After defeating Ty, I made my way towards Paniola Town. Lillie had told me that I needed to head this way to take on the first of Akala’s Island Trials. I wondered what the trials would be like and what kind of Pokémon these Island Captains used. Captain Ilima was a fan of Normal-type Pokémon which could learn a variety of attacks, but I had a guess these Captains had a lot tougher Pokémon.
I continued to walk down Route 4 and as I broke through the clearing of trees, I found myself among huge open fields. These were a mix of rolling hills and long, flat stretches of land. The scenery was dotted with a variety of Pokémon which I immediately identified as Tauros. They were running around in herds. Most of them were grazing on the grass but some were showing off a little bit of their strength by charging at each other and ramming their heads together. There were other Pokémon as well, but I couldn’t identify these.
I reached into my bag and pulled out my Rotomdex.
“Rotom, can you identify those Pokémon over there? Not the Tauros, but the other one?” I asked.
“Bzzzt. Sure thing Alexis. Give me a moment. Bzzzt,” Rotom said.
It only took a few seconds before Rotom was able to pull up information about the other Pokémon.
“Miltank, the Milk Cow Pokémon. Originally raised in the Johto Region, Miltank are now raised all over the world on farms for the milk they produce. This milk which is sweet and very nutritious can be used to heal Pokémon and people. Miltank is usually raised alongside Tauros although there isn’t any inherent evolution connecting the two. Bzzzt.”
“So that’s a Miltank. I’ve heard of them, I’ve just never seen them,” I said. “I heard that the Johto Gym Leader Whitney uses one and it causes a lot of trouble for inexperienced trainers.”
“Bzzzt. I have read that Paniola Town is famous for their large Miltank farms and is one of the biggest producers of Miltank Milk in the world. Bzzzt.”
“Well I’ll have to check out the dairy farms then, thanks Rotom!”
I turned off the Rotomdex and put it back into my bag as I walked further down Route 4. I made it to Paniola Town and it looked like the mix of a ghost town tourist attraction and an actual farming town. Some houses looked purposely ran down with a large sign hanging overhead reading things like ‘Gift Shop’ or ‘Paniola Gifts’ while others looked like homes still in use with large barns and farm equipment.
I made my way through Paniola town taking in all the sights and sounds of this new place. There weren’t a ton of people on the dirt streets, but enough to kick up some dirt and dust. Children ran around with large cowboy hats on their heads and little sheriff badges pinned to their shirts while others had miniature lassos and stick Ponytas.
I gave a small laugh seeing these kids run around and then proceeded towards the Pokémon Center to get my Pokémon healed up and restock on some supplies. Mud Puddle had cost me two Great Balls, but now I have a Mudbray on my team which I felt like made it all worth it. I then proceeded to walk over to the café.
“Hello little Darlin’, what can I get fer you?” The café owner asked.
“One glass of Miltank Milk please,” I said.
“Coming right up!”
He poured a cold glass of milk and then handed it to me along with some Poke Beans.
“Here you go,” He said with a large grin.
“Thank you,” I returned the smile and then headed towards a seat.
I sat down and enjoyed my glass of milk. Rotom was right. It had a sweetness to it that I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t overpowering but it added a little something that I wouldn’t normally expect. I quickly drank the glass of delicious milk and I felt a little bit of warmth fill my body. I didn’t realize how sore I’d been from the past few days, but the milk seemed to alleviate those pains. I stood up from my seat feeling refreshed and rested.
I walked out of the Pokémon Center and looked up into the sky. There were still a few hours of sunlight left, so I thought I’d look around the town and maybe pick up one of those cowboy hats. The streets were mostly empty and the dust had settled some.
I looked up ahead of me and near the entrance of Paniola Town stood Hau waving at me. He immediately ran up to me and gave a hug which I returned.
“I’m so happy to see you Alexis,” Hau said. “I was afraid you had gotten so far ahead of me, that you had already completed the first trial.”
“Not yeah, Hau. I just made it to Paniola Town less than an hour ago,” I said.
Hau looked around the town for a second. “This place looks like a town where they held old-fashioned Western showdowns or something, don’t you think?”
“Yeah it kind of looks like the set of some Western movies I have seen.”
“I have an idea, why don’t we have a battle right here, right now?” Hau suggested. “It will be like a scene from a movie. And we’ll see who is more powerful now.”
I nodded my head, “Ok Hau, let’s do it!”
Hau and I took our places on opposite ends of the street. Most of the people had left the area, but there were a few gathered on the porches watching our battle in the middle of Paniola Town. It really did feel like an old western film.
“You ready, partner?” Hau said trying his best at a rural accent.
“Maybe we just talk in our normal voices,” I laughed.
Hau laughed as well, “Yeah sounds good.”
I nodded. “Let’s go, Mud Puddle!”
The Great Ball in my hand produced a flash of red light and then there stood Mud Puddle the Mudbray.
“Wow Alexis, you have a new Pokémon. Didn’t expect that,” Hau said. “But that’s ok. Pikachu can handle it!”
Hau opened his Pokéball and Pikachu emerged.
“Pikachu, use Quick Attack!”
Pikachu launched forward with a blinding speed towards Mud Puddle and slammed its body into it. Mud Puddle was able to dig its hooves into the ground and planted itself so it didn’t move very far.
“Mud Puddle, use Double Kick!”
Mud Puddle turned around and used its back hooves to kick. Both hooves struck Pikachu knocking it back with a small spark of electricity. The electricity surged all over Mud Puddle’s body.
“Looks like your Mudbray is now paralyzed,” Hau said. “That will make it easier for Pikachu to hit you.”
“Pikachu use Thundershock!”
Pikachu unleashed a bolt of electricity which struck Mudbray. There was a flash of light, but Mudbray stood there completely unaffected.
“That…that didn’t do anything,” Hau’s mouth hung open.
“Mudbray is a Ground-Type,” I explained. “Ground-Types have an immunity to Electric attacks like Thundershock.”
Hau grabbed the side of his head, “I totally knew that! I just forgot!”
“Let’s go Mud Puddle, let’s show him what Type Advantage looks like. Use Mud Slap!”
Mud Puddle used its front hooves to stir up dirt and mud which launched forward at Pikachu covering it with mud.
“Now use Double Kick!” I yelled out.
Mud Puddle was a little slow to move, but Pikachu was trapped in the mud and was trying to make its escape.
“No, Pikachu! Dodge it!”
By then it was too late, Mud Puddle was right on top of Pikachu. It used its back two hooves to deliver a powerful set of kicks to Pikachu which knocked it flying. Pikachu landed in a cloud of dust at Hau’s feet.
Hau picked up Pikachu and pulled out its Pokéball. “It’s ok Pikachu, you fought hard.”
“You may have won the first battle, but I’m determined this time around!” Hau said. “Let’s go Darrix!”
A new Pokémon emerged from Hau’s Pokéball which I didn’t recognize. I immediately went to my bag for Rotomdex.
“You know the drill, Rotom,” I said.
“Bzzzt. Right away Alexis. Bzzzt.”
Rotom quickly identified the Pokémon.
“Bzzzt. Dartrix, the Blade Quill Pokémon. Dartrix is the evolution of Rowlet and is a Grass/Flying Type Pokémon. Dartrix is sensitive to others around it and is capable of launching attacks at unseen enemies behind it. It uses razor-sharp quills that are stored inside its wings and it can use them with astounding precision. Dartrix also spends a large amount of time grooming its feathers to maintain its appearance. Bzzzt.”
“Wow Hau, you evolved your Rowlet into a Dartrix,” I said.
“Yes I did and it’s even more powerful. Plus check out its appearance, Dartrix is styling,” Hau said.
I laughed and covered my mouth.
“Ok enough stalling, time for a Pokémon battle,” Hau said.
“Yeah let’s do this!”
“Dartrix, use Razor Leaf!”
“Mud Puddle, use Mud Slap!”
Dartrix unleashed a barrage of sharp, leaf quills from under its wings and Mud Puddle stomped using its front two hooves to create a wave of mud and dirt. However the quills seemed to bend and maneuver around the mud being thrown into the air. The quills struck Mud Puddle and exploded into sharp leaves.
The mud stopped flying and Mud Puddle staggered a little bit.
“Dartrix, use Peck!”
Dartrix flapped its wings and took into the sky. It seemed to fly a little slower than Rowlet, but was still able to get off the ground. It flew forward and struck Mud Puddle with its sharp beak knocking it backwards.
“Mud Puddle, use Double Kick!”
Mud Puddle turned around and kicked out its back two legs trying to make contact with Dartrix, but it was able to dodge out of the way by taking to the sky. Mud Puddle’s legs weren’t long enough to strike the Dartrix.
“Dartrix, use Razor Leaf!”
From the sky, Dartrix unleashed a barrage of sharp quills which rained down Mud Puddle. Each one struck and splintered into sharp leaves which cut Mud Puddle. It staggered and eventually fell to the ground.
“Yeah we did it, Dartrix!” Hau jumped up and down in excitement.
I pulled out the Great Ball and Mud Puddle disappeared in a flash of red energy.
“Well its one-one Hau, I think it’s time to break this tie,” I said.
“Oh I’m ready, Alexis!”
With another flash of red light, there stood Smokey the Torracat on all four paws.
Smokey let out a low growl.
“Torracat versus Dartrix, starter evolution versus starter evolution. I may have the type disadvantage, but I’m not going to give up so easily,” Hau said.
“Don’t worry, I’m looking forward to it,” I said with a smile. Hau and I acted tough, but we both knew that this was a friendly Pokémon battle. Maybe we were just playing this up a little for the audience that had gathered around us.
“Dartrix, use Razor Leaf!”
“Smokey, use Ember!”
Smokey unleashed a ball of fire from its necklace and it launched towards Dartrix. Dartrix unleashed a barrage of its signature quills, and they collided in midair. The quills were not able to circumvent the fireball and the two collided. The fire burnt up the leaves and they both disappeared.
“Dartrix, use Peck!”
Dartrix dived towards Smokey with its sharp beak leading the way.
“Smokey, use Fire Fang!”
Smokey launched forward at the incoming Dartrix with its mouth full of fire. They collided in midair and Dartrix’s beak struck Smokey’s side. Smokey reached out and clamped onto Dartrix’s wing while fire erupted forward striking Dartrix on the left side of its body. They both fell to the ground which sent up a big cloud of dust.
“Dartrix get out of there!”
“Smokey, use Ember!”
Dartrix began to rise out of the dust while flapping its wings and then a blast of fire dispersed the dust cloud. The fireball rose and struck Dartrix while it tried to escape. The Dartrix fell back towards the ground and landed with a large thud.
There were a few muffled oohs and awwhs as the crowd watched the Dartrix fall. The dust cleared quickly and it revealed that Dartrix was laying there covered in dust and mud, unable to battle.
There was a mix of cheers and groans from the crowd. Apparently they had picked favorites and it was about 50/50 between me and Hau. Overall there was a lot of applause after our battle concluded. I returned Smokey to its Pokéball and Hau did the same for Dartrix.
“That was a great battle, Hau. You have gotten really strong,” I complimented him.
“Thanks Alexis, I guess I still have some more things to learn though,” he said with a half-smile.
“Don’t worry Hau, we all do,” I tried to cheer him up.
“At least the crowd seemed to love it and I did have a ton of fun even if I did end up losing,” Hau said.
“Yeah I had a great time too.”
A man approached us and tapped us on the shoulder. “Excuse me, you are Hau and Alexis, right?
“Yeah that’s right, who are you?”
“I’m just a farmhand at Paniola Ranch, but Captain Mallow sent me to come find you. She figured you would eventually make it here to Paniola Town and when I heard that there was a battle between two powerful trainers, I figured it was the same people I was supposed to find.”
I blushed a little, “Yeah well that’s us.”
“Good,” The man smiled. “Well if you’ll follow me, I’ll take you two to Paniola Ranch and Captian Mallow.”
Hau and I nodded and we followed the man through the streets of Paniola. It wasn’t a very big town and a lot of the land that made up the town was just farmland or open fields for the Tauros and Miltank to live in.
It was only a few minutes before we were near the end of the town. There was a large sign over the gate we passed through that read “Paniola Ranch.”
The same, green haired girl from the Heahea City docks stood there talking to a few of the other farmers here at the ranch. When she saw us, she waved as us and approached Hau and me.
“Alola! So nice to see you two again,” Mallow said.
“Nice to see you too,” I said.
“This guy said that you needed to talk to us,” Hau said.
“Well needed makes it sound like an emergency,” Captain Mallow said. “I just wanted to check in with you and see how you were doing. I know this is a new island and I didn’t want you two getting lost.”
“Oh, well we’re doing great,” I said. “I think we’re ready for your trial.”
Mallow laughed. “Well sorry to disappoint you, Alexis. But this isn’t where I have my trial. I’m just here to pick up some Miltank Milk, or Moomoo Milk as it’s packaged, for some deliveries. The Moomoo Milk from Paniola Ranch is the best. It’s so rich and creamy when you use it in white sauce. Or you can make into cheese, butter, and yogurt. So many uses. Of course it’s pretty good as it is.”
“Yeah I got some while I was at the Pokémon Center’s Café,” I said.
“So your trial isn’t here?” Hau asked changing the subject.
“I’m afraid not. There is still a lot ahead of you before you get to my trial,” Captain Mallow said. “If you’re really hungering for a trial though, I’d recommend you continue up Route 5. You’ll come out on Brooklet Hill where my friend Lana is camped out. She’ll be able to give you a real challenge.”
“Excellent!” Hau said.
Mallow gave a little giggle, “Just make sure you tell her ‘Hi’ for me and tell her that I sent you.”
“Will do,” I said.
“Well I’m off, but I’m sure you’ll make it to me eventually and I can show you what a real trial is all about!” Mallow said.
“Thanks Captain Mallow!” Hau said.
Captain Mallow gave a nod and walked back towards the men she was talking to earlier. They all started walking off towards one of the large barns.
I looked up and the sun was just starting to set. The stars were starting to come out and the night sky was filled with them. Paniola town had less light pollution compared to Hau’oli City and you could see a lot more stars.
“Well it’s getting late, do you want to head to the Pokémon center and then find a place to spend the night?” I asked Hau.
“Yeah that sounds like a great plan,” Hau said. “We’ll hit up Route 5 tomorrow and make our way towards Brooklet Hill”
“Sounds good,” I said.
We made our way towards the Pokémon Center. We got our Pokémon healed up and talked to the Café Owner. He gave us each a tall glass of the Moomoo Milk which we finished quickly and told us that there was a hotel just down the road which would give us free boarding for the night. We thanked him, retrieved our Pokémon, and head towards the hotel. Hau and I each got our own room and said goodnight to one another.
I laid down in the bed. The whole place was decorated with Western Décor and had movie posters for old Western Movies I had seen when I was younger. The bed was a little uncomfortable, but I made due. Plus I was so exhausted, it didn’t matter if the bed was soft or rock hard. I thought about Lillie who usually shared hotel rooms with me and I wondered what her meeting was all about. She was acting strange, but I felt like I couldn’t’ push her. I was starting to know her better but there were still walls I couldn’t penetrate. I didn’t know a lot about her past. Maybe she was meeting with someone about Nebby. I don’t know. As I was thinking these thoughts I quickly drifted off to sleep.