Jun 18, 2019 12:44 PM
Fabulous Dusk in Pokemon Alola
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It's a nice warm spring day, and more importantly for those in academia, it's morning. The library has only a few guests.

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She looks for a reference desk or, failing that, just whoever's manning the checkout.

Hi! She has some kind of weird questions, can the librarian help her?

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There's just the checkout. The librarian looks maybe 19 or so and has a cup of coffee in front of them, but despite clearly not being a morning person they're not unfriendly. He startles for a moment at the telepathy, but rights himself then replies.

"Certainly. What can I help you with?"

 

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She got teleported here last night, and she's not sure she's in the same world she was to start with, and she needs to figure out how things work here. Maybe starting with 'what's a pokemon' and 'do you really not have magical girls here' but there might be other stuff, she's not sure yet.

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"Okay, I definitely don't have enough coffee for this, it's way too early in the morning. Um. For the first one, you'd want "The Evolution of Species" by Professor Rowan and "Sinnoh Myths and Legends" by Champion Cynthia and Professor Carolina, for starters? Or maybe some children's, books, depending? And I have no idea where our works on magical girls would be, or even what one would be."

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She's a magical girl. You can tell by the fact that she looks almost but not quite human, and also the part where she's using magic to talk. If he's never heard of them before that's pretty good proof that they don't have them and she's in a different world, they're not that rare in hers.

She should probably start with the childrens' books; can he recommend something?

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"The Children's section is over thataway. It's been a while since I had to recommend anything over there. Maybe 'Cock-a-doodle-do, dodou?'"

He takes a swig of coffee, then starts. "Wait, what do you mean, from another world? Like what DevonCorp was developing? That's not just an elaborate costume, you really aren't just a psychic? I..."

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She's never heard of DevonCorp but yeah, she's really from another world. Here, watch - she changes her wings from moth style to owl, and changes her skirt and the ruffles of her sleeves from starry indigo to sunset orange.

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“I. Uh. Wow. Do you mind if I..” he says, pullling a red and white sphere off his belt.

Then he frowns, and corrects himself. “Do you mind if I send out my Noctowl to look for illusions? It’s uh, bird - birds are Pokémon with feathers - about a foot and a half high. And I should probably find a Dark-type Pokémon, to prove you aren’t an ordinary psychic; Dark-type Pokémon are conventionally immune to all Psychic-type attacks. Maybe a Rattata?”

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She's not going to attack anybody, but, sure? She has another spell, and she's a little curious whether that will count as an illusion, but her clothes and wings aren't.

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He presses a button on the sphere, and out comes a red shape, which quickly fades into another one of these strange animals. “Come on out, Hoot. See through any illusions with a foresight.” 

”Owl, Owl, Noct.” Obediently,  the brown bird’s eyes glow, but it then turns quizically towards the librarian. “Noctowl?”

“Uh. Wow. It’s really not an illusion?”

”Noctowl Noct.”

He seems a little faint. “Uh. Wow. I’m so not qualified for this.”

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Well, she tried talking to the police and they thought it was a prank, so it seems to her like he's doing pretty well so far.

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He’s silent for a moment, and closes his eyes. Then he opens, them, and shakes his head. ”Nope, not dreaming. I can never manage to do math in those. Uh. Welcome to Alola?”

He seems kinda shaken, but he’s still more than capable of getting her some books. When he arrives at the children’s section, something clicks, and instead of toddler books he pulls something from a bit older age category, titled ‘So you want to be a Pokémon Trainer.’

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She thanks him, and finds someplace to sit.

So, what do people who want to be pokemon trainers need to know?

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About Pokémon, apparently!

So, you want to be a Pokémon Trainer, huh? Chances are, you're coming up on your 11th birthday, and you're so excited you just can't wait another minute to get started on your island trial. Still, before you get started, there are some things you need to know!

Index:

Chapter 1. How do I catch a Pokémon?

Chapter 2. What kinds of Pokémon are there?

Chapter 3. Why can I only have 6 Pokémon?

Chapter 4. Why can't I use this Pokémon in a battle?

Chapter 5. The Island Challenge.

Chapter 6. Pokémon in a everyday life.

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"How do I catch a Pokemon" is a little concerning. She skims that chapter, just enough to confirm that it is what it says it is, and then skips to the next one.

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The chapter on catching Pokémon talks a lot about how to properly throw pokéballs, but surprisingly also mentions that you should stick to capturing Pokémon near trails, as the ones further out tend to not want anything to do with people! There's some detail on guessing where you might find certain types of Pokémon, but it cautions that Pokédexes are generally better than books

There are 18 documented types of Pokémon! Arranged alphabetically, they are: Bug, Dark, Dragon, Ice, Fairy, Fighting, Fire, Flying, Grass, Ghost, Ground, Electric, Normal, Poison, Psychic, Rock, Steel, and Water. According to the book, all Pokémon have 1 or two types, and have an easier time learning and using attacks (or moves) of their type! It also gives a helpful chart of their relative strengths and weaknesses.

It talks a bit about common traits, but from the way it's phrased it should be clear that this is in fact a vast oversimplification.

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And it just takes as given that the most important thing about pokemon is how they fight; that's kind of disturbing.

She reads on.

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The book seems to consider it such obviously basic knowledge that it's not worth explaining, but a moderately attentive reading of the work and the examples it chooses for its explanations will make it fairly clear that this book is primarily concerned with people who seek to become Pokémon trainers, which as described in the book appears to be a particularly popular sport that also segues into a few related careers like ranger, police officer, field research, and gym trainers, whatever those are. There are no examples from the military, but whether that's because this is a kids book, because wars are different here, or if they have a genuinely different career path is not particularly obvious.

According to the book, the reason is complex politics, although it will gloss over many of the details! 

A few hundred years ago, most countries didn't have any limitation on the number of Pokémon! This was because up until about 500 years ago, having more than one or two pokemon that you personally befreinded was basically unfeasable due to the primativety of apricorn carving (the earliest forms of Pokéballs) at the time and lack of modern food supplies. As such, they were largely unprepared for the troubles of the time, where people would capture and imprison whole groups of pokemon, and force them to do their bidding. The nobles of many nations would often have entire armies at their beck and call. 

However, multinational cooperations between ethical and practical reform groups ended up changing that. It was horrible for the Pokémon involved, and contributed to the ability of evil elites to opress the average citizens. They rolled out the reforms by vote and law in willing countries, and soon the limits spread to the entire world. While some groups resisted for a while, even rare and powerful Pokémon are less powerful than normal ones if the latter are willingly cooperating and willingly trained, not to mention being more difficult to obtain. 

The limit of 6 Pokémon isn't a universal one, but it's standard for most of the world, including all of America. Setting the limit at 6 Pokémon helps ensure that people don't capture more pokemon than they can care for and get along with. Most people, even including many trainers, won't ever reach this limit, and instead focus on working to help few of their best freinds draw out all of their potential!

It scrupulously avoids going far into details, but this case it seems far more clearly to be because of the intended age range (7-10, the cover helpfully adds).

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Well, that's better than it could be, apparently.

Next?

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There are many reasons that you can't use a Pokémon in a battle, and while most are self explanatory, many people don't see them coming ahead of time.

By far the most common reason you wouldn't be allowed to use a Pokémon is if they're too young. Even if they want to battle, you aren't allowed to use them in any match with monetary stakes, and there are strict rules for what kinds of training matches are allowed.

The next most common are Sky and Water battles. In these, only Pokémon capable of navigating the terrain are allowed, which rules out many common groundbound pokemon that people often rely on for advantages, including most Electric-type Pokémon.

Some tournament formats also have limitations on what Pokémon are allowed to compete. It's generally not overly obvious except at high levels of competition, but not all Pokémon are equally powerful, so some leagues try and ensure that every Pokémon species has a place where it can compete!

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Straightforward.

What's "The Island Challenge"?

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The island challenge is is a tradition of the Alolan Archipelago. It's a coming of age ceremony for Pokémon Trainers, and can be begun at age older than 11. The goal of the challenge is to become the strongest trainer on the archipelago, but in modern times it's more of a rite of passage. In it trainers travel all 4 of the islands, and complete various trials before challenging the trial captain. Not all of the challenges are Pokémon battles, but they all test valuable skills for Pokémon trainers like survival, item location, and tracking. Often, these trials involve testing some skill against powerful Totem Pokémon. After the trials are complete, participating trainers face off against the island Kahuna.

Participating candidates are given a special amulet to indicate their ongoing participation. 

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Huh, interesting.

Obviously only one person can be the strongest trainer on the archipelago at a time; does the book say anything about ending the challenge in other ways?

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Yeah, it mentions that people can drop out at any time, but that most serious trainers tag out after defeating all four Kahuna and then losing to the final trial. The final trial takes place on Mount Lanakila, where they have to defeat all four Kahuna's in a row without them holding back. If they succeed, they are acknowledged as an island challenge champion, where they either go on to further challenges or attempt to challenge the current ranking island champion for the title of #1.

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