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Thread Description
a pokemon sun storylocke | july 1st: chapter two

scrimshanks

Codename: Slif
Writer
Pokédex No.
2151
Caught
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
5
Location
Jubilife City
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Fairy


“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting...
dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”

—Edgar Allan Poe​

  1. MORTAL COIL: If a pokemon faints, they are considered, for all intents and purposes, dead. They must be immediately and permanently boxed.​
  2. PRESERVATION ACT: Only the first pokemon encountered in any named area may be caught. Duplicate pokemon do not count as encounters.​
  3. BONDING EXERCISE: All pokemon caught must be nicknamed.​
  4. THE HEAT OF BATTLE: The game must be played on "Set" mode at all times.​
  5. CHAIN OF FRIENDSHIP: Only two team slots may be used at a time. Upon the defeat of each Kahuna, an additional team slot is unlocked.​
This is a reboot of "Illuminate", a Pokemon Moon storylocke I ran from 2016 through to 2018.

While I left the forum for a good while, this story has always stuck in my mind as a lot of wasted potential, and something I've always wanted to come back to... so here I am. This won't be the same story as "Illuminate", especially considering I've done a brand new run for this attempt and writing, but it will take a lot of plot elements and characters from "Illuminate" and rework them to fit a new, hopefully better story. There will be a mix of new friends and familiar faces, and I hope I can do it all justice for both people who read "Illuminate" and people who didn't. I can't guarantee timely updates or a consistent schedule, but I'm really looking forward to taking this story that is so near and dear to my heart and making it the best it can be.

Fair warning, I am pretty rusty.
Chapter One: Another Day of Sun
Chapter Two: Maybe She's Born With It
“Those things are terrible for you, y’know?”

His voice broke through the sound of waves crashing against the nearby shoreline. My eyes darted to the murky silhouette that stood not a few feet away, and I quickly looked back down at the cigarette that was resting between my fingers. Third of the evening.

“What’s it to you?”

Defensive. But could you blame me? Some random dude approaches you at three in the morning… anyone with a brain would be a little on-guard. Briefly, my eyes drifted to the corner store just behind the bench I was sitting on—the dead-eyed employee who’d barely even blinked as he’d sold me a carton, mind already gone as he eagerly waited for the sun to rise. I suppose it was a bit much to hope he’d come help out if something went down. To the silhouette’s credit, however, he took it fairly well, simply snorting and shaking his head.

“Honestly? Was just hoping I’d be able to bum the carton off ya.”

He stepped into the light of the corner store. Tall, with dark hair pulled up in a classic Alolan bun. He wore a sleeveless shirt and loose-fitting pants, and looked as though he’d rolled out of bed not five minutes prior. Then again, I was no better. Most notably, he had an indomitable smile on his face, one that threatened to leap off and infect me if he got too close. There was something distinctly familiar about him, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. As though on cue, he slid right next to me on the bench, his eyebrow raised and a hand extended.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out what he was after.

“Thank you kindly,” he said, his grin widening as I shoved the cigarette into his hand.

“Whatever,” I replied, taking another drag once I’d lit him up.

There was a few moments of silence between us, as my attention turned back out to the beach just on the other side of the road. I supposed it wasn’t too weird to see someone else here so early—it was one of the only stores in Hau’oli that was open twenty-four hours a day. That said, I’d come out here to calm down, and having to do that with an audience wasn’t exactly an easy task.

My eyes flicked back to him—he seemed nice enough, all things considered, but fear of confrontation quickly faded to a quiet anxiety. Did I need to make conversation or something…? This fucking sucked. How was I supposed to get any peace with this weirdo just sitting around with his dumb grin? For a moment, I debated just getting up and leaving right then.

“Ocean’s pretty, isn’t it?” His eyes drifted to make contact with mine, and I blinked in surprised, having not realized that I was staring. A little embarrassed, I nodded, turning back to face the water. “S’the one thing I’ve always loved about this place. The rest of it… eh, I could take it or leave it. But the views… they keep me here and kicking, y’know?"

“I guess,” I replied, sneaker scuffing against the dirt as I twisted my foot. “It’s pretty.” Another beat of silence. “I’m not really from around here, so I haven’t… really seen much of it.”

He cocked his head. “Tourist?”

I paused, then shook my head. “No. Well, not really. I just moved here.” I could feel his eyes on me, even in the dim light of the corner store. He sat up with a start, nearly dropping his cigarette.

“Oh, shit!” His grin grew even wider, impossibly so, and he scratched the back of his head. “You’re, uh, you’re Kukui’s kid, right? I heard you were coming from my—”

“No.” My voice was brisk. “Professor Kukui is my stepfather.”

He paused, scratching his head again. “Uh… right. Sorry.”

“It’s fine.” It wasn’t.

He tapped his foot on the ground, leg jittering. “I, um… I’m Hau. The Kahuna’s grandkid.” I’d heard a little bit about Alola’s kahunas over the past week—they essentially served as governors of each individual island, and together formed a council that made decisions for all of Alola. “It’s nice to meet you… Kaia, right?”

“Yep.”

Another beat. “Y’know, it’s kinda hard to make conversation when I’m doing all of the work.” His eyes met mine once more, and there was a twinkle of cheekiness in them.

I snorted, before taking another pass at my cigarette. “Hey man, you sat down here with me. I don’t owe you shit.”

“Fair enough!” He replied, a light chuckle caught in his throat. “Sorry if I bothered ya.”

“…It’s okay,” I replied, tapping my shoe on the ground again. “The company is… nice.”

There was another period of silence, but this time, there was less tension hanging in the air between us. Instead, I focused on my fingernails for a moment, frayed down to their edges due to semi-consistent biting, while Hau seemed fine to simply recline back, finishing off his cigarette. Despite the awkwardness earlier, a sort of peace had passed over the both of us—possibly because it was three am, and being uncomfortable took up too much energy. I couldn’t say I minded it. After a few minutes of peaceful calm, Hau spoke up again.

“…You going to that festival thing tomorrow?”

I blinked, looking towards him. His grin was still planted on his face, but his eyes conveyed a seriousness that was missing in our earlier conversation. Scratching my knee, I quickly shook my head, looking down again and trying to play it cool.

“Um… festival? I hadn’t heard of anything like that.”

He chuckled, scratching his head. “Yeah! It’s that celebration for the start of the Island Challenge. I just figured, you looked the right age for it, so…” He paused, grin momentarily flickering into a grimace of some sort. “It’s sort of the talk of the town right now…”

I straightened up. “Oh… right! No, I remember. Yeah, I’ll be there. Totally.”

The grin returned. “Cool. I guess I’ll see you there.” He stood up, dusting off his pants, before looking back to me. “For now, though… I should probably get home. Big day tomorrow and all that.” A beat. “You want me to walk you home?”

I shook my head. “I think I’ll hang out here for a few minutes more.”

He gave a thumbs up, along with one last smile. “Alright. See ya later, Kaia.”

With that, he trudged off into the darkness, leaving me alone in the light of the corner store. Once he was out of sight, I winced, looking at the cigarette still resting in my hand. What had I just gotten myself into…? All because I didn’t want to look like an idiot? Hopefully, it’d be something I was able to blow off without much of an issue… I sighed, leaning back and taking one last drag from my cigarette, before snuffing it out. Then, I sat there watching the sea for a few more minutes, before eventually rising from my seat and disappearing into the darkness myself, now far more eager to return to my bed and pass out for the evening.



There’s nothing more terrifying than waking up feeling like you’re falling. That moment of sheer, absolute terror as the entire world seems to give away, quickly replaced by the returning sensations of your bed. Unfortunately, this was sort of a reoccurring issue for me, and today was no exception. Jerking awake in a cold sweat, my heart slammed against my ribcage for a few moments, before gradually dying down. Eventually, the sound of my heartbeat ringing in my ears faded, replaced with loud barking and obnoxious laughter from downstairs.

Great.

Pulling myself out of bed and throwing on whatever clothes were nearest to me, I shuffled over to the edge of my loft, peaking out over the kitchen below. It was messy, as per usual, and occupied as well, which was much more of a rarity. Usually, he preferred to be out in the wilds of Melemele by now, probably experimenting with various pokemon moves or something.

Professor John Kukui was a tall, dark-haired man, and a renowned pokemon researcher. Though relatively new to the scene, he had impressed many with his unique theories on pokemon growth and move development. He was also a complete idiot. Sometimes I swore he genuinely had rocks for brains, given how eager he seemed to get smacked down by his own pokemon. Somehow, he’d convinced my mom that he was worth their time, though what about him she found appealing I couldn’t quite say. Truly, one of the world’s greatest mysteries.

Currently, he seemed fully engaged in conversation with someone on the phone, and his rockruff Rio played around at his feet, barking excitedly. Quietly, I descended the ladder from my loft, shuffling my way over to the kitchen to grab some breakfast. If I was lucky, I’d be able to make it out before having to engage in any conversation.

“Kaia!” Shit. I turned to meet Kukui’s eyes, and the scowl on my face deepened. He had a ridiculous grin on his face… one that reminded me of Hau’s, if I’m being honest. Maybe there was just something in the water around here. “Glad to see you’re awake! And before noon, as well!”

I shifted, leaning against one of the kitchen counters. “Yeah, whatever.”

Kukui’s grin faded. “Those are some dark circles. Did you get a good sleep last—”

“I’m fine.” There was a tense moment of silence. “Was that Mom?” He nodded, but before he even had a chance to respond, I continued. “Did she say if the place was done being set-up?”

He shook his head. “I’m sorry, Kaia, you’ll likely have to stay here for a few more days.”

I grimaced, looking down at my feet. After a moment, I turned away, moving towards the pantry and pouring myself some cereal. I considered just heading back up to the loft—as much as I hated being here, the actual place wasn’t half bad. I had my own tv and everything, so I could just sit and binge some television shows or something with no issue. But the words Hau had said last night rang in my head, and I looked to Kukui. He was my best chance at getting information….

I sighed, moving to sit across from him at the table once I’d finished pouring my milk. Kukui had gone somewhat silent, but there was a grin lurking on his face as I took my seat. Rio lapped at my knee, and I couldn’t contain the tiny grin that came over my face as he did. Reaching down, I scratched behind his tough ears, to which he let out a tiny yip of happiness. There were another few moments of silence… than I made my move.

“So, um… what’s the Island Challenge?”

Kukui looked up, blinking in surprise. “Oh… are you interested?”

I shrugged. “Met a guy last night who mentioned it.”

A frown curved on his face—judgmental—but he said nothing on that subject. “Well… the Island Challenge is an Alolan tradition. Young adults travel across the four islands, raising pokemon and doing undergoing various trials…” He shrugged, taking a sip of his coffee. “It is essentially our version of the Gym Challenge, if that makes any sense.”

“But, Alola doesn’t have a pokemon league, right? So… what’s the point?” I asked, scratching my nose.

Kukui laughed, shaking his head. “Hm… personal growth, I suppose? Nearly every youth in Alola ends up giving it a shot at some point or another. Sort of a rite of passage.”

“Oh. Got it.”

He blinked. “I didn’t mention it to you because… I had assumed you wouldn’t be interested.”

Fury welled up inside me a little bit. I’d been looking forward to doing the Gym Challenge since I was five years old, and then we went and moved away the first year I was eligible. My father was a world-class pokemon champion—battling was in my fucking blood. And this… he thought I wouldn’t be interested in getting to raise pokemon and whatnot? It might be the only thing that could make this summer actually bearable.

“Yeah, well…” I shrugged, trying to play it cool. “You were wrong.”A beat of tense silence, as I pointedly ate my cereal.

“I, um… I can speak to your mother about potentially getting you set up for it? Of course, she would need to approve—”

“Yeah, whatever,” I replied, standing up from my seat. “I’m going to go for a walk. Let me know if Mom decides to destroy yet another one of my dreams.”

“Kaia…”

“I’m kidding. Relax.” Walking over to the door, I grabbed my messenger bag off the rack nearby, slinging it over my shoulder before turning to face Kukui. Boy, did he look uncomfortable. I almost felt a little bad. Almost. “I’ll be back in a little bit.”



To Hau’s credit… he wasn’t wrong about Alola being a rather beautiful place. I could almost see why Mom and Kukui loved it so much. As I stepped outside, the sun was bright in the sky—ot was one of the first times I had actually seen the place in broad daylight. Usually, I preferred to say inside doing… whatever. But now, standing alone with all the sights and smells and sounds around me, Melemele Island nearly reverberating with life, the idea of a potential adventure on the horizon, one that was just like my father had once done… a small smile came to my face.

I ended up walking for what felt like hours. I had my phone on me, obviously, but something about that day made it sit in my pocket mostly unused the entire time. I walked along the beaches, and then up through the rolling hills of Route One, headed further and further inland.

I was careful to avoid much of the wildlife, obviously. Alola may have been beautiful, but it was just as dangerous as anywhere else in the world. And when someone didn’t have any pokemon to protect themselves, well… it could end up getting ugly really fast. I’d gotten my trainer’s license this past spring, as soon as I was eligible, but hadn’t yet had the opportunity to formally acquire any pokemon. Hopefully, that would change soon. I felt a little bad about guilt-tripping Kukui and my mom like that, but I wasn’t about to risk them shutting this down just when I was finally getting excited about spending time in Alola.

After an indiscernible period of time, I found myself in Iki Town, the village just a small bit away from Hau’oli City and Kukui’s house. Immediately, I discerned that this was the place where the festival would take place—the place was packed, and people bustled to-and-fro, all working on setting up what looked like some kind of stage in the middle of town. It occurred to me that I hadn’t actually asked what this “festival” entailed—all I knew was that it was tied to the Island Challenge in some way.

“Excuse me, miss,” a voice called out from beside me, and I turned to see a hulking figure carrying some wood over towards the main stage, shuffling straight towards me.

“Oh, sorry,” I replied, stepping out of the way. I then began moving towards the edge of town entirely, realizing that I was probably doing more harm than good, just standing there like an idiot.

Considering leaving town altogether, my eyes suddenly caught on a rather strange sight: a young woman, maybe a year or two older than me, dressed in pure white. She had strangely pale skin and long blonde hair, covered loosely by a white sun hat. Even more than that, there was a panicked look on her face, and her eyes were wide as she scanned the area for something. Was she lost? I wasn’t exactly an expert on Alola, but there was something about the panic in her eyes that made me want to step in and help her. With a sigh, I shuffled on over towards her.

“Um, excuse me?” I called as I approached, and her eyes darted to meet mine. There was a strange look of recognition that crossed her face, but she quickly shook her head. Before even responding, she turned around, booking it down the path that led up even further inland. “Hey, wait!” I called after her, but if she heard me, she didn’t acknowledge me. After a moment more, the white of her clothes had been absorbed into the lush green of the landscape.

Several things ran through my head in that moment, but the foremost of which was this: some girl, clearly rather new to Alola, had just taken off into the jungle on her own, quite possibly without any pokemon to help her. Once that thought had finished crossing my mind, the rest of my actions had come almost instinctively. I took off after her.

The path quickly turned into an incline, as we drew closer and closer towards the mountain at the centre of the island. Every now and again, I’d catch a glimpse of white just ahead of me, but any of my attempts to get the girl’s attention were met with no response. I drew higher, and higher, and higher, until eventually the trail evened out and opened up, and I soon found myself facing a massive, gaping ravine. The sound of rushing water echoed throughout the area, and there was only a single rickety bridge that served as passage across. Standing in front of the bridge was the girl in white, and she had one hand gripped tight to the side.

“Hey!” I called to her, irritation flickering on my face. “Are you okay? What the hell were you thinking, running off like that?” Finally, her attention turned to me, and a deep, unimaginable horror was on full display on her face. My own expression softened.

“Please…” she muttered, her voice choked up, as she pointed out across the bridge. “You have to help him!”

My gaze followed her gesture, and my eyes soon widened as I realized what was happening. Out in the middle of the bridge, there was a massive swarm of spearow, all converging on what looked to be a pokemon of some kind. I’d seen this sort of thing before, back in Kanto—it was a pack tactic, generally used to wear down a strong opponent… or to finish off a weak one.

My feet were moving before I’d even realized. The bridge wobbled under my weight, but my eyes were firmly planted on the horde of spearow. I didn’t even know what I was going to do once I got there… shake my arms, try and shoe them away? All I knew was that I needed to save this pokemon. I was only a few feet away now… just a little more.

There was a loud, shrill cry, and the world was purple. And I was falling.



I started awake, hand clutched to my chest. That feeling of being in freefall again. For a moment, I convinced myself that it had just been a dream, just like it always was… but then I recognized the sun hanging brilliantly in the sky overhead. The girl in white kneeling down next to me, that strangle purple pokemon hovering next to her… The throbbing in my ears soon faded, replaced with the sound of her voice, lilting and full of concern.

“…so worried that you were a goner! I didn’t even know Nebby could do that, but he did, and then you both dropped and I… aw jeez and crackers, I was so worried about you, Kaia!”

I groaned, putting a hand to my head. There was a dull, painful throbbing rattling my brain around, one that didn’t seem to want to go away. After a moment, I opened my eyes again, looking to meet the girl in white’s gaze.

“How… do you know my name?”

Her eyes widened, and she looked away. “Oh, um… I’m Lillie. I work with your mom… you are Kaia, right? Kaia Selesky?”

I nodded, blinking once or twice as I continued to try and get my bearings. I remembered her… well, only through word-of-mouth. She was one of my mom’s interns at her new lab, supposedly pretty good at her job… but what was she doing here? And more importantly than that, what the hell had just happened? As though anticipating my question, Lillie jumped in with an answer.

“You rushed in to try and help Nebby… and took a really nasty fall,” she explained, still not meeting my eyes. “You both might have died if Nebby hadn’t…” she paused, before bowing deeply. “I’m so sorry! If I hadn’t asked you to go help Nebby, you might not have…”

“It’s okay,” I replied, shaking my head. Sitting up a little straighter, my eyes drifted down towards what I could only assume was “Nebby”. He was a strange little creature, barely larger than my head, and he seemed composed entirely of gas, with several twinkling little stars gathered up in his centre. I’d never seen a pokemon quite like it. I smiled down at him, reaching out my hand. To my surprise, when I reached him, my hand stopped, as though resting on something solid. “Are you the one who saved me, little guy?” He let out a little chirp, and my grin grew wider. “Well… thank you for the help, then,” I added with a laugh. There was a moment of silence.

“Wait… shit!” My eyes darted to Lillie, suddenly wide. “Please, you can’t tell my mom about this. I’m trying to get her to let me do the Island Challenge, and if she finds out about this…”

Lillie quickly shook her head. “I won’t tell anyone, I promise.” She smiled, before rubbing her nose with her hand. “But, um… in exchange, do you think you could avoid telling people about Nebby? It’s hard to explain, but… it’s really important that he stays a secret.”

I tilted my head. A pokemon who I’d never seen or heard about before, one who was deemed important enough to keep completely secret… who exactly were Lillie and Nebby? Somehow, I got the feeling that Lillie wasn’t just an intern… but still, a deal was a deal.

I nodded. “I won’t tell anyone, I swear.”

Lillie smiled, clapping her hands together. “Great!” Getting to her feet, she quickly extended a hand towards me, helping me up as well. “Now… do you want to walk back to Iki Town with me? I’d rather head out fast, in case those spearow decided to show up again,” she explained, giving a glance out towards the nearby ravine once more. My gaze followed hers, before looking back down towards the strange cosmic creature at our feet.

“Sure,” I replied, flashing Lillie a smile. Something about having defied death had sent a good mood surging through me. “Let’s head back.”
 
Last edited:

Aurea

Moderator
Moderator
🎇Contributor
Writer
Pokédex No.
25
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
78
Location
Sinnoh Region
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Steel
YOOOO WHAT?! You're back I can't believe it! (i hope you've been doing well, you've been missed!)

I loved the hell out of illuminate, and I'm elated to see you back and taking another crack at it. It's been so long since I read the first chapter, but the characters felt as familiar as if there's been no time passed. It's so great to see your writing again! I missed Kaia, grumpy though she may be, I missed the tense dynamics between her and Kukui, and dammit I missed your Hau so much!!!

Another beat. “Y’know, it’s kinda hard to make conversation when I’m doing all of the work.” His eyes met mine once more, and there was a twinkle of cheekiness in them.

I snorted, before taking another pass at my cigarette. “Hey man, you sat down here with me. I don’t owe you shit.”

“Fair enough!” He replied, a light chuckle caught in his throat. “Sorry if I bothered ya.”

“…It’s okay,” I replied, tapping my shoe on the ground again. “The company is… nice.”
God he just melts my heart, he's so easygoing and warm and genuine. There's something so real and lovely about them meeting at 3am, looking out over the beach, a pair of perfect strangers sharing cigarettes. Especially knowing how far they come in later chapters (or at least, in the original).

I'm so excited to watch all of your characters grow and develop again, and see what changes you've made along the way. Welcome back! 💜
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
238
SLIF

ETA: JEEZ AND CRACKERS!!!!!

i loved this it was a great time thank god deliver this content to my soul asap
 
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localhoney

~either i'm careless or i wanna get caught~
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
63
Location
Miami, FL
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Electric, Poison
Pokédex Entry
Localhoney, the Sweet Toxin Pokemon. It's said that the sounds it emits can paralyze even a Gigantamax Grimmsnarl.
This is really good stuff!

I really enjoyed the way Hau and Kaia came together to smoke cigarettes at three in the morning. It was a super well-written scene and I got like a super calming, warm vibe from the two of them. I also really liked the cuts between scenes where Kaia's falling and the next sentence is her waking up, gives the writing a nice pace that keeps it engaging.

Unlike some other people, I wasn't around when you were posting this originally, so this reboot will be brand new to me! I can't wait to see where it goes.
 

d'angelo russell

tomorrow ain't promised to no-one
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
231
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
226
Location
ontario
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
he - him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Dragon
Pokédex Entry
it was banished for its violence. it silently gazes upon the old world from the distortion world
greetings slif, it's been a while.

anyways I'm joyfully surprised that illuminate is back even in a rebooted form, and I like how it's opened up this time around. seeing kaia start out sharing a cigarette with hau on the beach was the perfect open imo, with hau being cheerful and kaia struggling to social in a way that reveals a lot about her. it's interesting how this chapter treads a balance between kaia being a resentful teenager and her natural curiosity driving her out to explore her new surroundings, and you do a great job of meshing the two sides in practice. it's good stuff.

anyways glad to have you back, and I'm very intrigued to see where this goes from here. should be fun I think.
 

Xita

Moo
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
186
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
93
Location
Germany
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Water, Dark
I only vaguely remember illuminate from the old place so it’s good to see it’s back! This is quite a different interpretation for Hau then I’m used to seeing but it was cool reading between the lines for shades of his canon self. Welcome back!
 

Garish Garchomp

Friendly Neighborhood Landshark
Administrator
Moderator
🌱Featurer
Writer
Pokédex No.
43
Caught
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
110
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
he's ok i guess
First off, I just want to say I’m so glad to see you back, and I hope all’s well with you! Was honestly just such a pleasant surprise to see you return from the dead so welcome back! ^^

That said, I really appreciate the approach you seem to be taking with this. You’re right that Illuminate had a ton of potential, but at times it felt like it was almost too ambitious and I could tell that was a bit of a struggle for you to try and fit in everything you wanted to tackle. Which isn’t a critique btw, that’s kinda the nature of these serialized pics is we inevitably end up with loose threads and plot lines unfollowed and characters with more or less importance than we think. But hopefully coming back and really revamping it and removing elements that felt extraneous in the original version really revitalizes you as a writer, just as it will for the story itself.

Anyways, the list of nuzprotag smoking buddies grows! Although I am very concerned at how you have also dragged the purest boy Hau down this nicotine-addled path as well. I may have to warn you for this.

I think one thing I’m excited to see is not just how Kaia has possibly changed, but how you’ve adjusted the world around her. There was already a nice bit of grit to the story with Kaia’s struggles, and I feel like that’ll only get more prominent in this revamp, which is exciting. Seeing a charry with such a balance between strengths and weaknesses like her is always refreshing tbh.

I shuffled over to the edge of my loft, peaking out over the kitchen below.
Should be “peeking”

There were another few moments of silence… than I made my move.
Should be "then"

Saw a couple typos at the start of the next section as well (“ot was one of the first times,” “I preferred to say inside”), but, know, typos happen to all of us.

I’m really glad to have this run back, it was one of my favorites when it was around, and a prime depiction of Alola in all its wild and untamed glory. Can’t wait to see the run once things really get going (which I don’t expect will take long), and to see how much you've grown esp. once some of the rust is shaken off as well! If you ever need any help with stuff or more detailed criteria or whatevs, too, hmu!
 

Empty Sun

that's right, buttholes
Artist
Pokédex No.
566
Caught
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
186
Location
The Moon
Nature
Impish
Pokémon Type
Normal, ???
Pokédex Entry
It might eat you. It might your relatives.
you know i honestly thought the story was gonna be about ten year olds passing cigarettes before the functioning part of my brain said "they're young adults, ya dip"
anyways, good luck on pokemom moom
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
209
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
jeez and crackers
I lol'd at this because it's so something Lillie would say hahaha

Seriously though, I'm into this! The idea of the protag being Kukui's step-daughter? Very cool. I'm interested to see that dynamic unfold, as well as the dynamic between Hau and Kaia. Sort of seemed like a meet cute, but I suppose it could just be a friendship blooming. Either way, excited to read more!
 

Metafiction

Fourth Wall Demolitions Expert
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
237
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
27
Location
The depths of the nearest salt mine
Nature
Hasty
Pronouns
he/him/his
Pokémon Type
Water, Ground
Pokédex Entry
Writes in bursts of inspiration, followed by long lapses of inactivity. It reacts with sarcasm when provoked.
Jeez and crackers indeed

I wasn't able to hop on the bandwagon for the initial run of Illuminate, but now that you're back and rebooting it I'm looking forward to what's to come! I like Kaia already. Like others have said, giving her the direct tie to Kukui definitely adds an interesting element to the story. And seeing as we've met the rest of the Alola trio right off the bat, I can only assume that both of them are going to have a big role to play in the events that are about to unfold. I may not have a frame of reference to compare this to, but that just gives me the opportunity to come into this fresh.

Can't wait for more!
 

Tailsimp

A Universally Under-Rested University Imp
🎇Contributor
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
50
Caught
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
494
Location
A Literal Desert
Nature
Quiet
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Electric, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
Tailsimp: The Impish Pokemon. Despite being quiet and reserved, this pokemon is usually very happy to talk and is always excited to help out!
Ahhhhh what a start! I really like Kaia already- jumping in to help out even when she doesn't necessarily know how she's gonna do that is a fun mix of endearing and concerning in a character. On one hand, you can always appreciate those qualities; on the other hand, this is how you end up plummeting off bridges lol.

Also I'm already in love with the dynamic between Kaia and Hau. The whole scene between them felt so natural between them- going from awkward to amiable so quickly. Gotta assume a part of that has to do with Hau just having a way with ppl, but either way it was great to see. And with dialogue like this-
Another beat. “Y’know, it’s kinda hard to make conversation when I’m doing all of the work.” His eyes met mine once more, and there was a twinkle of cheekiness in them.

I snorted, before taking another pass at my cigarette. “Hey man, you sat down here with me. I don’t owe you shit.”

“Fair enough!” He replied, a light chuckle caught in his throat.
I can't wait to see more of them!
 

scrimshanks

Codename: Slif
Writer
Pokédex No.
2151
Caught
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
5
Location
Jubilife City
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Fairy
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12
Aaa, am happy to be back! Is good to see you as well!
I'm glad you love Hau as much as I do. He's certainly got quite the charm to him, even if he doesn't fully realize it, ahah. Thanks for reading!
FLOP!!
Thank you for notes you gave me on the chapter, they were super nice to hear! And I'm glad "jeez and crackers" stuck with you like it did for me, ahah.
Hey, thanks for the comment!! I'm glad you enjoyed, the goal is definitely to make it a good story for readers both new and old, so it's nice to have you on-board! And yeah, I very much enjoy the 3am aesthetic, ESPECIALLY for Hau and Kaia.
Hey, thanks for the welcome back!
I'm glad you enjoyed the opening! I wasn't really certain about starting with it just because it's got a smidge of in-medias-res and I wasn't sure how good it'd do as an opening, so it's good to know it worked! Am glad to be back as well. Thanks for reading!
Thanks for the comment!
This Hau is definitely a little different, but hopefully will still look decently recongizable as an evolution of his game counterpart. I'm glad you enjoyed it, though, and thank you for the welcome back!
GAAAR thanks for the awesome comment!
You basically hit the nail on the head, ahah. The OG basically drowned under the weight of its plot and all its unresolved plot stuff, because I did the fanfiction thing of kinda just throwing whatever I liked in there and making a stew. But that's definitely where a second go will shine!
Also, thanks for the typo correction! There's definitely going to be more editing in future updates than that one and this current one aaa, because this was very spur of the moment, so hopefully there will be less of these in the future!
Also, sorry not sorry :P the sunshine boy's gotta have a dark side... even if its just a nicotine addiction.
Pfft, the image of two ten year olds sitting around smoking cigs is a good one. Thanks for the comment!
I'm glad you liked that line! It was a last minute change but one that I immediately adored as I was writing it, ahah.
But I'm glad to hear you enjoyed! There's definitely some interesting dynamics at play. And as for the meet cute, well... who can say? :3c
Thanks for the comment! Glad I managed to hook you in this time around, ahah. And yeah, the dynamic with Kukui was a huge part of what made me start the OG run in the first place, so it definitely has a soft spot in my heart. Thanks for reading!
Thank you for the comment!!
I'm glad you like Kaia, she's definitely a bit of a dummy sometimes but she has a good heart, even if its hidden under a veneer of sarcasm.
And it's good to hear you like the dynamics between her and Hau! They're definitely one of my favourite character pairings in the run, and I could write them for hours, ahah.
Thank you all for the lovely comments and well-wishes! The warm welcome has been super appreciated.
But I'm back at ya with another chapter, and this one's a doozy! Hope you all enjoy!
The walk down from Mahalo Trail had been mostly quiet, Lillie and I too wrapped up in our own thoughts. Lillie had stashed her strange pokémon into her large bag, leaving the zipper only slightly ajar. From within, a shining, smiling face could be seen. By the time Lillie and I made it down to Iki Town, the sun had begun to set, and the festival was nearly ready to begin. Apparently, I’d spent more time wandering around than I thought.

“Oh!” said Lillie, as a figure broke from the crowd to approach us. “Hello, Professor Kukui!”

Dressed in a slightly more clean—though still very much ajar—lab coat, Kukui gave us a wave as he lumbered over, dopey smile still wide on his face. “Lillie! It is good to see that your ferry trip went smoothly.” His eyes shifted towards me, and his smile faltered for a moment, before returning to the grin that seemed etched into his face. “And you’ve met Kaia, how wonderful. I trust the two of you weren’t getting into trouble.”

“We were fine,” I replied. The curtness in my voice drew Lillie’s eyes towards my face, before they darted back towards Kukui, her foot tapping on the ground repeatedly. “Lillie and I were just exploring the island a little bit before the festival. Speaking of which… am I allowed to participate?”

Though a bemused expression ghosted onto Kukui’s face as I brushed past the events of Mahalo Trail, it quickly shifted back to a grin as I brought up the festival. “Yes! Your mom and I both agree that it would be a nice change of pace. After all, it won’t be long before you’re locked away in university, so it is best—”

“—Not to waste it,” I finished for him. I’d heard the speech several times over the last year.

Lillie’s shoe was now covered in dirt, and she barely was able to twist her face into a hollow smile as she spoke. “Well, I shall leave the two of you to it. I am going to speak to Kahuna Hala—apparently, he has some information that might be of use.” She gave a nod to Kukui, before giving me a nod as well. “It was nice to meet you, Kaia.” With a tweak of her sun hat, she was off.

Kukui and I stood in silence. I crossed my arms as my eyes bore into him, waiting for him to break the silence. The smile on his face faltered again, and he scratched his head. “Right, well… The opening ceremony should be starting up in a little while here, so we should probably get you your starter pokémon. While you’re under no obligation to participate, I figure it might be—”

“What do I need to do?”

The interruption took him by surprise. “Oh! Um… I believe it’s just a simple pokémon battle.”

A smile lit up my face. “Oh. Not a problem.”

Kukui chuckled, scratching behind his head as a bemused expression crossed his face. “Aye, well.. don’t get too big for your britches now, right? You’re still a beginner, at the end of the day.”

My nose twitched as I resisted the urge to roll my eyes, purely because antagonizing Kukui at this particular moment would only lead to a furious text from my mom. He could think whatever he wanted. It didn’t matter, because I didn’t particularly care.

“Anyway,” Kukui continued, “ordinarily, I’d have to take you to go catch a beginner pokémon out in the wild. However, since we don’t really have time for that—and I figured that you would jump at the opportunity for some battling—I managed to get Kahuna Hala to agree to give you one of his rare starting pokémon.”

My eyes widened, and another smile crept onto his face. “Really?” I asked, voice betraying my excitement. This only seemed to spur on Kukui’s smile, as it grew wider and wider, and he nodded. “Woah, thanks! That’s… pretty cool of you.”

“Aye!” He replied, before turning and motioning for me to follow. “Now come along. We don’t have very much time, and you’re gonna want to get to know your starter before the festival.”

With a bounce in my step, I followed Kukui across Iki Town, narrowly avoiding the crowds of people that were gathering in anticipation for the beginning of the festivities. From what Kukui said on the walk, the actual ceremony portion, including the battling, would take place a little later in the evening, and there would be a large period of time at the beginning dedicated mostly to celebration and partying. I didn’t see Hau or anything quite yet, but he didn’t seem the type to show up early to, well, anything, so I wasn’t very surprised.

Navigating across town, Kukui and I soon approached a large wooden building taking up a central position in the plaza at the far end of town. This was Iki’s town hall, Kukui explained, where the Kahuna and his family lived and where any major decisions for Iki were decided as a whole. Just out front, there was a large wooden stage that had been set up in the middle of the plaza—that was where the opening ceremony would take place, according to Kukui. Stepping into the town hall, a musty smell hit me all at once, causing my nose to wrinkle. The inside was kept fairly clean, and there was a small desk where a woman sat, typing on a computer. This was the public portion of the town hall, so it made sense for it to be mostly sterile. Still, the entire place felt older than anything in Hau’oli City… it didn’t even look like there were any electrical lights, with the secretary relying only on the light from the nearby windows and the sky roof, as well as the light from her computer.

We didn’t stay inside for long, however, as Kukui quickly led me off to the side and down a long corridor, which led to a door out the back. Stepping outside into the back, I found myself in a small little backyard of sorts, with a porch, a few lawn chairs scattered about, and a grill tucked away. Just beyond that was a small grassy area, closed off by wooden gates and surrounded by jungle on all sides. Sitting on a small table in the middle of the grass were two pokéballs.

“Kahuna Hala had some final preparations to make for the festival, so he trusted me with helping you pick your first pokémon,” said Kukui, leading me down towards the table and moving to the other side as I approached. As I set my hands on the table, Kukui picked up the two pokéballs, before giving me a grin. “You ready?”

I nodded, and Kukui grinned, before releasing both from the pokéballs at once. Appearing in a burst of white light where two adorable little pokémon. The first that caught my eye was a small bird-like pokémon, with tiny little leaves tucked into its wings—a rowlet. A smile appeared on my face, before wavering, and I brought my eyes towards the second of the two creatures. It was coloured a dark blue, and had large fins, a long snout, and a large circular nose… a popplio!

Kukui’s grin was massive as he took in my reaction. “So! This is—”

“Popplio. I choose the popplio.”

Kukui was taken aback, eyes widening at my interruption. Clearly, he hadn’t been expecting me to choose so fast, or perhaps hadn’t expected me to choose what I chose. I couldn’t exactly blame him for either assumption, though my mind did prick with irritation at one thing: I prided myself on being able to identify nearly every pokémon, and while some still posed a bit of a challenge… it was almost insulting that he assumed I would need an introduction to such well-known pokémon.

“R-right,” he replied, scratching his head. As though recognizing its species name, the popplio let out a small squeak of excitement, before jumping up into my arms. Returning the rowlet to its pokéball, he chuckled lightly. “Anyway, that one’s a girl—they’ve taken to calling her Lani around here, but it's up to you if you want to change that or not.”

A smile tickling my lips as I scratched under the popplio’s chin, I considered it for a moment, before shrugging. “Lani is fine,” I replied. If she was already going by Lani, then switching names would only confuse her. Besides, I wasn’t too picky.

Kukui nodded, grinning. “Right! Well, that’s all from me, then,” he said, placing his hands on his hips. “Now, you’ve still got a few hours before the opening ceremony. I’d recommend going and mingling with some of the other new trainers—you never know who might make a good friend, which you’ll definitely need on the journey ahead. Oh, and don’t forget to get to know Lani a little better! You’ll need good teamwork if you want to do well tonight.”

“Right,” I replied, resisting the urge to roll my eyes again. Clearly, if there was one thing I needed, it was social advice from my stepfather of all people. But he’d done me a pretty huge favour, so I let it slide. “I’ll go do that.” With that, I turned beginning to walk the way I came. “See ya, Kukui.”

Lani chirped in my arms, looking up at me with wide, excited eyes.

Just as Kukui said, it only took a few minutes for the festivities begin in earnest, and for the most part, the first bit of it was mostly mingling between the new trainers, both amongst themselves and with the rest of town. To be honest, I was a little surprised by just how many people came out to support the new trainers—it felt like everyone in the village was here, not to mention a decent few from Hau’oli as well. It was a stark contrast to the beginning of the Kantonian Gym Circuit—basically, unless you were already a well-known trainer, you weren’t going to be getting much attention from… well, anyone, unless you came from an absolutely tiny town.

It was… well, it was kinda nice. More and more, I was seeing why Hau loved it here so much.

Speaking of which, Hau did inevitably show up, a solid half an hour late as I guessed. He wore a variation of the outfit I’d seen him in the night before, dark joggers and a loose, orange, sleeveless shirt. As he arrived, the world lit up around him. It seemed as though every other person he passed knew his name, each of which he greeted with a wide smile, and he immediately started chatting it up a group of new trainers, all discussing their starting pokémon. It was both impressive and terrifying… how easily he managed to slip himself into any social situation and adapt to it.

A small, black-and-orange cat trotted behind Hau as he walked, moving with relaxed confidence—a litten! That must have been why I’d only gotten a choice between Lani and the rowlet. Alola was known for being one of the only to breed popplio, rowlet, and litten as beginning pokémon for new trainers, and they were often promoted as some of the easiest to raise. Granted, the equivalent starting pokémon of other regions were much more heavily promoted and advertised due to the Gym Circuits, but it was still an interesting mark of prestige. Of course, given the fact that Hau was the Kahuna’s grandson, I supposed it would have been weird to expect otherwise.

Regardless, the festivities continued. For the first bit, I earnestly tried to follow Kukui’s advice, much as I loathed it. I approached several groups of other trainers, Lani in my arms, and attempted small talk… it fucking sucked. Most of the people I talked to were primarily interested in Lani, and there was only so much I could answer about her, considering I’d only just gotten her recently. I could only answer the same questions so many times before I wanted to rip my own ears off.

The sun inevitably descended, leaving the recently-lit torches as the only source of light in the plaza, not counting the moon in the sky. Ultimately, I ended up sitting alone at a table in the corner of the plaza, torn between watching Lani dig into a fish I’d gotten from the buffet table that had been set up, and watching other people enjoy themselves. In all honesty, the whole thing was a bit too much of a flashback to high school for me, and I’d only just escaped that hell. The sooner this party wrapped up and we got on to the fun part of the evening, the better. Of course, any boredom visible on my face immediately jumped away as something slumped down in the seat next to me.

“Hey, Kaia!” My gaze was immediately drawn to Hau's signature grin, before moving up to meet his eyes. “Glad to see you could make it after all!”

Pursing my lips to hide a smile, I shrugged. “Yeah, well… I was in the area, and some annoying dude at the convenience store kept going on about it, so…”

He laughed, scratching his nose. “Well, I wouldn’t recommend trusting random people you meet at three in the morning… though it did steer you right this once.” He paused, his eyes darting down towards Lani, before shifting back to me. “I see you got a pokémon from my Tutu! Pretty lucky, I’ve got to say.”

As though to prove his point, his litten leapt up from the ground onto his lap, then up onto the table, its yellow eyes scrutinizing me. After a moment, he let out a tiny meow, taking a seat and licking his paw. Lani seemed momentarily interested, pressing her nose down and sniffing at the litten, then let out a bark of approval before continuing to munch down on her fish. The litten seemed almost aghast at the sniffing, quickly licking itself to try and smooth down the fur.

Chuckling at their antics, I eventually nodded in answer to Hau. “Yeah! My, uh, my stepdad apparently talked with the Kahuna and they worked something out.” It felt wrong to admit that I was grateful to him for it. So I didn’t. “I think we’re going to get along well.”

Hau nodded, his grin fading to a closed-lipped smile. “Lani is a sweetheart—you should have no problems with her. Tsuo, on the other hand…” he trailed off, eyes darting down to the litten. On cue, the litten rolled its eyes, before resuming its grooming. “Well, he’s a bit of a handful. Still…” Hau’s eyes met mine, face illuminated only by the nearby torchlight. “I’ve always appreciated a challenge.”

We were both silent for a moment, allowing nearby conversations to occupy the space between us. Eventually, I broke our shared gaze, looking out towards the stage in the centre of the plaza. “I’m mostly looking forward to the battling, honestly,” I admitted, to which Hau nodded. “As entertaining as it is to listen to Madison talk about her caterpie, who is apparently only a few battles away from evolving, if you hadn’t heard her tell the first ten people…”

“Actually, you’re thinking of Audrey,” Hau corrected, crossing his arms and looking pensive for a moment. “Madison is the girl with the wingull who she is able to communicate with telepathically, or so she says.”

A snort of laughter escaped me, and Hau cracked a grin. “How do you do it?” I asked, once the chuckling had died down a little bit. Hau tilted his head in confusion. “How do you, like… talk to people? Actually take an interest in what they say? I always just end up getting too annoyed with the whole thing to pay attention.”

Hau leaned back, taking a sip of his drink as he thought it over. “Practice, I suppose? It’s not so bad, in all honesty. As much as we joke, Maddy’s always been really good with pokémon, so if there was anyone who I’d ever expect to be able to communicate with them…” He shrugged. “It’s nice to hear about other people, y’know? Keeps me humble and all that.”

I couldn’t say I understood the appeal at all, but I nodded regardless, looking back out at the stage. Several trainers were beginning to gather around… was the main event going to begin soon? My leg began to jitter in excitement, and my hand moved up to scratch Lani’s head as I watched.

“So… think you’re ready for your first pokémon battle?” Hau asked after a moment, as though sensing what I was thinking about. I turned to him, now fulling smiling.

“Definitely,” I replied, my eagerness creeping into my voice. “Should be a breeze,” I added.

Hau chuckled, shaking his head. “Where’s the confidence coming from?”

“My dad is a Kanto Champion,” I said, not necessarily bragging… but not not bragging, either. “I learned everything I know from him.”

There was a flash of recognition in his eyes, and that crooked grin returned. “Well… now I kinda hope I end up battling you. Would love to battle the daughter of Will Selesky—dude’s a legend.”

My heart warmed a little, and I shrugged. “I suppose we’ll see, yeah? Never know.” Honestly, I wasn’t even sure what Hau was thinking. If we did end up fighting, I had the clear type advantage between our two pokémon—talent aside, he’d be fighting an uphill battle the entire time. Still, if he was going to issue a soft challenge like that… I certainly wasn’t going to pass it up.

“True…” he replied, trailing off. After a moment, he started up, looking at me. “Oh! I was wondering… could I grab your number?”

I cocked an eyebrow. “Really? And here I was, thinking about how smooth you were.”

“Look,” he replied, grinning. “I figure it’ll be useful to have during the Challenge, and you don’t exactly strike me as the type of person to stick around after getting their ass kicked.”

I snorted, shaking my head. “Sure,” I replied, taking out my phone. After a moment of staring at the screen, I frowned, before flicking through some of the settings. “I… actually don’t know my number by heart. It’s a new phone, and—”

“Here,” he replied, taking the phone out of my hands. After typing something really quick, he handed it back to me. He’d opened up a new contact page and input his phone number… under the contact name of “Hau :)”. I set the phone on the table, stifling a grin. “Just give me a shout when you can,” he added, grinning all the same.

Just as I was about to comment on the emote, a sudden hush passed over the crowd, and my eyes were drawn back to the centre of the plaza. Wooden planks creaking below his feet, a large, muscular man in a long yellow coat moved across the stage. He had frazzled grey hair, with wrinkles adorning his face around the eyes, and a large, bushy moustache. Through the crowd, I heard a name whispered—Kahuna Hala. He stood still for a moment, looking out at the sea of people, a serious look on his face. Then, under his moustache, a familiar grin appeared.

“Greetings, one and all!” He exclaimed, his voice booming across the plaza, even without a mic or anything like that. “Welcome to this year’s opening ceremony! Tonight, several of our youths will begin their journeys across Alola… and what better way to kick that off than with some battling, am I right?” A cheer went up from the crowd, and Hala suppressed a chuckle. “Of course, we aren’t going to put any of our new trainers immediately on the spot—these battles are not mandatory. If you wish to join the challenge without battling, please come and visit the town hall by sundown tomorrow.”

Cracking his knuckles, his grin grew wider. “Of course, with that said, I certainly expect a good number of you to take me up on the challenge!” Another cheer. “But first, allow me to explain the rules of this little series of battles, for those who are not familiar.” Reaching down, he grabbed something from his feet, before standing up and revealing it to be a pretty glass bowl. “Anyone who wishes to battle will approach and write their name and the name of their pokémon on a slip of paper, which will then be placed in here. Before each battle, I shall draw one name—that person will be the first to battle. Anyone may take an opportunity to challenge the nominee, should they so choose. If no one chooses to volunteer, a second name will be drawn, and the two nominees will battle until there is no one left to fight.” He paused. “All clear?”

“Yes, Kahuna!” Several of the trainers, including Hau, called up to Hala in unison. I blinked in surprise, looking to Hau in confusion. He gave me a grin, before shrugging.

“Very well,” Hala said with a chuckle, shaking his head. “Now, if everyone who wishes to participate could come up here… single file please…”

As people began to shuffle up towards the stage, Hau looked to me, eyes twinkling. “Well? Wanna head up and toss our names in together?”

I blinked, before smiling back. “Sure.” I already knew who I was going to try and challenge.

After he and I put our names in, Hau and I parted ways, as he went to wish some other people good luck with their battles. I ended up taking a seat at my table once more, allowing Lani to finish eating her fish and idly watching the battles as they unfolded.

One by one, people were selected from the bowl, and their opponents were decided. As I might have expected, the majority of battles were between the nominee and a challenger, rather than a second name being drawn. It made sense—this was very much a casual affair for many of these trainers, and most people seemed to have friends whom they were looking forward to battling in an official capacity. Most people.

Time wore on, and my name continued not to be drawn. Lani had finished her meal by this point, now resting her head gently under my hand. Hau’s name had yet to be called, and to my relief, he hadn’t yet stepped up to challenge anyone. He was sitting over at one of the other tables, currently in casual conversation with a pair of girls. I couldn’t help but lament that my only friend at this stupid party was also everyone else’s friend. And I meant everyone.

Finally, after what felt like forever, the time came. After another battle had wrapped up, Hala stepped forward, approaching the glass bowl once more. His grin had only grown larger over the evening, clearly delighting in seeing so many trainers starting off on their journey. He reached in, grabbing a slip of paper.

“Our next nominees are… my grandson, Hau Reyes, and his partner, Tsuo!”

A cheer came from the crowd, and I immediately perked up, causing Lani to perk up as well, eyes flitting open as she let out a squeak. Hau stood up from his seat, moving towards and up onto the stage. Once he got there, Hala rested a hand on his shoulder, before looking back out to the crowd. With a nod to his grandson, Hala turned to face the crowd.

“Is there anyone who wishes to challenge—”

My hand shot up. I was already standing.

Both Hau and Hala’s gaze drifted over to me—an easy smile crossed onto Hau’s face, while Hala looked serious for a moment. The kahuna gave me a nod, and I approached, picking Lani up into my arms. The crowd parted for me, and a hush had passed over them as they noticed the fact that I was carrying a second of the alola starters. Hala appraised me for a moment as I came to stand in front of him, a flicker of recognition passing into his eyes. After a moment, he placed his other hand onto my shoulder, before looking out into the crowd.

“Well then, miss,” he said, familial grin returning. “Why don’t you introduce yourself and your partner there for the crowd?”

“Right…” I replied with a nod, looking out to the cluster of people—my wrist began to itch, and I scratched it nervously.“Um, I’m Kaia Selesky,” I said, “and this is Lani.” With that, I gestured to the popplio in my arms, who seemed utterly enthralled to be in front of a large crowd.

A few quiet murmurs passed through the crowd, and I tried to tune them out. The last name was likely passingly familiar to some people, but given the fact that it had been at least a decade and a half since my father had become a Champion, and in an entirely different region, it wasn’t a huge reveal or anything. Hau flashed me a reassuring smile, while Hala gave me a serious nod.

“Mister Reyes,” said Hala, looking to Hau, “Do you accept this challenger?”

“I do.”

“Very well,” he said, before gesturing to two opposing sides of the stage. “Take your places.”

Hau and I shuffled over to our positions on the stage, Lani held tight in my arms and Tsuo padding gently along behind Hau. Given that it was now very late into the evening, the moon hung high in the sky, though it was only a sliver at the moment. This meant that our battle was illuminated almost exclusively by torchlight—I could Hau’s wide grin and twinkling eyes, but the rest of his face was mostly obscured in shadow. Loud murmurs crossed the crowd, each person taking stock of the battle and considering who would win and who would lose.

“Don’t be nervous,” said Hau, whispering to me across the stage, barely audible thanks to the buzz of the nearby crowd.

“I’m not.”

“You keep scratching your arm,” he replied. “It’s fine. Relax.”

“It’s just an itch.”

“Alright,” Hala called, almost immediately silencing the crowd. “I expect an honourable match between the two of you… especially since you are both representing me,” he added with a chuckle. “…Begin!”

Lani leapt out of my arms to the ground, while Tsuo scrambled out from beside Hau. Lani let out a happy bark, but her eyes quickly narrowed, as she seemed to catch on to what exactly was happening here—a true battle. Tsuo hissed, baring his fangs as his fur stood on end. They stayed like that for a moment, in standoff… until the air broke around them with a shout from Hau.

“Get her, Tsuo!”

Claws out, the litten lunged towards Lani, causing the popplio to blink in surprise and scramble backwards. She took a claw to the face, however, and let out a whimper of pain.

“Stay on your toes, Lani,” I called, fingers digging into my palm. “Then use Water Gun!”

It was a technique I’d seen play out a dozen times. Almost any water pokémon knew some form of water technique, and Water Gun was one of the most basic. It only made sense that Lani would know such a move, right…? As though to answer my question, Lani looked back to me in confusion, her eyes wide, and my eyes widened as I realized what this meant.

“Tsuo,” Hau called, though a frown had crossed his face upon seeing my own. “Take another shot, then pull back!” On cue, Tsuo lunged forward, scratching the other side of the popplio’s face, before shifting away and creating some space between them.

“Lani…” I began, scratching my arm as the itching returned. This was fine. A bit of an unfortunate wrench in the plan, but I could adapt. I was Will Selesky’s daughter, after all. “Use, uh… use Growl to throw him, then hit him when he gets in close!”

This, it seemed, clicked better with Lani. She let out a soft, cute growl, her little doe eyes seemingly throwing Tsuo off as he stepped back, looking positively offended. He quickly shook this off and stared her down with daggers in his eyes, before lunging forward. Lani reared up and smacked him across the nose with her fin, but Tsuo quickly recovered, biting into her fin.

Letting out another cry of pain, Lani slammed her fin to the ground with him still latched on it, causing his jaw to release its hold on the fin, before she spun around and slammed into him with her tail. This sent him sliding back, and he quickly pulled himself onto his feet, letting out another hiss and shaking himself off.

I was almost frozen in shock. Was I… losing? Lani was looking quite bloodied at this point, her face coated red, and she was avoiding placing weight on her injured fin. Tsuo looked a little roughed up, his fur standing on end in place, but was ultimately still standing… and looked about ready to go again. My fingernails dug into my palm, as I tried to think of something to do, some way to turn this around.

Just like Dad always does.

“Tsuo, now!” Hau called, still frowning, and the little litten lunged into action.

Tucking his head down, Tsuo rushed forward. Lani scrambled backwards, letting out a few pained squeaks as she had to lean on her injured fin. But it was no use—Tsuo was just too fast for her. He slammed into her, and she let out a wheeze of pain as she collapsed to the ground. For a moment, it looked like she was going to get back up, as she strained to pick herself back up.

“I’d say that’s enough,” Hala called, stepping back onto the stage and moving towards the middle. Hala gave each of us and, before looking out to the crowd. “The winners are Hau Reyes, and his partner Tsuo!”

The tension released in my hand, and I deflated, but ultimately began walking towards Lani, just as Tsuo strut his way back to Hau, albeit with a slight limp, clearly very proud of himself. I could barely bring my eyes up from the ground, and dropped to a crouch in front of Lani. The popplio had fully collapsed to the ground at this point, and looked up at me with weak, apologetic eyes. I shook my head.

“It’s okay,” I replied softly, petting her head gently before scooping her up into my arms, though keeping her a small distance away to avoid getting blood all over myself. “You did your best. I’m the one who messed up here.” She let out a quiet squeak, before closing her eyes.

Hala looked between the two of us as I stood back to my feet. “Both of you performed very admirably,” he said, though his eyes were mostly on Hau at this point. There was a beat of silence, as a momentary exchange occurred between Hala and Hau, one which was conducted exclusively through their shared gaze. “Why don’t the two of you head to the medic tent together and get your little friends patched up, then you can return and receive your challenge tokens?”

I nodded, and Hau nodded a moment later. Stepping down from the stage, Hau took the lead, moving in the direction of the medical tent that had been set up just a little further into town in preparation for the event. As we left, I could hear the cheer of the crowd as another name was selected. There couldn’t be that many battles left anyway. Hau and I walked in silence for a little while, my eyes planted on the ground in front of me, though occasionally they shifted to Lani to check on her. Hau carried Tsuo gently in his arms, and the litten had curled up and closed his eyes.

After a few minutes of silence, Hau coughed. “Kaia…”

“We’re fine, Hau,” I replied, my voice curt. I still couldn’t look at him.

“Look…” He scratched the back of his head. “How were you supposed to know? I mean… none of the starters are trained to use their primary elements right away, because it’d be a real pain in the ass for the breeders to take care of them, and you only—”

“Hau.” I turned to look at him, resisting the urge to scratch my arm again. That itch was seriously becoming a pain in the ass. “Seriously. We’re good, okay? Congrats on the win… but I’d prefer to just not talk about it anymore.”

He was quiet for a moment, then nodded. “Okay.” And we kept walking.

More than anything else… I just wanted to go stick my head in the sand for a little while.

I didn’t stick around Iki Town for much longer after that.

Hau and I walked in silence the rest of the way to the medical tent, where people were waiting to treat any injured pokémon. Tsuo’s injuries had been easier to treat, so he and Hau had been capable of heading out earlier, giving me a quiet farewell as he went. It was odd—the comfort I had found in his company prior to our battle had immediately shifted into tension, and it was a small relief when he bid farewell. Of course, while I waited, pangs of regret flooded through me—regret for my stupid overconfidence earlier, regret for how I’d treated Hau after our battle. I had acted like a real sore loser, looking back… So I’d already burned one of the few bridges I’d made in Alola.

Fan-fucking-tastic.

After Lani got bandaged up, I sent her back into her pokéball to rest up, before returning to the plaza like Hala had instructed. For a moment, I considered searching for Hau and apologizing for how I’d acted, but the moment I saw him, he was surrounded by people, most of whom were congratulating him on his win, I back-pedalled, just wanting to get out of there.

Instead, I went and found one of the Island Challenge officials, who gave me my token—a little, multicoloured keychain. It was what would permit me to challenge the trials, apparently. I couldn’t say I fully understood, especially because someone had yet to explain to me what the trials actually were, but evidently, it officially made me a part of the Island Challenge. Not that it really mattered.

Once that was done, I quickly left without a word. The last few battles were still wrapping up, but I was just… ready to be done. I walked down Route One alone, though there was this constant pressure on my neck, like someone were bearing down on me and reminding me of my failure. And this damn itch. Had I stuck my hand in some poison ivy or something and not remembered it? It exclusively cropped up along my left forearm, but any time I tried to examine it, I didn’t really see anything of note, besides the irritated area where I’d been scratching it. It was just… annoying, more than anything else.

Arriving at Kukui’s house, I dropped my bag at the front door with a sigh, before making a beeline for the loft and climbing up the ladder. Once I got up there, I collapsed onto the bed, letting out a soft groan and placing my arm over my face. I just wanted to sit here and die for a little while. How could I be so stupid? Why did I not bother to check what moves Lani knew beforehand? No, instead, I chose the insane option of just assuming I knew best, and Lani had paid the price for it.

Opening my eyes, I turned my head slightly, and my attention fell onto the picture frame sitting on the nightstand—one of the only things in the whole house that was actually mine. The picture was of a family: a man, his wife, and their eleven-year-old daughter. He was fairly tall, with tussled black hair and light skin, and piercing green eyes. Just behind him was a decidueye, his partner in crime for what had been, at that point, nearly fifteen years. The woman was quite a few inches shorter, with darker skin and wavy, dark brown hair—in recent years, she had dyed it grey, apparently in an attempt to “get ahead of the curve” and stop stressing about grey hair. Their daughter seemed to be a perfect blend of the two, with tan skin, her hair, and his eyes. All three were smiling, the daughter most of all, grin stretching from ear to ear.

How long had it been… since I’d been as happy as that?

There was a sudden crack—my hand had moved without thinking—and the picture fell to the ground, the frame shattering into bits of glass as it hit the floor.

“Shit!” Immediately, I sat up from the bed, wiping away the bitter tears that had collected in my eyes, before reaching down to grab the picture from the frame, praying that the photo itself hadn’t been damaged. But I reached down, I suddenly froze up in shock as my eyes caught a glimpse of something extremely strange that had taken root on my forearm.

Was that… a tattoo?

I blinked, and my forearm was blank once more. With a groan, I closed my eyes and rubbed my head, before double-checking. Nope, still blank… though still quite itchy as well. It only took me a few moments to start rationalizing this to myself: I was tired. I hadn’t had a good sleep in quite a while, and had only gotten a few hours the past night. Or maybe I was just going crazy. Either way, whatever it was, I was just seeing things. And I really needed some fresh air.

Leaning down, I grabbed the photo out of the picture frame—thankfully, it didn’t appear to have suffered much damage. Sitting on the bed, I considered my options. I could try to sleep, but somehow, I doubted that I would have any luck, if the past nights were any indication. This really only left taking a walk to clear my head. And as a little bonus for that plan, I wouldn’t have to deal with Kukui when he got home from Iki Town.

My mind made up, I stood up from the bed, as my eyes fell on one of the only other things in this house that belonged to me: a guitar, resting against the wall. It was my dad’s, and he’d been the one to teach me to play. Usually, it bummed me out a little too much to play nowadays. But, considering my current headspace… it might actually be helpful. Or at least cathartic. Moving over to it, I put it into its case—which, conveniently, had straps and a few pockets, to serve as a pseudo-bag. Gingerly, I placed my photo into one of the pockets, before slinging the bag onto my back.

Crawling back down from the loft, I made my way to the door… pausing to write a little note for Kukui, telling him that I’d be back a little later. Not for his peace of mind, but more because I didn’t want to have to deal with him panicking and calling my mom or something. I picked up my messenger bag from earlier, transferring a few of the important bits out of it—trainer card, keys, challenge token—before taking a deep, shaky breath and wiping lingering tears out of my eyes.

With that, I stepped out into the Alolan night, not even sure where I was going.

I ended up heading down towards the nearby beach. I wasn’t entirely certain why… maybe the fact that ocean air seemed to help me clear my head. Maybe I just needed a cool spot to brood, I dunno. It was fascinating… Alola truly seemed to come alive at night. Not that it wasn’t already lively before, but the same vibrant energy from the day seemed to carry through seamlessly into the night, through the chirping of bird pokémon was replace with the buzzes and hums of various bugs. Once again, I noted how right Hau had been about this place… there was a certain magic about it, though I wasn’t sure if it’d be able to match up to Viridian City, my hometown.

Eventually, I found a nice seat on some rocks overlooking the ocean, with a beach just to my right. The water itself was quite calm, especially in comparison to the night before. Setting my guitar down for a second, I closed my eyes and simply allowed myself to take it all in—the smell of sea salt, the sounds of the waves crashing gently against the shore, the soft ocean breeze blowing through my hair. After a moment, I reached down and pulled my shoes and socks off, before tossing them down to the sandy beach nearby. With that, I let my legs hang off the side of the rock, feeling the waves tickling my toes gently with each wave.

Then an idea struck me.

Reaching down to my belt, I pulled off Lani’s pokéball, before releasing her out onto the rock near mine. She opened her eyes, yawning, before a smile crossed her face as she caught sight of me. The scratches on her cheeks seemed to be healing well, and she seemed to be able to put more weight on her injured fin, though it was still covered in—thankfully, waterproof—bandages.

“Hey, girl,” I said, reaching out and scratching her head. “How are you feeling?”

She let out a tiny squeak with an uncertain expression on her face, which seemed tantamount to a shrug.

I chuckled. “Well, if you’re feeling up to it… I figured you could practice some water moves!” I gestured to the ocean, and Lani’s eyes lit up as her gaze followed, as though she’d only just realized where they were. “Only if you’re feeling up to—”

She let out a bark and positively leapt into the water, creating a small splash, all before I could even finish what I was saying. I chuckled, shaking my head. She certainly had a lot of energy.

For the next little while—in truth, I wasn’t really keeping track of the time—Lani and I trained with her water moves. It didn’t take her particularly long to get the gist of it. In fact, it almost seemed to come to her as swimming itself. I guessed that Hau was right, that the only reason Alolan starters didn’t know how to use their elements out of the gate was to make things easier on breeders. That, and I assumed being raised primarily on land didn’t help for Lani specifically.

After a while, we stopped practicing her Water Gun, fairly content with it for the time being. Instead, Lani chose to simply lounge around in the water below, seeming far happier now that she was getting a chance to swim. I, on the other hand, decided to pick up my guitar and give it a few strums. I had been right: playing it did bum me out a little bit, but it also helped soothe the turmoil that had been racing through me over the past few hours. Eventually, after finishing playing another one of the few songs my dad had taught me, I lowered the guitar, first looking out at the sea, and then up to the starry sky above.

“I’m glad… you taught me to do at least one thing well.” There was a few moments of silence.

And then things got weird. Still looking up at the sky, I blinked, only to find it… different. The mere sight of the inky black canvas made me sick to my stomach, and I couldn’t really explain why. And then I realized… there were no stars in the sky. The moon, too—for the sliver it had been, anyway—was gone as well, and the world was entirely dark.

The darkness felt like both a stranger… and a friend. Menacing, and inviting, and infinitesimal.

Then I blinked again, and everything returned to normal. Shaking my head, I took a deep breath, rubbing my eyes. What the hell had that been? Was it… just my imagination? Maybe I really was going crazy. It had only been for a few moments, and yet somehow all of the breath had left my chest, and I felt incredibly shaken by what I had seen. My arm started to itch.

“Fucking… seriously?” I muttered, looking down, only to freeze up as I caught sight of my forearm, coated in the soft light of the moon. That thing I had seen… the tattoo… it had returned.

I was able to get a better look at it now: it looked like a traditional Alolan tattoo, its dark colouring against my tan skin making it a little hard to distinguish in the moonlight. It started at the bones of my and dripped down about three inches on all sides. The pattern itself was a little hard to distinguish, but it involved several interlocking shapes circling my wrist, almost resembling… chains? Or maybe like, woven wood?

I blinked, several times, expecting the tattoo to fade away again, but it remained firmly in place. Reaching out, I brought a hand to my wrist, rubbing where the tattoo was, almost believing that it would rub off if I touched it. But it stayed, and the ink—was it ink? I wasn’t sure—didn’t even smudge. Somehow, someway, I’d gotten a tattoo on my wrist, and I couldn’t even remember it.

“…What the fuck?” I murmured, rubbing my eyes with my other hand.

“Are you okay?”

The voice was feminine, not immediately recognizable. At first, I assumed it had come from the land behind me, and turned my head in that direction. But then I paused, and I realized that, no, the voice had come from the water below me. Taking a deep breath, I looked down, only to see Lani looking back up at me, concern in her eyes. I rubbed my eyes. Was I hearing things now, too? Maybe I should have just tried to go to sleep…

“Kaia?” I watched the words leave her mouth. I watched a pokémon speak. “Is everything alright?”

…Yup, there was no doubt about it. I was definitely going crazy.
Woof, told you that would be a doozy.

In the original, Kaia won (both) battles with Hau, but I chose to take a different route with it this time around. This chapter is really just a spin-the-wheel of highlighting Kaia's biggest flaws. While she's still the protagonist and is ultimately (probably) a good person, she also has a LOT of growing to do, and I decided that the best way to kick that off was to knock her down a few pegs right off the bat.

Oh yeah, and that ending is... something. Cliffhangers for the win!

Lani the Popplio
Female | Hardy
Highly curious
 
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csidvuL

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
238
yes!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was a heftychonk of a chapter and I enjoyed every second of it! I appreciate so much how you've streamlined things compared to Illuminate; putting Kaia with Kukui right away helps ratchet up that tension between them, and I think the decision to largely cut Kaia's extended family -- her aunt and brothers -- was smartly done here. I enjoy that, despite this being a self-described whrilwind tour of Kaia's character flaws, we see some immediate growth near the end of this chapter. Her taking time to work with Lani was nice to see, and to have this be "rewarded" in a sense both by plot progression, and Lani in turn reaching out to her!

Wonderful stuff. I'm violently looking forward too more, but please pace yourself!
 

DistortionLocke

Conqueror of the Fuchsia Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
623
Caught
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
46
Location
U.S.
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Anxious, sweet-toothed writer who hides amongst the papers. Only attacks when provoked.
I didn’t get the chance to catch this the first time, so I’m super glad to see your remake! You really know how to pack a punch!
 

Tailsimp

A Universally Under-Rested University Imp
🎇Contributor
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
50
Caught
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
494
Location
A Literal Desert
Nature
Quiet
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Electric, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
Tailsimp: The Impish Pokemon. Despite being quiet and reserved, this pokemon is usually very happy to talk and is always excited to help out!
Ooof. Humble pie can be good sometimes but it hurt to read Kaia loose like that. We finally got to see her so excited but it went downhill so quickly. However I still enjoyed seeing how she and Hau interacted after the loss. The way Hau tried to cheer her up and Kaia tried to distance herself felt really natural for both, even if it didn't help them reconcile. I hand it to Kaia to realizing pretty quickly that she should apologize even if she backed out. (Apologizing can be hard at the best of times, let alone in front of a bunch of people that you just embarrassed yourself in front of.)

I love seeing her and Lani bond up until this point, but I am extra 👀 at seeing Lani's reaction to Kaia being able to understand her. Also can't wan't to hear how Kaia got a sick tattoo without having to endure any of the associated pain like come on. Unfair.
 

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