The most prevalent thought going through the former Team Skull leader’s head was how unnecessarily cold it was. Everything was fucking COLD, and it pissed him off! If he’d realized it was going to be so damn cold in Sinnoh, he might have actually hesitated a bit before jumping headfirst into a trip here unprepared – or coming at all...
Whoever came up with the rumor that Hala was a softie had been lying through their teeth. Maybe with actual kids, yeah. But adults? Not a chance. Normally this would sit fine with the former Skull Leader – he didn’t get his title just by running his mouth – but being put through an adult’s training while still being treated like a child was more than a little grating.
The only real reprieve from the constant belittlement and exhaustive training was on the rare occasion when he managed to meet up with some of the old team at the Hau’oli cafe for some tapu cocoa. It was at one of these get togethers with his old team members that he finally broke.
“I’m sick of this shit, yo!” A heavy handed fist slammed on the table, startling the other patrons enjoying their drinks nearby and gaining the group significantly more dirty looks than usual. The white-haired man sighed roughly before continuing at a lower volume. “Gettin’ real fed up with Hala’s shit. The guy’ll have me move mountains, then complain ’bout the rubble like it means I ain’t done nothin’ to begin with!”
The former grunts seemed to calm down with their former boss’ explanation, murmuring their agreement and condolences as he slumped over his tapu cocoa. Plumeria, on the other hand, snorted at the outburst before rummaging through her bag. A small pile of travel brochures were unceremoniously dumped on the table seconds later. “’Bout time you fessed up, dweeb.”
Guzma ignored the brochures past a cursory glance in favor of downing more of his drink. The grunts, meanwhile, had taken to them immediately, oohing and awing over the different locales. He was already preparing a mental list of all the reasons he wasn’t gonna go traipsing around some foreign region, when one of the grunt’s comments caught his attention.
“Yo, check out Sinnoh’s! There’s supposed to be some big-ass centipede Pokémon over there, why’d they leave it outta the brochure?!”
“Whoa whoa whoa, bug? Beg pardon? Bug pardon? Whatchu talkin’ about here?” Guzma’s head snapped up from looking into his drink to stare. While the affronted grunt continued to comb through the brochure, the other two chimed in.
“Yeah yeah, I think I remember you tellin’ us about it before, Grunt! Some kinda legendary, right?” Grunt B piped up, nearly knocking over her drink when she went to grab for the brochure. Grunt A made a squawking noise and held it out of reach, accidentally squishing Grunt C in the process. Plumeria snatched the brochure herself before a scene could get started, handing it over to Guzma.
“Sinnoh, huh?” Flicking through the glossy pamphlet didn’t show much of anything too amazing to Guzma. “Yo, you were born there, weren’tcha? What’s the place like?”
“Uhh, kinda not much t’say ‘bout it? I only really saw Canalave before jumpin’ onna ship to out here.” Grunt A said, wincing when Grunt C elbowed him for the near-squishing. “There’s s’posed ta be a lotta bugs out in Eterna Forest too, lotta Wurmple and Combee an’ shit like that.”
Guzma’s eyes practically turned into buginium crystals at Grunt A’s words. He slapped his hands on the table again after tossing the brochure back, taking care not to put as much force into it this time. “Yo, I’m fuckin’ sold!”
After that, it hadn’t taken long for Guzma to toss all he owned in a single backpack, hand off most of his team to Plumeria and the grunts and say ALOLA! to Alola. Hala hadn’t even tried to stop him as he left, just giving the younger man a knowing smile and a nod when he heard Guzma was headed off. Talk about ruining a smug mood.
In retrospect, diving ass-first into the journey hadn’t been his best idea, the thought solidified when he felt the cold begin seeping into his bones. Sinnoh was cold as fuck. Guzma had managed to shiver his way into the closest building hoping for some warmth, just to step into a wall of air conditioning.
“Hey there! New to the region?” A man at the counter of the convenience store asked, a wide, too-cheerful smile on his face. “Got here at a good time! The Kricketune down on Route 214 always make their best music on these summer nights.”
Guzma gave the jolly man a blank look. “...the fuck you mean, summer?”
The poor cashier gave a surprised jump at the profanity, but continued on with a heartfelt chuckle at the question. “Why, Summer is summer, of course. It’s gotten so warm out I’ve had to turn on the air conditioning. The weatherman predicted this year to be the warmest in history!”
Guzma felt a part of his soul die with those words, but that might’ve just been it freezing over too. The man at the counter, his nametag obscured by some of the merchandise, leaned towards him looking concerned. “Are you alright, sir? You’re shivering up a storm. We have basic cold medicine in the first aid kit if you need any.”
“Wh- nah! I’m f-fine, totally.” A quick look around the store showed it was only selling souvenirs and regular trainer gear, much to the former boss’ dismay. “Uh, there anywhere ’round here I can get a coat or some shit?”
The cashier leapt into action at the question, hefting a large box out from under the counter. “We don't keep coats out of season, but I’m sure I saw one or two in the lost and found here. We rarely have anyone come back for anything, so feel free to help yourself!” Guzma slipped off his backpack, plopping it on the floor by the counter before examining the contents of the box.
Ten minutes, an atrocious outfit, and a free soda pop later, Guzma could feel the shivers beginning to abate somewhat. To his credit, the cashier didn’t comment on the bug specialist’s mismatched attempt at warmth, only bidding him a friendly farewell as he trudged back out of the store.
The hodgepodge conglomeration of clothing managed to turn more than a few heads once Guzma was out of the building and stomping down the road, but no one bothered to comment on it, or give a second look after he’d passed. Whether they were trying to avoid him, or just stay out of his business, Guzma couldn’t tell. He was just glad that no one tried to say anything about it, ‘cause he was pretty sure even when he could barely move his arms like this, he’d still find a way to deck the first person to start laughing at him. A few death threats directed towards the Grunt who stupidly sent him out here without any mention of the weather crossed his mind, and he kept himself occupied with ideas of dismemberment to distract him from the cold he could still feel seeping through the cracks in his puffy coat of armor. That kid was going down when he got back.
It took a minimum of twenty minutes before someone mentioned his outfit, and even then it was only to suggest catching a Ponyta to help stay warm. Not usually one to catch anything but bug types, it was a good show of how cold it felt that Guzma actually considered the suggestion. Considered and went along with it. He all but bolted when told they could be found just south of the city – or, as much as he could given his current ensemble. Route 214 was easy enough to find, but the Ponyta sure weren’t, and Guzma’s patience was about to become just as elusive when one finally turned up.
“Ha! There ya are!” The fire type didn’t even flinch at the loud exclamation, watching Guzma clumsily hop over one of the many, many fences along the route. A curse left the ex-team leader as he stumbled and almost ended up on his face before he steadied himself. Damn this weather. And these stupid fences, too!
The Ponyta was unimpressed.
Focus clearer than ever now that his objective was within reach, Guzma was quick to call out Golisopod. He was also, unfortunately, quick to fall flat on his ass when he tried to assume his usual squatting position. Heavy footsteps indicated the large bug type had ignored the Ponyta to run back to him. Instead of being helped up as expected, though, the specialist found himself ensconced in shivering exoskeleton.
“Oof– hey! What is it, ya big baby?”
Golisopod gave a loud whine and clung tighter to his trainer, his shivers enough to make them both vibrate. Guzma looked over where the Ponyta had been, and groaned in frustration as he caught sight of it prancing by them as if they were just another fence on the side of the road. The bug’s upset chirring brought his attention back to the matter at hand.
“…aw, don’t tell me that thick shell a’ yours ain’t keepin’ ya warm!” Guzma attempted to push it away, drawing increasingly upset noises from the Hard Scale Pokémon. A small arm nabbed the obnoxiously floral-print scarf from around Guzma’s neck before he could get free, sending a burst of cold air into his otherwise impenetrable coat armor. It chirred angrily at him while drawing the scarf close, doing its level best to put it on despite its lack of familiarity with the winter accessory. Guzma heaved a long sigh, amazed he couldn’t see his breath in the cold air.
“Alright, alright, fiiine, let’s go getcha bundled up too, ya wuss.” Struggling with his constricting clothing and the bug type who refused to stop clinging to him, Guzma took a few tries to finally get up on his feet and return Golisopod in order to head back to town. Maybe that shopkeep had something Golisopod could wear? The Alolan trainer recalled a few other bits of winter wear he’d not donned himself still being in the box, and a new realization that he didn’t yet know where he needed to go next anyway. Guess it was a good thing they had to head back.