Well, I’ve beaten the boss of graffiti town and he’s run off somewhere new, and there’s no police force so it’s not like him being gone means anything else here changes.
I head out. That old guy is there again.
Have I got you to thank for this? And there’s the yungoos. Thing must’ve been scared half to death if it’s glad to see a wretch like me. He stares at me. Bonnibel smiles fixedly back. What a lot of hassle… A trial-goer, huh? Figures. Look, I’m not gonna fight someone who is taking on Team Skull. I healed your Pokemon up so…go. Just go. Though…looking around now… It seems like there’s fewer Team Skull folks around today than usual. Huh.
It’s almost as if actually doing things is more effective than standing around being sad.
I guess some of ’em might have run off after seeing their boss get beat.
How many actually saw that? We were in a rather secluded room. I suppose they could’ve heard it from the one single witness, or from Guzma himself, but seeing the battle itself, that’s hard to believe.
Witch Cosplay appears.
Nanu: And here comes the noise again…
The yungoos runs over to her.
Witch Cosplay: Aue! I’m so sorry… You must’ve been so scared, huh?
Especially considering they’re supposed to pass out as soon as the sun goes down.
Thanks, Bonnibel! Really! You’re really something! Uncle, you’re a great police officer, aren’t you?
…you know, by their standards, he’s probably incredible. Awareness of Skull’s existence! Actually wandering around in the vicinity! Willing to do things, if not things in any way related to actually dealing with them!
I really hope you’re keeping a good eye on things here! What else do you stay here for, if you’re not putting a stop to Team Skull’s shenanigans?
Nanu shrugs. The rent’s real cheap. No one else is crazy enough to stay this close to Team Skull, after all.
Witch Cosplay: That’s what you say. But it’s really all for the Pokemon, isn’t it? You could depend on the Aether Foundation to look after the Pokemon that Team Skull hurts, but you stay here to look out for them, huh?
Maybe this is meant to be what’s up with the police station? But there’s a kid right there with one of the meowth. And the pokecenter has a bunch of pokemon hanging out with no sign the kids are tormenting them, and some sign they’re actually concerned in that they seem upset they can’t keep the place running.
The Skulls just don’t seem particularly anti-pokemon. So far, the only pokemon they seem to threaten are those belonging to others, and it’s only in the sense of removing them from those others – which, while obviously upsetting, is not something where you need to look after them but just a matter of letting them go back. The stolen yungoos was apparently terrorized by being nabbed, but there’s no mention of injury and it was able to follow us out just fine.
It’s possible that we’ve only getting involved when they involve pokemon with owners and all the times they’re stomping on random yungoos for fun we aren’t, but in that case we’re not much better than they are.
(Mind you, I’m noticing they have a lot of golbat and no crobat, which may be intended to make a point. But it could also be that the designers figured a third stage evolution would get in the way of it being a cakewalk.)
Come on, Yungoos. Let’s get you back to Aether House!
She runs off a bit, then stops to say she’ll visit her uncle again. He is less than enthusiastic.
Nanu: Pokemon tucked up in their Poke Balls, Team Skull locked up in their little town… I wonder if either enjoys the experience?
While I do appreciate a good consideration of pokeballs, this doesn’t really make sense. The Skull kids may not like that their range is restricted, but they obviously like it better than being outside given literal barricades to keep out others. If there was actual law enforcement keeping them in, the comparison would work slightly better, but the area beyond is full of free ranging Skull kids and there’s been no evidence of any actual authorities trying to keep them in check.
I could walk back. I would, normally. But there’s an event flag elsewhere now, so I know there’s no point. I just fly back to it instead.
Entering, Witch Cosplay spontaneously materializes at my side with the yungoos. She is then shocked to see Hau being mobbed by emphatic preschoolers and spikyboxes: Wha… What’s going on in here?!
Hau: Bonnibel… I’m sorry! I…I can’t even make myself smile right now…
Witch Cosplay: But why? What happened?
And apparently it’s because Lillie’s been taken. We get a flashback.
Lillie: You people…
Plumeria: Not gonna disappear this time, huh? Sees like maybe the tall tales we heard about you were wrong.
Lillie: That was different… Nebby and I were both in trouble… That was the only reason why it used its power. So we both could escape with our lives…
I am really confused why she is explaining this right now.
On the other hand, it’s interesting that she thinks that situation was a deadly one. That’s significantly more dire than I assumed when I saw it.
Lillie: I know that I’m not capable of much myself, but I will not make it use that power again!
This is noble and all, but telling people you’re powerless is not a great way to prevent others from having to help.
Lillie: I’m determined not to let that happen. That’s why…this time I’ll do whatever I can on my own even if I do find myself in trouble again.
I feel Lillie’s learned all the wrong lessons about being assertive and confident.
The Skull boy there agrees: Yo, girl, you know you’re in trouble right now, right? Dumb spoiled little princess!
Plumeria: It’s fine. There’s nothing more for us to take from you. Which reminds me… Maybe we’re not the only ones around here who could be called Pokemon thieves. Is that what you are, huh? A thief?
Lillie: Please… there is no need to hurt anyone else here. I will go with you willingly. Wherever you want.
Really not sure how this is doing “whatever you can”, Lillie.
Hau explains Plumeria, showing a grasp of object permanence rarely found in videogames, came back after Witch Cosplay left. Hau then sobs about how he’s a failure of a trainer and Lillie the non-trainer protected them all.
Gladion then sprints in, because seriously, they just let anyone walk in and also the doors possibly are set to teleport everyone together at maximum drama times.
Gladion: Did I hear that right? It was Lillie who took Cosmog?!
Can I just pause a moment and say Lillie really should’ve used a different name. I don’t know if it’d have helped, but if you’re running away from people in a tiny island nation, you don’t want everyone to know by overhearing mention of your name.
Also, how long has Gladion been stalking them to listen at doors for this to happen.
Hau: Geh! You know who Lillie is?!
Gladion, bless him, doesn’t dignify Hau talking with any attention. He is busy having his emo meltdown. And you all are so useless and weak that now Cosmog is… Lillie is… Arghhh! I’ll show you how angry you make me!
He doesn’t just end by bursting into frustrated tears, but I’m going to assume he’s doing it while battling.
He’s got a L37 golbat now. It’s followed by Type: Null at L38, who I respond to with my L34 zygarde doggy, then finish up with Brionne. We end with a L37 sneasel, who nearly finishes my team off but Brionne drinks some lemonade and pulls off a win.
Gladion: That was wrong of me…
Game, no. More people need to attack me.
I shouldn’t have dragged you into a meaningless battle like that…
Gladion, you throwing tantrums is your purpose in this game.
But I told you both!
Yes! Give in to your rage!
I told you that Cosmog would bring disaster to all of Alola!
Uh…wait, did you? I remember you saying something or other about not letting it get taken, but not the details. Either it’s been too long or I was too distracted by how hilarious you are to care about the actual words you were saying.
I have to get it back from them! We’ll leave from the ferry terminal.
Not that it isn’t hilarious that you have decided you’re now in charge, why have you abruptly turned semi-social? Why are you taking us with you?
You’re coming with me whether you like it or not, so the only question is, are you ready to come now or not?
Uh…like I said, I’m down to a single pokemon, so… much as I’d like to rush off foolhardily, I do kinda need to heal up.
I’ll wait for you near the Ula’ula ferry terminal. Don’t make me wait long.
Witch Cosplay expresses her concern about leaving – given past events, she assumes if she leaves, Skull will just descend to terrorize small children again. Meanwhile, Hau is wondering if he should just stay here rather than get in our way, since he’s so weak. Oh, Hau, don’t be silly. No matter how weak you are, it’s unlikely you could actually get in the way.
Gladion is indeed waiting staring out dramatically from the docks. Hrmph… So, we’re waiting for Hau?
We should wait/He’ll come
Again, this appears to be a situation where both options are just one two-sentence reply. If I’m to pick between them…
I don’t think we “should” wait, but I can believe that it’s likely he’ll come.
Yeah, I guess so… He’s a pretty interesting kid, I’ll give you that. Growing up in the great kahuna’s shadow and still trying to stand up to Hala as an equal?
That seems like a very charitable reading of the situation. I really don’t get the impression Hau looked at the situation in front of him and decided he wanted to try to live up to it.
…I couldn’t do it.
I don’t think Hau’s any different in that respect.
Someone does appear, but it’s not Hau. Gladion overreacts hilariously.
Nanu: If only Team Skull could’ve just kept themselves and their troublemaking to Po Town…
I think you’re failing to grasp what “troublemaking” is.
Why’d they have to make all this fuss, huh?
I get the impression the Alolan police follow the Chamberlain policy of dealing with problems.
You there, girl. I’m an island kahuna, you know. Battle against me. It’ll be a good experience for you if you’re really hoping to master the island challenge.
OK, I will/No thanks
wtf WHY IS THIS EVEN A QUESTION WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME LIKE IT’S AN OPINION THIS IS WHAT THE GAME REVOLVES AROUND.
Don’t take it too seriously, now.
Screw you old man.
…he has three pokemon. God damn it game.
L38 sableye. Beats my brionne, just barely beat it with my wishiwashi (with the help of weathering a move thanks to affection). Next up is a L38 krokorok, right after both my water types are out of commission. My cute slipper pokemon manages to murder-suicide its way to victory, and the final pokemon, a L39 persian, is released. I set my L32 bewear against it. Bewear still hasn’t learned a single fighting move for some reason. Another affection-weathered move and flail bring me to victory.
Nanu: Well, shoot. Of course I already knew you had the heart and the strength to storm Team Skull’s stronghold, but I didn’t know you were this good. And your Pokemon worked real hard for you. Let me fix your team up for you. Here. This is yours.
There’s this whole dramatic thing where I get a crystal and Bonnibel does her twirl on the fancy background and the special-font GRAND TRIAL COMPLETE words fill the screen…and then it’s back to Mr. Flat Affect standing by the docks.
It really feels like some people making the game thought the trials were awesome and the other half thought they were stupid.
Nanu: If you want to use the Dark-type Z-Power, you’ve gotta do it like this.
Also, god, I really hope the capitalization at least gets somewhat better eventually. Like, decide how hyphens interact with it, at least.
There. Congratulations or whatever. You’ve officially finished your Ula’ula trials.
Yay? I’m done with the island of people who are totally done with this.
Nanu: You’ve got somewhere else to be, don’t you? Try not to destroy the whole place. Oh… And you, boy. Gladion. Tell me… If you’re really trying to get stronger as you say, then what’re you depending on Team Skull for?
Money. Pretty sure it’s money.
And then Hau appears. Whatever.
Gladion: Don’t you dare say a word about this being fun.
Hau: I won’t… If I’d been stronger, then Lillie wouldn’t have…
I’m not sure that’s the right lesson to be taking from all this.
Hau: I’m ready to do whatever it takes so that we can take back our smiles and our fun adventure! But where was Lillie taken? It couldn’t be Po Town. Bonnibel was there the whole time.
Bonnibel actually only went into one building. She wouldn’t even have fought Guzma if the idiot hadn’t let her use the passwords. I’m just saying, there’s actually no reason to think Lillie isn’t tied up somewhere there.
Gladion: Hmph… So you’re not quite as dumb as you are naive.
You are both grossly overestimating how good a job Bonnibel does of searching!
Gladion: It’ll be Aether Paradise.
Hau: Aether Paradise?
We’re on the fourth island and we haven’t resolved what’s with the sketchy people, of course it is.
And apparently they all agree, because we skip to Aether Paradise without further explanation.
Gladion: Aether Paradise’s harbor… We made it this far without running into trouble. But I don’t like how quiet it is. You two…stay alert.
Hau: But… Why would Lillie be at Aether Paradise?
You couldn’t have asked that during the entire boat ride?
Gladion: She just will be.
Hau: Argh! This guy!
What about the child who sewed a bloody claw mark onto his black sweater makes you surprised he’s not forthcoming?
Hau: Fine. So what are we going to do?
Another choice is presented:
Should we look for her?/Should we ask around?
I feel like the second option would be funnier, as I guess Gladion would yell at us. But Bonnibel is a clever ditto, so she’s aware if Lillie’s been taken by force, it’s probably on us to find her rather than being directed.
Gladion: I guess…we take the elevator.
Just so long as it isn’t another cutscene trap.
Hau: You guess? And we’re following this guy?! He doesn’t have any plan!
Hau, the plan very obviously is to wander around until we find her/are defeated.
When the cutscene ends, I find there’s an Aether grunt right next to me, offering to take me back to the docks. If I take them up on it, Gladion comes with me to be cranky and ask if I’m ready to go yet. Anyway, I swap some pokemon and then it’s time to go!
The very next employee attacks me: Intruder spotted! I’ll fight with all I have to wipe you out! So why is the other one so chill?
And now Brionne is evolving into a primarina, at a surprising L34! Honestly, kind of prefer the set levels so it’s easy to remember, but at the same time, it’s nice to be surprised.
Its singing voice is its chief weapon in battle. This Pokemon’s Trainer must prioritize the daily maintenance of its throat at all costs.
Huh. What is the daily maintenance? Is it hard? The “at all costs” suggests that there’s permanent consequences for screwing up, rather than that it can’t battle properly until things change. And he learns sparkling aria, which is stronger than bubblebeam but its side effect of healing burns seems pretty unlikely to come up.
It also suggests I can add “mute primarina” to my list of defective pokemon options. Bulbapedia’s move list could be useful for identifying other issues with muteness, though not all require working throats.
I’m not sure if you’re supposed to be able to sneak your way through the Aether grunts – I make a bit of an effort, but I’m not very good with the new fidgety sprites, and anyway, it’s not like I want to avoid all these fights.
I get in sight of the lift and see Gladion is already on. I guess he’s good at sneaking. I’m less clear how nobody sees him standing there waiting for me, given how much he clashes with the surroundings. Bonnibel, despite being all in white and actually blending quite well is immediately spotted by the grunt standing nearby.
I feel sorry for the Pokemon who have to be used by an intruder!
So it seems like we’re still to view them as concerned for pokemon. On the other hand, the guy then sends out a parasect, so…
When I win, he expresses shock that an intruder could be a strong trainer, so strength = goodness continues to very much be in play. I then run around the area making Gladion wait even longer and find another grunt. This one explains that they were told people were coming to steal the pokemon. So, does Aether officially own the pokemon they have here, or have we found the one group in all the pokemon world that actually considers non-owned pokemon to have rights?
I reach the elevator, where Hau and Gladion are both still waiting.
Hau: I don’t get what is going on here… Why would the Aether Foundation be attacking anyone?!
Well, pretty obviously because we’re attacking them. I mean, they’re a bit trigger-happy, but we’re apparently not supposed to be here and it’s clear we’re not concerned by the fact they really want us to leave.
Gladion, your thoughts?
The air is already growing heavy… I have to do something!
And he keeps standing there, until I approach the controls which triggers a cutscene of him at the controls, so I assume in the moment of disorienting blackness he shouldered Bonnibel aside.
Gladion: Hmph. Just like I thought…
Hau: What were you doing there?
Gladion: Looks like outsiders can’t use the main elevator to reach the lower levels. I was afraid this might happen. But still… What a pain. We don’t have any choice. We’ll have to go up.
And then fight our way all the way down???
And so we go up!
Faba: I, Faba, am the Aether Branch Chief. The only one in the world, I’m irreplaceable. And here you come back…uninvited?
Gladion: Like you don’t know why. You of all people should know everything that happens in the Aether Foundation. Isn’t that fight, high-and-mighty Branch Chief?
Faba: Hee hee hee! Look at you… Living out in the world hasn’t been kind, has it?
Similar to Witch Cosplay, his outfit actually looks like the fancy, expensive type of crappy.
Faba: But I’m still not telling you anything! And you of all people should understand why… Gladion.
Gladion: Hey, Bonnibel.
You want me to kill him? I can do that.
Gladion: You know why being a Trainer is so great?
I feel my previous statement actually covers that pretty well.
Gladion: Because when you’re battling, it doesn’t matter if you’re a kid or an adult. Everyone’s equal in Pokemon battle!
…I’m not sure if that last part is a mistake on the editor’s part or a sign marketing is planning to do more bad things to English.
And is this true, really? It seems more like Alola doesn’t believe battling is an adult thing in the first place. The captains have to stop being captains before they’re even old enough to drink. The kahunas don’t take it too seriously, and what respect they do give seems to be about it being a good way of learning other skills or respecting tradition. The Guzma/Prof.Labsafetyfail difference is that one accepted he couldn’t cut it as a trainer and gave the hell up. Faba himself is a trainer and the narrative has no respect for the guy. And everyone talks of the island challenge as a thing you do once and then are done with.
In any other region or generation, this would make complete sense, but here? Not so much.
Faba: Oh ho… Is that right? Is that what you think? So you wish to battle me? Branch Chief Faba? The man who is called Aether Paradise’s last line of defense is to battle a mere child?! As you will!
And somehow this leads to him fighting me instead. Not complaining, but it’s weird. If Gladion had been like, “I tried beating you, and I failed, and that’s why I recruited this psycho dittochild this time!” it’d have followed a bit more clearly.
He has a single L39 hypno he tosses out with the least enthusiasm ever.
Faba: H-h-how can this be?!
Because you had a single pokemon. Just said this.
How could this child…
Hau: Aue, look at you, Bonnibel! And Faba is real strong, too!
Gladion shakes his head. So… As I said, Faba. You of all people know what I’m here for.
Faba: Indeed… The world truly hasn’t been kind to you, has it? Look how hard it has made you. If you’re looking for Cosmog, I suppose it might be downstairs.
Yes Hau, Gladion only just explained we were trying to get down.
Oh yeah! Ms. Wicke did say there was another level farther down, didn’t she… What do you do down there?!
Faba: Well…if you must know… I’ve heard experiments are held down there. Experiments aiming to tear the very boundaries of the world apart.
Interesting, Hau doesn’t react to that. I guess he’s remembering how yeah, that was kind of obvious given what happened.
Gladion: We’re in a bit of a hurry, Faba. A lift would be nice.
Faba: Why not? This is an act of kindness I can do for you thanks to my position as branch chief.
So is the subtext of all this “I will fucking murder you if you say no”? But they’re being polite and not saying it outright?
Gladion: Bonnibel. Hau. If you’re ready, let’s head down. Are you ready?
About that. I may have typed a lot of this with a cat on me, which is kind of a strain on the wrists. And this is looking like there’s going to be a ton of dialogue to type. I’m afraid I’m going to call it a night.