Lana and I traveled across the smaller of the two lakes to the shore where I first met her. I hoped off of Lapras’ back onto the sandy beach.
“Do you know where you are heading next?” Lana asked me.
“Well, not exactly. There’s more trials after this one, right?” I replied.
“Most certainly. The next trial is Kiawe’s trial up on Wela Volcano Park.”
“Volcano?” I said clearing my ears out of water.
Lana laughed. “Yeah Kiawe has a flair for the dramatic as well as traditions. He has a more straight-forward approach to the trials, so prepare for a battle and bring plenty of burn heals.”
“Thanks Lana, I really appreciate all your help,” I said.
“Yeah yeah. I know I’m the best,” Lana smiled. “Just come back and fish sometime, ok?”
“Definitely,” I said with a smile.
Storm and Bouncee agreed.
“Oh also, if you see any Sudowoodo near Paniola Ranch, just show them your Waterium Z. They should leave you alone,” Lana said.
I began to ask her if she was serious, but she had already started drifting out across the lake on the back of Lapras. She gave a wave and I gave her a wave back.
“She is a bit of a strange one, isn’t she?” I asked myself.
I picked up Storm and put her on my shoulder. Bouncee held my hand and we made our way out of Brooklet Hill back towards Paniola Ranch. We walked the familiar path towards the big, open fields full of Miltank and Tauros. Storm seemed bored with the Pokémon she had seen before, but Bouncee was full of energy and was excited.
“Steenee! Stee! Stee!”
Our journey down the road consisted of me trying to rinse out the water from my clothes and hair as Storm tried to find a comfortable place to rest on my shoulders and head and Bouncee ran up to every Tauros and Miltank near the fence line. Eventually I put Storm into her Pokéball so she could get a nap and I ended up pulling Bouncee away from the other Pokémon so we could actually progress down the road. I didn’t want to put Bouncee in her Pokéball because I was excited about her new form and I wanted us to spend as much time together. I had heard that Pokémon that had been another trainers before becoming your own grows at a much faster rate, but can sometimes become stubborn and unwilling to cooperate with you. I didn’t think that would happen with Bouncee, but I figured some time out in the sun would do well for the both of us.
As we walked, I noticed some kind of commotion going on in front of us. Their blocking our path was a large, brown and orange Pokémon. Next to it stood a small woman wearing a tan and purple jumpsuit with a purple bonnet on her head. Up ahead of them I noticed two young people dressed up in Black and White and up to no good.
“Team Skull,” I gritted my teeth.
I pulled Bouncee along as I ran up to the situation.
“Yo, yo, yo! Just give us your Pokemon and we’ll be on our way,” One of the Team Skull Grunts said.
“Don’t make it harder than it has to be, yo,” The other chimed in.
“I will never give into the demands of hooligans like yourselves,” The woman said.
Her Pokémon seemed to agree.
“You get away from her, Team Skull!” I said as I ran up into view.
“You! You’re that numskull Trainer from Melemele, aren’t you?” The second grunt asked. “We heard about you.”
The woman turned and made eye contact with me, “You there, Trainer. Can you come to my aid?”
“Me?” I said pointing at myself. “Sure, I can help you take them down.”
“These scoundrels are Pokémon thieves. And you’re on familiar terms with them?” She asked me.
“They are a part of a team of thieves called Team Skull. I encountered some of them back on Melemele and they seem to be here in Akala as well,” I said.
“You might have ran into Team Skull before, but they were just ametuers. We’re the real deal,” The second Skull Grunt said.
“We heard about what you did in Melemele, and we’re not going to allow that to happen in Akala. This is Team Skull’s turf and we’re not going to let you stop that,” The first grunt said.
“Then let’s battle and see who is stronger,” I said.
“You’re going down!” The first Team Skull Grunt said.
The Team Skull Grunts released their Pokémon. Both Pokémon I was familiar with and favorites of Team Rocket in the Kanto region.
“Go Mudsdale!” The woman said.
Her Pokémon stepped forward and shook its mane and stomped its hooves on the ground.
“Drowzee, use Confusion!”
“Golbat, use Wing Attack!”
Drowzee unleashed a Psychic energy blast towards Mudsdale while Golbat dived down with its wings outstretched heading towards Bouncee.
“Bouncee, use Razor Leaf!”
“Mudsdale, use High Horsepower!”
Mudsdale charged forward and slammed its entire body against the Drowzee knocking it backwards. The Psychic energy bounced right off of Mudsdale and quickly subsided. Bouncee unleashed a barrage of leaves which struck the Golbat and its Wing Attack completely missed.
“Now Bouncee, use Double Slap!”
Bouncee lept into the air and lashed out with its open palm hitting the Golbat over and over again.
“Golbat, use Wing Attack!”
The Golbat swiped at Bouncee in the air and struck her with its wings sending Boncee to the ground with a loud thud.
“Mudsdale, use Double Kick!”
As the Drowzee tried to pick itself off the ground, it was met with two powerful hooves smashing into it and it was knocked back, its eyes spinning, unable to battle.
“Bouncee! Use Rapid Spin!”
Bouncee began to spin faster and faster and launched itself at the Golbat. They collided midair and the Golbat was thrown to the ground creating a large dust cloud.
“Golbat!” The Team Skull Grunt yelled.
“Finish it off with Double Slap!” I yelled into the dust cloud.
There was some sounds of contact being made and then the dust cloud separated as the Golbat was launched and it landed at the Grunt’s feet.
“Yo, yo. We better get out of here,” The first grunt said.
“With all these loses, we’re going to anger the boss,” The second grunt said.
They both reached down and picked up their Pokémon and began running.
“We have to stop them,” I turned to the woman next to me.
She nodded. “You’re right.
“Mudsdale! Use Bulldoze!”
Mudsdale slammed down its hooves and the ground began to quake a little bit. Fissures began opening up in front of it that snaked out towards the Team Skull Grunts. With another slam of its hooves, the fissures opened and the Grunts tumbled into a deep hole similar to Ty’s pit he caught me and Mud Puddle in.
“Ahhhhh!” They both screamed as they fell to the bottom of it.
I quickly ran over with the woman to examine the pit. Down about 10 feet sat the two Team Skull Grunts.
“Man I can’t believe we got caught,” One said to the other.
“We’re going to be in so much trouble,” The second one said.
“Wow that’s amazing,” I said.
“Well thank you, young lady,” The woman smiled. “That was quite a battle we just had.”
“Yeah you’re Pokémon is amazing,” I said.
“Yours as well,” She said. “Do you have a name?”
“Oh yes. Sorry. My name is Alexis,” I said.
“Alexis, that’s a fine name. My name is Hapu.”
“Nice to meet you Hapu. What kind of Pokémon is that?” I said gesturing to her Pokémon.
“This here is my trusty partner, Mudsdale. I raised him from when he was just a little Mudbray,” She said with a smile.
“No way, I have a Mudbray too. His name is Mud Puddle,” I said.
Hapu laughed. “What a great name. Well Alexis, if you continue to train Mud Puddle and raise him right, one day he might be as strong and powerful as Mudsdale here.”
Mudsdale nudged Hapu a little bit and began nibbling on her hair.
“Hey stop that! I said maybe,” Hapu laughed and I joined in.
“So Alexis, where were you heading when you came upon these fools?” Hapu asked.
“Yo! We can hear you!” One Team Skull Grunt yelled from the pit.
“Well we just completed Lana’s Trial at Brooklet Hill so we are now on our way to…ummm… I think his name is Kiawe… his trial up on some volcano.”
“Yes, Kiawe’s trial. It is up on Wela Volcano Park which is not too far from here. You’ll just have to cross through Royal Avenue and then you should be on your way,” Hapu explained.
“Royal Avenue, like Kings and Queens?” I asked.
“Royal Avenue is nothing like The Battle Cheautu in the Kalos Region with fancy Lords and Ladies. Royal Avenue is home to the Battle Royal. It’s a place with a special kind of battle. Four different trainers all battle against each other at the same time. It’s not for everyone, but you might want to check it out.”
“Yeah will do, thanks Hapu,” I said.
“No problem. You were an asset in battle and I know our paths will cross again. Musdale and I are always wandering around Alola trying to achieve our goals. It looks like stopping Team Skull is at the top of our list,” Hapu said.
“Still down here!” The grunts yelled up.
“Are you going to stay here with them?” I asked.
“Yes we will stay here until the authorities arrive. We aren’t in any hurry,” Hapu said.
“Well I hope I see you again, soon,” I said.
“Me too, Alexis,” Hapu said with a smile.
I gave her a nod and I pulled Bouncee away from Mudsdale.
It was only a quick 30 minute walk to Royal Avenue. This place was like a miniature city with people bustling about everywhere. People were walking by with food and drinks as well as balloons. The streets were packed with people, but I managed to squeeze by.
“Here Bouncee, go back into your Pokéball for now.”
I returned Bouncee to her Pokéball then made my way to the Pokémon Center. I managed to get in and I went up to the front desk.
“Excuse me, Miss. Can I get my Pokémon looked at?” I asked the nurse.
“Of course,” She said.
She took my Pokéballs and then disappeared through the door behind her. I took this time to go to the Café and get a Berry Juice.
“Is Royal Avenue always this busy?” I asked the Café Owner.
“No, not always. There’s a big match happening shortly. The Masked Royal is set to battle,” He explained.
“The Masked Royal?” I asked him.
“You’ve never heard of the Masked Royal?”
I shook my head no.
“The Masked Royal is a really famous trainer in the Battle Royal Dome. He has the longest winning streak that they have ever recorded. 145 battles without a single loss. He hasn’t battled for a few years now, so it’s a big deal. Some are calling it his comeback tour.”
“Oh. Well I guess I should go check it out,” I said.
“Yeah it should be something extraordinary to watch,” The Café Man said.
I thanked him for the beverage and I went back to collect my Pokémon. Now they were all healed up and I was ready to head towards the Battle Royal Dome. I made my way out into the streets once again and it had seemed to quiet down a little bit. Lots of people were still roaming the streets and a lot of them seemed to be congregating up near the entrance of the dome.
“Get your Masked Royal merchandise, here!” One vendor shouted.
“Masked Royal Shirts. We have Masked Royal Shirts. Also plushies. Plenty of plushies.” Another vendor yelled.
I slowly made my way up to the crowd of people and people gathered behind me. All of us pushing forward trying to get into the Battle Royal Dome.
“Single file, people! Don’t worry, you won’t miss the match!”
Someone up front was trying to line people up and get people through the doors of the Battle Dome. I stood on my tippy toes trying to see over the crowd, but it was almost impossible. Just a blob of people all ready to get into the Battle Royal Dome. One person stood out to me though. I recognized this person from behind.
“That’s Gladion,” I thought.
“Excuse me,” I tried to push myself through the crowd to get to Gladion.
“Hey! No cutting in line,” One gentlemen next to me said.
“My…friend is up there, I need to get to him,” I lied.
“Wait your turn,” The man said.
I was frustrated, but there was no way I was able to get through this crowd of people and I was unable to track Gladion down. Eventually I got past the checkpoint and I walked into the Battle Royal Dome. It was a large, sports arena similar to the Rhyhorn Racing Tracks that were popular in the Kalos Region. Lots of people were buying food and drinks as well as nicknacks and shirts for the event. I scanned the crowd but I couldn’t find Gladion anywhere. I had lost him.
I turned to my right and there was Lillie waving at me. I made my way over to her and I gave her a big hug.
“Lillie! I’m so glad to see you, how have you been?”
“Great Alexis, I’ve been taking a little time to relax and help out the Professor. I haven’t been to the ruins yet, because I thought we could do that together,” Lillie said.
I told Lillie about my adventures including the Brooklet Hill Trial and how I have caught two new Pokémon: Mud Puddle and Bouncee.
“That’s wonderful, Alexis,” Lillie smiled. “I’m glad you’re really enjoying Akala.”
“Yeah so far it hasn’t been too bad. Where’s the Professor? I wanted to fill him in about my progression with the Island Challenge.”
“Oh…well…he’s around…” Lillie said looking down at her feet.
I was slightly confused. “Ok well, let’s go then.”
“Ummmm….ok,” Lillie nodded.
We made our way to an elevator that was in between two different food vendors.
“Lillie? It says ‘Staff Only,’” I said.
“Don’t worry about it, Alexis. I have a special pass,” Lillie said.
Lillie pulled out a bright yellow pass and touched it to the panel beside the elevator door. The doors opened and we stepped inside. The elevator descended for two floors and then it opened up to a long hallway. The noise of the crowds above was still audible but a lot more subdued.
“Wow. Are we allowed down here?” I asked Lillie.
“Yeah the Professor is down here somewhere,” Lillie said.
“Hello ladies, glad you could make to see my performance today!”
Lillie and I both turned to see a Masked Man standing there with a large smile on his face.
“Ummmm…” Lillie began.
“Are you the Masked Royal?” I cut off Lillie.
“How intuitive, yes I am,” The Masked Royal said.
“Yes he is,” Lillie said with a sigh.
“Wow. That’s incredible,” I said. “I heard that you’re like a local celebrity and that you have this crazy long winning streak in the Battle Royal Dome. Is that true?”
“All of it is true! And today I return to the ring once again. Four trainers. Four Pokémon. All competing for that victory. Once one trainer’s Pokémon is unable to battle, the match is over,” The Masked Royal explained.
“What Pokémon do you battle with?” I asked the Masked Royal.
“Well my trusty Pokémon is Rockruff,” He said.
“Awh! I love Rockruff. He’s so adorable,” I said. “Plus Professor Kukui also loves Rockruff.”
“Yeah,” Lillie said.
“Well I must be off,” The Masked Royal said. “The battle will begin shortly. I hope you two go watch.”
“Of course we will,” I said.
“Uh-huh,” Lillie nodded.
The Masked Royal stepped up to the elevator with a green pass similar to Lillie’s yellow pass. He stepped inside and he was whisked away.
“We better go,” Lillie said.
“Yeah I guess I can tell the Professor everything after the match,” I said.
Lillie and I got on the elevator and we went back to the first floor. People were now heading to their seats and the floor was less busy.
“I’m going to go get something to eat before it starts, I’m starving.” I said.
“Here,” Lillie said handing me a ticket. “We have seats up near the front in section 102A. I’m going to head there now, ok?”
“Yeah sounds great,” I said.
Lillie and I parted ways as I headed towards one of the food vendors.
“Ladies and Gentlemen. Please take your seats as we prepare for the match to get underway!” An announcement rang over the loudspeakers in the Battle Royal Dome.
I looked around for a little bit before settling on a Malasada stand. The fact that Hau wasn’t with me enjoying this Malasada, made me sad. I wondered what he was up to. Maybe he was a fan of The Pokémon Battle Royal. I don’t know.
The announcer was beginning to read of the names of the trainers and their Pokémon. Once it got to The Masked Royal, the crowd went nuts with cheers and chants.
“I better get in there,” I said.
I paid for my Malasada and began approaching the entrance into the actual stands area. Out of the corner of my eye, however, I noticed a young man standing near the entrance of the Battle Royal Dome watching the event on the big screens they had displayed.
This was my chance. I had to stop him. I don’t know what he is up to, but it has to be no good.
“Hey! You!” I ran over with Malasada in one hand.
Gladion turned and his face scrunched up a little.
“Oh good. It’s you. Make for a rematch or are you afraid I’ll defeat you again?” Gladion asked.
“I could take you down wherever and whenever,” I said.
Gladion looked me up and down. “Sure. Whatever you say.”
“What are you even doing here?” I asked. “Shouldn’t you be off with your Team Skull friends?”
“They aren’t my friends. I’m not one of them,” Gladion said.
“Well you sure seem like it. Dressing in up in similar clothes as them. And they obviously knew you,” I yelled.
“Look, little girl. You don’t know a thing about me, ok? And I am just standing here trying to watch the match. I’m not ‘up to something.’ So leave me alone, unless you want a fight,” Gladion said.
“I’m not afraid of you. Team Skull or not,” I said reaching for a Pokéball.
“There we have it folks. A record-setting 146th victory for the Masked Royal and it happened in record time!”
I turned to the screen and the announcer was correct. There displayed on screen was the Masked Royal and his Rockruff.
“Oh no, I missed the entire thing,” I said.
“Well I’m glad we had this talk, but I’m leaving now,” Gladion said.
He began to walk away, but I stopped him.
“Don’t walk away from me. I want to know why you’re here,” I said.
“I told you. I came here to watch the match.”
“But why do you care about the Battle Royal?” I asked him.
“If you must know, it’s because I like checking out potential competition. Sometimes Null and I come here and battle. It reminds me that Null and I have to make it on our own. I don’t ever want to forget that,” Gladion stepped around me and made his way to the door.
I began to follow, but a voice stopped me.
This time, both Hau and Lillie were waving at me.