I woke up the next morning, the sun had already risen and it was approximately 9 or 10 in the morning. Apparently I had slept in a little bit, but that was nothing new. I quickly showered, got dressed, gathered my stuff and headed downstairs to see if I could find Hau. I gave the lady at the front desk my key back and thanked her for the stay. I then proceeded to snagging a few breakfast pastries before they packed them away for the day. Through all of this, I saw no sign of Hau and I began to wonder where he was.
After I finished my brunch and then walked back up to the front desk to ask the lady to see if she had seen Hau.
“Ummm…have you seen a young man, darker skin, green-tinted hair, usually wears a black shirt and yellow shorts?” I asked.
“Yes. The boy who came in with you last night? Yes I remember him,” The woman said.
“Have you seen him around this morning?” I asked.
She thought long and hard, “Yeah I did see him around. He had a whole plate of malasada.”
I laughed a little, “Yeah that sounds like him.”
“Well after his breakfast, he left in a hurry. He didn’t really say anything to anybody.”
“That’s strange. I thought he’d wait for me,” I muttered to myself.
“Are you two having relationship troubles?”
“What? No…no..no! We’re just friends. We’re not…no…no…” I tried to explain.
She gave a little smile, “Sure. Sure. Well that’s all I can tell you.”
“Yeah thanks,” I walked away from her desk and headed out of the hotel.
Once again I was in Paniola Town with the sun reaching almost noon. People were bustling all about buying more hats, stick Ponytas, and sheriff badges. I looked around, but I could not see Hau amongst the crowd of people. I looked and looked but he wasn’t around. It is so strange that he would just go off by himself.
I scratched my head for a moment but eventually decided that it was possible that Hau went on up ahead without me. Either that or he is doing some kind of side mission and he will catch up to me in time. Captain Mallow had informed us yesterday that there was an Island Challenge waiting for me at Brooklet Hill and that I needed to walk down Route 5 to get there. So that’s where I’m going. I walked to the edge of Paniola Town and gave a quick wave to the Wild West town.
I walked a few feet down the road and noticed that there were two little children arguing on the side of the road.
“How could you even say that? Igglybuff is the better choice of Pokémon!” The young boy said.
“You’re crazy! Happiny is WAY better!” The young girl said.
“Ummm…excuse me,” I interrupted their yelling match.
They both looked over and stopped their yelling for a second.
“Oh. Sorry about that. I didn’t see you,” The girl said.
“What do you want?” The boy asked a little loudly.
“I was just walking by and heard your…conversation,” I said. “I was wondering why you two were arguing.”
“Our Mom gave us both a Pokémon to protect ourselves when we’re out exploring by ourselves,” The young girl explained.
“And obviously Igglybuff is the better Pokémon,” The boy said.
“No! Happiny is better!” The girl turned to yell at her brother.
“Is not! Igglybuff would wipe the floor with Happiny!” The boy yelled back.
“Woah! Woah! Calm down,” I said trying to defuse the situation. “You know there is a way to settle this. It is called a Pokémon Battle.”
The two siblings looked at each other and then back to me.
“Mom said that we’re not allowed to battle one another,” The girl said shyly.
“Yeah,” The boy said crossing his arms.
“Oh,” I said. “I guess that makes sense. You’re probably a little too young to Pokémon battle anyway.”
“Hey! No I’m not!” The boy yelled.
“Yeah me neither!” The girl yelled.
I held up my hands, “Sorry. No need to get offended.”
“Hey I have an idea!” The girl said. “Why don’t we both battle you?”
I gave her a puzzled look, “Like at the same time?”
“Yeah! Yeah! That’s a great idea,” The boy jumped up and down in excitement.
“Is that even allowed?” I asked.
“Of course,” The girl said. “I think it’s called…ummmm… two battle.”
“No it’s called a Double Battle,” The boy corrected his sister.
“Oh yeah, right. A Double Battle,” The girl nodded her head.
“Ok sure, if you two want to do that, I’ll battle you,” I said.
“Yay!” They both jumped up and down in excitement.
It took a moment for both of them to get ready. They took a few moments to talk together in a small huddle about their battle strategy.
I released two Pokéballs and Storm the Pikachu and Mud Puddle the Mudbray were standing in front of me.
“Ok guys, here’s the deal. Those two over there are a little inexperienced. Plus I’m not sure how well they are going to be at working together, so let’s go easy on them, ok?”
The two Pokémon nodded their heads.
“Ok we’re ready!” The two yelled me.
I turned back towards them, “Ok let’s battle.”
The two each pulled out their Pokéballs and with a red flash of light, there were two new Pokémon standing in front of me.
The boy had alongside him a small, pink Pokémon I recognized as Igglybuff. This was a pre-evolution to Jigglypuff. It was spherical with large, pink eyes and a little puff of hair on top of its head. The other, which I assumed was Happiny, was also a pink Pokémon. It had a mass of hair on its head that looked like the girl’s Ponyta-tail and it looked to be carrying some kind of egg or white stone.
Storm and Mud Puddle both took a step forward.
“Oh my gosh! She has a Pikachu!” The girl yelled.
“Hey! Pay attention! We’re in a battle,” The boy nudged his sister.
“Oh right. Sorry.”
The boy turned back to his Pokémon. “Let’s go Igglybuff!”
“Happiny! Use Pound!” The girl yelled.
“Igglybuff! Use Pound!” The boy yelled.
Both Happiny and Igglybuff moved forward and launched their fists out towards Pikachu and Mudbray.
“Brace for impact,” I told Storm and Mud Puddle.
Both looked back at me with a bit of confusion and I gave them a wink.
They turned back and both of them took a Pound Attack to them, not doing too much damage.
“Mud Puddle, use Mud Slap!”
Mud Puddle stomped its hooves and kicked up a spray of mud and dirt which covered Happiny and Igglybuff.
“Oh no!” The sister yelled.
“Don’t worry. We still got this,” The brother tried to calm down his sister.
“Storm, use Thundershock!”
Storm’s cheeks began to glow as static built up and then she unleashed a blast of electrical energy striking both Igglybuff and Happiny.
They were knocked back and both fell flat with their eyes spinning.
Both children ran forward and picked up their knocked out Pokémon.
I ran over and offered two of my potions to heal their Pokémon.
“You two did a really good job,” I said.
The brother looked upset, but the sister nodded her head, “Thank you for the battle. I had a lot of fun.”
“Yeah. Thanks I guess.”
Igglybuff and Happiny both opened their eyes.
The sister knelt down and hugged the two Pokémon. “Both of you did great!”
“Let’s go to the Pokémon Center so we can heal up,” The brother said.
“Thank you again!” The sister gave me a wave as all four of them made their way back towards Paniola City.
I waved back and then knelt down to my Pokémon.
“Well good job, I guess,” I said. “We didn’t really go easy, but they seemed to have fun.”
I reached into my bag and pulled out Smokey’s Pokéball. I opened it and then Smokey the Torracat sat at my feet.
“There, now all three of you are out,” I said. “It’s such a wonderful day so I figure all three of you can just walk alongside me.”
They all seemed to nod in agreement. Storm jumped up into my arms and I placed her on my shoulder.
“Ok we better keep on going if we’re going to get to Brooklet Hill and complete another Island Challenge. And hopefully we’ll find Hau too,” I said and we continued our journey down Route 5.
Route 5 was rockier and more rugged than Route 4 with lots of rock and cliffs. There were still farms dotting the countryside but a lot less than Route 4 and Paniola Town. The thick grass gave a way to dirt paths and low, dry grass. There was a lot less plant life and trees alongside of the paths.
I looked down at Mud Puddle was sniffing the ground and took a bite of the dry grass.
“I know. There’s not much foliage here,” I said. “Not the beautiful beaches of Hau’Oli City, that’s for sure.”
Storm jumped off my shoulder and started running ahead.
“Wait Storm! Hold up!” I ran forward with Mud Puddle and Smokey at my side.
“Are you even taking this seriously?” A stranger stood facing me as I entered this small clearing.
There standing opposite of him was a boy I recognized. Hau!
“I am taking this seriously. I’m also trying to have some fun. Lighten up,” Hau shouted back him.
“Lighten up? You can only enjoy Pokémon battling when you put everything you have into it, which you clearly haven’t.”
Storm ran up next to Hau and started tugging on his leg.
Hau looked down, “Pikachu, what are you….wait you’re not my Pikachu.”
I walked forward into the clearing, “Storm! Hau?”
“Alexis?” Hau asked back.
A light seem to light up in the stranger’s eyes, “So you’re Alexis, huh? I’m surprised you’d associate yourself with someone like this.”
Hau turned back to the stranger, “What is that supposed to mean?”
The stranger laughed a little, “Someone so weak.”
“Who are you?” I asked as I stood next to Hau.”
He looked me up and down. “Well since I know who you are, I guess it’s fair to tell you who I am. My name is Gladion.”
“Well Gladion, what are you doing here?” I asked.
“I just got done battling this loser here. I battle for my partner, Null, to make it strong. Though most of the time my potential is wasted on small jobs for Team Skull,” Gladion said.
“You’re a Team Skull grunt?” Hau asked.
Gladion’s eyes narrowed. “Look. Either you stop wasting my time or I’m going to leave now.”
“I’m not going to let you leave,” I said clenching my fists.
“Then let’s battle,” Gladion smiled.
“Fine!” I yelled at him.
Storm was now tugging on my leg.
“Do you want to battle him, Storm?” I asked.
“Pikachu!” Storm nodded her head.
“Ok,” I said and then turned to Gladion. “Me versus you. One on one. Your Null or whatever versus Storm.”
“Great!” Gladion smiled.
“Alexis, be careful,” Hau said. “He is really strong.”
I gave Hau a nod, “Don’t worry. I’m sure we can take anything Team Skull throws at us.”
Gladion’s smile faded, “This is going to be fun.”
Gladion pulled out a Pokéball and tossed it into the air. There was a familiar, flash of light and a Pokémon stood on the battlefield. This strange Pokémon which I assumed was Null. It was a quadipedal Pokémon with some kind of metallic helmet on its head. It seemed like it was some kind of mish-mash of other Pokémon. It had a large head fin and a tail fin.
I pulled out Rotomdex.
“Rotom, can you identify this Pokémon?” I asked it.
“Bzzzt. Of course Alexis. Bzzzt.”
It took its moment to scan the Pokémon, but this time it took a little longer to scan.
“Bzzzt. I’m sorry Alexis. There seems to be some kind of problem. I can recognize it as a Pokémon, but I have not data available for you. Bzzzt,” Rotom said.
“How strange,” I said.
Gideon made a large, dramatic yawning sound, “So are you done stalling?”
I turned off Rotomdex and put it back into my bag, “Fine. I’m ready. Let’s battle.”
Storm jumped forward and sparks of electricity jumped off of its cheeks.
Null took a step forward and let out a growl from beneath its metal helmet.
“Storm, use Thundershock!”
Storm let out a blast of electrical energy which shot forward towards Null.
“Null! Dodge and use Tackle!”
Null dodged out of the way of the lightning bolt and charged forward. It slammed its entire body into Storm and sent it rolling backwards.
“Storm, use Thundershock!”
Gladion let out a little laugh. “A one-trick Ponyta, huh? Null, use Ariel Ace!”
Null jumped away from the lightning bolt and launched out with its claws. The claws struck Storm and she fell back onto its back.
“Null, use Tackle,” Gladion yelled.
Null used the head fin and slammed it into Storm sending it flying back. Storm landed in a hard thud and its eyes began spinning.
“Storm!” I yelled as I ran forward to pick it up.
Gladion let out a bit of laughter and Null disappeared in a flash of red light. “Wow pathetic. At least this guy was able to land an attack on Null, even if it wasn’t very useful.”
“You’re just a bully, you know that?” Hau yelled at Gladion.
“Weak people always try to belittle the stronger people,” Gladion said. “You’re Pokémon aren’t necessary weak, but it is painfully obvious to me that you are not using them to their full potential. I’m surprised that you managed to defeat Kahuna Hala.”
“Wait you know my Grandpa? And you think I’m strong?” Hau asked.
Gladion opened his mouth to say something else, but interrupted by new voices. Two individuals approached from behind him.
“Awh look, its little Gladion. The real cool guy.”
“I guess it’s no surprise that a homeless kid like Gladion would just be walking in the woods by himself.”
Two Team Skull Grunts approached. A young man spoke first and a young woman spoke second.
Gladion folded her arms, “Give it a rest you two. I’m not in the mood and I’m on a winning streak. I don’t want to fight you two as well.”
The grunts looked at each other.
The female grunt spoke up, “Well we came all this way, but I guess it was just a waste of time. We should have just gone to Brooklet hill to steal that Totem Pokémon.”
“Listen up Gladion, the Boss does like you. But you’re still just some hired help we keep around for when we need you. You aren’t part of Team Skull and you never will be. Got it?”
The two Team Skull Grunts looked at Gladion and then over to us. Then they quickly turned around and walked in the direction they originally came from.
“Did you just save us from those Team Skull Grunts?” I asked.
Gladion glanced back me and Hau.
He turned back, “Come on Null, we have places to be.”
He then proceeded to walk in the direction of the Team Skull Grunts.
“That was really strange,” Hau said.
“Yeah I know.”