Chapter 23: Kalim and Unexplainable Moodswings

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Ch 23: The Scarabia Dorm Leader

Jamil led the Ramshackle residents into the dorm's lounge area. It was as luxurious as the outside, decorated by carpets, pillows, and curtains, all of which looked expensive. The Vice Dorm Leader clapped his hands.
"Guests have arrived! Everyone, start the music to welcome them."
The other Scarabia students swarmed to meet the demands and (Y/N) felt a bit bashful of the attention. Grim, on the other hand, was all too pleased.
"Nyahaha! Who knew being famous like me would get you such a welcoming!"
Swampert smacked him as (Y/N) sighed. Jamil ignored it and led them to the sitting area. Lucario sat crossed leg beside his trainer while Swampert sat behind her. The older male then pushed the dishes they had made towards the guests.
"Now, eat up. Before it gets cold."
"Thank you for the food!" Grim said loudly as he began to gobble it. "Delicious! There's a spicy scent in every bite...and it's evenly spread throughout the dish! The vegetables and nuts are so delicious and so are the steamed buns! Scrumptious!"
"Grim, mind your manners and swallow your food." (Y/N) scolded as she and her Pokémon ate less sloppily.
"It's fine." Jamil assured her. "There are also some meat dishes and soups. There is plenty to go around, so dig in."
"Eating as much as I want." Grim moaned. "This really is paradise!"
Swampert and Lucario's heads perked up as a familiar boy with white hair and red eyes entered the room.
"What is all this commotion about?"
"...Dorm Leader!" The Scarabia students all said fearfully.
"Kalim." Jamil replied hesitantly.
Kalim narrowed his eyes at his Vice Dorm Leader.
"What is the meaning of this, Jamil? I wasn't told we would be having visitors."
"Kalim, I have a reason for this..."
"What's with this scary guy showing up?" Grim whispered.
(Y/N) began to stand up to defend Jamil, only for Lucario to motion for her to stop.
"I've told you before, if you ever invite someone here, you let me know first!" His face immediately deflated and dissolved any sort of intimidation he had as he whined. "We could have prepared better food and music!"
(Y/N) tapped Lucario's shoulder as a thank you as Kalim sat down and smiled brightly at them.
"Well, I'm terribly sorry we couldn't prepare a big welcoming parade for you! I'm Scarabia's Dorm Leader, Kalim Al-Asim. Nice to meet ya!"
"No, this isn't the first time you've met them." Jamil corrected. "Grim set your butt on fire during the entrance ceremony, (Y/N) and Swampert put it out, and we briefly spoke before the Magift Tournament."
"Oh is that right?" He laughed. "Haha, sorry my bad. I'm not very good at remembering faces, please don't take it personally. Well then, it's nice to meet you again."
(Y/N) smiled and shook his head. "Likewise! And it's fine, I have plenty of friends like that."
Kalim grinned in a way that reminded (Y/N) of a happy Oshawott, before looking starry eyed at the food. "Today's food looks delicious! Any issues, Jamil?"
"Everything is fine. There's nothing dangerous in the food, so you can eat confidently. I already tested for poison as well."
Grim choked. "Tested for poison!?"
Jamil crossed his arms and closed his eyes. "Kalim is the heir to the Land of the Hot Sands. There are some that will target his life, so he needs a food tester."
Kalim looked a bit upset. "Jamil is always making a big deal out of it. No one would put poison in the food. Ever since I fell into a coma for 2 weeks 4 years ago, he's been doing this."
"The only reason you've been safe these past 4 years is because you have a food tester. I'm just checking for poison before you eat."
"Hey wait!" Grim interrupted. "So you let us eat the food so we could be your poison testers!?"
Kalim laughed. "Haha! You don't need to worry! Anything Jamil makes is good to eat! Jamil would never poison me."
"Hmm?" Jamil said teasingly. "What are you even saying?"
"These guys." The cat moaned. "They seem like good guys, but now they seem completely crazy."
(Y/N) nonchalantly kept eating as Lucario sipped some tea. "Well, in the future Jamil, I wouldn't rely on Swampert or Lucario to test the food. Swampert resistant to poison and Lucario's flat out immune."
"Huh." He said. "I'll keep that in mind."
Kalim took a seat next to Grim and began shoving food in his face. "Hey, Grim! Have you tried the blue cheese that's made from sheep milk? It's more delicious if you eat it with crackers!"
"Ha!? I'm not going to eat that blue mold! Hey! Don't shove it in my mouth!!"
"I see, I see! It's good huh? Here, have some more! Hahaha! You want some, Swampert?"
The cheese was shoved unceremoniously into Grim's mouth and Kalim also fed a much more responsive Swampert, who responded with a kind grunt and let Kalim pet him.
"Bring more food and drinks!" The Dorm Leader insisted. "Let's make the music even more energetic! Today is a feast!"
As the Scarabia students scrambled to fulfill his wishes, Kalim turned to (Y/N).
"Hey (Y/N), do you have any more of your monsters with you?"
"Yeah." She said happily. "I figured they'd appreciate the climate."
He smiled even more brightly. "Well bring them out! They should enjoy the fun too!"
"All right." She said while standing up and grabbing her other Pokeballs. "Come on out, everyone!"
In a flash, Flygon, Gabite, Cufant, and Arcanine appeared with cries of their names. Everyone looked in amazement.
"Wow! So cool!"
"Look at that dragon! It's so majestic!"
"Check out that blue monster! It looks like a walking shark."
"The elephant is so cute! And the tiger looks so majestic!"
"Um, I think it's a stripped dog."
Kalim was absolutely delighted. "Wow! They're so cool!"
Jamil nodded. "Indeed, and they look strong as well."
"They are." (Y/N) assured. "You already know Swampert and Lucario, so let me introduce you guys. The green dragon is Flygon, the blue dragon is his son Gabite, the little cutie is Cufant, and this big floof is Arcanine. Say hello guys!"
The two adult Pokémon cheered friendly, Cufant cried excitedly, and Gabite crossed his arms and raised his chin in a huff. (Y/N) rubbed her head.
"Forgive Gabite, he's going through an independent phase."
Flygon nudged his son affectionately to get him to greet everyone, and though he was visibly annoyed, he made no move to push Flygon away. Cufant, in complete contrast, got one look at Kalim and immediately stampeded towards him and began demanding cuddles. The Dorm Leader looked like he was in heaven.
"Jamil, look! It's a baby elephant! It's so cute!"
"I can see that."
(Y/N) looked quite embarrassed. "Cufant, don't just jump on people! You're a steel type! I'm so sorry, Kalim, she's young and really affectionate."
"I don't mind! She's so cute!"
Jamil seemed to be a bit reserved. "Are any of your Pokémon dangerous, (Y/N)."
"She tilted her head at the question. "Well, they're all strong, but they only listen to my orders, so you don't have to worry about them unless you try anything on me. Then I can't assure your safety. But if you want to know more about them." She pushed him the Pokédex (she had managed to wrangle it back from Floyd). "Just point this at one of my Pokémon and it'll give you information about them.
Jamil took the device and immediately pointed it at Cufant.
"Cufant, the Copperderm (I love this pun) Pokémon. It digs up the ground with its trunk. It's also very strong, being able to carry loads of over five tons without any problem at all. If a job requires serious strength, this Pokémon will excel at it. Its copper body tarnishes in the rain, turning a vibrant green color."
Jamil took great interest in that entry and turned the Dex towards Gabite, who was now trying to avoid the party.
"Gabite, the Cave Pokémon. The evolved form of Gible. It sheds its skin and gradually grows larger. Its scales can be ground into a powder and used as raw materials for traditional medicine. As it digs to expand its nest, it habitually digs up gems that it then hoards in its nest. Jewels are buried in the caves these Pokémon nest in, but you'll be torn apart by claws and fangs the moment you enter one of these caves."
"Interesting..."
Gabite heard the chiming of the Dex and shot Jamil and dirty look before heading out towards the sand. (Y/N) sighed.
"It seems all my second stage Pokémon like to go through a rebellious phase."
The party went on merrily (the Scarabia students began a heated debate about whether Arcanine was a tiger or a dog which still rages) and Kalim happily showered (Y/N), Grim, and the Pokémon with attention and food. Flygon, Arcanine, and Cufant were more than happy with the attention, but Grim was less than thrilled at having food shoved in his face. When the Dorm Leader walked away for a moment, he fell flat on his stomach.
"I can't eat another bite...my stomach is going to explode. That Kalim, he made me eat a lot of blue cheese and crackers! My policy is to eat everything that is served to me, but this is just too much..."
Kalim then ran back to them. "Hey you two! Do you want some treats? We have ice cream! Or would you like fruit instead? We have pistachios and almonds too! Do you want me to ask Jamil to get them?"
"Ngya!?" Grim cried. "No, I can't eat anymore!"
The Oshawott boy's face fell. "I see, but they're so delicious! I wanted you to eat some."
(Y/N) decided to take pity on Grim and redirect Kalim's attention. "Hey Kalim. Flygon's got a huge sweet tooth and Gabite likes them and spicy food as well. You might be able to lure him back in with it."
Kalim beamed and ran off to make friends with the dragons as Grim crawled into her lap.
"Thanks..."
"Don't mention it."
At the end, the food was eaten, Kalim had made friends with the dragons (or at least Gabite was neutral to him), and Scarabia students were still debating whether Arcanine was a tiger or a dog. Kalim walked up to the girl.
"Well, we'll be here during vacation. Feel free to come by anytime. Right, Jamil?"
"Yes, anytime." The Vice Dorm Leader agreed.
"We'll take you up on that." (Y/N) said. "By the way, why didn't you guys go home?"
"Hm?" Kalim hummed. "Ah...during this time was the Magift Tournament and finals, right? Our dorm didn't place in anything. That's why I decided to take initiative and have everyone do more training during break."
"Our dorm didn't even get to actually play in the Magift Tournament." Grim complained. "I'm still disappointed."
"I see...that's a shame."
"For winter break, we're planning on spending 6 hours everyday studying and magic training." Jamil explained.
"6 hours everyday!?" Grim exclaimed. "That's no different than regular classes at school! Holidays are for relaxing. You can do your homework after the holidays. At least that's what Leona said."
"Grim, need I remind you that kitty has been held back twice."
Jamil nodded at her. "As expected from that guy..."
"Hm...well you might be right." Kalim said thoughtfully. "My dad always said 'when you work, work hard. When you play, play hard'. Maybe relaxing like Leona said is important sometimes. All right! I've decided, Jamil. I will take a proper vacation and send everyone home tomorrow."
"Eh!?" Jamil squeaked in surprise.
"I'll tell everyone the news at dinner tonight. Jamil, tell everyone not to be absent from dinner."
"Yes...understood."
Kalim then turned back to their guests. "Oh yeah! Let me give you a tour around Scarabia! There's something I want to show you."
"Hey Kalim." Jamil scolded. "You're not setting a good example for the others if all you do is play."
The white haired male waved him off. "But we have guests, so it should be fine for today."
Jamil narrowed his eyes. "Kalim."
"Okay fine, don't be upset. Then, shall we do some special defense magic training? I'm all fired up for a match! Can anyone fight against me? (Y/N) can one of your Pokémon?"
"Sure." She glanced at her team. "Um, Flygon? Care to show off?"
"Gon!" The dragon cheered happily.
"Gabite!"
Gabite looked at his father, pointing at himself sternly. Flygon nodded and motioned a wing to the younger ground/dragon type. (Y/N) chuckled.
"I guess Gabite wants a turn today. Kalim, do you mind?"
He beamed. "Not at all! I get to fight a dragon!"
"Please be careful with him, (Y/N)." Jamil pleaded quietly.
Everyone filed out into the courtyard as Gabite and Kalim faced each other. Jamil started the match.
"Start!"
Kalim fired off several water blasts.
"Gabite, Dig." (Y/N) ordered.
The Cave Pokémon immediately tunneled underground, dodging the attack. Kalim looked impressed.
"Woah! He can tunnel so fast!"
His Vice Dorm Leader was less focused on the dragon's speed. "Focus, Kalim!"
The Dorm Leader glanced around, waiting for Gabite to appear. Gabite bursted out of the ground and into the air behind Kalim.
"Use Slash!"
Gabite raised one claw into the air as it was elongated as it was enveloped by white aura before bringing it down towards his opponent. Kalim, in turn, barely managed to get a wall of water over him to protect himself and even then, the force was enough to send him stumbling back. Still, he managed to launch a counterattack as Gabite landed, sending him skidding. Gabite roared back, refusing to fall over and Flygon cheered on his son encouragingly.
"You're good, Kalim!" (Y/N) said.
Kalim grinned at her praise, feeling good he was getting a compliment from the famed beast tamer. "Thanks! Gabite's way more amazing, though!"
(Y/N) then smirked. "Mind if we make this a bit more challenging for you?"
"Eh?"
"Gabite, Dragon Dance!"
The young dragon sharpened his claws as he was enveloped in a blue aura. Kalim launched several attacks, only for Gabite to speedily weave through them. Jamil glanced at the battle thoughtfully.
"Did Gabite become faster?"
Grim bounced happily. "Oh! I've seen this before! Milotic did this against Azul! That makes him faster and stronger!"
Jamil blanked in fear. "Wait, it's stronger too!?"
(Y/N) extended her arm. "All right, Gabite, once more, Sl-,"
"Bite!" Her Pokémon protested as he raised his claws up.
(Y/N) understood. "Oh, you wanna try it out again?"
"Ga! Gabite!"
She nodded. "Okay then. Gabite, use Dragon Claw!"
Gabite charged Kalim, leaping into the air with a raised claw once more. This time it was engulfed by a blue and purple aura. However, right before it could land, the aura shattered, causing Gabite to only graze Kalim.
(Y/N) snapped her fingers. "Damnit, so close."
"Okay, that's close enough!" Jamil interrupted, not exactly willing to keep this up.
"Aw, but Jamil!" Kalim tried to complain.
"No complaining!"
Gabite growled, hitting the floor in frustration. (Y/N) walked up to him and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"You we're super close this time, buddy. You'll get it!"
The blue reptile huffed, and raised his head in pride. Flygon walked over to the two and nudged Gabite with his head. Gabite gave him his full attention as he demonstrated how to execute the move. While they practiced, (Y/N) went to talk to the others. Kalim greeted her enthusiastically.
"That was so cool, (Y/N)! Gabite is so strong!"
"Yeah, he gets it from his parents."
Jamil was a bit more tempered. "He seemed to struggle on that last attack though."
She rubbed her head. "Yeah, Gabite's still trying to master Dragon Claw. He's getting there, but it still needs some work."
"Well I still think he's great!" Kalim insisted.
Practice went on for a little bit as Kalim, Grim, and a rotation of (Y/N)'s other Pokémon helped the other Scarabia students train their defensive magic. Needless to say, a constant Rollout using Cufant was the most surprising force of power the students faced. Kalim suddenly called it off and grabbed (Y/N)'s hand.
"All right! Training's over! Let's go!"
He ran off with (Y/N), her Pokémon and Grim right behind her, as Jamil attempted to protest. Kalim ignored him and led their guests through the halls. The monster cat gazed in amazement.
"Wow! Everywhere I look there's gold! It's beautiful! This is very different from our dorm."
"Is it really that amazing?" Kalim asked. "When I first came to this school, my dad donated to have the dorms refurnished."
"How rich are you!?" Grim yelled as (Y/N) had to prevent Gabite from drooling over some of the gems. "Are you a prince like Leona!?"
"The Asim family isn't royalty, so I'm not a prince. Though I do have family that is royalty."
"Asim? But isn't your name Al-Asim?"
"Al's origins are from the Land of the Hot Sands. It means son. So the name is passed down for generations by the ancestors."
"So basically, your name means 'son of the Asim family' or something like that?" (Y/N) asked as she just returned Gabite to his Pokeball.
"Exactly! But it can be hard when you aren't used to it, so just call me Kalim! You guys should come visit the Land of the Hot Sands someday! I'll be sure to welcome you!"
"Do you live in like a mansion or a castle!?" Grim asked.
"Not really, I only have about 100 servants."
"100 servants is more than enough, isn't it!? I only have one!"
"What was that, Grim?"
"Nothing!"
"I have a big family with over 30 younger siblings." Kalim explained. "It would be hard to take care of everyone if you didn't have a bunch of servants."
"Over 30!?" The two Ramshackle students repeated.
"Ah...or was it 40? I stopped counting after 30. I remember everyone's names and faces though! Hahah!"
"You know, when you lose count of how many siblings you have, that's when you know you have too many." (Y/N) whispered to Swampert, who grunted in agreement.
"Jamil's mother and father are also servants to our family. That's why Jamil has been by my side since I was little. Jamil is amazing, he's smart and on top of all that, he's a great cook!"
"Totally!" Grim agreed. "The food he made was delicious!"
"Right! Then eat with us later today! Okay?"
"Yeah...it's crazy talking to this guy..." Grim mumbled to (Y/N).
"I'm just surprised there's someone this nice at this school." She replied.
"Hey! You guys! What are you talking about?" Kalim asked. "Come over here!"
He led the group into a storeroom. From wall to wall, piles of gold and treasures lined the room.
(Y/N) whistled. "Really glad I put Gabite back in his Pokeball."
"What is this place!?" Grim yelled. "There is so much shiny treasure!"
"Everything here was given to me by my dad when I left home." Kalim explained. "But I couldn't fit all this in my room, so I got permission to put everything in this storeroom."
"This isn't a storeroom, this a treasure vault!"
"Oh! You know some big words, huh Grim!"
"And I thought our family was well off." (Y/N) muttered to her Pokémon.
"What I love the most about this treasure trove is...huh?" Kalim glanced around. "Where did it go? Ah? It loves to just move around on its own, huh? Hey, where did you go?"
"Please you don't have an animal in here." (Y/N) asked, genuinely concern.
Grim ignored the two and wandered over to the treasure pile as Cufant stumbled after him.
"Haa...a big jewel and a shiny golden cup. There's so much! So if I were to take just one..."
Cufant eyes widened as a carpet appeared behind the cat and began to poking him.
"Knock it off, Cufant! I'm trying to take something!"
Cufant sounded her trumpet as the carpet kept poking him.
"Errr! So persistent! What is-AAAHHH! The carpet is moving on its own! It's cursed!"
Both humans took note of the screaming and glanced over to see the carpet seemingly coaxing Cufant into play.
Kalim smiled. "Oh! That's where you were. Try to stay put in your usual spot."
The carpet happily flew over to him and nudged him.
"What the heck is that thing!?" Grim yelled.
"It looks like a living carpet." (Y/N) said bluntly.
"You're taking this so calmly!"
"I'm sorry, have you met Rotom?"
"This is the legendary treasure, the magic carpet that's from the Land of the Hot Sands." Kalim introduced.
Carpet flew over and nuzzled the trainer, who giggled.
"Hi there, carpet."
"There was a king who was once served by a desert magician who flew around with these." The Dorm Leader recounted. "I believe this one is a replica. It's an heirloom that's been passed down for generations in my family."
"Flying!?" Grim repeated. "You mean like flying around in the sky!?"
"Yeah! It's easier to just ride it than explain it. It's almost nightfall! So let's go for a ride in the night sky! Come on, get on!"
"Eh?" Grim yelped. "Are you sure we aren't going to fall?"
"Sure, do you trust me?"
(Y/N) chuckled and took the boy's hand.
"Sure, why not? Flygon, why don't you follow us?"
"Gon!"
"All right!" Kalim cheered as he settled the two on the carpet. "Let's go then!"
They took off into the air and a moment later, they were soaring through a picturesque night with full moon beaming over them. Grim screamed and clung to his dormmate.
"Uwaaahhh! We're really flying in the sky! We're so high up I can't look down!"
"Calm down, Grim." (Y/N) said. "Flygon and I won't let you fall."
A bit more encouraged, he took a look down. "The buildings look so small!"
"How is it?" Kalim asked. "Being above the clouds is almost like we're in another world, huh?"
"A whole new world." (Y/N) joked.
"Ahaha!" He laughed. "Do you like it?"
"This is the best!" Grim cheered.
"Flying around so freely in the sky is nice, huh?" Kalim asked. "It makes me forget about all my problems. Even though Jamil tells me I'm not worrying enough...I wish he could live a little more carefree."
(Y/N) frowned at Kalim's worry of Jamil, but Grim didn't seem to be paying attention. "Fnya! There's a bird I've never seen before flying over that river over there!"
Kalim snapped out of his melancholy. "Oh, you're right! All right, let's go see!"
(Y/N) sighed before abruptly standing and jumping off the carpet. Both boys screamed before Flygon appeared and flew next to them, (Y/N) grinning from his back.
"Wanna race?"
Kalim grinned happily. "Yeah!"
For a while, they soared across the sky, testing to see who was faster. Kalim was a little disappointed carpet was barely unable to keep up, but he was jovial to have a flying partner. Not long after, they returned and began to head back to the main hall for dinner.
"That was so much fun!" Grim yelled.
"I'm glad you had a good time." Kalim replied. "It looks like it's almost time for dinner."
Footsteps could be heard nearing them and they turned to see Jamil approaching.
"Kalim, you're finally back. There's something I want you to check before dinner. Will you come?"
"Ah, okay, sure." Kalim turned to their guests. "You two can start heading to the lounge."
"If you're sure." (Y/N) said. "Don't take too long since I can't guarantee Grim won't eat everything."
"Hey!"
As they headed down the hall, (Y/N) gave Jamil a side glance. It was quick, almost unnoticeable, but the two of them held the same emotion: suspicion.
(Timeskip)
Everyone was patiently waiting for the leaders of the dorm to return, but (Y/N) could hear the other students complaining. Her Pokémon were all sitting around her as Grim was still off in dream land.
"This place is paradise compared to our cold dorm. Kalim is such a good guy. I wanna be a student in this dorm now."
"Nice try." (Y/N) teased. "But you and I are a package deal."
Kalim and Jamil then appeared as the latter addressed everyone.
"Is everyone here? Our dorm leader has an announcement to make before we eat."
"An announcement...from the Dorm Leader?" A student whispered.
"Oh yeah, Kalim what said earlier. He said he wanted to stop training and send everyone home tomorrow for vacation. I'm sure everyone will be happy, but I'm gonna be sad we won't be able to eat the delicious food they have during break."
Kalim stood before the group, and (Y/N) noticed an uncharacteristically stiffness to his posture. "During this vacation, I planned for all of Scarabia to stay at the dorms and study 6 hours every single day, but I've realized...THAT'S NOT ENOUGH AT ALL!"
"Eh!?" Everyone said in shock.
"Kalim, didn't you say you were going to send everyone home?" Jamil asked.
"This isn't what he said earlier at all!" Grim agreed.
Kalim looked quite angry. "There's no way we can catch up by only doing 6 hours a day. We need to work twice, no, 5 times harder than the other dorms! We won't be able to restore the name of our dorm otherwise! Starting tomorrow all of you will be doing 5 hours of studying and 4 hours of training."
"Eh?" Grim said, baffled. "9 hours of work every single day!?"
"After dinner, we are going to have special defense training! Eat quickly and be ready."
"Y-yes." The other students agreed, scared.
"And the problem rears itself as usual." (Y/N) sighed.
Kalim then glared at the visitors. "Since you visited Scarabia, you will be participating too,you got that!?"
Swampert, Lucario, Arcanine, and Gabite all growled at his aggressive tone while Flygon tried desperately to keep the peace. Cufant ran up to Kalim to get his attention, but he coldly rejected her.
"What's with him all of a sudden?" (Y/N) asked herself.
From the corner of her eye, she saw Jamil standing back. She then heard the familiar drops of ink, before turning her gaze back to Kalim. Though his expression was angry, his red eyes were unusually empty.
Something wasn't adding up here.

So I just decided on Arcanine since he fit well and I've got no snakes for the team.

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