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Pokemon Dreams: Island Challenge

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Episode 1
*Word Art created by me by in a text generator called TextCraft “Alola to all you Island Challenge Tournament fans out there! This is MC Anna, keeping you up to date on IC stats for the last 25 years. For those of you just joining us in Alola, the Island Challenge is a long standing Alolan Tradition to test and grow Alola’s young trainers. The ICT has only been around for the last ten years, but it’s grown globally in favor and is now replacing Pokémon Base as the most watched sporting event in Alola. Don’t get me wrong, the Alolan traditions still run strong. “The ICT season starts today. Pokémon Trainers have already formed teams based on their Home Region, several teams to each Region. There are three ranks, based on Age Groups; one of which each team will fit into. Rank A is comprised of one team of Trainers aged 18 and above from each of the 7 regions; Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos, and of course our very own Alola. The Rank A Tournament will be MCed by my very own eldest daughter, Jo-Anna and her Drampa, who have been newscasting and reporting on the ICT for 3 years. “The Rank B Tournament is the age group 16-17 years of age and is comprised of 2 teams from each region. That’s 14 teams total, and it will be MCed by my very own middle child, Christy-Anna and her Altaria who have been with us at this radio station for 2 years. “And finally Rank C is the age group of 15 years and younger. Rank C has 4 teams from each region, and that totals to the amount of 28 teams, for a grand total of 49 teams competing for the right to challenge the Alolan Pokemon League. MCing the Rank C Tournament is my very own youngest daughter, Suzanna and her Dragonite, who have been with us for 1 year…” The radio drones on in the background. A teenage Alolan native girl sleeps in the colorful bed by the window, which is opened to allow the Alolan night summer breezes to cool the house instead of costly air conditioning. Sleeping with her is an Alolan Pikachu, or least a Pikachu hatched (as a Pichu) and raised on the Islands. If allowed, it will one day evolve into the Electric and Psychic type Alolan Raichu. But for now, it sleeps peacefully as a Pikachu. But why do they sleep? It is nearly 11:00 AM on the day of the start of the ICT and the alarm clock has been going off for over 2 hours now. She was supposed to be at Pokémon School at 10:30 AM. This girl, who can apparently sleep through just about anything, is River Star Getum and her starting Pokémon, a Pikachu named Brave Star. She is 16 years old and has just qualified for an ICT Rank B team. River Star was supposed to meet her team today, but will she ever get up? “River Star Getum! Get up! You were supposed to be at School half an hour ago!” River’s mom burst into the room, arousing River Star and Brave Star. “What? What happened? My alarm was supposed to get me up!” She came into consciousness and realized that the alarm was still going off. “You slept through your alarm again, I see. Get up and get ready as fast as you can. I will get you a quick breakfast and then you must run to school. The ICT starts today. You must meet your team, and even go through your first trial. Ah my children are growing up. Night River, your 12-year-old brother has already gone to school on time, with Blue River, his Popplio. “As C Rank qualifiers, they had to be there at 9:00 AM.” She started to walk out of the room, but as a second thought, she turned back to River Star. Sharply, she told her, “And please remember to get dressed! I really would like it if you wouldn’t show up to school on the first day of the ICT late and in your pajamas!” *** River Star had thrown on some clothes, not necessarily anything that her mother would have approved of for the first day of the ICT. A blue and white striped t-shirt, some tan 3-quarter-length pants, some mismatched socks, a pair of tennis shoes, that didn’t really go with the ensemble, and to complete the look, her favorite ball cap, that was a Limited Edition Alolan Pokémon League Official Hat. It had taken her a lot of time and energy to win that cap. She ran through the house with Brave Star at her feet, snatched the buttered toast from her mother and was out the door before you could say Alolan Raichu. “Well, at least she’s trying to make-up time,” her mother commented. *** River Star was half-way to school with Brave Star when she heard a ruckus. A large man was bullying a Litten, by the side of the road. Litten was holding a Pecha Berry in its mouth, and the man, dressed in a cyan colored trench coat (Really! He must be sweating profusely! thought River Star) was about to slap it. “You ruddy little thief! I’ll teach you a lesson you won’t forget,” the large man snarled. River Star knew that Litten couldn’t protect itself with the Pecha Berry in its mouth, indeed it was backing away in fear. River Star looked at Brave Star and they both nodded in fierce determination and raised their fists; they knew what they must do. “Hey, you, in the trench coat! Don’t you know that that Alola’s Bounty is for all?” At least that was what River Star and Brave Star had been taught all their lives. The man in the trench coat turned to her and snarled, “Mind your own business, kid!” He started to toss a Pokéball. River Star called out to Brave Star as Litten fled the scene, “Brave Star, Thundershock!” Brave Star lit the man up like a Christmas Tree. He yelped and dropped the Pokéball. After a minute, he noticed Litten was gone. He picked up his Pokéball and put it away. “I no longer have business here, so I’ll let you off easy kid. But beware, I will have my revenge.” He stalked gingerly out of sight, still looking a little staticky. River Star grinned and patted Brave Star on the head. “Good job, Brave Star!” She looked at the Alolan Sun already nearing the middle of the sky. “Oh no! What time is it? We’re really late.” The two of them dashed away. Behind them, the silent figure of the aged Tapu Koko slipped out of the foliage. He had been watching the entire time. He nodded his head slowly. *** When River Star got to Pokémon School, she was immediately met by Principal Kukui who pulled her aside and gave her a gentle lecture on being late. River Star started to take it all quietly, but Brave Star would have none of it. She kept trying to communicate via Pika’s to Principal Kukui about the man in the Trench Coat. Kukui asked River Star to translate. “Oh, we were already late, but we stopped to protect a poor Litten who was being bullied by a man in a trench coat. Weird.” “Yes, that is strange, a trench coat at this time of year. I’ll look into it. Now you better get to your new class; your team, is in room 302, with Professor Koa. Your team’s name is Lunala and your team is about to leave for your first trial, the Dark Trial. So, hurry up.” “Yes, sir.” *** River Star only had a few minutes to catch the names and a bare impression of her teammates before they got on the bus to Hau’oli City. There was Hiakay Shot, whom most people called Flare. He wanted to specialize in fire types, so he had chosen a male Litten as his first Pokemon. His Dream was to be a breeder and River Star’s impression of him was that he was somewhat wise. There was Sage Fields, a technically intelligent girl who was unsure of the path she wanted to take and had chosen a hardy, male Rowlet as her partner. The fourth member of their group was flowery Rolland “Rolly” Poles. Rolly had chosen a female Popplio as his partner, hoping that its evolved forms would be an asset in Contests and Performances someday, though right now Popplio was fine as she was. The final member of the team was Professor Koa, their very excitable teacher. She specialized in Pokémon Types: Grass vs. Others. Her Decidueye was a sharpshooter and not one to fall asleep in class in front of. *** “MC Anna here again to discuss the ICT. First, let’s introduce our teams. MC Jo-Anna, will you start us off with the A Rank Teams?” “Sure thing, MC Anna! First off, we’ve got Team Mewtwo from the Kanto Region, their home base is around Saffron City. Then we’ve got Team Celebi from the Johto Region, and their home base is Goldenrod City. From the Hoenn Region, we have the Rayquaza Team, based in Mauville City area, and from Sinnoh, we have Team Arceus from home base in Heathrome City. Next is Team Kyurem, hailing from Castelia City, Unova and Team Zygrade from Lumiose City in the Kalos Region. Finally, we have our very own Team Blinding One from Melemele City, Melemele Island Right Here in the Alola Region! That’s all the A Rank Teams in the ICT this Season. Back to you, MC Anna!” “Thank you, MC Jo-Anna. So that was the A Rank Sound-off. MC Christy-Anna, will you call out the Sound off for the B rank Teams in the ICT for this Season?” “Absolutely, MC Anna. Starting with the Kanto Region again, we have two teams; Team Mew A is from Celadon City, while Team Mew B hails from Fuchsia City. Johto Region’s teams, Team Ho-Oh and Team Lugia hail from Ecruteak City and Olivine City respectively. From Hoenn, we have Fallarbor Town represented by Team Groudon and Team Kyogre representing the town of Pacifidlog. In Sinnoh, we have Team Cresselia hailing from Sunnyshore City and Team Darkrai hailing from Snowpoint City. Whereas in Unova, Teams Zekrom and Reshiram are from Black City and White Forest respectfully. Team Xerneas calls Shalour City home, and Team Yveltal calls Snowbelle City home, both in the Kalos Region. Meanwhile, the Alolan Regional Team Solgaleo calls Akala Island home, while our other Regional Team, Team Lunala resides on Melemele Island. That completes the B-Rank Sound-off. Back to you, MC Anna.” “Thank you, MC Christy-Anna. Now, we need to hear the C-Rank Sound-Off. Would you mind, MC Suzanna?” “Not a problem, MC Anna. Here we go. Teams Articuno, Arcanine, Moltres and Zapdos, are from the Kanto Region. From the Johto Region, we have the Teams Suicune, Entei, Raikou and Tyranitar. Hoenn has sent Teams Regice, Registeel, Regirock, and Regigigas. Teams Azelf, Mesprit, Shaymin and Uxie hail from Sinnoh, while Cobalion, Keldeo, Terrakion, and Virizion hail from Unova. Meanwhile, Teams Hoopa, Diancie, Volcanion, and Noivern call Kalos home. And last but not least, from the four Islands of Alola, Teams Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu and Tapu Fini. That completes the Sound-Off for the C-Rank. Back to you, MC Anna.” “Awesome Job, MC Suzanna. Now we’ll go over the general rules for the ICT. There are six basic rules covering the Island Challenge Tournament. Now of course, there are plenty of regulations covering it, but we’ll just cover the main ones that regulate all three ranks. MC Jo-Anna, would you like to take the first rule?” “Certainly, MC Anna. The first rule states that ‘The Trials have to be taken as a group, unless otherwise specified by the Trial Captain.’ So essentially these are teamwork exercises, am I correct, MC Anna?” “That is absolutely correct, MC Jo-Anna. They will have to take it as a team. Of course, the rule also states that the Captain may specify otherwise, as the Trial Captain does have complete jurisdiction over their trial, if it falls within their regulations. MC Christy-Anna, would you like to continue with rule number two?” “Definitely, MC Anna. Here is the second rule; ‘Once passed, a Trial will earn the entire team, a Z-Crystal each.’ This one seems self-explanatory. Would you agree, MC Anna?” “Yes, I would, MC Christy-Anna. Just to be clear, if a team passes a Trial, each member of that entire team earns a Z-Crystal of the type relating to that Trial. Now, onward to rule three; MC Suzanna, will you do the honors?” “Thank you, MC Anna. The third rule reads as such, ‘If a Trial is failed, then it is failed by the entire team, and the team does not earn Z-Crystals but a Strike.’ To be clear, if one member of the team fails a Trial, then the entire team fails the Trial. Isn’t that right, MC Anna?” “That’s right, MC Suzanna. In addition to not winning a Z-Crystal, a team that fails a Trial, also earns a Strike. There is more on that with the fourth rule. MC Jo-Anna, will you explain?” “Of course, MC Anna. ‘Two strikes, and the Team is eliminated permanently from the current year’s Tournament’ rule four reads. That means if any Team fail to pass any two of the eighteen Trials, they are eliminated from the ICT and will not be allowed to return to the ICT this year for any reason.” “Thank you, MC Jo-Anna for clearing that up. Rule five goes back to something we’ve already discussed. MC Christy-Anna, will you elaborate?” “It would be my pleasure, MC Anna. ‘It is up to a Trial Captain’s judgement whether to pass or fail a team during their Trial.’ Again, the Trial Captains do have to follow regulations, but it is up to them whether the Team passes or fails. Back to you, MC Anna.” “Thank you, MC Christy-Anna. And for the final rule, MC Suzanna?” “Definitely, MC Anna. Lastly, but not least, ‘A team must complete each and every Trial (whether passed or failed) to be eligible for the Finals.’ This means that even if a team comes to the final Trial Undefeated, they must still participate in the final trial, or face disqualification. I think that sums up the general rules, MC Anna.” *** The bus ride to the outskirts of Hau’oli City took an hour due to the traffic. The traffic was hectic these days, especially today, since today was the start of the Island Challenge Tournament. The traffic was terrible even with A.I. driven vehicles, which usually calmed things down a bit. During the ride, Professor Koa, a short, springy young woman, who looked almost the spitting image of a grass-type called to order what she called ‘the first Team Lunala team Meeting’. She had a deep musical voice as she spoke up. “I think the first piece of business to really introduce ourselves.” She held up her hand to pause Sage’s protest that they’d already done so. “River Star was not present at that time.” There was a collective groan, and River Star’s face turned dark as the blood rushed to her face in embarrassment. Professor Koa frowned deeply. “Enough of that. We are a team. Now, I shall go first. I am Professor Emmeline Koa, and I originate from a small suburb outside Melemele City. I graduated from the original Pokémon School on Melemele Island about 25 years ago, and about 15 years ago became a minor Pokémon Professor. My major field of study is Pokémon Types: Grass Types versus Other Types. And my main Pokémon Partner is Bullseye my Decidueye. He’s an excellent marksmen.” She frowned and gave Rolly (who was rubbing his head, as though it was sore). “What happened to Rolly was a light warning to all of you – Don’t sleep in my class!” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath (as everyone looked alarmed), then opened her eyes and smiled. “I think we will have a good time together. Let’s work hard together and make it to the Finals!” She then nodded to Flare. Flare nodded. He wore out of date bellbottom flares with flames coming up them, along with a shirt with a tropical design on it. He went barefoot, though few Alolans still did. Flare gave a warm, welcoming smile towards River Star. “I am Hiakay Shot, but everyone calls me ‘Flare’, since I tend to go wild over fire Pokémon. I live in Hau’oli City with my Mom and four little brothers and sisters.” He looked away for a moment as a dark look crossed his face. “My Dad died a few years back; he was very sick.” There was quiet for a minute, then everyone murmured their condolences. He waved them away, saying “It’s fine, it’s fine.” After a moment, he continued, “I just turned 17 the other day.” He waved away their congrats and continued again. “I’ve been in the Melemele Pokemon School since I was twelve, so that would make this my fifth year – yes, fifth and final year. I do graduate at the end of this tournament, win, lose or draw. I’m personally into breeding and raising Pokémon and would like to enter into Breeding Competitions at some point. As a fire-type lover, I chose Litten as my starter, and he seems to have a calm personality.” Flare fell silent. Professor Koa pointed to Sage to go next. Sage wore an odd mixture of clothing. It seemed to be a smooth cross between Cyberpunk and Plant-Lover. Sage seemed a little nervous as she started speaking. “My name is Sage Fields. I love fixing machines as well as taking care of plants. Which of course is why I choose to raise grass types. My family comes from Iki City, and I studied there under Old Hala for a while, before he died.” She paused, as they all honored a moment of silence for the late Kahuna who had died peacefully in his sleep 5 years ago. After a minute, she began again. “I live with my older brother and my father. I turned 16 three months ago, and this is my third year at the school. I still have no idea what my ultimate goal is, but I would eventually like to try both contests and the gym challenge. My starter Pokémon was a Rowlet and he is of a hardy nature.” She fell silent. Professor Koa nodded in Rolly’s direction. He wore what could be called a pirate shirt with wide sleeves and a low-cut neck, and puffy pants. To River Star, he seemed, what was the word… flowery. Rolly began with a Galarian accent (stiff and formal), “I am Rolland Poles.” He sniffed. “Some have taken to calling me Rolly. Whatever.” He sniffed again. “I turned 16, 6 months ago. My family was some of the upper crust of Galar, moved here two years ago. I have studied at the school for 7 months and my style is contests and showcases. Someday I will be Top Coordinator and Kalos King. Towards that effort, I have chosen Popplio as my starter, as her final evolution is Primarina, even if she does have a sassy nature. I… I also have another Pokémon that I don’t use much.” He went quiet. Finally, Professor Koa turned to River Star and smiled at her welcomingly. River Star then began her turn with Brave Star crawling on to her head. “My name is River Star Getum. I live with my mother and little brother, Night River, and we live on the outskirts of Iki City as well. Our father passed away 11 years ago. I was only 5, so I don’t really remember it much, and Mom doesn’t like to talk about it. It’s about the only thing she refuses to talk about… so I don’t really know how he died…” After a moment of quiet and some condolences, she began to briefly discuss her brother. “Night River is 12 and is entering the ICT as well. I believe he is on Team Tapu Koko, and he has his Popplio, Blue River with him.” There were murmurs of congrats as she continued. “I have been at the school for 4 years now and I have decided I wish to be a Pokémon Master!” She declared the rare and revered statement with such fierce determination, that there was there were muffled gasps from around her. She had never shared that with anyone, but she finally felt it was time. “As such, I want to fulfill gym challenges all over the around the world. Brave Star here,” she grinned up at the Pikachu crouching on her head, who grinned back, “joined me 13 years ago, as a Pichu. Dad gave her to me. She definitely has a brave personality.” River grinned. Professor Koa smiled softly at this, and then began the briefing. “Now that we are fully introduced, we should begin discussing the tournament.” Flare put up his hand for a question, “So I understand, we have to do 18 trials, one for each Pokémon Type, and if we fail twice as a group, we are out. I get that, but is there a certain order we have to take the trials in?” “Very good question, Flare. The answer is yes.” Professor Koa cleared her throat and began. “There is actually a schedule and here it is.” She handed copies of it out. Sage began reading hers out loud. “So, we start with the Dark Trial, then the Normal one, followed by Flying, then Steel and Fighting. After that it’s Water, Fire, Grass and Bug. Followed by Rock, Electric and Ice. Then, Psychic, Poison and Ghost. After that, it is Fairy and Dragon, and finally we complete the Tournament with the Ground Trial. Is that right?” “Yes and no,” Professor Koa answered. “The order is correct, but that is not the end of the Tournament. For those teams, that survive the Tournament, with less than two strikes that is, they go on to battle in the Alolan Pokémon League. At that point there will be no more teams. It will be trainer against trainer. But we will discuss that more if and when we make it to the League… it’s just such a long way off. I know, we all want to just win the Pokémon League, but we can’t put the Rowlet before the egg now, can we? So, to speak.” Everyone gave her sour looks. “In the meantime, let’s discuss the upcoming Trial. Yes, River Star?” River Star put her hand down. “It’s the Dark Trial, right, Professor?” “That’s right, River Star. The Trial Captain is Gladion. He is the head of the Aether Foundation, and he has several powerful Pokémon including Umbreon, Malamar and his trump Pokémon, Zoroark, Lycanroc (Midnight Form) and Sivally – Yes, Flare?” “Sivally, isn’t that the artificial Pokémon the Aether Foundation created to fight the Ultrabeasts 20 Years ago? And doesn’t it change type based on what Memories (kind of like CD’s) in an RKS-” “Very good, Flare. Yes indeed, but let’s save that for a strategy-based meeting in case you have to actually battle him.” Professor Koa smiled apologetically as she interrupted him. She continued about the Dark Trial. “As you probably already know, all Trials are split into 2 Stages, the Second Stage naturally being to battle the Totem Pokémon, of course. However, the First Stage is decided completely by the Trial Captain and has a title. This year, the test being given is called the ‘Dark Mirror’. It is supposedly one of the most difficult trials that Trial Captain Gladion has ever created. It is indeed Dark…” Her voice pattered out; a black look crossed her face. Only Flare dared to speak; even River Star was disturbed, and Brave Star crouched on her head in fear and silence. Flare, seeing the look on Professor Koa’s face, shivered as he spoke the question that was on everyone’s mind, “What do people say about the Trial?” For like many Sporting Events, they were all under contract not to speak of the Trial or its results until AFTER all Challengers had completed their Trials and the Trial had been aired, but they could give vague descriptions. Professor Koa looked them each rigidly in the eye before speaking. “They are saying that you must face the Darkest version of your own self that ever existed.” At that moment, the console of the A.I. driven van gave a beep as the vehicle came to a stop in front of a humongous Cemetery, where there were also several large news vans parked. The A.I. Console spoke metallically. “You have arrived at your destination: Hau’oli Cemetery.” To be continued…
Avatar created by and used with permission of icedragonboi and HorrorGal. See my new Shop https://pfq.link/~LN0m

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