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You ain't a has-been if you never was

When you think of fickle, cranky creatures, two things come to my mind right away: old men and cats. Take an old man who loves cats, and baby you've got a stew going. But seriously, we've had a history of wonderfully crotchety protagonists in Nuzlockes, and this run about continuing a lineage, well, continues that lineage too.

That's right, folks! Clean out those litter boxes and clear out time on your next Nothing Day, because today's feature is for:

The Heir, Apparently by MissMarquise

If you haven't guessed already, this run's primary narrator is none other than Nanu himself! His mopey, downbeat little world is rocked by Tapu Bulu, the guardian for whom he begrudgingly works and... let's say he's not thrilled about the turn of events. He's suddenly saddled with Sam, an energetic kid who's been apparently chosen by Tapu Bulu to become Ula'ula's next kahuna... at just ten years of age. That means that Worlds Of Fun Nanu gets to accompany Sam on his journey around Alola in an attempt to give him a crash course on kahuna-hood.

Sam won’t stop bouncing. First he’s on the seats, staring at the water, then he’s grappling at the railing, then he’s running the length of the ferry, trying to outspeed the flock of Wingull flying starboard. He’s like a jumping bean—full of spasming moth larvae and boundless glee.

I’m convinced he’ll fall overboard eventually. I’ve promised his parents I’ll keep him safe, but I’m already regretting letting that weight fall on my shoulders. My threshold for personal responsibility stops at Tapu Bulu, my own health, and the health of seventeen odd Meowth.

Nanu's narration is predictably excellent. MissMarquise infuses the narrative with sharpness at every turn, and with a wonderful mixture of a world-weary attitude and tons of dark wit. I'm an absolute sucker for narration with punch, admittedly, so it's no surprise that I'm fond of this run, but it's the kind of thing that makes this such a breezy read in the lighter moments, and an incredibly engaging one whether it's in a bright spot or dealing with some emotional heft.

“You’ve known these Pokémon barely a week,” I say, “and look at you. You’re fretting like a mother.”

“So I’m lame?”

“Is your mother lame?”

“What? No, she’s—“

“So you’re not lame.” I spin my own Z-Ring around my wrist. “And even if you are, I’m sure your Pokémon appreciate your lameness. Just don’t go overboard, kid. Underestimating opponents is a problem. Underestimating yourself and your team gets people zipped up in body bags.”

The way Nanu and Sam act as foils for each other throughout the run is absolutely phenomenal. It's a classic case of two people being on totally opposite ends of the spectrum in just about every way, from level of optimism to age... but both of them have these key similarities that really elevate their relationship. They're both stubborn, one in a jaded way and the other in that wonderfully naive way, and they each have a kind of low-key practical, analytical mindset (that best comes out when battling and training occurs) that shows how much Sam can learn from Nanu on that front... if, y'know, their myriad of differences don't get in the way.

The fact that this run centers so heavily around just two characters and yet feels incredibly fulfilling to read at every turn, in the overarching narrative as well as the relationship between the duo, speaks to the strength of MissMarquise's writing and character development, and while I'm sure as hell not gonna spoil anything, just know that there is definitely some stellar development all-around.

That's not to say that the supporting cast isn't great as well, though!

“Anabel?” I do my best not to stammer.

“You actually recognize me out of uniform?” She shares a warm smile. “I suppose I should be flattered. It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it?”

That’s the understatement of the century—or the decade, rather. The last time I saw Anabel, we were working together as field agents for Interpol. But this meeting can’t be a coincidence.

“Sure,” I say. “Are you here with Looker ‘on business’? Have you been following me?”

“Following you?” Anabel asks. She remains composed, and I can’t tell if she’s lying. She’s changed so much, gotten taller, matured. In fact, she stands like a general: shoulders back and squared, feet apart, sturdy. “Why in the world would I be following you? I’m just as shocked we bumped into each other as you are. Well, actually that bump was intentional, but only after I’d spotted you by chance. I have to get use out of that covert tactics training somehow.”

The way Anabel and Looker are woven into the story is phenomenal, both veeery interesting characters with complex relationships to our narrator. They really develop Nanu even further (both in his backstory and the present-day happenings), and their effect on the story just grows more tangible with time. These character relationships and interactions all feel so well thought-out and so natural, that it's honestly just such a joy to read.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the prose in general is wonderfully descriptive, right from the get-go. Just the prologue alone, set in beautiful, scenic Haina Desert, does wonders for the imagination:

The desert around us turns a spongy green, leaves unfurling and moss flowers blooming in precise, traditional patterns. Pink and red and yellow.

The boy laughs as flowers twine their way around his head, a crown blossoming in hibiscus and drooping jewelweed and curlicue fiddleheads. A cape of fronds settles soft over his shoulders.

I stand frozen, sand dripping from my hair. “You’re choosing him?” Déjŕ vu blindsides me from fifty years in the past. The smell of greenery is the most potent trigger, dense and overwhelming. My fists clench. “You’ve chosen the next island Kahuna, and he’s a little kid?”

Bulu looks to me and gives the slightest of nods. Then they vanish in a cloud of mist—morning jungle fog. The sand gives us a grace period as I walk over to the boy.

“Do you know what this means?” I ask him. Most adults tend to bend down to a child’s height when talking to them. I never bother.

This run's already well into the third island but has only barely eclipsed 20 chapters, so it's a very nicely-paced read for sure, and now's a great chance to hop on-board! If you wanted to see more from everyone's favorite Meowth-loving kahuna, or if you just want a fantastic character-driven narrative romp through Alola, then be sure to check out The Heir, Ap-purr-ently!

And remember, if you have any great runs that you feel deserve a little spotlight, well do I have good news for you! Let any of our highly-acclaimed, handpicked, elitest of the elite scouters know, namely Bug, Huntress Wizard, Revenant, Shiny Dustox, SilverDoe, Thirteenth, BigRedLittleWolf, or Pillowcase, and that could have a feature in the making!
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