Ash's Ultra Journey @darkknight55
Tunnel Trouble

Chapter 23: Tunnel Trouble

Fresh off his latest victory, Ash strode confidently back to Heahea City, admiring his Z Crystals along the way as Ilima trailed behind.

"Alright buddy, you ready to take on our second Grand Trial?"

"Pika Pikachu!"

"Yeah, me too!"

"Be careful, Ash. I remember fighting her during my Island Challenge, and she was by no means easy. Her Rock Type Pokémon will deal great damage towards any unsuspecting challenger."

"Rock types, huh? Well, my Croconaw should take care of them easily, but just in case I should make a call to Professor Oak once we reach the city."

Before long they reached the city outskirts. Professor Kukui and Lillie were there, Snowy snuggly sleeping in Lillie's arms.

"Ash, Ilima, over here!"

"Hi guys!"

"Hey Lillie, Professor. What've you guys been up to?"

"Well, Lillie and I have been getting acquainted with little Snowy here. Isn't she just the cutest?"

"She sure is. Hey professor, is Burnett's lab back up and running?"

Kukui shook his head sadly.

"Sadly, no. They were picking up some high energy readings a few days ago when their sensors went haywire! Next thing you know, all of the power is shut down and the generators are beyond repair. They said it will take at least a month before the new ones are delivered and set up."

"That's too bad. How is she taking it?"

"Oh, she's taking it pretty well. She's been using the time to get some things done around the house. You know, paying bills, cleaning, patching the roof for the umpteenth time…"

Everyone shared a good laugh at that.

"But enough about that, how is the crystal collecting going?"

"Great! I just finished up Mallow's trial, bringing me up to five."

Kukui's smile widened.

"Great! That means you're all set to take on Olivia! Which reminds me, Olivia asked me to tell you to meet her at her jewelry shop in Konikori City. Just go through Diglett's Tunnel and you'll reach it in no time."

"Great! Let's a go!"

"You three go on ahead, I'm heading back to Melemele Island to spend some time with Burnett. Catch you guys later."

After waving goodbye to the Professor, the trio set off for Diglett's Tunnel.

The tunnel was long and dim, making it hard to see. Fortunately, the light from Rotom was bright enough to see where they were going.

"How much longer, Ash?"

"It looks like we're about halfway there. How are you doing back there, Lillie?"

When he didn't get a response, Ash turned around…

Only to find that Lillie wasn't behind them.

"Ilima, where's Lillie?"

Concerned, Ilima turned to find nothing behind him.

"I don't know, she was behind me a minute ago!"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

"Did you hear that?"

"That could be Lillie. We better go check it out!"

The two instantly headed off in the direction of the scream to find two people in pink uniforms lying on the ground in defeat, two Team Skull grunts standing over them triumphantly.

"That's what you get chumps!"

"Next time you better think twice about getting in the way of Team Skull."

"Hey, pick on someone your own size!"

When the two grunts saw Ash and Ilima running towards them, their eyes went wide with fright.

"Yo dawg, those are the guys Tupp, Zipp, and Rapp were talking about! The crazy strong trainers."

"Aw man, for real? Let's get out of here then!"

With that, the two ran for the hills as Ash and Ilima bent over to help the two strangers to their feet.

"You two alright?"

"We're fine, thank you."

"My name is Ash, and he's Ilima. Who are you?"

"I'm Rose, and he's my brother Alex. We work for the Aether Foundation."

"The Aether Foundation?"

Ilima stroked his chin in thought before it hit him.

"I remember now! The Aether Foundation is an organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Pokémon. Their based off a manmade island not too far from here, actually."

Alex nodded his head.

"Yes, that's correct. We were sent because we caught wind of Team Skull action in the area. We were surveying the tunnel when we got ambushed. We tried our best, but they pummeled us. We're not very good battlers, so it's a good thing you two came along. Thank you so much."

"Hey, its no problem."

Rose looked at her watch.

"Oh, we need to get back to base. Look, we need to go, but I promise we'll pay you back. Bye!"

Ash and Ilima waved to them as they left.

"Are you guys alright?"

Ash and Ilima turned to see Lillie making her way towards them.

"Sorry, Nebby got out of his bag again, and Snowy got upset, and by the time I had them both under control you guys had already left. I heard a scream, so I ran as fast as I could."

"Yeah, we're fine. Team Skull was just causing trouble. But don't worry, we've got it all under control."

"Well, if that is all taken care of, let's get out of here. This cave is giving me the creeps."

"Agreed."

With that, the trio headed off to find the exit.

After another 10 minutes, they exited the cave and made for Konikori City. It didn't take them long to find Olivia's shop.

"You ready buddy?"

"Pika!"

"Alright, lets make this crystal #6!"

Ash flung open the door, expecting to find Olivia ready for battle…

Only to find an empty shop, its only occupant being a Probopass by the stairs.

"Huh? Where's Olivia?"

Hearing Ash's question, Probopass floated over to him and handed him a note. Ash took it and read it to himself.

Dear Island Trial Challenger,

I'm sorry I could not be here to greet you, but something has come up that requires the attention of the Kahuna. If you wish to battle me right away, make your way to the Ruins of Life past Memorial Hill.

Sincerely,

Olivia, Kahuna of Akala Island.

"Ash, what's going on? Where's Olivia?"

Ash turned to see Ilima and Lillie filtering into the empty shop, looking around in confusion.

"She had to go take care of something. We need to meet her at the Ruins of Life."

"Alright, lets get going. I know the way."

But Lillie wasn't so sure.

"B-but that's past Memorial Hill. I heard that place is haunted."

Ash put a reassuring hand on her shoulder, offering her a small smile.

"Don't worry Lillie, Ilima and I will protect you."

Feeling safer, Lillie relaxed and the trio set off for the Ruins.

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