The sun began to peek through the clouds, illuminating the once overcast Route 1 on a surprisingly busy Saturday morning. Though this came as no surprise to Guzma, as today the Melemele multi-battle tournament was commencing in Iki Town. The young man slipped his yellow sunglasses over his eyes, partially to block out the sun as well as mask the stares of the occasional parent travelling up the same route. He tied his new black jacket around his waist; the humidity was getting to him just a little today. Guzma then looked around him, only to spot that the two students he was escorting were starting to lag behind.

"Hey come on hurry up, we're almost there! Don't tell me you're gonna drop dead before the battles even start!" he exclaimed, prompting the two of them to catch up.

Minnie huffed as she returned to his side, holding her sunhat so it didn't fly off with the wind. "Teacher, you travel about two metres or something with every stride, you should be the one to slow down!" she remarked, irritated.

Donnie nodded in agreement, gripping the umbrella in his hand tighter as the wind picked up. "Um… sir? Are you sure it's not gonna rain today? I think there's a storm coming…"

Guzma looked down at him, "It probably will, but that doesn't matter. It'll just boost anyone with water types and get everyone else wet. You're not afraid of a little water are ya?"

Donnie shook his head, still clearly nervous. Minnie held her travel handbag close with a frustrated look on her face as Guzma continued walking.

The young man glanced down at them. "Hey, stop givin' me those faces you two, you're gonna do great," he reassured with a smile, "you've worked so hard over the last couple weeks, so don't go in thinkin' you're gonna fail off the bat, cuz if you do you've doomed yourselves already."

Minnie took a deep breath before looking up at her teacher. "Ok… Iki Town just brings back bad memories; the amount of tournaments I've lost I swear… I really just don't want to let you two down…"

Donnie moved over to her and patted on her the back. "Let's just do our best ok? We've been getting really good lately and Perry's actually been listening to me. We really could have a shot at this!"

Guzma grinned. "That's the spirit! Go for gold kids, it's in your reach! I know you'll make ya boi proud."

Minnie snickered, "did you seriously refer to yourself in the third person again?"

He rolled his eyes. "Oh come on, why do you never let that slide? You're no fun."

The young girl folded her arms. "It sounds stupid, that's why."

"No it don't."

"Yes it does!"

Guzma groaned in frustration. "Holy crap kid it doesn't matter… Why do ya gotta focus on stupid small shit? Is this why people always wanna beat your ass?"

Minnie scowled at him before giving a resigned look. "Probably…"

He cringed a little at himself. "Ok that was uncalled for… I'm sorry Minnie. Just work on it, ok?"

"As long as you work on your foul mouth."

"Deal. At least around y'all anyway…"

Donnie then quietly spoke up, "so, uh… How does the actual tournament work? Is there anything we should remember?"

Guzma scratched his undercut, thinking. "Not really… You sign up at the desk and register what Pokémon you'll be using and their items. Then you get a number each and will be randomly paired up with other battlers. You win; you move up to the next round. You lose; you get knocked out of the tournament. But, since this is the baby league everyone gets just one Pokémon so the matches will be fast" –he then gave a smug smirk - "let's be honest, Melemele isn't exactly the big leagues, never has been and never will be. Everyone here will probably either be little kids or amateurs just lookin' for a good time so you'll beat them down pretty easily. Sound good?"

The young boy nodded. "Ok, yeah, that sounds good." He smiled, reassured slightly.

It didn't take long before the trio ascended up the first set of stairs into Iki Town's residential area. Minnie moved closer to her teacher; she stood out as a regular contestant at these events and she knew it. There was nothing she could do about it, so she pulled her hat further down over her bright red hair and hoped silently that no one would recognize her as the resident loser. In contrast, Donnie's gaze shifted all over the town as they walked, enamoured by the traditional Alolan architecture and the warm colours. He made a mental note to return to Iki Town on a less crowded day and paint the scenery.

Between the two of them was Guzma, leading the way through the crowd. He knew very well that he stood out around these parts, but just stood taller in response; if they had a problem with him being there they could say it to his face or keep quiet. He surveyed the crowd curiously, wincing slightly after recognizing a fair few people that grew up alongside him on Melemele, some of them even had children of their own already! Seeing them made Guzma feel quite old, yet relieved, he at least managed to dodge that bullet.

The young man looked down at his students and requested, "hey, keep close, ok? If y'all want to look at anything while we're here then lemme know. Last thing we need is to get split up and miss signing up cuz I was running around like a dumbass lookin' for you."

Minnie mumbled to herself, "you don't have to worry about that, teacher…" as Donnie snapped himself out of his daze and quickly caught up. The trio ascended the second set of stairs up to the arena and Guzma headed towards the registration desk. He glanced at the wooden pedestal that functioned as the arena, god that brought back memories; the amount of times Hala kicked his ass at both wrestling and battling on that stage… Wait up, speaking of Hala didn't he-

Guzma's train of thought was abruptly cut off by a booming voice shouting, "Guzma, my boy! Is that you?!" The young man stopped dead in his tracks and turned to see none other than the Kahuna approaching him with a big grin spread across his face. Before he could get a single word out Hala wrapped Guzma in a tight embrace, squeezing the air from his lungs. He briefly hugged the old man back as he choked out, "Master Hala… Can't breathe…"

The Kahuna let out a hearty laugh and released him with a pat on the back. "Now this is a pleasant surprise! How are you? Are you here to participate in the tournament?"

Guzma quickly glanced around, noticing numerous people whispering to each other and staring. He decided to flick his glasses back onto his forehead, look back down at his master and answer, "I'm doin' alright, and no I ain't in the tournament" -he looked around before reaching behind him and gently ushering his students forward- "they are!"

Donnie trembled as he looked up at the Kahuna, to most he didn't appear to be an intimidating presence, but he was terrifying to the young boy. Minnie, knowing Hala would recognize her, pulled her hat down over her face in shame. Hala smiled down at them and asked, "these are your students, correct?" Guzma nodded in response. He gently placed a hand on Donnie's head and ruffled his hair. "Steady yourself young man, I don't bite! And you there Minnie, I see you're back for more!"

She groaned in response and pulled her hat off of her head, pouting. "I honestly wish I wasn't…"

"Nonsense! I've told you before young lady, you're a fine trainer, just a little rough around the edges. I'm sure that under Guzma's guidance both you and your friend here will go above and beyond everyone's expectations!"

The young girl's cheeks flushed while Donnie smiled awkwardly and rubbed the back of his head, saying, "I hope so! We've really been trying Sir."

The Kahuna beamed at them. "That's what I like to hear! Your battles will be an amazing offering to our guardian deity. Though I am curious to see how you'll do facing off against the kids I've been training…"

Guzma raised an eyebrow after hearing that. "What? Who? Did'ja take in couple new kids right after shovin' me out the door or something?"

Hala smiled at him. "You're not too far off" –he turned around, placed two fingers in his mouth and whistled sharply- "boys! Get over here!"

Guzma looked past Hala curiously, he then froze and stared wide-eyed once he saw who was approaching. It was none other than two of his former grunts, both looking around 17 years old, decked out head to toe in their Team Skull gear. Once the boys caught sight of him they briefly paused, stunned, before sprinting up to their former boss and shouting, "GUZMA! Is that really you?!"

An overjoyed smile spread across Guzma's face as he held his arms out to them, the boys almost knocked him over with the sheer force of their tackle hugs. They both took off their masks as Guzma let go of them. "Look, it's us Boss! A and B! Do you remember us?!" exclaimed A.

"Holy shit, the Melemele berry thieves?! Hell the fuck yes! Come 'ere!" he quickly grabbed the closest brother, B, in a headlock and noogied him. The other jumped onto his former boss's back, causing him to shout in protest as the grunts laughed.

Minnie covered her mouth, trying not to laugh; she found this sight to be super sweet. Meanwhile Donnie semi-hid behind Minnie, he was concerned with the stares of disapproving parents as they ushered their children away. None of the skull gang seemed to care.

Hala then cleared his throat loudly; Guzma let go of B and groaned a bit before whispering to A, "can you get the hell off me please? You're not exactly a kid," A then slid off of him as the three of them turned to face the Kahuna.

"Guzma, you should take your students and register them as competitors, the matches start in 45 minutes sharp!" reminded Hala.

"Oh shit, you're right… Yeah we gotta go."

B folded his arms and grinned. "Yo boss! Make sure those kids put up a good fight, a'ight?!"

A then chimed in, "hey, I got something to say to you! …Being allies shouldn't make you forget what you see in us. I think I'm feeling a bit treasonous, we'll take ya back to class till you remember our names, if you've come to play we brought the game!"

"YOOOO!" B hi-fived his brother as Guzma grinned proudly.

"Daaaaamn, you've gotten better since I last schooled ya kid!" Guzma's attention was then gently tugged towards the girl at his side.

"Teacher, we gotta go…" she reminded.

"Oh yeah, shit, sorry." He waved to his former grunts and finally led his students to the registration desk, where a familiar pink haired boy was waiting contently.

Ilima smiled warmly when he saw the three of them approach, waved and greeted them, "my my now isn't this a surprise… Now I know today will be truly exciting!"

Guzma folded his arms and looked down at the teen. "Yeah yeah, hey there harlequin boy. How you doin'? You manning the desk or something?"

The captain picked up a number of forms, neatened them and handed them to Guzma. "I'm great, thank you! Just making sure my tournament runs as smoothly as possible! You know what they say; you can never be too careful."

He nodded in agreement. "True… So we just fill these out and we're all good to go?"

"Yes! Remember just one Pokémon per competitor and one item per Pokémon for the whole tournament if you wish… Oh!" –he stood up, leant over the table and pointed to the bottom of the form- "Also there's a small waiver right there that allows me to film the matches, can you kids please sign that too? It's for research purposes."

The kids nodded in agreement and filled out their forms, but just before Donnie could hand back his form Guzma placed a hand on his shoulder. "Hold up a second, does your Pikachu still got that soothe bell on it?"

"Uh… Yeah, why Sir?" The boy now appeared worried.

He reached into his pocket and produced a magnet with a smirk. "Give this to it instead, it'll give 'im a little extra edge."

Ilima whistled as Donnie took the magnet. "In it to win it huh?"

Guzma furrowed his brow at the captain. "Yeah. Why the hell wouldn't I be?"

Ilima closed his eyes and put his hands up in front of him. "Good luck to you my friend, there's plenty of strong trainers here, I'd watch out if I were you!"

Guzma laughed mockingly and shook his head. "You say that as if we're not on Melemele!"

The trial captain then leaned in closer to Donnie and Minnie with a smirk. "You see that kids? Take note, because that's the kind of attitude that results in the most hilarious and tragic of losses."

The young man's eyelid twitched, he lowered his voice. "If that's how you think then how 'bout you get up on that ring and go toe to toe with me, rich boy? Let's see how that goes… Should be a lotta fun kicking your ass." He ignored a particularly fiery student elbowing him in the side for that remark.

"Oh it would be! But I'm actually really busy right now and you're holding up the line! I will take you up on that offer someday though, I can only dream of how exciting that'll be!"

"There ain't no damn line."

"Yes there is, it trails aaaaaaall the way back there! So how's next Saturday for that battle? Midnight? Do we have a date?"

The young man rolled his eyes and grumbled, "yeah yeah whatever… I'm outta here…"

The trio left the registration desk, Guzma shoved his hands in his pockets and made a point in heading towards the Tapu Cocoa stand. Minnie glared up at him as they walked and growled, "can you be any ruder?!"

Her teacher tilted his head back and let out an exaggerated sigh. "The rudeness was mutual, besides we're cool anyway… Mosta the time…"

"Like that's an excuse."

"God dammit kid, cut me some slack…"

"No! You should go apologize for threatening him!"

"It doesn't work like that."

"Doesn't work like what?!"

"Oh my god…"

Donnie, seeing the tensions rising, quickly moved between them and interrupted. "Ok, so, I see there's a thing happening right now and I want no part of it so I'm just gonna… Uh…" –they both stared at him, he began to shake anxiously- "u-uh… We're… We're a team ok? Stop bickering and let's just go look at the stands or something… I'll meet you guys near the stage when it's time to battle…"

Guzma let out a deep breath and rubbed his eyes. "Yeah, you're right. Sounds cool. I need a Tapu Cocoa…"

Minnie looked at the ground with her arms crossed, she shrugged in response.

The young boy looked between the two of them; he then gave them a thumbs up, an awkward smile and walked away.

Guzma looked down at Minnie and hunched over a little. "You ok?"

She exhaled and ran her fingers through her hair. "Yeah, I'm just nervous… I think that's why I'm so snappy today…"

He smiled down at her, completely understanding. "Just… Go get an ice cream or somethin' to calm yourself down. You're gonna do great kid, I ain't just saying that too y'know, I know it cuz I've seen it… If you need me you know what to look for." He then gently patted her shoulder and walked away.

Soon after a short and anxious waiting period, exacerbated by the looming storm overhead, the trio rejoined the crowd near the stage to observe the first set of battles. There they learned that there would be three rounds in total, each deciding which of the eight teams progressed to the next round. Guzma leaned against the fence near the back of the crowd, watching intently as Minnie and Donnie approached the wooden stage for their round. The first two had progressed quite quickly, he took careful note of their Pokémon and movesets, ready to prepare his students for whoever they were facing. If he had his way they were going to crush everyone in their path, he was sure of it.

Minnie stood up on the stage, her knees shaking. She loathed to be back in this position again, but at least this time she wasn't alone. The young girl looked towards her friend, who noticed her gaze and smiled reassuringly. She returned the smile; they were a team after all, weeks of preparation would have to pay off somewhat. After all, they were in this together, and despite her notably weak partner Pokémon it should be enough to cover Pikachu's bases. Surely. Hopefully. Definitely.

However, what they didn't prepare for was their competitor for this round. A familiar young girl with bleached blonde hair and long flowing scarf stepped up onto the stage. Iolana turned around and held her hand out, helping a frail looking teenager up onto the stage. Donnie glanced at Minnie then back to their opponents before adjusting his glasses and looking at the pair more closely. The girl with Iolana appeared to be around 17 years old with short, wavy dark hair, olive toned skin and the same passionate light brown eyes as her younger partner. He remembered Iolana bragging about her older sister to him before, he guessed this must be her, but Donnie couldn't help but feel surprised. Iolana tended to describe her as this strong, formidable trainer who had even travelled overseas after completing the island challenge, but seeing her now she appeared very sickly.

Iolana waved to them as the older girl stood tall and gave Donnie and Minnie a spirited smile. "May the best team win, but I'm sure we already know who that is!" she playfully taunted while grinning down at Iolana, who high-fived her older sister.

Minnie and Donnie exchanged a nod and smirked. "We'll give you one heck of a run for your money in that case, and that's a promise!" Minnie exclaimed.

The referee stood up in the middle of the stage. The match between Team Iolana and Leilani vs Team Donnie and Minnie: begin!

The pair quickly released their Igglybuff and Pikachu, while their opponents released Wingull and a Pokémon the students had never seen before, Minccino.

Leilani swiftly pointed to Perry and shouted, "Minccino, use Baby-Doll eyes!"

The chinchilla Pokémon looked at Perry cutely; the electric type locked eyes with the adorable Pokémon and smiled adoringly. This frustrated Donnie, who cried out, "hey! Stop looking at it and use Thundershock on Wingull!"

The Pikachu blinked and looked at the seagull Pokémon, but as it was charging it's shock the quick claw tied around the bird's neck glowed. It moved in time with Iolana's shout and hit Perry with Supersonic; the confusion caused from the distorted sounds caused Perry's own Thundershock to blow up in its face, knocking it backwards.

Minnie commanded her Igglybuff to use defense curl; their opponents were clearly going all out.

"Come on Perry, get up! Use Quick Attack on Wingull!" The yellow mouse pushed itself onto its feet and launched towards the sea bird with a growl, but as it was seeing double it missed entirely, skidding along the wooden boards as it landed.

Iolana yelled, "ok you've got this now Wingull! Use Water Gun on Pikachu!" Soaring through the air the bird Pokémon barrel rolled towards Perry and shot a stream of water at it, knocking it back a couple of meters and straight into Minccino's pound.

Minnie started to panic; they were clearly ganging up on it because of the type advantage. "Igglybuff, quick, sing for Wingull!" she commanded sharply. The small pink Pokémon let out a soothing melody with all its might, the flying type dropped from the sky suddenly and plummeted towards the stage.

"No no no! Wake up Wingull!" shouted Iolana, her Pokémon remained unresponsive.

Perry slowly pushed itself to its feet, an enraged look on its face. It wiped the dirt off of its face and its cheeks crackled with electricity, more than happily when Donnie commanded it to Thunder Shock the sleeping Wingull.

Iolana stared in horror as smoke rose off of her precious bird Pokémon; she quickly returned it to her poke ball, observing the remainder of the match in silent panic.

Perry folded its arms and laughed with a haughty, "pi pi pi!" closing its eyes just long enough for Minccino to crack it across the face with pound, knocking it out cold.

Minnie pointed and shouted, "Charm that Pokémon Igglybuff!"

The fairy type bounced in a circle and made a cute noise, the Minccino looked at it in adoration. It was just so endearing!

Leilani commanded sharply, "use Pound Minccino!"

"Do the same Igglybuff!"

The chinchilla Pokémon moved swiftly around the bouncing Igglybuff, the two exchanged Pound after Pound. The four trainers watched on with gritted teeth and clenched fists, eager to see who would come out on top. In the end, Minccino couldn't take it, and with a final Pound to the nose it slid across the wooden stage unconscious.

Applause rang out from the crowd, but Minnie couldn't hear it as she stared, mouth agape. Her little pink Pokémon turned to her with the most pure smile on its face. She screamed in delight, ran up to it and scooped it up into her arms. The young girl held it close as a soft light enveloped it; Minnie closed her eyes, reopening them to see a very happy Jigglypuff looking up at her. She couldn't stop the tears from streaming down her face as she ran to Donnie; she then jumped up and down with a squeal and ran off the stage to show her teacher.

Donnie grinned and turned to face their opponents; he felt proud of himself and wanted to thank them for an awesome match. Leilani was slowly heading towards him, however, he looked past her to see Iolana looking down at the floor and trembling. His eyes widened in concern. "Uh, Lana? Are you-"

"Don't you talk to me…"she glared at him, pure rage written all over her face.

Her sister frowned at her. "Iolana. Don't start."

"What?! You think that was fair?!" she then turned to Donnie and yelled, "you guys rigged it against us somehow didn't you?!"

Donnie put his hands up defensively. "N-no! We didn't do anything I swear!"

"You must've! You weren't supposed to win! You shouldn't have won! How dare you take this away from-"

Leilana suddenly snapped, "Iolana!"

Her sister froze.

"Get off the stage. Now." Iolana looked up at her, tears pricking the corners of her eyes. "I don't care. You know I don't. Go. You're making a scene."

The young girl turned and stormed off the stage, her fists balled at her sides.

Donnie was more confused than he had ever been in his entire life; he searched Leilani's face for answers. The older teen smiled apologetically at him, now that she was up close Donnie noticed that she looked very tired and her skin had eyes had an odd yellow tint to them. "I'm very sorry about that. That battle was fun; your Pikachu sure is a force to be reckoned with!"

Donnie returned the smile. "Yeah it was, your little grey Pokémon really knocked him good…"

"Minccino, it's from the Unova region."

"Oooooh! Cool! I think I might paint it… Would you like me to?"

Leilani grinned warmly. "Aww, I'd love that! Thank you… Tell your friend she was amazing too, ok?"

Donnie nodded. "I will!" She held his hand out to him and he took it, the two shook hands before turning and leaving the stage. Donnie peered over at where Guzma was, him and Minnie were talking each other's ears off about the battle while her Jigglypuff danced around full of energy. He had high hopes for the rest of the day; they actually got to the semis! Perry was making great progress and Minnie was absolutely overjoyed. He jogged over to them, only to be met with a tight hug from Minnie.

"We got through we got through! I can't believe it! We got through!" The young girl practically squeezed all of the air out of her friend's lungs.

Donnie struggled to laugh and returned the hug.

Guzma folded his arms and grinned at them. "Congrats! Damn that one was close though, almost didn't make it. I didn't think that Igglybuff had that much of a right hook on 'em, damn."

Minnie let go of Donnie. "I know right?! He's so strong! Oh my god I don't think I've ever felt this good in my life!" she looked at Donnie with wide eyes, "I think we can actually do it! I think we could win!"

"Yeah! I think so too!"

"That's the spirit ya little suckers! Keep this up and smash whoever you end up against! I can already see your names engraved on that polished gold and damn don't it look good!" Guzma held his fist out to them with a determined smirk; both of his students gave him a fist bump before they turned to each other and excitedly tried to come up with a strategy for their next battle. The young man felt immensely proud of them, they really had come a long way and it was starting to show. Hopefully it was enough.

One more battle and the preliminary rounds were over; Guzma sat on the wooden fence, observing the competition with a critical eye. He had confidence in his students, and very little in the abilities of the remaining teams, except for one however. Adrian and Bailey had made it to the next round with their Zubat and Drowzee. Guzma was honestly surprised, his grunts usually sucked more than anyone else at battling, it looked like Hala really had been training them up something fierce. He watched intently as the referee announced who would be facing each other in the semi final, internally hoping that A and B would get knocked out this round so Minnie and Donnie could score an easy win. The young man hunched back over and gritted his teeth in frustration when instead the ref swiftly confirmed his fears.

Great, now he had no idea who to cheer for. Ok, that wasn't true, but it was still exciting to see Team Skull being represented in a positive light by those two. They were always good kids, incompetent as hell, but good. Too good… His eyes practically glazed over during the first match, he didn't care about it anymore, it was the second one he was worried about. Just seeing Donnie and Minnie walk back onto that stage made him feel anxious; he took a deep breath to calm himself. They were going to do ok. They're good strong kids. He wasn't going to let them down. He wasn't going to fail them, he promised himself that.

He watched as the teams sent their Pokémon out, last time they had a huge type advantage over that Wingull but now Guzma wasn't so sure.

Pikachu quickly fired off a Thunder Shock at Zubat. The blue bat swiftly dodged it in time with B's shout and soared straight towards the yellow mouse, sinking its fangs into neck with a Bite. Perry shrieked and tried to fire off another Thunder Shock, however it flinched when A's Drowzee Disabled its Thunder Shock.

Guzma sank his nails into the wood he was sitting on. Jigglypuff tried using Sing on Drowzee, to no avail. God dammit! It must have insomnia! He looked past it to see Perry throw the Zubat off of it and hit it hard with a quick attack. The bat Pokémon struggled to stay in the air, it appeared to be paralysed due to static. Good! Knock that flying rat out…

However, A then commanded his Drowzee to use Hypnosis on Jigglypuff, putting it to sleep. Oh come on! Was he rubbing that in her face? Probably. Either way, that wasn't good. Guzma gritted his teeth as Perry came up with a Nasty Plot while Zubat sank lower and lower to the ground. The electric type's efforts quickly earned it a swift Headbutt to the stomach though, and the Jigglypuff wasn't moving.

Guzma stood up and balled his fists. No, no no no!

Perry quickly got to its feet and landed a quick attack on the paralysed Zubat, it fainted immediately. He grinned with momentary excitement, now all they had to do was knock out that huge yellow asshole and they were golden!

His excitement was short lived, however, when Drowzee used Confusion on Perry. The Pikachu's head appeared to twitch for a moment before it collapsed unconscious. Guzma's eyes were wide. Jigglypuff woke up.


Drowzee looked down on it with a twisted smile and pounded its fists.

Guzma gripped tightly at his hair. Jigglypuff's pound barely put a dent in the opposing Pokémon. The whooping it received in return was absolutely devastating.

Guzma then dropped his hands to his sides, turned around and walked away.

Minnie and Donnie shook hands with their victorious opponents, who were clearly over the moon. They were obviously the only happy ones, numerous members of the crowd were expressing their disappointment with a couple of Team Skull grunts getting to the finals. Knowing this Minnie congratulated them wholeheartedly, they didn't deserve the negative rap, they were just here to have good clean fun and it showed. As the duo left the stage Donnie looked at his friend and commented, "you know… I think we did pretty good!"


"Yeah! This was a lot of fun too… Do you… Uh…" -Donnie rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly- "do you wanna keep being partners? Go to all these tournaments together?"

Minnie's cheeks went red and she smiled bashfully. "Yeah, I'd like to… I used to hate coming to these, but I never knew how fun double battles could be…"

Donnie positively beamed at her. "Oh my god yes! I think our Pokémon work well together, how about we get some pointers from- wait a second… Either I'm actually going blind or Guzma is gone…"

Minnie stopped dead in her tracks; her teacher was very much absent from his spot on the fence. She frantically looked around, yet there was no obvious tuft of white hair in sight. Hot rage began to pool in her stomach. "Oh he did NOT!"

Donnie flinched and watched as Minnie stormed towards the stairs. He quickly caught up to her and stammered, "u-uh… You don't really think he left do you?"

"Oh no I really think he did! I wouldn't exactly put it past- LOOK THERE HE IS!" Minnie pointed ahead of her; Guzma had just turned the corner onto Route 1.

The pair of them raced through Iki Town, dodging residents and tournament goers before shooting onto Route 1. The pair of them sprinted up behind their teacher, who stopped in the middle of the path and glanced back to see who was running. He hunched right over when he saw who it was and looked down at the dirt road. Minnie huffed and puffed, holding her finger up as she caught her breath. She then slowly took a deep breath before screaming, "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!"

Guzma shot a nasty glare at her. "Going home. The fuck does it look like?"

Minnie's face contorted with rage at that response, Donnie put a hand on her shoulder and spoke up instead. "S-sir… Why are you walking away…?"

He growled through gritted teeth. "Can't you see? Tournament's over. Go home…" -he took a breath exhaling slowly- "I'll see you both Monday."

"But- but it's not!"

Minnie swiftly cut in, "what?! Are you butthurt because we lost or something?! Is that why you're leaving?! Because if I'm right that's just pathetic!"

Guzma turned around, looming over the two of them. "You know what? I'll take that label! Pathetic! Has a nice ring to it doesn't it?! I'll add it to the rest of the stupid god-awful traits I have! Hope you have fun putting up with them!"

Minnie stood on her toes and yelled up at him, "oh my gosh why are you like this?! We got into the semi final! We won bronze!"

Guzma put a hand in his hair and laughed bitterly. "Oh so you really like that bronze huh?! Well I hope you learn to love it kid cuz if you stick with me that's all you're ever gonna get!"

"What are you talking about?!"

The young man gritted his teeth, he had a pained look in his eye. "Oh nothing! Maybe just the fact that after what, 15 fucking years competing in these bullshit tournaments I was never strong enough to get past second place. So why the hell did I think I'd be good enough to pull a couple kids up outta the mud?! Not to mention that everyone that spends time around me seems to suck ass at everything, yet the second Hala gets his hands on two of my old grunts they start to do absolutely fuckin' great! Apparently the universe just decided that whoever I try to help will end up subpar at best and rock fucking bottom at worst! So there! That's what I'm talking about!"

Minnie gaped at him, absolutely mind blown. She held his gaze and snapped, "oh my god! Guzma! THIS ISN'T ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT!"

Guzma blinked for a moment before tilting his head ever so slightly.

Minnie rolled her eyes dramatically and shot daggers at him. "So what you've been telling me is that you're angry because we didn't win first place so now you can't get to gloat to everyone and pat yourself on the back for helping us come first, is that it?!"

His eyelid twitched at that. "Stop talking like you know shit Minnie…"

"Oh no I'm going to keep talking, because I clearly need to put this in perspective for you! But first I want an answer, are you unhappy because we didn't win?!"

Guzma grimaced. "Fine! Yes!"

"There! Well it looks like I have to remind you why you even offered to help us in the first place! For me it was to get my dad off my case about sucking at battles, for Donnie it was to get his Pikachu to actually listen to a word he's saying for once, wasn't it Donnie?!"

The young boy cowered, but nodded in agreement.

"And you know what? You did it! Teacher, I've never even got past the pre-lims in these competitions! I got to the second round in a double battle tournament; do you have any idea how huge that is for me?! Not to mention Igglybuff finally evolved! I mean, I've never even been in a double battle tournament before today because no one wanted to battle with a loser like me!" -she gritted her teeth as tears pricked the corners of her eyes- "and you're so damn self absorbed that you can't even be proud of that…"

The young man stared down at her with wide eyes, absolutely speechless. He inhaled sharply, rubbed the back of his neck and looked away.

Donnie then quietly spoke up. "U-uh, Sir… You… You really helped with Perry you know… He actually listens to what I say now, we can work together… Did you forget how much that really means to me…? I'm not gonna lose my best friend now, and it's all thanks to you…"

Guzma screwed his eyes shut in frustration and shook his head. "Guzma… What's wrong with you… I'm… You're right… I'm being fuckin' stupid."

"Sir… You're not stupid…"

"I'm sure as hell actin' like it though… Let's just go back…"

Minnie sniffled, wiped her eyes with her sleeve and nodded in agreement.

Her teacher crouched in front of her. "Hey… Stop cryin' ok? I'm sorry… I got a bunch of personal crap I hafta work through that nothing to do with you and I shouldn't have taken it out on you. You're smarter than I'll ever be and actually goin' places, I'm a stupid street thug that got lucky... And you're right; I really gotta get over myself…"

The young girl smiled a little. "You even admitting that shows you're smarter than you think, teacher…"

He shrugged, only to freeze up when his student hugged him around his neck. He gently returned the hug, mumbling another apology before letting her go. Guzma stood up and looked between the two of them before starting to walk back to Iki town.

"Sir… We probably missed the last two battles…" Donnie mentioned.

"Yeah? Doesn't matter too much… I got a good feeling A and B smashed whoever they faced off against in the final… I wanna tell 'em I'm proud of them… And god damn that persistence, even after like three months of being disbanded they're still reppin' my gang… That takes guts even I don't have…"

"And I want my trophy…"

"That too. My advice? Don't put too much stock in 'em like I do; don't be like ya boi…"

"I think I'm gonna just pick and choose the good parts if I want to be like you…"

That made Guzma smile a little. "That's a good way to go about it…"

A strong gust of almost blew the trio back slightly, Donnie took out his umbrella just to be ready. Their teacher looked to the sky, the clouds had grown dark, he swore he saw odd coloured lightning striking near the west of the island. "Put that away, it won't help in this wind. Just stick close to me until I get y'all home, ok? Don't want this storm to wash away more than it needs to…"