No One Special

Chapter 8

LDR: Who's ready for Kalama to be a bully? Not me. On the other hand, messing up the trial was fun to write. Mostly because I like writing battle scenes. So let's get to reading!

Sorry this took so long everybody. I used to write on the bus ride to and from school, but ever since I got my license, I've been driving myself, so I lost that writing time. Also at home I've been playing Warframe again, which further eats up writing time.

"I wanna cross the ice on the way back!" Kalama shrieked, dangling from the talons of Damien's Mandibuzz, Shanice. The large, vulture-like Pokémon glanced down at her passenger, looking very unamused by the teen's yells. The boys all laughed.

"Don't like heights?" Eli asked, parallel to the water and clasped by the legs of Aster's Vikavolt.

"Heights are fine! I ain't scared!" she shot back defensively. "This just don't feel that safe!"

"She ain't gonna drop ya," Damien called as he leapt from a slowly dwindling ice platform onto a newly created one. He shuffled over, making room for Eli's Sneasel, Furis, and Akalani's Mimikyu, as well as Akalani himself and Aster.

"Don't feel like that," Kalama muttered. Shanice released her grip on one of the girl's arms, eliciting a scream.

Damien looked up reproachfully. "Shanice!" The Mandibuzz complied with the unspoken command to carry her passenger properly, Kalama now hanging by both arms again.

"Damien! Your Pokémon is evil!" Kalama complain.

"Aw, c'mon. Don't say that. Shanice ain't bad."

"Should we go over the plan while we're on the way?" Eli asked.

"Not much to it. Acerola should be hanging around outside. Me and Damien and Eli will keep her busy while Kalama and Aster get in and do whatever to stop the Trainer from getting to the Totem Pokémon," Akalani replied.

Everyone voiced their understanding and agreement, just before Aster pointed ahead of them. "There's the shore."

"Don't land there. Head for the shore by the Megamart." Akalani gestured in the direction they would have to go. Almost in sync, the group turned, moving just within sight of the shoreline. Their chatter died down at that point, each one feeling suddenly that there was a need for an attempt at stealth.

They landed at the beach soon after, and the three Pokémon were recalled to their Pokeballs. It was mostly empty, except for two people having a battle further down the shore, apparently too focused on it to notice the group of Skulls. Kalama paused to watch briefly, studying the two Pokémon. She recognized on as a Mareanie, like Jacko's, but the other was unfamiliar. Tan in color and canine in appearance, with a white ruff that had rocks poking out, it actually reminded her of Rockruff quite a lot. Whatever it was, it was fast. The Mareanie was clearly struggling to keep up.

"We're gonna climb up there and then get over that fence." She turned, gaze following Akalani's pointing finger towards a section of the destroyed road that sloped down to the sand below. "Gotta move fast over the fence cause I'm sure Acerola will see us by then."

"I can have Shanice fly over it to distract Acerola while the rest of us climb over the fence."

"Damien should go first then. I'll go second and Mimikyu and me can join the battle once we're over. Then Eli can climb over third. Once we're all fighting, Kalama, you help Aster get over and then the two of you make a run for the Megamart."

They hurried across the sand, and managed to make their way up the impromptu ramp formed by the road without incident. As Akalani had predicted, they were spotted when they reached the fence they had to climb over. Much to Kalama's surprise, Acerola looked young. Almost a child, even. And she seemed to really like the color purple, considering she wore it from her hair to her dress. If she had been wearing anything on her feet, that would probably be purple too.

"Team Skull?!"

"Damien!" Akalani called.

"On it. Shanice, up and over!" Damien threw the Pokeball up and it burst open above the fence. With a shriek, the Mandibuzz emerged, dive-bombing Acerola. As the purple-haired girl stumbled back and grabbed a Pokeball of her own, Damien leapt at the fence, scrambling to the top in a matter of seconds and coming down almost as quickly. Eli and Akalani followed, the former calling out Furis again and the latter Mimikyu once they were on the other side. As the battle broke out between the Sneasel, Mandibuzz, and Mimikyu and Acerola's trio of Pokémon — one of which Kalama recognized as the balloon-like Drifloon and another as Palossand, a possessed sand castle, though the third goblin-like creature with gemstone eyes was completely unfamiliar to her — she turned to Aster.

" I guess I'll just hold onto you and we climb together."


She went first, wedging her toes into holes between the slender chain-links and grabbing on with one hand. The other hand, she reached down with, fingers clutching at Aster's jacket on the side that he lacked an arm. Stabilized on that side now, he copied her position on the fence, toes stuck in holes and hand clinging to a chain. They made their way up the fence more slowly than the others had, and were reduced to a crawling pace on the way down. They made it without incident though, and took off for the doors of the Megamart, catching Acerola's attention.

"You won't get in the way of this trial! Sableye–"

"Furis, Taunt it," Eli interrupted. His Sneasel cried out a challenge to the Sableye, smirking and waving it on with his claws, forcing the other Pokémon's attention onto himself and enraging it into attacking, giving Kalama and Aster the window they needed to reach the doors and enter the run-down building.

Inside the Megamart, Kalama and Aster paused to catch their breath before looking around the dimly lit area. They were near a row of cash registers. Nothing really looked out of the ordinary except for a faint smoky haze above one check-out aisle. The pair went to investigate and found a fainted Ghastly lying on the conveyor belt. Holding their breaths, they passed through the gasses being emitted by the round Pokémon, headed for the back of the store since the front appeared empty. A sudden, startled yelp told them that they were going the right way. Adjusting their courses slightly, they rounded the corner of a shelf...

...and were each caught in the face by a giant, hovering Pikachu plushie. Kalama thought she heard a faint cackle as the plushie floated back, though she couldn't be quite sure because Aster had cursed in surprise rather loudly from beside her.

In front of them, the trial-goer spun around with a gasp. Wide pine green eyes fixed on the two Skulls, strands of lighter green hair whipping across her face. Then she relaxed, reaching for a Pokeball. "Oh. Just some Team Skull thugs."

That stung Kalama more than a little. Team Skull had saved her life. They had given her a new home, new friends and even family. How dare this girl blow them off like they were nothing? Look at them like they were a simple annoyance, a Ratatta scampering around her feet? "You dissin' us?" she growled, stepping forward, anger plain in every tense line of her body. She wanted to hurt somebody. That confused her. Why was she so worked up about this? She knew that the entire Alola region looked down on Team Skull. Why did that only make her scoff, but one stranger's comment sent her into a rage?

"Maybe I am. It's not like you can do anything about it. Your team is nothing more than a bumbling group of idiots. Your battle skills are pathetic too."

"Easy, Kalama," Aster cautioned as she stepped forward, grabbed her shoulder to pull her back. "You can't let your judgement get clouded by your anger. Shouting at her isn't gonna do much either. We gotta prove her wrong in a way she'll get." He released her to grab a Pokeball. "Take out all her Pokémon. That'll ruin the trial for her."

"Funny. You sure you don't wanna call the rest of your team and make things a little more even?"

"Shut up," Kalama snapped, letting out Rockruff.

"That's what you've got? Is that really it? This'll be easier than I thought." The green-haired girl let out her own Pokémon, a blue and white seal with extensions like braided pigtails from its head.


"Marowak," she countered, letting out her second Pokémon only a couple seconds after Aster's giant beetle hit the field. With a darkly colored body, a skull covering its head (or maybe it was its head?), and a fiery-tipped bone in one hand, Kalama was just glad Marowak wasn't larger. A giant one would be terrifying.

"Kalama, that's a Fire type. Try to handle it with Rockruff. Vikavolt and I can take out the Brionne," Aster commanded. "Vikavolt, Thunderbolt." Electricity crackled between Vikavolt's pincers before streaking out towards Brionne. And yet it abruptly changed direction, being drawn into Marowak's raised bone. "Shit."

"What was that, Aster?"

"Its ability must be Lightning Rod. It's just going to absorb any Electric attacks and use them to increase its own ranged power," he explained as Vikavolt zipped out of the way of a forceful stream of bubbles. He held out Vikavolt's Pokeball, recalling the large Bug, replacing it with a small, dark blob that had some pink spikes. "Pyukumuku, Toxic. Both of them."

"Rockruff, if that Marowak is a Fire type, then...uh, Rock Throw! Get it!"

"Knock them all back, Marowak. Brionne, stop the Pyukumuku. Aqua Jet." Brionne shot towards Pyukumuku, surrounded by water. Something white emerged from Pyukumuku, forming a large hand that engulfed the seal when it struck it. Threads of glowing purple wound through the white, converging upon Brionne, who cried out.

Kalama and Rockruff were faring much more poorly. Marowak has swung its bone like a baseball bat, sending the hail of glowing rocks right back at Rockruff, who had been forced to leap back, only to be caught by a follow-up Shadow Ball and flung across the Megamart. "Rockruff!" Kalama spun on her heel, rushing off to search for the canine. Her heart pounded as she spotted the section of fallen shelves where Rockruff had landed. He wasn't stuck beneath them, was he? A pile of bags of moldy bread shifted, the canine's head popping up from the center. The rest of his body soon followed and he wagged his tail in assurance that he was fine. Kalama let out a breath she hadn't even realized she'd been holding and scooped Rockruff up into her arms, hugging him close. He nuzzled her happily, his rocky ruff scraping against her neck and shoulder. "We're gonna get 'em back for that, ain't we, boy?" she whispered fiercely. "We ain't gonna let her get away with insulting our family and getting you like that." Rockruff barked in agreement, wiggling out of her arms to drop to the floor and race back to the battle, his earns pinned back and his teeth on full display. Kalama hurried after him. As they neared, there was a burst of electricity, crackling over the battlefield. Had Marowak been taken down? "Aster, what'd we miss?" she asked as she stopped beside him, Rockruff jumping right back into the battle to charge at Brionne, who was moving more slowly than expected and already looked just about beaten from the Poison, and snap his jaws closed around its tail with a Thunder Fang, finishing it off.

"When Pyukumuku caught Marowak in Toxic, I had it add Gastro Acid to get rid of Lightning Rod and Soak to make it a Water type. Venom Drench weakened them and slowed them down, and I switched back to Vikavolt for a Discharge," he recounted.

"Woah." She just blinked at him, eyes wide, making him laugh.

"Shit," their opponent hissed, recalling Brionne, and then recalling Marowak as it dropped weakly to its knees, the Toxic bringing an end to its part in the battle. "I knew I should have brought more Pokémon to this Trial." She lifted her remaining two Pokeballs. "I'm not going to let you losers beat me though. That's just too embarrassing. Ribombee, Meowth!"

Kalama had seen many Meowths before, so she barely glanced at the dark-furred feline, instead eyeing the Ribombee. It was almost like a very tiny, very fuzzy yellow person with wings, she thought. If it had wings, it was probably a Flying type, right? "Rockruff, Rock Throw!"

"You deal with the Ribombee. I'll take the Meowth. This'll be easy. Bug Buzz!"

"Sure." As the faintly buzzing waves of energy flowed towards the Meowth, Kalama turned her focus to the Ribombee. This was going to be like two separate battles, and she couldn't be distracted by what Aster was doing. Unlike their opponent, who had to keep switching her attention back and forth, looking quite frustrated. Ribombee dipped and swerved around the glowing rocks, and at its Trainer's command released an Energy Ball. "Get outta the way, Rockruff!"

"Put on the pressure, Ribombee. Just keep go– Meowth, get up!"

Rockruff darted around behind a shelf as Ribombee released Energy Ball after Energy Ball towards him, the green orbs smacking into the shelf and making it tip back dangerously. Kalama cursed. "Move, Rockruff! Come out and Rock Throw again!" Rockruff came skidding around the corner of the shelf, ending up behind Ribombee, and letting loose another hail of glowing stones. This time, they slammed into the little flying Pokémon, who had been caught by surprise and went fluttering to the ground.

The Trainer spun herself back towards Ribombee, calling for her Pokémon to get back up. Once it was in the air again, she scowled. "Gotta take one out so I can focus. Ribombee, Attract."

"Huh?" What kind of move was that? It didn't dawn on her until there was a large pink heart floating towards Rockruff that it probably wasn't good. "Outta the way!" But her order had come too late. The canine had tensed up, and even begun the leap, but the heart caught him, bursting apart into a shower of glitter. Rockruff froze, turning to stare at Ribombee with hearts in his eyes, ignoring Kalama's shout to get moving.

"You're out of this battle." The Trainer and her Ribombee had begun to move in sync, crouching before straightening up, hands pressed together and lifted above their heads before coming apart and spreading out. "Bloom Doom."

"Shit!" Aster looked over. "Vikavolt–"

"Meowth, keep it occupied." Vikavolt buzzed angrily and turned away as the feline jumped on him, aiming a Scratch at his wings.

The section of the supermarket that Rockruff and Ribombee had been battling in was covered in an illusory carpet of flowers. A green light had surrounded Ribombee, and now suddenly burst outwards in an explosion of energy that caught Rockruff, flinging him back towards Kalama, who reached out to catch him only to then be knocked to her butt as well by the Z-Move. "Damn," she hissed. "That hurts."

"That's Meowth down," Aster said suddenly. Vikavolt had managed to throw Meowth off his back and right into the rapidly expanding energy. Now, as it was fading, the giant beetle moved in, pincers closing around Ribombee in a Vice Grip before knocking it out with a Flash Cannon at point blank range.

"No!" the Trainer screamed, stomping her foot as she recalled both downed Pokémon. "I can't believe this! How could I lose to a pair of bumbling idiots like some random Skull Grunts? Your entire team is nothing more than a joke!"

It was with a shaky hand that Kalama lifted Rockruff's Pokeball, the red beam shooting out to engulf him and suck him back in. Then she stood, passing the Pokeball to Aster right before charging at the other girl. "Shut up! Insult Skull again, go 'head! I dare you! I'll smash your face in, dammit. You ain't got a clue what these people done for me! I ain't gonna stand around and listen to you dissing the ones that saved my life!" She drew back her fist, ready to throw a wild punch, but a hand clamped down on her elbow, stopping her. She glanced back furiously just as she felt her feet leave the ground. "Lemme go, Damien!"

"Sorry Kalama. You really ain't helping Skull's image, just going around and punching people in the face," Damien replied calmly. "Hurting her ain't gonna change her mind. Just make it worse."

Now the Trainer had recovered from her shock, and suddenly screamed right back at Kalama, "You crazy bitch! What was that about?" She looked around with a scowl. The whole group was gathered there, not just Kalama, Aster, and Damien. The girl skittered around a shelf and bolted for the doors.

As she was set back down and released, Kalama glanced down, face heating up even as her rage ebbed away. "Sorry."

"Hey, it's cool." Two pairs of arms encircled her, and she looked up to see Damien and Akalani leaning close. Aster tugged Eli over as well, and the five shared a group hug. "Just means you really do care about Skull," Akalani continued. The girl grinned.

"You must have run Acerola off, huh?" Aster noted.

"Yeah. We got lucky she didn't have a full team though," Eli sighed. "It took a lot. We should probably go. I bet at least one is headed for the nearest police station. We might not be able to make it back over the water yet. Furis is tired."

"Vikavolt could use some rest too," Aster said. "Let's find somewhere to lay low for a bit. Once our Pokémon have had a chance to rest, we can get back."

The group hug broke apart so that they could leave the supermart, Akalani lingering within the doors for a few seconds longer. Kalama dropped back to walk next to him as they headed back to the beach. "Hey. So that's where you grew up, huh?"

"Home sweet home," he confirmed. "Well, one of them, now that I've got Skull."

"Hey, check that out." Damien nudged then both with the back of his hand, then pointed down the beach. "We can't leave yet. Still got work to do."

Kalama turned to look, frowning curiously. It looked like the battle that had been going on earlier had been concluded. The Trainer with the canine Pokémon was gone, but the one with the Mareanie had stuck around, and was being rather loud, much to the displeasure of her Pokémon. "–wasted so much Tapudamned time surfing on that stupid Mantine for BP to get you special moves from the tutors! I've thrown so many TMs at you! But you're still useless! Stop being so slow! You'll be lucky if you ever see another battle again as anything but fodder!"

As the Trainer lifted a foot and the Mareanie cowered away, Kalama lost it. Sand kicked up into the others' faces as she bolted towards the scene, tackling the Trainer. "Were you gonna kick that Mareanie? Were you gonna frickin' kick that Mareanie? What is wrong with you? How could you treat your Pokémon like that?"

"What the Distortion World? Who are you?" The two females fell to the sand, tussling furiously. "Get off me, bitch!"

"Damien?" she heard Eli ask.

"Yo, I ain't stupid. You get her outta the fight this time."

"She's angry today," Aster remarked. "Do you think she's...y'know. That time?"

There came a few quiet snickers from the boys that Kalama barely heard. But she was too focused on trying not to have her nose broken to say anything. She hadn't thought about the fact that she knew nothing about fighting when she'd jumped on the other girl. Luckily for her, her opponent seemed to be in the same boat. The two were rolling around together, nails digging at skin, hair being tugged violently, fists flying.

"What are you doing? Are you insane?" the other girl screamed, right in Kalama's face.

She stopped herself from flinching back at the sheer volume and shouted in return, "Why were you gonna kick your Pokemon?"

"Damned thing lost me that battle, even though Mareanie has the type advantage over Lycanroc! I was teaching her a lesson!"

"Teaching 'em by hurtin' 'em ain't right! Don't you care 'bout your Pokémon?"

"They're my pathway to fame and fortune! I don't need ones that can't fight properly!"

Kalama screeched and shoved her thumb against the other girl's eye. "That ain't right!"

Her opponent stumbled back, one hand covering her injured eye. Sirens began to wail in the distance, and the group of boys waiting nearby let out a variety of colorful curses. "Kalama! Cops! Just grab the Mareanie and let's run!" Akalani shouted.

Kalama tackled the Trainer again, this time doing a quick search of the Pokeballs on her belt to find the empty one. She grabbed it, spun towards the Mareanie and recalled it, then took off running, following her fleeing teammates.

"Ow! Ain't gotta press so hard!" Kalama yelped as Nora's fingers probed at her forearm. "I told you, ain't anything broken!"

"That was stupid, Kalama," Nora scolded. "You could have been seriously injured." She shook her head, stepping back. "Luckily for you, I think there will just be bruises. If it starts to hurt too much, put some ice on it." Her expression softened, and she glanced at the Pokeball that the teen was clutching. "That was good of you, though. Stepping in to help that Pokémon."

"It just made me angry that Mareanie was gonna get hurt for a stupid reason," Kalama mumbled. "I woulda been dead a while ago without Rockruff. Pokémon are so important to everyone's lives. I hate it when they ain't getting treated right. It's really shitty of people."

"I know. I agree." Nora turned to leave, then paused and glanced over her shoulder. "You should go to dinner now. But first, main stairwell. Up the stairs, to the left, take the second right, the last door on the right." She smiled as Kalama tilted her head, confused. "Just follow those directions." Then she was gone.

Kalama looked down at Mareanie's Pokeball, then attached it to her belt, beside Rockruff's. She left her room, making her way to the main stairwell and following Nora's directions. Stopping outside the door, she tapped against it with her knuckles. A few seconds later, it swung open and a familiar — if surprising — face greeted her. "Gladion? You're back?" Hadn't Nora said he usually spent months away? This was early, wasn't it?

"Oh. It's you."

The door began to close, but Kalama stepped forward and caught it with her hand. "H-Hold on. Um...that last time, when you helped me train... I kinda ditched you after. Sorry. I didn't mean to. It was just, uh...your Lycanroc snapping that Gumshoos's neck...kinda scared me. But I feel kinda bad that I sort of accidentally-on-purpose ditched you after that. It's dinner time now, though, so how 'bout I make up for ditching you?" She smiled. He scrutinized her for a few seconds, then gave a small nod and stepped out into the hall, closing the door behind him. Kalama's smile blossomed into a small grin as the two started walking, and soon enough she had launched into a retelling of her 'epic adventure' at the trial site. Gladion was silent, but if she'd ever paused to glanced back at him, Kalama might have caught the faint upward tilt to the corners of his mouth.

LDR: Well that got long. And this is finally the last chapter before the timeskip. That's all I got. See you next time guys!