thank you, Uma." You looked to Aster, feeling some weight leave your shoulders. "And you take good care of her, Aster."
The normal type cooed a little, giving you a wave as Uma turned and made her way out of the Center. You sighed lightly, brushing your wet hair back. Cutiefly nudged your cheek and you petted her softly.
"I'm pretty sure we made the right choice." Cutiefly buzzed in response to your statement. Her buzzes turned excited as a familiar Golisopod stepped through the Center doors, followed by his owner. Guzma shook out his hair as Cutiefly flew around Golisopod happily. The bigger Pokemon clicked warmly, holding out an arm for Cutiefly to land on which she gladly did.
"Saw Uma walking by with Aster. She got your blessing?" Guzma looked to you in slight surprise, though a smile was tugging at his lips.
"I'm glad you found someone you trust." Guzma came up to stand beside you, before looking back at your Pokemon. "Sheesh, after the trip, these two can't get enough of each other."
"I noticed their closeness, too, and I can only connect it to one reason." You smirked and looked to Guzma, who didn't look impressed by your smugness. "They like each other. A lot."
"Come on. Golisopod might be big and intimidating! But that doesn't mean he can't have a love life!" You defended.
"That's not the problem. Just look at the size difference! There's no way that could work out." Guzma countered. Now it was your turn to look unamused.
"Haven't you heard of a Wailord and a Skitty getting together?"
"I... I thought that was a myth."
"I'm from Hoenn. Where the incident happened. I know what's real and what's not." You shook your head, a smile playing on your lips now. "They have my blessing."
"You just want a bunch of baby Cutieflies around here..."
"That would be so cute!"
"I already have enough cuteness here with you around." Guzma put an arm around your shoulders and pulled you into him. "When did you want to start the Island Trials?"
"In the next day or two." You looked up at Guzma. "You're still alright with going with me? I know you don't have fond memories of the Island Trials."
"Hey, as long as I'm with you..." Guzma turned to you, smirking slightly as he pressed his forehead against yours. "I'll go anywhere, babe."
"Babe... I have never been called that. I need to get used to that..."
"Man, your last boyfriend must've been boring." Guzma snorted.
"He's still my friend, you know!" You sighed, bringing a hand up to rest on Guzma's shoulder. "But yeah, I would like you being with me every step of the way."
"I will be." Guzma leaned down and captured your lips. You smiled into the kiss and pressed back. His lips were slightly chapped, but warm. There was always that small trace of cocoa in his kisses. You both pulled away and just in time, too, as Plumeria stepped into the place.
"Oh, geez. I didn't just walk in on something, right?" The admin scowled, as you laughed and pulled away from Guzma's grip.
"You just missed it." You settled her worries and she eased up.
"Something that you wanted, Plumes?" Guzma asked, sounding slightly irritated.
"Yeah, it will put a pause on your "interactions" for a moment." Plumeria folded her arms, jutting a hip. "There's an old guy asking for you both out there."
"And old guy?" You were surprised someone was looking for you both. Who could it even be?
"And we don't know him?" Guzma added.
"No way, I'd recognize this guy." Plumeria shook her head. "He's old, super tall, and looks like a total hobo."
"Well..." Guzma glanced to you. "Let's go check it out."