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Fanfiction Calem’s Alola Adventure

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by warriorseadra, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. warriorseadra

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    A pyrrhic victory. Team Flare was stopped, but Kalos fell. Five years have passed since and Calem moves to Alola with his mother to start a new life. However, while the dead are mourned, the survivors are the ones burdened with living. What kind of adventure will Calem have in Alola? Can he even have one while chained down by his past?
     
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  2. warriorseadra

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    Calem sits on his bed with a violet egg on his lap. He keeps it warm by holds it to himself while rubbing it. Mawile sleeps leaning against him. His vacant and sullen expression doesn't change even after a fletching enters through his open window and gives him a peck.

    "I wasn't sleeping, Fletching." He adjusts Mawile so that she's laying on his bed instead of him and rises. He sets the egg into its incubator and leaves for this kitchen.

    Calem's mother, Grace, enters from the deck. "It's been a long day, I hope you got plenty of sleep. So, Calem… are you pumped to meet some Alolan Pokémon?"

    "I guess…"

    "You should be more excited. We've been just about everywhere this past year: Kanto, Johto, Sinnoh, and even Unova, but I think we've finally hit the jack pot here in Alola. Think about it, these are the beautiful islands everyone wants to visit. This is a brand new start for us: you, me, Fletching, and Rhyhorn. The Pokémon living here must be friendly, so smile already."

    "Sure…"

    The doorbell interrupts Grace's reply. "That's got to be Professor Kukui. Why don't you let him in, Calem?"

    A man enters before Calem can get halfway to the door. For some reason, he isn't wearing a shirt underneath his lab coat. The man says, "Hey there, Calem! The name's Kukui. Good to meet you, cousin! You gotta be tired after that long trip all the way out here to Alola! Those are some nasty bags under your eyes. You feelin' any jet lag?"

    "No…"

    "We sure are a long way from Unova out here in Alola. It's still nighttime out here, yeah!"

    "It isn't jet lag…"

    Grace walks over to redirect the conversation. "Professor Kukui! Yes, we just arrived yesterday."

    "Hey there, Grace. I just let myself in. Oh, and call me Kukui, would you? Welcome to Alola!"

    "Of course. I still remember seeing you battle the Indigo Gym Leaders back in Kanto all those years ago when I there for my races. I've been in love with Alolan Pokémon ever since."

    Professor Kukui laughs. "I was supposed to be visiting there to research Kanto Pokémon moves and all. I thought I knew a thing or two about battling, but those Kanto Gym Leaders proved me wrong!

    "Hey now, Calem! Let's get a move on to the next town over, cousin. Time for you to meet the island Kahuna and get yourself a Pokémon, yeah."

    "The island kakuna?"

    Professor Kukui laughs. "Kahuna, not kakuna! Although, he does look like one. The Kahuna who lives in Iki Town is always happy to give any kid who wants to have an adventure their first Pokémon, yeah."

    Grace says, "Calem, that's wonderful. You've been shutting yourself in your room ever since we left Kalos. I've been worried sick over you. Go get a new partner and explore our new home." She turns to Professor Kukui. "Back in Kalos, four years ago, back when he was eleven, Calem and his friends used to play Pokémon. Then that happened… I really think this will be a good experience for him."

    Professor Kukui pats Calem's shoulder, "So, you already know the basics, that's great! Don't try taking on the Kahuna just yet, though. The Kahuna are crazy-strong Pokémon trainers. They're unbeatable for folks like us!"

    "I'm fine staying here."

    Grace says, "Oh, hush now. Hurry and get ready, Calem. Your bag, hat, and things are probably still in the boxes in your room."

    He turns for his room without another word. He finds his bag and hat in the bottom of the box. Putting them on makes him retch. He hurls the two items out the open window before collapsing onto the ground. Hunched over, he supports himself with one hand while covering his mouth with the other. He breathes in and exhales. He breathes in and exhales. After a few minutes, he gets up.

    A key-stone embedded necklace lays atop of his desk. Next to it rests a black Pokéball. He looks to Mawile who is hugging the incubator to herself. She must have placed them there when he wasn't paying attention. He shrugs and leaves his room with the excuse, "They broke during the move."

    Professor Kukui says, "Then we'll just have to get you some styling new ones later, cousin."

    Grace sees Calem to the door with, "I'll be sure to have everything cleaned up and put away by the time you come back with your new Pokémon."

    Professor Kukui says as they begin walking down the moonlit road, "Your mom there… She's sure looking forward to you getting a Pokémon, yeah?"

    "I have Mawile."

    "Now you can get another family member." He gestures to the palm trees along the trail. "Welcome to paradise, cousin. This is the Alola region! Folks here in Alola get along by living together with Pokémon and working together, too. After all… You can go anywhere, yeah, as long as you got Pokémon helping you out here. That's why we've got to get you to the Kahuna."

    "For some reason, I keep thinking it should be kakuna."

    Professor Kukui laughs. "Come on, Iki Town isn't far if we cut through here." After some walking, he says, "So, Calem, you loving Alola yet?"

    "I guess…"

    "Don't be like that. You just got to give it a fair shot and it'll grow right on you, cousin."

    A trainer spots them and waves. "Hey, you're the new kid! Howzit? Let's have a battle sometime!"

    Calem doesn't respond. He waves back, but his face remains impassive.

    Professor Kukui leads Calem up some log steps. "And we're here! This right here is Iki Town! This town is where folks come to worship the Pokémon that watches over Melemele Island. Tapu Koko keeps us all safe and happy, see!" Professor Kukui looks around and starches the back of his head. "Strange, we were supposed to meet everybody right here, yeah. Maybe they're back on the Mahalo trail. That's where the ruins of our guardian deity, Tapu Koko, are, yeah…

    "Calem, do me a solid and go out there to look for them. I'll wait around here to make sure we don't miss each other. And don't worry, you won't miss the island Kahuna. He looks just like a Kahuna."

    "Sure…" is all Calem says to the unhelpful description. He walks through the center of town and sees a girl in white talking to her duffle bag. She looks around the same age as him, maybe a year younger. After a short exchange with the Pokémon she's hiding, she leaves down a trail into the forest.

    Calem enters behind her figuring that that is the Mahalo trail. He could call out to her, but he doesn't want to speak with anyone. He just want to finish this pointless task and go home.

    The silent night lets the girl's words drift back to him. "You can't come out! We'll get in trouble if anyone sees you."

    Calem stops for a moment to let some space build between them and then continues. As long neither of them sees the others face, then there is no chance he will get involved in her problems. With his dilemma settled, he resumes climbing the trail of log steps.

    Upon reaching the top, he finds the girl panicking in front of a hanging bridge. Some spearow are circling a Pokémon that reminds him of the night sky. The girl hears him approach and turns to face him with an "Ah. You have to help it! Please! Save, Nebby!"

    Calem looks back to the spearow circling around the Pokémon, "Pe-e-ew!"

    "The spearows are attacking it! But… but I'm too afraid to go out there… My legs feel like they might give out…"

    His mind flashes to the Pokémon on route ten back in Kalos. Multiple Pokémon were bound to the slabs of rocks by a mysterious energy. Each one cried its life out before withering away to dust. Once one rock was free, another Pokémon would be pulled onto it by the same mysterious force that held them down.

    Calem clicks his tongue and runs across the bridge. With grit teeth, he forces himself past the swinging from the bridge and hunches over Nebby. The spearow attack with more vigor in response. As he cries out, Nebby envelops him within mysterious glow that shatters the slabs of wood underneath them.

    Calem hugs Nebby to himself as they fall and position his body so that it will protect Nebby from hitting the water below. A golden Pokémon blows the spearow away, catches him, and places him next to the girl. It stops to look Calem and Nebby over before zipping up into the night sky like a meteor.

    Nebby says, "Pew!" upon getting up.

    The girl says, "Oh… Oh, thank goodness! You tried using your power again… didn't you? Oh, Nebby. You know what happened last time you used it. You couldn't move for ages after that. I don't want to see you like that again. No… I shouldn't say that. I'm sorry, Nebby… I know you were trying to save me that time… And I couldn't even help you in return."

    Nebby says, "Pew!" and floats to where the golden Pokémon stood. A strange rock glitters from the moonlight.

    The girl says, "What… What is that?

    Nebby passes it to the girl. "Pew pew!"

    "A sparkling… stone? It feels almost warm somehow…" She then remembers Calem's presence. She says to him, "Please, forgive me… I am so grateful to you for helping us out of that dangerous spot."

    Calem remains passive as he says, "I'll never abandon a Pokémon."

    "I think this stone must belong to you."

    "You can keep it."

    She squeezes her eyes shut and shakes her head. "No, this is for you and you alone." After handing him the stone, she adds, "Please… Don't tell anyone about this… About seeing Nebby… It's… it's a secret, OK?"

    Everyone has things they don't want to talk about. This must be hers. "I was never here."

    "Thanks." She turns to Nebby, "Come on. Into the bag, Nebby."

    "Pew."

    Once Nebby is safe inside her duffle bag, she says, "Um, I'm worried we might get attacked again by some wild Pokémon or… or something. I know it's too much for me to ask, but… Do you think you could see us back to town?"

    Calem nods and accompanies her down the trail back to the plaza. Neither speak a word to the other. Calem is fine with the silence, but it makes the girl more nervous.

    Professor Kukui waves at them from the trail's entrance. "Hey! Calem! Looks like you missed the Kahuna, yeah? But you found my assistant, oh yeah!"

    As Calem and the girl get closer, Professor Kukui says, "Looks like you already met, but just in case, this is my assistant!"

    She turns to Calem. She does a decent job at hiding her discomfort, but to him it's clear on her face. "Oh, um, yes… You can call me Lillie."

    Professor Kukui says, "And, Lillie, this here is Calem. He just moved here to Alola! Take good care of him."

    "So… you're also one of the professor's acquaintances? It's nice to meet you…"

    "We just met today. He barged right into my house and my mother had him take me away."

    The town's folk begin making a rucks some distance away. Words such as "Kahuna," and "Back," drift over to them.

    A large, elder man wearing an open yellow robe enters the center of town. "Have I missed something?"

    Calem says, "The kakuna?"

    Lillie says, "Kahuna."

    Professor Kukui says, "Naw, but where'd you go off to, Kahuna, Hala? I thought we were meeting here."

    "I am Kahuna of this island, after all. Whenever there is a problem on this island, it is my duty to resolve it." He turns to Lillie. "Sorry about that. What were you saying before? For some reason I thought I saw Tapu Koko flying about…"

    Lillie nods twice, "Oh, um… Yes, Kahuna Hala… Nebby was being attacked by spearow on the Plank Bridge when this boy helped it get away… But then the bridge collapsed, and I thought both of them might fall to the bottom of the ravine… And that was when the island's guardian deity swooped in to save them!"

    Professor Kukui says, "Woo! That's something you don't hear every day!"

    Kahuna Hala says, "Ho! Although it is said to protect us, our Tapu Koko is a rather fickle creature. Yet our guardian was moved to save you. Kukui, my boy, I think we have cause to celebrate! It seems we should entrust this brave and kind boy with a Pokémon of his own."

    Calem shakes his head at the remark, but Kahuna Hala laughs. "Don't worry, raising a Pokémon is a big responsibility, but you can always turn to us for help. Child, I'm glad to meet you. I am Hala, the Kahuna if Melemele Island. Welcome to Alola! Young Kukui had told me of your coming. I'm glad we got the chance to meet today."

    Kahuna Hala calls out three Pokémon: Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio." Calem looks at them, but each turns away in turn. Kahuna Hala gasps along with Professor Kukui and Lillie. "What's this? None of them want to choose you?"

    Calem forces a bitter smile. Pokémon can read the hearts of people. After losing almost everyone from his previous team, his heart isn't ready to meet new Pokémon.

    Lillie says, "Calem… I'm so sorry."

    "Pew, pew."

    Calem looks to Nebby and changes to the topic. "He broke out."

    Lillie sighs. "It fine. Kahuna Hala and the professor will keep him safe. But Nebby, you should stay in the bag and out of sight. It's safer that way."

    Professor Kukui says, "Well, I realize none of these Pokémon choose you, but I still want you to have this Pokédex, cousin. After all, you do have Mawile at home. It's off right now, but we're still waiting for one last component to come in. I'll come get'cha when it's in."

    Calem looks it over. It's nothing like the one Professor Sycamore gave him, not that he has it to compare with. He buried it in Kalos with the five pokeballs of his former team.

    "Also, take this too. It's your trainer passport. You'll need it to travel to the different islands."

    Calem looks to everyone. His expression remains unchanged since he left with Professor Kukui earlier. "Thanks, bonne soiree au revoir." With everyone confused by his French, he leaves.

    A boy around Calem's age approaches the plaza just as he walks away. He calls out to Calem, "Hey! You and me! Let's have a Pokémon battle!"

    Calem tenses at the suggestion. "Impossible…"

    "Come on, cuz! Don't be like that."

    Kahuna Hala, Professor Kukui, and Lillie approach having heard the boy's loud voice. Kahuna Hala' belly shakes as he laughs. "And what kind of Pokémon battle would that be where you don't even give a name first, eh?"

    "Fair enough. Then I'm Hau. And my partner's Popplio! Hey, now that I'm paying attention, where's you Pokémon? Tutu, didn't you give him one?"

    Everyone else averts their stares Hau's question. Confused, Hau says, "Hey, did something happen?"

    As Kahuna Hala clears his throat to explain, Calem steps back and slips away by stepping into the shadows. A few minutes later, he's walking down the moonlit road home. He's halfway there when he hears Hau calling out to him from behind.

    "Hey! Hey wait! Tutu explain the situation, but you still have Mawile, right? Take part in tomorrow's festival! We can battle there!"

    Kahuna Hala, Professor Kukui, and Lillie must have been worried about Calem's sudden disappearance because they soon appear. Kahuna Hala's gaze is attracted to the stone sticking out of Calem's pocket. "Hm? Calem, would you be so kind as to give me a look at that sparkling stone you have there?" Upon getting a closer look, "Could it be?

    "You were rescued by Tapu Koko at the bridge- isn't that what I heard, Calem?"

    "That's when I got the stone."

    "So, it did deign to give you a stone… Perhaps you are here in Alola, Calem, because this is where you are meant to be. Allow me to borrow this stone for now. Fret not! I'll return it to you tomorrow evening. I very much look forward to your match tomorrow. I get the feeling you'll make for an excellent trainer."

    Professor Kukui steps forward. "First, I'll make sure you get back home safe today, though, Calem. Lillie, you two should come with us, too, yeah. Wouldn't want to go losing you twice in one day. You or that precious Pokémon of yours!"

    "Yes… I will keep an eye on…" She doesn't even get to finish her sentence when everyone's gaze shifts past her. Nebby floats around without care to where it goes. "Pew."

    "Oh, you! Would you not try to escape the very moment that you were told not to wander off!" Her remark gets laughter from everyone but Calem.

    As professor Kukui leads the way back home, Lillie says to Calem. "I don't really like to see Pokémon battles where Pokémon can get hurt… but I'll watch your battle tomorrow."

    Calem, still hung up on Kahuna Hala's remark about his coming to Alola, doesn't hear her. Instead, he gazes ahead and says, "Fate did all that to bring me here?"


    A/N: First chapter down. Let me know what you think.
     
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  3. VictoryStar34

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    Mewnium Z  ★★★★★Choice Specs ★★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★Deep Sea Scale ★★★Rage Candy Bar ★★★
    Ooh! I saw this and it's good! You wrote it? It's really good!
     
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  4. Auric

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    *This is really good. A few minor spelling mistakes, but really good so far.
     
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  5. warriorseadra

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    Calem hugs his Pokémon egg to himself as his mother drags him out onto the deck to watch the sun set. Even though they're the sun's final rays of the day, they warm him by cutting into his skin. Grace stretches her arms towards the sky and says, "All, right! Today's the day I finally unpack!" Just as she bends over to pick up one of the boxes on the deck, the doorbell rings. "Go see who it is, Calem."

    "Tres bien…" Calem is halfway to the door when Professor Kukui lets himself inside. "Hey there, Calem! It's about time we set out for the festival, yeah! But first, I've got to show you something. Bring Mawile and come to route 1."

    Grace enters from the deck and says, "Have fun at the festival, sweetie! I'm sure you and Mawile will have a good time! Rhyhorn, Fletching, and I will unpack every last box here- you'll see!"

    Calem walks to his room to find Mawile holding his new bag and ready to leave. Similar to his previous one, it's also a satchel. He places the egg within its incubator and secures it within the bag. As he slings it over his shoulder, his gaze falls upon the pitch black Pokéball on his desk. He picks it up, and even though the cover is too dark to see through, he says, "I don't actually blame you..." His sight drifts to the mega-necklace as he sets the ball onto his belt.

    His grimaces and walks out the door with Mawile. He's just a rookie trainer. Things like mega evolution have nothing to do with him anymore. Everyone can just keep thinking that as well.

    Professor Kukui calls out to him once he's outside. "Hurry up, Cousin! Pretend you're a Pokémon and use agility."

    Calem wonders if he should just go back inside, but recalls Mawile's excitement from last night. She wouldn't settle down after he mentioned they were invited to a Pokémon battle. Fighting is a natural aspect of a Pokémon's life. He's been selfishly denying that from her these past three years. It's inexcusable, but there's no way he can battle anymore. He just can't, but when he looks at her eyes shine with anticipation, "Come on, let's go."

    Professor Kukui leads him to some tall grass. "Your mother mentioned you used to train Pokémon before, but let me give you a bit of a refresher." Calem pretends to listen to the explanation and accepts the pokeballs he's gifted with, but doesn't say anything. Instead, he gives absent minded nods to everything he's told. Suggestions for a warmup battle against other trainers or capturing a second Pokémon are ignored.

    Tiki torches beacon from atop of the log steps leading into Iki Town. Inside the town, people chat with one another while children run about. Kahuna Hala greets Calem and Mawile while they look around. "The Alola region is made up of four islands. Each island has its own guardian Pokémon. Our festival today is held to express our thanks to these great Pokémon guardian deities for always remaining by our sides. Well, we may call it a festival, buts it's just this little thing you see here. There might not be many of us, but at least everyone last one of us here goes all out."

    Calem and Mawile walk around and spot Hau chatting with some girls in grass skirts by a drink stand. "How nice…" From the way he's making them laugh, he really is carefree.

    "Ah, there you are, cousin. Looks like we're right on time." Professor Kukui clasps Calem's shoulder from behind.

    Lillie, who's with him, says, "But to what exactly?" A "Pew!" from her duffle bag sends her into a panic to calm Nebby.

    Professor Kukui laughs and says, "A full-powered festival for Pokémon battling! We battle in the name of Tapu Koko, pitting our best moves against one another in friendly competition to please out guardian. Woo!"

    Lillie says to Calem, "I don't like seeing Pokémon get hurt, but this seems like an important event. I'll watch you both, but please be careful."

    Kahuna Hala joins the group. "Your Pokémon really seems to trust you. Make sure you return that same care, Calem. We'll be starting soon, but for now, enjoy yourselves."

    "I'll never betray Mawile."

    Mawile's tugging takes Calem to a malasada stand. With a plate in hand, the two sit on a rock at the edge of town where they watch everyone else enjoy themselves. Even his mother is there dancing with a different islander every song. It all makes him nauseous, being there is wrong.

    Lillie joins him after a while. "So, this is where you were. Are you… nervous?"

    "Terrified."

    Her eyes widen in shock, but her words are drowned out by the heavy pounding of drums.

    Kahuna Hala speaks once they stop. "And now we shall begin the ritual battles! For all life on the islands… and for those who undertake the island challenge with joy in their hearts…we pray for your protection… for them and all Melemele. May this Pokémon battle be an offering to our island's guardian deity- Tapu Koko!"

    Calem, taking that as a cue, gets up and walks onto the stage in the middle of the plaza despite Kahuna Hala still giving his speech. Hau cries of excitement echo into the night at the bold act. He does the same while saying, "Yeah, that's right! Let's get this battle started!"

    Kahuna Hala laughs and says, "Before you stands Hau- grandson to the Kahuna. Before him stands Calem- one who has met with Tapu Koko."

    Members of the audience say, "What?" "What a curious little thing Tapu Koko is!" "Hah, that's just typical of it!"

    Hau ignores them and says, "As long as we both have a good time, then I think we can call it a great battle, eh?"

    Calem clenches his fists to hide their trembling. He takes a breath and forces himself to say, "Yeah… a good time."

    Kahuna Hala says, "Calem! Hau! Bring forth the power of your Pokémon!"

    Pichu appears from Hau's Pokéball. Mawile steps forth from Calem's side.

    "Pichu, quick attack!"

    "Sucker punch!" While Hau's order might have been strategy, Calem's is out of habit. He put no thought into his command.

    Pichu dashes forward to attack first. He loops around Mawile and pounces. Mawile, however, doesn't need to attack first. She times her attack to Pichu's pounce and knocks him aside with her second mouth.

    "Pichu, thunder shock!"

    Calem gives his second command, but it doesn't come out. His voice, it's gone. He tries to force something out, but nothing works. He raises a hand to his throat from fear, but no one notices.

    "Pichu, zap her again!"

    Mawile, picking up on her trainer's dilemma, avoids the attack on her own by leaping to the side. She gives Calem an encouraging glance before attacking Pichu with fire fang. She repeats the attack before Pichu can get up and knocks him out.

    "Pichu, return. You're up, Popplio! Water gun!"

    The torrent of water knocks Mawile aside. Calem tries calling out her name, but can't. Seeing Mawile tumble across the stage reminds him of the battle against a Malamar. It was difficult, they were literally on the edge of a boat, but they were she was able to pull through with a "Thunder fang!"

    Calem continues with, "Mawile!"

    His Pokémon dashes forward and chops down on Popplio with its second jaw. The water Pokémon cries out and soon faints.

    Calem's ragged breathing blocks out the crowd's cheering. He leaves the stage during the middle of Kahuna Hala's speech, much to everyone's confusion, and forces his way through the crowd. Many stare at him, but most wave him off as an egotistical upstart.

    Calem reaches an open field outside of town and collapses onto all fours. He takes deep breaths. He breathes in and out, and fights to not throw up.

    "You missed Tapu Koko's approval. Your match seems to have impressed him, but running off like that like sunk your standing to the islanders." Kahuna Hala's words sneak up on Calem.

    Calem gives him a glance, "N'a pas d'importance..."

    Kahuna Hala sits down next to Calem and gazes at the stars. "I heard from your mother. You were in Kalos when it fell. You lost many friends. But your eyes tell me a different story. There is more to it, something you haven't even told your mother, is there not?"

    Calem clenches the grass with his fists, but remains silent.

    Kahuna Hala chuckles. "Despite life's twists and turns, it always continues just how the waves will always break against the shore. Here, this is a Z-ring. A mysterious armband that can draw out power that lies deep within Pokémon. All Kahunas can make them by refining stones like the sparkling one you received from Tapu Koko. You will need the Z-crystals to make it work.

    "To receive your Z-ring this soon… Calem, partake in the island challenge. I believe Tapu Koko is also asks this of you. I do not know his reasoning, but I feel that if you can get through this, you will definitely break free of the chains binding your heart."

    Calem looks over the Z-ring once Kahuna Hala is gone. This is just like when Professor Sycamore gave him the mega-stone. He rubs Mawile who's sitting next to him and looks to the starry sky. Crumpling buildings, burning forests, mountains splitting open, lakes drying, the ocean boiling… the images flash through his mind. He looks to the tranquility surrounding him and listens to the lapping waves. "A second chance?"

    Calem, dragged onto the deck by his mother to greet the morning, leans against the railing as she stretches her arms. The doorbell cuts her sentence short and she says, "Go see who it is. Although, if it's Kukui, he'll probably let himself in without even waiting for us to open the door!"

    Mawile waits for him in the living room. She carries his satchel, his mega-necklace, the black Pokéball, and her own premier ball. Inside the satchel, judging from the bulge, is his Pokémon egg. She wears her mawilite around the stem on her head. Calem expects Professor Kukui to enter as he gets ready, but no one enters. Making sure that his mega-necklace is hidden underneath his shirt, he opens the door while wondering if someone else is outside.

    Lillie greets him. "Oh. Um… The professor said… 'Hey there, Lillie! Bring me that great new trainer. Woo!'" She blushes at Calem's, "You didn't have to add the 'Woo' part." and ignores the "Pew," from her duffle bag. "So I'm here to show you the way to his Pokémon lab, if you'll come with me. It's um… this way."

    "Calem!" His mother stops him before he can walk off. "Take some pocket money. Don't waste it on anything too silly!"

    "Merci."

    She then looks Lillie over and says, "Oh! Well done, Calem. You're already making friends. And what a cute little friend she is too! I knew Alola would be a great place for us. We just keep meeting wonderful people here!"

    Lillie, taken aback by the comment, almost shouts her first word. "M-me? Well, thank you… My name is Lillie. It's very nice to meet you."

    "Looks like it's finally time for you to shine, for real this time! Enjoy yourself out there with Mawile!"

    Lillie says as they walk away, "You… have a nice mother, don't you?"

    "She… tries."

    "You don't like her."

    "She doesn't know she's talking about."

    Some tall grass comes into view and Lillie says, "You can only reach the professor's lab by treading through the tall grass. He says he can research moves better when he is surrounded by Pokémon. Since I'm not a trainer though, I have to rely on using repels all the time."

    After a moment of silence, she adds, "Oh, about Nebby… I mean… Cosmog. Cosmog seems to be a very rare Pokémon. It came from far, far away."

    "Pew!"

    "It seems to have a very strange power… Is used that power to save me once when I was in danger. But some… other people want Cosmog for themselves, to use that power. That's why only the professor and Kahuna Hala and other people I can trust know about it…"

    "Sorry, I guess I'm forcing you to trust me now."

    "You'll keep Nebby secret? You will keep from telling anyone else about him or what happened on that bridge? Please…"

    "I promise."

    "Thank you…"

    Lillie bring Calem to ragged house patched by obvious, do it yourself, repairs. Sounds of bodies being thrown about into furniture get louder as they get closer. Professor Kukui's voice reaches them, "Oh yeah, Rockruff! Let's go! Give it everything you've got! My body is ready. Woo!"

    Calem turns to Lillie. His face is stoic and his tone flat, "His research?"

    Lillie doesn't hear him as she gets lost in her own thoughts. "Ahh… There they go again…" Remembering Calem, she turns to him with a nervous smile. "Professor Kukui brings his own unique charm to the lab, I think you might agree. I've actually been, um, imposing on the professor here for the past three months. I'm not much of an assistant, but it's the least I can do to pay him back for letting me stay. Maybe I'd be more help if I were a real Pokémon trainer, too."

    "If a Pokémon trusts you to keep it safe, then there is no way you aren't helpful. Breeders aren't trainers, but they're experts when it comes to raising and caring for Pokémon. Just because your method is different, doesn't mean it's useless."

    Lillie's soft, "Thank you," is over shadowed by a loud, "Raaaa-oooooohhh! Raff ruff!" from the lab. She spins to face the lab and shakes her head. "He never stops researching moves. Not even… inside the lab itself."

    Her face looks half ready to cry when as she turns to face Calem again. "Looks like we'll have to patch the roof again… And I had just washed his lab coat and finally gotten it clean, too. Now it'll be in shreds…and I'm no good at mending clothes… He'll just have to buy another new one… We should probably go in before he does any more damage…"

    Inside they find professor Kukui praising Rockruff. Calem looks around and realizes the consolation he gave Lillie was wrong. Professor Kukui doesn't need someone to look after his Pokémon, he needs a home maker/construction worker.

    Professor Kukui notices their arrival. "Hey there, Calem! Thanks for getting him for me, Lillie!"

    Lillie says, "Of course. However I can be a help… I am supposed to be your assistant, right?"

    Professor Kukui says, "Rockruff's moves were just so stylin', and I was making good progress with my research. Say, Calem, lemme see you Pokédex for a second, yeah?" He says while accepting the Pokédex, "So what do you think of the place? Not bad, right? But that's not why I called you here, eh? Here! It finally arrived!"

    He then looks to Lillie who frowns in confusion. "It?"

    "What's wrong, Lillie? Don't make me do all the talking!" To both her and Calem, he says, "See, there's this Pokémon inside your Pokédex called Rotom…"

    Calem thinks back to an abandoned house in Kalos. The upstairs had collapsed, but the basement had been refurnished into a hangout by young trainers and thugs. Rotom liked to hide in the trash cans so they could jump out and scare passerby. It made for a very popular dating spot. Now, however, even the basement is gone. It collapsed and buried various people and Pokémon alive.

    Lillie says, "Rotom is a peculiar Pokémon with a body made of something like electricity. The next generation of pokedexs take advantage of that skill by being specially developed to house them. This is a new way for people and Pokémon to communicate."

    Professor Kukui says, "And now to power up this little beauty…" A "kzzzt!" sound comes out as he tinkers with the Pokédex and out appears a Rotom. "Hey now! Sorry 'bout that, Rotom. Guess I surprised you?"

    "Zzzt?"

    "Rotom! Here, boy! I powered up your favorite 'dex! Give Calem here a helping hand, yeah?"

    "Kzzzttt!" Rotom zips into the Pokédex. Professor Kukui tinkers with it some more an up it floats. The Pokémon possessed device flies up, down, and to the sides before circling around Calem and entering his pocket. "Zzzzrrrt! Nice to meet you, Pal." An electric charged voice comes out from the same pocket.

    The greeting Calem always gives new partner Pokémon escapes him out of habit. "Let's work together from now."

    "Zzzt! Yeah! Make sure you're gentle on the goods, OK?"

    Lillie says, "And this will help how exactly?"

    "Calem hasn't been here in Alola too long yet. So I decided to give him this special Rotom dex to help him navigate around."

    Calem tries to smile, but his expression doesn't change. "Thanks…"

    "You can see where you're headed just by looking at Rotom, and if you give it a little tap, you can even check out the town map! Now, one more thing. An awesome styling hat! Try it on cousin!"

    Calem puts on the black cap. On it is a blue Pokéball surrounded by rays of white lines. It reminds him of the blue clothing only phase he went through when he was eleven. "Thank you."

    Hau enters lab with an "A-lo-la!"

    Calem asks Lillie, "Does everyone just walk into other people houses here."

    She avoids his gaze and says, "Only outside the city…"

    Hau looks around while saying, "The salty breeze sand to me and brought me here to you!" He then runs to toward the kitchen and looks at a ladder going up the wall. "Whoa-ho-ho! Is that a loft? That's awesome!"

    Lillie hurries to block his approach. "No, it's not! It's private! The professor has been kind enough to let me use it…"

    Hau cranes his neck to try and see up into the space. With a cheeky grin, he says, "That makes me want to see it even more."

    Professor Kukui says, "All right, there are some important things you need to know about the island challenge. It's a great adventure for you and your Pokémon. Succeed and you'll have a chance to become the island champion."

    Lillie says, "There are four main islands that make up Alola, and a Kahuna for each one of them. You must clear the seven trials if you wish to be recognized as worthy by them."

    Professor Kukui says, "Calem, go out there and give it a shot! I really want to see you out there meeting all kinds of Pokémon on your island challenge." He hands him an amulet with four slabs. Each is decorated with a shard; yellow, red, pink, and purple. "Here! Everyone on the island challenge gets one of these island challenge amulets."

    Calem pins it onto his bag's zipper.

    Hau says, "I got one from my gramps a few years back, too! I couldn't be bothered to go on this challenge back then, but with you around, I get the feeling everything's going to be a lot more exciting."

    Professor Kukui says, "Kahuna Hala's going to go wild hearing that! All right then you two! Get a move on! First stop, the trainers' school! Time to refresh the basics of being a Pokémon trainer through Pokémon battling. It's a long road to becoming the island challenge champion and the trainers' school is the first step! Hau, how about you?"

    "I'm good. I just wanna pick up some chicks! I mean, uh, train on my own. Right!"

    Professor Kukui turns to Lillie. "You take care of Calem, yeah? Until he gets used to Rotom, help him find his way around!"

    Calem, Lillie, and Hau leave together. Calem walks behind the two, letting them lead. Every once in a while Lillie turns back to him to ask, "Is there… anything your curious about?" to which Calem shakes his head. Most of the conversation, however, is monopolized by Hau to Lillie. "So Lillie, you've been here for three months now, right. I can't believe we haven't really gotten to know each other in all that time."

    "Um… yeah. I've been busy helping the professor."

    "That's cool, that's really cool! Gramps has me help him with the island Pokémon all the time, but what do you like doing on your free time? You know, when you're not helping the professor."

    "I… I investigate the ruins. I like reading books that help me understand them better."

    "So you want to be an archeologist, nice! Then you've gotta to stop by this island's ruins. They're just outside Iki Town. I can take you later."

    "Oh, no. I- I already saw them, thanks…"

    Calem thinks back to when he met Lillie. She went to see those ruins because of Nebby. It isn't archeology she's interested in, she just want to know more about that mysterious Pokémon.

    As they enter a city, Lillie breaks Calem from his thoughts. "Oh, that's right. You're new to the area, so you might not know this. I read in something like a travel guide, but the cafes of each Pokémon center carry different drinks. They also sell special treats and the staff offers tips to trial goers."

    The trainer school is right next to the Pokémon center. Hau walks off with a, "Well, I'll see you guys later. Good luck at school, Calem!"

    Lillie shakes her head upon seeing him call out to one of the school girls near the gate. She then turns to Calem, "Here we are. You see, this trainer school is… It's a… a… What in the world!"

    A rampaging tauros down the street draws her attention. She sighs and says, "Well, it looks like we won't be going that way anytime soon… But, we were only planning to go as far as the trainers' school anyway. We'll just leave that for someone else to deal with."

    From the way Tauros moves about, he's just bored. Calem gives the Pokémon a final glance and follows Lillie into the school grounds. Inside is Professor Kukui with a member of the staff. Professor Kukui says, "Hey there, Calem! I must've passed you two somehow, yeah? But welcome to the trainer's school, the place to learn how to be a Pokémon trainer!"

    Calem looks around. Repugnance enters his voice as he says, "Is battling all anyone learns here?" If that's all the trainers learn, then how will they know what to do when a disaster strikes?

    The staff member gives Calem a cold appraisal and says, "Professor Kukui! Is this the child you told me about?"

    "Yeah. Put him through the wringer, Teach!" Professor Kukui holds four fingers up to Calem. "Four trainers! That's how many you've got to beat! The experience will definitely help you grow stronger."

    The teacher says, "We'll be waiting. Try to find and defeat us," and enters the building.

    Professor Kukui says, "She may not look all that tough, but that teach trains her kids right! One of her students is even a captain!"

    "Are captains similar to gym trainers?"

    Lillie says, "I've read in a travel guide that you can make that comparison."

    Calem nods and enters the school building. Rotom voice reaches from his pocket. "Zzzt! You've got this Calem!"

    The first person is a little girl next to the stairs. Calem meets her Bonsly with Mawile. "Bonsly, tackle attack!"

    "Sucker punch!"

    Mawile slips around Bonsly's charge and attacks from the side. Bonsly stumbles and hobbles to remain standing. Calem goes to say "iron head," but freezes upon considering Bonsly is faking it. If Mawile attacks now, Bonsly can easily get in an attack. That attack might even send Mawile stumbling back and leave her open to be finished.

    Calem's moment of hesitation provides Bonsly enough time to regain his footing. The Pokémon's "fake tears" flashes Calem's mind to the aftermath of Kalos's destruction. Pokémon where crying everywhere. He still sometimes hears them in his sleep.

    "Ah, Bonsly!" The little girl's cries remind Calem of the battle. It's over. Mawile acted on her own and defeated her opponent.

    Calem takes a breath. That's right, he just returned to being a trainer. He'd rather not, but he can't keep Mawile cooped up inside like he has been so far.

    The next opponent is a girl holding a racket. She stands outside by the incinerator. She says, "I've been waiting here for you because the teacher told me to." From her Pokéball comes "Pikipek!"

    "Mawile, thunder fang!"

    Pikipek evades the attack by flying upward and then dives towards Mawile. Calem keeps his attention focused on the flying Pokémon. The way its body is positioned means it'll swoop up after getting below Mawile's head. The target is probably her stomach.

    Calem remembers that some flying Pokémon have gale wings. He isn't familiar with Alolan Pokémon and doesn't know if Pikipek has this ability. He might give Mawile an incorrect order and let her get hurt because of his lack of information. He needs to risk her getting hurt to find out, but he can't. Letting another Pokémon get hurt after everything that's happen isn't an option. "Iron defense!"

    Mawile strengthens her body to take the attack and then tries to grab Pikipek within its second mouth. She doesn't catch Pikipek, but ruffles some feathers. Two things, Pikipek doesn't have gale wings. Mawile's second mouth would have completely missed if that were the case. Second, Pikipek's is now off balance. However, Pikipek could still attack from a distance with something like echo voice or gust. Although, judging from the position of Pikipek's head and the way he flaps his wings, it's going for another dive. Then again, that could be a faint to get Mawile to lower her guard…

    Mawile stops waiting for Calem and rushes Pikipek with thunder fang. Pikipek, unable to fly properly, is caught within her second mouth and faints.

    Calem ignores the advice the girl gives and searches for the next trainer. Along the way he wonders how to face the next opponent. Four trainers shouldn't be a problem. Mawile proved it by defeating the previous two on her own using their previous tactics. He's just over thinking things. Next battle, he'll use whatever comes to mind without a second though.

    The third trainer is a young boy waiting by the shed. Calem, true to his thoughts, orders "Sucker punch," before seeing the opposing Pokémon, Metapod. With the Pokémon unable to move or attack, Mawile trips due to being unable to use sucker punch. At the young boy's snickering, Mawile walks up the Metapod of her own volition and defeats the bug Pokémon with fire fang despite the use of harden.

    Calem walks off for the next trainer without waiting to hear his advice. The fourth trainer is in the court yard. He says, "Do you want to know why I wanna be the strongest?"

    "Not particularly."

    The trainer makes a face and says, "Because it's cool to be strong! Show these guys who's boss, Grimer!"

    "That's stupid, grow up. Mawile, iron head." Calem gives a thoughtless command by taking comfort in Mawile's type resistance to poison. After Mawile knocks the poison Pokémon around twice, he realizes Grimer might know attacks of a different type. Before he can warn Mawile, she defeats Grimer and leaves him wondering if he'll ever stop over thinking the situation to act on the best course of action.

    The trainer says, "It's extremely frustrating, but you're stronger than me."

    Calem walks off saying, "You're just naïve." He finds Lillie waiting for him by the entrance. Just as he calls out to her, the P.A. system goes off, "Attention all students… Would Calem please come to the office on 2F? Calem to the 2F office please."

    Lillie says, "What terrible thing did you do to get called to the office so soon?"

    Calem can't recall doing anything to have put him in trouble. The only reason he could be getting called is because he won all the matches. "Let's just leave. This sound troublesome."

    "You can't just ignore it!" Lillie turns him around and shoves him towards the building.

    The teacher calls out to him upon reaching the second floor. Calem ignores her shock over how her students were defeated and asks, "This is the office?"

    "A real office would just get in the way. But the reason I called you up here wasn't to praise you. You're arrogant and conceited. Mawile defeated my students. You have a strong Pokémon, but you're holding her back. You need to improve yourself and make yourself wort-."

    Calem clicks his teeth and storms away. He ignores her calls to return, and leaves. Lillie tries asking why he was called to the office, but he brushes her off. Only after reaching the Pokémon center does he calm down enough to say, "Sorry."

    "So… What happened?"

    "Don't want to talk about it. I'm going home, I'll see you tomorrow."
     
    BraviaryScout likes this.
  6. warriorseadra

    Member

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    Legendary Triforce ★★
    Calem receives a letter from his mother the following morning. According to her, it's from a pink haired trainer. It reads: I am captain Ilima. My trial is held in Verdant Cavern.

    Mawile's eyes shine bright with the expectation that they'll continue with their journey as she looks up at him. He rubs her head and says, "Fine, fine, let's go." He gets dressed, puts the egg he was sleeping with into its incubator and into his bag, tucks his mega-necklace underneath his shirt, and picks up the black Pokéball. He stares at it for a few moments before placing it on his belt behind Mawile's premier ball.

    Hesitating on the side of the road outside his house is Lillie. She jumps when he calls out to her. "O-oh, Calem… I just thought maybe I could keep showing you around since we've already come this far together. There's still a lot to see. But… maybe you don't want to? You were… very upset yesterday."

    Calem shakes his head. "Sorry, that wasn't because of you. Please, I'd be grateful if you could sho-" Calem points to the bushes behind her. "Nebby is out."

    "Pew!"

    "Nebby! Not again!"

    Lillie leads the way back into the city. Along the way, he tells her of the letter he received. Lillie says, "I can take you there after showing you around the city." As they pass the school, she says, "You know, Mawile really trusts you. So does Nebby. Maybe it's because of the courage you showed on the bridge? I still can't figure out why a person like yourself would have been rejected by Kahuna Hala's Pokémon."

    "Being liked by Pokémon doesn't make someone a good trainer. Pokémon need to be able to trust their trainers."

    "That doesn- Oh no, Tauros! He's blocking the road again!"

    Calem continues forward. Tauros snorts and leaps onto its hind legs in a show of might, but Calem isn't deterred. He waits for the Pokémon to plant its feet on the ground, before spreading his arms open. He speaks with a calm voice, "I'm not here to hurt you," and takes slow steps forward. Tauros snorts, but doesn't attack.

    Lillie watches in panic as Calem walks up to Tauros and hugs the Pokémon's head. "Calem… That's amazing. How did you do that? This Pokémon is famous for its rough temperament."

    Calem rubs Tauros's neck. A lot of Pokémon rampaged after the fall of Kalos, many attacked humans on sight. Maybe they could somehow tell it was humans who were responsible for what happened? Perhaps they were just lashing out at the race who destroyed their lives? Either way, what mattered was that those Pokémon were just frightened, desperate, and anxious. They wanted reassurance that everything would be okay.

    Calem was blind to those feelings the first time he was attacked, but with each encounter they became louder and clearer. Maybe it was because of the emotional shock he went through, but over time he learned how to approach and sooth them. "Pokémon are more aware of our intentions than ourselves. They won't attack someone who doesn't want to hurt them. Tauros here just wants someone to play with."

    Kahuna Hala's belly rumbling laugh gets their attention. "Right you are, Calem! Seeing this really shows your potential as a trainer. You can leave the rest to me. I'll get ol' Tauros back home from here."

    Hau says, "Yeah, thanks for your help! What you just did was really cool!"

    As Kahuna Hala walks off with Tauros, Lillie says, "He's right, that was really cool. Weren't you afraid?"

    "Tauros wasn't going to hurt me."

    Hau says, "You're totally down playing this too much. I've only ever seen the Kahunas calm rampaging Pokémon without battling first! I like Tauros and all, but he's pretty scary! I don't want to ride on him!"

    "No wonder Tauros is bored."

    Lillie says, "How do you know that?"

    "Picking up on the emotions of Pokémon… It's something a lot of people became able to do after Kalos…" The mood grows quiet as Lillie and Hau understand Calem's hidden implication, suffering breeds empathy.

    Hau tries to lift everyone spirits, "So, where're you guys off to now?"

    Lillie says, "I was thinking I should show Calem around Hau'oli City a bit."

    "Nice idea! Are you always so on top of things, Lillie? Let me tag along too and I'll show you both were to get some good eats!"

    "All right. Let's go together."

    "Then what are we waiting for? This way, come on!" Hau runs off without waiting for anyone else.

    Lillie shakes her head. "Oh, Hau… I guess we should go catch up with him before he gets too far, Calem. Hau'oli City is the biggest city in all Alola."

    Hau takes a slight detour through the beach as he waits for Calem and Lillie to catch up. They find him offering a sun bather to rub tanning lotion on her back. Lillie puffs her cheeks at the sight. "Are girls and food the only things on his mind?"

    Hau gives up upon seeing her boyfriend and returns to them. "What took you two? Come on, this way!"

    Lillie shakes her head. "Let's go… Who knows what will happen if we take too long."

    Once they catch up again, Hau says, "So, Calem, what do you think? Alola is something, right? It's gotta be the best place ever to live. The sights are to die for!"

    Calem follows Hau's gaze and find a group of bikini girls. Two of them are making out.

    Hau then claps his hands together. "Oh, right. We need to make a quick stop in this store." He walks up to the service counter and says, "Hey, miss. Is it true that you can get some kinda special gift if you have a Rotom dex?"

    "My goodness, you get the news fast! Hardly anyone has a Rotom dex, but it is true that we have a special item to go with it. It's our very own poke finder! Here you go."

    "Awesome, a poke finder! So, like, what's a poke finder?"

    "The poke finder is a tool that lets you take photos of Pokémon. Rotom will help point out places where you'll be able to take photos, too."

    "Man, Calem, that Rotom dex is cool. It's like a whole nother partner on top of your Pokémon partner."

    "Rotom is a Pokémon."

    "Oh, yeah, I guess you're right. Silly me! Either way, you're pretty darn lucky!"

    Rotom says, "A poke finder? I want to give it a try! Zzz-zzt! Boy, I might never want to leave this Pokédex!"

    Calem feels something stir inside of him. He looks at his hands, but has no idea what he's searching for. Instead, he walks outside and finds Hau and Lillie trying to peek through a crack in a wall. Hau calls out to him, "Hey, over here! Try and see if you can take picture of these Pokémon."

    Calem shrugs and gets the poke finder ready. Just as he gets closer, but before Lillie and Hau can walk away, the Rotom dex flies out of his hand snaps a picture of all three of them. Hau is grinning, Calem is impassive, and Lillie is shocked.

    Hau laughs, "What was that for, Rotom? Take pictures of Pokémon, not us!"

    Rotom giggles and says, "Saving, bzzt!"

    The first Pokémon Calem sees through the hole is a pikachu. He manages to get a picture of her rubbing her head, but then she walks away. The second picture is of a rockruff. The Pokémon scampers around, but Calem holds off on taking a picture. Only once the Pokémon jumps does he snap his pictures.

    He stops and finds Hau trying to flirt with Lillie despite her discomfort. He waits to see if she'll tell him to stop before acting, but after seeing her says, "Umm…" "Maybe…" and "N-no…" six times, he interrupt.

    To Lillie he says, "Do you want to see the pictures?"

    "Yes, please!" She answers faster than normal. Hau must have really made her uncomfortable. She says, "This rockruff is so cute! Getting it mid-jump like that is amazing!"

    Hau grumbles to himself on the side. He doesn't intend for anyone to hear him, but Calem does, "Maybe I should get a Rotom dex too…"

    Hau walks a bit ahead of them once they resume walking. From his appearance, he's deep in thought, probably wondering how he can get a Rotom dex. Lillie asks Calem as they pass by the clothing store, "Calem, do you pick out all your own clothes?"

    "I used to, years ago… My mother buys all my clothes now so they'll always match no matter what I choose."

    "Your mother has a great sense of style then. I love the way that you dress."

    "I stopped paying attention. I just grab whatever."

    "I… I've always just worn the clothes that my mother wanted me to wear. I don't really know what kind of thing would suit me."

    "Bright colors like sky blue or pink. If you do wear something dark, make sure to contrast it with a bright one. Green also goes with your eyes, so you could also add small bits of that to your wardrobe, too. Just try not to overdo it. Unless, of course, you're trying to match with Nebby. That open a whole different set of possibilities…" Calem stops upon seeing her shocked stare. He shrugs, "I used to live in Kalos. Not knowing how to dress was an invitation for public ridicule."

    Lillie giggles, "You sharing your fashion sense with me… I guess we both have something in common now." She hums to herself for the rest of the journey.

    Hau says, "And here we are! Time for some good eats, malasada! Once I get some fuel in me, I'm gonna go right down to the Marina and scream out loud, "Watch me, Tutu!" No! "Watch me, world!" I'm gonna beat even my old gramps someday!"

    Calem says, "Wait too long and everyone will beat him."

    Once they finish eating, Lillie leads them to route 2. Hau runs ahead saying, "Wait right there Lillie. I'll finish this trial way before Calem!"

    Once he's out of sight, Lillie says, "Your first trial, Verdant Cavern, is up ahead. A barricade will keep you from walking past it. Once you overcome the trial, the way further will be opened to you. I read something in an old book once. It said that the island challenges were once a journey made to prove yourself and gain the strength to battle against the guardian deities of Alola."

    Lillie's words, "Strength to battle against," causes Calem to grip his black Pokéball. Upon realizing what he's doing, he moves his hand away from it.

    Lillie continues unaware of Calem's dilemma. "Guardians like Tapu Koko. The people in Iki Town said that Tapu Koko loves Pokémon battles, didn't they? If we could meet Tapu Koko once more, do you think we would find the answer to why it saved you and Nebby that day?"

    "Pew?"

    "I don't think that Pokémon would care to tell us."

    "Calem… Good luck on your first trial. I will hope that it goes well for you."

    "Thanks."

    Calem ignores all the trainer battles and runs from all the wild Pokémon he encounters. One delibird, however, takes hold of Calem's bag. Calem asks, "You want me to follow you?"

    The Pokémon nods, tugs, and takes off running. Calem, concerned, follows the Pokémon to a berry farm where a pair of gangster thugs dressed in black are harassing the farmer. They try to act tough by shaking their arms to emphasis their words. One says, "You got a lame bunch of berries… Now Team Skull's your adversaries! Takin' berries off your hands is just the start of our plans, yo!"

    The other Team Skull thug says, "Let's get figy with it! Watch while I nanab me some berries."

    The farmer says, "I'll share my berries for free with any Pokémon, but you'll not have a single one from me!"

    The first Team Skull thug goes up to the farmer's face. "So, what? I'm lower than a Pokémon? I already got self-esteem issues, man!"

    The Skull themed clothes and dialect is different, but they're just like Team Flare. No one thought much of them at first; they were simple nuisances. As the weeks passed, the reports about them grew worse and finally, they used an ancient weapon to try and destroy the world. If Calem had acted sooner, could Kalos could have been spared too? It's a question he wonders every night.

    Calem won't make the same mistake in Alola. "Get lost!"

    The first Team Skull thug says, "What do you want? Huh? Huh? Huh!"

    The second Team Skull thug says, "You got a bone to pick with us, homie?"

    "Yeah, disband."

    The farmer says, "I appreciate your concern, child. But these Team Skull punks do nothing but talk big and act small. Carry on with your island challenge. Don't give them a moment's notice."

    Calem doesn't spare the farmer a glance. He holds up Mawile's premier ball, "I said, leave."

    The second Team Skull thugs says, "That's big talk for some kid. We're gonna hafta take your Pokémon along with the berries. Check out how underhanded Team Skull ge-"

    "Mawile, iron head!" Calem doesn't let him finish.

    The first Team Skull thug sends out a Drowzee to defend his partner. Mawile strikes the Pokémon before a command can be issued.

    Calem, speaking out in anger, says, "Fire fang!" There's no need to read Drowzee's posture or consider the possibility of a trap. The psychic Pokémon is off balance and he's going to keep it that way. "Don't let up, Mawile! Ice Fang!"

    The Team Skull thug calls Drowzee back after a few more hits. Both thugs act tough despite losing and leave.

    "Pathetic."

    "Maw!"

    The farmer says, "Ho! You and Mawile there did quite the number on them! Take some berries as thanks for driving off those Team Skull numskulls." He laughs and says, "Berries grow like weed here in Alola. Feel free to pick up any you find!"

    Calem thanks the famer and leaves. Rotom says, "I'm curiouszzz about Team Skull now. But right now, letzzz get to that trial!"

    "We'll probably see them again."

    A cutiefly attacks Calem as he crosses through some tall grass. He runs, but the bug Pokémon chases after him. Unable to shake the Pokémon, he darts into a Pokémon center with the intent to wait in the café until it leaves.

    Hau calls out to him upon entering the building. "Howzit, Calem? Guess you musta passed me. Your Pokémon doing all right?"

    "Never better…"

    "Ha, my team's seen better days, that's for sure! Anyway, you know that Verdant Cavern place, right? I guess it's kinda, like, sacred to Tapu Koko. You aren't even allowed to go into it unless you're on your island challenge. Well, I'll see you later."

    Calem steps out of the Pokémon center half an hour later and Cutiefly rams him from behind. "What a stubborn Pokémon… Fine, Mawile, fire fang."

    Mawile springs from its premier ball and swings its second mouth at Cutiefly. The bug Pokémon evades and uses gust. Mawile braces itself to take the hit and retaliates with iron head.

    Calem doesn't give Mawile any commands. He instead watches Cutiefly's movements. Right now, the bug Pokémon is still going strong, but she's favoring her left. She only evaded Mawile's attack by fly right the first time. Iron head must have damaged one of her wings. She could be faking, but unlikely…

    Calem pauses. His thoughts shouldn't be this clear, not anymore. He points his Rotom dex towards the cutiefly. Rotom says, "Cutiefly, bug/fairy, they detect the aura of plants, Pokémon, and people. That's how they detect which flowers are about to bloom. They sometimes even circle around the head of people with strong emotions. Buzzzt, looks like this one is attracted to you."

    Calem thinks. Strong emotion? He's angry, obviously. His focus returned because of his encounter with Team Skull. Once he calms down, he'll probably go back to how he was. Doesn't matter, this might not be the best method, but right now he can fight. "Mawile, iron head."

    Mawile strikes the Pokémon from below. Before Cutiefly can regain her balance, he throws a Pokéball at her. The ball lands, rolls to a stop, and shakes. It shakes once, twice, thrice, and grows still.

    Calem picks up the Pokéball. By keeping Cutiefly with him, maybe he'll be able to remember the determination he feels now and apply it to future battles. If not, at least this event can mark a beginning of sorts.

    With a new partner, Calem continues to Verdant Cavern. Outside stands a boy with pink hair. He's, maybe, a year or two older than him. "I'm Ilima. So, we finally meet. I wanted to talk to you back at the trainer school, but you walked off before I could introduce myself. Actually, I saw how you interacted with all the students there and I got to say, I'm not impressed. Seeing as to what type of person you are, let's just get to it.

    "For my trial, you'll have to defeat three of the Pokémon that lurk in the dens inside. Then reach the pedestal deep within the cave and collect the Z-crystal there. You'll fail if you aren't in complete sync with your Pokémon. Do be careful. The Pokémon in here are quite fierce and they don't take well to rudeness. Once you enter, you won't be able to leave until after seeing the trial through. This is only one of the seven trials you'll have to complete during your island challenge. Good luck, you'll need it." Ilima walks into the Verdant Cavern.

    Synchronizing with his Pokémon? A sense of nostalgia comes over him as he touches the mega-necklace hidden underneath his shirt. However, there's one problem. Ilima said synchronize, that implies something different than mega-evolution.

    Calem walk into the trial site. Rotom says, "Soundszzz exciting! Let's do thiszzzzt thing!"

    The first den is right in front of the entrance. An Alolan rattata jumps out, and is defeated by Cutiefly. The second Alolan rattata in the second nest is just as easy. At the third den, the two thugs from Team Skull return to get in his way. The first Team Skull thug says, "Yo, yo yo! It's your berry thief boys, back again! Remember us?"

    "I told you to disband."

    The second Team Skull thug says, "Who cares about that? We're here to mess up your trial, yo!"

    "Get lost, leave that stupid team, and go home."

    "Maw."

    The two Team Skull thugs step back at Calem's glare. The first one says, "Y-yo! Who you trying to intimidate? Yo-you're not scary at all."

    Calem steps forward, they step back. "Mawile."

    The second thugs says, "Fo-forget this, we're outta here! We've got bigger fish to fry!"

    Calem watches them run until their out of sight. "Idiots…" Once they're gone, he looks into the third den and finds an Alolan raticate. "Mawile."

    "Maw!" Mawile defeats the Pokémon with a single hit.

    "I guess the pedestal is further in?"

    Mawile nods.

    Calem finds an exit in the back of the cavern. Through it is a chasm with vines, grass, and small trees growing from its high walls. At the far end is a golden totem housing a strange stone. Nothing seems to be guarding it, but the area is too quite. He walks towards it while saying, "Mawile, get ready."

    He ignores the piercing gaze that falls on his back upon reaching the pedestal and takes the Z-crystal. A shrill "Kiiiiiiiiii!" echoes from above and down jumps a giant raticate. A flaming aura explodes out from within the Pokémon as it attacks.

    Mawile deflects the Pokémon's pounce with her second mouth and retaliates with, "Ice fang!" Raticate cries out as it gets up and a rattata comes to the Pokémon's aid. While the rattata scampers around Mawile with hit and run tactics to distract her, the raticate attacks with hyper fang.

    "Sucker punch!" Mawile turns around and smacks the large Pokémon aside despite the size difference. Calem would smirk if he could still feel the emotion for it; after everything he and Mawile have been through, simple tactics like this area easy to flip around. She then defeats the rattata with vice grip and turns her attention to the raticate. The Pokémon holds his left arm close to his chest- No, he's holding his chest. The way the Pokémon breathes isn't normal either. Those are controlled shallow breaths. Perhaps they are meant to minimize chest movement?

    "Mawile, let's go."

    Mawile gives the raticate an intimidating glare and walks off with her trainer. She looks up to Calem and says, "Maw Mawile?"

    "We already got the Z-crystal. Defeating that ratticate isn't part of the test."

    Ilima waits for by the chasm exit. "A loop hole, but I'll concede that you defeated my Totem Pokémon. Totem Pokémon are stronger and fiercer than the rest of their kind. You could consider than as a final boss of sorts. As much as I hate to admit, you've cleared the trial of Ilima. The normal Z-crystal, Normalium Z, is now yours."

    "Normal? You mean there's one for each type?"

    "Along with some special variants. Let a Pokémon hold it and then," Ilima places his arms together, moves them in a circle, spreads them apart, and strikes "an elegant pose. Do that with your Pokémon to bring out the true power of the normal type."

    Calem stops Ilima who begins to walk off. "Am I going to find a totem Pokémon at the end of each trial?"

    Ilima turns his head back towards Calem enough so that his voice will have clear projection. "That's right. Each trial will have a particularly strong Pokémon. A person like you definitely won't get that far though." Finished speaking, he leaves.

    Ilima didn't have any intention of telling him about the totem Pokémon. He didn't even comment about how raticate called for help. Is that a tactic all Alolan Pokémon do, or just totem Pokémon? Calem will have to be careful around Ilima from now on. He doubts the trial captain will actively stand against him, but being cautious won't hurt. Lack of precaution did destroy an entire region once.

    Outside on route 3, Calem searches for the barricade Lillie mentioned. A fenced off area is further up the mountain trail. A person stands guard in front of it. After speaking to him, and showing him the Z-crystal, he lets Calem through.

    Further up the road is Professor Kukui. "Hey there, Calem! Seeing you out here must mean you've cleared your first trial. Going to have to mention this to Kahuna Hala later. By the way, now that you can use Z-power, here's some advice. Using it heaps all of your emotions on your Pokémon and tires them out. The limit is once per battle, cousin." He then gives a quick demonstration with Rockruff against a wild Bagon.

    That sounds a lot like mega-evolution. However, as Calem though, something feels different about the two of them.

    "By the way, would you mind helping me look for Lillie? We were walking around this route and I seem to have lost her."

    "You should have said that first!" Calem says while running off. Trainers call out to him for a battle, but he ignores them. Lillie doesn't have any Pokémon. She uses repels, but that won't do her any good against thugs like Team Skull.

    A sign he comes across reads Melemele Meadow. If Lillie got lost chasing Nebby, then there's a high possibility the Pokémon ran in there to play. He hears Lillie before seeing her, "Nebby! Nebby, come back!"

    Lillie stands worried at the edge of a flower field. She turns upon hearing Calem call out to her. "Ah… Calem… Nebby ran off into the meadow here…" Nebby stares at some flowers on a ledge at the opposite end of the field. "And right after it got into so much trouble on the bridge, too… What if a wild Pokémon attacks it? It doesn't have any moves it can use to battle!"

    Calem makes his way through the field without encountering any Pokémon. He crouches down next to Nebby and the Pokémon says, "Pew!" Together, they walk back to Lillie.

    "Oh, you!"

    "Pew?"

    "Thank you, Calem. You too Mawile."

    "Maw."

    "Nebby, back into the bag please. I know there aren't many people around to see you here, but that's hardly an excuse! We should be going now, too. The professor will probably be worried after the way we just disappeared on him…"

    Calem recalls how Professor Kukui casually congratulated him earlier. "Maybe not as much as you'd think."

    Hau's voice calls out to them as they leave the meadow. "He-e-ey, Calem! Oh! You're with Lillie… in the meadow… We're you guys on a date?"

    Lillie's face burns bright red as she shakes her head. "N-no! Calem was just helping me find Nebby… What are you up to out here?"

    Hau flex an arm and pats his bicep. "I just finished my trial!"

    "That's great! Congratulations!"

    "I know! Calem, you finished yours too, right! We should celebrate! But first, let's battle and see if we learned anything."

    Calem hesitates for a second before saying, "Sure…" In the rush to search for Lillie, his anger from encounter Team Skull dissipated. Without that to help focus his mind, this match is going to be trouble. He has already been reviewing how he handled those earlier battles. Each reflection reveals a different way in which he could have messed up.

    "Great, come on out, Pikachu!"

    "Cutiefly!"

    "Electroball!"

    "Dodge it!"

    The electroball left Pikachu off balanced. That happens to Pokémon who use moves they haven't fully mastered. An opening? Would Hau really use such an attack without creating a way to cover that weakness? Pikachu could have static fur. Then a long distance attack? Which one would…

    "Electroball!" Pikachu sends another attack and Cutiefly again dodges. The pattern repeats itself five times until Cutiefly gets frustrated and charges Pikachu with a tackle.

    "No, stop!" Calem tries to warn her, but Cutiefly rams into Pikachus stomach. The bug Pokémon shakes as she flies away. Too late, Cutiefly is paralyzed.

    "Pikachu, thunder shock!"

    Cutiefly tries to dodge, but is too slow. The attack hits and she faints.

    Hau fist pumps saying, "Alright, I win! My Pokémon are awesome!"

    Calem calls back Cutiefly with a sigh. "Just rest for now." He over thought the battle, again. If he attacked when the opportunity showed, Cutiefly wouldn't have gotten hurt. Since he was worried about static, he should have used an attack like gust. Hopefully, Cutiefly won't hold the loss against him.

    Hau says, "Looks like I've gotten stronger, but I wonder if I'm strong enough to beat my gramps…"

    Professor Kukui calls out to them. "Hey there, Calem! Knew I could count on you, yeah! Thanks for tracking Lllie down for me!" Upon seeing Hau's glee, he says, "What's this, then? Hau, you finished your first trial, too? I bet you used some stylin' moves, yeah?"

    Hau chuckles and says, "That's right!"

    "Hala's probably rubbing his hands together in anticipation right about now, oh yeah!"

    Lillie says, "What do you mean?"

    Hau says, "It's all a part of the trials, yeah? After you clear one island's trials, you gotta battle that island's Kahuna."

    Calem says, "Wouldn't a beedrill be stronger."

    Lillie says, "Kahuna, not Kakuna."

    Professor Kukui says, "Taking on the island Kahuna in battle is called the grand trial! Events like those are the best opportunities for me to study fierce Pokémon moves."

    Calem says, "Four islands, four grand trials… They're like gym leaders and the elite four all in one."

    Hau says, "I guess, I've never been to any other region, so I wouldn't know."

    Professor Kukui says, "Anyway, come on! Back to Iki Town. We'll need to make preparations for your grand trials tomorrow."

    As they walk, Rotom says, "It's almost time to face the Kahuna himself. Tomorrow we return to Iki Town, if you dare."
     
  7. warriorseadra

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    Legendary Triforce ★★
    Calem sits up on his bed upon waking up the next morning. He rubs the Pokémon egg he's holding as he sits in place and reflects on the previous day. Those battles were too reckless. How stupid can he be? A small slip up during any one of them would have been disastrous… Except, they weren't because he didn't.

    Calem clenches his fists. That's the mind set he needs to get back into, even if it is dangerous. If not for himself, then for Mawile. She wants that for him as well, even if she might get hurt in the process… He takes a deep breath and also reminds himself, one mishap and I'll lose everyone, again.

    His mother knocks on his door, "Calem, are you up? Lillie is outside. She said something about a grand trial."

    Calem finishes getting changed when his mother enters the room, "Calem? Say something if you're awake."

    His tone is still expressionless, "I'll be just a minute."

    "Today's your grand trial. From its name, it's obviously a huge event. You should smile; ever since the festival, everyone's been wondering if you're some sort of delinquent. Now is your chance to show them wrong!"

    Calem finishes preparing by tucking his mega-necklace underneath his shirt. "Sure…"

    Outside, Lillie says, "I'm not a trainer, so I'm sure I don't really understand how hard completing your first trial must have been, but I do think it's a great achievement."

    "Pew!" Lillie jumps at the shaking of her duffle bag. Once Nebby settles down, she says, "I'll watch your battle today, so good luck."

    Professor Kukui meets them at the entrance to Iki Town. "The Melemele Kahuna is strong, cousin. I'll eagerly await to see what moves you and your Pokémon pour your souls into. Be careful, though. Kahuna Hala is a trainer who can use fighting type Pokémon to the fullest, yeah."

    Rotom says, "A Pokémon battle against big Kahuna Hala! I'm tingling all over- almost like I'm electric!"

    Calem finds Kahuna Hala waiting on the plaza stadium. Hala says, "Congratulations on clearing your trial in Verdant Cavern. Good work. I suppose you're here to battle the Kahuna?"

    "Yes."

    "Hmmm, it isn't by much, but your eyes have changed. I look forward to seeing the extent of this transformation first hand." Kahuna Hala stomps his feet and assumes a sumo stance. "Allow me to properly greet the young adventurers embarking on their island challenge. I am Hala, the Kahuna of Melemele Island. Your final trial here on Melemele Island will be a Pokémon battle against me, the Kahuna! It is known as the grand trial. Calem, you have been entrusted with the sparkling stone by Tapu Koko! Now show me your's, Mawile's and the rest of your team's power! Old Hala here will also be going all out! Let the grand trial begin! Mankey!"

    "Cutiefly, stun spore!"

    Mankey dodges by rolling to the side. "Fury swipes!"

    "Dodge it!" Cutiefly's small size gives it a huge advantage in avoiding Mankey's attacks. In some cases, she literally slips through Mankey's fingers. With the right timing, it's a simple maneuver to pull off, but Mankey can just as easily counter it by closing his fingers. No, the fighting Pokémon has a short temper and will neither put that much thought into his action nor use such a dexterous technique. Although, Mankey could be faking his anger as a lure into false confidence for a sneak attack. If so…

    Calem needs to tell Cutiefly to create some distance. Nothing comes out. His voice… Just like when he battled Hau, it's gone, again. He clutches his throat. What should he do now? Cutiefly's waiting for a command, one he'll never give.

    Kahuna Hala says, "Karate Chop!"

    Calem gargles a sound out of panic and swings his fist. He doesn't know what he was trying to say, but Cutiefly's movements become precise. The bug Pokémon slips around Mankey's palm and uses fairy wind.

    An idea cross Calem's mind as he sees Mankey open his shoulders. Yet, instead of it, he makes a frantic struggle to speak. "Urgh, ung, unf, up!"

    Cutiefly stops spreading fairy dust with its wings, but instead of escaping, lets herself be squished between Mankey's two hands.

    "Cutiefly!"

    Mankey, instead of release Cutiefly, trembles and falls over. From the fighting Pokémon's palms buzzes Cutiefly. She must have used draining kiss the moment she was caught between the two hands. She drained Mankey's health faster than he could clap his palms.

    "Come on back and rest, Cutiefly. That was amazing." She executed the command he refused to give. A Pokémon that can see emotion… she understood him without having to hear him. "Really, you are amazing. Mawile, you're up."

    "Maw!"

    If Calem understands Hala's personality, he'll start soft and move on to his stronger Pokémon. In that case, after taking his own problems into account, he should do the same and save Mawile for last.

    Kahuna Hala says, "Makuhita!"

    Calem says, "Fire fang!" His best chance at defeating Kahuna Hala lies in crippling his attack power. Solution? Combine Mawile's intimidate with a burn. Kahuna Hala even anticipated the tactic by given his Pokémon a rawst berry.

    The real problem is landing fire fang. Mawile and Makuhita have been exchanging attacks and she hasn't gotten a clean hit yet. Makuhita keeps redirecting her second mouth. The way Makuhita is moving… An attack is coming!

    "Mawile!" Is all Calem can say. The possibilities on how Makuhita might attack are infinite. It will most likely come in angled from one of the sides, but that's not enough to tell her how to dodge. Even if he does see through the attack, it could just as well be a faint. Against any other Pokémon, he'd say "sucker punch," but dark type moves are pointless against fighting types. It could work as a method to redirect or weaken the attack, but there's no way Makuhita isn't prepared for such a counter.

    Calem grits his teeth as he gets ready to see Mawile knocked aside, but she surprises him by using sucker punch. The small opening she creates lets her slip behind Makuhita where she attacks with thunder fang. The fighting Pokémon's knees give out as paralysis takes over its body.

    Kahuna Hala calls back Makuhita and, "Crabrawler! Rock smash!"

    "Thunder fang!" Calem's order escapes him upon seeing the water Pokémon. The command comes from a memory. It's the same tactic Deino used to defeat Tierno's Corphish and Shauna's Krabby.

    Crabrawler deflects Mawile's attacks by punching her second mouth aside, but takes damage each time. Even if attacks are redirected, the electricity flows. But, this exchange has gone on way too long. Kahuna Hala must have thought up a counter by now. Calem needs to try something else or risk Mawile getting hurt. He could always try sucker punching whatever Crabrawler uses, but there's a chance that will be used against him too….

    "Crabrawler, that's enough!" Kahuna Hala recalls his Pokémon. "Calem, well done, you've defeated this Kahuna in both strategy and strength. You never even gave me an opportunity to use my Z-power."

    "What? How? There were dozens of ways for you to turn the battle around."

    "Yes, I did think of a few, but your Mawile reacts much too fast. Have more confidence in your Pokémon. She would have countered anything I could come up with. You may not have been battling these past few years, but your training as been top notch."

    "Not train? We can't do that… Something might happen."

    Kahuna Hala laughs and clasps Calem's shoulder. "I do not know what kind of trainer you were before, but I am certain you'll find yourself once your trial is complete."

    "Tapu Ko-ko-ko!" A Pokémon's cries echo from the sky.

    Kahuna Hala says, "Ho! And our mighty Tapu Koko agrees! Perhaps Tapu Koko is hoping that a day might come when you will be able to battle against it on proper footing… Accept this Z-crystal, Fightinium Z. Observe Calem," Kahuna Hala crosses his arm, circles them to his side, and punches with both fists. "That is how you use this Z-crystal. Now then, with this victory, you have cleared all of the trials of Melemele Island.

    "The moon in the daytime… The sun at night… Now to see if you can pour your heart into something that cannot be seen but is very much real. As you continue on your island challenge, consider what makes up the people and Pokémon that you meet: both what you can see and what you cannot. You will surely meet Tapu Koko again someday."

    Calem glances to the side and finds Ilima watching from within the shrubbery. The trial captain juts his chin towards Calem and turns his back towards him. The message is clear. "I do not accept you. Once we fight, I'll show everyone the kind of person you really are."

    Professor Kukui says, "I guess it's time for you to move on to the next island. Make sure you tell your mother and then head on down to the Marina in Hau'oli City. Oh yeah! Come on, Lillie, I'll need your help in cleaning the boat!"

    Lillie waits for everyone to leave before talking to Calem. "Um… I actually wanted to ask a favor of you first. If that's all right?"

    "What is it?"

    She turns to Nebby who's floating next to her. "You see… Nebby… Its real home is far away from here. And I want to help it get home. It's like I told you before… Nebby saved my life once when I was in trouble. Now I want to save it! I feel like there's not much I can do on my own, since I'm not a Pokémon trainer… But if I had a real trainer like you helping me, Calem, then maybe… But I probably shouldn't ask a near stranger to help, right? I know it's just my own wish and it has nothing to do with you…"

    An adventure with friends, this is almost like back in Kalos all those years ago. This is when Tierno said, "Mizzy, let's show the world what we're made of!" Calem's flat tone hide his inner thoughts, "It's fine. We have to help one another if we want to survive in this world. Besides, traveling is more fun with company."

    "Oh thank you so much. I'm so- Calem? What's wrong? You're crying…"

    Calem brushes his cheeks. They're wet… "It'll pass… Sorry, I'll meet you at the Marina." He walks off before Lillie can say anything else. He's crying? Because this adventure restarts the one stopped at Kalos? Tears of joy? Remembrance? Sadness? All of the above? He shakes his head. Once the tears pass, he'll go home and tell his mother what he plans to do.

    A small, well used, sail ship is docked to the Mariana. Professor Kukui and Lillie work on the final touches as Calem approaches. Hau watches them from the side and says, "Hey, Prof, are you sure this old thing's really seaworthy?"

    "Hey now! Don't you go calling my boat old! She's… classic. Well seasoned, yeah?"

    Calem says, "A reminder of times long ago."

    Professor Kukui says, "Hey!"

    Lillie says, "I quite like that it has a sense of history…"

    "Pew!"

    Professor Kukui shakes his head and says, "Well, since you're all here, let's get sailing, yeah!"

    Lillie asks Calem as they board, "Are you… feeling better now?"

    "I'm fine."

    Hau asks, "Did something happen?"

    "No."

    "You look like you were crying."

    "Shut up."

    "You were crying! Were you so moved by winning that your water works started flowing? Man, you're so sensitive."

    "… I am going to push you off the boat."

    Hau laughs and runs off to the front of the vessel.

    Ten minutes later, Hau is laughing and fist pumping on one of the two bows. "We-e-e are off! Come on, grandma! Kick it up a notch!"

    Lillie stands near the middle of the boat, one hand on her hat and the other keeping her dress down. "If we push the boat much harder than this, we may all end up at the bottom of the ocean."

    Hau laughs, "You're just worried your silly hat is gonna fly off! Actually, you should've changed into a bikini. You're totally wasting the opportunity!" Lillie frowns and covers her chest by folding an arm across herself. Hau continues, "Hey, Calem, weren't you gonna push me off?"

    Calem sits curled in a ball while hugging his bag to himself on the opposite bow. He glares at Hau, but then covers his mouth. He rode Greninja out to sea multiple times before and never felt anything like this. Pokémon truly are irreplaceable.

    "What's wrong? I'm waiting! Come get me!"

    Calem tries to speak, but again covers his mouth. He calls Mawile from her premier ball and gestures to Hau. He tries saying something, but is again forced to cover his mouth to Hau's amusement.

    Mawile runs up to Hau and whacks him off the boat with her second mouth. She then holds up her head, and with her hands on her hips, says, "Maw."

    Hau leaps off the ship. His clothes dried with the breeze kicked up from sailing. He stands proud with his arms at his side. "Land ahoy! All right! Akala Island, get ready cause here I come!"

    Lillie makes a face. "Isn't it a bit late to declare 'Land ahoy' after you've already arrived onshore?"

    "What a stick in the sand! Help me out here, Calem! It was funny, right?"

    "It was supposed to be funny?"

    Hau's jaw drops. He turns to Professor Kukui, "Come on, Professor. You though it was funny, right?"

    Professor Kukui grins. "The land is certainly ahoy, oh boy!"

    Lillie falls speechless as her eyes and mouth turn round from shock. Nebby appears at her side with cries of joy.

    Calem turns away as Hau and Professor Kukui laugh from the bottom of their stomachs. From the wharf's side he's hit by the bright smiles people and Pokémon playing on the sand and goofing around in the ocean. How nice… That's when he spots a blond girl sporting a red bikini with black frills. "Serena?"

    Hau slaps Calem's back. "What, you recognize someone? Wow, she's a total babe. Do me a solid and introduce me to her. Hey, Serena! Up here!" He waves his arms and, once he catches her attention, points to Calem.

    Serena's confusion gives way to a bright smile. She jogs over and takes the stairs four at a time up onto the wharf. She goes to hug him, but stops short by just grabbing his arms. "Mizzy! Your mother told mine you moved here, so I was wondering when we would run into each other. We were worried we might have lost you, but seeing you outside… I am glad, you are doing better than we though. How are you holding up?"

    Calem ignores Hau's, "Mizzy?" comment and, taking Serena's hand, breaks away from the group. "Honestly, I'm not sure. I tried getting in touch with all of you, really. It's just… I can't touch my holo-caster." He looks down at his left hand. "It makes them tremble. But, what about you? Why are you here? How are the others?"

    Serena sighs out. "I guess you have yet to hear, but as of last month, the Kalos region was declared abandoned by the Pokémon League. Soon after you left, for some reason, the wild Pokémon really started attacking people. They went so far as to invade the few cities we managed to restore. All we can do now is let nature heal the scars we humans created. I came here, Trevor went with Clemont to Hoenn, he's now Professor Rowen's assistant, and Shauna is with her family in Unova." Serena leans closer towards Calem. "Listen to this, her voice finally came back. Two days before she left, during dinner, she asked me to pass the salt."

    A fragile smile spreads across Calem's face. "That… that's great." He glances towards his shoulder, remembering the people he came with to Akala Island. Lillie is struggling with her bag. She must have hidden Nebby while he and Serena were talking. "Right, come on, I'll introduce you." He gestures to each person in turn, "Lillie, Professor Kukui, and Hau. Everyone, Serena is-"

    "The final Kalos league champion. I've been keeping an eye out for you." A woman interrupts. She and a girl with green hair walk up to the group. "Anyway, still haven't managed to find a shirt that goes with your lab coat, hmm, Kukui? I've told you you're going to scare off strangers looking like that… Hello there, nice to meet you all- I'm Olivia."

    The girl with her says, "Hey! Thanks for stopping by! I'm Mallow, one of the captains here!"

    Olivia says, "I ran into Mallow here on my way to see who was pulling into one of my ports."

    Mallow says, "My trials will let all the ingredients that make your team shine. Especially you two!" She beams a toothy smile to Hau and Calem, "Your Pokémon look ready to cook with gas!"

    Hau grins with anticipation, but Calem's face remains indifferent.

    Olivia says, "You kids better be ready. Mallow isn't my only captain here. You should join in too, Serena."

    Serena shakes her head. "Oh, no, maybe in the future. We just arrived yesterday, so right now, my Pokémon and I just want to relax."

    Olivia chuckles. "I'll be waiting. It isn't everyday a person gets to fight a champion. You kids better not let this opportunity slip past you either. Okay then, until we meet for our battle. Let's go, Mallow."

    Mallow gives a radiant smile as she waves goodbye to everyone and follows Olivia. Not once did she look Calem in his eyes.

    Professor Kukui cups his chin and begins, "I'm sure she wanted to come to make sure you arrived alright, but she'll never admit it to you," and ends with a laugh. "That's Olivia for you. She's a kind Kahuna, deep down." He turns to Hau and Calem. "There are three trials here on Akala Island. If you two decide you want to take on the trial straightaway, head up route 4 there and keep on goin' until you get to Paniola Town."

    Hau says, "Shoots, I know where I'm going first, and that is straight to the Pokémon center! Serena, come with me. I'll treat you to a malasada."

    "Sorry, I already ate."

    Lillie says, "Maybe I'll see about some shopping of my own… And I should find out about the ruins for Nebby's sake too…"

    Serena says, "Ruins? I am very curious about them too. How about I join you?"

    Lillie looks to the side. "I don't know… I don't really want to trouble you."

    Calem says, "Serena is one of the strongest, bravest, and most trustworthy trainers I know. She had just become league champion, but really stepped up to her role during the Last Night of Kalos."

    Serena clicks her tongue at Calem's introduction, but doesn't comment.

    Lillie says, "Well… if you're going that far to vouch for her, then… I'll be grateful for your company."

    After the two make plans to meet later, Serena pulls Calem to the side. "Listen, it belon-"

    "Stop, that match wasn't official. You're the one who overcame the elite four to reach her. Besides, I'd be a failure." Calem's hand slides over the black Pokéball on his waist. "I lost everyone, but Mawile."

    Serena squeezes his hand. "I really hope you find what you're looking for on this adventure." She then wraps her arm around his back and turns him to face everyone. "Meeting all of you was really great. Please look after Mizzy for me. He might not show it, but he's a real trouble maker." She and Calem exchange kisses to the cheek and with an, "Réunion de vous tous a été un plaisir," walks away.

    Hau slaps Calem's back. "What the heck, you didn't say she was your girlfriend! I thought she and I could have had something."

    "Serena and I aren't dating."

    Lillie, her hands covering her burning red face, says, "Bu-bu-but, the two of you… you ki-kissed."

    A "Pew!" comes from her bag.

    "That's how we greet each other in Kalos. Or, did..." Calem sighs. "Je vous verrai tous plus tard. I'm going to walk around town."

    His Rotom-dex zips up to his face as he steps off the pier. "You've made it to Akala, big boy!"

    "Ne m'appelez pas comme ça."

    "This means a whole new Island Pokédex, zzt! I'll try to keep you up to date on all the new Pokémon you uncover, Mizzy! Zzzzzt!"

    "Mizzy died three years ago. My name is Calem."

    "If you say so, zzzzt! But, this is Heahea City? I can see the sea! Let's give this place a good search before we go!" He then flies back into his pocket.

    After walking around for a bit, he finds Lillie looking into clothing boutique's window. "Looking for new clothes?"

    "Ah, Calem… I was just thinking how nice choosing my own clothes might be… But, something like that… just isn't for me…"

    "Pew?" Nebby tilts its head in concern at her side.

    "Oh, but don't worry about me… I'm meeting with Serena and someone very important to me at the Tide Song Hotel. It's that building down the road, so there's no way I'll get lost. I think."

    Nebby hops and cheers "Pew!"

    Calem says, "If anything, Nebby believes in you."

    Lillie turns to the Pokémon, "And you! I'll have you stay in your bag, mister."

    Nebby floats up to Calem, turns to face Lillie, and frowns while crying out. Lillie puffs her cheeks and shakes her head. Nebby laughs and then allows itself to be placed within the duffle bag.

    Calem notes that Lillie still looks at the clothes inside the store. "We could make a quick stop inside."

    "No, no… I'm fine. Listen, I've heard that there's a terrible group of people stealing Pokémon called Team Skull. We need to be careful if we want to escape the notice of such a collection of villains…"

    Calem's frown terrifies Lillie. His normal flat tone takes a dangerous edge, "Escape? No, I'm going to crush them."

    …..

    Serena washes the sand off herself and her Pokémon in one of the public showers before wrapping a towel around her shoulders. She then grooms her Pokémon and finishes by brushing absol's fur. "Come on, it is almost time to meet Lillie."

    On the way back to the hotel, she finds Lillie hesitating outside a boutique shop. "Do you want to buy some new clothes?"

    "Ah, Serena, no, no… I'm not good at that sort of thing. Besides, there's still someone I need to meet at the hotel soon."

    "Then, how about we go back together? Once we finish with the ruins, can I accompany you for some shopping?"

    As they begin walking towards the hotel, Lillie says, "O-oh, you really want to? I won't be a bother?

    "Do not be silly, it will be fun. I also need some new clothes. We can start by getting a new bag for your Pokémon to hide in."

    Lillie eyes and mouth turn into O's as she stops. "Ca-Ca-Calem… he-he…"

    "No, no, I saw you hiding it back on the pier, sorry. That little guy is the reason you are interested in the ruins, correct? Our adventure to uncover the secrets of mega-evolution was similar."

    "Mega-evolution?"

    "Calem never mentioned it?"

    "We only just met a few days ago. But, I don't think he wants to talk about his past. Every time Hau asks, he changes the subject…"

    "Pew!"

    Serena laughs at Lillie's attempt to calm her "duffle bag." She looks ahead and spots a familiar blonde and black haired duo. They are handing a green decahedron to a person hidden behind some trees and waving good bye. "Dexio! Sina!"

    Serena takes Lillie's hand and runs up to meet them. "It has been so long! Why are the two of you here? Have you also decided to settle here?" Once they get closer, "Lillie, Dexio and Sina are the late Professor Sycamore's laboratory assistants. During our adventure in Kalos, they would always appear to help or provide advice."

    The blonde says, "I'm Dexio," and the black haired girl says, "I'm Sina, a beautiful name for a beautiful lady."

    Dexio says, "We're here for a couple reason, but the main one is probably the same as yours."

    Sina says, "Alola is a nice region for starting over. It's so diverse that some places even have a Kalos flavor."

    Serena says, "Then, with you two, that makes four. I saw Mizzy earlier."

    Sina says, "Really? Is he alright? How is he?"

    "A lot better than when he left. He is even taking the island challenge. Right now, he is on this island, so you might run into him. Sorry, I would love to stay and talk longer, but we are in a hurry."

    Lillie says as they walk off, "Their bracelets looks a lot like your necklace…"

    Serena cups the rainbow colored stone hanging around her neck. "The results of our adventure. This stone, when the bond between trainers and Pokémon peak, lets the power of mega-evolution shine."

    "Mega-evolution? I've read about it once… but the book wasn't very cle- Oh, no!"

    "Yo, yo, yo, girlies! Team Skull is here to take yo Pokémon."

    Serena's towel flutters as holds out an arm to cover Lillie. Her smile sours into a glare at the two approaching thugs. Team Skull, she was warned about them the other day, but seeing them now… The way they shake their arms and make symbols with their hands is supposed to intimidate, but for her serve to irk her ire. "You are curious about mega-evolution, would you like to see it?"

    The key-stone in Serena's hand shines as she throws a Pokéball. Absol is enveloped within a bright light to become mega-Absol. "Absol, night slash!"

    The two Team Skull thugs fight back with a drowzee and zubat, but are defeated in seven seconds. Despite trembling with fear, they talk tough, "We got beat here, but the two of you'll be hanging off our arms soon enough!" and, "Once we get serious, the two of you will be all over us!"

    "Absol," The Pokémon barks and chases the two Team Skull thugs down street.

    Lillie says, "It transformed!"

    "Pew!"

    Serena releases her anger with a sigh. Team Skull might just be a nuisance now, but so was Team Flare at first. "That is mega-evolution, the shinning release of a Pokémon's full potential." Serena's glances downward, "Your Pokémon escaped."

    Lillie bends over toward Nebby with her hands on her hips. "Oh, you, not again! How many times do we have to go over this?"

    They continue to the hotel once Absol returns. Serena leaves Lillie in the lobby and continues up to her room. Her parents have a house, but right now she wants to be on her own. She will return home in a week once the lease expires.

    She hangs her towel in the shower and sheds her swimsuit for a black blouse and red skirt. After brushing her hair, she places her six pokeballs onto her waist. The final one glitters like a rainbow. She then walks out the door while draping her champion's mantle over her shoulders. The emblem of Kalos, a wide shield covering a fasces and decorated with oak and olive branches, is embroidered on the white cape's center in bright blue, silver, and red.

    Lillie sits on a lobby sofa with her face cupped within her hands. "Thanks to Team Skull, I missed my meeting…"
     
  8. warriorseadra

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    Legendary Triforce ★★
    Chapter 5
    Calem wakes up in one of, the Pokémon center's, trainer beds in Paniola Town the next day. Rotom says, "Ahhh… Now this izzz a mighty fine place. I reckon I could get to like it here, pardner."

    Tauros and Miltank are seen grazing in the pasture from the window. A small group are exercising by running up and down ramps on the side. He rubs his Pokémon egg while saying, "It doesn't feel right not seeing rhyhorn and ponyta."

    Hau calls out to him upon exiting the Pokémon center. "Hey, Calem! Glad I ran into you. Let's battle and see who's stronger now! My gramps must have thought I did good enough in my grand trial, 'cause he gave me a Z-ring too." Hau fist pumps, "Having a battle in a place like Paniola Town feels like we're in a real old-fashion Western showdown, right?" He then shoots a finger gun at a passing Pokémon breeder. The girl crosses her arms over her heart as she pretends to be shot before winking.

    The two walk to a more open part of the road. Hau says, "Awrite, Pikachu let's show this newbie what Alola's got!"

    "Cutiefly, stun spore."

    Pikachu dives underneath the powder and releases a thunder shock which Cutiefly dodges to the side. Judging from the quality and amount of electricity being released, Hau's Pokémon is in top form. In a match against speed, Cutiefly and Pikachu are about even. Pikachu, however, has an advantage with static fur.

    "Silver wind!"

    Pikachu again dives underneath the attack. Calem predicted the action, but stops himself from saying "stun spore." The small gap between shifting from silver wind to stun spore is more than enough time for Pikachu to use volt tackle. Cutiefly is a small target, but that's no guarantee she'll be fine. Better to create some distance.

    Cutiefly cries out as Pikachu lands a thunder shock. Pikachu proceeds to pounce on the fairy Pokémon as she falls and releases an electrical discharge.

    "Cutiefly, rest easy for now."

    Hau hugs Pikachu, "Great going, pal!" To Calem, "Well, I'll catch you later." He then walks off for the ranch with the Pokémon breeder from earlier. She's been batting her eyelashes at him since getting shot.

    Calem gets a quick breakfast at the Pokémon center café and also heads for the ranch. A rancher calls out to him. "Hey, you're a trial goer, right? Well, you've got some good timing. The captain's actually here now, so come on. If only my daughter was here and not messing around… This is a great opportunity learning opportunity for her, but instead she's sharing a tauros saddle with some boy."

    Mallow is in the pasture milking a miltank. She masks her cold glance at Calem with cheerful smile and big wave. "Thanks for stopping by! The Moomoo Milk from Paniola Ranch is always rich and creamy when used in white sauce. The taste can't be described." The miltank's "moo" emphasis her statement.

    "I'll take your word for it."

    Annoyance creeps into Mallow's voice, "What's that supposed to mean?"

    "I lost my sense of taste a few years back."

    "Shame, you're missing out."

    "I'll live."

    Mallow makes a face, but then shakes her head. She reasserts her cheerful smile and says, "If you go all the way down route 5, you'll come out on Brooklet Hill. You'll find my friend Lana up there." She then thanks the farmer for the milk and runs off.

    Calem wonders what he could have done to tick off Mallow. They first meet one another just yesterday. Then again, she is a trial captain. Ilima could have told her about him. To believe a simple rumor without verifying the facts… pathetic.

    Calem thanks the farmer, but before he can leave, is asked to help calm one of their Pokémon. A new tauros has been resisting all efforts into being trained into becoming a ride Pokémon and the farmer thinks he needs help burning some excess energy. "Couldn't you have asked the trial captain?"

    "I did, but she said some trial goers were coming and that this would be a good experience for them. The other one ran off with my daughter before I could ask, so help out, would ya?"

    "Fine."

    Tauros claims a corner of the ranch for himself. He snorts, thrashes his horns around, and jumps onto his hind legs as Calem and the rancher draw near. Unlike Tauros on Melemele Island who was looking for a good time, this one is determine to assert himself as an alpha male. He already has a pair of milktank lounging by his side.

    Tauros has the arrogant look of a king in his eyes. He won't accept anything less than full, outright defeat. Trickery, states conditions, sleight of hand, any of that and he'll act up again upon recovering. "Cutiefly, struggle bug."

    Tauros flails its horns and tails, but Cutiefly flies around them and onto an unreachable section of his back. Tauros bucks around, but Cutiefly holds tight and continues its attack.

    "Cutiefly, get away." The fairy Pokémon flies away just as Tauros flops onto his back. "Silver wind."

    Tauros charges through the scales with a head smash. Should he have Cutiefly flies over him? No, Tauros will whip her with his tail. Below? No, he can just throw himself down on her. The side? No, the tail again. Calem, unable to make a decision, is forced to watch Cutiefly take Tauros's attack.

    The fairy Pokémon slams into the ground, but undaunted, flutters its wings and rises once more. He shouldn't hesitate over this. Cutiefly is fast. Doesn't matter which direction she evades, she should be able to avoid all of Tauros's counters. No, she would have avoided them, and that's assuming Tauros would have been able to make any. If Calem wants to break past this hesitation, there's only one option. He takes a breath and forces himself to try again, "Cutiefly, silver wind."

    Tauros once more forces his way through with head charge. Calem visualizes Tauros flattening Cutiefly with his body and then stomping her with his feet. Even if she gets through, he could whip her with his tail. No, he shakes his head. He's prepared for the consequences. He won't lose his voice this time. "Cu-Cutiefly… Di-dive underneath!"

    This could fall apart at any moment. Calem shakes from fear that Cutiefly might get hurt. Still, he forces his eyes to remain open. Cutiefly is so small, Tauros doesn't even see her zip underneath his mane. He keeps imagining that the normal Pokémon will discover what happened and react, but Cutiefly breaks through. She then loops around and attacks Tauros's back with drain kiss. The Pokémon slows, stumbles, and falls over.

    Cutiefly flies to the front of Tauros's face as he tries to get back onto his feet. She zooms back and then smashes herself against his face with a headbutt. Tauros's head jerks to the side with a "Tau…" as he fall over unconscious.

    Calem's legs almost give out on him as he breaths out in relief. He pets Cutiefly as she lands upon his shoulder. "That was completely reckless. Nice going."

    Calem receives some Moo Moo milk from the rancher as thanks. After giving some to Cutiefly and Mawile, he leaves.

    Route 4 is full of trainers and wild Pokémon. Whenever Calem crosses eyes with one, he runs away at full speed. Upon entering route 5, he passes a girl riding atop of a Tauros. She is glowing with happiness, evident from the red marks on her neck. Other than her, this route is the same as the previous up until Hau calls out to him. "Man, Calem, did you see that? I totally lost."

    The person he lost against, a blonde about one to two years older than them, scowls. "Are you even taking this seriously?"

    "I am! I'm seriously enjoying it!"

    "Enjoying it? You can enjoy Pokémon battling when you put everything you have into it… which clearly you haven't."

    Hau turns to Calem. "Watch out, Calem. This guy is plenny scary!"

    The person cups his chin. "You're Calem?"

    Calem, put off by the person inquiring to his identity, says, "Who wants to know?"

    "You're pretty cautious. Looks like you have a high sense of preservation. I'm Gladion."

    "Calem."

    "I battle for my partner, Null, to make it strong. Though most of our time gets used up doing small jobs for Team Skull."

    Calem's indifference changes into irritation. His tone shifts from curious and guarded to annoyed. "You work for those low lives? Here I thought you were a decent person."

    "Battle me. I won't take no for an answer. Type: Null, crush claw."

    "Mawile, sucker punch." Mawile lets the opposing Pokémon get close and throws off its aim with her attack. Calem uses his next command to try and figure out the Type: Null's type, "Fire fang!"

    Mawile tries to clamp her second mouth into Type: Null's side, but its reflexes only let her attack brush against its side. Calem guessed wrong. Judging from the Pokémon's lack of reaction, it isn't a steel type. Whatever it is, it isn't weak against fire, either.

    Gladion says, "Take down!"

    "Iron head." The two attacks meet and cancel out. It isn't a type that's weak against steel either. "Thunder fang!"

    Again, the Pokémon twists away from being caught in Mawile's second mouth. The Pokémon also isn't weak against electric attacks.

    "Rage!"

    Calem thinks about Type: Null's name and considers its three attacks, crush claw, take down, and rage. "Brick break!"

    Mawile swings its second mouth into the oncoming Pokémon's side. Type: Null, too worked up by its own attack, is helpless to defend itself and ends up receiving the full brunt of Mawile's strike.

    Gladion calls back his Pokémon with a "How annoying…" under his breath. "Hmph… It's not like me to slip up like that. I've got to keep fighting stronger opponents. Looks like I'm still not ready…"

    "Who are you fighting against?"

    Gladion ignores Calem's question and points at Hau. "Your Pokémon aren't weak. And sure, it's fine to enjoy battling… But you! You're just using that as an excuse not to try hard because you can't beat the Kahuna. Because you can't beat Hala when he's serious!"

    Hau chuckles. "You know my gramps? Wait, you think I'm strong?"

    Calem says, "Your Pokémon are strong, he's calling you pathetic."

    "But I'm stronger than you and you beat him. Must mean I weakened 'im for ya, don'cha think?"

    A pair of Team Skull thugs, one female, the other male, appear from over a hill before Calem or Gladion can respond. "Awww, look at you, little Gladion! Aren't you just a real cool guy?"

    The second one says, "I guess it's no surprise a homeless kid would turn out spineless, too, huh? No worries, we've got enough backbone to cover for you!"

    Gladion says, "Just give it up already."

    "Huh?"

    "You know you can't beat me. You'll just get your Pokémon hurt for no reason." Gladion turns to Calem, "They're good Pokémon."

    Calem shrugs, "I just don't want them to get hurt."

    The girl Team Skull thug says, "We came all this way, and for what? For a big fat waste of our time, thanks to you. If you hadn't gotten in our way, we could've stolen the totem Pokémon from Brooklet Hill! Let's get out of here. Look, the murkrow are crying, and it's time we should be flying."

    The male Team Skull thug says, "Listen up good, Gladion… The boss does like you. That's true. But you're just some hired help we keep around for when we need you. You aren't part of Team Skull, not really. And you never will be. Got it? You better get it."

    Calem and Hau watch Gladion walk away after the Team Skull thugs leave. Calem says, "He really does come off as a decent guy." Could he be using Team Skull for some as a way to get stronger? Revenge against the reason he's homeless? What really stands out, however, is how similar he looks to Lillie.

    Hau says, "Thanks, Calem. And Mawile, too. It was a good battle! Still, saying you beat the guy I lost against really doesn't feel right… Looks like I've gotta train up my team if I'm gonna take on the trial at Brooklet Hill next! Come on, Calem! Let's beat this island challenge."

    Calem takes a short break in the Pokémon center before continuing onto Brooklet Hill. A blue haired girl three to four years younger than him sits on a pier like bridge. She's fishing, but doesn't appear to have caught anything. Calem intends to walk past her, but she calls out to him. "You look like an able-bodied trainer. Could I ask for your help with something?"

    Calem pauses for a moment to look the girl over. She has her own Pokémon and neither she nor they look weak. Normally, he'd say no, but running into Team Skull earlier skewed his thought process. "Yeah, ce qui est errone?"

    "Then follow me. This way, please." The girl leads Calem down the path to a small lake and directs his attention to something splashing in the water. "See? Do you see that there? Look at that vigorous splashing. I wouldn't be surprised to find a fearsome Pokémon causing it… Could I ask you to investigate it for me? Here, use my lapras. Just give me a moment to set up the riding equipment."

    "Stop, you don't need to do that." Calem jumps onto Lapras's bare shell and swims out to the splashing. As he gets closer, a school of wishiwashi break away and swim downstream. One remains and attacks. Calem, still somewhat angry from his encounter with Team Skull, has Cutiefly defeat it within the minute.

    The blue haired girl says, "So it was Wishiwashi kicking up all that water? Even small fish can make such big waves…" She turns her head at the sound of splashing. "Oh me. What is that?"

    "More splashing."

    "It comes from over there and sounds even larger than what we just saw. Is it a Pokémon? Is it a person? I suppose we had better go check."

    Calem follows the girl down another hill where she says, "Look, there it is. Ah… I'm sorry. What was your name?"

    "Calem."

    "Of course, Calem! It is a lovely name. Just lovely." Calem wonders if she's flirting with him, or just trying to slip underneath his guard. She turns to the lake. "Now look over there. Do you see that? Whatever is kicking up such lovely splashes must be rather big… A strapping young swimmer, perhaps? Or an amazing Pokémon specimen?"

    Calem rides Lapras out to the splashing. Water sprays him as he gets closer. It's refreshing underneath the hot sun. Upon getting closer, another school of wishiwashi break away and swim downstream. A remaining wishiwashi attacks and is also defeated within moments. Rain begins to fall the second Wishiwashi faints.

    The girl says from the opposite bank, "Oh my, so it was another Wishiwashi that was kicking up all that water? Hmm. How unfortunate. It wasn't a strapping young swimmer after all…"

    "Were you hoping to find some guy drowning?"

    More splashing gets her attention. "Oh my word. Now what is that? Even more furious splashing? It sounds as big as a wailord. It might just be another Pokémon, but… Maybe, just maybe, we'll be lucky enough to find a spry young swimmer floundering in the water in need of saving."

    "And maybe even in need of CPR?"

    The girl turns towards Calem with more vigor than she's shown before. "Let's go investigate it." Unlike the previous times where she walked, she runs ahead. Calem finds her at the bottom of the hill waiting for him to catch up. She says, "Brooklet Hill… Within it lies the legendary Pokémon said to be the embodiment of the sea itself… the mighty Kyogre."

    "Really?"

    Calem's expressionless face and flat tone make Lana blush. She shakes it off with a shrug and says, "Darn, I was really hoping to get you with that." She then turns around and walks Calem to the shore, "But we are near the sea. If that splashing sound is coming from the sea… then I wonder what is causing it. And now that it is raining, the power of water-type moves will be boosted. Could those splashes be caused by some Pokémon whose moves are now growing ever stronger in the falling rain?"

    They stop by the water's edge and she says, "Calem, you've come all this way with me… I didn't mention this earlier, but I am Lana, the trial captain."

    "I know."

    Lana almost shouts, "You knew? And you didn't say anything? Since how long?"

    "The start. Why else would strong trainer with strong Pokémon ask for help? So, did I pass your test?"

    "You even saw through that… Yes, you helped a complete stranger without hesitation or question. You're the cool, quiet, mysterious type, but also a good person at heart. Now, to clear my trial, you must defeat the great totem Pokémon known as the lord of the ocean! You'll probably find the totem over there by that spray of water. You've already proven your strength of character, defeat whatever comes at you and prove your strength of might."

    Calem rides Lapras out to the splashing to find a wishiwashi. The water Pokémon cries out and soon a school of wishiwashi surround the original one to create a wishiwashi sea-monster bigger than Lapras. Calem has the trembling Lapras evade the water Pokémon's pounce and make for some nearby rocks. "It really does look like Kyogre."

    Rotom says, "Wishiwashi have an ability known as school. It lets them combine with other wishiwashi to create that faux Kyogre there."

    "Strength in numbers, clever." He jumps off Lapras for a large flat platform and returns her to her Pokéball. He then calls out, "Mawile!"

    This battle will be difficult. Unlike the battle with the other wishiwashi, he's no longer angry. Lana's antics during their trek there calmed him down. His earlier guidance of Lapras was pure reflex. Thunder fang will be key to winning this battle, but with his fears and hesitation, how will they land it?

    A flaming red aura surrounds Wishiwashi as it stares down Mawile and Calem. Despite the water Pokémon's immense size, Mawile's glare intimidates the Pokémon.

    A horrible idea strikes Calem. His reflexive command of Lapras arose from an instinctive desire to survive. This idea is dangerous, but both breaks past his condition and also solves the issue of landing thunder fang. "Mawile…" He doesn't want to say it. He has to say it! Everything will be pointless unless he does. "Mawile," He swallows and, "Ta- taunt!"

    Wishiwashi leaps out of the water to dive bomb Mawile with Calem as collateral. Not only does this plan lure the water Pokémon in, it also prevents him from calling any help. But first, they need to avoid getting squashed underneath the enormous water Pokémon. Thunder fang will be pointless if they can't. Now to think of a solution…

    Calem doesn't turn away from the looming Wishiwashi. The stronger the sense of danger, the more his instincts and thoughts should refine themselves. He can see down Wishiwashi's gullet. He wants to close his eyes, turn away from the danger, but he won't. That would make this set up pointless. He grits his teeth and, "Iron head!"

    Mawile plants her feet on the ground and with a "Maw!", slams her second mouth upward and into the side of Wishiwashi's jaw. The force of her strike changes the angle of Wishiwashi's drop, creating an opening for Mawile and Calem to duck into where they avoid his body slam.

    Calem sees Wishiwashi's shadow pass underneath him. The water Pokémon is right above them… This is the perfect opportunity. He looks up towards the tail, "Thunder fang!"

    Mawile rips Wishiwashi's tailfin off with her attack and tosses the individual wishiwashi back into the ocean. "Taunt, once more!"

    Wishiwashi, enraged from the damage he received and the attack, dive bombs Mawile again. Calem repeats the same tactic as before, this time having Mawile rip off part of his fin.

    "Taunt!" This is a battle against Wishiwashi's intelligence. Repetitive use of this strategy gives the water that many more opportunities to learn and develop a counter. Not using it and letting such a powerful Pokémon call for backup is worse.

    Mawile succeeds in ripping out a few more chucks from Wishiwashi's left side, but the sixth "Taunt!" is ignored. Wishiwashi glares at them and soaks them with mucus and water. Brine, until the mucus dries, Mawile is for all practical purposes a water type Pokémon. Wishiwashi has no intention of getting close to them either.

    "Rock throw." Mawile rips out a piece of the stone from their platform with her second mouth and hurls it at Wishiwashi's left side. The water Pokémon tries to evade, but due to repeated damage to said side, finds he can only swim to the left and into the attack.

    Wishiwashi stops trying to evade the rocks after the second hit and calls for help. Answering the call is an Alomomola.

    "Taunt!" The new comer charges and leaps at Mawile. A "sucker punch" knocks it aside and a "thunder fang" scoops the water Pokémon out of the air. With "Spit up," Mawile throws the Pokémon back at Wishiwashi. Wishiwashi, however, is no longer there to receive the attack.

    "Mawile."

    "Maw!" Mawile nods and they both stop. They shut their eyes and breathe.

    Wishiwashi is circling around behind them. Calem waits for the sound of water breaching, "Iron head!"

    Mawile doesn't waste time turning. She flicks her second mouth to the side and slaps Wishiwashi onto the rocks. "Play rough!" Mawile jumps on the beached water Pokémon and literally tears him apart. When only the original Wishiwashi remains, she picks him up and tosses him into the ocean.

    Calem rubs Mawile's head. "Nice, you were amazing out there." He then shakes his hand the get off the goo he picked up from her head. More than just victory, he also learned something else. Being in danger also serves to focus his mind. It might be better than anger, but it's no substitute for a clear, rational thinking. There's also the problem of how often he will even be in danger.

    With Wishiwashi defeated, the rain stops and the sun appears. Calem and Mawile ride Lapras back to shore where he returns the water Pokémon to Lana. She says, "I… I must say that I find myself at an impasse here. All of the wishiwashi that I so diligently trained up were defeated, and that is very frustrating… but of course I cannot let your completion of my trial go uncelebrated, Calem. The way you faced that totem Pokémon head on was breath taking.

    "Please take this, the waterium Z. Watch, this is how you use it." Lana makes an X with her arms and then separates them to circle them around herself where she then waves them to her sides like in a hula dance. "One more thing, here, this is my special lure. Keep it with you at all times for good luck."

    Lana puts on a serious expression. "By the way. Did you know I once reeled in a red gyarados?" She doesn't shift her eyes and nor does her face twitch.

    "Did you really?"

    Lana turns around to giggle. "Well, what do you think?" She faces Calem upon regaining her composure, "You did a fine job today. Shall I see you back to the Pokémon center of route fi-" A low grumble from her stomach cuts her question short.

    "I'm actually about to stop at café. Want to come?"

    "Yes! Ahem, I mean, of course. Let's be going then."

    Lana sees Calem off with, "Next is Kiawe's trial at Wela Volcano Park. Oh, that reminds me… Did you see any sudowoodo by Paniola Ranch?"

    "I heard there were some around, but I didn't bother to search for them."

    "Well, they were causing some trouble for people, so I gave them a little dose of waterium Z. It was just a little lesson for them. I wonder how they will react now that they see that you have waterium Z, too?" She giggles and says, "Fare well."

    The sudowoodo in question bolt at the sight. A young trainer, brought to laughter at the sight, comments that they're heading towards the Battle Royal Dome. "Maybe they're trying to get stronger?" Calem ignores the comment and continues walking. He wants to get to the next town before nightfall.

    A mudsdale blocks the entrance to Royal Avenue. Calem circles around the ground Pokémon to find Team Skull harassing a trainer. She notices Calem and says, "You there, Trainer. Can you come to my aid?" She's protecting a drifloon from them.

    A Team Skull thug says, "Yo, yo, yo! Don't go turning your backside on us!"

    That phrase. "Yo, yo, yo" strikes a cord within Calem. He gives the two Team Skull thugs a look full of disgust. "Again?"

    The second Team Skull thug says, "You! You're that numskull trainer from Melemele, yo!"

    The trainer gives Calem a look. She says, "These scoundrels are Pokémon thieves. You're on familiar terms with them?"

    "Yeah, comme un exterminateur avec un rat embetants."

    The trainer hears his first word and tunes out the rest that's in French. "I'm Hapu. Life in the big city sure is something else. Pokémon thieves roam about brazenly and trainers interact with them like normal."

    The first Team Skull thug says, "We're not thieves, you! It's a legitimate business!"

    The second Team Skull thug says, "First we get straight messed up on Melemele… Then we get exiled to Akala and get played by some girl… Now this? We ain't going out so easy"

    Hapu clicks her tongue. "Forget it, I'll deal with this myself! Mudsdale!"

    The ground-type Pokémon stomps its hooves and rips through the drowzee and zubat sent out by Team Skull. The two thugs cower upon calling back their Pokémon. "With all these losses, we're gonna anger out bosses!"

    "These tears taste like salt, yo! It's all your fault, yo!"

    Mudsdale snorts and they run off. Hapu jabs a finger into Calem's stomach, "Don't think I forgot about you! Take this as a warning. Keep associating with punks like them and I'll set you straight too." Mudsdale gives Calem a snort before leaving with his trainer to see Drifloon home.

    Rotom says, "Wowzers, looks like you totally gave her the wrong impression! Think we'll run into her again? Zzzzt!"

    Calem continues into the city with a "Probably." The sun hasn't fully set by the time he's finished checking in at the Pokémon center, so he decides to explore the city. Outside the Battle Royal Dome, he recognizes Gladion's blond hair and distinct black hoodie.

    Calem follows him inside and finds that he's registering to compete. Calem is still angry from his recent encounter with Team Skull, but can't decide if it's enough to enter the competition. While still hesitating on what to do, a masked man from above says, "Glad you could make it!"

    Many people cheer and wave as the man descends the stairs with his head held high. "I'm here today, yeah, to spread the word, oh yeah, about Battle Royal! They call me… the Masked Royal! Woo!"

    From the wrinkles at the side of the Masked Royal's mouth, the shape of his teeth, and cut of his goatee, "Professor Kukui?"

    "The Masked Royal! I'm here to teach you, oh yeah, about the battle rules passed down in Alola for generations... The Pokémon Battle Royal. Woo!"

    Calem's flat expression doesn't break as he listens to the Masked Royal's overly dramatic explanation. By the end of the explanation, however, any irritation he had from seeing Team Skull is gone. When the Masked Royal says, "First, just give it a shot! Pick your Pokémon, and let's do this!" Calem's answer is overshadowed by Hau's appearance on the balcony. "Dude! It's the Masked Royal! I wanna battle! The girls won't get enough of me once I battle against you!"

    Masked Royal looks to Gladion, "You there! You just register! Looks like we'll be having fun together in the next match.

    "It's time for a Pokémon Battle Royal! Ready… fight!" Hau and Masked Royal drag Calem into the arena.

    The packed stadium shakes from the crowds cheering as Calem walks out the tyranitar corner. Upon entering the ring, "Cutiefly."

    Hau calls, "Brionne," Masked Royal, "Rockruff," and Gladion, "Type: Null!"

    Calem thinks back to when he and his partners would have thrown themselves into the center of the fry. Cutiefly's small size and speed make her a difficult target, but right now, he rather she stays by the sidelines.

    "Null, charge in there with crush claw!" Gladion's aggression separates him out from Masked Royal and Hau. Whatever drove him to join Team Skull really burns in this match. More than that is his frustration. Loosing really irked him, as if he defines himself through victory. Interesting is the way he clutches his arm. He did the same during their previous battle. Some sort of nervous tick, maybe?

    Masked Royal has Rockruff meet Type: Null head on. Hau keeps his distance and fills the field with bubbles. Their attacks tell a lot about their personalities. Masked Royal is the kind who'll throw himself into the wild and experience new thing to their fullest. Hau looks like he's just being cautious, but when compared to how he behaved in previous battles against Calem, fears committing himself unless he knows he can win.

    Rocks from Rockruff's mane fly about in the bubble covered field, but there's a pattern. Where they go depends on the angle Type: Null receives them in. The air pressure from those rocks, and bubbles popping from the rocks, influence the flow of Brionne's bubbles.

    Neither Calem nor Cutiefly want to sit by without doing anything. He sees the battle field's flow, he can guide Cutiefly though this mine field… but one misread and everything will explode in Cutiefly's face. The weight of that responsibility numbs him. It erases his voice.

    Calem clutches his throat. He wants to command Cutiefly, and she wants to receive a command. Going in is too dangerous. "Sea- sev- sail- sla-" He can't say silver wind. He can't give the command that would be safest. He shuts his eyes and, "Acrobatics!"

    The numerous methods this attack could fail play themselves out in his mind. Each one grows worse the further Cutiefly progress into the maelstrom. He can't make himself watch. But even while looking away, he can't shut out the buzz from her wings.

    The erupting cheer makes everything go silent from the noise. Calem hesitates, but cracks open an eye. The battle ended. Cutiefly is fine, her target Type: Null is limping, but also standing. Rockruff is down at the opposite end of the ring besides the untouched Brionne. Calem releases his breath. The battle is over.

    Outside in the lobby, Masked Royal says, "So what do you think? It's easy to have a fun time with Battle Royal. Woo! You even have a shot at beating real tough opponents this way, yeah?"

    A stranger interrupts. "That was an interesting battle. You, trial goers, both of you held back, but for different reasons it seems. I hope you bring real fire with you to my trial." He walks over once he has everyone's attention. "The name's Kiawe, the fire captain. I'll be waiting on the peak of Wela Volcano."

    Once Kiawe walks way, Masked Royal says, "So! Calem, Hau. How are your trials going? I hope you and your Pokémon are working hard and havin' a blast. Woo!"

    Hau's taken aback by Masked Royal's words. "But, Mr. Masked Royal… How's you even know that we're doing our trials right now? Oh! It must have been our amulets, huh? Well, I'm having a blast. I've gotten to know so many different girls." Hau then turns to Gladion, "Why are you here? Why would you even wanna do a Battle Royal?"

    Gladion gives Hau a cold glance. "Because Null and I have to make it on our own. And I don't ever want to forget that." He turns his back to everyone and leaves.

    Hau says, "…Wow. You're just a ray of sunshine, eh. I think you'd have a lot more fun if you just let yourself have a good time with everybody else. You can do a lot more together, too!"

    Calem says, "Not everyone gets that luxury. Fun and relaxation are pointless when you're trying to survive." He leaves without another word to check into the Pokémon center for the night.
     
  9. warriorseadra

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    Legendary Triforce ★★
    Chapter 6

    Rotom wakes Calem up the next morning by buzzing around his head. "Come on, let'szzz go! Seemzzz like Wela Volcano Park lies off route 7. Careful you don't end up in any hot water, pal!"

    Calem gets a quick breakfast at the café, stocks up on some supplies at the market, and leaves Royal Avenue. A sign post on the side of the road directs him to Wela Volcano Park. Looking up from the mountain's base, the hike will be a lot easier than he anticipated. Some spots on the trail even have railings. As usual, he runs from wild encounters and ignores fellow trainers. He only stops twice, the first for lunch and the second to set up camp for the night.

    He could go a bit further, but "Amateur mistake." The survival skills he developed during his first adventure were reinforced and improved upon after Kalos fell. The times he was forced to camp out with his friends where a pain, but became useful experiences a year later. "I wish I never had to learn these skills…"

    Calem hugs his violet Pokémon egg to himself as he leans against a rock. He breathes in the aroma of berries and meat he's stewing over a fire; he's doing it just how he was taught, but, "Nothing." At the very least, "it'll be healthy," sans the excess salt used to preserve the meat.

    Calem glances towards some bushes while Mawile and Cutiefly jump to attention. A crunching twig and rustling branches tell Calem everything he needs to know. "Join me if you want."

    A girl with a red beanie and Munchlax with a strange stone around his neck appear from the sea of tall grass. "Phew, really? Thanks! I was planning to wait a bit more before setting up camp, but then the night just feel on me."

    She's a year younger than him by most. "First time adventuring?"

    "Is it that obvious?"

    "Just about everyone makes that mistake. Next is finishing your preparations before the sun finishes setting."

    "Bleh, any others?"

    Calem settles the egg between his legs and passes her a plate of his berry and meat mix along with some bread. Cutiefly settles herself on the girl's shoulder as she accepts the plate. "Scavenging and cooking."

    "Thanks," she makes a sandwich with the meat and dips it in the berry sauce. Her glee upon biting into it must mean it tastes good. She notices him staring, and with berry sauce covering her face, asks, "What?"

    "Just seeing if you like it." Calem says while taking a bite from his plate. "I'm Calem, she's Cutiefly, and she's Mawile."

    "Mahina," she says while dipping her sandwich into the sauce. "And he's Munchlax." She speaks fast and takes another bite of her sandwich. She then lifts her head to puff in and out. Finally, she downs a mouthful of water and sighs out in relief. The way she eats… She's just like Tierno.

    Mahina has a happy carefree personality. At least, that's what Calem judges as he waits for her to finish eating. It's a lot like theirs were when they first set out. He glances towards Munchlax who's pulling out berries from his fur coat and recognizes his stone as a Z-crystal.

    "You're a trial goer?"

    Mahina, who even cleared the berry sauce off her plate, still has her mouth full when he asks. She waves her hand and hurries to swallow.

    "Oh, sorry. Take your time."

    She swallows and despite her face being covered in sauce, gives a bright smile. Her teeth are stained purple. Exactly like Tierno's. "No, no, I'm just a normal trainer. Or, was. A pair of trainers I met the other day, Dexio and Sina, entrusted me with a special mission." From her bag she pulls out an emerald green decahedral with a Z on it. She holds her head up with pride as she says, "To collect the hundred Zygarde cells and cores scattered throughout Alola and gather them into the Z-cube."

    Mahina's smile breaks from Calem's lack of reaction. "I guess you don't really care…"

    "My face isn't very expressive." Calem reaches for his bag and pulls out some green slug like hexagons. He found them during his travels and was going to ask Professor Kukui about them, but this solves that mystery. They fly from his hand and meld into the Z-cube. "Dexio and Sina are friends of mine. They must have a really high opinion of you to entrust you with this mission."

    Mahina shrugs, "Munchlax and I beat Sina in a Pokémon battle?"

    "Pokémon battles can be windows into a trainer's heart and soul if you know how to look. Then again, some people are good at hiding their true nature. So, did they tell you Zygarde's story?"

    "There's a story? Sina said Zygarde is a legendary Pokémon that protects the land of Kalos. Right now the pieces are scattered across Alola, but once they're gathered together again, Kalos will be restored."

    Calem rubs his Pokémon egg while looking up to the stars, "This actually starts some thousand years ago; there was a terrible war in Kalos fought by both human and Pokémon. Of those Pokémon who gave their lives was Floette. When her owner, AZ, received a tiny box with her body, he set off to build a machine to revive his treasured Pokémon. He succeeded, but his rage still burned. AZ, unable to forgive the word for taking his beloved Pokémon away, converted his machine into the ultimate weapon. One shot was all he needed to end the war. His Pokémon, Floette, realized that many other Pokémon had to give up their lives for hers to return. The sadness that knowledge burdened her with made her leave AZ. She'd actually return to fight alongside one final time…"

    Calem glances toward Mahina. She and Munchlax sit at rapt attention. They don't say anything, but their eyes urge him to continue. "A few years back, Team Flare appear in Kalos. Much like Team Skull, they stole and caused petty crimes, but in time, their actions grew bolder. At one point they even took control of a Pokéball production factory." Calem pauses for a moment as he recalls the annoying conveyer belts he had to manipulate to get past the security. "Team Flare's goal was to use the ultimate weapon to wipe out all life on the planet. Their leader, Lysander, was convinced that was the only way to end the mistreatment of Pokémon by human hands. Only he and his chosen few would survive.

    "Just like with Floette's revival, the ultimate weapon needed a lot of energy to function. Team Flare, for this end, searched out the two other legendary Pokémon of Kalos, Yveltal and Xerneas. But, their spy on the Elite Four, Malva, she slipped up right at the last minute. With Team Flare's ambitions discovered, everyone: the champion, the elite four, the gym leaders, and trainers fought to stop it. Two trainers pushed ahead, broke into Team Flare's hideout first, and managed to rescue Yveltal and Xerneas, but not before the ultimate weapon finished charging. Diantha, Wikstrom, Drasna, Siebold, and Professor Sycamore gave their lives to try and stop it from firing. It would have been in vein if Zygarde hadn't appeared. It smothered the ultimate weapon and absorbed most of the blast with its own body. The world was saved, but Kalos fell."

    Mahina speaks with awe, "The Last Night of Kalos… The entire planet shook that day. It was right before my 11th birthday, right when I was getting ready set off on my trial challenge. My mother was so scared that she made me delay my journey until now. But you… you were there…"

    The gentleness within the smile Calem gives Mahina reflects everything he's experienced since then. He and Mahina just met, she's a complete stranger, yet, I'm completely exposing everything to her. His mother doesn't know even know all of this. "A lot of people and Pokémon died that night… I lost almost my entire team: Greninja, Charizard, Lucario, Aegislash, and Tyrantrum. Mawile is the only one left. Even more died during the nightmare that followed… A good friend of mine among them.

    "Anyway, this brings us to the present. The first issue, why is Zygarde here of all places? Second, the current Kalos Champion, Serena, is in Alola."

    "But, you just said the previous champion-"

    "In Kalos, to become champion, you had to overcome the Elite Four and then defeat the current champion. Back then that was Diantha. Afterwards comes a ceremony where the previous champion passes on the mantel. Serena defeated Diantha the day before everything ended. Diantha did pass on her mantel at the last minute, but officially, she died with her title. Now, as I was saying, Zygarde, Serena, and even Yveltal and Xerneas have gathered in Alola. This is just a feeling, but something may be happening here now too."

    Calem puts out the fire with some dirt he set aside earlier and lies down. "Well, I'm going sleep. See you in the morning."

    "Just like that?"

    Calem shrugs, "This is all just paranoia and speculation. You don't have to take it seriously."

    Mahina lays down as well. With her backpack as a pillow, she stares at the stars. After a few moments, "Hey, Calem?"

    "Yeah?"

    "Thanks for telling me that story."

    Calem feels a smile spread across his face. If he were Tierno, he would say, 'Don't worry about it.' He, however, isn't Tierno. He's avoided thinking about him for years. "Thanks for listening."

    "G'night."

    Calem wakes up the next morning feeling refreshed, better than he has in years. Mahina wakes up while he's fishing out bread to eat with the left overs. Cutiefly is still perched on her shoulder. Finding some, he makes a sandwich. An explosion of sweet bitterness goes off on his tongue. He's so shocked, he almost drops his breakfast.

    "Calem?"

    He takes another bite, chews, and swallows. He can taste again…

    "Calem, what's wrong?"

    A weak grin spreads across his face. Looking at Mahina, he's reminded of his encounter with Tapu Koko. That Pokémon stopped to look at him before flying off. That's what that meant. Calem takes off his Z-ring and lobs it towards Mahina. "There's a Pokémon on Melemele Island waiting to meet you."

    Mahina catches the Z-ring and points at herself, "Me?"

    "Hold him for a sec," he passes her his Pokémon egg. He steps back while saying, "Tapu Koko gave that to me with the intention that I'd pass it to you. Your second task is to face the Kakuna and master Z-power."

    "It's pronounced Kahuna, but more than that, I don't even know the first thing about Z-power!"

    "Really, Munchlax already has Z-crystal. Here, watch," Calem crosses his arms to make an X, makes a circle as he spreads them, and shrugs. "Then you do some sort of ritual thing. I can't really use it, myself. A trial captain could probably explain it a lot better. Demander a l'un d'entre eux."

    "What about you?"

    Calem hooks his thumb underneath his shirt to fish out his mega-necklace. "I'm from Kalos. I have to reclaim mega-evolution. Beside, even Cutiefly agrees."

    Mahina blushes upon realizing that Cutiefly is still perched on her shoulder. "This isn't- I'm not- I mean…"

    "Cutiefly was only attracted to me because of my aura, a very negative one at that. If my aura is no longer to her tastes, then that should mean I've become more positive. Well, that or your aura overshadows my negativity…"

    "I'm starting to feel like I'm some sort of thief…"

    "There's a saying, 'Don't say hello unless you're prepared to say goodbye.' I already accepted that something like this would happen sooner or later." Calem turns to Cutiefly, "Don't you go running off on her like this."

    Cutiefly nods.

    Mahina takes a breath and punches Calem's shoulder. "Then you better make sure you reclaim that mega-evolution thing like you said you will!" She then pushes the egg back into Calem's arms.

    She so much like Tierno it's scary. Calem's arms are even starting to shake. No, that's not why his arms are shaking. It's hatching! Scratches come from inside it. Then, cracks appear around the egg's top. They grow wider and deeper from the pressure being applied upward. A pair of large, violet ears break through the shell. The top of egg rises as a furry head of violet and purple with yellow eyes looks into the world. "Noi!"

    Calem holds Noibat to his face, "Congratulation on hatching. I've been waiting years to meet you."

    Mahina hops in place and claps her hands together. "Congratulations, your egg hatched!" After a few moments, they begin to clean up their mess from camping. Once they finish, Mahina says, "I guess I'm off to see Kahuna Olivia and start my island challenge."

    "I'll be continuing forward to resume mine."

    Calem turns to leave, but Mahina stops him with a sudden hug. She grins while saying, "Thanks, really… and good luck."

    Calem is at a complete loss on how to respond. He raises his free arm with some hesitation and closes it around her with some awkward stops in between. He's also clueless as to the amount of pressure to use or for how long to hold the position. He settles for letting go the same time she releases him.

    Mahina looks up at him and says, "You don't hug all that much, do you?"

    Calem shakes his head. "Nope, I forgot people do that."

    Mahina giggles as she steps back. They exchange good-byes once more and go their separate ways.

    Rotom says, "And thatzzz a new friend for you! Don't worry, if you ever want to call her, I have her number."

    "You're also a phone?"

    "That'zzz right… Hey, hey, you look happier. Did meeting her really change you that much? Bzzzt!"

    "Like a lock has been removed from a chain." Calem stops outside the entrance to Kiawe's trial. He places a hand over his heart. A stead beat follows the previous one. "Still, that's only one lock. There's a lot of keys left for me to find." He takes a breath and continues up to the mountain peak.

    Kiawe and three marowak stand on a stone platform surrounded by tiki torches. He notices Calem and says, "Your spirit is different today. Perhaps today you'll present a better version of yourself. My marowak and I are students of the ancient dances that have been passed down in Alola for generations. The trial of Kiawe… You will find that it is a bit different than the trials you have face thus far. Are you ready?"

    "Not like I came here for the sights."

    "My trial will test your powers of observation!"

    "I stand corrected."

    "There will be a dance… and then another. Your task- why do you now make such an expression? Do you find my trial lacking?"

    "My expression?" Calem hands rise to his face as it shifts from disillusionment to curiosity. "For years, everyone's been telling me my face died. Is it… really different from when we first met? I've been stuck with-"

    "Enough, I will not have my trial insulted. Find the differences!"

    He beats on some drums and his three marowak spin their clubs around while walking in a circle. They then stop and strike a pose. They then resume their starting positions, do the same pattern, and strike another pose. Kiawe says, "Well then, what was different?"

    Calem points to the marowak on the right. "He held his club closer to the center on the second attempt which in turn let him spin it faster. His steps were also a bit smaller the second time around." He then points to the marowak on the left. "She went through her routine faster the second time and finished sooner than the others. The flames from her club were also brighter and hotter. As for the middle maro-"

    "Stop, stop, I mean at the end. How do the endings differ from one another? That is the trial."

    "Why didn't you say so? The middle marowak struck a different pose."

    Kiawe averts his gaze and says, "Did you see any other discrepancies while he danced?"

    "First you don't want to know, now you do? Fine, whatever, there weren't any. His moves were exact replicas of themselves."

    The three marowak attack Calem. They form a line and rush him. He acts on instinct, "Mawile, sucker punch!" She stands between the marowak and Calem, taking out each one as they reach her. Each one attacks by swinging their club, but Mawile hits them before they can finish their attacks.

    Kiawe laughs and says, "The marowak were so pleased by your criticism that they simply had to battle you!"

    "That's not a demonstration of happiness."

    "Onward to the second dance!" He beats on some drums and his three marowak spin their clubs around while walking in a circle. They then stop and strike a pose. They then resume their starting position, do the same pattern, and strike another pose. "So, do you see the difference?"

    Calem points at a hiker posing with the marowak, "You mean beside that guy?"

    "Spectacular! And to add to the spectacle… Come my fine hiker!"

    The hiker takes a deep breath and, "Alola!"

    As the hiker sends out Magmar, Calem wonders if he can somehow skip this Z-crystal. He doesn't really need it anymore now that the Z-ring has been given to its rightful owner.

    "Mawile, thunder fang or play rough… Just… just end this, please…"

    "Maw!" She ducks underneath Magmar's flames and slams her second mouth into his stomach. Then, as he bends over, she finishes the match with thunder fang.

    Kiawe says, "My hiker friend was so pleased by your right answer that he simply had to battle you!"

    "You're not bothered that he interrupted their dance?"

    "Onward, to the final dance!" He beats on some drums and his three marowak spin their clubs around while walking in a circle. They then stop and strike a pose. They then resume their starting positions, do the same pattern, and strike another pose.

    The hiker is again posing with the marowak. "I'm going to take a guess here. Is she the totem Pokémon?"

    "Incredible! Come, totem Pokémon!"

    Salazzle takes a breath and, "Salaaa!" Flames burst from her tail as she drops down onto all fours. A burning aura surrounds her as she roars once more.

    The ridiculousness of Kiawe's trial leaves Calem unable to comprehend that Mawile is fighting against Salazzle until after hearing her cry out. Salazzle released a toxit spit and, seeing that it had no effect, now prepares a flame burst. Mawile can't do anything about it either because she's busy fighting a salandit. Salazzle then releases her flame burst at Mawile's exposed back.

    He rebukes himself. He never would have let himself get so caught up in the moment and distracted or muddleheaded before. But, now that he's here, what should he do? Salazzle is the more dangerous Pokémon, more so when her ability to call for help is considered, so she should be defeated first. Should Mawile go to her, or call her over? Both methods could end in disaster.

    "Maw!" Mawile cries out as she takes another hit.

    Mawile won't be able to shake off Salandit to attack Salazzle, therefore, "Taunt!"

    Salazzle, enraged, pounces for Mawile. Mawile, understanding Calem won't be able to make his next decision in time, knocks Salazzle aside with iron head. She then scoops up Salandit while he's still surprised at what just happened with vice grip and throws him aside. She then lures Salazzle in again with taunt and defeats her with sucker punch.

    Mawile walks back to Calem's side with her head held high. He rubs her head with a "Great going."

    Kiawe says, "You have keen observations, yet hesitate in battle. Just like your attitude, your fire is weak! That is my observation. Still, the totem Pokémon was defeated. She was carrying a firium Z. It is yours now."

    Calem accepts the Z-crystal and watches Kiawe's demonstration. He raises his arms above his head, lowers them, and then raises them again so he can lower them into a fighting pose. Kiawe's parting words are, "My belief is that the secret of Z-power lies in dance."

    Calem thanks Kiawe and leaves. His concept of dance differs on what he's seen on the island. Unlike the ridged and structured style he learned in Kalos, dance is much freer and relaxed in Alola. From what he saw at the festival when he first arrived, Everyone moves like water.

    He shrugs and calls out Noibat. As a just hatched Pokémon, he still needs to learn how to fly. He cups the flying Pokémon and tosses him upward. The little bat flaps his wings, but can't catch any wind with them. Calem chuckles as he catches the Pokémon. He waits for Noibat to get ready and he tosses him upward again. Once Noibat gets the hang of what he's doing, they'll be able to practice further distances. Their descent down the mountain side will provide many opportunities to do so.

    Night falls by the time they reach the bottom of the mountain.

    Calem wakes up the next day in one of Royal Avenue's, Pokémon center's, trainer beds. He tosses the pillow within his arms aside and cups his head within a palm. After years of holding Noibat's egg, getting used to not sleeping with it is going to be hard. That problem, however, has nothing to do with his growing irritation. He cannot forget the dream he just had; Hapu rode off atop of Mudsdale.

    He reaches for his Rotom-dex. "Rotom, were can I catch a ponyta?"

    "Sorry, they're not native to Alola. Bzzt!"

    Calem clicks his tongue. After a moment, he says, "Call my home…"

    His mother answers a few moments later, "Calem? What's wrong?"

    "I… Can you get me a ponyta?"

    His mother laughs at the other end. "Finally coming back to racing, are you? That's great! You got bucked off and now you're finally climbing back onto the reins."

    "Jamais quitte! I was just busy with other things…"

    She laughs again, "I was worried at first, but this journey really is doing you good. Fine, leave this to your mother. You'll have the best steed by tomorrow!"

    "That fast?"

    "Of course! Who do you think I am? I'm Grace, Rhyhorn Racer Champion! I'll call you later tonight about the details. Bye!"

    Calem hangs up with a, "Merci…" and gets out of bed. After a quick breakfast in the café, he proceeds for route 7 and then route 8. Although he still avoids trainer battles, he does stop to fight some of the wild Pokémon. Lana's gift turns out to be very helpful. The magikarp it draws in from the sea make excellent partners for Noibat.

    He stops at a mobile home belonging to the Aether Foundation for lunch. According to a person inside, the Aether Foundation, "Works to protect Pokémon through conservation. We accomplish our goal by knowing as much as we can about them such as how they live. A lot of the Pokémon here were hurt by Team Skull." She then gestures to a tailless slowpoke on an examination table.

    He reaches route 5 and Lush Jungle a few hours later. Mallow waits for him with a smile at the entrance, "Thanks for stopping by! Welcome to Lush Jungle, the trial grounds for me, Mallow!"

    "Stop, there's no one else around, quit pretending to be nice to me."

    Mallow's smile falls flat. "You're more perceptive than I gave you credit. Fine, I'll admit it, I hate your attitude. You brushed past everyone who called out for a battle on route 8. Heck, you practically ran from that rising trainer. The only battles you fought were against magikarp. You're nothing more than a rude coward. Well? Say something."

    Calem shrugs, "I can't really refute that…"

    Mallow's hands move to her hips as her frown deepens. "I cannot understand just what Tapu Koko saw in you to warrant a sparkling stone. My trial? Find me a mago berry, a tiny mushroom, a revival herb, and a miracle seed in this forest. Shouldn't be too hard with those eyes of yours, right? You have until the sunset two hours from now. Go on! Shoo!"

    Calem finds a tiny mushroom around the bend underneath some rocks. The foreign aid provided to Kalos after it feel was nowhere near enough for its remaining population. As a result, scavenging for supplies became a very common practice. Where certain things grow, what is edible, and how to prepare them, all skills he and his friends mastered. If only everyone could have embraced such an honest life style…

    The final ingredient, at least Calem believes he's gathering ingredients for a meal, is a revival herb. He plucks it from the middle of a shaded field and returns to Mallow at the jungle's entrance.

    Mallow examines the items and says, "Wow, that was fast, it hasn't even been an hour. I really want to accuse you of cheating, but these really are from the forest."

    "I found Calem to be cool and focused, even if a bit quiet and abrasive." Lana says while entering the jungle. She carries a rocky helmet filled with water.

    Kiawe is with her carrying a thick club and a rare bone. "My opinion is not so positive, or biased, but I found nothing with which to fault him as Ilima warned."

    Mallow goes "hump," but smiles. "My observations weren't so positive. Still, time for the second part of my trial. Calem, we'll be cooking food to lure out the Lush Jungle totem Pokémon." She proceeds to mix all the ingredients within the rocky helmet. She then passes the rare bone and thick club to Calem and says, "Pound everything to a pulp."

    Calem looks at the two tools and begins to beat everything inside the helmet. After a few minutes, Mallow says, "Grind it," and Calem begins to grind the forming paste into goo. As a unique aroma wafts into the air, Calem tosses Mawile's primer ball over his shoulder, "Sucker punch."

    "Lu-rahhhhh!" The Pokémon cries out.

    Calem turns around to find Mawile using fire fang against a giant Lurantis. Judging from the grass Pokémon's arms, the way she can attack is limited to downward and diagonal slashes along with forward strikes. Then again, Lurantis could hold her arms that way to make him reach that conclusion for a surprise attack. Should he risk luring her-

    "Taunt!" Calem surprises himself with the sudden order, but Mawile complies. The impulsiveness of his order leaves his mind exploring the various options of how to respond and what could go wrong with each one. Mawile could catch Lurantis's attack with vice grip to yank her off balance, but the grass Pokémon might still be able to reach Mawile. Another method would be to meet the attack with ice fang, but Lurantis might be faster and hit Mawile first. The safest method is still sucker punch. Even if Lurantis can predict the attack, anything she does will be weakened by the sucker punch.

    Mawile stands firm to take the attack with iron defense before Calem can give his order. Her action leaves him speechless. He wants to shut his eyes, but refuses to abandon his Pokémon. He forces himself to watch Mawile take Lurantis's attack with her own body. Mawile, instead of being blown away, grabs Lurantis's claws with her hands and smacks the grass Pokémon across the face with iron head.

    Mallow says, "Wow, that was intense! You didn't even give Lurantis enough time to draw out her Z power..."

    Kiawe says, "Agreed, your spirit today burned much brighter than during my challenge. Still, your flame isn't hot enough for the island challenge. You will fail if you stay as you are."

    Lana says, "You should have seen him during my challenge. Remembering how he fought the wishiwashi I trained still takes my breath away."

    Mallow says, "Despite my personal opinions, I acknowledge that you managed to clear my trial and have thus earned the grassium Z. This is how you use it." Mallow crosses her arms, brings them to her side, drops down, pushes her fist against her hand, maintains the tension while rising up, and then spreads them apart with a hop, "And that's it." She then looks down to the food she and Calem prepared. "No use letting it go to waste. Come on guys, let's dig in."

    Lana and Kiawe run off screaming "water!" after two bites. Mallow looks Calem over with a click of her tongue, "The heat doesn't bother you? Oh wait, you can't taste anything, can you?"

    "Spice isn't a flavor. Spice works by triggering pain receptors in the tongue while also releasing endorphins in the brain. It was one of the few things I could experience, so I've ended up building a high tolerance after leaving Kalos. Still, I'll admit that this dish is a lot more flavorful than what I'm used to."

    Calem gets a phone call as he leaves the jungle. "Paniola Ranch… Tomorrow around noon? C'est rapide! Yes… thank you." He spends the night at the Pokémon center and sets off for the ranch after a quick breakfast in the café early next morning.

    He's in such a hurry, he almost crashes into Lana who is outside stretching. He encountered her while off to take a shower the previous night. Turns out both of them had decided to stay in the same Pokémon center. She says, "Oh, good morning. You're up early."

    "You were up before me."

    Lana covers her giggle with a hand. "I come from a family of fishermen. Waking up early is a habit. What's your reason?"

    A strange feeling creeps over Calem as he answers. The feeling is unsettling at first, but becomes soothing after a few moments as he recalls past experiences. A gentle smile comes to him. "My mother was a Ryhorn racer. She'd take me to the stables every day when I was younger. I eventually became a trainer, but then some other stuff happened so I still had to wake up early. Well, seeing the stars give way to the morning light has a charm to it."

    Lana giggles again, "It does, one that you missed today. You appear to be in a hurry, headed to any place in particular?"

    "Paniola Ranch."

    She brushes some hair behind her ear while saying, "Ah, that's along the way to my home in Konikoni City. Would you mind if I accompany you?"

    "Sure, although half my attention is going to be on this guy."

    "Noi!" Noibat gives a sleepy cry as he's called from his Pokéball. He climbs up onto Calem's shoulder and resumes sleeping.

    "He's so cute."

    A few hours later, Noibat lands on Lana's head. He grabs her headband to keep from falling. She laughs while cupping the little bat into her hands and tosses him upward the same way Calem has been doing. Noitbat catches the wind underneath his wings and glides circles above their heads as they continue for Paniola Ranch. He has to flap his little wings a few times every minute, but stays aloft.

    Lana says, "He's gotten better."

    Noibat stumbles on a sudden breeze and tumbles out of the air. Calem catches him before he crashes into Lana's head. He places Noibat on his shoulder, "And you jinxed it. Guess that's enough for now."

    Lana stares at Calem's face. He matches her gaze and says, "What?"

    "You're different from when we first met, and your Z-ring is gone too. I've been wondering, but is there a connection? At first I was worried you might have given up your journey, but that fear, I'm glad, was baseless."

    Calem looks to his wrist. "I met its proper owner and passed it along. She… it wasn't intentional, but she helped me come to term with somethings. Well, you'll be meeting her soon enough yourself."

    "Hmm, for you to go that far, she must be an incredible person."

    "Maybe? It's not like we actually battled one another, but some friends of mine acknowledged her strength."

    "You're not making any sense."

    Calem gives a wry smile with a shrug. "Yeah, that senselessness is exactly what I'm trying to clear up on this journey."

    "Ah, Paniola Ranch, looks like this is where we part. Well then, I hope you find the answers you're looking for. Farewell for now."

    Calem waves goodbye and continues for the pasture. "Calem!" His mother waves him over from a stable. "Your timing couldn't have been any better." Inside is a ponyta surrounded by blue flames. The fire Pokémon snorts, neighs, and turns his head. "This little spit fire arrived just an hour ago. His pedigree is guaranteed, but no one's been able to break him in. My old sponsors were all too happy to pass him along to me."

    Calem picks up a brush and starts grooming Ponyta midway through his mother's introduction. Seeing his concentration, an expression different from the impassiveness he's been displaying for the past few years, relieves her worries. "I'll just leave the two of you to get acquainted."

    Calem makes small talk with Ponyta as he prepares him. He brushes Ponyta's entire coat, cleans his hooves, and feeds him a carrot before prepping Ponyta's back for a saddle.

    …..

    Grace sits back against the pasture's fence underneath the shade of a tree. As expected, her son prepares Ponyta with a bitless bridle. After what happened in Kalos, his dislike towards bit bridles must borderline hatred.

    Ponyta lets Calem mount him before leaping forward and kicking up his back legs to buck him off. Calem floats upward from his saddle, but keeps his hands on the reins and feet within the stirrup. Ponyta's bounds get higher and farther, but Calem keeps his hold regardless of the whiplash.

    "I never realized Calem was your son when he stopped to help out, Grace. No wonder he could calm Tauros down like that." The ranch owner says.

    "Oh no, I only taught him the heart to riding. Anything other than that is beyond me. I am a Ryhorn Racer, after all. My sponsors are the ones who took care of finding professional Rapidash and Ponyta race teachers for him. As for battling, that's something he learned on his own."

    The ranch owner laughs and slaps his daughter's back, "That boy there is grade A material. Forget that other kid you saw the other day and try ta seduce him instead."

    "Dad!" The Pokémon breeder blushes a deep red.

    Grace laughs and says, "I'm all for it if you can get him back to riding."

    "There, see, even his mother approves."

    The Pokémon breeder says nothing as her face turns into an even deeper shade of red.

    "Ah!" says a blue haired girl peeking out from behind a tree. Her shocked expression gives Grace an idea as to what happened. Sure enough, upon checking, Ponyta finally succeeded in throwing off Calem. Calem rotates his arms upon getting up and walks towards Ponyta's side. Ponyta snorts, but holds still to let Calem hop on again. The blue haired girl's bafflement to the unfolding scene makes Grace laugh.

    She hops off from the fence and sneaks up behind the girl. "Curious about riding?"

    "Ah!" The girl waves her arms out at her sides before bringing them back together before herself. "N-no, I- I'm just watching. Calem is a… an acquaintance of mine. He mentioned having business here, and I just happened to be in the area, so I just thought…"

    Grace laughs and says, "That's alright, that's alright. You don't have to explain yourself."

    "Ahem, thank you… There is one thing I don't understand. Ponyta let Calem mount him, but now tries to buck him off. Does Ponyta want Calem to ride him or not?" She winces as Calem is thrown off again.

    "They're just testing each other out. This ponyta is pretty prideful, he refuses to accept rude, spineless, or weak riders. All Calem's got to do now is prove his strength."

    The ranch head walks over with a, "Lana, what brings you here today?"

    Lana flusters herself, "Oh, I was just nearby and- and, I'm also fri- I mean acquainted with Calem and- and- oh, he said that he had business here so- so I..."

    Grace laughs and says, "What is your relation to my son, Lana?"

    "Yo- you- your son! He- he came to my trial the other day. Se-see, I'm a trial captain and he, as a tr-trainer, na- naturally had to come challenge mine. I- I did think that he was really cool during my trial, bu- but that isn't-"

    Grace cuts Lana of with her laughter and says, "Is that so? I always thought I'd be saying this to Serena, but maybe should I start calling you my daughter-in-law instead?"

    Lana's arms wave at her side. "N-no, no, no! We- we're not like that. Re- really, we're not!"

    The Pokémon breeder comes to Lana's rescue by pointing at the field. "Ponyta's trying something else."

    Ponyta's mane burns bright blue as he takes off at full speed. The flames lick Calem's arms, but spread out to blaze around his body. Grace says, "Ponyta must have realized he can't buck Calem anymore. All Calem has to do is take control here and it's over."

    Lana says, "Umm, excuse me, but you're Grace, the Ryhorn Racer Champion, correct? My grandfather is a huge fan of yours… If you don't mind, could I have your autograph for him?"

    "Of course."

    "Lana?" Calem strolls up to them atop of Ponyta as Grace gives Lana her autograph. "Something wrong? I thought you already left."

    "Oh-oh, no. No-nothing is wrong. There was something I forgot to do, that's all. I- I finished it and thought I'd stop by."

    Grace and the ranch head exchange knowing glances at Calem's, "Oh." She says to her son, "So, you break Ponyta in? How is he?"

    "Amazing, the speed he gets, it feels like we're flying."

    Grace claps her hands together. "That's great! Then how about taking Lana for a ride after lunch? She looked really curious while watching you."

    Calem turns to Lana who's holding her bright red face within her hands. "You really want to?" At Lana's shy nod, he dismounts Ponyta with a, "Cool, actually, we could probably give you lift to... Konikoni City, you said? "

    "Tha-thanks."

    Grace says, "Right, that reminds me. Calem, since you'll pretty much be lugging all the equipment yourself, I didn't bring you a saddle. You'll have to make do with that bitless bridle and a fastener around Ponyta's body to support the stirrup. Got that, Lana? There isn't going to be any support to sit on, so make sure you hold Calem really tight, okay?"
     
  10. warriorseadra

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    Legendary Triforce ★★
    Chapter 7


    Ponyta stops outside Diglett's Tunnel. Calem wonders if he rode too fast as he looks down at Lana. She rides side straddle in front of him to keep from falling. When they first set off, she tried to maintain some distance, but now leans against him with her eyes squeezed shut. Yet, despite how tight her arms are wrapped around him, she doesn't appear upset.

    Lana loosens her grip around Calem and peeks open her eyes. She doesn't, however, remove herself from him. "We're here?"

    "Don't sound so happy. Ponyta can easily go over this mountain and drop you at home."

    Lana shakes her head and slides off of Ponyta's back. "N-no, Konikoni City isn't far from here. But more than that, my sisters would never stop bringing it up. But, I am thankful that you brought me this far. Riding together with you was… an experience. I'll be going, I'll see you again." She waves and enters the cave.

    Calem continues down the road at a slower pace atop of Ponyta. Professor Kukui called earlier asking him to stop by the Dimensional Research Lab in Heahea City. Apparently, there's something he wants him to see. He hears Lillie shouting just as he reaches the building's entrance. "Go, Nebby! Use… use splash!"

    He sees Serena giggling as he round the gate. She says, "You may want to use tackle attack instead."

    "Pew?"

    Lillie sighs, "I was just trying to act like you and Calem. Nebby… Nebby always seems to end up getting hurt. So I never really liked Pokémon trainers or thought that I'd want to become one myself. But when I see you, Calem, and even Hau, it's like some door has been thrown open I always thought closed. The way you three stride straight through into the future is just amazing."

    Nebby notices Calem dismounting Ponyta and drifts over to him with a, "Pew?"

    Lillie turns and, "Oh! Ca-Calem, how long have you been there?"

    Calem stops removing the bridle and stirrups from Ponyta and throws out his hand with an over dramatic pointing of his finger. His voice is monotone, but he still drags out each words, "Go, Nebby."

    Lillie's embarrassment changes into shock. Serena, however, hurries to Ponyta's side. She searches Calem's bag for a brush and scrubs Ponyta's fur. She says, "There are no carrots… Calem, years have gone by since the last time, take me riding later."

    Calem gives an awkward smile at Serena's comment. "Ponyta only knows how to go fast."

    Lillie says, "By the way, Calem, I feel like it's been a while since we last met. Thank you for introducing me to Serena, she's been very kind to me. Th- there's a laboratory here that studies the dimensions, did you know? The professor is waiting inside to meet you! How… how were your trials? It must be quite trying to do three in a row."

    Serena says, "Are they different from collecting the 8 gym badges?"

    Calem furrows his eyebrows as he thinks back on his journey. "They are if you compare each trial as a gym challenge. The trials are more like sections of the journey from getting a Pokémon to reaching the league. They're a lot like the daily, every day, struggles trainers and their Pokémon go through on their adventures."

    Lillie says, "Goodness, then tackling all three of Akala Island's trials were no trouble for you? I suppose that explains it. The reason Ponyta looks so content and has such faith in you, I mean."

    Lillie then leads Calem and Serena in to the building. As they reach the door, Rotom says, "Off to the Dimensional Research Lab! Zzzp! Though the dimensions of my 'Dex are perfect…"

    The joke gets a giggle from Serena. "What a lively Rotom-dex."

    "Lady, you szzzure know your szztuff. Bzzt."

    Professor Kukui meets them in the lobby. Upon riding the elevator up to the laboratory, he steps out and waves his hands, "Hey there, honey!"

    The head scientist, Calem assumes from her attire, turns to them. "Oh, hi!"

    Professor Kukui introduces her to Calem and Serena. "This here's Professor Burnet. She runs the Dimensional Research Lab, yeah…"

    Serena presses him with a hard stare, "And?"

    "And she's also my wife!"

    "That's amazing! Professor Sycamore always said never marrying was one of his biggest regrets. I believe that that is why he always treated us as his children."

    Professor Burnet says, "Professor Sycamore, we met a few times. He was always calm and well-mannered no matter what my husband did. The two of you must be Calem and Serena. Lillie has told me a lot about you. She claims you're both very reliable.

    "Three months ago… I found Lillie lying on the beach. Cosmog in her bag also unconscious." She looks around, "Hm? No Hau today?"

    Professor Kukui says, "Hau? He's out doing his own thing. But he'll be the real deal someday… He could even become a Kahuna, just like old Hala before him!"

    "You really think so?" Hau's voice surprises Lillie, Professor Kukui, and Professor Burnet. He must have taken the stairs since the elevator didn't sound off.

    Professor Kukui says, "Whoa-ho! Well, yeah, I really do."

    Professor Burnet says, "Good to see you again, Hau! It's been a while since I last saw you. Any luck finding a girlfriend?"

    Hau's eyes shift towards Lillie and Serena, but instead of answering, he chuckles.

    Professor Kukui says, "Anyhow, I brought Calem and Hau here because I wanted you to tell them about some of the mysterious phenomena here in Alola."

    "I'd be happy to! Now, if you're talking about Alola's mysteries, you've got to mean the ultra-wormhole!"

    Calem and Serena speak in complete synchronization even down to their emphasis and intonation. "The ultra wormhole?"

    Professor Burnet chuckles and continues. "It's extremely rare, but sometimes a hole opens in the sky over Alola. It appears that this rift leads to a different and unknown dimension. We think there may be a mysterious dimension because of the legends of fearsome Pokémon appearing from the ultra wormhole."

    "Pew!"

    "It's very weak as proof, but we can't ignore it. There is also plenty of evidence already in the Pokédex for the existence of different dimensions."

    Hau says, "Fearsome Pokémon…?"

    Professor Brunet says, "Normal wild Pokémon sometimes attack people, right? Well, the Pokémon that appeared from the ultra wormhole went way beyond that. They were called Ultra Beasts… and they were feared. If the stories are to be believed, the guardian deities of the islands fought desperately against them. But like I said, it's all legends and folktales. We can't know how much is true. I would be very happy if I could somehow unravel the mysteries of the ultra wormhole by studying the dimensional disturbances!"

    Calem's hand slides to his black Pokéball as he glances towards Serena. Her eyes meet with his in confirmation. She says, "Those stories are probably true. Kalos had a similar myth about a Pokémon known as Zygarde. A protector of the ecosystem, he would appear during times of great danger. True to the story, he sacrificed himself to protect the world from Team Flare's ultimate weapon. Calem, did something more just occur to you?"

    "Maybe… I met a trainer the other day. She told me Zygarde wasn't destroyed, just broken down and scattered about Alola. She going around collecting its cells and cores on behalf of Sina and Dexio. There's one thing that's been bothering me, though. Out of the entire planet, why are Zygarde's pieces just here? That blast should have spread the pieces into the regions surrounding Kalos."

    Professor Brunet says, "You think the ultra wormhole is involved."

    "The ultimate weapon was powered by two powerful Pokémon. When it fired… I wouldn't be surprised if it could blast through to another dimension."

    Serena says, "But, if Zygarde was involved, then other legendary and mythical Pokémon could have also been helping behind the scenes. Hoopa could have captured his pieces and sent them here. Although, one important question arises in both scenarios."

    Professor Burnet says, "You mean, why Alola? If either of those reason are true, then the ultra wormholes may be involved."

    "You were there…" Hau speaks in a low voice. He looks to Calem and says, "You also fought in the Last Night of Kalos."

    "Pretty much everyone in Kalos was involved in one way or another."

    "No, you were there. What you just said, you saw everything happen. In a battle where the best of Kalos were involved, you fought too. Where's your team who fought alongside you? I gotta battle them! Come on, let's battle! I want a real challenge against you this time."

    A moment passes and everyone but Hau picks up on the sudden mood shift. Calem's arm twitches as he stops himself from breaking Hau's nose. He takes a breath and forces his fist to uncurl. In the end, he shrugs, "You'd have a better chance of falling into an ultra worm hole than matching against them."

    Calem turns to Professor Burnet. He speaks with an natural sweetness that makes wonder if he's messing with them or if he ate something strange. "It was really nice meeting you, and I do wish you the best of luck, but I need to start preparing for Kakuna Oliva's trial. It's the grand trial, after all. Au revoir."

    …..

    Inside the Dimensional Lab, Hau cups his chin. "Actually, I can't really picture Calem being that strong. He should easily be beating me, but I've won every match so far. Hey, Serena, how exactly di-"

    A loud cracking sound echoes within the lab as Serena slaps Hau. The anger in her glare silences everyone. "Do you think of anything other than yourself?" She turns to Professor Kukui, "Calem left without saying anything, but does he actually know where to find Kahuna Olivia?"

    "Probably not, yeah. If you're going to go look for him, cousin, let him know that her home is in Konikoni City. One more thing, he doesn't have to face her today or anything. Oliva has already waited a few days for him to collect his Z-crystals, she won't mind waiting a few more, woo!"

    Serena nods and heads for the elevator. Lillie enters with her as the door opens. Before Serena can says anything, Lillie says, "That was weird. Nebby and I are worried."

    "Pew!"

    "He's always so impassive about everything. Today's the first I've ever seen him so… animated or interested in anything. But now, he… that just wasn't… he felt wrong." Lillie puts her hands together before her chest, "In Kalos… did he… did his Pokémon…"

    Serena stops Lillie by placing a hand upon her shoulder. "You are a kind person. Let us just say Calem and I were almost in each other's places."

    "I… I see. Then, do you know where we could probably find him?"

    Serena starts to answer as they leave the building, but an overwhelming sight shocks her into silence. A giant hole made of blue and purple light is in the sky. It closes in on itself after a few seconds, leaving both her and Lillie speechless. A few minutes pass before Serena can find her voice. "As- as I was saying. Calem will have mounted Ponyta and is now riding him wherever the road leads. He will not stop until he finds a quiet place to be by himself. Honestly, we would never find him; I just wanted an excuse to leave. The best we can do is leave Calem alone. He will come to us once he has calmed down."

    "Then… then what should we do?"

    "We still have yet to visit the ruins. Today we can travel Diglett's Tunnel, take a quick survey of the area, spend a night in the Pokémon center, and return to explore the ruins in depth at dawn."

    "What should we do about the ultra tunnel we just saw? Should we tell Professor Burnet?"

    "There is nothing we can do about it and their machines must have picked it up. Besides, I do not want to go back in there at the moment."

    Serena and Lillie walk through Diglett's Tunnel in casual chitchat. Lillie gasps upon reaching the top of some stairs and dives behind a stalagmite. Further ahead, a pair in white uniforms converse about how the diglett uprising "is finally being quelled." One of them notes Serena and calls out to her, "Oh! Alola! We're members of the Aether Foundation. We work to support Pokémon conservation. Team Skull did something to rile up the diglett in this cave."

    The other Aether Foundation member says, "Team Skull really is a batch of troublemakers. They delight in interfering with trainers and their Pokémon. Diglett normally live in elaborate systems of underground tunnels that take years to dig out. We're here to ensure that they return to their tunnels and let people pass through here without having to fight against each other so much."

    "Well, we need to get back to work. Be careful, now."

    Serena says to Lillie, "You can stop hiding, they have left. They appear alright, but did they do something to you?"

    Lillie is cut off from answering by a Team Skull thug. Two of them step forward, one male and the other female. "Man… Things were heatin' up and then I got surrounded by diglett and beat up, yo! Yo, since when can diglett use beat up? Now I'm in the mood to beat some fools up myself, yo! Don't be mad 'cause you're the fool dumb enough to be here right now."

    Serena places herself between Lillie and two Team Skull thugs. Furry laces her calm demeanor. "I am not in the mood."

    The female Team Skull thug wags a finger. "Hold up, there. I don't like your attitude. You'll be taking us both on, now."

    The first Team Skull thug says, "Yo, wait up. That cape, yo… don't that make her the chick who harassed our compatriots the other day. Yo, taking her out s'gonna make the boss super happy! Let's do this, yo!"

    Serena calls out "Absol" while clutching her mega-necklace. "I will show you the same thing I showed them!" A white light surrounds Absol as he mega-evolves, "Night slash!"

    Mega-Absol tears through their Salandit and Fomantis. The two Team Skull thugs call back their Pokémon, but before they can complain, Serena says, "Psycho cut!" The two scream and run away. "Make them regret everything they have done, Absol!"

    Lillie reaches out to Serena with some hesitation. Even Nebby trembles from the anger and hostility on her face. Lillie works up her nerve and touches Serena's shoulder. "Se- Serena? Serena, it's over. They're gone…"

    "Li- Lillie?" Serena says, remembering herself. She hugs Absol who returns to her side and says, "Sorry, I showed you something unsightly. Hau was just so thoughtless. He does not know the truth, so I cannot blame him, but still! Thinking about it makes me so mad…"

    As they trek through the cave, Serena fights off wild Pokémon with Chesnaught and Vaporeon. Many trainers call out to challenge her, but back off upon seeing her champion's mantel. Lillie says, "That cape must really be useful when you're in a hurry."

    "I hate it. People would always ask me to battle back when I was a random trainer. Now they are too afraid to even speak to me. Then there is all the invitations to visit different events, give speeches, and act as a representative for Kalos. I cannot do anything without first considering how it might affect my reputation or standing because that in turn reflects on the Pokémon league."

    "It's that heavy of a burden?"

    "I am the Final Champion of Kalos. My actions will influence the finishing touches to Kalos's legacy."

    A silence falls among the two as they enter Tapu Lele's Ruins of Life. Upon climbing up the stairs to the shrine, Lillie says, "I can't even begin to imagine the weight of that responsibility. My mother always insisted on deciding everything for me. She never even let me choose my own clothes. Learning more about Nebby… I mean Cosmog, was the first decision I ever made. That was three months ago.

    "I wanted to consult Professor Burnet, but got lost along the way and ended up wandering about until I collapsed on the shore… She listened to my story, staying up all night to hear it all. And then she even got her husband, Professor Kukui, to lend me his loft to stay in… And she told him to help me investigate Nebby's origins, too. Professor Burnet has been so kind, and she's still helping me try to find a way to get Nebby back to its own home… She's been like… like a real mother to me."

    The emotion in Lillie's tangent tells Serena more than the girl intended. Her decision to see Professor Burnet lead her into running away from home. Most likely, it was to protect Nebby. Everything she does is out of concern for that Pokémon.

    Lillie sighs, "Well, we came, but I still haven't learned anything more about Nebby…"

    Serena places a hand upon Lillie's shoulder. "Do not worry, this is only the temple. We should come back tomorrow and search the surroundings. There might be some clues hidden around."

    …..

    Calem brushes Ponyta's fur from atop of a rock within the deepest area of Brooklet Hill. The fire Pokémon gives a relaxed "neigh' and lowers his head to drink from the lake. Off on the side, Noibat practices flight maneuvers against Mawile. Calem isn't watching, but can hear them. Mawile lugs her second mouth at Noibat, but doesn't put any power behind her blows. This way, if the flying Pokémon reacts too slow and gets hit, he won't get hurt.

    "Calem? What are you doing-" Lana calls out to him. A ride Charizard is behind her. She starts running up to him but breaks at four feet away with her hand flying up to her nose. "Are there grimer and muk nearby? This is one of the cleanest springs on Akala Island…"

    Calem looks himself over and then turns to his small campsite underneath a tree. "No, that's probably just me. I've been camping out here for the past few days and lost track of time."

    "What? Why? The Pokémon center isn't that far from here. Where you trying to catch Kyogre? That was just a joke."

    "I just felt like camping out."

    "So you came here?"

    Calem points at the lake, "It has fresh water."

    Lana covers her mouth with her hand as she giggles.

    "That wasn't a joke…"

    "No, but still, the way you said that, it was funny. Actually, I came out here to get some fish for supper. I'm going fishing with my father and grandfather tomorrow morning and we need something to boost our energy. If you're free… maybe… perhaps you'd like to join us? You could come over today to meet everyone and get yourself cleaned up. You really should get yourself cleaned up…"

    Calem thinks back to Professor Kukui's rickety boat. He was rendered useless the entire time it was out on the sea. "I don't do well with ships."

    "You can help out by riding Lapras together with me. Our job will be helping guide the net out across the current. Then when it's full, we close it and bring it back to the ship."

    Calem can't make himself say, "no" to the eagerness shining from Lana eyes. "Sure, sounds like fun. But seriously, I can't handle ships."

    A relieved and bright smile spreads across Lana's face. "Great, then once I get enough fish, we can head to Konikoni City. I'll ride Charizard, you take Ponyta, and we can meet at the city entrance. From there we can walk the rest of the way."

    Lana opens the door to her house a few hours later. Calem walks in carrying the fish she caught. The stench helps mask his odor, or at least, that's what Lana said when she passed it to him. She points to a cooling box in the entry way and says, "You can dump everything in there." She enter the house and says, "I brought a friend to help out with the fishing tomorrow, is the shower free?"

    Her mother's reply comes from within the house. "Yes, your father already finished."

    Lana drags Calem down the hall and shoves him into the bathroom. "We'll be in the living room when you're finished. Oh, and be careful. Krabby sometimes crawl out of the drain."

    Calem steps out cleaned and refreshed ten minutes later. The living room, he recalls, is down the hall. Two little girls with blue hair step out from one of the rooms. One says, "Hey, a stranger! There's a stranger in the house." The other one says, "He must be sissy's friend. Are you friends with sissy?" They then take him by the hands and say, "Come on, we'll take you to sissy." They lead him into the living room and says, "Sissy, we found your friend."

    Lana's mother and father grow quiet the moment they see Calem. They give their daughter a glance and then start looking him over. She never told them her "friend" is a boy.

    Calem, doesn't notice. His attention is instead drawn to the wall. "Why are there so many pictures of my- ahem, Ryhorn Racer, Grace?" Newspaper clippings, magazine articles, a poster of her next to Ryhorn, and even an autograph decorate the wall. One picture makes him cringe. His mother, during her teenage years, is posing in a bikini. He did not need to see that.

    Lana's grandfather looks up from the fishing rod he's fixing. "You know Grace? She hasn't raced in years. For you to know of her… you're either a bigger race fan than me or you've met her in person."

    Calem stays silent for a moment. "We… know each other, yes."

    "I'd give my right arm to just shake hands with her. How did you meet?"

    "She's… she taught me the basics of riding."

    Lana's grandfather gets up and clasps Calem's shoulder. "What's your name, kid? Feel free to stay here as long as you'd like. Any friend of Grace's is a friend of mine."

    "Ca- Calem."

    "Calem, it's good to meet you. I've heard that Grace has moved to Alola just recently. If you ever get the chance, please introduce me to her."

    "I'll… see what I can do…"

    Lana's father shakes his head. "Don't pay my father any mind, Calem. Lana says you're a trial goer, new to Alola, what do you think so far?"

    "The people here are very nice and generous."

    Lana's father matches Calem's gaze for a few moments and then breaks away laughing. "Is- is that sarcasm? Cheeky kid, dad already invited you, we aren't going to kick you out." His expression hardens as he says, "You can sleep on the sofa. How much do you know about fishing?"

    "You cast a lure and reel it in?"

    "We'll be waking up early, before the crack of dawn."

    "That late? You guys sure sleep in."

    He claps Calem's back. "You've got the right attitude. Let's see if your actions can match it tomorrow."

    Lana's mother turns to her daughter with a sigh. The maturity and humility Calem carries himself with doesn't appear to be act. There's also an air of reliability around him. He must have gone through a lot to end up as he is at such a young age. "Even if your father does give his approval, promise me you'll wait until you're older."

    Lana's sisters overhear the remark and begin to ask, "Sissy is getting married?" "Calem is sissy's boyfriend?" "We're getting a new brother? Are we, are we?" "When, when, when?"

    Lana shakes her head as she turns red. "No, no, no, no! We're just friends! It's nothing like that!"

    Calem helps Lana's father and grandfather pack the supplies onto their ship. Once her father says, "Well, hop on." He blanches. "I thought we'd be riding lapras?"

    "Oh, relax you land lover. You'll be fine. This ship has survived everything the ocean has thrown at it and will weather to the end of time."

    Calem breathes deep and leaps onboard. Lana begins explaining the different type of fish that can be found depending on where they are on the ocean, but once the ship crosses from shallow to deep ocean, Calem goes from being unease and nauseous to wanting to die. Lana is explain how she almost reeled in a wailord, "He didn't notice my tugs at all. I was getting dragged further and further out to sea. In the end, dad cut- Calem, what's wrong? Are you sea sick?"

    Calem looks up at her from where he's curled into a ball. He tries to nod, but the nausea overwhelms him. Lana sticks out her tongue, "Maybe I should get Lapras ready. Just hold on a little longer, okay?"

    The second Lapras is out of her ball, Calem springs from the deck and onto her back. He uses the spikes from her shell to grab on and maneuver around. Unlike the ship, Lapras isn't rocked by the waves. She disperses the energy by treading the water.

    Lana says from the deck, "Wait, she isn't ready yet!"

    Calem looks from Lapras's back to the equipment Lana is preparing. It looks like a chair is going to be strapped onto Lapras's back. "What's wrong with riding Lapras like this?"

    "Ride Pokémon need their riding gear or you might fall off…"

    Calem thinks to the people he's seen riding Tauros, Sharpedo, and Charizard. "Some Pokémon, yeah, but Lapras is pretty hard to fall off of."

    Lana's dad laughs and says, "Ride Pokémon is probably the one thing you can't comprehend, huh? Lana, in most regions, trainers ride Pokémon they've been training as the Pokémon is. They don't borrow or call special ride Pokémon like we do. Give it a try like this. With two of you on there, this method might actually be easier. It'll also be easier to see what the two of you get up to…"

    Lana hops onto Lapras. While she's finding her balance, her father tosses the opposite end of the net she and Calem will be responsible for manipulating. His throw is weak and the net arcs towards the water.

    Calem dives forward. One hand grabs Lapras's lowest spike while his other hand enters the water to grab the net. He hoists himself, and the rescued net, up onto Lapras's back. Lana turns to her father. "Dad, don't give Calem a hard time!"

    "Just showing him the ropes. Who knows, seeing as he can't handle boats, maybe this will be useful for him in the future!"

    "Dad!" Lana turns bright red.

    Calem says, "What are you getting embarrassed for? You should have at least expected much."

    "Not you too!" Lana shoves Calem off of Lapras's back.

    Calem grabs the lowest spike at the last second. He breathes out in relief as water splashes his cheek. If he had seen the spike even half a second later, he would have taken a plunge.
     
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