Calem sits on his bed with a violet egg on his lap. He keeps it warm by holding it to himself while rubbing it. Mawile sleeps leaning against him. His vacant and sullen expression doesn’t change even after a fletching enters through his open window and gives him a peck.
“I wasn’t sleeping, Fletching.” He adjusts Mawile so that she’s laying on his bed instead of him and rises. He sets the egg into its incubator and leaves for this kitchen.
Calem’s mother, Grace, enters from the deck. “It’s been a long day, I hope you got plenty of sleep. So, Calem… are you pumped to meet some Alolan pokemon?”
“You should be more excited. We’ve been just about everywhere this past year: Kanto, Johto, Sinnoh, and even Unova, but I think we’ve finally hit the jack pot here in Alola. Think about it, these are the beautiful islands everyone wants to visit. This is a brand new start for us: you, me, Fletching, and Rhyhorn. The pokemon living here must be friendly, so smile already.”
The doorbell interrupts Grace’s reply. “That’s got to be Professor Kukui. Why don’t you let him in, Calem?”
A man enters before Calem can get halfway to the door. For some reason, he isn’t wearing a shirt underneath his lab coat. The man says, “Hey there, Calem! The name’s Kukui. Good to meet you, cousin! You gotta be tired after that long trip all the way out here to Alola! Those are some nasty bags under your eyes. You feelin’ any jet lag?”
“We sure are a long way from Unova out here in Alola. It’s still nighttime out here, yeah!”
“It isn’t jet lag…”
Grace walks over to redirect the conversation. “Professor Kukui! Yes, we just arrived yesterday.”
“Hey there, Grace. I just let myself in. Oh, and call me Kukui, would you? Welcome to Alola!”
“Of course. I still remember seeing you battle the Indigo Gym Leaders back in Kanto all those years ago when I there for my races. I’ve been in love with Alolan pokemon ever since.”
Professor Kukui laughs. “I was supposed to be visiting there to research Kanto pokemon moves and all. I thought I knew a thing or two about battling, but those Kanto Gym Leaders proved me wrong!
“Hey now, Calem! Let’s get a move on to the next town over, cousin. Time for you to meet the island Kahuna and get yourself a pokemon, yeah.”
“The island kakuna?”
Professor Kukui laughs. “Kahuna, not kakuna! Although, he does look like one. The Kahuna who lives in Iki Town is always happy to give any kid who wants to have an adventure their first pokemon, yeah.”
Grace says, “Calem, that’s wonderful. You’ve been shutting yourself in your room ever since we left Kalos. I’ve been worried sick over you. Go get a new partner and explore our new home.” She turns to Professor Kukui. “Back in Kalos, five years ago, back when he was eleven, Calem and his friends used to play pokemon. Then that happened… I really think this will be a good experience for him.”
Professor Kukui pats Calem’s shoulder, “So, you already know the basics, that’s great! Don’t try taking on the Kahuna just yet, though. The Kahuna are crazy-strong pokemon trainers. They’re unbeatable for folks like us!”
“I’m fine staying here.”
Grace says, “Oh, hush now. Hurry and get ready, Calem. Your bag, hat, and things are probably still in the boxes in your room.”
He turns for his room without another word. He finds his bag and hat in the bottom of the box. Putting them on makes him retch. He hurls the two items out the open window before collapsing onto the ground. Hunched over, he supports himself with one hand while covering his mouth with the other. He breathes in and exhales. He breathes in and exhales. After a few minutes, he gets up.
A key-stone embedded necklace lays atop of his desk. Next to it rests a black pokeball. He looks to Mawile who is hugging the incubator to herself. She must have placed them there when he wasn’t paying attention. He shrugs and leaves his room with the excuse, “They broke during the move.”
Professor Kukui says, “Then we’ll just have to get you some styling new ones later, cousin.”
Grace sees Calem to the door with, “I’ll be sure to have everything cleaned up and put away by the time you come back with your new pokemon.”
Professor Kukui says as they begin walking down the moonlit road, “Your mom there… She’s sure looking forward to you getting a pokemon, yeah?”
“I have Mawile.”
“Now you can get another family member.” He gestures to the palm trees along the trail. “Welcome to paradise, cousin. This is the Alola region! Folks here in Alola get along by living together with pokemon and working together, too. After all… You can go anywhere, yeah, as long as you got pokemon helping you out here. That’s why we’ve got to get you to the Kahuna.”
“For some reason, I keep thinking it should be kakuna.”
Professor Kukui laughs. “Come on, Iki Town isn’t far if we cut through here.” After some walking, he says, “So, Calem, you loving Alola yet?”
“Don’t be like that. You just got to give it a fair shot and it’ll grow right on you, cousin.”
A trainer spots them and waves. “Hey, you’re the new kid! Howzit? Let’s have a battle sometime!”
Calem doesn’t respond. He waves back, but his face remains impassive.
Professor Kukui leads Calem up some log steps. “And we’re here! This right here is Iki Town! This town is where folks come to worship the pokemon that watches over Melemele Island. Tapu Koko keeps us all safe and happy, see!” Professor Kukui looks around and starches the back of his head. “Strange, we were supposed to meet everybody right here, yeah. Maybe they’re back on the Mahalo trail. That’s where the ruins of our guardian deity, Tapu Koko, are, yeah…
“Calem, do me a solid and go out there to look for them. I’ll wait around here to make sure we don’t miss each other. And don’t worry, you won’t miss the island Kahuna. He looks just like a Kahuna.”
“Sure…” is all Calem says to the unhelpful description. He walks through the center of town and sees a girl in white talking to her duffle bag. She looks around the same age as him, maybe a year younger. After a short exchange with the pokemon she’s hiding, she leaves down a trail into the forest.
Calem enters behind her figuring that that is the Mahalo trail. He could call out to her, but he doesn’t want to speak with anyone. He just want to finish this pointless task and go home.
The silent night lets the girl’s words drift back to him. “You can’t come out! We’ll get in trouble if anyone sees you.”
Calem stops for a moment to let some space build between them and then continues. As long neither of them sees the others face, then there is no chance he will get involved in her problems. With his dilemma settled, he resumes climbing the trail of log steps.
Upon reaching the top, he finds the girl panicking in front of a hanging bridge. Some spearow are circling a pokemon that reminds him of the night sky. The girl hears him approach and turns to face him with an “Ah. You have to help it! Please! Save, Nebby!”
Calem looks back to the spearow circling around the pokemon, “Pe-e-ew!”
“The spearows are attacking it! But… but I’m too afraid to go out there… My legs feel like they might give out…”
His mind flashes to the pokemon on route ten back in Kalos. Multiple pokemon were bound to the slabs of rocks by a mysterious energy. Each one cried its life out before withering away to dust. Once one rock was free, another pokemon would be pulled onto it by the same mysterious force that held them down.
Calem clicks his tongue and runs across the bridge. With grit teeth, he forces himself past the swinging from the bridge and hunches over Nebby. The spearow attack with more vigor in response. As he cries out, Nebby envelops him within mysterious glow that shatters the slabs of wood underneath them.
Calem hugs Nebby to himself as they fall and position his body so that it will protect Nebby from hitting the water below. A golden pokemon blows the spearow away, catches him, and places him next to the girl. It stops to look Calem and Nebby over before zipping up into the night sky like a meteor.
Nebby says, “Pew!” upon getting up.
The girl says, “Oh… Oh, thank goodness! You tried using your power again… didn’t you? Oh, Nebby. You know what happened last time you used it. You couldn’t move for ages after that. I don’t want to see you like that again. No… I shouldn’t say that. I’m sorry, Nebby… I know you were trying to save me that time… And I couldn’t even help you in return.”
Nebby says, “Pew!” and floats to where the golden pokemon stood. A strange rock glitters from the moonlight.
The girl says, “What… What is that?
Nebby passes it to the girl. “Pew pew!”
“A sparkling… stone? It feels almost warm somehow…” She then remembers Calem’s presence. She says to him, “Please, forgive me… I am so grateful to you for helping us out of that dangerous spot.”
Calem remains passive as he says, “I’ll never abandon a pokemon.”
“I think this stone must belong to you.”
“You can keep it.”
She squeezes her eyes shut and shakes her head. “No, this is for you and you alone.” After handing him the stone, she adds, “Please… Don’t tell anyone about this… About seeing Nebby… It’s… it’s a secret, OK?”
Everyone has things they don’t want to talk about. This must be hers. “I was never here.”
“Thanks.” She turns to Nebby, “Come on. Into the bag, Nebby.”
Once Nebby is safe inside her duffle bag, she says, “Um, I’m worried we might get attacked again by some wild pokemon or… or something. I know it’s too much for me to ask, but… Do you think you could see us back to town?”
Calem nods and accompanies her down the trail back to the plaza. Neither speak a word to the other. Calem is fine with the silence, but it makes the girl more nervous.
Professor Kukui waves at them from the trail’s entrance. “Hey! Calem! Looks like you missed the Kahuna, yeah? But you found my assistant, oh yeah!”
As Calem and the girl get closer, Professor Kukui says, “Looks like you already met, but just in case, this is my assistant!”
She turns to Calem. She does a decent job at hiding her discomfort, but to him it’s clear on her face. “Oh, um, yes… You can call me Lillie.”
Professor Kukui says, “And, Lillie, this here is Calem. He just moved here to Alola! Take good care of him.”
“So… you’re also one of the professor’s acquaintances? It’s nice to meet you…”
“We just met today. He barged right into my house and my mother had him take me away.”
The town’s folk begin making a rucks some distance away. Words such as “Kahuna,” and “Back,” drift over to them.
A large, elder man wearing an open yellow robe enters the center of town. “Have I missed something?”
Calem says, “The kakuna?”
Lillie says, “Kahuna.”
Professor Kukui says, “Naw, but where’d you go off to, Kahuna, Hala? I thought we were meeting here.”
“I am Kahuna of this island, after all. Whenever there is a problem on this island, it is my duty to resolve it.” He turns to Lillie. “Sorry about that. What were you saying before? For some reason I thought I saw Tapu Koko flying about…”
Lillie nods twice, “Oh, um… Yes, Kahuna Hala… Nebby was being attacked by spearow on the Plank Bridge when this boy helped it get away… But then the bridge collapsed, and I thought both of them might fall to the bottom of the ravine… And that was when the island’s guardian deity swooped in to save them!”
Professor Kukui says, “Woo! That’s something you don’t hear every day!”
Kahuna Hala says, “Ho! Although it is said to protect us, our Tapu Koko is a rather fickle creature. Yet our guardian was moved to save you. Kukui, my boy, I think we have cause to celebrate! It seems we should entrust this brave and kind boy with a pokemon of his own.”
Calem shakes his head at the remark, but Kahuna Hala laughs. “Don’t worry, raising a pokemon is a big responsibility, but you can always turn to us for help. Child, I’m glad to meet you. I am Hala, the Kahuna if Melemele Island. Welcome to Alola! Young Kukui had told me of your coming. I’m glad we got the chance to meet today.”
Kahuna Hala calls out three pokemon: Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio.” Calem looks at them, but each turns away in turn. Kahuna Hala gasps along with Professor Kukui and Lillie. “What’s this? None of them want to choose you?”
Calem forces a bitter smile. Pokemon can read the hearts of people. After losing almost everyone from his previous team, his heart isn’t ready to meet new pokemon.
Lillie says, “Calem… I’m so sorry.”
Calem looks to Nebby and changes to the topic. “He broke out.”
Lillie sighs. “It fine. Kahuna Hala and the professor will keep him safe. But Nebby, you should stay in the bag and out of sight. It’s safer that way.”
Professor Kukui says, “Well, I realize none of these pokemon choose you, but I still want you to have this pokedex, cousin. After all, you do have Mawile at home. It’s off right now, but we’re still waiting for one last component to come in. I’ll come get’cha when it’s in.”
Calem looks it over. It’s nothing like the one Professor Sycamore gave him, not that he has it to compare with. He buried it in Kalos with the five pokeballs of his former team.
“Also, take this too. It’s your trainer passport. You’ll need it to travel to the different islands.”
Calem looks to everyone. His expression remains unchanged since he left with Professor Kukui earlier. “Thanks, bonne soiree au revoir.” With everyone confused by his French, he leaves.
A boy around Calem’s age approaches the plaza just as he walks away. He calls out to Calem, “Hey! You and me! Let’s have a pokemon battle!”
Calem tenses at the suggestion. “Impossible…”
“Come on, cuz! Don’t be like that.”
Kahuna Hala, Professor Kukui, and Lillie approach having heard the boy’s loud voice. Kahuna Hala’ belly shakes as he laughs. “And what kind of pokemon battle would that be where you don’t even give a name first, eh?”
“Fair enough. Then I’m Hau. And my partner’s Popplio! Hey, now that I’m paying attention, where’s you pokemon? Tutu, didn’t you give him one?”
Everyone else averts their stares Hau’s question. Confused, Hau says, “Hey, did something happen?”
As Kahuna Hala clears his throat to explain, Calem steps back and slips away by stepping into the shadows. A few minutes later, he’s walking down the moonlit road home. He’s halfway there when he hears Hau calling out to him from behind.
“Hey! Hey wait! Tutu explain the situation, but you still have Mawile, right? Take part in tomorrow’s festival! We can battle there!”
Kahuna Hala, Professor Kukui, and Lillie must have been worried about Calem’s sudden disappearance because they soon appear. Kahuna Hala’s gaze is attracted to the stone sticking out of Calem’s pocket. “Hm? Calem, would you be so kind as to give me a look at that sparkling stone you have there?” Upon getting a closer look, “Could it be?
“You were rescued by Tapu Koko at the bridge- isn’t that what I heard, Calem?”
“That’s when I got the stone.”
“So, it did deign to give you a stone… Perhaps you are here in Alola, Calem, because this is where you are meant to be. Allow me to borrow this stone for now. Fret not! I’ll return it to you tomorrow evening. I very much look forward to your match tomorrow. I get the feeling you’ll make for an excellent trainer.”
Professor Kukui steps forward. “First, I’ll make sure you get back home safe today, though, Calem. Lillie, you two should come with us, too, yeah. Wouldn’t want to go losing you twice in one day. You or that precious pokemon of yours!”
“Yes… I will keep an eye on…” She doesn’t even get to finish her sentence when everyone’s gaze shifts past her. Nebby floats around without care to where it goes. “Pew.”
“Oh, you! Would you not try to escape the very moment that you were told not to wander off!” Her remark gets laughter from everyone but Calem.
As professor Kukui leads the way back home, Lillie says to Calem. “I don’t really like to see pokemon battles where pokemon can get hurt… but I’ll watch your battle tomorrow.”
Calem, still hung up on Kahuna Hala’s remark about his coming to Alola, says, “Fate did all that to bring me here?”
A/N: Okay, the first chapter is out and ready. Now, some of you might be wondering why I’m posting this here. Well, truth is, I’m trying to diversify my blog, maybe even bring in some people who like pokemon and make them Isekai Mahou fans. Even though doing this makes me want to transform into a sushi roll by wrapping myself up in my bed and then squirm on the floor from mental agony… this could, might hopefully, work. In case any of you are wondering, this won’t distract me from my translations.