Akoya hummed softly while adding another braid to his long hair. His fingers trembled and he sighed, redoing the braid. Today was a big day and first impressions were important. Even if it wasn’t a human he was trying to impress.
Today was the day he’d meet his first Pokemon . He’d start his journey, which most definitely meant getting off Melemele island and out of Alola . After all who wanted to start their journey on a dusty old island anyway...?
Yes, he was proud of his home, but there were no Pokemon contests there. Alola didn’t even have a proper Pokemon league yet. This wasn’t where he could become a coordinator.
“Almost ready...” There was one thing missing though. Right, grabbing his sunhat, Akoya smiled at his reflection in the mirror one last time before leaving the room.
From the Gero estate it was a relative long walk to Ikki Town where professor Kukui and Hala , the island’s Kahuna would be waiting for him.
He and that one other kid would choose their partner. Tomorrow would be a ceremony to celebrate the start of their career as Pokemon trainer.
Or in Akoya’s case, his coordinator career.
Time was precious and shouldn’t be wasted. The philosophy didn’t suit the islanders, but then again Io never matched with the rest of the islanders in any regards. It had been like that ever since he could remember. It didn't matter though, he didn't need their approval. Especially not today. He just needed to be patient for a little longer. He’d been anticipating this moment for years.
Which Pokemon would he choose?
Or more importantly, which Pokemon would choose him? Io spend the past mo nth reading about the three Alolan starters and their moves. Evaluating which choice would soothe him and which suited his goals. Each had their advantages and disadvantages of course, like all Pokemon. But Io wanted to be as ready as he could be.
“Io,” Professor Kukui interrupted Io’s thoughts. “Are you sure I can’t convince you to do the island challenge instead?”
“No sir,” Io smiled politely. “Maybe someday, but for now I want to try and explore more. Visit different regions beyond my hometown. Meet different kinds of trainers. Battle in gyms.” Earn more money by battle more serious opponents. Of course, Io didn’t voice that last part out loud.
At the ripe age of eleven Io understood that his goals, while logical were something frowned upon.
It wasn’t that he wanted to do Pokemon battles just for money, but earning money that was still great.
Professor Kukui smiled at him. “It’s fine, who knows someday you decide to still do the challenge.” The professor’s smile widened. “Someday there will be a league in Alola too.”
“And I’ll definitely participate in it then.” Io assured the man.
“That’s very promising young one,” Hala replied. “But let’s focus on today. Are you ready?”
“Yes, but what about-”
Io turned to his left and spotted Akoya walking towards them, fiddling with the strap of his bag as he did so.
“ Akoya ,” Grinning, Kukui stepped over to the younger boy and put an arm around his shoulder. “It’s already happening, seemed like yesterday you were just a little thing exploring the beach.”
Hala cleared his throat, regaining their attention. “Today is a special occasion. Not only will you soon start your journey, but you both want to start your journey far from home. Which is why...” The older man looked at the professor. “Kukui, do you have it?”
Kukui dug in the pocket of his lab coat. “Children, I know this is something you’ve wanted for a very long time. Akoya , since your mom disagreed with this, Hala and I decided to pitch in.” He pulled out two tickets and proudly presented it to the two children. “Two tickets to travel on the S.S Anne to a region of your choice.”
For a few long seconds Akoya struggled to form words. Without thinking he leaped forward and hugged professor Kukui tightly. He blinked rapidly, willing the wetness in his eyes to go away. Professor Kukui and his wife were one of the few people who understand how badly he wanted to leave home. How much he wanted to become a coordinator. And how eager he was to leave his mother. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
He let out a shaky laugh when the professor hugged him back and ruffled his hair. “Don’t forget to call me lots alright kiddo?”
Akoya stepped back and nodded eagerly. “I won’t... Thank you professor.”
“Thank you so much.” Io added, followed by a quick bow.
“It’s the least I can do since I won’t be much of a guide on your journey.” Kukui explained, as rubbed the back of his neck. “Tomorrow morning I’ll drive you both to the Marina where you’ll be boarding the S.S Anne.”
Akoya and Io exchanged happy looks, unable to hide their excitement.
“Now I hope neither of you will forget your roots.” Hala continued. The man grabbed three pokeballs and three them in the air. “Which Pokemon will you choose as your partner?”
Akoya and Io watched as the three Alolan starters emerged from their pokeballs in front of them. The two stepped forward to get a better look. There was Litten, the fire cat Pokemon . Rowlet , the grass quill Pokemon . And finally Popplio , the sea lion Pokemon .
“What to choose...” Io murmured, kneeling down and observing the three.
“They all look good.” Akoya said. It was easy to picture all three faring well in contests. “Maybe...”
“Oh!” Io exclaimed, surprised as the Rowlet flapped its’ short wings and flew up, right towards Io. “Hello there?”
The little bird Pokemon crooned and Io smiled at it, carefully reaching up and taking the round thing in his arms. “I guess you choose me?”
Rowlet’s cheerful chirp confirmed it.
“That looks like one fine combination to me.” Hala agreed proudly.
That left Akoya with two options. Water or fire... cat or sea lion. “Hey...” Akoya whispered and held out his hand, looking at Popplio . “Do you want to travel with me?”
Popplio hopped forward and happily clapped its’ flippers together.
“Now that’s how I like to see it!” Hala spoke proudly. “Trainers who let the Pokemon choose them.” He nodded to themselves, watching as Akoya picked his new partner up. “You better start getting to know each other fast. If you work in harmony together, you can go everywhere.”
“Everywhere...” Akoya echoed wistfully. Grinning he looked down at his new companion. “Are you ready to explore the world with me Popplio ?”
The eager look on the Pokemon ’s little face spoke volumes.