Today I med yet another imposing figure of Melemele island, Kahuna Hala. I met him in Iki Town, a beautiful small village not too far away from Hau’oli City. I visited him in order to get his approval for the island challenge.
First of all however, Iki Town is so beautiful. To be honest, every town I did see here on Melemele Island looks just gorgeous. But this one is especially beautiful.
It has a very traditional look and as with every place here, is very inviting and colourful. It feels like it’s embedded into nature.
In the center of the town is a large stage where grand trials take place as well as other battle activities and festivals. I am looking forward to fighting there myself… But I’m jumping ahead.
Hala welcomed me in front of his house, located a bit north-west of the town’s center. Another imposing figure. They seem to be very common here in Alola.
“You must be the trainer Professor Kukui told me so much about. I am Hala, the Kahuna of Melemele Island.” “Thank you very much for having me.”
Hala guided me into his house “If what I’ve heard from Professor Kukui, I will have to thank you. But come on in first.”
Inside the house he lead me through a fairly large hall. “I am part of a sumo club and if it’s raining outside, we train in here” Hala quickly remarked when he noticed my surprise for the size of the room.
At the back of the hall was a small office-like room where we sat down to talk.
And talk we did.
There were many topics Hala wanted to discuss with me and know my opinion on. From the beginning on I was not sure whether this was some sort of test or if he really valued my outsider view so highly. Who did Professor Kukui tell him I was?
One such topic were the Z-Moves. Hala told me that after the Alolan Pokémon League was born and the news from the first tournament (the Manalo Conference) went around the world, lots of trainers arrived. But they only had one goal in mind, these Z-Moves.
Most of the trainers left Alola quickly after they either were overwhelmed by the amount of power these Z-Moves drained from the Pokémon Trainers themselves, or they were unable to perform a Z-Move at all. The later case often ended in tragedy because many of those trainers blamed their Pokémon for not being able to handle the power and didn’t think it might be the trainer’s doing. As I learned in the Pokémon School, it’s the bond between the Pokémon and their Trainers that enables the Z-Moves in the first place. A weak bond will result in weak or no power at all.
The few trainers that mastered the Z-Moves left quickly too as they didn’t understand the tradition behind the Island Challenge.
Here, Hala asked me, how other Pokémon Leagues were handling their challenges. The gym system in particular.
I told him what I knew and that I also shortly acted as gym leader prior to coming to Alola.
Hala explained to me that for their gym system, they were still not in agreement with Professor Kukui on how it should be handled in Alola. A Pokémon league must involve collecting badges in some form or another. That itself is not a problem. But there should be at least eight. Right now, badges are awarded in form of stamps here in Alola, but there are only four that could be considered as “a badge”, those from the four grand trials. Expanding these and making eight is impossible.
The grand trials are performed only by the Kahuna. Each island only has one Kahuna. They are chosen by the guardian deity of the respective island. For Melemele Island it’s Tapu Koko, for Akala Island Tapu Lele, for Ula’ula Island Tapu Bulu and for Poni Island Tapu Fini. There never were more than four and it’s unlikely that the Tapu Pokémon would suddenly change their behaviour and elect another four. This tradition is something that won’t change and according to Hala, should not change.
The traditional Island Challenge also consist of many small trials around all the islands and only after the worth of the trainer was established in the small trials, they would face off against the island’s Kahuna in a grand trials. Awarding badges for these small challenges is an option but seems an unfair one as there are roughly a dozen small trials available for the challengers that are taking the Island Challenge. One would be able to collect enough badges for the league without ever facing off against a Kahuna in a grand trial.
This traditional system shouldn’t disappear too. It’s essential for the challengers who taking the island challenge. These small trials are there so that every trainer first gets evaluated not necessary by a battle they have to win by strength, but how they handle a situation together with their Pokémon in the trail, further strengthening their bonds. This is not only crucial for the Z-Moves but the believe of Alola that Pokémon and Humans can and are supposed to live together in piece, harmony and help each other out.
“We all are living here on these islands together and therefore will looks after each other. We are all equal in Alola.”
Right now, the rules for the gym challenge here on Alola are still only to collect these four grand trial stamps. But they will have to change soon to allow it to keep existing. It’s a clash of traditions from both sides, the Alolan Island Challenge and the Gym Challenge.
Hala asked me then, why I did come to Alola.
I explained that I came here in the first place in hope of strengthening the bonds between me and my Pokémon for the many challenges that are ahead. With the World Coronation Series that I’m currently taking part in, my Pokémon and I will have to fight many hard battles. And I want us to win this together, putting equal amount of training and power into it.
It looked like my answer was not exactly what Hala hoped for, but none the less he asked me if I wanted to participate in the Island Challenge and in the end battle in the Alolan Pokémon League Conference.
I answered, that my Pokémon and I would be honoured.
Now I didn’t plan this next bit at all.
Hala set me my first challenge. I shall bring him a Z-Crystal.
If I manage to do that, he would face me in the grand trial that I have to win in order to be allowed participating in the island challenge.
There would be no hints from him where to obtain a Z-Crystal.
I put my hand into my pocket and pulled out the Darkinium Z I received a few days prior, asking if that will do.
Hala was speechless for a moment, a thing I would not have expected to see today. I took the word and told him how I had received it.
After that he only laughed “Professor Kukui really found a great Pokémon trainer. The grand trial will therefore take place tomorrow evening!”
I shall however be back here around midday so I could visit the Totem-Pokémon’s shrine with him. A tradition that he wants me to see in order to understand the way of Alola.
We continued our chat for a bit longer, but this post will be finished here. It’s long enough already again.
I’m looking forward to tomorrows grand trial, as do my Pokémon!