Pokémon Radiant Sun


Good news! The last chapter I'll have up before I leave, baring any delays, will be the Kahuna battle.

So yeah. That's pretty awesome. No other news other than that, I believe. Got a pretty long one set up for you all, with some Sun/Lillie adorable fluffiness to follow next chapter. That's going to be fun.

Shoutout to those who reviewed since the last update, which includes Cottonmouth25, skyguys, ShadowDragon9000, Madame Rodoshe, Raikou927, BraviaryScout, Sai Og Sus, and NullSilver2005, as well as two new reviewers known as The Dragon Legend and TyForestGames. Thank you all so much for your feedback and support.

Enjoy.


Chapter 23: Peering Through the Haze


Sun was still on cloud nine as he continued his trek out of the Verdant Cavern.

"So, all in all, pretty good day, right?" Sun asked Oliver and Penny. Penny chirped from within Sun's arms while Oliver hooted cheerfully, swooping by with a flap of his stronger wings. The Dartrix certainly seemed quite happy with his new form, using the stronger body to effortlessly fly ahead of them. Penny let out another chirp and broke free from Sun's grip to join her teammate in the air, where both birds soared around each other.

"How's it feel, knowin' you managed to overcome the Trial?" Rotom asked Sun.

The boy grinned back at the Pokédex and replied, "Great. Plus, Oliver's evolved, meaning we're that much more ready to face Hala when we get back to Iki Town."

"I wouldn't feel so confident. Hala is the Kahuna, and he's no pushover." Rotom said with a small shudder.

"Not confidence. Just relief and happiness. It's about time something went right in my life." Sun countered, his smile taking a hit as his mind caught up with his words. His good mood quickly began to fizzle out as the boy scowled and shook his head, trying to plaster his smile back on. This was supposed to be his big moment of triumph! He couldn't spend it feeling bad about things he couldn't change, darn it!


"You becoming a Trainer is the most ridiculous thing I've heard. Get your head out of the clouds, Sun, and focus on the present! What is here and tangible. Do not disappoint me. I'm counting on you more than anyone else right now, alright?"


Sun shut his eyes, stopping his tracks and clenching his fists tightly as the words from the past hit him. The child breathed in and out, trying to regain control of himself. Sorrow, anger, regret, guilt. All of these emotions pounded through his skull, threatening to overwhelm him.

"Hey buddy? You good?"

Sun opened his eyes and kept walking, forcing back the words of his father and the memories and the hurt and hating the fact that despite how great a moment this way, his thoughts had to ruin it for him.

"Just fine." Sun muttered as he glanced over at both of his birds, who had both flown ahead and were battling a few Zubat. Sun just watched the display for a few moments, marveling at how much stronger Oliver was now. The Dartrix effortlessly dodged the attacks of multiple bats at once before downing them all with Razor Leaf. However, he had missed one and that Zubat was now lunging at Penny with a screech.

Sun then watched as Penny ducked under the Bite attack and blasted the bat with a soundwave of energy, knocking it to the ground unconscious.

"So…uh…Now what?" Rotom asked, a bit thrown off by Sun's change in mood and unsure of how to improve the situation.

"I think my next step is evolving Penny. That way I've got two evolved birds ready to take on Hala…Isn't Hala a Fighting-type specialist?" Sun asked Rotom as Penny soared over to Sun, chirping happily as she landed on the boy's hat. Sun tried to focus on the happiness he had felt upon first beating the Trial and his joy at Oliver having evolved and tried to will away the bad memories.

"…Yep. By the way, Penny just learned Supersonic." Rotom said to Sun as the bird peered down at him. Sun managed to smile up at Penny and stroked the bird's head, continuing his trek outside of the cave as Oliver flew circles around them, hooting out in happiness. Sun wondered how good it must feel evolving like that, fresh off of their greatest victory yet. The thought of his starter being that happy made Sun feel a bit better.

As Sun made his way down the ledges that led to the cave's entrance, he spotted an orange CD lying on the ground. Sun picked it up, regarding it for a moment before Rotom flew over and examined the disc.

"That's TM 31. Brick Break. Pretty good move, actually. It's used quite a bit and can be learned by a lot of Pokémon." Rotom said to Sun as he put away the TM.

"Yeah, but not by two birds." Sun said to the Rotom, who shut its eyes and remained silent for a moment. Sun walked past the Rotom and continued his trek out of the cave, but stopped dead in his tracks at Rotom's next words.

"Penny is able to learn Brick Break." Rotom replied as it floated forward, earning a baffled look from Sun.

"How does that make any kind of sense?" Sun asked the Rotom Dex.

"All Pokémon are different. Pikipek and its evolutionary line have a few neat tricks that they can take advantage of. Them being able to use a few Fighting-type moves is one of them." Rotom replied cheerily as Sun looked up at his Pikipek.

"Interesting…Well, we can teach that to Penny. Brick Break is much stronger than Rock Smash, if I remember right, so it'll be good to have on hand." Sun said to the device as they finally exited the cave, entering the harsh sunlight once more. It had been a few hours since the boy had entered. Sun set out on the path and when he finally returned to the Pokémon Center, he saw both Hau and the cheerful girl from earlier sitting on the front steps.

"~All hail the conquering hero!"~ Demi sang, pretending to play a trumpet or a trombone. Probably the former since it's the cooler instrument.

"Here he comes! Woo!" Hau laughed as he sprinted off of the steps and ran towards Sun. The boy dug the Normalium-Z out of his pocket and showed it to Hau, who marveled at the sight of the Z-Crystal.

"Ooh…Shiny." Hau remarked as Sun pocketed the Z-Crystal. Demi quickly joined them, grinning at Sun.

"Nice job, though, seriously! That Totem give you any trouble?" Demi asked Sun, who nodded.

"It certainly gave me a good fight. Oliver managed to take it down after Penny weakened it and its partner a bit." Sun explained as both of his birds chirped an affirmative. Hau grinned even wider as he beheld the newly evolved Dartrix flying in front of him.

"Look at you, Oliver! You evolved!" Hau cheered as the owl landed on the ground. Oliver trilled happily in response before he began preening himself when he and Penny landed on the ground.

"Hopefully that means he'll stop being such a butthead. But that remains to be seen." Sun remarked as he stuck his hands in his pockets. Oliver gave him a dirty look, but didn't reply further.

"So, what did you think of Ilima doing the Z-Pose?" Demi asked Sun.

"Z-Pose?"

"You know, the cool pose that lets you use the Z-Move? Pretty neat, right?" Demi replied.

"That's really a thing? I thought Ilima was messing with me," Sun admitted, shrugging.

"Oh no, it's a thing. I hear the Kahunas can skip that step sometimes if they're in the zone though. Doesn't happen often. Or I could be totally wrong. You want some help with getting it down? Sometimes these dances are hard to get just right." Demi asked with a laugh.

Sun thought about it for a moment before sighing and nodding to Demi. He the turned to his Rotom Dex. "Rotom, if I find out this is being recorded by you through any means, I'm replacing you with an Easy-Bake Oven."

"I agree to these terms, sir!"

Sun and Demi practiced doing the Z-Pose for a while, with Hau and Rotom laughing at them the entire time. Sun eventually had to turn Rotom off and kick Hau in the shins to get them to stop. The trio eventually decided to get out of the heat and head into the Pokémon Center, where Sun gratefully sat down to ease his sore body. Hau bought him a Moomoo Milk out of pity while Demi giggled at the exhausted child. Sun bought a few cookies to be shared between Penny and Oliver to celebrate their hard work. Sun had also taken that time to teach Penny Brick Break.

Sun and Hau chatted for a good while, with the upbeat Demi chiming in whenever she could with her Shiny Fletchling resting on her shoulder. Sun also found out a bit about the cheerful Trainer with the Shiny Pokémon. According to the girl, she lived on the neighboring Akala Island and came from a line of skilled Pokémon Trainers (one of which had been a Kahuna, decades ago). According to her, she was looked up to by her younger brother and her family had high hopes for her Island Challenge.

"Sounds like a lot of pressure." Sun commented when he heard that.

"Not really. Well, maybe, but we're going strong and we'll make them all proud." Demi beamed as Feya chirped in agreement.

That, for whatever reason, reminded Sun of something. The Kanto-native turned to Hau and said, "Ilima wants us to meet him at Route 3 tomorrow morning, by the way."

"Did he say why?" Hau asked, confused.

"No. I think he assumes you'll pass your Trial, so you better knock it out of the park." Sun said with a smirk to Hau, who laughed as he put his hands behind his head.

"Naturally. I hear the Trial is totally different at night sometimes. Guess I'll find out for myself, huh?" Hau remarked before he looked over at Demi.

"So Demi, what are you going to do?" Hau asked the girl.

Demi grinned and said, "I'll be going the long way around the island. I have some errands to do in Hau'oli City, but I'll definitely be by Iki Town soon to battle your grandpa. If you two see me, make sure to say hi!"

"Absolutely!" Hau agreed, grinning at her.

"Keep an eye out for Team Skull. They're out and about on the island and even if they're silly, they shouldn't be taken lightly." Sun warned the girl. Demi nodded, a serious expression on her face, before grinning again.

"I've actually battled them twice. They're thieves, but nothing special. It's not like they're Team Galactic or those Cipher guys." Demi remarked with a shrug. Sun flinched when Cipher was mentioned, but Demi didn't notice as she shoved her chair in and patted the bird on her shoulder.

"On that note, though, I do need to get going. You two take care. Aaaaand if we ever meet up again, we should totally battle. Imma win, though." Demi remarked with a smirk, earning a grin from Hau and a laugh from Sun. Both boys shook the girl's hand and she walked to the counter to speak with Nurse Joy and then pranced out of the building, a shimmering trail flowing behind her thanks to the Shiny Pokémon resting on her.

"She seems really cool." Sun admitted as he leaned back in his chair.

"I actually talked with her for a while before you showed up. She's kinda like me, except a bit more sassy and also a girl and with a really colorful Pokémon." Hau remarked, making Sun giggle with amusement. With that, the two boys relaxed for the remainder of the afternoon until Hau departed for his Trial. Sun decided to take that time to call his Mom and tell her the news.

"And now I'm going to be making my way around the Island with Hau so we can both fight the Kahuna." Sun finished as Laura beamed at her child from the screen.

"Barely a month after getting your first Pokémon and you've already cleared your first Trial. I just can't express how proud I am of you, Sun." Laura said to Sun, who looked away for a moment, a bit embarrassed.

"Heh. Thanks Mom. How've you been doing though?" Sun asked his mother.

"Oh, I've been doing some work down at the Trainer's School. I'm considering applying there as a teacher, but so far I've been doing some volunteer work there to keep busy. All in all, I'm doing great." Mom replied, grinning at her boy. Sun then recalled his thoughts earlier about his father and his smile faded somewhat.

"What's wrong?" Mom asked her child.

"Sorry…I just was thinking about Dad earlier and how…well, he didn't want me to become a Trainer, right? I just beat my first Island Trial. He'd be so mad at me right now. Disappointed. It's been bothering me for a little bit." Sun admitted with a small sigh.

"Sun, your father was a Pokémon Trainer no matter how much he detested being one, and he trained regularly despite that. And…He's not a part of our lives anymore, dear. He's gone, off to do whatever he feels like doing now. He can't hurt us anymore." Laura replied quietly, offering her son a small smile.

"I know…But I still feel bad about it, Mom. I can't not think about it." Sun muttered, his mother's words not doing much to comfort him.

"It'll take time, dear. It's a complicated and nasty mess, all around, what happened with your father. But right now you have your own life to live, your own journey to go on. This isn't about what he wants…It's about what you want." Laura said to Sun, who nodded silently. For a time silence reigned, but it wasn't an awkward one. It was more contemplative.

"Did Dad ever talk about how he did on his the Island Challenge?" Sun asked his mother. To his surprise, Laura smirked in response.

"You bet he did. And your father didn't pass his first Trial on the first attempt like you did. Poor man had to try three times to beat the Totem Pokémon on this Island." Laura remarked with a sigh, shaking her head in amusement.

"Did he ever say why he couldn't beat it?" Sun asked curiously.

"Oh, he was trying to use only one Pokémon. It took him a while, but your father managed to defeat the first Totem he battled with just Damien. After that he expanded his team, became Island Challenge Champion, and the rest is history." Laura explained, leaning back in her chair. "He hated being a Trainer though. He despised Alola's history. He didn't have the best upbringing himself, and even after he founded his company, he distanced himself from being a serious Trainer. If he wanted too, he probably could have dethroned Lance's predecessor when he moved to Kanto."

"Was Dad really that good of a Trainer?" Sun asked, amazed at the suggestion.

"He was. But that was then, and not now. Now…As long as he's away from us, I'm fine with whatever he's doing. He'll be put in his place one way or another, and that's as involved as we're going to get in his mess." Laura said firmly to Sun. The boy nodded slowly, getting the point.

Mom smiled at Sun again, though it was less pronounced than it was before. "Like I said, Sun. You're getting stronger, not just as a Pokémon Trainer but as a person. These journeys are supposed to make you think and feel new things. They're supposed to make you grow in ways you never could have imagined. Are you happy right now, on your journey, Sun?"

Sun thought about it for a moment before nodding. He was having fun out here, spending time with his friends and Pokémon. He had learned so much and had encountered so many new things in just the few short weeks he had spent away from home. He didn't regret being on his journey at all. Sun smiled then, and his mother chuckled.

"There's my answer. You'll do just fine, Sun. You're my boy, after all." Laura remarked before she suddenly blinked and then snapped her fingers. "I just remembered! I finally had both of our names legally and officially changed. It took a while, but I managed to get it done." Laura said to her child, grinning at him.

"Me too?"

"Yep. Your Pokédex should notify you of the change-"

"Hey Sun, I've got a change in your information you may want to look at."

"Now, actually. That's convenient." Laura said cheerfully as Sun opened the Pokédex and began scanning the information on it. The boy then felt his heart sink with despair.

"No Mom."

"Sun, hear me out-"

"Mom, did you seriously change our last name to that? What is wrong with you!?" Sun demanded from his mother, who had actually started laughing outright on her side of the call. Sun waited until his mother had calmed down, wiping a tear from her eyes, before saying, "I'm going back to Hau'oli City and getting a new last name."

"First off, I needed that laugh. Thank you, dear. Second, yes, the name is a bit silly, but it's fitting and it's something different, so I went with it. That's our new last name now. Third, you have to be 18 to request a legal name change in Alola, so you're out of luck, mister." Laura said with a wide smile while Sun slumped over in his chair, sighing.

"I thought you loved me. Why must you punish me so?" Sun asked, closing his eyes as he sighed again, but much more dramatically. He opened them again to find his Mom grinning at him.

"Because it's my job. Suffering builds character. Puts hair on your chest." Laura replied with a giggle before she heard a loud yowl in the background. "Looks like Meowth is getting into the pantry again, the rascal. Let me know if anything else comes up, okay?"

"Okay Mom. I love you, even though I know that Hau is going to laugh at me when he finds out what my last name is." Sun said to his mother.

"I love you too dear. Be safe out there, and have fun. I'll see you soon." Sun's Mom cut off the video feed and Sun watched the screen cut out before he leaned back in his chair.

"Daar?"

Sun looked down at his Dartrix and Pikipek, watching him from the ground, and offered them a small smile. He got out of his chair and scooped up Oliver in his arms, grunting at the effort. Penny fluttered to Sun's head as the boy carried the large owl up the stairs to their room, deciding to relax there for a bit and catch up on some reading while waiting for Hau to complete his own Trial.


Oliver opened his eyes in the middle of night and was the first to notice that his Trainer was unwell.

Penny awoke not long after that, jolted by the boy tossing and turning in his sleep with a pained expression on his face, sweating somewhat and clearly in distress. Oliver sighed inwardly at the sight, wishing there was something he could do. Sadly, dreams weren't his forte. That was Cresselia's jurisdiction if he remembered Hala's stories correctly.

The owl and bird were surprised when Sun's eyes suddenly snapped open, with the boy bolting upright and gasping for air, shivering as his eyes darted around the room. It took a few moments for the boy to calm, and upon realizing he was in a room at the Pokémon Center Sun sagged in relief. Oliver and Penny watched as their Trainer slowly reached up to his neck and felt around it for a moment, as is searching for something that wasn't there. Sun sighed then, and that's when Oliver hopped forward and nuzzled him for a moment before Penny moved forward, doing the same. Sun sighed again, more shakily this time, running his hands through his hair and looking into the faces of his two birds, worry in their eyes at their Trainer being so upset.

"I'm so sorry…I woke you both up, didn't I?" Sun murmured, reaching forward and patting them both on the head. Oliver hooted softly as Penny closed her eyes, rubbing her head against Sun's hand. Despite everything, Sun began to drowse once again and laid back down, falling back into an uneasy sleep. Oliver and Penny remained beside him, watching him for a while in companionable silence.

"His heart hurts." Oliver muttered as quietly as he could, but loud enough for his teammate to hear him. The smaller bird cocked her head slightly before nodding.

"Of course it does. Trainer was crying in his sleep without even realizing it. His nightmares must be horrifyingly powerful…I wonder what they're about?" Penny asked, her voice curious. Oliver liked that about her. His fellow bird was pretty darn smart, especially when it came to battling, but she always liked to learn more. She was nice too. She reminded him of his Trainer, actually. Always eager to gain more knowledge. It was a bit odd for a Flying-type to be a tactician, at least to him, but that was Penny in a nutshell. He wondered what she'd be like when she grew stronger…he could tell she was close to evolving, so maybe he'd find out soon.

"Probably that ruined city. Remember, Sun talked about it with his mother and they both seemed upset by it. His father seems to be a very sore point with them as well." Oliver remarked softly, tensing for a moment as Sun stirred next to him.

"All we can do is support him. He's strong, and he can get through this." Penny said firmly, yet tiredly. The bird shut her eyes then and muttered, "I can't stay awake much longer."

"That's because that stupid rat from earlier got the better of you." Oliver remarked casually. Penny gave him a dirty look, but then Oliver added, "Of course, I nearly lost to it even after you weakened it and its friend, so I kind of understand why that is."

"You're the worst Oliver…"

"Yes, yes I am." Oliver said proudly, bowing ever-so-mockingly to his teammate, who just shook her head in mock-annoyance. "Get some sleep, okay? I'll stay awake and watch over him. I'm nocturnal and have been fighting against my own sleep patterns for too long anyway. Besides, I feel so full of energy after evolving that I don't think I can sleep even if I was tired." Oliver admitted, feeling a bit amused.

"If you're sure…So, are you feeling any more mature now that you've evolved?" Penny asked the owl, her voice gaining a bit of steel.

"Yes, yes, I know. You don't like my sense of humor and you think I'm acting like a hatchling. You would've hated me if you saw how I treated the Kahuna. Poor fellow is probably glad I'm gone. I was worse before I met our Trainer." Oliver replied quietly, but he added a moment later, "But I'll lay off of him. Now that I'm a Dartrix, it feels…beneath me, in a way."

"So you'll finally start acting your age?"

"Are you crazy? That's half the fun. I'll stop attacking him though, since that joke is getting old. I'll have to come up with something new…" Oliver mused quietly, a mischievous glint coming to his eyes that Penny almost face-winged at.

"I'm going to sleep. Goodnight Oliver."

"Goodnight to you as well, Penny." Oliver murmured as Penny shut her eyes. Oliver caught her smiling as she looked the other way, which made him almost laugh in amusement. The exhausted bird was out within moments, leaving the owl alone with his thoughts. His new body was allowing him to pick up on all kinds of different sensations and sounds, and it was almost overwhelming. Combine that with the strength and ease it was to move in his new form and how handsome he looked now and…Well, he knew he would enjoy being a Dartrix quite a bit.

But for now…

Oliver looked back down at his Trainer, whose face was set in a grimace as yet another nightmare hit him. Oliver shifted so that he was closer to his Trainer and set a wing on the boy's shoulder, hoping that maybe it would offer some kind of comfort to him. After a moment, Sun's expression relaxed a little and he seemed to fall into an easier slumber. The Dartrix remained unmoving in his vigil over Sun and his dreams. If he could help his Trainer in any way, he would do it. Oliver may have been a bit of a jerk, but at the end of the day he cared about his Trainer and wanted him to be happy.

So there he sat, by Sun's side, until morning came.


Route 3


It turned out that what Ilima wanted to show the two of them was his incredible power to make other people open easily climbable walls. According to him, these were barriers that kept regular non-Trainers and weaker Trainers going on their Island Trial from dealing with stronger Pokémon than they were used too. Hau was impressed, but Sun just walked past the Captain and tried not to laugh at how ridiculous the whole situation was.

And so the duo of Sun and Hau traveled along Route 3 for two weeks, the cliff-side stretching ahead of them. By the end of that second week Sun's patience finally ran out with his travelling companion and he was now actively resisting the urge to shove Hau off a cliff. Not because of his loud snoring or because he asked for a Pokémon battle every single day or even because Sun caught him eating his own boogers and then Hau refused to admit that he had done such a thing. None of those were what made Sun seriously consider pushing Hau into the ocean.

It was because he wouldn't stop singing with Rotom.

"~Baaaaby! I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey!~" Rotom and Hau sang as Hau pretended to waltz with Rotom. Penny and Oliver were about ready to attack the both of them while Sun had long since jammed his fingers into his ears, but that didn't help much. Sun was pretty sure the reason that the wild Pokémon were absent from the cliff-side they were on was because Hau's singing was driving them away.

"~You remain…My power, my pleasure, MY PAIN!~" Rotom yelled as it floated above Hau, who was wearing a positively evil grin as Sun wondered where he went wrong in life.

"FOR THE LOVE OF MEW, MAKE IT STOP!" Sun finally screamed, glaring at Hau and Rotom with childish annoyance. Taking that as his cue, Oliver decided to take matters into his own wings and flew over to Rotom, smacking the device with his wings and making it stop playing music.

"Oh come on, Sun. That song is a classic! Lillie loves that one and I have to admit, it's pretty awesome." Hau said with a wide smile, putting his hands behind his head.

"And I've got a migraine. Rotom, go to sleep. Please." Sun asked the device as it floated back towards Sun. Rotom giggled with mirth but did as the boy asked, slipping into Sun's backpack as Oliver and Penny sighed with relief.

"Killjoy. I thought you were fun, Sun…"

"I am fun. I'm loads of fun. But I also have limits to my fun capacity and that stopped twelve songs ago."

"But this cliff is boring. We stopped battling wild Pokémon a few hours ago and none have attacked since then." Hau complained with a smile, closing his eyes.

"Maybe if you and Rotom hadn't been auditioning for Alolan Idol we'd have more Pokémon to battle." Sun muttered grumpily, putting his hands in his pockets.

"I'm sorry that my singing skill is unmatched by any living being ever, bz-zz-zzt!" Rotom replied with a giggle as it slipped back out of the backpack again to float alongside them. Oliver suddenly soared high into the air as Hau closed his eyes in amusement, sticking his tongue out at Sun.

"You're just jealous Sun. Admit it." Hau chuckled before opening his eyes, though this turned out to be a bad idea. In front of him was an angry Dartrix that flared its wings and screeched in Hau's face with a familiar and horrifying look on its face. Both Hau and Rotom screamed in horror and began running away from the owl as it began chasing them down the cliff path.

"Penny, I swear we're the only sane ones on this trip." Sun remarked as he sat down next to a tree, watching the display with amusement.

"Piki pi." Penny agreed, nodding as Oliver began smacking Hau in the back of the head with his wing. Sun and Penny just sat there and watched as the Dartrix griefed the other boy and the Pokédex, at least until Sun got bored watching them.

"Oliver, stop harassing Hau and get back over here." Sun called to his owl. Oliver swooped back over to his Trainer's side and glided beside him. Sun reached out and patted his Dartrix on the head, received a happy hoot in reply. Penny chirped to Oliver, and the two began chatting with one another while Hau slowly walked back over to them.

"Looks like they're getting along again." Hau remarked, panting now as he trudged forward.

"I don't think they ever stopped getting along. I think what kept happening earlier was Penny getting fed up with Oliver assaulting me all the time." Sun replied, earning a chirp of agreement in reply from Penny while Oliver shrugged.

"So…I've got a question for you Sun, since you're a jerk and I kinda want some revenge on you."

"Okay. Fire away...even though you deserved every bit of that." Sun replied with a smug grin as he hopped to his feet and began walking with his friend and Pokémon again.

"That's debatable. So, my question is this. What do you think of Lillie?"


"Fantastic work, Starmie! You too Magnezone." Kukui remarked as he observed one of the very latest tests he had done with the two Pokémon. They were definitely shaping up to be two of the better battlers the Professor had in his sizable arsenal of Pokémon. Most were that way for scientific purposes, but it always helped to have Pokémon of this caliber around for hairier moments.

"Documenting the results now, Professor." Lillie said quietly, shivering a bit as a hard breeze suddenly slammed into both of them and clutching her hat that threatened to fly away. Kukui chuckled, casually placing a hand on his own cap to ensure it was secure.

"What a beautiful day, isn't it?" Kukui said happily as he watched a few clouds roll by as Lillie continued taking notes on a tablet, her fingers rapidly typing away with a speed gained only through practice. Though she did agree with his statement, she just hummed in response as she diligently typed away. Working with Kukui and Professor Burnet had definitely turned her into an expert typist, that was for sure.

"When you're done, send it to Doc. He's meeting with some friends back in Hau'oli, but he'll definitely want the data for later." Kukui said to Lillie, who wordlessly nodded. A few moments later the tablet beeped loudly and Lillie looked up at the Professor.

"Sent. So, why does the Doctor need battle data like this? I don't believe you actually mentioned it yet." Lillie asked the Professor, who grinned at her.

"Mainly to assist in his main study. He should be coming our way sometime next week, so you can ask him more yourself. I know you've only met him the one time. He should be able to hang around longer this go around." Kukui explained as he returned his Magnezone and Starmie.

"I wouldn't mind that too much. Your associates are usually quite interesting, Professor. The Doctor seems quite nice and was interested in helping me sort out Nebby's past. It's a shame his translators don't work on it though." Lillie lamented, sighing a little. Nebby chose that moment to let out a cry, wriggling in its bag. Lillie reached into the small hole in the bag and began scratching the head of the Pokémon, making it coo softly in pleasure. Lillie smiled softly at that and patted the Cosmog before removing her hand.

"Maybe he'll have sorted that issue out while he was away. Either way, we've got another item on the agenda today. Meeting up with Sun and Hau." Lillie perked up at that and smiled wider at the man's words.

"It'd definitely be nice to see them again. I wonder how they're both doing." Lillie wondered aloud, making the Professor laugh.

"Well, you'll find out soon enough. We'll walk for a bit to see and then have Starmie teleport us." Kukui replied as he grabbed his bag off of the ground and began walking, accepting the tablet from Lillie and jotting down notes as he walked. Lillie watched the man for a time, marveling at the even faster speed he typed away at the device. For all of his silliness, the man was dedicated to what he did and was quite skilled as both a battler and as a scientist. A true Professor indeed. She wondered what a serious Professor Kukui battling would be like…

"Oh no…" Lillie looked forward and gasped in horror as Professor Kukui slowly walked forward, a solemn look on his face. In front of them was an unmoving form of a Alolan Raticate, blood trailing from its forehead from a small hole. The poor creature was clearly dead.

"That's the 4th one today…" Kukui muttered as he walked forward, examining the corpse. Kukui began typing something on the tablet before taking several pictures of the body.

"Sending this to Officer Jenny and Hala." Kukui muttered to Lillie, who had drawn closer.

"That hole in the middle of its head…" Lillie began to say, but Kukui cut her off.

"Yeah, that's a bullet-hole. Not entirely uncommon for poachers and the like to come to these islands and cause trouble, but…they're not taking anything from them as far as I can tell. Why kill Pokémon like this and leave the bodies behind like this? It's just senseless death." Kukui murmured, thoughtful as he crossed his arms.

"I don't know." Lillie admitted softly, feeling deeply uncomfortable at the thought of someone going around the island and hurting Pokémon, let alone killing them. Lillie nearly jumped when Kukui's tablet pinged loudly. The Professor examined the tablet for a moment before nodding a little.

"Hala's looking into it. If they haven't been caught yet, then he'll ensure that they are soon. Best we can do is keep an ear to the ground and keep an eye out for anything odd." Kukui said as he stuffed his tablet into his backpack before giving his assistant a winning smile, making her smile a little despite herself.

Lillie and Kukui continued to wander through the Cliffside, taking in the sights. Lillie eventually began to zone out, even with her love of learning the boredom of travelling could wear her out. She was glad she was used to it at this point, otherwise she'd have just stayed with Professor Burnet.

The assistant's thoughts eventually turned back to her friends, Sun and Hau. She hoped that they were both doing okay. She wondered if they had managed to overcome their Trials. If they had caught any new Pokémon yet. If they were having fun on their adventures. Lillie found herself wondering what it would be like to become a Pokémon Trainer like them. She admitted the idea had a lot of merit, but at the end of the day she couldn't bring herself to do it. Maybe someday, when this mess was all over, perhaps…

She wondered what Hau would think. The cheerful boy would probably demand to show her the ropes and be at her side as she traveled. The thought wasn't a bad one, after all. Hau was the first child she had ever befriended after she had run away. Their bond was a strong one, even if at times he acted weird around her. Sometimes he could be a little creepy and too forward, and showed her affection in ways that violated her personal space, which was something that was important to her.

As for Sun…Lillie smiled inwardly. She had to admit that she had become rather close to the child from Kanto. They had similar interests and he had a personality that she melded well with. On top of that, she still happened to hold the boy in high regard after he risked his life to help her and save Nebby from those Spearow. Right when she needed someone most, Sun had stepped in to help her. He had no reason to assist her. He had every right to walk away…But he helped with a smile.

"Of course, it doesn't hurt that he's quite smart as well. And that he likes music and can play the flute. And that he loves to read. Or that he's really handsome-" Lillie blinked as that thought crossed her mind, flushing crimson at the very thought of it, shaking her head. She quickly rethought her position on what she thought of Sun and somehow blushed an even darker shade of red, pulling her hat down to make sure Professor Kukui didn't see her face.

"Just because you think he's cute doesn't mean you have a crush on him, Lillie! No way. It's perfectly natural to think certain boys are pleasing to look at. Absolutely…Yep, totally normal to think that!" Lillie reasoned with herself, absolutely mortified at her own thoughts. Of course, she did enjoy being around Sun quite a bit...But that didn't mean she had a crush on him!

However, she didn't have much time to dwell on the thought as Kukui suddenly piped up.

"I think we've seen all that we need to from this side of the Island. Let's Teleport directly to Hau and Sun, shall we?" Kukui remarked and released his Starmie again. "Alright Lillie, get close and prepare for Teleport!"

The girl silently drew closer to the man and was about to reply when her bag suddenly shifted and her Cosmog leapt out of the top of her bag, trying to sneak away for reasons she didn't understand. Lillie made a move to go after the Cosmog and took a few steps towards the Pokémon, just in time for Professor Kukui to vanish on the spot. Lillie glanced back at the spot where the Professor had vanished with a gasp.

Lillie then whirled around, watching Nebby float away happily.

"NEBBY! GET BACK IN THE BAG!" Lillie yelled as she jogged after the Pokémon, hoping the Professor wouldn't take too long to regroup with her.


"Um…What?" Sun asked, confused.

"What do you think about Lillie?" Hau asked again, a small smirk quirking at his lips.

"I still don't get what kind of question that is. She's a really good friend of mine and I'm glad I know her. I could say the same about you though, Hau. What's this about?" Sun asked Hau, who rolled his eyes.

"Alright, I'll be straight up with this. Describe Lillie with as much detail as you can." Sun raised an eyebrow, but obliged.

"I think that she's a very good friend. She's nice and sweet and smart. I feel like she's someone who understands me well and is someone I can talk to about my problems without feeling judged. I enjoy spending time with her. I like how much she likes to read, since that makes me feel like a bit less of a nerd. She's kinda shy, but that's not a bad thing in my opinion, if anything it's a bit refreshing. She's really pretty too, so I-"

"HA! I knew it!" Hau yelled in triumph, pointing a finger at Sun as the boy blushed scarlet in embarrassment. Had he really said that out loud!? That was definitely going to come back to haunt him.

"Hau, shut up! I said that I think she's pretty, not that I love her!" Sun growled at the giggling boy. Hau began to outright cackle with delight at Sun as Penny and Oliver joined in on the laughter at Sun's expense. Even worse was when Rotom began playing some kind of weird song in the background that was obviously some kind of slow love song, which made Sun blush even harder. Sun turned off the Pokédex and stuffed it into his backpack with as much dignity as he could muster.

"I thought you two were supposed to have my back?" Sun said ruefully to his two birds. Penny had the decency to look guilty, blocking her amused expression with her wing.

Oliver decided to just tackle Sun from behind again.

However, as the boy tumbled to the ground with a yell, the owl swooped below Sun and pushed him back upright with a joyful hoot. Sun blinked a few times, surprised that the Dartrix had managed such a feat, before smirking at it.

"Fine. You get a free pass on that one."

"Daar dar dar!"

"And back to you…" Sun glared at Hau, who grinned wider at him. "I don't know why you started grilling me about Lillie, but I'll set this straight. Yes, I think she's pretty. Really, really pretty, alright? But she's also a great friend and the first girl...female friend I've ever had. She's smart and nice and really great, so stop giving me crap just because I think highly of Lillie. Alright? I don't know why you and everyone else thinks I have a crush on her!" Sun said hotly to Hau as he took a step towards the boy, who held up two placating hands.

"Hey man, I didn't mean to make you mad. Just wanted to test the waters. I mean, I know I like her. Just wanted to see if you happened to be in the same boat as me." Hau explained as he stuffed his hands into his pockets, smirking at his friend.

"How can I like a girl I've only known for like, a month? I'm still trying to figure out a lot of things about myself and…other things, Hau. I don't know what to feel about Lillie. I only just figured out how to go about making friends…How would I know how to feel about a crush?" Sun asked, sighing deeply. It was times like this that he really missed his Dad. His father may have been a terrible person for certain reasons, but he always gave great advice if Sun ever needed it. He'd know exactly what was going on here and how best to handle it...

Sun made a promise to himself to ask his mother about girls the next time he saw her. He could always be honest about his thoughts and feelings with her. Maybe she'd help clear some of the confusion about what he felt towards Lillie, even if he was sure she'd poke some fun at him. Maybe he'd ask the girl herself about it. Lillie was understanding and probably wouldn't think badly of him, would she? And even if he did have a crush on her...that wouldn't be a bad thing, would it? What if she returned those feelings? Sun was snapped out of his daze at the sight of a familiar man walking towards them.

"Isn't that the Professor?" Sun asked Hau, who looked in the direction of the man and grinned in response.

"Oh hey, Professor Kukui!" Hau called over to the man as he sauntered their way. Sun raised an eyebrow at the sight of the Professor without his assistant.

"Hey you two! How'd your Trial go?" Kukui asked cheerfully, crossing his arms as he took in the two battered children who held so much promise in his eyes.

"Pretty well. Me and Sun both beat the Totem Pokémon and get our Z-Crystals. Oliver even evolved for Sun!" Hau replied excitedly as Kukui grinned at Sun. Sun, however, looked up at Kukui with a frown.

"Professor…Where's Lillie?" Sun asked the man, who looked at him with a confused expression.

"What do you mean? She's right behind me!" Kukui said dismissively, gesturing vaguely behind him where there was nothing but air.

"There's no-one there, sir." Sun replied, feeling a bit nervous now. If Lillie was supposed to be with the Professor, and she wasn't…then where was she?

"Maybe she turned invisible? Is that an option? Because having an invisible friend would be awesome." Hau drawled, not worried about the situation for reasons Sun didn't understand. Kukui finally turned around and was bemused at the sight of absolutely nothing behind him.

"Huh…Lillie's not here? But she was right behind me when we teleported." Kukui mused, scratching his goatee in confusion.

"How long ago was that?" Hau asked.

"Maybe an hour. I teleported using my Starmie." Kukui replied, much to the amazement of Sun and Hau as he re-released his starfish Pokémon.

"So you teleported without her an hour ago? How'd you not notice she wasn't there?" Sun asked the man, unbelieving that someone this respected and intelligent could have such a massive lapse in judgement.

"If you think she's quiet and reserved with you guys, it's nothing compared to how she is in the field. Mostly it's so we don't disturb Pokémon, but it's also because she gets lost in her own little world sometimes." Kukui said to the two boys, putting a hand on his hip.

"So what you're telling me is that you abandoned another child in the wilderness." Sun said, his voice filled with annoyance to the point where Kukui sweat-dropped in nervousness.

"Well…See…when you put it that way…" Kukui said with a nervous laugh, practically feeling the indignant rage of the 11-year old burning ahead of him.

"Penny, Oliver. Show the Professor the consequences of child endangerment out here in the wilds." Sun said to the two birds, pointing at the older man, who took a step back. Kukui looked over at his Starmie, who chose at that moment to sidle far away from the Professor, as if to indicate the Professor was on his own this time. The man turned around just in time to see two birds racing towards him.

"Well...poopie."