Chapter 16: Dominion Advances
Space distorted. Warped as a force nudged aside everything within range of it to create a void. That void was when filled with a flash of violet light as Elio stood there, his body eclipsed by the outstretched pinions of the Moone Pokémon as the Teleport was complete.
Touching down, the Champion found himself at the entrance of Diglett’s Tunnel at the south end of Heahea City. The pavement road turned sharply and gave way to one made of grass and dirt. It would lead into the heart of the tunnel carved into the mountains that split it off from the coastal city of merchants, Konikoni.
“Piii…” Nebby growled as she peered into the darkness.
“Yeah, I know,” Elio said. He didn’t need Rotom to translate the fact that Nebby wasn’t comfortable in such a confined space. “Return to your ball for now. I’ll leave it in an active state, so you can stay aware of the situation.”
Though it wasn’t necessary, all things considered. Maybe it was because Nebby’s species was once that of an Ultra Beast if those legends in the Library were anything to go by, but even if her ball was in an inactive state she could get out if she wanted. But for now, she allowed herself to be Returned.
“That was fast,” a feminine voice drew his eyes. He turned to see that Olivia was approaching him from behind, the short-sleeved jacket draping her torso rustling with every step she took. “I expected you to take a little longer to get ready.”
“I’ve been expecting the call since yesterday, so I was ready to go just in case it appeared somewhere with a larger population,” he explained as Rotom poked its antenna out of his backpack. Taking into consideration what he knew, he had already swapped out his team to be able to deal with the threat a Nihilego presented. “The tunnel wasn’t one of them, though. That could be a problem.”
Olivia nodded slowly as her dark brown eyes folded in. “Judging from the damage at the Golf Course, there’s a strong risk of a cave-in should it unleash that level of power here. However, it’s better that a confrontation occurs here rather than one of the cities. I’ve already gone ahead and evacuated the workers in the cave, but…”
She then turned her gaze to him and her eyes softened. “I’ll be coming with you. Not that you aren’t capable, but there’s no sense in letting you take the risk on your own.”
“I don’t mind, but will you be alright if there is a cave-in?” he asked. Nebby could connect with his thoughts, so if she sensed he was in danger she could teleport him out. And Rotom would stay in his backpack to hitch a ride and translate what was said, so he’d be ready in if it decided to attack.
“It’s sweet of you to worry, but I’ll be fine.” Olivia smiled. “Shall we head in then? If we manage to finish this quickly, we can stop by Mallow’s restaurant. I’ll treat you to a meal.”
That said, the Kahuna of Akala Island and Champion of Alola ventured into the tunnels carved out by man and pokémon. The dark caverns were illuminated by artificial lights, the sound of drilling off the beaten path absent and instead replaced by an unsettling quiet. It was almost haunting, really.
“Where to look?” he muttered to himself. Elio suspected the Nihilego was going to find him no matter what, given he was also a Faller. But, ideally, he should know where it would be coming from so it didn’t catch him by surprise.
“If it’s these caves then it would be best to ask would be a local pokémon,” Olivia said, prompting him to look over his shoulder to see the Kahuna looking around for something in the dark. She then smiled and called out in a sing-song tone, “Diglett, it’s Olivia.”
Elio shifted his gaze to the distance, where he could make out a trio of golden strands sticking out of the dirt that seemed to quiver as the sound waves reached it. The dirt around it parted as a half-buried Mole Pokémon stuck its head out, blinking while its hairs wobbled. “Dig?”
She waved it over. “Come here for a bit, will you?”
The tiny thing dove back into the ground, vanishing from sight entirely for a moment before popping back out right next to her. It then rubbed its head against her ankle affectionately. “Diglett!”
“It’s nice to see you too.” Olivia crouched down to carefully pet the tiny pokémon along its side before she pulled out a Big Root from her coat’s pocket and placed it down in front of the Alolan Diglett. “Can you help lead us to a pokémon that you haven’t seen in the tunnels before now?”
“Dig! Dig!” The Mole Pokémon bobbed its head before it grabbed the snack with its mouth and sank under the ground with only its hairs sticking out. Then the hairs began to move, the ground lightly upturned as it made a guiding path.
“Now we just have to follow it,” she said, taking the lead.
“I’m surprised it helped you out so willingly,” Elio admitted, following behind her. “They caused some trouble a little while ago, didn’t they?”
“The Kahuna not only serves as the link between the Tapus and the humans, but also the local pokémon,” she explained. “Adding to that, they help me when I search the tunnels to mine for jewels, fossils, and evolutionary stones. So, if there’s a foreign pokémon that’s been here for long, they’d know where.”
“That’ll be helpful,” he said. “If it comes down to it, I should be able to stop it from causing immense damage to their tunnels as well. Though I don’t think it’ll have the strength to fight back much, so if I can keep it calm I might be able to lure it into a ball.”
“I’ll trust whatever you have in mind. After all, none of us want to hurt them, but we can’t overlook the damage they can cause if left unchecked,” she said. In the end, to be a Kahuna meant acting in the best interest for both the humans and the pokémon. “That said, I haven’t had much luck in finding the ones that caused trouble here before so far.”
She nodded. “There were two of them. Tapu Lele and I drove them off after a hard battle, but there’s been no signs of them so far. Without access to the Pokémon Centers, most likely they’re recovering from their battles in hiding, like the one that attacked the Golf Course.”
“In which case they’ll be active soon,” Elio guessed. In the end, he might have to look around the islands just to see if he could draw them out before they attacked again.
The talking tapered off there as they continued following the Alolan Diglett until it brought them to a section of the tunnels Elio hadn’t been to before. If he had to guess, it was somewhere away from the excavating and machinery, where it would be quieter. A place where the Nihilego could recover from the beating it took.
“It’s up ahead then?” she asked, earning a nod from the Mole Pokémon. Olivia then turned to Elio. “Are you ready?”
“Yeah,” he told her before pressing ahead until he caught sight of it.
The Nihilego was almost like a deflated balloon. It was wobbling as it struggled to rise off the ground, the membrane of its bell looking crinkled and slowly inflating. Had it been sleeping until just now?
“Easy,” Elio said, taking slow steps forward. “I don’t want to hurt you. I’m here to help you. Can you understand me?”
A soft, undulating sound reached his ears in response as it warily drifted backwards from him.
It says its hurting, zzt.
Like he’d thought, between the Battle Aura and taking those hits from Guzma’s Pokémon, it was still injured and tired. If they left it alone, it would likely take a while to recover. He crouched low and set an Oran Berry down before backing up four steps. “Eat this. It’ll ease the pain.”
It warily remained in place, waiting to see if he’d approach regardless until he took three more steps back. Then it slowly drifted forward, the tips of its tentacles dragging along the hard-packed dirt until they brushed the berry. Lowering itself until it managed to bring the berry into its bell, the fruit began to dissolve within it.
Elio waited until it was completely dissolved before he crouched back down. Then he rolled another Oran Berry along the ground to it. He didn’t want to approach it just yet, but he made sure to roll it enough so that it was halfway between them. “You can have another, if you want.”
It approached cautiously and then picked it up this time with its lower set of tentacles, bringing the fruit into its bell once again. The berry dissolved even faster than before. Then a wet sound rang out when it was done eating, rippling on his ears as it warily observed him—asking for another one according to Rotom.
“You want to go home, right?” Elio asked as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a third Oran Berry. He moved the hand holding it around to make sure that the Ultra Beast was following it. “It’s uncomfortable here for you, isn’t it?”
The Nihilego said nothing, but the way its body shifted told him that it was interested. When he did a light, underhanded toss that was meant to come up just a bit short, the Parasite Pokémon reached out to grab the berry midair before dragging the berry into its bell. It was dissolved in no time at all and the Nihilego gently gurgled expectantly.
“Here’s a fourth one,” Elio told it, holding out another one without throwing it. The Nihilego made a begging noise, but he just held his hand out a little more to encourage it to come a little closer. It began floating over to him slowly in response and Elio felt Nebby’s ball shake.
Nebby, calm down. He directed his thoughts to the Moone Pokémon. I know you don’t like them in your territory, and especially not Nihilego. But this one hasn’t hurt anyone yet, it’s just scared of being in someplace unfamiliar and wants to go home. Just give me a chance, and if it does bond with me you can force it off.
Nebby settled down in her ball, leaving Elio to work as he finally gave the berry a light toss when the Nihilego was within three yards. It deftly plucked the berry out of the air and immediately took it within its bell to consume. Elio then silently slipped his hand into his pocket and pulled out a miniaturized Beast Ball this time.
He wasn’t sure how the Ultra Beast sensed the world around it, but it could clearly recognize a pattern. The Beast Ball had been stored with them long enough to have its scent masked by the berries. Between that, the similar coloration, and its lack of experience with this world, he should be able to fool it… and if not, he had Nebby.
“Here you go,” he said, holding it out with a closed fist and facing downwards. “Last one.”
The Parasite Pokémon drifted closer again as he brushed his thumb over the button to set it in an active state and then tossed it upwards. The Ultra Beast naturally reacted by grasping and forcing it into its bell, causing the capturing function to trigger. The Nihilego was then sucked into the Beast Ball abruptly and it fell to the ground.
Miss Wicke said that the Beast Ball should be at least more comfortable to this Ultra Beast, given that Lillie’s mother had originally had them commissioned to capture a Nihilego, Elio reasoned silently. It probably won’t try to break out. But get ready just in case, Nebby…
“Whew.” Elio breathed out a sigh of relief as the ball went still. It was captured without a fuss.
“That was a little more reckless than I’d like,” Olivia said. He turned to see that she had her own Ultra Ball out, likely getting ready to act if he had been slow. “It worked out this time, but I don’t think the rest will be as easy.”
“I know, but I really didn’t want to beat down on an already injured pokémon,” he said, turning to the ball and reaching for it. “Come on, Nihilego. Let’s get you back—”
He didn’t get the chance to finish before the dirt beneath the Beast Ball erupted. A long, sinuous body jutted out of the ground and it took a moment for Elio to recognize it was a Pokémon. One that he hadn’t seen before. In that moment, it grabbed Nihilego’s ball in its mouth, and then dove right back into the ground.
It stole Nihilego! The moment that thought registered Elio reached for the Nebby’s ball. “Get it back!”
The Lunala burst free, filling up the space between Elio and the hole as its pink eyes turned crimson. A wave of telepathic power washed through the ground, probing it for the life beneath the surface. Then Nebby used Psychic in earnest, gripping the serpent in a telekinetic stranglehold before ripping it out the very ground with enough force that the spray of dirt this time was like a geyser going off.
The captured pokémon strained as it was then floated in place. It was a serpent like an Arbok, only it had longer fangs the color of blood, with matching eyes. And the tail was shaped like a blade, partially red and sharp-looking to boot.
Rotom snapped a photograph. Pokémon data not found in the local database, zzt. Remotely accessing national database. Accezzing. Accezzing. Accezzing. Data found, zzrt. Seviper, the Fang Snake Pokémon. Native region is Hoenn, with sightings in Unova and Kalos—
“Later Rotom,” Elio said, eyes fixed onto the Seviper’s mouth. The ball was missing. “You didn’t swallow it, did you?”
“Ssss-ssseee…” It let out a low, hissing sound as it glared at him in a way that Nebby didn’t appreciate given she stretched its sinuous body out straight and began to wrest its maw open against its will.
“You don’t need to hurt it, Nebby,” Elio said before she could go too far. “We’ll have Melon put it asleep and then take it with us—”
His words were smothered when wall next to them exploded as another pokémon emerged, plowing through solid stone in a display of sheer force. It was a large pokémon whose green hide covered it like armor with spikes jutting out. Elio recognized this one from a documentary he’d seen on Johto—a Tyranitar.
“RRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAHHHH!” The roar it let out threatened to deafen them all as the Armor Pokémon was abruptly wreathed in a veil of shadows that billowed out. Then it threw it itself forward, directly towards the Legendary Pokémon.
Nebby only had enough time to bat her trainer away with a wave of psychic energy before the attack connected and the shadowy aura violently expanded. Her pained screeched was drowned out by a thunderous crash as she was driven into the opposing wall by the rushing pokémon hard enough that a plume of stone fragments and dirt obscured their forms. Only one silhouette moved afterwards, and it wasn’t hers.
“Nebby—” He was about to recall her when a firm grasp on his arm jerked him back. It was all that saved him as a flash of venomous light scythed where his torso had been, a Poison Tail from the muscular and sinuous serpent that had been freed from the psychic grip that held it captive. He fell back into Olivia’s arms and she held him close while tossing out her own Ultra Ball.
“Ferrin, Magnet Bomb!” The ball burst open and out came her Probopass. The female Compass Pokémon appeared between the humans and the opposing Fang Snake Pokémon and immediately dispatched her Mini-Noses, whose eyes turned orange as they flew towards the target. The moment they got close they detonated and blew the serpent backwards. “Now, Dazzling Gleam on the other one!”
“Passs.” Facing the larger Armor Pokémon as its narrowed eyes fixed onto the newest target of its rage, the Mini-Noses took up a triangular formation before unleashing prismatic rays from their noses. Each one slammed into the hard armor of the Tyranitar… only for it to not even flinch as they broke against its hide and left rainbow-hued streamers to tear into the ground around it.
Zzt? That should’ve been Super-Effective! Rotom noted, only to then point its appendage over to the entrance where it burst through. The Zzzzzeviper is escaping!
Elio finished recalling Nebby into her ball before twisting his head to see the slithering serpent vanish beyond the entrance. If they lost Nihilego now then… no, he couldn’t let that happen. He grabbed his Ride Pager and then shot out towards the opening.
“Cover him, Ferrin!” Olivia ordered as the Tyranitar twisted its head towards the boy and lunged with fangs shrouded in darkness. The Compass Pokémon rocketed forward to intercept it, using its magnetic field as propulsion to bring the bulk of its mass crashing against the relatively lighter pokémon.
The blow managed to knock it off to the side from the momentum. The levitating drones then spread out and unleashed lancing rays of argent light. They slammed into its hard body and kept it pinned down.
“Sorry, but I have to leave this one to you!” Elio said over the hum of the Flash Cannon attacks as he flipped through the selection of available Ride Pokémon. Tauros had trouble turning and Mudsdale was better in rough terrain than a place like this. So that left…
“Just be careful!” Olivia shouted in response.
“Same to you!” He pressed the button as he jumped through the opening and there was a flash of light. His ride gear materialized over his body and a Stoutland appeared beneath him. Gripping the handles, he then directed the Big-Hearted Pokémon to give chase. “Don’t let that snake get away!”
The Stoutland barked and then took off as fast as it could.
Elio felt guilt weighing down his stomach as the sound of the battle between Olivia and that odd Tyranitar grew distant while they navigated the tunnels. That darkness around it felt like… hatred and malice and sadness and pain. Such negative emotions, bundled together so thickly that they took on a tangible form, had almost suffocated him when it hit Nebby.
I’m sorry, Nebby. He passed that thought along, feeling the touch of her mind to his as he reached for another two of his Poké Balls while keeping his eyes on the slithering Seviper. We’ll handle it from here, so just rest for now. Okay?
The Fang Snake Pokémon briefly glanced back as the sound of one of the balls bursting open signaled the release of Kou, who swooped past it and then whirled around to intercept it from the front. The serpent bared its fangs and lunged to Crunch down on the Bat Pokémon in response, only for the Crobat to twist out of the way while releasing an Air Slash that slammed into the serpent. It was sent sprawling into a mining cart hard enough that the metal audibly crunched inwards on impact.
“Now pin it down by the tail and mouth, Melon!” Elio ordered as he tossed out the second Poké Ball and released the pokémon inside. The lights from above cast a shadow as the energy state was converted into a round mass of bulk that came down on the rear section of the Seviper’s body hard enough that the ground shook.
“Sevvviiiipppeerr!” The Fang Snake Pokémon shrieked in pain, thrashing as it tried to get free. Then, as the shadow loomed over its head, it whirled around and spat the baleful, venomous liquid that was Toxic towards the face of the female Snorlax.
“Lax…” The Sleeping Pokémon wiped it off, not remotely bothered. Immunity was one of the reasons Elio brought her in the first place to deal with Nihilego. She finished leaning forward and then pinned its head down to the ground with both of her stout paws.
“Now, use Yawn,” Elio said, pulling Stoutland to a stop as Kou fluttered in the air next to him. “We’ll take it to the Aether Foundation and have them get Nihilego out while its asleep. They should also be able to find out who its trainer is and what they did to that Tyranitar.”
“Snorrrlax…” Melon opened her mouth to release the sleep-inducing bubble. It smacked the Seviper that struggled to get away, drowsiness washing over it. She held it down until the jerking slowed to a crawl and then stopped.
That was when Stoutland started barking.
Incoming! Rotom’s translation drew their eyes up to the air where the lamps strung up by orange cords ran along the ceiling. It was there that what looked be a black Poké Ball burst open. The purple and grey plates that were like armor shook the earth the moment the Nidoking landed and it let loose a mad roar that echoed off the walls.
Melon’s attention fell onto the new threat as darkness burst from the near-invisible gaps in its plates and it tried to run all of them down. The Ride Pokémon immediately forced itself to move and dart out of the way to avoid its rider coming to harm while Kou flew upwards, inadvertently leaving Melon exposed to the full-brunt of its attack. The moment it connected, that darkness expanded like an explosion going off and she was sent crashing into the floor behind her.
Elio regained controlled of Stoutland as Kou flew back towards him. “Melon, are you okay!?”
“L-Lax…” Her body shuddered as she tried to push herself back onto her feet, still willing to fight. But the blow had hurt her badly enough that she was barely able to move. Much less take the next hit as the Nidoking stomped towards her with a raised fist that was shrouded in bright light—a Mega Punch.
Elio recalled her, holding out her ball and triggering the Return function. Red light speared out and converted the Sleeping Pokémon back into her energy state in time to avoid the hit that blew out the ground as the condensed power was unleashed, resulting in a geyser of dirt that covered it. Noticing the absence of its target, the Nidoking’s seething gaze fell onto Elio and darkness wrapped its frame once more. “Kou, use Haze!”
The Bat Pokémon responded by exhaling a thick, dark mist that rolled over the battlefield they’d turned the cavern into to create an obscuring veil. The maddened Nidoking still charged into it, only to find emptiness as the trainer and his pokémon vanished. That was when the Crobat swooped in with a shriek, fangs bared.
The Nidoking brought its venomous horn around and lunged forward. The point pierced through the comparatively soft-bodied pokémon and its form unraveled, only for there to be a burst of pain as what felt like a solid slab of metal struck the side of its head. The blow was hard enough that the pokémon staggered a few steps back, despite its massive frame. The pain only doubled as the Acrobatics attack that followed made everything disappear as the wings caught its unprotected face next. “NIDOOOO!”
Momentarily blinded, the Drill Pokémon thrashed madly as shrieks began to bounce off the walls. More than one, it sounded like there were dozens, if not hundreds of Bat Pokémon surrounding it. A fact that it bore witness to as its vision returned, filled with countless purple figures fluttering within the lingering veil of smoke.
It lashed out against them all as they swooped in—swinging its armored claws to bat them aside, thrusting its venomous horn to impale those that came towards its face again, and whipping its massive tail around to crush those that were caught in its wake. The thrashing was only stopped when a blade of wind cut across its head hard enough to flinch it, and something caught its tail in an iron grip.
Patches of black-and-white were the last thing the Nikdoking spotted before it was pulled off its feet and whirled around in a circle. The rotations built up momentum until it was abruptly flung into the cavern wall, hard enough that the solid stone cratered. Hurt and enraged, the Drill Pokémon peered through the dissipated Haze to see the face of its true opposition.
The Bat Pokémon hadn’t been the only thing lurking in the dark. The Daunting Pokémon had been called into the fight, given the urgency. Cracking his knuckles, Pancho stood between the Nidoking and his trainer while taking on a boxer’s stance.
“We’re going all out, Pancho!” Elio crossed his arms as a fierce, orange light began to radiate from his wrists. Punching the air with righteous fury, the energy from within him flared to its peak. Then it was focused through the Z-Crystal into the Daunting Pokémon.
Every muscle in the Drill Pokémon’s body tensed, its attention drawn to Z-Power that shrouded the Pangoro. Accepting the challenge, the shadowy aura around it thickened until the pokémon beneath was almost completely obscured. Devoting every ounce of its enforced rage and anger into power, it exploded in movement with the most powerful Shadow Break it could to run them all down as the All-Out Pummeling was unleashed through piston-like jabs.
Every hit met the oncoming mass of shadows as it drew closer, the air shaking from with every impact and battering it down. The body beneath the veil was exposed as more and more of it was whittled away by the overwhelming power, leaving the armor-like body to feel the force of the blows strike through. The penultimate strike managed to completely blow the last of the shadow aura away by the time it was within mere feet of the Daunting Pokémon.
Yet, it didn’t stop. The Nidoking kept moving its body that had been battered by the Z-Move headfirst and readied a Mega Punch, even as it bore witnesses to the fact that the Pangoro was rearing back with a chambered first that gathered the remainder of his Z-Power to do the same. Attacking without regard for its own care, the Nidoking struck out with the fist brimming with power—
—only for the blow to be magnificently cross-countered by Pancho as he read the telegraphed punch. The moment his fist connected, the air ruptured for a final time. A shockwave hard enough to rattle Elio’s bones from a distance was let loose as the remaining Z-Power all came rushing forward in a stream of power that swept up the Drill Pokémon.
The orange surge thrust the Drill Pokémon right back into the wall that it had been wrenched itself free of earlier, leaving the entire cavern to shake as it was blown through the solid stone this time. The collapse of loose rubble on top of it drowned out both the Champion and his pokémon’s pants from the exertion. Yet the rubble that had collapsed over the Nidoking burst apart as it forced itself out not even a few seconds late.
“Oh, come on!” Elio was exasperated as the Drill Pokémon stomped out of where it had been buried. It had taken their best blow headfirst and was still moving. At least until he readied to give Kou the order to attack with another Air Slash, whereupon it staggered and fell to one knee.
The Nidoking glared at them with heavy eyes as it swayed. It stilled wanted to fight. But its body couldn’t hold up any longer. The fearsome pokémon collapsed after a final snarl, landing face-first with a thud.
It didn’t get back up.
There wasn’t any thrill of victory or excitement as the Nidoking laid unconscious. Only relief that it was over and… pity. Whatever had been done to it had turned it into the same kind of thing that Tyranitar had become—a relentless machine that kept attacking—until its body broke down.
But he didn’t have time to lament its fate as Kou screeched before throwing himself into Elio’s body, knocking him out of the way as a Psychic blast instead met the Bat Pokémon in his place. The Crobat was immediately sent flying into the nearest mound of excavated dirt and then slid down, unconscious, as a purple beam connected to the Nidoking.
“Kou!” Elio whipped his head around as Pancho stood in front of him for protection to see the Drill Pokémon had been recalled by a man dressed in a miner’s outfit. The hard-hat covered his face from view while another foreign pokémon hovered in the air next to him, along with the dozing Seviper. “Were you the one who did that to these Pokémon!?”
The only answer he received was the man flinging a Smoke Ball as Rotom turned to snap their picture, obscuring them from view. The rattle of Nebby’s ball preceded her forcing it open, bursting out and taking form above him. She used her own psychic powers to disperse the smoke, only to reveal that they were gone.
The man. The Seviper. The foreign Pokémon. Nihilego… all of them were gone.
The moment that realization set it, Elio felt his heart in a vice.
He’d failed utterly.
“Elio!” a voice called, echoing from the path he’d taken to get here. Eyes turned to see that Olivia was clinging to her Probopass as it levitated through the tunnels towards them. The three Mini-Noses were floating around in a defensive formation in case of another attack. “Are you okay?”
“I couldn’t get Nihilego back,” he confessed, returning Kou and Pancho into their balls while Nebby hovered over his shoulders. “A man who was in a miner’s outfit attacked us with a strange Nidoking and stole Nihilego right from under us. Then he disappeared using a psychic pokémon I haven’t seen before.”
She stepped down onto the ground as her Probopass came to a stop. “But you’re okay, right?”
“Yeah, but I still couldn’t save Nihilego even after I promised to get it home.” His hands balled into fists as he looked down to the ground, his expression obscured by his hat to hide the tears that gnawed at the corner of his eyes. He knew that whatever reason they’d kidnapped it for, it wouldn’t be good. Not after he’d seen the other two pokémon. “If whatever that man did to that Nidoking and Tyranitar is done to Nihilego… then its my fault for not helping it.”
Olivia’s lips fell into a soft frown before she gently laid her hands on his shoulders. “Champion or not, we all fail sometimes. Even if we do our best. What matters is that we try to do better going forward.”
Nebby, likewise, lowered her head. Her mind was still linked to his and so she knew the weight of his guilt. She brushed against his cheek in an effort to cheer him up, despite her own disdain for the Parasite Pokémon. “Mahiii.”
Elio swallowed the lump in his throat before he caressed Nebby’s head in return. “… I should report this to those two from the International Police. They might know something about what’s going on since those pokémon aren’t native here.”
The Kahuna’s lips turned up in approval. “You do that. I’ll talk to the other Kahuna, the local miners, the police, and have Molayne check the log of the PC System to see if any of those pokémon were registered into the local system by tourists or healed in a Pokémon Center. We’ll find whoever is responsible.”
[-A Lily Blossoms in Kanto-]
Ann sat on the edge of her bed in the Hano Grand Resort with her fingers dancing over her laptop, a cord running from the USB port connected to the portable transfer station on the nightstand.
She had gone on the tour of the Aether Foundation earlier to have a chance to get her Porygon-Z into their systems. Now she just needed to set up the relay network so that the data could be transmitted beneath their rather impressive security without notice once it got through the firewall. After that she just needed to do an analysis to find out just how many skeletons were hidden in this so-called conservation organization’s closet.
She was only just finished setting up the device when the abrupt appearance of Agent Arlo and her pokémon drew her attention. Her Beeheyem made a series of noises to announce its arrival as floated over, the sleeping Seviper being set onto the ground in front of her through its psychic power. “What happened?”
“There was interference from the Champion and local…Kahuna, was it?” He removed his stolen hard-hat, revealing yellow eyes that were more common in his native homeland of Orre. “I was forced to use both of my shadow assets in Reverse Mode. They were both defeated but the mission was a success.”
The shadow assets were pokémon that had undergone Shadowization. It was a process developed by Team Cipher before they integrated with the remnants of Team Rocket, after both organizations had been crippled. In recent years they had made numerous improvements to the process—including the creation of Shadow Balls, which integrated Snag-Tech into them. That allowed them to instantly turn a stolen pokémon into a shadow one, ensuring its immediate compliance to whoever owned its ball, though it was only as effective as an Ultra Ball and far costlier to produce.
Shadow Pokémon were stronger and faster than normal ones. Type disadvantages became a thing of the past, and in the process of enter Reverse Mode their strength increased further at the expense of damaging their bodies and driving them into a berserker rage that would attack just about anything but the trainer. They made for the perfect weapons to use in battle because of it.
However, they also had their weaknesses. A Shadow Pokémon lost its independence and became nothing more than a shell of its former-self. The will to act of their own initiative outside of battle was broken, which made them useless for complicated or intricate work. They also couldn’t used Mega Stones for some reason.
The two Shadow Pokémon that Arlo carried were the two he’d snagged himself from an Ace Trainer, who was a candidate to compete against the Elite Four. She didn’t have any doubts that he outright set them to be released in Reverse Mode from the start to accomplish the mission. So for both of them to have been defeated spoke heavily of the opposition.
“Plug them in and I’ll send them with the Ultra Beast while you work on your report,” Ann ordered. Since Shadow Pokémon were illegal to own without a license, let alone the use of Reverse Mode, the authorities would obviously be on the lookout for the pokémon in question. They would have to use the portable station to send them away to recover, which would take time given how extensively damaging Reverse Mode was on the Pokémon’s bodies.
While he did so, Ann looked over her Seviper’s body and found his injuries to be deep. “They did a number on you, didn’t they?”
Her gentle touch roused the Fang Snake Pokémon from his slumber. Flicking his tongue out to taste the air, only the familiar scent stopped him from attacking. He then let out a retching sound as he started to regurgitate the Beast Ball unprompted so that he could be returned into his own ball to make the pain stop.
Ann grabbed a towel to clean it off, taking the unique shape and coloration into account. Then she set it inside of the remaining slot on the ball transfer platform and double-checked the network with her laptop before activating the transfer. The Beast Ball and Shadow Balls were transformed into data and sent through the cord into the network.
I guess that means that ball was made to be compatible with the same systems that normal balls use then, she mused silently while returning her Seviper into his ball as the transfer was completed. Truth be told, she had been worried it wouldn’t go through since there was no telling how it was constructed without the schematics. And those would take time to decrypt depending on how secured the data was once her Porygon-Z retrieved it. Well, hopefully that should quiet Lovrina down for the moment.
“Can you put in a requisition for additional shadow assets and Shadow Balls?” Arlo asked. “From what I overheard and observed, there were more Ultra Beasts. I believe that if we snag some of his pokémon to use as incentive, we could have that naïve child they call a Champion capture these creatures for us. With any luck, we could also obtain the Legendary in his care as well and gain a foothold in this region.”
She briefly entertained the thought. Arlo was well-positioned due to his success rate on missions, so if he managed to succeed in obtaining whatever remaining Ultra Beasts there were and a Legendary there was no doubt in her mind that he would be promoted to an Admin position. Ann herself would also likely be put into a higher position—an Executive position right beneath the Leaders.
Yet, despite how tempting that may have sounded, Ann refused out of pure pragmatism. Being too ambitious was just setting yourself up for a fall, especially when you underestimated a trainer just because of their ages. That’s how Team Rocket and Team Cipher were undone in the past, and she wouldn’t let the organization born from their ashes meet the same end because she wanted to climb the ranks.
“Our original mission was to gather information that would further other plans, the Ultra Beast was just an opportunity that we capitalized on. There’s no need to endanger the mission by attempting something that ambitious when we have no way of obtaining them without direct conflict.”
“…Very well,” Arlo conceded, bowing his head. “What would you ask of me next then?”
“For now, it’s best if you lay low until things die down and your shadow assets are returned.” She turned her attention back to her laptop. “Let the Champion go about his business until Hari finishes gathering information on this Guzma individual and we decide how we’re going to approach him.”
From what they could tell he was a somewhat infamous figure on the island as the leader of a team of misfits that supposedly disbanded recently. He obviously knew more about both the Aether Foundation and these Ultra Beasts, given he knew exactly what it was and what was needed to capture it. He was a resource they could tap without drawing too much attention.
Hari had a way with talking to people and getting them to let their guard drop. And she was young enough to ask around without drawing suspicion unlike Ann, who had recently turned thirty. That made the younger agent the best-suited to the task of gathering information under the guise of a mere tourist.
And even if he was reluctant to talk, Beeheeyem was immensely useful for making people more agreeable.
They’d get the information they needed either way.
Chapter 14: Back in Alola 3
Guzma tried to tamper down on the annoyance that simmered in his chest as he stared down at the white ball set on the sand.
It was early in the morning. The sun had barely come up from over the horizon at this point, and Guzma would like nothing more than to be back in bed. But Pyukumuku were creatures of habit and tossing them back into the water before the hotel-guests came down to the beach was how he made a living for now. Since Kahili happened to be up and saw him, she told him to follow along as she got her morning practice in before the course opened up for everyone else and then told him to give it a try.
He never understood the appeal of golf. Why folks would pay so much to try and send a ball flying into a tiny hole in the distance was something beyond him. Yet, he found himself trying to line up a shot with a golf club that reminded him a little too much of his father’s back home—only more expensive than the knock-offs that the old man boasted about as being the actual thing.
“Looks like he’s feeding you pretty well,” a soft voice came from behind him. It was followed by a playful purr.
The former leader of Team Skull cast a glance behind him to see that Kahili was crouched down to the ground, her finger gently running over the Purrloin’s stomach as it laid on its back. The Devious Pokémon writhed joyously at the attention being laved on it. Then the feline met Guzma’s eyes briefly and a glint could be seen, as if it was gloating on having that effect with women.
Deceptive furball, he couldn’t help but think as his lips pulled back into a frown. Acting all cute to deceive other people sat poorly with him for obvious reasons. He was at least honest about it.
Guzma then turned to the ball in the sand trap and took a swing at it, only for a spray of sand to follow as he put his back into it. The ball was still there. He snarled and then swung at it again. And again. And again to no avail.
Kahili stopped playing with the feline Pokémon as he took a few angrier swings only to spray more sand out of the lip and sighed. “You can’t just swing at random.”
“I don’t even see why I’m doing this,” he said in turn. “I thought you were supposed to be helping me train—how is this even related to Pokémon!?”
“It’s supposed to teach you both patience and control.” She came over and extended her hand for him to give her the club. Once he did and stepped back to where she had been, she then lined up for a shot and then took a swing that hit the ball with barely any of the sand moving.
Guzma starred as the ball hit the green in the distance and then rolled closer to the hotel end. Then his gaze turned down towards the Purrloin as he snickered, spotting that same smug look as always.
“Shaddup, you damn cat,” he murmured under his breath as she then came back over to him.
“You are a strong trainer,” Kahili said as she set down another ball from a pouch on her back. It was lined up with the one she’d just hit. “But strength needs control and patience in order to be utilized to its fullest potential. And while I can teach you how it’s done in battling, doing it this way helps to broaden yourself perspective so that you’ll be able to grasp that in matters outside of battling as well.”
She then handed him the golf club. “Now, face the ball like you’re getting ready to take a swing at it.”
He did so, going along with it despite not really getting the point. “Now what?”
“Stand with your feet at shoulders’ length apart.” She waited for him to do so. “Hold the club so that its straight with your left arm. Keep your left thumb straight, so that it goes down the center of the shaft and then place your right hand so that it overlaps the left.”
Guzma went along with it before she reached out to move his hands properly into place.
“That’s good. You’ve got it now.” She backed off as the Purrloin followed her. “Keep your eyes on the ball as you swing for it and keep the ball in the center of the swing. If you look up, it’ll change the angle of the swing. But if you keep your head as it is then the ball will go where your left shoulder is.”
He moved his arm like a pendulum going backwards and felt it to be a lot more rigid than he liked. But when he swung it there was a soft sound before the ball went sailing in the air cleanly towards the green, passing her ball…
And the smile that was forming as his eyes trailed after the ball melted the moment he spotted it.
Dawnlight rolled off the polished glass-like bell that was adorned with six-pointed stars. The blue rim undulated as though atop the surface of invisible waves, tentacles of varying sizes gently wavering as it pushed itself forward. An alien, wet sound rang out ever so slightly as it neared.
The golf club slipped from his grasp, forgotten along with everything else in the world he backed away and shook his head slowly as it came towards him. “No… not again…”
Noticing the sudden change in Guzma’s demeanor, Kahili obviously had questions. Whether or not he would answer them was secondary, however, to removing that fascinating Pokémon from the grounds. For both its own safety and that of those who intended to play the fairway later on.
To that end, she let out her Toucannon. He was a fine specimen that stood nearly four feet tall with his wings folded, peering with glaring eyes towards the alien Pokémon that continued to drift closer. Kahili then crouched low next to the Cannon Pokémon. “Pana, can you see if you can get it to leave the grounds peacefully?”
A bob of his head was followed by his wings spreading out and a push off the ground, taking flight towards it. However, midway there, the air changed. It was distorted, pressure seemingly filling the space as an aura flared to life around it.
“A totem aura?” she muttered in surprise as the shroud of energy shaded its clear body with a reddish tint that made it seem more ominous. “It looks small for a Totem Pokémon, but—”
Her musings were silenced as the creature conjured up four stones of light, condensed energy made solid. Power Gems, she recognized. “Look out!”
Her warning came out short as the stones pointed to Pana and began to fracture. Trumpets of devastation sounded out as the radiant hammers of light speared out to knock him out of the air. The glare of the bright rays drowned out the light of the sun and obscured the Toucannon’s figure as he pulled a sharp turn, narrowly dodging as spouts of turf and dirt shot into the air with a loud sound that reverberated throughout the course, leaving it to quake.
Kahili, who’d fallen backwards onto the ground, looked at the devastation and felt a weight fall into her stomach, beads of sweat falling down her brow. She then looked up to see that it was getting ready to fire again, more bundles of energy compressed to the point of crystallization hovering around it like in orbit. If even one of them was fired in the opposite direction and hit the Hotel, then their guests would be in danger.
“Pana, stay on this side of the course!” she ordered, rising to her feet once more. “Destroy those Power Gems with Bullet Seed before it can fire them off and then use Beak Blast!”
“Touuu!” Flapping his wings to stay stationary, the Cannon Pokémon opened his beak and let loose a focus fire of pinpoint accurate Bullet Seeds that cut across the air and impacted the Power Gems, breaking through them and dispersing the gems into harmless shards before they could be forced to rupture correctly. Then his fruit-eating beak glowed burning-red, tongues of fire licking the edges before it opened wide and let loose the fireball towards the glass-looking Pokémon—
Pana’s attack missed!
—then something strange happened. Right before it could hit, the creature flickered. Its entire body blinked out of view, the attack continuing on to slam into the fairway. Fire began to spread on impact as the creature then solidified once more and let out a wet, undulating sound before forming another series of Power Gems.
As her Toucannon proceeded to break the stones once more with another Bullet Seed barrage, Kahili then turned to Guzma to see that he’d fallen into the sand and was staring up at the creature with trembling eyes. As if he was reliving a waking nightmare. She crouched down on the ground and shook him by the shoulders. “Snap out of it! I need to know what I’m dealing with!”
There was no sensible response, only muttering and whimpers. Then a cry of pain as the Purrloin bit into his arm, causing him to jolt out of it. He reflexively lashed his arm out, causing the Devious Pokémon to detach itself or be swatted, and then clutch the spot where blood began to leak. “Damn cat!”
Another trumpet resounded and the ground meters away from them erupted as a vibrant ray of energy hammered it. Kahili fell forward, barely catching herself on his shoulders before she could hit the ground. She then looked him in the eyes to demand again, “Guzma, what is that Pokémon? What’s its typing?”
“It’s…” His eyes flickered over her shoulder towards it and he swallowed. “It’s an Ultra Beast. Nihilego, she called it. It’s a Rock-type with Poison as a secondary, I think. Not sure how to get around the flickering thing it does, but don’t let it touch you.”
Enough of an answer for now, Kahili pushed herself off his shoulders to stand up again and turned back to her soaring Pokémon. “Pana, close the distance and use Brick Break!”
The Toucannon went from firing a sold mass of stone from its mouth to circling around the next Power Gem ray that displaced the air. He dived down with his beak wreathed in a powerful glow as the last of them was fired, twisting to dodge as the feathers covering his body were ruffled from how close it had been to smashing him out of the air. Closing the distance, he brought the Brick Break down onto the glass bell top—
Pana’s attack missed!
—only to pass through empty space as the Nihilego flickered once more, leaving the divebomb to pass through it harmless. The Cannon Pokémon pulled open his wings and flapped before he could hit the ground, the glow of the attack leaving his beak as he turned around. Then his eyes widened slightly as he found himself facing a bloom of Nihilego that crowded the air.
“It’s using Double Team! Use Bullet Seed in a spray pattern to find the real one!” Kahili called out, watching as Pana opened his beak wide to let loose a scattering of the golden seeds to punch through the illusions to find the real one. The numbers were reduced to a mere four before the Ultra Beast attacked.
Nihilego used Psywave!
Like rippling waves ringing out from the surface of the water, the air was filled with rings of Psychic energy that closed in on the Cannon Pokémon and hit with a surprising amount of force that knocked Pana for a loop. He spiraled downwards, wings flaring out and flapping to regain balance before he could hit the ground. He’d managed to arrest his fall in time for four Power Gems to come down on him and hammer him straight into the ground with a thunderous crash that resounded throughout the course.
“Pana!” Kahili called as she shielded her eyes as the blinding flare, brought her to her knees as the ground quaked beneath her feet again. When the billowing wind ceased, and she could open her eyes, her heart sank like a stone upon seeing Pana motionless in a crater in the ground while the Nihilego contracted its bell to propel it towards them at a faster pace.
Kahili attempted to recall her downed Toucannon, only for the Nihilego to once more release the rippling waves of psychic energy directly towards her. The only reason that he didn’t connect was because Purrloin threw himself in front of the attack. The psychic energy broke apart upon connecting with his body, the Dark-typing dispersing it as he then yowled.
Purrloin used Pursuit!
Bristling as darkness draped his body, he became a black dart crossing the distance towards the Nihilego, only to pass through as it flickered in and out of reality once more. The attack failed, but it served as a distraction while Kahili finished recalling her Pokémon. The Nihilego turned its attention to the feline and its translucent tentacles lengthening to Constrict it.
“Loaa!?” he shrieked as they wrapped around his lithe and began to squeeze relentless.
“Don’t act tough if you aren’t going to follow up!” Guzma said as he pulled out an Ultra Ball. Fear had turned to anger and the means by which he would take it out on the Ultra Beast speared forth as the ball burst open. Out came his oldest Pokémon, a male Golisopod that chittered menacingly upon spotting the enemy. “Get the damn cat and show that thing how you say hello!”
“GOSO!!” The short-legged arthropod bore his claws and was shrouded within the viridian hue of Bug-typing as he then used that gathered energy to burst forth and launch a counter-attack in the blink of an eye. Bringing lengthened claws to bat, the Hard Scale Pokémon used them to land the first strike against the aura-shrouded Parasite Pokémon.
Golisopod used First Impression!
It’s not very effective!
The floating Ultra Beast was knocked back, the tiny feline falling free into the waiting set of underarms as his Golisopod landed with a loud thump. The cat scurried out of the taller Pokémon’s grasp and ran back towards them as the Nihilego prepared to retaliate, barely scratched by the attack as a quartet of Power Gems formed around it—
Golisopod used Sucker Punch!
—and was promptly smacked in its bulb by a dark, claw-shaped projectile fired from a swift thrust of his frontal arms. The impact threw its body into disarray, leaving its aim wanting as the Hard Scale Pokémon guarded with the gauntlet-like forearms and Iron Defense as the light burst out from the shells.
One ray shot past the golf course, a piercing spear that crossed the air and crashed into the mountain behind it. Another was fired into the sky, reaching the heavens above like a beacon. The third speared into the fairway itself and carved out a long strip from the sheer force. The last, however, hit Golisopod and he was forced to take the brunt of the beam with the metallic-clad scales.
Even at only one-fourth of the attack, Golisopod was nearly overwhelmed. His legs dug a trench as the attack forced him back, his desperate attempts to brace against it lasting only until the attack petered out. His legs then failed him as his Ability triggered and his body returned to its energy state.
Guzma held his Pokémon’s ball out as it retreated inside and then flung out another in his right hand. From that Ultra Ball burst a male Scizor, its metallic exoskeleton reflecting the morning sun as it clicked its pincers. “Take it out with a Bullet Punch!”
Steel wings to burst from his back and fluttered as he sped forward while his right pincer shone with a metallic light. The Nihilego that had been wavering in the air, shaking off the surprise hit, flickered before it could connect. The speeding Pincer Pokémon passed right through it and was forced to spin around so that he was facing the Parasite Pokémon that prepared another bombardment of Power Gems that forced him to skirt along the ground as the rays smashed into what was left of the fairway and caused spouts of dirt and turf to shoot up.
Guzma gritted his teeth as his Scizor evaded the sequence firing of Power Gems with deft motions. He’d gotten for it specifically so that it could be used against one of these things, its Steel-typing rendering it immune to poison and allowing it to smash through stone, though he’d hoped to never see one again in his life. “It worked before, so why can’t we hit it now?”
“The only attacks that have worked so far have been those that it couldn’t see coming or those that struck just before or after it fired off an attack,” Kahili said, crouching to check on the Purrloin that ran back over to her. “You’ll have to get the timing down perfectly and close the distance hastily. Have you taught it Agility?”
“Nah, didn’t have time to.” Guzma was regretting that now as he looked towards Scizor getting hit by a Psywave as he tried to close the distance once more and was rebutted. It didn’t look like it did a lot of damage, but the fact that a psychic attack did any notable damage spoke a lot of how strong it was.
“Then what about you?” she asked, looking down to the Devious Pokémon. “Can you stop it from attacking once at least?”
The feline bobbed his head and made a gesture where it clapped its paws together. “Purroa.”
“Fake Out,” she said in recognition. “That’ll do. When I give the signal, stop it from attacking and we’ll take care of the rest.”
“You can’t seriously expect me to rely on that furball,” Guzma said, almost insulted at the notion as the Purrloin ran after back towards the NIhilego’s backside. The cat had been nothing but trouble, and while Scizor could take a Rock-type hit better than Golisopod, he would still be knocked out if he took all of them at once.
“Trust me,” she said.
“Tch.” The former leader of Team Skull pursed his lips and drew in a deep breath. Then he shouted, “SCIZOR, IT’S ALL OR NOTHING!!”
The Pincer Pokémon’s dark-yellow eyes shot to Guzma, attention grabbed even as another onslaught of Power Gems began to form.
“THAT EXOSKELETON AIN’T MADE OF PAPER, IS IT?” Guzma shouted at the top of his lungs to get over the thunderous crashing of the rays of light trying to crush the Steel-clad Bug-Type. “GET PUMPED AND READY TO SMASH ITS FACE IN, EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO TAKE A HIT!”
Scizor came to a stop a fair distance from in front of the Nihilego as the barrage ceased, dust still lingering in the air as he acknowledged the order with a nod. He tensed up, crossing his pincers as his crimson body began to glow with a molten color. Then, with a cry that rang out like a Kiai, his metallic body radiated a blood-red aura. “ZOOOORRRR!!”
Scizor used Focus Energy!
Scizor’s getting pumped up!
Perhaps sensing the rise in Scizor’s energy similar to its own battle aura, the Nihilego let out a sharp undulating cry at the overt hostility and responded with the formation of more than a dozen stones of crystalized light—
“Now!” Kahili called out.
Purrloin used Fake Out!
—when the Purrloin leapt and slammed his aglow paws into one another. A rippling shock wave of air followed, slamming into the Parasite Pokémon and rending its concentration to make the Power Gems disperse before they could be discharged correctly.
The wild Nihilego flinched!
“Bullet Punch, now!” Guzma ordered, extending his fist. “Drive it down into the ground!”
In the blink of an eye, the Scizor was above the flinching Nihilego with a pincer raised. The aura shrouding his body gathered into it for a singular strike. Backed by its Technician Ability, the blow that followed could be heard throughout the course as it came down like a hammer!
A Critical Hit!
The Parasite Pokémon hit the ground hard enough to bounce off it. The hit had only been enough to leave it on the verge of fainting despite all the advantages stacked against it in that blow. But its aura was thinned, wavering around its clear body that struggled to get aloft on the gases that composed the air once more.
“Now, while it’s weakened!” Kahili called out as she flung an Ultra Ball towards it, seeking to capture it before it could get hurt further or lash out again. The ball connected and then opened, pulling it into the ball and snapping shut.
“That won’t work!” Guzma said as the ball hit the ground. “Only a Beast Ball can capture it!”
The warning was too little too late as the Nihilego broke free, exploding the ball from inside out while releasing a pitiful sound that was almost like a child crying. Before combat could go any further, its bell swelled to a larger size as a white gas roiled within it. Then, all at once, the bell contracted.
The wild Nihilego used Clear Smog!
Releasing a billowing cloud of white smog to obscure it from sight while propelling it away from them, the Clear Smog that came rushing out in a thick cloud would have caught both of the trainers inside of it had Scizor not came rushing in, with the Purrloin clinging to his horns. He scooped them both up before flying back towards the mountains to put distance between them and it. Long enough for Kahili to release her Mandibuzz and have it use Defog.
By the time it was dispersed to the extent of being harmless, the Nihilego was gone.
[-A Lily Blossoms in Kanto-]
Guzma left as soon as the Ultra Beast was gone, leaving Kahili to explain the situation to her father. Those attacks had done quite a number on the course. Even with her father rushing to have the field remade, it would still take time. More than a lot of guests were willing to deal with patiently, meaning concessions were necessary.
Worse was the fact that because Guzma was spotted fleeing the scene shortly afterwards, he’d likely be associated with the attack. While a trainer couldn’t be held accountable for a random Pokémon attack, his reputation meant that they would assume him involved. And the fact that they were too far from the hotel for everything to be witnessed clearly meant that it was easy for the misconception to spread.
I can make an official statement, but I doubt father will let him anywhere near the resort or beach again if the guest really considers him “destruction in human form.” She could only sigh softly at that fact as the reigning Champion of Alola came running up to her, short on breath.
“Kahili, is everything alright?” he asked, coming to a stop.
“For the most part,” she said. “Did you hear about the attack by chance?”
He nodded. “I heard about something happening with Team Skull while I was handling something else. Word that they lured in a wild Pokémon to attack the hotel, only for it be fended off by one of the Elite Four.”
“I suppose it was wishful thinking that it was stay quiet until a statement was made.” She shook her head somberly. “I’ll have the television station report things properly before they get out of hand. That and have a warning issued about these Ultra Beasts.”
Elio winced. “Actually, can you keep the fact that the Ultra Beasts were involved in this a secret when you do?”
She tilted her head at that. “If I don’t say anything, people will only keep assuming the worst about him. That’s something I’m really not comfortable with. Much less since I’ve agreed to take him under my wing. So unless you can give me a suitable reason…”
“I’m not saying to cover it up entirely, just that it was an Ultra Beast,” Elio clarified. “The one that attacked, was it like a glass Tentacool? A Nihilego?”
She nodded. “Yes, he mentioned it by name. Seeing it nearly gave him a panic attack, so I assume he had a negative personal experience with it?”
“It’s a long story, and it’s not my place to tell you,” Elio said. “Anyway, the Ultra Beasts came from a place called Ultra Space and a few of them ended up in our world by mistake a little while ago. They’re just looking for people who have been there because they think they can get them back there.”
“And Guzma is one of them?”
He nodded. “If word got around that Pokémon like them were here, trainers would go after them. They’re powerful and we just had a league set up here, so a lot of younger or confident trainers will try to capture them to challenge the league. And if they get scared or hostile, they can do a lot of damage quickly.”
“So I’ve seen,” she said in agreement. “Had this course been opened, a great deal of people would have been caught up in the attacks and harmed. Even so, the people do need to be warned that there are dangerous Pokémon wandering around.”
“The Aether Foundation are working on setting up a hotline for people to inform them of any sightings of unusual Pokémon,” he said. “Meanwhile, I’ll start tracking them down to send them home after I explain to Guzma the situation. He really shouldn’t have been blindsided like this.”
“You should have the Kahuna speak on the matter as well,” Kahili added. “If they tell people not to approach them and to inform the hotline, the locals will listen.”
“Good point,” he said. “I’ll visit Olivia next to talk to about the situation. Let me know if it shows up again and I’ll have Nebby bring me right over, okay?”
Once she gave her word, he departed. Kahili followed shortly afterwards to talk to her father about arranging that statement. As much as she loathed concealing some things, she had to admit that the truth would be more devastating in the long run.
Not once did she notice the stealth observation drone hovering just overhead with its visual camouflage up. Not from the moment it had been deployed when the Power Gem pierced the sky above. Or even as it trailed her back to the hotel, where it flew up through a balcony door.
Into the waiting hands of Ann as she turned to her two subordinates and smiled.
“Well then. This assignment just got interesting.”