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The mid-morning sunlight was exceptionally harsh as it hit Iki Town. Despite the attacks on the festival, morale had remained high and it seemed as if everyone had enjoyed themselves. Those gifted with youth or fortitude had already left, whilst everyone else struggled to awaken from their sleep. Naomi had missed Hau and Luna leave, but she'd risen before Kukui, and despite the liberal amount of liquor the Professor had drunk, he had made it clear that before she left, he wanted to talk to her. So far it had taken multiple cups of coffee to get either of them to say more than a few grunts. Eventually however, Kukui broke the silence that had engulfed the area outside of Hala's hut.
"Hala talked to the Trial Captains last night, shortly after the exhibition battles." Kukui groaned as he took a sip from his cup of coffee. "They have concerns about Seismitoad and Mimikyu due to the potential of them being trained prior to you starting the Trials."
"I don't quite understand?" Naomi replied as Mimikyu scampered onto the table and knocked Naomi’s cup over the side, as it attempted to sit in Kukui's lap.
"Well the trials involve extra powerful Pokémon that tap into the Alola region’s collective spirit. These island totems are battled during the trials, but some of the captains believe that your Pokémon would easily overpower these special Totem Pokémon, hence the need for a potential evaluation." Kukui explained as he rubbed Mimikyu's cloth head, the small Pokémon purring as it received the attention it thought it deserved. "Almost like a pre-trial to the trials."
"But if Mimikyu and Seismitoad are deemed ineligible..." Naomi gasped as she looked down at Litten, the cat like creature curled up on her lap.
"Worry about that after the evaluation." Kukui told her. "You can always catch some Pokémon to help you in between trials." He added, a smile on his face. "I have some Poke Balls and Potions for your journey, but other than that the only thing I can do to help you is to give you the name of the evaluator and when and where to meet them." He sighed as he handed a slip of paper to Naomi. "Once you have an answer give me a call, I have business down at Hau'oli City Marina that'll take up most of the day, but I should be reachable by the phone function on the PokeDex I lent you."
"I understand Professor." Naomi murmured, as she got to her feet, her sudden movement sending Litten tumbling to the floor.
"There is one more thing." Kukui stated as he watched Naomi shoulder her bag. "Good luck although," He paused as he put Mimikyu back on the floor, "considering what you've already done, I don't think you need it."
The address of the building Kukui had sent Naomi too lead the new trainer to a school, one eerily quiet even in the early afternoon sun. Wandering through the grounds, Naomi took the opportunity to look through the windows at the banners and paintings of various types of Pokémon from the Alola region. Sitting down on a bench outside of some tennis courts, Naomi raked her brain for any idea about what she was meant to be doing here. Her own schooling had ended when she was sixteen, and despite everything she'd learnt, she had been, like all children of Invictian origin, sent to one of the big farms by the Kalos controlled puppet government. Things seemed different here in Alola however, so perhaps she should think differently to solve the conundrum she currently found herself in. She was so deep in thought, that it was only a few quick squeaks from Mimikyu that alerted her to the grey haired man dressed in overalls carrying a bucket of tools heading towards her.
"Miss Clearwater I assume?" The man asked. "I'm Thomas, Trial Captain Illima asked me to access your Seismitoad and Mimikyu." He added, as Naomi checked the name on the piece of paper Kukui had given her, before getting to her feet and held out her hand in a show of respect.
"Why here?" Naomi asked as Thomas took her hand and shook it.
"I used to be a Trial Captain, and the site I chose was in the basement of the school. Usually I would have to schedule the testing after hours, but since school has broken up for the season I needn't worry about students getting in trouble, or too much damage being done to the buildings." Thomas explained as he removed a PokeBall out of his bucket. "Now the challenge involves heading into the basement and activating the drainage system to reach a crystal in the main tank. Since it's the off season Pokémon will probably have made their way inside."
"What kind of Pokémon?" Naomi asked, as Thomas smiled and threw the PokeBall, a green segmented insect Pokémon with sharp yellow prongs mounted at the head end underneath two gleaming blue eyes.
"Many kinds," Thomas explained, "during this trial you must only use Mimikyu and Seismitoad since they are the Pokémon I'm evaluating. Once the trial begins the door up to the school will close until the crystal is recovered. I'll be in the main substation control room, should things go wrong I'll be able to pick them up on the monitors and stop the trial, safety for both people and Pokémon are the primary concern for all trial captains. Now are you ready to start the trial?"
"I am." Naomi replied as she shouldered her bag and followed Thomas to a squat building behind an electric fence at the other end of the tennis courts. Heading inside Thomas put his bucket down, and put his hands on his hips as he looked at the multitude of blank screens staring back at him.
"Charjabug, discharge some electricity and get this evaluation started!" Thomas ordered as the cuboid insects buzzed loudly in response before directing an electrical surge into the generator, the ancient device spluttering for a few seconds before roaring into action, the computer screens and lights flickering as they turned on. In the corner of the room, an electrically locked door clicked open, causing Naomi to flinch at the loud clanging sound. "Kukui says you have a Litten right?" Thomas asked, his question answered by a slight nod from Naomi. "Leave it here for now, this trial is for you and the Pokémon you met on Akala Island." He added, as Naomi reluctantly handed Thomas the PokeBall containing Litten before heading to the door, Mimikyu and Seismitoad following in her wake.
The tunnels under the school were quiet save for the pounding of Naomi and Seismitoad's feet and the occasional drop of water. After a few short minutes the trio of travellers had found the tank, the see-through container filled with stagnant water. Leading away from the pump was a thick pipe, but no obvious way to activate the drainage system.
"I guess we follow the pipe." Naomi sighed quietly as she headed out of the room and along the corridor, her eyes darting upwards towards the pipes running along the ceiling until she came to a reinforced door, its electronic lock fixed shut. Taking a long sigh, Naomi looked around for anyway around the obstruction, or anything that would help open the door.
"Mimikyu...Mimikyu!" Mimikyu squeaked as it gestured to a vent on the wall, a few feet along from the door.
"Even if I were eleven I wouldn’t be able to fit in there." Naomi told the little Pokémon as she peered into the vent. "It doesn't go back very far but it looks as if there's something inside." She added as she gently lifted the vent off. In a flash whatever was inside darted out and fell to the floor, its pale worm like body contrasting with the orange head and large jaws. "Oh who are you?" Naomi asked as she took a step back, as the newly arrived Pokémon snapped at her leg, its anger at being obstructed from its escape.
"Grub...bbin" The new Pokémon whined as Mimikyu scuttled up to it, only for the disturbed Pokémon to lung forward and snap at it, its attack phasing through its targets body.
"Okay Mimikyu, counter it with Scratch!" Naomi ordered, her Pokémon’s shadowy claw emerging from under its cloth and raking over the opposing Pokémon’s face. Angry at being attacked, the enemy Pokémon retaliated by spitting a wave of mud at Mimikyu, its target staggering slightly before shaking the dirt off itself. Taking the chance to get in another attack, the worm like Pokémon spat a line of string at Mimikyu, its fake tale and ears getting covered in the binding strands.
"Mimikyu use Copycat!" Naomi ordered, as Mimikyu's real eyes flashed yellow for a few seconds as its shadowy claw reappeared, strings of silk shooting from the nails and cocooning the worm like Pokémon. "Okay now try a Thunder Wave!" Naomi called, as seconds later the cocooned worm was stunned by a discharge of electricity. "Finish it off with Scratch!" Naomi cheered.
As Mimikyu moved in for an attack, its foe shuddered and shot a line of silk straight up at the ceiling, easily evading the attack. "Mimi...q? Mimikyu chirped in confusion before looking up at its enemy, just in time for a torrent of mud to collapse on it. Shaking itself again, Mimikyu reached up to scratch its attacker, only to miss as its opponent shot another line of silk and swung away just in the nick of time.
"Mimikyu hit it with an Astonish!" Naomi ordered. Looking down on its opponent, the look on the worm like Pokémon’s face turned to shock as it saw Mimikyu. Shooting another silk line it went to swing away, only for sparks to crawl up its body causing its muscles to seize up. Falling to the floor with a thud, the stunned Pokémon closed its eyes, a sign that it had been defeated. Rushing over to the fainted Pokémon, Naomi pulled a purple bottle out of her bag and sprayed it on the Pokémon. "I'm sorry for disturbing you." She told the injured Pokémon, "I'll make sure you get out of here when I've finished the evaluation."
"Grubbi...Grubbin." The Pokémon on the floor groaned as Naomi picked it up and placed it in her bag. Looking over to the vent she saw Mimikyu snake its shadowy claw inside, before pulling a plastic card key out seconds later.
"That may just open the door." Naomi gasped. "Give it a try Mimikyu." She implored as the little Pokémon scuttled over to Seismitoad, its larger compatriot lifting its friend up to the scanner. With a long click, the lock disengaged and with a little effort the door swung open to reveal a power box connected to the pipes that led back to the main tank. Grabbing the lever attached to the box Naomi strained, but to no avail, the switch was jammed open. "Seismitoad maybe you can budge it?" Naomi asked as she headed out into the corridor, just as Seismitoad muscled in.
"Sei...smi...toad!" Seismitoad bellowed as it struggled to move the lever. Despite its muscle however, the switch refused to close, almost if an invisible hand was keeping the power box from activating.
"Okay, maybe the key card can..." Naomi stopped as her bag rustled, and the worm like Pokémon crawled out to reveal the PokeDex, its screen activated, a dial rotating as it searched for data on the nearest Pokémon.
"Grubbin the Larva Pokémon, Grubbin can be found in areas frequented with electric Pokémon to reduce predation from Pikipeck and Spearow." The PokeDex droned as Naomi picked it up before bending down next to Grubbin.
"I'm sorry if you were disturbed by that." She told Grubbin, as she patted the worm like Pokémon on the head, its jaws quivering slightly as it let out a buzz of what could almost be content. Getting back to her feet, Naomi moved back into the smaller room and went to read the information on Grubbin, only for the screen to flicker and show the image of another Pokémon, this one consisting of an orb with a single eye and two magnets attached to its body.
"Magnemite the Magnet Pokémon," The PokeDex chimed as Naomi looked around, before eventually seeing the metal bodied Pokémon magnetically sealed to the ceiling, "Magnemite gather in places where electricity is abundant, but too many in one place can cause power blackouts."
"Okay Seismitoad, use Scald on the Magnemite." Naomi ordered, as she flattened herself against the wall to give Seismitoad a clear shot at its target. With a loud croak, Seismitoad opened fire, the torrent of boiling water causing Magnemite to detach and drift down from the ceiling, electricity sparking from the magnets attached to it. With a buzzing hiss it shot a pulse of electricity at Seismitoad, the large Pokémon seemingly unaffected by the attack. "Okay Seismitoad use Earth Pow..." Naomi stopped as a bone chilling scream radiated along the corridor.
"Magne...magne." Magnemite buzzed, as it flew past Seismitoad and darted into Naomi's bag, followed by both Grubbin and Mimikyu, the three small Pokémon quaking in fear at the source of the sound. Not wasting any time Naomi threw the switch, the pipes rumbling to life as they drained the tank. Heading back to her bag, Naomi sat down and looked inside at the three cowering Pokémon.
"Come on guys, I won't let whatever that was hurt you." Naomi cooed, "But we can't leave until we get to the crystal, and I'll need help with that."
"Mimi...Mimikyu...kyu!" Mimikyu squeaked as it shook its head, and pulled the zip of the holdall closed with its shadowy claw.
"Mimikyu come on out, you fought a Houndoom and a Duskull!" Naomi stated, as she opened the bag. "You were brave then, you can be brave now." She told her Pokémon. Squeaking in protest Mimikyu reluctantly left the safety of the bag and flopped onto the floor. As it did, the lights flickered before going out plunging the corridor into darkness for a few seconds until the floor level green emergency lights came on.
"Sei?" Seismitoad snorted as it pointed to a shadowy figure, one that was easily taller than Naomi, standing at the other end of the corridor.
"Hello?" Naomi called as she and Seismitoad tensed up ready for battle. Seconds later an ear splitting scream identical to the first radiated down the hallway, one that caused Naomi to grasp her ears in pain as well as send Mimikyu scuttling back into the holdall.
"Mimi...mimikyu. Mimikyu...mimi!" Mimikyu spat, its protest echoed by both Grubbin and Magnemite. As she recovered from the sonic assault, Naomi looked down the corridor to see that the shadowy figure was gone.
"Let's grab this thing and get out of here guys." Naomi whispered as she grabbed her bag and headed down the dimly lit corridor. Reaching the room with the tank in, Naomi noticed that a door was carved into the section next to the structure and gingerly walked into the space, the crystal glowing faintly in the low light levels of the basement. Reaching out to grab her prize, Naomi felt something wet drip onto her fingers, something that didn't smell like water. It was at that moment that the lights flickered on for a few brief seconds causing Naomi to scream at what she saw.