“Yo, yo, yo! What do we have here?” The first Team Skull Grunt said.
“It’s those kids from before and our friend Ilima,” The second one responded.
“Team Skull,” I yelled out.
“What are you guys doing here?” Ilima asked keeping a steady tone.
“We’re here to mess up your trial, yo!” The first grunt replied.
“You are nothing but scoundrels and thieves,” Ilima yelled taking a step between Hau and I and the Team Skull Grunts. He motioned to the both of us. “These trainers worked together with their Pokémon to complete this trial and defeat the Totem Pokémon. They have proven their worth as well as strengthen the bond with their Pokémon. They –“
“Blah blah blah. We don’t have all day,” The second grunt interrupted Ilima.
Ilima took another step forward, “You two waste your potential by being thieves and criminals. You storm in here to create nothing but trouble. For that you will fight me!”
Ilima pulled out a Pokéball and tossed it into the air. There was a flash of red light and in its place was the Pokémon Smeargle. The white dog-like Pokémon swished its paint-covered tail back in forth.
The second grunt stepped forward. “If you want a fight, you got it.”
He threw a Pokéball and tossed it in the air. It opened and revealed Zubat, the bat Pokémon. It let out a supersonic scream.
“Smeargle, use Water Gun!”
Smeagle opened its mouth and let out a stream of water like a fireman’s hose blasting out towards the Zubat.
“Zubat, dodge and use Wing Attack!”
Zubat rolled midair and dodged the blast of water. It flew towards Smeargle a few inches off the ground and stretched out its wings. Zubat’s wing slammed into Smeargle knocking it back as Zubat lifted up into the air circling around.
Hau and I began to run forward with Pokéballs in hand.
“No!” Ilima reached out his hand. “It’s my turn to take care of these bad guys.”
Hau and I kind of looked at each other and stayed back.
“Smeargle, use Ember!”
Smeargle got back to its feet and focused on the Zubat flying through the air. It opened its mouth and a ball of fire emerged from its throat launching towards the Zubat. It seemed to lock on with its attack and the fireball hit the Zubat in an explosion of fire.
The Zubat dropped out of the air as it tried to shake off the fire. Just before hitting the ground, Zubat swooped upwards and let out a screech.
“Zubat! Use Supersonic!”
Zubat flapped its wings hovering in place and let out a high pitch screem that filled the entire valley echoing off the stone walls. Ilima, Hau, and I all covered out ears trying to drown out some of the noise. The Team Skull Grunts covered their ears as well. The Smeargle tried to cover up its ears. It seemed kind of dizzy.
Zubat stopped its screeching and the noise subsided. Smeargle kept on holding it ears looking dizzy.
“What was that?” I asked uncovering my ears.
“Zubat can learn Supersonic, which is a move the can confuse other Pokémon,” Hau explained.
“That’s not good,” I said.
“Smeargle, use Water Gun!” Ilima yelled.
Smeargle removed its hands from its ears and tried to steady itself. It opened its mouth releasing a torrent of water. Unfortunately, the stream of water went wide left and completely missed the Zubat.
Zubat swooped forward and flew quickly towards Smeargle striking it again with its wings knocking Smeargle backwards. It rolled and landed on its stomach as the Zubat flew up making another circle around.
The two Team Skull Grunts laughed at Smeargle was starting to look pretty hurt.
“Come on Smeargle, you can do it!” Hau yelled out.
I nodded and yelled out, “Go Smeragle, go!”
Smeargle got to its feet and shook its head shaking off the effect of the Supersonic. It tail perked up a little bit hearing our encouragement.
“Smeargle,” Ilima said. “It’s time for us to end this!”
Smeargle turned around and nodded.
“What are you going to do, Ilima. My Zubat is wiping the floor with Smeargle,” The Team Skull Grunt laughed.
Ilima prepared his stance. “Smeargle! Let’s use Z-power!”
Smeargle seemed to brighten himself and take a strong stance. It closed its eyes for a little bit and there was a flash of light. Smeargle started to glow as orange energy flared up and covered Smeargle.
“Semargle, use Breakneck Blitz!” Ilima yelled out his voice echoing through the crater.
The orange light flashed again and Smeargle started to run forward and lowered its head. Smeargle moved so fast it was almost instantaneous giving Zubat no time to escape. He slammed into Zubat’s body and they both crashed into the cave wall above the Team Skull Grunts. The grunts had to run to the sides to avoid a few falling rocks. Smeargle jumped back and landed on its feet next to Ilima, the orange glow eventually ceasing to exist. The Zubat fell to the feet of the grunts unable to battle.
The Team Skull Grunts looked at each other and immediately tried to escape. The second grunt picked up his Zubat and they both immediately ran towards the cave’s entrance.
“We can’t let them get away again,” Hau said.
Ilima and Smeargle started off towards the grunts with Hau and I right behind. We ran towards the cave entrance and made it inside Verdant Cavern.
“Did you see where they went?” I asked.
“No, but I’m sure that they ran off towards the front of the cave,” Ilima said. “Let’s head this way.”
Ilima lead us to a path to the right which is the opposite direction that Hau and I took to get here. It seemed like a kind of short cut through Verdant Cavern. This path was just as beautiful and full of greenery, but I had no time to gaze and awe as all three of us ran down this narrow path and jumping down small ledges. We eventually made our way to the front of the cavern and stopped to breathe.
“That was exciting,” I said through deep breathes trying to steady my breathing.
“Yeah tons of fun,” Hau said unable to catch his breath.
Ilima seemed partly winded but in better condition than Hau or I. “I don’t see them, maybe they used the shortcut as well.”
“You think they knew how to get in and out without being caught?” I asked.
“It’s possible they’ve been checking out the place for a while,” Ilima said shaking his head. “Maybe I’ve been underestimating the intelligence of Team Skull.”
“Maybe they have some kind of leader,” I suggested.
“Yeah definitely possible,” Ilima said mostly to himself.
“We’ll get them next time,” Hau said catching a little bit of a second wind.
Ilima nodded and smiled a little. “You guys really are something.”
We make our way out of Verdant Cavern and I look up into the sky. The sun was just setting filling the sky with beautiful red, oranges, and purples.
“Maybe you two need to go to the Pokémon Center and heal up. You two can rest for the night and I’ll meet up with you tomorrow morning,” Ilima said.
“You’re going to continue adventuring with us?” I said. “Not trying to sound ungrateful or anything!”
Ilima laughed a little, “No that’s ok. I take no offense. I just want to make sure you two remain safe in Melemele. I also wanted to show you the rest of the island. I assume you two haven’t been to Route 3 yet so I’d help you see the rest of the island.”
“That’s very kind of you, Ilima,” I said.
“No problem, Alexis. You and Hau’s world is going to get a little bigger. As you may know, I am the only captain here on Melemele Island, meaning my trial is the only one there. Now that you’ve cleared the trial, all you need to do is defeat the Island Kahuna.”
“The Kahuna?” Hau asked.
“Well of course,” Ilima said. “After defeating the captains of the island, the next step would be taking on the island’s Kahuna. But of course I hope you’d take your time here in Melemele exploring the rest of the island before taking on Kahuna Hala.”
“Yeah that sounds like a great plan,” I said.
Hau didn’t seem so convinced.
I put my hand on his shoulder. “Let’s head to the Pokémon Center. Meet up with Lillie and get some rest. Then we can figure out what we’re going to do.”
“Yeah…ok…” Hau said.
I gave Ilima a wave and then headed towards the Pokémon Center leading Hau along. We walked into the Pokémon Center and got our Pokémon healed by the nurse stationed in the center. I looked around not seeing Lillie anywhere.
“Do you see Lillie?” I asked Hau.
He looked around, “Ummmm… no I don’t.”
The nurse handed back our Pokéballs with our Pokémon inside completely healed. We thanked her and then sat down at one of the café tables. We sat there a few moments relaxing for a bit as the sun set on the Alola region.
“I wonder where she could be,” I said.
“Maybe she went back to the motel that was on Route 2,” Hau suggested.
“Yeah maybe you’re right,” I said.
We turned and there in the doorway of the Pokémon Center stood Professor Kukui. We waved Professor Kukui over and he ran over to us in a hurry.
“What’s going on, Professor?” I asked noticing a concerned look on his face and the fact he was breathing heavy.
“It’s Lillie! I believe she’s in danger,” Kukui said.
“What? What’s going on?” Hau asked loudly making certain people look over at us.
“Maybe we should talk outside,” I said.
All three of us went towards the doors of the Pokémon Center and then went outside, the glass doors shutting behind us.
“What’s going on, Professor? What’s happening with Lillie?” I asked.
Professor Kukui pulled out a green metal device about the size of his palm that looked similar to a Pokédex.
“This is a new technology called a Holo Caster which comes from Lysandre Labs in the Kalos Region,” Professor Kukui explained. “They are not very popular yet and nobody in Alola has one. Well except Lillie and I. Mr. Lysandre personally traveled to Alola and gave me two of these devices. One I kept and the other I gave to Lillie.”
“What do they do?” I asked.
“Well they are communications devices that send and receive video and audio messages. You can record yourself and send it to the other device.”
“That’s like the advanced version of the Pokégear in the Kanto and Johto regions made by Silph Co.,” I said.
“Yeah it is similar,” Professor Kukui said.
“Excuse me, but what does any of this have to do with Lillie? Hau asked a little impatiently.
“Right. Well I got this message from Lillie’s Holo Caster a few hours ago and I came as soon as I could.”
Professor Kukui tapped on the screen of his Holo Caster and it glowed with a blue light. It produced a hologram that was electric blue. There was a picture of Lillie from the waste up. She spoke:
Professor. I think someone is coming after Nebby. Alexis and Hau are off in Verdant Cavern. I don’t know what to do. Please…help…
“Well that can’t be good,” I said.
“Where did she go?” Hau asked.
“I’m not sure,” Professor Kukui said. “This message was taken right here. I noticed in the background was this Pokémon Center so I came here.”
“Have you told anyone that Lillie is missing?” I asked.
“I…actually ran straight here. I didn’t go to the authorities.”
“Maybe we should tell the police,” Hau said.
“That might not be ideal,” I said. “That could expose Nebby which is supposed to be a secret.”
“What about Ilima and my Grandpa – er, the Island Kahuna,” Hau suggested.
“Yeah we should probably let them know,” Professor Kukui said.
I nodded. “Ilima can’t be too far away. He might have went towards Hau’Oli City to alert the police about Team Skull.”
“Team Skull?” Professor Kukui questioned.
“Yeah there a few criminals running around the island calling themselves Team Skull. They have attacked people in Hau’Oli City as well as tried to attack us during Ilima’s trial,” I said.
“Hmmm… I have heard of groups of thieves causing trouble before,” Professor Kukui said. “Maybe these two things are connected.”
“I’m sure they are,” I said.
Hau seemed eager to jump into action, “Let’s go find Lillie!”
“Right,” Professor Kukui nodded.
“We should probably split up to cover more ground,” I said taking the lead. “Hau, you should probably head towards Hau’Oli City and see if you can find Ilima or Kahuna Hala. Professor Kukui, you’ve already ran all the way here so you should stay here just in case Lillie comes back. I am going to go up Route 3 and see if she went that way.”
Both Professor Kukui and Hau opened their mouths to make objections to the plan.
I held up my hand, “I’ll be fine by myself. I have strong Pokémon to protect me.”
They both closed their mouths and looked at each other.
“Hau, go find Ilima. We need him on this. Professor Kukui stay here and rest up. Hopefully Lillie will return.”
We all nodded and I went off towards Route 3.
This was a new route that I had never been on before and the darkness added to my lack of awareness as I walked on Route 3. It was now completely dark out and there are many bright stars in the sky. This was enough to light up the path as I walked. Storm the Pichu and Smokey the Torracat where right by my side as I walked. Smokey took point while Storm stood on my shoulder using my hair to steady itself. If I wasn’t so freaked out about the disappearance of my friend, I would have enjoyed the beautiful route as well as the sparkling skies.
I reached my hand up and scratched Storm behind her ears.
“Don’t worry, we’ll find here,” I said more to myself than to Storm.
Smokey seemed to agree.
I made my way down Route 3 where there were several different paths blocked off by stone walls. The terrain became rockier and steeper as I continued to walk. It seemed like the northern part of the island was on a much higher elevation of the southern part of the island full of grasslands and beaches. This terrain was much rougher.
Eventually I made my way around to the most northern part of the island. I stood over near a couple of wooden fences put up on the edge of the cliffs. I looked over the cliff side and looked down seeing the waves crash against the cliffs which had several sharp rocks down at the bottom. There were a few small beaches but they seemed almost impossible to reach.
I petted Storm again. “Don’t worry, we don’t have to go down there.”
I turned back looking eastward, a little winded from my climb up route 3. I wasn’t running but I felt like I just ran a marathon. I had been going since almost sunrise without much rest.
I yawned loudly and I noticed that both my Pokémon seemed pretty tired. Being healed in the Pokémon Center gave them their strength back but they could both use a good rest. Honestly, so could I. I rubbed my eyes and then lifted Storm off my shoulder and into my bag so it could rest.
I made my way further down Route 3. At this point the ground leveled out a little bit but the path was still mostly stone with very little grass. At this higher attitude I noticed I was breathing a little heavier and my head was a little dizzy. I’m sure that the abundant exercise and lack of sleep also added to the dizziness. I eventually made my way around a large rock formation. Not as large as the mountain near the southern tip of the island but it was larger than Verdant Cavern.
Suddenly I heard a loud scream shaking me out of my dizziness.
“Chu!” Storm shook from a dead sleep.
“Let’s go!” I ran forward with Torracat by myside and Pichu in my bag.
I ran towards the sound which seemed to be coming from the inside of a cave on the backside of the mountain. I continued forward running as fast as I could, adrenaline running through my veins. I burst in and saw two people standing there. One woman standing in the black and white garb from head to toe while the other stood in all white. Lillie!
“Lillie!” I yelled out running into the cavern.
Both women towards me. The one on the right was definitely Lillie. She was wearing her all white garb with a white, large brimmed hat. The other woman wore a large white cap, a black and white shirt, and a white skirt. She had pink hair and a skull pendant hung around her neck.
She was a member of Team Skull from the looks of it.
“Al….lexis?” Lillie’s eyes were full of fear.
“So you have a friend,” the female grunt laughed.
“Stand back!” I yelled taking a step forward.
“I don’t listen to brats like you,” The Team Skull Grunt said tossing a Pokéball in her hand.
“Two can play at that game, lets’ go Smokey!” I said.
Torracat jumped forward with a growl.
“Go, Drowzee!” The female grunt threw the Pokéball and Drowzee appeared in a red flash.
“Be careful, Alexis,” Lillie said in a whisper.
I turned to her and nodded. I turned back to the battle. “Smokey, use Fire Fang!”
Smokey jumped forward with a mouth full of fire and fangs bared.
“Drowzee, use Pound!”
Drowzee swung its fist forward and slammed into the side of Smokey knocking him aside and he slammed into the side of the cavern.
The lack of rest had made Smokey a little slow.
“Smokey!” I yelled.
“Drowzee, use Hypnosis!”
Drowzee’s eyes flashed a white color and made eye contact with Smokey. It started chanting. “Drowzee, Drowzee, Drowzee.”
Smokey began to rise before making eye contact with Drowzee and then it began to slow. It looked kind of dizzy and its eyes closed. It slumped down and began a low purr I recognized as the sound Smokey makes when it is sleeping.
The Team Skull Grunt laughed. “Too easy! Drowzee put your Pokémon to sleep. Maybe I can just take it to.”
She began to walk towards Smokey and then Storm jumped from my bag.
The grunt stopped and looked at Storm. “Oh look a Pichu, is this the best you got?”
“I wouldn’t underestimate Storm,” I said.
“Chu!” Pichu’s cheek pockets glowed with sparks of electricity.
“Drowzee, take care of this Pokémon!”
Drowzee stepped forward towering over Pichu.
“Storm, make sure you avoid his eyes!” I yelled out at Pichu.
Storm nodded and then prepared itself for the battle.
“Drowzee, use Pound.”
Drowzee moved forward and swung its fist at Storm, but she was ready and jumped out of the way before it made contact.
Storm let out a blast of electrical energy out of its cheeks and the lightning bolt hit Drowzee directly. The Drowzee took a step back and fell onto its back with its eyes spinning.
“Drowzee!!” The grunt ran over and picked up her Pokemon. She turned to me. “This isn’t the last you’ve seen of Team Skull. We’ll be back and you’ll regret making an enemy here today.”
I started to run forward and she produced a gray ball from her pocket. She threw it down at her feet and there was an explosion of thick, dark smoke which consumed the entire cavern. Lillie and I coughed as we were covered with the smoke.
When it was cleared I noticed that the Team Skull Grunt had disappeared taking her Drowzee with her. Smokey was still laying there completely asleep and Storm stood nearby looking around in confusion. I opened up their Pokéballs and they both disappeared inside.
I then ran over to Lillie to make sure she was alright, “Are you ok?”
“Yeah I think so,” Lillie said still coughing. “Is she still here?”
“No, she was able to escape,” I sighed.
Lillie then threw her arms around me and gave me a large hug, “Thanks for saving me, Alexis! I didn’t know what to do. I….I was so scared.”
“It’s ok, Lillie.” I said giving her a hug. “I was scared too. But I’m glad I found you.”
Lillie pulled back and rubber her eyes trying to clear her eyes of tears.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Well after you and Hau went off to Verdant Cavern, I went into the Pokémon Center. I got some tea and then went out to wait for you ad and Hau after your trial. I saw three people all dressed up like the Team Skull Grunts we saw before. There were two young men and that woman you saw. All three of them walked into the cavern and I began to freak out. I thought maybe they were looking for me and Nebby so I sent a message to Professor Kukui. Then I ran down Route 3 hoping that I could get away before they noticed. The woman must have been watching me because she followed me to here and threatened me. She told me to give over my Pokémon and I refused to hand over my bag.”
Lillie looked around. I had just noticed that she didn’t have her bag.
“Lillie, where’s Nebby?” I asked.
She continued to look around. “I placed the bag right behind me.”
“I’m sure its somewhere around here,” I said placing a hand on her shoulder to keep her calm.
“What if Team Skull stole Nebby?” Lillie asked panicking.
“Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure she ran off without getting close to her. There’s no way she could have grabbed the bag or Nebby.” I said.
“Right,” She said a little more convinced.
“We’ll find Nebby,” I said.