Chapter 6: Skulls and Roses.
After a quick stop at the Pokémon Center to heal their Pokémon, the new trio made their way into Hau'oli City proper, Ilima taking the lead and Lillie bringing up the rear.
"So Ilima, you've studies in Kalos?"
"Yes, I spent a semester in College there. Such a lovely region, and what a beauty Mega Evolution is."
"You know, I was runner up in the league there."
"Were you now? How interesting. Oh, would you look at that, we're here."
Ash had to stop for a second to take it all in. Although he had seen a small portion of Alola's largest city after landing, nothing could compare to the up close and personal view he now had. The early evening sun cast an orange glow over the island, glinting off the tall buildings. Pokémon, both wild and trained, roamed freely throughout.
"Woah, this place is awesome!"
Ilima smiled at their excitement. Just then, Lillie stepped forward.
"Um, if you guys don't mind, I think I'll catch up with you later. I need to do some clothes shopping."
"Alright, Lillie. Catch up with you later."
The two waved goodbye as Lillie set off for the shopping mall.
"Come on, Ash. I'll give you the full tour."
Still spooked from their encounter with Rotom, the Team Rocket Trio stumbled into the shopping mall, hungry and out of breath.
"Is...is that freaky Pokémon still following us?"
James looked behind him, and seeing nothing sighed in relief.
"It looks like we've lost them. Ooh, that stupid rotom and its freaky Pokedex entries. I can never look at my Yamask the same way again!"
Before anything else could be said, a loud rumbling came from their stomachs.
"Running in fear sure builds up an appetite."
James strutted over to the directory, scanning for a restaurant.
"It looks like there's a place on the second floor called The Battle Buffet."
"I don't care what da place is called, as long as they have good grub."
"Then its settled. To the Battle Buffet!"
The three strutted up the staircase and into the restaurant. The receptionist greeted them with a warm smiled.
"Welcome to the Battle Buffet, where you can not only train your Pokémon, but get a good meal while you're at it!"
Jesse returned the smile.
"Why thank you! Table for 2, please!"
"Three, table for 3."
"No problem! That'll be 1200 dollars per participant."
The two humans eagerly took out their wallets, ready to pay...
Only to find them completely empty, leaving the two completely embarrassed. Jesse quickly tried to save face.
"Um, we seem to be a little strapped for cash. Do you accept IOUs?"
The receptionist's face darkened.
Jesse and James grew nervous. Suddenly, the receptionist's face did a complete 180, her eyes glowing with a bright hatred.
"YOU SCOUNDRELS HAD BEST LEAVE NOW BEFORE I CALL SECURITY AND HAVE THEM ESCORT YOU OUT PERSONALLY!"
Seeing that she meant business, the three fled in terror.
"Looks like Team Rocket's blasting off again!"
The receptionist managed to calm down, smiling as a young couple walked in.
"Table for two?"
After an extensive tour of the city, Ash and Ilima sat outside the local Malasada shop talking about their respective travels.
"I must say, Ilima, out of all the regions I've been to, Alola is by far the most gorgeous. I've never seen a region such in tune with nature."
"Why thank you, Ash. Its always a pleasure to see foreigners take an interest in our culture. I must warn you, though. Trials are very different from a gym battle."
"Well, Pikachu and I are ready for anything. Isn't that right, buddy?"
"That sounds like Lillie! Come on!"
The two ran as fast as they could, finding Lillie struggling for her egg with three people in skull based attire, two men and a woman. What was especially odd wasthat, despite being outnumbered, Lillie was able to keep her hold.
"Come on, lady! Give us the egg!"
"Hey! What are you punks doing?"
The trio turned around to see Ash and Ilima running towards them.
"Why don't you two butt out of this?"
"Help, guys! They're trying to steal my egg!"
Ilima grinded his teeth in annoyance.
"Not these punks."
"You know these guys?"
"No, but I know who they work for. They're part of Team Skull, a gang of no good criminals who do nothing but try and create chaos. Try being the key word, because they're too incompetent to be any good at being evil."
This caused the three grunts to get angry.
"Incompetent are we! Come on, guys, lets show them who's boss."
"Yungoos, you're up!"
"Show them, Zubat!"
"Pikipek, I choose you!"
"Smeargle, you're up!"
In a flash, the five Pokémon appeared on the field. Before anyone could move, however, Rotom flew out and began taking Pictures.
"Ooh, new Pokémon! Lets see..."
He began scanning Salandit for information.
"Salandit, The Toxic Fire Pokémon. A poison and fire type, Salandit lives in volcanoes and dry rock place. They're very dangerous Pokémon that attack after releasing a sweet smelling poisonous gas."
He then turned his attention to Yungoos.
"Yungoos, the loitering Pokémon. It wanders around in a never-ending search for food. At dusk, it collapses from exhaustion and falls asleep on the spot."
The three grunts looked shocked at the talking Pokedex, but recovered quickly.
"Yungoos, use Bite!"
"Poison sting, Salandit!"
"You too, Zubat!"
"Pikipek, use Peck, then Gust!"
"Water gun, Smeargle!"
Yungoos went to Bite Pikipek, only for the bird Pokémon to jump up and begin pecking him relentlessly, causing it to cry out in pain. Zubat swooped in to aid its comrade, sending Poisionous stings flying at its foe, only for them to be blown right back, sending it to the ground. As for Salandit…
It opened its mouth to attack, only to be blasted by water gun, sending it and its comrades right back into their trainers. The three grunts struggled to their feet, only to find Ash and Ilima standing over them.
"If we ever see you causing trouble again, you'll be sorry!"
Relucantly, the three scrambled to their feet and took off.
"You'll be sorry! Just wait until Big Sis hears about this!"
Ash and Ilima shook their heads as the three scrambled off into the distance.
"Are you alright, Lille?"
Lillie nodded her head, smiling.
"I am, thank you."
"You guys alright?"
Everyone turned to see Sun and Hau running up to them
"We heard Lillie scream, and came running."
"We're alright. Team Skull gave us some trouble, but we sent them running."
Sun's eyes narrowed at this.
"Those rotten no-gooders. Why can't they just buzz off."
Hau then turned in shock when he saw Ilima.
"No way, you're Ilima! You're my hero!"
"I see I have a fan."
"Will you battle me? Pretty please?"
Sun glared at his best friend.
"Hey, no fair! I was going to ask that!"
"Heh, sorry Sun."
Ilima smiled warmly.
"How about this, I'll take you both on at once. We'll have a double battle, you two working together against me. Deal?"
"Awesome, I'm in!"
"Works for me."
"Ash, would you mind acting as a referee?"
The group moved to a wide open space in the middle of the city, giving them plenty of room to battle. A few passerby's stopped to watch.
"Alright, this will be a 2-on-2 Double Battle! The battle will end when both Pokémon on either side will be unable to continue! Everybody ready?"
"Lets do this!"
"Popplio and I are raring to go."
"Alright, send out your Pokémon!"
"Lets go Rowlett!"
"Popplio, front and center!"
"Smeargle, Yungoos, center stage!"
With all four Pokémon out on the field, the battle began.
"Rowlett, hit him with Razor Leaf!"
"Bubble Beam, Popplio!"
Rowlett flew up into the air before sending out flying leaves, while Popplio did a little twirl before spitting out a stream of bubbles. Ilima smirked before turning to his own Pokémon.
"Yungoos, use Pursuit. Smeargle, use Ember!"
Yungoos nodded, before charging right at Popplio, soldiering through the bubbles before ramming him head on. As for Smeargle, he released a small flame from his mouth, sending Rowlett to the ground.
"Ember one more time! Tacke, Yungoos!"
Once more, the flame hit Rowlett, while Yungoos charged and headbutted both of them, knocking them out.
"Both Rowlett and Popplio are unable to battle! The battle goes to Ilima!"
"Great job, both of you!"
Sun and Hau returned their Pokémon, thanking them for doing their best before turning to Ilima.
"Man, you sure are strong. Now we see why you're a trial captain."
Ilima smiled warmly at them.
"Thank you, but you guys did well also. I look forward to when you undergo my trial."
Hau chuckled nervously, while Sun shook his head.
"Naw, I need to train some more."
"And I need to go eat some more Malassadas!"
Sun watched his friend run off, shaking his head before turning to the others.
"I think I'll hit up the Battle Buffet after a quick trip to the Pokémon center. See you guys later!
Sun waved goodbye before walking off into the distance. Ilima then walked over to his companions.
"So, are we ready to leave?"
"You bet! I cant wait for my first trial!"
"Good luck, Ash. I'll be rooting you all the way."
With that, the three headed for the Pokémon center, planning to leave the next morning. Ash didn't know what lay ahead, but was ready nonetheless.