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Written Story Alola General Don't Fear The Reaper

Thread Description
Death goes on a vacation in Alola. They get a Rowlet.

Wwarborday

Gradually Becoming Productive
Pokédex No.
153
Caught
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
109
Location
Gaytown
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/him/his
Pokémon Type
Ground, Ice
Pokédex Entry
I'm Doing My Best
Hi there! I'm War, and this is Don't Fear The Reaper, a Halloween comedy run where I can only catch the first ghost- or dark-type that I see (while abusing tokens). I hope to have it done by Halloween before Sword and Shield the end of the year! It's primarily lighthearted, goofy comedy, with some occasional existential angst thrown in. I hope you get some laughs :D

If you have thanatophobia or necrophobia, I wouldn't recommend this for you. It IS a comedy, but the concept of death, and what happens after we die, is still talked about.

In addition, since this is, y'know, Alola, Lillie's abuse at the hands of her mother is A Whole Thing. It's not going to go into anything explicit, but she's clearly been affected by it, so just keep that in mind if that's a trigger for you.

  1. Catch only the first ghost- or dark-type Pokemon in the area. (Or, any Pokemon which will evolve into a ghost- or dark-type. For areas without a valid catch, or areas with only dupes, you can get a token, and redeem this token on a valid catch later.)
-Dupes clause is ON.

-Oricorio can ONLY be used in it’s Sensu form. You can catch Oricorio in any form, but may only use Sensu in battle.

2.If any Pokemon faints, they are considered dead, and can no longer be used.


I'll get the fancy stuff set up later, but DFTR took first place for "Best New Written Run" in 2019, and Death got "best Protagonist" for 2019!

AO3


Kukui is surprised the photo prints out.

Some part of him had thought, “Maybe they’re like a vampire. Maybe they won’t show up, and I’ll have to print a blank photo on their passport.”

But no. The picture is clear as day; a black-robed entity in front of a white background. Their hood covers their face.

There is a lei around their neck.

They insisted on it.

“Alright,” Kukui says. His voice has stopped shaking, so that’s nice. “Everything looks good on your Trainer Passport.” He hands it over.

Death takes it with slim, gray fingers. (Kukui is grateful that Death does not appear to be a literal skeleton. All he can see of their face is their pointed chin, but it does seem to be made of flesh. Strange, gray flesh, but flesh all the same). “Thank you,” they say. Their voice is so soothing that is loops right back around into unnerving.

“You’re welcome.” Kukui is doing his best to be hospitable, to hold up the Alolan spirit, but oh boy. Oh man. This is an exercise in his ability to keep calm, to keep still, and he isn’t particularly good at either.

“So!” he says, because if he doesn’t talk, he will scream. “Vacation, huh?”

Death has a small pouch hanging from a rope belt around their waist. Carefully, they open the pouch and place their Passport inside, before pulling the tiny strings closed. “Yes. My colleagues insisted I take one.” They steeple their fingers together. “War said Alola is lovely this time of year.”

Ice creeps down Kukui’s spine. “You’re not, ah. Are all of you-”

“Oh, no,” Death says, reassuringly. “It is just me. The four of us only get together for apocalypses. That’s why they insisted on this vacation, actually. We’ve been quite busy.”

Kukui almost asks, then thinks better of it.

Death stands up, brushing off their robe. “Would you point in the direction of the nearest library? It was recommended I do research before taking on your trials.”

Kukui frowns. “You need information?”

“Sorely.”

“Huh,” Kukui says. “I think I know a guy who’d be perfect for that.”




He broods.

That’s most of what he does these days.

(And how many days has it been?)

Once, he thought about leaving. Heading to Hau’oli, maybe. Somewhere where people would talk to him.

They used to talk to him.

He’s given up on getting that back.

He supposes that he’ll spend his second life here, then. He passes the time by scaring Trainers. They’ll pick up a “lost” Pokedex, and shriek when he grins back at them. Sometimes he seeps back into himself, and tries to access the internet.

It never works.

He’s hovered himself to a nice little bush for the evening. Most Pokemon around here leave him alone, so he doesn’t really need shelter, but it. It’s nice. It’s a comfort he can give himself.

He’s settling down for the night, preparing to put himself into sleep mode, when he feels it.

It’s nothing as dramatic as thunder and lightning. This is more like when you realize you’re being watched. When you know that someone can see you, can feel their eyes on the back of your head.

He knows, instinctively, that Death is aware of him in the same way he is aware of Death, and he hovers out from his bush without hesitation. He knows there is no use in hiding.

Death wears a lei.

“Huh,” he says.

“Hello,” Death says.

He looks at him, wary. “Are you here for me?”

Death taps their fingers against what is probably their thigh. (Do they even have human anatomy under that robe?) “I am here for a Pokedex.”

He doesn’t have a tongue anymore, but if he did, he would be chewing it.

Finally, he says, “What happens when I let go?”

He hopes for comfort, peace, an assurance.

Death says, “I do not know.”

“What?!”

“I am Death.” They speak matter-of-factly, like entities speak to Rotoms all the time. “I do not know what is after me. I know only what I am.”

He hesitates. “If. If you don’t know what happens after, then what are you?”

When Death speaks, it almost sounds like they are smiling. “I am Death. I am The End.”

“So.” It’s just what he’s been afraid of. “There’s nothing after you?”

“I do not know,” Death says patiently.

Fuck.

“If I help you,” he says suddenly, desperately. “Will you still. Will you still have to take me? Or. Or can I be safe? Can I just be like this?”

He cannot see Death’s eyes, but he imagines them to be steady. “Everything has a time. There is no special treatment.” After a moment, they add; “I am sorry.”

Fuck.

Fuck.

A thought occurs to him; “How did you know I was here?”

“Professor Kukui pointed me your way.” Death says. “He believed I would get along well with a ghost.”

He can’t help himself; he snorts.

He swears he sees the hood shift, sees a smile for a split second.

“I,” he says. His voice crackles from his speaker. “I don’t want to die.”

“No,” Death agrees. “People never do.”

He hesitates.

“Alright,” he says. If he still had a stomach, it would be twisted. He hates everything about this, but he hates not doing it even more. (He wants to be ten thousand miles from Death. From death. But. But it is so much worse, somehow, to imagine waiting for Death to find him again, to wait and wait and wait in uncertainty). “You need a Dex? I’m your ghost.”

“Your help is appreciated,” Death says, and they sound completely sincere. “Do you have a name?”

He did, once.

“Kāne,” he says, finally. “I think it’s Kāne.”

“Well, Kāne.” Death does not walk toward Iki town; they glide. “What do you know about these trials?”







Hau watches the wooden arena, fascinated.

Death stands there, lei shifting in the faint breeze, and does not say a word.

They showed up ten minutes ago, right after Lillie was chosen by her Litten. (Lille’s Litten, try saying that five times fast). They didn’t even act like it was a big deal; they actually tried to skirt around the back of the crowd to get to Hala.

And then, y’know, people actually saw them, and freaked out a little.

And now they’re here.

Grandpa Hala and Professor Kukui stand next to the arena, speaking in hushed, rapid words. Hau’s been straining to hear them, but he can’t quite pick anything out.

“Are we going to die?” Lillie whispers. She’s been cradling her Litten since he chose her, and she doesn’t seem inclined to let go.

“Nah,” Hau says. He’s trying to see if he can get a peek at what’s under Death’s hood. “I think we’d be dead by now, if that’s what they wanted.”

“Oh,” Lillie squeaks.

Hau pats her shoulder without looking. He can’t tear his eyes away from Death.

Like holy crap, dude. Death is in his hometown. And not in the vague, nebulous sense, no; Death is literally standing there, with a Rotom Dex, waiting to see if they can get a starter Pokemon.

They look lonely.

“I’m gonna say hi.”

“Hau, no-”

He’s up the platform steps before she can stop him, opening his arms in a traditional Alolan wave. “Alola! I’m Hau. Hau O’ahu. Welcome to Alola.”

“Hello.” Death is talking to him. Death is talking to him, and they sound amused. “I am Death.”

“It’s nice to meet you. Do you know how to do the Alolan wave?”

“I am unaware of the Alolan wave.”

“Cool, so; first, tuck your elbows like this, and put your hands here.”

Death copies him.

This is the coolest day ever.

“Hau.” It’s his Grandpa, climbing up the steps of the platform. He has the same look he got when Hau asked him where babies come from. “Get down, please. Māhū Death is about to participate in the-”

“Just Death, please. I need no honorifics.”

Hala takes a deep breath. “Death, then, is about to participate in the Starter Ceremony.”

Hau scrambles down from the platform. He’s about to watch Death get a Pokemon. He wishes he had a camera. Or six cameras. Ideally, he would be able to remember this from several angles. And replay it on command. And send it to TV stations.

This is amazing.

Hala has a box of Poké Balls. “Stand back,” he warns Death, and turns the box upside down.

Hau knows that, in other regions, people getting their Starters will have their choice of three Poké Balls. Here, though. It’s more important for the Starter to choose the Trainer. So. They do this, instead. And let the Starter decide.

At once, there’s a dozen flashes of red light, releasing twelve Starters across the platform. Some blink, and shake their tiny heads; a few cry out; one rolls over.

Then,

almost as one,

they freeze.

Death doesn’t seemed phased by this. Neither does the Rotom Dex floating by their head. They both just. Seem to be waiting.

And then there’s a peeping.

The smallest, poofiest Rowlet that Hau has ever seen comes hopping out of the clump of confused Starters. With every tiny jump, she makes another happy sound, finally settling herself at the foot of Death’s robes.

She chirps and fluffs her feathers.

Death slowly bends down, carefully picking her up. (She’s so small, she fits perfectly in their palm). She makes little happy noises the whole time. When Death raises her to their face to inspect, she nibbles at the edge of their hood.

“You know,” Death says, and they sound delighted, “I think she looks like a Jimmie.”

Jimmie looks ecstatic.


So! That's chapter one :D

The character of Kāne really got away from me. My original intent was for him to be a very cheery, slightly volatile, secretary ghost? Who was super excited to work for Death, and would get upset at people for not being respectful enough.

Instead, we got Existential Angst (tm). I love my dead gay son.

Hala calls Death "Māhū". According to Wikipedia, that's the Hawaiian title for people of the Hawaiian third gender! I thought it would fit well.

That's all for now, thank you so much for reading, and I look forward to seeing you all next time!


9-5, or; Chekhov's Paper Cup (A short workplace crossover ft. Wisp from A Light for the Lost, by @glancesherlock )


(From @glancesherlock )


(From @Woo )


(Death with their medals, from @CyanideCrystal )

Thank you all so much!!!!!
 
Last edited:

Nimbostratus

Ambitious But Rubbish
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
232
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
200
Location
Owensboro, Kentucky, USA
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Flying, Normal
Oh my god.

Please tell me you have read the Discworld series, because I almost feel like this could be Discworld Death.
 
Last edited:

Paine

The doctorate is in pain.
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
118
Caught
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
319
Location
Good question!
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
He/him; they/them; she/her
Pokémon Type
Psychic, ???
Pokédex Entry
It never quite knows what it's doing. Yet, somehow, things still get done.
HaaaAAA YES THIS IS UP :D

The tone is fantastic, & Hau is just the Best here. Jimmie is precious may she grow big and strong and powerful

Good luck don’t die @ everyone involved
 

Sheepscope

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Hacker
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
71
Caught
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
200
Location
A bed, with wall-to-wall books and a papery carpet
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
She and they in no particular order, he very rarely; I'm beginning to think that I'm gender-fluid.
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Poison
Pokédex Entry
Constantly in search of the highest challenge, this person takes up the most impractical rulesets.
Are you having Sensu form traded over and/or bred, since it's postgame?
 

anonymouse

the plastic king of castle polyethylene
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
114
Location
southeastern USA
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
oh my god i didn't know i needed this in my life until it happened. even better than Kukui having his eternally cheerful attitude stymied by talking to literally Death is Lillie getting an actual starter. i know in canon she's supposed to be v passive and scared of pokemon getting hurt, but it's so nice to consider her actually being able to get some agency and do something
 

Wwarborday

Gradually Becoming Productive
Pokédex No.
153
Caught
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
109
Location
Gaytown
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/him/his
Pokémon Type
Ground, Ice
Pokédex Entry
I'm Doing My Best
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6
@Nimbostratus : I haven't ;; Discworld is on my list to stuff to read though! I have seen that one comic, which I think is from the Hogfather? Where Pratchett's Death gives a small child a sword, and is like, "It's for learning." And her dad is like, "What if she hurts herself?!" And Death is like, "Then that will have been a very good lesson." Honestly, my take on Death is just "True Neutral but also they don't know how anything works lmao".

@DoctorPaine : IT'S HEREEEE. thank you for beta-ing <3 Jimmie is The Best Bird,,,,my precious bapy,,,

@Sheepscope : Aw, man, it's postgame? Darn it.....I guess I'll just Suffer (tm)

@anonymouse : Ahhhh, thank you so much!!! I'm glad you're enjoying it ahhhhhh. Also, if you like Lillie with Character Agency (tm), I think you'll like the rest of the story I have planned ;)

AO3 Link

Hau takes Lillie and Death to Hau’oli City.

“Remember,” he says, leading them through Route 1, “It’s Hau’oli City, so I legally own everything there.”

Death sounds intrigued. “Really?”

"No,” Kāne says instantly. “No, he doesn’t, please don’t believe that.”

This is already shaping up to be an Ordeal.

Kāne knows that he was human once. He can feel it in the absence of his teeth, the way his hands aren’t there, the lack of ligaments to hold him together. He knows he used to have feet, and skin, and cartilage that ground together when he bent his knees.

He thinks that. Once, when all those things where real, he had been to Hau’oli.

He almost smirks as their odd group walks through the streets. People stop, point, whisper. Hau and Death carry on their conversation, (something about. Candy?), but Lillie hunches into herself, curling her body around that bag she always carries.

Kāne zips down to hover beside her head. “You okay?”

She nods, jerkily. “‘M fine.”

“You don’t look like you are.”

She flinches. “Sorry.” Before Kāne can say anything, she shakes herself and takes a deep breath. “No, it’s. It’s-okay-for-me-to-not-be-okay-and-I-don’t-have-to-apologize.”

Lillie says all of this very quickly.

“I,” Kāne says. “I mean. Yeah, totally. Good for you for, uh. Not apologizing?”

She nods again. She looks proud.

Hau cheerfully brings them all to a door behind the Trainer’s School. “This place is really cool; I know that you’re both new Trainers, so they can help a lot with the basics.” He beams. “I was super smart, too, I called ahead. Ms. Emily said we can join her afternoon class and help be a demonstration!”

“A demonstration of what?” Death asks. Jimmie, who has been perched on their head, cheeps happily.

“Pokemon stuff.”

“Ah,” Death says. They sound pleased. “It is good to learn.”

Kāne and Lillie share twin looks of, these are our lives now.

Hau knocks on the door.

A woman wearing a pair of half-glasses answers. “Hau, lovely to-OH!”

Kāne smirks, just a little. She’s looking at Death like she’s just seen. Well. Death. Which she has.

This was a bad metaphor.

"Ah,” she says faintly. “Hmm. Well. I see. It’s. Oh my.”

Hau’s frowning. “Ms. Emily, I told you on the phone-”

“No, yes.” She’s gone very pale. “No, I, you. You did tell me. I was just. It was my understanding that. You had a friend named Death, and not. Ah.”

“No,” Death says. (Ms. Emily’s eyes bug out of her head). “That is correct. We are friends.”

Hau looks overjoyed. Lillie’s pulled her hat down to hide her face. Kāne is trying, very hard, not to crack up.

“Oh, well then.” Ms. Emily sounds a little shrill. “Well. Yes. Of course.”

Death tilts their head to the side. Jimmie squawks in protest, and Death quickly rights themself. “Will my presence be unwelcome?”

“Ah,” Ms. Emily says. “Well. That is to say. I don’t. Mean to offend, but I. I can’t quite see. How.”

Hau pipes up, “I think it would be in the Alola spirit to let Death participate in the demonstration.”

Ms. Emily blinks several times. “What?”

Hau’s smile is blinding. “I remember learning about the giving and kind spirit of the Alolan people when I was in your class! Wouldn’t letting Death in be an awesome way to show Alola to the kids in your class?”

Lillie stares at Hau like he’s gone insane.

“Well.” Ms. Emily still sounds faint. “I. I suppose that. Yes, it would be in the spirit of Alola, but.”

“Awesome!” Hau tugs Lillie’s arm, and plows right past Ms. Emily. “Let’s go meet some kids!”

There’s an awkward moment of silence as Ms. Emily seems to take in Kāne, Death, and Jimmie.

“You won’t hurt them?” she asks. Her voice shakes a little.

“I do no pretend to understand children,” Death says. (They still haven’t taken off their lei. It’s garish around their neck). “But I can promise that no harm will come to them while I am here.”

Ms. Emily’s jaw sets. “Well,” she says. “Well. That’s good, then.”

She holds the door for them.







The children stare at Death with wide eyes.

After a very long moment, one shoots her hand in the air. Without waiting to be called on, she asks, “Are you really Death?”

“Yes.”

The children gasp.







Ms. Emily takes them all to the nearby shopping district.

“Now, remember to stick with your buddy! Alana, no, you can’t climb anything. The goal here is to catch a Pokemon, so I’ve given everyone three Poké Balls. Ikaika, you cannot trade partners.”

“But Lillie gets to go with Death!” Ikaika whines. “And they’re the coolest person ever!”

“I am not a person,” Death says gently.

Ikaika takes this in his stride, triumphantly yelling, “Death is the coolest Pokemon ever!”

“I am not a Pokemon.”

Ikaika says, “Oh, okay, you’re a plant?”

“No, I-” Death seems to catch Ms. Emily’s expression, and slowly says, “...I mean. Yes. I am. A plant?”

Ikaika nods. “There’s only three things you can be.”

Another kid pipes up, “Can I be Kāne’s partner?”

“No. He’s Hau’s partner. And there’s no swapping partners.”

“Is this the dem’stration you said was gonna be today?”

Ms. Emily looks very, very tired. “No. That will be this afternoon. Now, if you don’t have a Pokemon of your own already, please come here so I can hand out your loaner Pokemon from the school.”

Lillie hugs her bag tighter to her chest. She can feel Nebby wriggling around inside, but they have to stay in there while they’re around people. She can’t risk her mother finding her. She can’t. And it’s been okay, so far; it’s been three months. Professor Kukui and professor Burnet have been kind enough to let her stay with them, and feed her, and not demand anything in return. But it’s still.

She’s still so scared, is the thing.

She doesn’t even notice that the crowd of children has dispersed until Death says, “Shall we go?”

“Oh! Yes, I. Yes. Um.” She looks at the ground. “Where do you want to go?”

“I do not know the area - oh! Jimmie, no!”

Lillie’s head snaps up just in time to see Jimmie, itty bitty wings a’flapping, take off across the street.

Death takes after her, robe billowing, lei flapping. “Jimmie, come back! I was told you’re too small to fly well!”

Lillie has no choice but to run after both of them.

(People gasp when they run by. Lillie hunches her shoulders and tries to ignore them).

Sure enough, Jimmie is a poor flier. She wobbles in the air, not quite up, not quite down, definitely not straight. She cheeps as she flies, clearly having the time of her life.

“Wait!” Lillie calls after Death. “Wait, I know what to do!”

Death stops so abruptly that Lillie almost crashes into them. ‘What?” they ask, urgently. “Quickly, what do I do?”

Lillie shrinks into herself at the sharpness in their voice, suddenly uncertain. She fumbles for the right pocket of her bag, trying not to jostle Nebby too much. “W-well, I just. I, I have some experience with, um with catching runaway Pokemon, I have, um.” She pulls out a half-opened container of Pokemon treats. “See, um, most Pokemon, they, um, they see chasing after them as a game? So, um, so they. They get even, even more far away, because they want to play the game, um. You can’t chase them, you have to follow slowly, and food, um, it helps, usually.And, um. You, you have to check every alley, and on top of stuff, and be sure to look outside your normal, um. Line of sight.”

Death takes treats from her. “Thank you,” they say. “Truly.”

Warmth flares in Lillie’s chest. “You’re welcome.”

They take a slower approach. (Lillie surreptitiously checks her bag every few minutes, making sure the zipper is still in place, and Nebby is still inside. They are. They’re unhappy, but they refuse any Poké Ball she offers them, so. This is the best she’s got). People still stop, and stare, and whisper, but no-one seems to have the nerve to actually approach them.

Lillie wonders, briefly, if that makes her brave.

They hear a commotion off a side street. Death turns toward the sound.

“That’s Jimmie.”

“How do you know?”

“Jimmie would decide to pick a fight in an alley,” Death says plainly. “She would find it appropriate.”

They’re right. Jimmie is perched on a lidless trashcan, happily chirping. Meanwhile, a trashcan lid bumps into a wall.

When Jimmie sees Death, (or maybe it’s, ‘When Jimmie sees the treats’,) she flaps right over to them, perching on their shoulder and nibbling their lei.

Death scratches her head with one delicate finger, feeding them a treat with another. “Troublesome bird,” they say warmly.

Lillie stares at the trashcan lid. “They’re. They’re not supposed to move, right?”

“I have no idea.”

They stare at the lid some more.

Lillie releases Leo. “”Um.” She’s seen lots of Trainer’s command their Pokemon, but her track record for getting Pokemon to actually listen to her isn’t great. (She says, “Stay in the bag, Nebby,” and Nebby hears, “Fuck this bag, I’m gonna go try and live in the ocean.”) But Leo chose her, right? So. Won’t he be willing to listen to what she says?

“Um,” she tries again. “Can you get that lid to stop moving?”

Leo darts over, and pounces on the lid. It stops shaking for a second, but then starts shaking.

Leo snarls. The shaking stops.

Lillie gasps. “There’s a Pokemon under there!” She fumbles for her bag again. “We could - or, um. You could catch it!”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, um.” Lillie doesn’t look away from the lid. “You got Poké Balls from Ms. Emily, right? I can pick the lid up for you, but whatever comes out is probably going to try to get away as quickly as possible. You’ll have to be fast, but you can do it! You could even have Jimmie on one side, and Leo on the other, which would force it to go right to you, and then you can throw the ball at it!”

And she realizes how foolish she’s being, how stupid, they’ll shut her down, they’ll tell her they can get it themself, why would she try to help, presume to know more than them, all her excitement leaves her in a cold rush-

“What an excellent idea,” Death says. “Let’s try it."

Lillie beams.







Hau has literally never been so excited in his life.

He’s about to face Death in a Pokemon battle. This, right here, is better than any potential Championship match. Better than any malasada. Better than literally anything in the whole world. Hau’s practically vibrating out of his skin with pure anticipation.

Sure, there are Kahunas, and Trial Captains, and Ace Trainers. But how many of them have literally fought Death?

Probably only two!

And now Hau’s doing it!

This is amazing!

Ms. Emily is trying to get her class under control. “Kids, we need you-”

“I can’t see!”

“Ikaika’s pushing me!”

“Children, please-”

“Ka’ena’s too tall-”

“Miss, I’m hungry-”

“The match will not begin until all of you sit down, and are quiet!”

The children sit down.

They are quiet.

Hau wants to be like Ms. Emily when he grows up.

“Now,” Ms. Emily says, frazzled. “Hau and. Death.” She says the word like it feels odd in her mouth. “Will be having a Pokemon battle with the Pokemon they caught today, demonstrating techniques that Trainers can use when battling with new Pokemon. I will be the referee for the match, so Ms. Lillie and Mr. Kāne will be watching all of you to make sure you’re being good.”

Kāne says, “I didn’t agree to this,” and Ms. Emily tells him “You’ve been drafted. Deal with it.” Her tone leaves no room for argument.

She steps into the arena. (It’s a dead patch of grass that Hau got to spray-paint arena lines onto. The lines are wobbly, but he’s pretty sure no-one will notice). “This match will allow each participant to use only one Pokemon. No official wager has been made, so nothing will be exchanged at the end of the match. The battle will continue until one Pokemon is no longer able to battle.”

She raises the green battle flag.

Hau is literally shaking.

The flag sweeps through the air. “Begin!”

Hau yells, “Go, Uila!” and tosses her ball at the ground. His newly caught Pichu appears on the battlefield, making cute little Pichu noises. (And Hau is so, so pumped, like. He managed to catch a Pichu, and he’s battling Death, and this is just the coolest day ever.)

“Oh, do we shout when we release them?” Death asks. They sound interested.

“It’s more fun that way!”

“Hmm.” And to Hau’s glee, when Death throws their ball, they yell, “Djall!”

An Alolan Rattata appears on the battlefield. He sniffs the air, and hisses at Uila.

“Cool, you caught a Rattata!”

Death inclines their head. “Lillie helped me. She also taught me that Pokemon can be stored in Pokemon Balls when not being used.”

Lillie turns bright red, and tugs her hat over her ears.

Hau gives her two thumbs-up. “That’s awesome!”

Ms. Emily coughs, loudly. “Please focus on the battle at hand, you two.”

“Oh, right. Uila! Use Charm!”

Uila shakes crouches close to the ground, and shakes her tiny ears. Hau can’t see for certain, but he’s sure she’s blinking her big eyes.

Djall tilts his head to the side. He takes a step back.

Death, in a strikingly similar movement, tilts their own head to the side. “And now I say an attack, correct?”

“Yes.” Ms. Emily jumps in before Hau can explain. “Typically, both trainers state their attacks at the same time, or as close to the same time as they can. That way, neither has an unfair advantage, and the Pokemon each react at their own speed.”

“Fascinating! How do I know what to tell him to do?”

Ms. Emily smiles. “His moveset should be in your Pokedex.”

All eyes turn to Kāne.

The Rotom’s display switches from his default expression (vaguely annoyed) to a graph of information. “An Alolan Rattata of Djall’s level will know attacking moves Bite and Quick Attack, with status moves Tail Whip and Focus Energy.” Kane’s display switches back to his normal expression. “So there you go.”

“And what move should I use first?”

It’s like they hit a switch. Immediately, the audience of children start yelling out possibilities. “Bite gets STAB!” “They both get STAB!” “Use Focus Energy!” “Use Quick Attack!” “Tail Whip means Pichu will be weaker!” “Nuh-uh, she’ll only be weaker to physical attacks-”


Death turns toward Lillie. “What do you think?”

Lillie, somehow, grows even more red. “Um. I. I don’t.” She looks at the ground. “I’m not a very good battler.”

“You’re certainly better than I,” Death says. “And you thought of that strategy earlier for catching Djall.”

Lillie looks like she wants to sink into the ground. She doesn’t say anything.

Hau pipes up, “I’d use Focus Energy!”

Death turns their attention to him. “Oh?”

“Yeah!” Hau gives them a big, exaggerated wink. “It’s your worst move, it’ll make it way easier for me to win.”

The children giggle.

Death seems amused. “Well, then. Djall, ah. Bite?”

“Uila, Sweet Kiss when he gets close!”

Djall streaks across the battlefield. Ulia squeaks, and tries to get away, but Djall sinks his giant teeth into her tail. Uila shrieks. Djall lets go, looking stunned, and she seizes the moment to plant one on him.

Djall shakes his head back and forth, stumbling. He blinks several times.

“He’s confused!” Kāne calls. “It’s a status effect, it means he’s more likely to hurt himself than hurt her!”

“Well, what do I about that?”

“Uh. Hope he doesn’t?”

Hau smirks, just a little. “Okay, now that they’ve both attacked-”

Ms. Emily cuts in. “Now that they’ve both attacked, you call out orders again. Ready?”

“I suppose? Er. Quick Attack?”

“Use Thundershock!”

Djall manages to shake himself off enough to weakly ram into Ulia. It barely phases her. She responds with a huff and a blast of sparks.

Djall screeches, tiny body spasming. He shakes when the shocks pass. He looks like he’s barely keeping himself upright.

(Lillie turns away).

“Quick Attack is better for long-range attacks,” Hau explains. “The distance gives them time to build up speed; you should have opened with that. Bite is better for close-ranged attacks, since it doesn’t need any build up.”

Death nods, slowly. “I see. Bite!”

“Thundershock again!”

Djall lunges for Ulia, but she’s faster this time, shooting electricity before he can get ahold of her. Djall goes down like a very small sack of bricks.

Ms. Emily’s red flag shoots into the air. “Djall is unable to battle. Hau is the winner!”

Hau’s victory yell is loud enough to be heard from Iki town.

1. Don't worry!! Djall didn't faint in-game. He's okay. This version, where Hau won, just felt way more realistic. ("""""""'Realistic""""""""""')

2. I am SO excited about this one, I'm really proud of it. The, "you can only be three things" bit is like, my favorite thing I've ever written. (I wanted it to keep going, with kids being like, "What if you're a rock?" "There's only four things you can be." but I felt like it slowed down the story too much). And, Lillie's Pokemon-catching skills came in handy! Yaayyy.

3. Thanks for reading!
 

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
283
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
This run is amazing and it's already made me laugh out loud quite a few times. I love your Hau and Lillie a whole lot but I love Death even more. I'm definitely excited to see more of this!
 

Agent Nein

Southern Cryptid
Hacker
Artist
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
21
Caught
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
102
Location
In The Woods Somewhere
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
They/Them
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Highly reclusive, but responsive to being summoned
Lordy, I love the image of Death in a lei. It' cool to see how the school works too and overall just been fun to read? My favorite line is probably “Jimmie, come back! I was told you’re too small to fly well!” There's just something endearing about it. I look forward to reading more~
 

anonymouse

the plastic king of castle polyethylene
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
114
Location
southeastern USA
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
i 👏 love 👏 Lillie 👏 in 👏 this 👏 run!!! and Hau being so genuinely excited about everything in the world. the chemistry between those two, Death, and Kāne is absolutely delightful. they compliment each other so well - i bet if you left them all in a room together they'd still be interesting to just watch interact with each other. (in fact i'd pay money to see how Kāne would fare stuck in a room with the rest for an extended period)

the balance between the moments of angst and the moments of manic cheer is executed v well. the tone switches between them smoothly without being jarring. and the pack of kids - that sounds like a small thing, but the kids acting just like schoolkids is really awesome. personally, i'm one of those adults who can't convincingly write kids for the life of me, but you've captured the chaotic schoolkids-ness so well and it's such a nice touch.
 

Wwarborday

Gradually Becoming Productive
Pokédex No.
153
Caught
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
109
Location
Gaytown
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/him/his
Pokémon Type
Ground, Ice
Pokédex Entry
I'm Doing My Best
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10
@cyndakip: Ahhhhh thank you so so much!! I hope I can continue to deliver :D

@Agent Nein ;w; I'm really glad it came off as endearing. I think that Death doesn't, idk. They're not exactly, idk. Traditionally compassionate? But they care.

@anonymouse *Yessss*. Lillie is a lot of fun to write for, for me, because I want to do, like. "Person recovering from abuse." Definitely not working out any issues of my own. (Kāne would keep trying to find creative solutions to re-kill himself if he was stuck in a room with everyone for an extended period of time, which, might actually be pretty funny.) And thank you!! I'm glad that the tone switches play off well. And, I used to work with kids.....they're so much fun to write for, specifically in comedy. I think that it's a lot harder to pull them off in a serious work, lol.



AO3 Link

Lillie’s still awake at midnight, eating chips in her rented Center room.

Even now, she isn’t used to the novelty of not having a bedtime. While she stayed with Kukui and Burnet, they allowed her to stay up as late as she wanted, “As long as you don’t tap the Luvdisc tank. They’re sleeping.” And she would sit in their kitchen, watching infomercials on their old TV, volume low, reveling in the glory of simply having the option to be there.

Nebby would sit with her. They always got so excited during the commercials for kitchen things that no-one needed.

Now, Leo stays up with them. His tail twitches as he watches an ad for some kind of magical soap.

Lillie offers him a chip. He sniffs at it delicately, then turns his nose up.

Nebby trills happily. They point at the screen with one gaseous arm. “Troo?”

“We can’t get that. I don’t know what we do with it.”

Nebby trills, less happily.

“No, you can’t eat it!”

Nebby trills again, angry this time. Lillie rolls her eyes and ignores them.

She checks her phone again. She’s been waiting for a text for Kukui. She called Burnet earlier, like she did every night, and Burnet said she would have Kukui text Lillie the new information they had found about wormholes.

Soft warmth blossoms in Lillie’s chest. It’s nice, it’s so nice to have people who don’t get mad when she asks questions. They took her in, they fed her, they cared for her, and they keep telling her she doesn’t owe them anything, but doesn’t she? Shouldn’t she?

Nebby makes a loud, angry noise. Lillie opens her mouth to tell them they need to quiet down-

And,

There’s footsteps outside.

Lillie’s heart races. Ice freezes along her spine. Panic wraps its fingers around her throat.

The beat, the cadence, the sound. It’s the same. It can’t be. Right? No, it can’t be, (but Mother’s here,) she’s not, she’s here and she’s found you and she knows-

The footsteps fade.

Distantly, something rubs against her hand. Distantly, something makes a noise.

It’s Leo. She knows Leo. Leo is here. He’s fluffy under her fingers, meowing, nudging her with his nose.

She has to breathe. Kukui and Burnet were always reminding her to breathe, to count to ten, and that she isn’t there anymore. Her mother isn’t here. But Leo is, and he’s in her lap, purring up a storm.

She wants to stay here, and pet Leo until she calms down, but.

She has to know.

She has to know.

Lillie gets up and turns off the TV. She throws on a jacket and some shoes. She puts Leo in a Poké Ball, and shoves him in her pocket.

“And you stay,” she tells Nebby when she closes the door. “You can eat the chips, but you have to stay.”

(Food is the only thing that works on them).

Her heart beats quick in her chest, like the wings of a Yanmega. There’s no-one on this floor, at least. So. That’s good.

Lillie darts down the hallway, toward where she heard the steps go. There’s a door that leads to stairs; she opens it slowly.

Nothing.

Good.

She’s starting to breathe normally again.

She takes the stairs down two at a time. The sooner she gets this over with, the sooner she can go back to her room. (The sooner everything will be okay again.)

She reaches the ground floor just in time to see a familiar hooded figure leaving the Center. “Death?!”

(Out of the corner of her eye, she sees Nurse Joy flinch. Which, y’know. Fair.)

“Lillie.” Death sounds oddly distracted. “Hello.” They turn their head to the door, then to her again. “Do you require my assistance?”

It hits Lillie that she’s interrupted them. “No, I. I’m sorry, I heard someone walking down the hall, and I just, I was just trying to see who it was, I’m.” Is this when she’s allowed to apologize? Supposed to apologize? There’s so many new rules, now, to try and be independent and establish boundaries. “I’m sorry?”

Death tilts their head. “There is nothing to apologize for.” They tilt to their head to the side, like they’re listening to something. “Forgive me; I have business to attend to.”

Before she can stop herself, Lillie squeaks, “Are you gonna kill someone?”

She swears that she sees the fabric of their hood shift, just for a second. She swears she sees the thinnest of smiles. “Quite the opposite.”







Death takes her to a graveyard.

(Death takes most people to graveyards.)

It’s on the outskirts of Hau’oli, nestled in the foot of Melemele’s extinct volcano. The wrought-iron gate creaks when Death opens it.

The tombstones almost seem to glow in the soft moonlight.

It’s odd. Lillie knows that she should be scared right now; every book she’s ever read had people terrified of graveyards. But.

She glances at Death. It’s hard to tell, obviously, because they’re wearing a cloak, and also an infinite entity, but something about the way they hold themselves has shifted. They seem comfortable, here.

It occurs to Lillie that this might even be like home for them.

Death moves among the graves. People have put fake flowers on many of the headstones, but many of them have fallen over.

Lillie is careful to right them. She lags behind Death, but she can’t stand to walk by without doing something.

“Excuse me,” she whispers, stepping over a gave to pick up a vase. “Sorry to step on you.”

When she stands, she realizes that Death has left her behind. They are already at the other side of the cemetery. Two shady figures hover in front of their face.

Lillie tugs her jacket closer around herself.

Death seems to notice her. They crook a finger, beckoning her to come meet the ghosts of Hau’oli.

They’re a Misdreavus and a Haunter, and they treat Death like the most interesting thing in the world. They flit about them like Cutiefly buzzing at a flower.

“Are,” Lillie whispers. “Are they really people?”

Death raises a hand. To Lillie’s surprise, the Misdreavus alights upon it. “Once.”

(Something about the way the ghost looks at her makes her nervous).

The Misdreavus uses a semi-solid length of “hair” to polish the gems around its neck. The Haunter, meanwhile, takes Death’s other hand between both of theirs, and shakes it rapidly.

“What’s it doing?”

Death sound charmed. “She’s excited to meet me.”

“Do they talk to you?”

“In a way.” They address the Haunter. “It is good to meet you, too.”

The Haunter nods twice, in quick succession. They release Death’s hand. Then they disappear.

Lillie gasps. “Where did they go?!”

“They’re saying goodbye.” Death sounds odd. Lillie doesn’t know what to call they way their voice lilts. “They’ve decided to come with me.”

“Oh.” A thought occurs. “Did. Did they tell you that, all the way from here to the hotel?”

“Yes; they were quite insistent.” Death holds the Misdreavus in one hand, (they’re still cleaning their necklace,) and uses the other to fumble with the pouch that hangs from their rope belt. “They both want to see more before they let go.”

Lillie’s stomach twists uncomfortably. “Let go?”

Death fishes a Poké Ball out of their pouch. “Yes; will you hold this, please? I cannot hold it and get a second one.”

“Oh, yeah!” Lillie hesitates. “Have you thought about maybe, um. Getting like, a Trainer belt?”

Death hands her the Poké Ball. “A what?”

“Well, um.” She watches as they dig through their tiny, tiny pouch, which definitely shouldn’t be able to hold everything that it does. “It’s a belt with magnetic clips on it, so you can have your six Poké Balls ready for use whenever.” She doesn’t tell them about the time she and her brother tried to make one, with duct tape and fridge magnets.

(And Mother was so mad, she was so mad, but there’s not time for that here, for those memories, and Lillie focuses very hard on the way the grass looks silver in the moonlight, and reminds herself that she isn’t there anymore.)

“Hmmm.” Death finally pulls out a second Poké Ball. “I’ll have to look into it. Thank you.”

(Can you imagine? For Death to treat her like she’s worth listening to.)

They tap the sphere to Misdreavus’s head. It disappears in a flash of red light, and Lillie and Death watch together as the ball clicks once, twice, three times.

Death puts the ball in their pouch. “His name is Strigoi. He has been here for a very, very long time.” They wave at the air. “She is Ailani. She has been here for longer.”

Lillie fidgets. After a long moment, she asks, quietly, “Are they okay?”

Death tilts their head to one side. “What do you mean?”

Lillie’s gaze drops to the ground. (But it’s okay, she reminds herself, it’s okay, they aren’t here to be mad at you, but she still can’t make herself look at them.) “Just, um. They. I mean.” It’s difficult to explain what she wants to know. “Is it. Hard for them, to be a ghost?” Are they happy? She wants to know, are they okay? But the thought of asking such a foolish question makes her throat close up.

(But she asked a question. And she got a Pokemon. And she’s here, and not there, and she got out.

“Small progress is still progress, frangipani,” Burnet told her. “If you get mad at yourself for not making only progress, all the time, you won’t have the energy you need to actually help yourself out.”)

Death seems to consider this for a very long moment. “It… can be difficult,” they say, slowly. “They are not human anymore. They are something new. I have heard that it can be hard, to hold on to memories you once had, when your being shifts this drastically.” They roll their Poké Ball between their fingers. “Some embrace it, all the same. They do not want to remember anything.” Lillie swears she sees their hood shift, sees that thin smile again. “They see it as a second life.”

“How come, um.” It’s okay. She can ask. It’s okay. It is okay. “How come they can’t talk, but Kāne can?”

“Ah,” Death says. “That is because Kāne inhabits a facility specifically designed to allow him to speak.”

Lillie turns this over in her mind. “So, do. Do they all think, like he does?”

“Of course.” Death sounds as though they’re surprised she hasn’t realized it. “Why wouldn’t they?”

Lillie flushes. She wants to pull the hood of her jacket up over her face. “Sorry.”

“No need to apologize.” Death balances the Poké Ball on one finger. “It is my understanding that most Pokemon do not speak. You must remember; ghosts were not always Pokemon. It would be a very hard thing, to unlearn thinking once you’ve done it your whole life.”







At breakfast, Hau is simultaneously ecstatic and disappointed.

“So,” he says, pointing an accusing fork at them, “You two went to the cemetery,” the fork swings to judge Death, “You caught a Haunter,” the fork stabs into his waffles, “And neither of you woke me up?!” Hau angrily shovels waffle into his face. “‘S rude!”

Lillie’s feeding bacon strips to her Litten. “Sorry, Hau. It was really late, and we didn’t plan it or anything, or we would have definitely invited you!”

“Cemeteries suck,” Kāne says, from their spot in the air by Death’s shoulder. (They’ve both declined breakfast.)

Through a mouthful of syrup and whipped cream, Hau asks, “Hey, ‘r you bur’d there?”

Kane makes a face. ‘Excuse me?”

Hau swallows. “Are you buried there?”

Everything gets very quiet.

Then Kāne says, deapan, “It’s workplace harassment to ask about my body.”

“What-”

“I’ll be taking this up with HR.”

“We don’t have an HR!”

“Sure we do. Haunter Resources.”

“Death, Kāne won’t tell me where he’s buried!”

Death folds their hands neatly in front of them, and says, gravely, “Their body is their business, Hau.”

“Yeah, Hau.”

Hau turns to a giggling Lillie. “C’mon, help me out! Don’t you want to know where he’s buried?”

Lillie takes a deep breath. She seems to compose herself, except for the little snickers that keep escaping. “Hau, um. “ Snicker. “I dunno, this sounds like.” Snicker snicker. “Sounds like something I should also report to Haunter Resources, it’s very inappropriate.”

Hau throws his hands in the air. “I’m surrounded by traitors! Traitors the cause of Kāne’s body! No, wait! No, don’t record me! Kāne! C’mon!”

“Sorry, I need this for HR.”

Kāne!”





Here is how the next month goes:


-Lillie catches a Makuhita. She names him Mason. Mason likes to wear her hat.

-Death announces that they want a Trainer belt. To raise funds, Hau and Kāne put out a sign that says, “FIGHT DEATH FOR TEN POKÉ!” It works like a charm.

-Hau trains his Poppolio, Hana, by setting up soda cans for her to shoot down. He has Kāne record them, and put it one PokéTube. He gets three hits.

-Death catches a Grimer. They name her Deborah. Deborah refuses to eat anything but Poké Beans.

-Kāne is introduced to the other ghosts. They don’t get along. Kāne refuses to explain why.

-Death, Hau, and Lillie train their teams, over and over and over again.







Hau takes them all to Verdant Cavern.

He tosses his Poppolio’s ball in the air as he walks, and catches it each time it falls. (He’s giving Lillie a conniption, but he doesn’t notice). “So, Ilima said they can meet us there, and then I can have my Trial.” He throws the ball higher than he has before. Lillie squeaks.

Hau plucks it out of the air with ease. “And I’m gonna clear it super duper easy, cause Hana knows a Fairy move. And Ulia can play back-up, if I need to.” He frowns, and clips Hana’s Poké Ball to his worn Trainer belt. “I think. She’s not great defensively, but she’s tiny, and Totem Pokeon are pretty big, so. I think that’ll help.” He pokes Lillie. “What’s your strategy?”

Lillie’s got her duffel bag like normal, held tight to her chest. (One of these days, when she’s a little less jumpy, Kāne wants to ask her if she knows what the duffle bag strap is for.) “Um, I guess just use Mason?” Her hat been preemptively pulled low. “He should be good, I guess?”

Her cheeks are bright red. From the heat? Embarrassment?

Hau grins, and shoots finger guns at her. “Awesome! Great use of a Fighting-type. Use that advantage.”

Lillie grins back, then ducks her head.

Hau asks, “Death, what’s your strategy?”

“I’ve been told to use Jimmie and Deborah.” Their lei, which somehow hasn’t fallen apart yet, flutters in the breeze. “And that the Totem will likely use Dark-type moves, and so I should avoid using the ghosts.”

Kāne tried not to make a face at the mention of The Other Ghosts.

He doesn’t like them.

Hau’s nodding. “Yeah, that’s good stuff, that’s all super true.” He tucks his hands behind his head, smile wide as ever. “I got a good feeling about this, guys. It’s a good day for a Trial, guys.”

It looks like a good day. The sun is shining. Kāne can see the surf in the distance, crashing against the waves. He can hear the wind blowing through the grass, the good kind of grass, the thin, whippy kind, that gets up above your knees and nips the hem of your shorts.

(He wishes he could feel it, the spray of the ocean, the sun on his face, the wind in his hair.

He feels nothing. He is aware of everything. It’s like being in a dream, all of the time.

Sometimes, he wants to ask The Other Ghosts if this is what it’s like for them, too, but the thought of speaking to them makes his circuits fritz.)

An androgynous wonder meets them at the entrance to Verdant Cavern. They have pink hair. They are wearing beige. Kāne doesn’t know why anyone with pink hair would choose to wear beige, but Kāne’s wearing a Pokedex, so who the fuck is he to say anything.

“Hello,” the wonder says. There’s something shiny woven into their hair. “I’m Ilima Pukui. I am the Trial Captain for Verdant Cavern.”

They offer their hand to Lillie. To Kāne’s surprise, she actually shakes, looking them in the eye and everything. There’s something a little jerky about her movements, like she’s practiced this, but it’s more than Kāne expected of her.

“Lillie Smith,” she says.

Ilima’s smile is like the sun rising. “Lovely to meet you.” And, like they do it every single day, Ilima holds their hand out to Death. “And you?”

Death, too, shakes Ilima’s hand. “I am Death.”

“Do you have a last name?”

Death sounds like they’re grinning under their hood. “No. I am simply Death.”

“Well, it’s lovely to meet you as well. I like your Trainer belt.” Ilima turns to Hau. “And you I already know.”

Hau beams. “Hi!”

“Hello! Now, then.” Ilima clasps their hands together. “I’m sure that Hau has already explained to you about my Trial, and likely also gone over every strength and weakness my Totems have.”

Lillie says, “Yeah,” and Death says, “Several times,” and Kāne says, “Make him stop.”

Hau gasps, and puts his hand dramatically over his heart. “I’m sorry I spent my time helping all of you!”

“No, I really appreciate it!” Lillie assures him.

“I didn’t.”

“Kāne, you’re just jealous I know more than you.”

“I am literally a walking database, no you do not-”

“Gentlemen,” Ilima says. “As much fun as it would be to watch you two bicker, we have something important to be focusing on?”

“Yes, please,” Death says. They don’t sound excited, but. Like. Softly eager? That’s a thing, right? “I have been looking forward to this.”

“Sorry,” Hau and Kane say in unison.

“So!” Ilima sweeps their arm back, gesturing to the cave entrance behind them. “Verdant Cavern is an ecological marvel within the extinct Ka’ala volcano. It’s full of beautiful greenery, and home to several Pokemon. It’s also the site of my Trial, and before I go on, I want to remind all of you that this Trial site is used by a lot of people, so leave it the way you found it.” Their voice turns sharp. “Do not take anything. Don’t catch any Pokemon, either; this is a delicate ecosystem.”

Kāne, Death, Hau, and Lillie all nod.

“Those nods are legally binding,” Ilima tells them. “So don’t fuck with me on this.”

(Kāne’s opinion of Ilima, already pretty high, shoots into the stratosphere.)

“So, my Trail is based on Normal-types. And before Hau can interrupt me and rattle off a stat list for every Totem that’s ever lived here, let me explain my challenge.” Ilima’s smile hooks in one direction. “Normal-types aren’t super-effective against any other type, but they also only have one weakness.”

“And an immunity!”

“Yes, Hau. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome!”

“Anyway. Normal-types are known for their coverage versatility. They can learn a lot of different kinds of moves, and properly trained, can become a valued member of any team.” Ilima’s expression blossoms into a full on smirk. “My trial is designed to test your ability to handle the unexpected. Normal-types have a lot of tricks up their sleeves, and so do I. Each of you will have to fight the Totem Pokemon, but there’ll be a second challenge, too, which will be different for each of you.”

Hau looks excited. Lillie looks nervous. Death continues to have no discernible expression.

“So!” Ilima says. “Who’s first?”


Hau’s Poppolio, Hana isn’t named “Hannah”. She’s named “HAH-nah,” which (reportedly) means “work” in Hawaiian. It’s a name hau actually picked himself, (that his grandfather is super proud of,) and it’s to help remind himself that this isn’t all fun and games.

This chapter is…..kind of choppy? I’m not quite happy with the pacing. This was originally set to have the trial in the same chapter, but the graveyard scene and the “walking to the trial” scene took way longer than I planned. So! This is what we’ve got. But hey, this is supposed to be a quick, breezy comedy run, so. (Off topic, but “The Other Ghosts” is a killer band name.)

Also, the hardest part of writing this is quickly becoming, “how do I casually mention Death’s lei in each chapter”, lmao.

Thanks for reading!
 
Last edited:

Useron

Conqueror of the Cerulean Gym
Pokédex No.
892
Caught
Oct 13, 2019
Messages
9
Dude, you're "killing" it :) seriously, this is the type of run I was looking for. A nice getaway from the other more serious runs. Following for sure.
 

anonymouse

the plastic king of castle polyethylene
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
114
Location
southeastern USA
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
i am so glad you gave Kāne the POV for introducing Ilmia. he was the perfect one for the job. (also, does he accept hugs? i feel like he needs a hug. i'd also hug any of the other main cast who're open to hugs. up to and including Death.)
 

QuietGuardian

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
245
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
I'm kind of a sucker for more casual/lighthearted interpretations of Death, so this run is right up my alley! I love Death's calm demeanor paired with their relative lack of Trainer knowledge. And the expansion of Lillie's character is going well. Looking forward to more!
 

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
283
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
Oof, a more serious chapter. Or half of one, anyway. You’ve certainly proven already that you can do just as great of a job with that as you can with the comedy! I think it's a nice balance.

An androgynous wonder meets them at the entrance to Verdant Cavern. They have pink hair. They are wearing beige. Kāne doesn’t know why anyone with pink hair would choose to wear beige, but Kāne’s wearing a Pokedex, so who the fuck is he to say anything.
“Those nods are legally binding,” Ilima tells them. “So don’t fuck with me on this.”

(Kāne’s opinion of Ilima, already pretty high, shoots into the stratosphere.)
I LOVE THIS SO MUCH

(Also, seconding the sentiment of wanting to hug everybody.)
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
137
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
War, this run is ADORABLE.

The lei. The lei just kills me.

I love all of this, from the absurd premise to the characters to your uncanny ability to convey like every emotion on the planet through prose.

Every interaction between Death and Lillie is the cutest goddamn thing. I can't believe Death of all things is helping this child through her issues. Lillie's the cutest ever. All her insecurities. I just want to hug her forever. ;;;;;;;;;

Kane is something else. I'm so happy you made the Rotomdex a character.

Did I meantion I love Death? And this whole goddamn thing????

HAUNTER RESOURCES FHDIFJSJSJXJSJ

I love this, you nerd.
 
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SilverDoe

Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
37
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
91
Location
Verdanturf Town
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Water, Ghost
I love this so much. Seriously I smiled pretty much the entire time I was reading and laughed a lot. I read the run in pieces over the past couple of days whenever I had some time to just read on my phone and seriously, I loved it so much I don't mind sounding like a broken record here.

I'm really enjoying these characters so far and their dynamic is great; I love the way they interact with each other. And I especially love the writing style and the tone you're using. There are so many little moments, asides and punch lines that just hit the mark and elevate this run.

Also, I really like your Lillie so far. I love her inner conflict and the way she reassures herself it's okay to ask questions and give Death (DEATH!) advice. And I just love so much the idea of Lillie running away from home and becoming friends with Death, I want to see Lusamine's reaction to that news so badly. And honestly, I think this part is my favorite of the run so far:
And she realizes how foolish she’s being, how stupid, they’ll shut her down, they’ll tell her they can get it themself, why would she try to help, presume to know more than them, all her excitement leaves her in a cold rush-

“What an excellent idea,” Death says. “Let’s try it."

Lillie beams.
You've done a really great job with this run so far and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I can't wait to read more.
 

Whozawhatcha

i have too many projects
Pokédex No.
486
Caught
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
39
Nature
Lonely
Pokémon Type
Fire, Flying
Hello, you now own my ass cause I LOVE this friggin run to death! (No pun intended.)

But no seriously, I am OVER THE MOON that you gave Lillie the third starter and set her on this sweet quest of agency. She's such a precious delight and it's great seeing her character bounce off Death who has no preconceived notions about....well, anything it seems! And HAU. What a friggin delightful GREMLIN. I love him so much and his infectious thrills over everything, he's a lovely drive that drags our companions along.

And Death. Oh my god, what a BEAN. Like, how dare Death be the most precious thing in this run? (Next to Jimmie and her itty bitty wings a'flappin.) Death is just a goddamn delight and watching everyone fluster over talking to them has turned into my bread and butter.

I'll admit, Kane hasnt quite endeared to me yet, but their salt is quite tasty against the sugar of everyone else, they're a much needed addition I think. And a much needed deviation from how obnoxious rotomdex REALLY is in game. Whew. And I like your Ilima! Most of the time I hate every Ilima I read so I'm very pleased to find I like him here.

A real delight and marvel of writing wonder is no matter what POV you switch to, i can tell who is speaking even without prompting. Your character voices are strong AF and I'm jelly buddy. The graveyard scene was a shiner, in particular those last lines about never really being able to forget how to think. I just liked that for some reason.

(I also really, really liked that there was a month break in here. I'm glad people don't get evolved pokemon in DAYS.)

So yes, you have me hook line sinker addicted to this little run. It's just so pleasant and such a funny read too, all with bite sized chapters. Really makes for easy work reading. Cant wait for the next chapter!
 

Wwarborday

Gradually Becoming Productive
Pokédex No.
153
Caught
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
109
Location
Gaytown
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/him/his
Pokémon Type
Ground, Ice
Pokédex Entry
I'm Doing My Best
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18
@Useron Ha! Great pun. Thanks, man! I hope I keep delivering.

@anonymouse Kāne has the biggest fucking crush on Iima and so do I. And YES, they would all appreciate hugs, even though Kāne would pretend he didn't.

@QuietGuardian Thank you SO much! I'm trying really hard to balance the comedic tone with some more softer beats, I'm really glad it's staying mostly light. It's a nice break, lol.

@cyndakip Thank you!! Ilima is so much fun to write, and I swear I didn't mean for that graveyard scene to go the way it did, but hey! Glad it came across well!

@glancesherlock do you wanna hear my wildest secret?? I'm always worried that my prose ISN'T emotional enough. (SO HAPPY YOU LIKE THIS!!!!!)

@SilverDoe Ahhhhhh thank you!!!! Everyone seems to love Lillie, and I'm really glad. I was actually super worried people wouldn't like the direction I took her! So happy this has kept you laughing : D

@Whozawhatcha Sometimes a family is a salty ghost, a recovering abuse victim, a sunshine gremlin, and the entity of Death. So glad you love them as much as I do. Also, BIG same with "Pokemon d't just evolve in days". That's a minor pet peeve of mine, and like....I know it's a little unfair, because people do need to get their runs done and keep the pacing up and a normal level, and I'm sure I'll fall victim to "training is super easy" at some point in this run, BUT. I can at least fix it a LITTLE.


So! Bit of a weird update today; it's a minor rewrite of the last chapter.

I was really kind of unhappy with the first scene, and I did not like the part that was just a summary. It was bugging the absolute crap out of me, so I said, "Eh, fuck it," and I rewrote those parts! I promise not to make a habit of this, (I don't want to have to make everyone re-read the same information three different way every time I write a chapter, lol,) but I'm on Thanksgiving/NaNo vacation ("""vacation""",) so I had some time to write.

Again, I only re-wrote the first scene, and the little summary between "Haunter Resources" and "Hau leads them to Verdant Cavern", so if you just want to skip to those parts, more than welcome to. Y'all can expect a proper update on Monday, and Happy Thanksgiving!

AO3 Link


Lillie calls Burnet from the bank of video phones in the Center lobby.

Burnet answers on the first ring. (Burnet always answers on the first ring.) Her smile is bright. “Hello, frangipani!”

Something in Lillie’s chest eases. “Hi, Burnet.”

Burnet has, thankfully, stopped trying to get Lillie to call her by her first name. “How are ya?” she asks instead. She sounds really, truly interested.

Lillie’s hand curls around the phone. “Good.” Her other hand idly rolls two Poké Balls back and forth. “Um, I caught my first Pokemon today?”

“Lillie!” Burnet squeals, “I’m so proud of you!”

Lillie tugs her hat over her eyes, grin so wide it hurts. “He’s a Makuhita, I named him Mason, um, he’s really strong, and Death caught a Grimer? Her name is Deborah, and Hau keeps calling her ‘Debbie’, and Hau’s been training his Poppolio, he like, he set up these old soda cans?” She can feel it, the worry creeping up her spine, the fear that Burnet will take what she says and twists it back on her; she’s been talking too long, too much, about something that doesn’t matter, she has to wrap it up, “ Um. He set up these cans, and they’ve been practicing knocking them down for target practice, and, um. Yeah.”

She fights the urge to apologize. It’s okay, she reminds herself fiercely. Burnet likes you. It’s okay.

(But it isn’t okay, it’s never okay, she’s too much, too loud, takes up too much space, speaks too long, and Burnet will eventually realize-)

“I’m so proud of all you!” Burnet’s happy voice gushes through the speaker. “You’re all doing so well, I know you’ll do great on your first Trial! It sounds like you guys are having an amazing time, I’m so glad you’re telling me about it.”

Lillie knows she’s blushing, because all the warm, happy feelings in her chest are escaping through her face. “Thank you,” she mumbles.

(It is a hard thing, to learn how to not be afraid.)

“So.” Burnet is seated in a chair in front of her own video phone, and she leans forward as she speaks. “Have you thought any more about my offer?”

Lillie looks around on reflex. She’s seated at the very last video phone on the row, tucked away in a nearly hidden corner of the Center. She’s got a good view of the rest of the lobby, and, besides the Nurse Joy behind the counter, and the Trainer asleep on the couch, there’s no-one here.

She’s still worried, of course. She has to be, with something as delicate as this.

Lillie’s already bunched up close to the screen, but she bunches up further. “Yes. Um.” She takes a deep breath. “I’ll tell Nebby to go back to you guys in the morning.”

Immediately, the guilt crashes over her.

She’s been over this. She knows she’s been over this. Nebby doesn’t deserve to be stuffed in a duffel bag all day while Lillie runs around Alola. And it’s not abandonment, it’s not, not when Nebby is going somewhere safe and nice, somewhere with people who love them. It’s better this way. She isn’t a bad person for doing this. She isn’t getting rid of her friend.

(The guilt still eats at her, acid in her veins, burning under her skin.)

“Hey.” Burnet taps the screen. “Hey, frangipani, it’s gonna be okay.”

Lillie sniffs. She hadn’t even realized the tears starting to creep down her face, and she swipes at them, ashamed. “Yeah,” she mutters. “Yeah, sorry.”

Burnet smiles softly. “No sorries for crying.”

Someone gasps.

Lillie whirls, NO-

No.

No, not her mother. Just the Joy on duty, hand clasped over her mouth, eyes wide in shock, as Death looks back and forth.

It takes Lillie a second, but they seem oddly distracted. They’re not looking back and forth, they’re tilting their head to one side, then the other, as though they’re trying to hear something without knowing where it’s coming from.

Lillie frowns. “Um. I, Burnet, I have to go, I. I think there’s something wrong with Death.”

“Oh?” Burnet cranes her head, as though trying to see around the edge of the screen. “Sounds weird when you put it like that.”
Lillie giggles. “I-”

She glances back over. Death is turning in little circles in the center of the lobby.

“Um. Burnet, I’m sorry, I’m really sorry, I really have to go.”

“Alright, frangipani. Call me if you need anything, I love you!”

Burnet hangs up.

Something warm and fizzy bursts right in Lillie’s heart.

She hangs up the phone, and puts her Poké Balls in her jacket pocket. (She threw it on over her sleep shirt, when she came down to phone Burnet.) Slowly, she makes her way over to Death, who is still standing in place, making odd circles. “Death?”

(The Joy on duty looks like she might faint.)

After a moment, Death seems to notice her. “Ah,” the say. They sound distant. (Tonally, not physically.) “Lillie, hello.”

“Hello.” She eyes them, wary. “Are you, um. Are you doing okay?”

“I.” Death’s head suddenly jerks in one direction. “Ah. There; I have business to attend to.”

Lillie’s eyes snap open. Before she can stop herself, she squeaks, “Are you gonna kill someone?”

She swears that she sees the fabric of their hood shift, just for a second. She swears she sees the thinnest of smiles. “Quite the opposite.”



Death takes her to a graveyard.

(Death takes most people to graveyards.)

It’s on the outskirts of Hau’oli, nestled in the foot of Melemele’s extinct volcano. The wrought-iron gate creaks when Death opens it.

The tombstones almost seem to glow in the soft moonlight.

It’s odd. Lillie knows that she should be scared right now; every book she’s ever read had people terrified of graveyards. But.

She glances at Death. It’s hard to tell, obviously, because they’re wearing a cloak, and also an infinite entity, but something about the way they hold themselves has shifted. They seem comfortable, here.

It occurs to Lillie that this might even be like home for them.

Death moves among the graves. People have put fake flowers on many of the headstones, but many of them have fallen over.

Lillie is careful to right them. She lags behind Death, but she can’t stand to walk by without doing something.

“Excuse me,” she whispers, stepping over a gave to pick up a vase. “Sorry to step on you.”

When she stands, she realizes that Death has left her behind. They are already at the other side of the cemetery. Two shady figures hover in front of their face.

Lillie tugs her jacket closer around herself.

Death seems to notice her. They crook a finger, beckoning her to come meet the ghosts of Hau’oli.

They’re a Misdreavus and a Haunter, and they treat Death like the most interesting thing in the world. They flit about them like Cutiefly buzzing at a flower.

“Are,” Lillie whispers. “Are they really people?”

Death raises a hand. To Lillie’s surprise, the Misdreavus alights upon it. “Once.”

(Something about the way the ghost looks at her makes her nervous).

The Misdreavus uses a semi-solid length of “hair” to polish the gems around its neck. The Haunter, meanwhile, takes Death’s other hand between both of theirs, and shakes it rapidly.

“What’s it doing?”

Death sound charmed. “She’s excited to meet me.”

“Do they talk to you?”

“In a way.” They address the Haunter. “It is good to meet you, too.”

The Haunter nods twice, in quick succession. They release Death’s hand. Then they disappear.

Lillie gasps. “Where did they go?!”

“They’re saying goodbye.” Death sounds odd. Lillie doesn’t know what to call they way their voice lilts. “They’ve decided to come with me.”

“Oh.” A thought occurs. “Did. Did they tell you that, all the way from here to the hotel?”

“Yes; they were quite insistent.” Death holds the Misdreavus in one hand, (they’re still cleaning their necklace,) and uses the other to fumble with the pouch that hangs from their rope belt. “They both want to see more before they let go.”

Lillie’s stomach twists uncomfortably. “Let go?”

Death fishes a Poké Ball out of their pouch. “Yes; will you hold this, please? I cannot hold it and get a second one.”

“Oh, yeah!” Lillie hesitates. “Have you thought about maybe, um. Getting like, a Trainer belt?”

Death hands her the Poké Ball. “A what?”

“Well, um.” She watches as they dig through their tiny, tiny pouch, which definitely shouldn’t be able to hold everything that it does. “It’s a belt with magnetic clips on it, so you can have your six Poké Balls ready for use whenever.” She doesn’t tell them about the time she and her brother tried to make one, with duct tape and fridge magnets.

(And Mother was so mad, she was so mad, but there’s not time for that here, for those memories, and Lillie focuses very hard on the way the grass looks silver in the moonlight, and reminds herself that she isn’t there anymore.)

“Hmmm.” Death finally pulls out a second Poké Ball. “I’ll have to look into it. Thank you.”

(Can you imagine? For Death to treat her like she’s worth listening to.)

They tap the sphere to Misdreavus’s head. It disappears in a flash of red light, and Lillie and Death watch together as the ball clicks once, twice, three times.

Death puts the ball in their pouch. “His name is Strigoi. He has been here for a very, very long time.” They wave at the air. “She is Ailani. She has been here for longer.”

Lillie fidgets. After a long moment, she asks, quietly, “Are they okay?”

Death tilts their head to one side. “What do you mean?”

Lillie’s gaze drops to the ground. (But it’s okay, she reminds herself, it’s okay, they aren’t here to be mad at you, but she still can’t make herself look at them.) “Just, um. They. I mean.” It’s difficult to explain what she wants to know. “Is it. Hard for them, to be a ghost?” Are they happy? She wants to know, are they okay? But the thought of asking such a foolish question makes her throat close up.

(But she asked a question. And she got a Pokemon. And she’s here, and not there, and she got out.

“Small progress is still progress, frangipani,” Burnet told her. “If you get mad at yourself for not making only progress, all the time, you won’t have the energy you need to actually help yourself out.”)

Death seems to consider this for a very long moment. “It… can be difficult,” they say, slowly. “They are not human anymore. They are something new. I have heard that it can be hard, to hold on to memories you once had, when your being shifts this drastically.” They roll their Poké Ball between their fingers. “Some embrace it, all the same. They do not want to remember anything.” Lillie swears she sees their hood shift, sees that thin smile again. “They see it as a second life.”

“How come, um.” It’s okay. She can ask. It’s okay. It is okay. “How come they can’t talk, but Kāne can?”

“Ah,” Death says. “That is because Kāne inhabits a facility specifically designed to allow him to speak.”

Lillie turns this over in her mind. “So, do. Do they all think, like he does?”

“Of course.” Death sounds as though they’re surprised she hasn’t realized it. “Why wouldn’t they?”

Lillie flushes. She wants to pull the hood of her jacket up over her face. “Sorry.”

“No need to apologize.” Death balances the Poké Ball on one finger. “It is my understanding that most Pokemon do not speak. You must remember; ghosts were not always Pokemon. It would be a very hard thing, to unlearn thinking once you’ve done it your whole life.”







At breakfast, Hau is simultaneously ecstatic and disappointed.

“So,” he says, pointing an accusing fork at them, “You two went to the cemetery,” the fork swings to judge Death, “You caught a Haunter,” the fork stabs into his waffles, “And neither of you woke me up?!” Hau angrily shovels waffle into his face. “‘S rude!”

Lillie’s feeding bacon strips to her Litten. “Sorry, Hau. It was really late, and we didn’t plan it or anything, or we would have definitely invited you!”

“Cemeteries suck,” Kāne says, from their spot in the air by Death’s shoulder. (They’ve both declined breakfast.)

Through a mouthful of syrup and whipped cream, Hau asks, “Hey, ‘r you bur’d there?”

Kane makes a face. ‘Excuse me?”

Hau swallows. “Are you buried there?”

Everything gets very quiet.

Then Kāne says, deapan, “It’s workplace harassment to ask about my body.”

“What-”

“I’ll be taking this up with HR.”

“We don’t have an HR!”

“Sure we do. Haunter Resources.”

“Death, Kāne won’t tell me where he’s buried!”

Death folds their hands neatly in front of them, and says, gravely, “Their body is their business, Hau.”

“Yeah, Hau.”

Hau turns to a giggling Lillie. “C’mon, help me out! Don’t you want to know where he’s buried?”

Lillie takes a deep breath. She seems to compose herself, except for the little snickers that keep escaping. “Hau, um. “ Snicker. “I dunno, this sounds like.” Snicker snicker. “Sounds like something I should also report to Haunter Resources, it’s very inappropriate.”

Hau throws his hands in the air. “I’m surrounded by traitors! Traitors the cause of Kāne’s body! No, wait! No, don’t record me! Kāne! C’mon!”

“Sorry, I need this for HR.”

Kāne!”




Hau sets up a sign on the Hau’oli beachfront.. He and Death sit behind it. Jimmie is perched on Death’s head. Hau’s own Uila sits in his lap, demanding ear scratches with loud squeaks.

Tourists pass them. Most scoff. A few look wary. Some people take pictures, but, finally, a woman with cats-eye glasses approaches them.

“Are you guys serious?”

Hau grins and taps the sign. “Yes ma’am we are! Battle Death for only a thousand Poké” He wishes he had one of those straw carnival hats, one with a cool ribbon on it.

The woman eyes them suspiciously. “So, like. What. If I lose, you get my soul?”

“I get your soul no matter what,” Death tells her. “The outcome of this battle will not change that in any way.”

“...okay, cool, so nothing to lose.”

Hau nods. “Only your Poké and your dignity!”

The lady chews her lip for a second. “So. Death.”

“Ma’am?”

“What do you need Poké for, anyway?”

“I desire a Trainer belt.”

“Oh. Okay.” She pulls a wad of cash from her wallet. “That’s fair. Sign me up.”





(They do this every day for a month.)




Hau takes them all to Verdant Cavern.

He tosses his Poppolio’s ball in the air as he walks, and catches it each time it falls. (He’s giving Lillie a conniption, but he doesn’t notice). “So, Ilima said they can meet us there, and then I can have my Trial.” He throws the ball higher than he has before. Lillie squeaks.

Hau plucks it out of the air with ease. “And I’m gonna clear it super duper easy, cause Hana knows a Fairy move. And Ulia can play back-up, if I need to.” He frowns, and clips Hana’s Poké Ball to his worn Trainer belt. “I think. She’s not great defensively, but she’s tiny, and Totem Pokeon are pretty big, so. I think that’ll help.” He pokes Lillie. “What’s your strategy?”

Lillie’s got her duffel bag like normal, held tight to her chest. (One of these days, when she’s a little less jumpy, Kāne wants to ask her if she knows what the duffle bag strap is for.) “Um, I guess just use Mason?” Her hat been preemptively pulled low. “He should be good, I guess?”

Her cheeks are bright red. From the heat? Embarrassment?

Hau grins, and shoots finger guns at her. “Awesome! Great use of a Fighting-type. Use that advantage.”

Lillie grins back, then ducks her head.

Hau asks, “Death, what’s your strategy?”

“I’ve been told to use Jimmie and Deborah.” Their lei, which somehow hasn’t fallen apart yet, flutters in the breeze. “And that the Totem will likely use Dark-type moves, and so I should avoid using the ghosts.”

Kāne tried not to make a face at the mention of The Other Ghosts.

He doesn’t like them.

Hau’s nodding. “Yeah, that’s good stuff, that’s all super true.” He tucks his hands behind his head, smile wide as ever. “I got a good feeling about this, guys. It’s a good day for a Trial, guys.”

It looks like a good day. The sun is shining. Kāne can see the surf in the distance, crashing against the waves. He can hear the wind blowing through the grass, the good kind of grass, the thin, whippy kind, that gets up above your knees and nips the hem of your shorts.

(He wishes he could feel it, the spray of the ocean, the sun on his face, the wind in his hair.

He feels nothing. He is aware of everything. It’s like being in a dream, all of the time.

Sometimes, he wants to ask The Other Ghosts if this is what it’s like for them, too, but the thought of speaking to them makes his circuits fritz.)

An androgynous wonder meets them at the entrance to Verdant Cavern. They have pink hair. They are wearing beige. Kāne doesn’t know why anyone with pink hair would choose to wear beige, but Kāne’s wearing a Pokedex, so who the fuck is he to say anything.

“Hello,” the wonder says. There’s something shiny woven into their hair. “I’m Ilima Pukui. I am the Trial Captain for Verdant Cavern.”

They offer their hand to Lillie. To Kāne’s surprise, she actually shakes, looking them in the eye and everything. There’s something a little jerky about her movements, like she’s practiced this, but it’s more than Kāne expected of her.

“Lillie Smith,” she says.

Ilima’s smile is like the sun rising. “Lovely to meet you.” And, like they do it every single day, Ilima holds their hand out to Death. “And you?”

Death, too, shakes Ilima’s hand. “I am Death.”

“Do you have a last name?”

Death sounds like they’re grinning under their hood. “No. I am simply Death.”

“Well, it’s lovely to meet you as well. I like your Trainer belt.” Ilima turns to Hau. “And you I already know.”

Hau beams. “Hi!”

“Hello! Now, then.” Ilima clasps their hands together. “I’m sure that Hau has already explained to you about my Trial, and likely also gone over every strength and weakness my Totems have.”

Lillie says, “Yeah,” and Death says, “Several times,” and Kāne says, “Make him stop.”

Hau gasps, and puts his hand dramatically over his heart. “I’m sorry I spent my time helping all of you!”

“No, I really appreciate it!” Lillie assures him.

“I didn’t.”

“Kāne, you’re just jealous I know more than you.”

“I am literally a walking database, no you do not-”

“Gentlemen,” Ilima says. “As much fun as it would be to watch you two bicker, we have something important to be focusing on?”

“Yes, please,” Death says. They don’t sound excited, but. Like. Softly eager? That’s a thing, right? “I have been looking forward to this.”

“Sorry,” Hau and Kane say in unison.

“So!” Ilima sweeps their arm back, gesturing to the cave entrance behind them. “Verdant Cavern is an ecological marvel within the extinct Ka’ala volcano. It’s full of beautiful greenery, and home to several Pokemon. It’s also the site of my Trial, and before I go on, I want to remind all of you that this Trial site is used by a lot of people, so leave it the way you found it.” Their voice turns sharp. “Do not take anything. Don’t catch any Pokemon, either; this is a delicate ecosystem.”

Kāne, Death, Hau, and Lillie all nod.

“Those nods are legally binding,” Ilima tells them. “So don’t fuck with me on this.”

(Kāne’s opinion of Ilima, already pretty high, shoots into the stratosphere.)

“So, my Trail is based on Normal-types. And before Hau can interrupt me and rattle off a stat list for every Totem that’s ever lived here, let me explain my challenge.” Ilima’s smile hooks in one direction. “Normal-types aren’t super-effective against any other type, but they also only have one weakness.”

“And an immunity!”

“Yes, Hau. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome!”

“Anyway. Normal-types are known for their coverage versatility. They can learn a lot of different kinds of moves, and properly trained, can become a valued member of any team.” Ilima’s expression blossoms into a full on smirk. “My trial is designed to test your ability to handle the unexpected. Normal-types have a lot of tricks up their sleeves, and so do I. Each of you will have to fight the Totem Pokemon, but there’ll be a second challenge, too, which will be different for each of you.”

Hau looks excited. Lillie looks nervous. Death continues to have no discernible expression.

“So!” Ilima says. “Who’s first?”





Hau’s Poppolio, Hana isn’t named “Hannah”. She’s named “HAH-nah,” which (reportedly) means “work” in Hawaiian. It’s a name Hau actually picked himself, (that his grandfather is super proud of,) and it’s to help remind himself that this isn’t all fun and games.

This chapter is…..kind of choppy? I’m not quite happy with the pacing. This was originally set to have the trial in the same chapter, but the graveyard scene and the “walking to the trial” scene took way longer than I planned. So! This is what we’ve got. But hey, this is supposed to be a quick, breezy comedy run, so. (Off topic, but “The Other Ghosts” is a killer band name.)

Also, the hardest part of writing this is quickly becoming, “how do I casually mention Death’s lei in each chapter”, lmao.

"Frangipani" is a flower in the plumeria genus! That's called "irony".

So, so glad I got to work in the scene with Burnet, I REALLY wanted to have her and Lillie interact at some point in this fic. I'm hoping to explore thier dynamic further, at some point, but I mostly, just. I dunno. I didn't like the last draft of this scene, it felt like more, "wow Lillie sure is Sad, huh," and that's not what I'm going for. So, yeah, good to get this in.

Now; Nebby.

The problem with Nebby,is that they're. A problem. They don't want to be in the bag. That's their whole character, and I, frankly, can't think of a good, non-exhausting way to keep that going. I tried keeping it up in chapters four and five, and it VERY quickly felt like an overused running gag. Sure, it's cute in the games, but it only happens, like. Twice per island, in the game. It's a lot more tiring when it's Lillie's constantly worry, so. Nebby's gonna go chill with Burnet and Kukui for a while. (I PROMISE they'll come back, though, so don't panic.)

Thanks for reading!
 
Last edited:

anonymouse

the plastic king of castle polyethylene
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
643
Caught
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
114
Location
southeastern USA
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
any; they/them
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon spends far too much time in front of a laptop, someone unglue them.
that's a v valid decision to make about Nebby. it's the best compromise between keeping everything in character and not beating the joke to death.

speaking of that, everyone gets a hug. Lillie gets the biggest one bc she needs all the emotional support. tell her she's loved and appreciated!!
 

Wwarborday

Gradually Becoming Productive
Pokédex No.
153
Caught
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
109
Location
Gaytown
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/him/his
Pokémon Type
Ground, Ice
Pokédex Entry
I'm Doing My Best
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #20
@anonymouse Thanks! I was worried about the change, but I think I'm glad you approve ^^ (I'll tell her!!!!)

So, in the last one, Hau, Lillie, Kāne, and Death headed to Verdant Cavern to take their first Trial. (And as a reminder, in the Section Three rewrite, Lillie sent Nebby back to Burnet and Kukui, since it was too dangerous to continue travelling with him when he didn't have a ball.)

On with the show!

AO3 Link

Hau shoots his hand in the air. “Me!”

Lillie holds back a laugh. Of course Hau would go first, he’s been bouncing off the walls with excitement - But, to her surprise, Ilima waves him off.

“Sorry, that was rhetorical. I’ll be picking.” (And nerves start to clog Lillie’s throat.)

“You should pick me,” Hau says.

“Hush. Alright, let’s see here.” Ilima taps their chin once, twice. “Eenie,” they point at Hau, “Meenie,” Death, “Minie,” Kāne, “Moe.”

Their finger lands on Lillie. Her stomach drops through her feet.

“You’re up, kiddo.” Ilima pulls out two walkie-talkies, seemingly oblivious to how Lillie is about to throw up. “You get one, I get one. Contact me if anything goes wrong, the cell phone service in there is shit.”

“Oh, um.” Lillie stares at the ground, focusing very hard on the way the grass moves in the wind. “I. um.” She can feel everyone staring at her, judging her for being such a coward. “I, Hau, really want to go first, I think that-”

“Sorry!” Ilima sounds way too cheery. “The finger has spoken.”

Lillie wants to argue.

She wants to to go back to the Center, to bury herself under blankets, to hide somewhere where she’ll never be found. She wants to call Burnet and beg to go back to the little shack on the coast where she and Kukui live, and spend her days with her toes in the sand.

She doesn’t want to be here.

Already, she knows. She knows she’ll fail. It doesn’t matter that she has a type advantage in Mason. It doesn’t matter that she’s worked to get here. The ache in her bones knows that she’s an idiot who can’t get anything done. (She even had to send Nebby back to Burnet, because they refused to stay hidden.) With each step she took toward this dreaded cave, she had felt worse and worse.

And now they’re making her go first.

It takes everything in her now to burst into tears.

“This is my second try,” Hau says suddenly.

Lillie jerks her head up. He looks more somber than she would have thought he was capable of being.

Hau’s voice is even, but he won’t meet her eyes. “I was, like. Ten? And I caught a Pikipek. And, Grandpa took me with him on a trip to Hau’oli. And. I, y’know. I wanted to prove that I was ready to take on the Island Challenge. And, um.” His hands play with the straps of his backpack. “I was really proud of myself, because I got here all alone, and. Yeah.”

The wind has stilled, almost like it, too, is listening.

“Anyway.” Hau awkwardly laughs. “I did my best. Um. But. I didn’t win. And. I don’t, uh. I don’t have a Pikiek anymore.”

Lillie’s heart snaps in two. “Hau-”

Hau waves her off. He still won’t look her in the eye. “Hey, no, c’mon, the point is. The point is! You can come back! And try again! And sometimes you, y’know, you fail really hard, but it’s gonna be okay! Cause you still have time to do shit! And maybe you’ll even meet Death!”

“Hello,” Death says helpfully.

“Look at that!” Hau gestures to the reaper. Or, the Reaper. “So cool!”

Lillie’s starting to grin in spite of herself.

Hau points at the cave entrance. “And now you’re gonna go in there, and kick some ass!”

“Kick some ass!” Kāne whoops.

“I don’t care for swearing,” Death says. “But you will do well.”

Lillie feels something warm bloom in her chest. It threatens to overwhelm her, rising up to clog her throat.

“Thank you,” she managers to say.

Ilima hands her the walkie talkie. “Alrighty,” they say. “Head on in!”

And Lillie walks into Verdant Cavern with something approaching confidence.







It turns out that Death owns playing cards.

“Are these cursed?” Ilima asks as Death hands the cards out.

“Goodness, no,” Death says. “They would be much drier if they were.”

Hau, simultaneously weirded out and intrigued, asks, “What?”

Death doesn’t elaborate.

As they wait for Lillie, Death teaches them a game called “Beanstalk”. They say it’s from another world, but the game is easy enough to pick up. Hau has four “stalks”, and nine “shoots” before Ilima asks, “Death, do you know how the Trials work?”

“I’ve been informed.” Death puts a card down. “I use my turn to plant a seed. Kāne has told me much about them; they are used to demonstrate the resourcefulness of a Trainer,and they involve battling a Totem Pokemon.”

“Correct.”

“Obviously,” Kāne mutters.

Ilima puts down two cards. “Hau, I’m plucking your leaves.”

“What!”

“Give ‘em.”

Hau rolls his eyes, but hands Ilima three of the shoots he was growing. “Death, did Kāne tell you about the Totem Pokemon? Oh, and I plant a seed.”

Death actually sounds a little startled. “Yes, I. Did I not just say he told me?”

“Yeah, Hau, of course I already told him.”

“Kāne, you told Death that I don’t own Hau’oli City, I don’t know whether I can trust you,” Hau says loftily.

“One day.” Kāne sounds very tired. “One day, I will learn how to give myself hands. And then I will strangle you with them.”

“Love you too!” Hau nudges Death with his knee. Ilima and the two of them have set up shop around a flat rock near the mouth of Verdant Cavern. “It’s your turn, by the way.”

“Thank you.” Death picks up two of the five cars they’ve set down. “I harvest. Hau, is there something in particular I should know about the Totem Pokemon?”

“Yeah!” Hau loves talking about this stuff. (He’s wanted to be a Kahuna since he could walk.) “The Totem Pokemon are chosen by the Tapus! And then they’re trained up by the Trial Captains.”

“I’m planting a seed,” Ilima announces, putting a card down. “And it’s true.”

“So have you met the Tapus?” Kāne asks.

Ilima winks at him, and taps their nose. “Trade secret.”

Just then, Lillie emerges from Verdant cavern.

She looks ecstatic. She’s taken her hat off, and nestled within is a clutch of Exeggcute. Her Makuhita waddles along beside her; he has a black eye, and more than a few scratches, but he looks pretty darn proud of himself. Lillie, meanwhile, looks more sure of herself than Hau has ever seen.

It’s a good look.

“Ilima.” Lillie’s grin looks like it’s about to split her face in two. “Um, I did it. I did it, and I, I get the the Trainer stamp now, in my Trainer Passport, and I did it!”

“YEAH!” Hau whoops, throwing his cards on the rock. “YOU DID IT!” He shoots several finger guns her way, unable to contain his glee at her success. “I would hug you, but you are holding breakable Pokemon!”

Lillie lights up even more, if such a thing was possible. “I had to find them! They were hidden around the cave, and, okay, there was a rock in the way of the, of the place, where the Totem Pokemon was? And I needed all six of them to open it, so I had to try and find them, and it was so much fun!”

“Congratulations.” Death sounds like they’re smiling. “You have proven your worth as a Trainer.”

Lillie, unable to hide behind her hat, ducks her head into herself. “I did it,” she says again, softer, but with no less excitement.

“You did it!” Kāne agrees.

Ilima stands up, and stretches. “Well, Ms. Smith, I’ll be more than happy to stamp your Passport. But, first; if you could give me the walkie-talkie, Hau’s going next.”

Hau’s skin starts to tingle. “Seriously?”

“Yup. We’re doing reverse alphabetical order.” Ilima takes the walkie-talkie from Lillie, and hands it to Hau, who takes it with shaking hands. “Whenever you’re ready-”

Hau’s been ready since the moment he was born.

He’s off before Ilima can even finish talking.







Kāne helps Lillie learn Beanstalk. She takes Hau’s hand, and Kāne murmurs tips as she plays with Death and Ilima. (Every few seconds, she’ll glance, again, at the new stamp in Trainer Passport. It’s adorable.)

(The stamp looks wrong to Kāne, for some reason. He can’t put his non-existent finger on it. It seems like it should be different, is all, like something on it has been changed.

He works very hard not to think about that.

He hates thinking about stuff like that.)

After twenty minutes, Hau’s voice crackles over Ilima’s walkie-talkie. “HeyI think I messed up?”

Ilima suddenly turns business mode, grabbing the device. “Hau, what’s going?”

“Oh, sorry, I’m fine and everything!” Hau assures the Captain. “I just, uh. I already beat the Totem? I didn’t see any like, puzzles or anything?”

Ilima rolls their eyes so hard that Kāne feels it. “Yes,” Ilima says, far more patient than Kāne could ever manage. “That’s because you charged into the Trail site before I could set anything up.”

“Oh.”

"Oh, indeed,” Ilima says dryly.

Death lets out the most polite of chuckles.

“Listen,” Ilima tells Hau. “Grab your stuff, come on out, and sit still while I set up for Death. Okay?’

“Be out in a flash!”

Death looks at Kāne. “Well,” they say. “I suppose we should get ready, then.”

Kāne does his best to nod, which involves moving his whole body back and forth. “I suppose we should.”








Verdant Cavern sure is verdant.

Kāne takes it in for a moment. It’s mostly dusty paths, with patches of ferns. Moss dots the volcanic walls. There’ a second entrance on the other side of the cave, and there are crumbling holes in top of the cavern, lighting the whole thing with a soft, yellow glow.

Alright, maybe it’s not verdant-verdant, it’s just more verdant than Kāne would, like. Assume.

(It’s more verdant than it is in his hand, hazy memories of a cave with one fern, lit by the moon, of a Rattata who was curious about, something, he doesn’t know, he never knows enough, memories spliced together by a shit editor,)

Whatever.

Death drums their fingers against their new Trainer belt, opposite the side where the walkie-talkie is hooked.“So, there is a Totem Pokemon somewhere.”

“Right.”

“And we must find and defeat it.”

“Yup.”

”Well,” Death says. “A little help can’t hurt.”

They release Jimmie from her ball. The Rowlet starts peeping the second she’s out in the world, and flits her way up to sit on Death;s shoulder.

“Jimmie,” Death says. They sound like they’re trying very hand to sound serious. “I need you to search for the Totem Pokemon.”

Jimmie nibbles on Death’s hood.

“No,” Death says. “The Totem Pokemon.”

Jimmie peeps.

“Well, now you’re just being contrary.”

Kāne, okay, he doesn’t actually clear his throat, he plays a sound recording that sounds like someone clearing their throat, but, he does that, and then he says, “I mean, if I had, to guess, I’d say it was on the other side of the cave?” He gestures with one of his useless not-arms. “There’s like, a giant opening that just screams ‘I’m important’.”

“Ah.” Death is giving Jimmie scritches. “I am unaware of what makes things scream ‘I’m important’.”

“Positioning and low self-esteem.”

“Fascinating.”

Death doesn’t take more than three steps when two kids burst out of nowhere.

Or, not kids, teens, but they’re both dressed like morons. They have black and white bandanas on their faces, black and white beanies on their heads, and black and white tanks over black and white shorts.

“Hey!” The one on the right says. She has badly dyed green hair. “We’re here to stop you from getting to the Totem!”

“Yeah!” the one on the left says. He crosses his arms and squats. “And we’re gonna steal your Pokemon, yo!”

“And your cool costume!” the girl adds.

“Yeah!”

“What the fuck,” Kāne says.

“Oh, wait, we’re gonna, we’re gonna take away your communication method!” the girl says triumphantly. “Get him, B!”

“Yeah!” B releases a Drowzee from some unsee Poké Ball. “Get the talkie!”

The Drowzee takes one look at Death, whimpers, and scampers behind their trainer.

“What the fuck,” Kāne says again, louder.

“Oh, let them work,” Death says. They sound charmed.

“You’re a shit judge of character, you know that?”

“Hush.”

“Z-man!” B sounds panicked. “Z-man, hey!” He’s nervously stroking the Drowzee’s wrinkled head. The Pokemon is wrapped around his leg, shaking, with their face buried in his leg. “Hey, buddy, what’s going on?”

Jimmie suddenly starts chirping. To Kāne’s surprise, the Drowzee slowly seems to calm down.

“Good girl,” Death says proudly. Then, kindly, “Most Pokemon don’t like me.”

(It’s true. When Hau had set up his “FIGHT DEATH” sign, he had had to start charging upfront; people’s Pokemon had a nasty habit of freaking out when Death showed up.)

B’s friend seems to put it together first, her eyes gradually bugging out of her head. “That’s not a costume” she asks, slowly. “Is it?”

“No. It is not.”

B and his friend stare at Death.

Kāne smirks. These kids seem like the kind that’ll run screaming for the hills once they realize they just tried to hold up Death itself. (And where’d they come from, anyway?)

Then,

“That’s so cool!” B’s friend squeals. “Oh man; I’m Angie, that’s Baxter, we’re part of Team Skull; Ilima said they’d get us dinner if we battled the third Trainer that came in. Is that Rowlet your starter? Do you go by Reaper? Are you here to like, kill people? Is that Rotom like, bound to you?”

“I’m actually bound to the Rowlet,” Kāne says, dry as bone. “What’s Team Skull, the worst cult ever?”

“Don’t be mean.” Death chides him. “I’m sure it’s a very effective cult.”

“No-”

“We’re not a cult,” Baxter says. He’s picked up his Drowzee, cradling the poor thing. “We’re a gang.”

(Something bright and hot flashes in the back of Kāne’s head, what is that, why does it feel so fiery,)

“We gotta stick together,” Angie says fiercely. “It’s a good gang, we look out for each-other.”

“Well,” Death says. “That’s good, then.”

“Hey,” Baxter asks. “If our Pokemon are too scared to battle you, can you tell Ilima we did anyway? We’ve been looking forward to free dinner.”

Kāne eyes the bandanna over the kid’s face. He wonders if Baxter’s cheeks are just a little too gaunt underneath.

To Kāne’s surprise, Death reaches into their spooky pouch and pulls out a wad of cash. “If you can tell me where the Totem is, I will not only lie to Ilima, but I will be more than happy to compensate you.”

Angie eyes Death. “You for real?”

“As real as a thing can be.”

Angie and Baxter exchange a look. Kāne takes the opportunity to whisper to Death, “Hey, I’m serious, the Totem’s gotta be that way-” but Death waves at hand at him like he’s an annoying Zubat.

Angie says, “Cash first.” Baxter adds, “And we get to take a picture with you.”

“Done.”

Angie snatches the money out of Death’s hand. Kāne almost calls her out for being so fucking rude, but.

(Hungry, he knows what it is to be hungry, to have your stomach cannibalize itself, to listen to it scream as it eats itself alive and you can’t sleep for the pain of it,)

He doesn’t want to think about that.

“Yeah,” Angie says. “Totem’s that way.” She jerks her thumb at the opening that Kāne has been damn well talking about, never taking her eyes off the cash in her hand. “We’ll meet you back with Ilima when you’re done, we’ll do pics then.”

“The other guys won’t believe us if it’s just us in the pic,” Baxter adds.

They scamper off without another word.





(Later, much later, when they’re back at the Center, Kāne will ask, “Did you, like. Not believe me or something?”


And Death will say, simply, “For the money to have felt earned, they needed to believe they had either duped me, or earned it. I let them have both.”)







The opening leads to a verdant clearing on the side of the volcano.

Like, actually verdant. It’s nice. Lots of grass.

And there, in the center, is the biggest Alolan Raticate that Kāne has ever seen.

He’s a beast of a Pokemon. His cheeks bulge. His rat claws are nightmarishly huge. His tail is a thick, awful rope of segmented skin. His black fur is matted and graying. He has to be almost five feet tall.

He’s also asleep. Right in front of what must be his burrow entrance.

Lazy ass.

Kāne and Death watch him for a moment.

“Maybe we could just call this defeated?” Kāne suggests.

“No.” Death gently removes Jimmie from her perch on their shoulder. “No, but. He certainly does seem to be tired.”

Death whistles.

Kāne had no fucking clue they could do that.

The Totem twitches his ears. One massive eye, beady only by relativity, snaps open.

“Hello,” Death says.

Raticate grunts.

“We need to battle you.”

Raticate grunts again.

It occurs to Kāne that the guy’s probably tired. He had to battle Lillie, then Hau, and now Death, all in one day. Shit, Kāne’d be tired too.

Death lets go of Jimmie. She caws, a preemptive victory screech, and dive bombs the Raticate.

She hits her mark dead-on, slicing the Raticate’s enormous cheek. The Totem hisses, rolls over, and-

Oh.

“It’s going back to sleep,” Kāne says.

“I see that.”

“It’s just going back to sleep.”

“Yes, thank you.”

Jimmie refuses to be deterred. She caws again. With what looks like great effort, she summons several small, green leaves to the air in front of her. With one wing-stroke, she shoots the Razor Leaves at Raticate.

They don’t do much more than give the Totem a haircut.

“You know,” Death says. “We may be under-prepared for this.”

“Yeah,” Kāne agrees, faintly, “I think we should be real grateful it’s not attacking.” Tapus above, what if it did? “Maybe we should quit while we’re ahead, come back next time?”

Jimmie, meanwhile, makes as frustrated a noise as a Rowlet can make. She fires off another Razor Leaf attack, this time clipping the Raticate’s ear.

This, finally, is enough to rouse the beast. Almost faster than Kāne can track, it’s on it’s feet, lunging at Jimmie with it’s giant teeth bared, oh, oh no, oh fuck, there goes Jimmie-

She dodges just in time, only barely missing becoming an afternoon snack.

Kāne’s gonna have an undead heart attack. “Death, hey, c’mon, you gotta recall her, she can’t take this guy.”

“She has a plan,” Death says calmly.

“No,” Kāne snaps, panic eating his circuits. “No, see, you’re supposed to have the plan.”

The Raticate watches Jimmie bob and weave, it’s awful, hungry eyes never leaving her round face. Again, it lunges; again, Kāne feels his hardware freeze; again, Jimmie zips away at the last second.

“I am?” Death asks.

Jimmie’s already starting to pant. She’s too small for this. If the Raticate get it’s teeth on her, it might actually cut her in half.

“Yes!” Kāne snaps, “yes, asshole, you’re the Trainer!”

“Yes,” Death agrees. “But Jimmie had a very good idea.”

“Jimmie can’t fucking talk!” Kāne half shrieks. He can’t take his eyes away from this morbid ballet. Jimmie’s gonna die. Jimmie’s gonna die here, and Death, the fucking bastard, won’t even care. Was this their sick plan all along? Kill the Pokemon they catch?

Jimmie uses Razor Leaf for the third time. The attack lands right in the Raticate’s face, paper cuts on his muzzle, but Jimmie’s dropped, she’s flying too low, the attack too much out of her; Raticate roars, louder than anything Kāne’s ever heard, and oh no, oh fuck, this is it, this is it, Jimmie’s gonna be eaten right in front of his eyes-

The Raticate turns around, and darts into his burrow.

Kāne stares.

Jimmie starts to glow. Like, literally glow. Kāne stares more as the world’s smallest Rowlet evolves into the world’s smallest Dartrix, tiredly cheeping all the while.

“What the fuck,” Kāne says. He feels like there’s been some rug pulled out from underneath him. “What the fuck?”

“Jimmie wanted to try a different method of defeat.” Death sounds smug, the motherfucker. “He seemed like he would run away easily enough. He was already tired, after all.”

“And you didn’t want to maybe run this plan by me?” Kāne’s mind is reeling. When did they come up with this?! Does Jimmie talk now? Hadn’t they talked about using Deborah, the Grimer, with her superior defenses? “Or anyone?!”

“It was Jimmie’s plan.” Death strides across the clearing to pick up the exhausted Dartrix. “She only just thought of it. We had no time.” They gently preen Jimmie with two fingers.

“We had plenty of time, that thing was asleep!”

“Well.” Death sounds actually sheepish. “Yes, but. Where’s the fun in that?’

Kāne can only stare in disbelief as the dramatic asshole waltzes right past him.


(Guys, they're Grunts A and B. Guys do you get it. guys. Guys they're A and B. Guys?)

I really wanted to work in a scene where B releases his Drowzee, and his Drowzee, like, levitates the walkie-talkie off of Death's Trainer Belt, and uses telepathy to bring it to B and Angie? Except that the telepathy is super slow, so everyone is just, like. Standing there. Watching this walkie-talkie very slowly levitate across five feet pf space. And Death just, straight faced, "Oh no. You've got us."

Ah, well. You win some, you adapt some.

Top three questions of this update:

1. How do I make Lillie's friends rallying around her come off as not cheesy? (Answer; you don't. You just get some crackers and go with it.)

2. How do I make up a card game? (Answer; you get really vague about it lmao.)

3. How do I make a cool action scene work in a comedy run? (Answer; make it comedic!)

So. Uh. I did cut Z-moves, and Z-crystals. I couldn't think of a fun way to work them into the story, so I tossed them. This isn't a story about battles, so why bother? (I of course used them in game, I'm not suicidal.) Instead, in this world, each Trial Captain stamps the Passport, as well as each Kahuna.

On to business; I'm here to announce a slight shift in the update schedule. I hoped to have us off of Akala by the end of December, but between school and holiday travel, that is NOT going to happen. You all can expect another update in about two weeks, though!

With work and school picking up, we're looking at about two updates per month in 2020, hopefully three. (I really, really want to have this run wrapped up by May, so I'll be trying to hit that 3-per-month goal, but I'm also trying this new thing called "being nice to myself"). Super glad I get to share this fun little romp with everyone : )

As always, thanks for reading, and happy holidays!

(PS; I messed this chapter up REALLY bad so that a friend could practice editing. I think I fixed it back up, but if you seen any typos or anything, don't be afraid to let me know!)
 

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