The flight is long. And boring
. Remi spends the first half of it practically vibrating in her seat, still buzzing from excitement. She sits at the back of the plane, away from her classmates. Not like any of them like
her, anyway. Tack feeds off her energy, chittering away as he crawls over the seats around her, sniffing at her, the plane, the window. Sometimes Remi thinks she can see tiny sparks flashing at his cheeks. Remi shares conspiratorial smiles with him.
She clutches the Luxury Ball in her hand, thumb moving over the smooth metal, warmed by her skin. She doesn't dare let the stolen dragon out though. Only one or two of Kara's friends qualified for this trip (turns out they're all only half as talented as they act, imagine that
) and Kara only just purchased the Pokémon the other day after a particularly potent tantrum, so she likely hadn't been able to show it off to anyone yet... but Remi doesn't want to take her chances. Not until her feet are on Alolan soil, at least.
Remi pulls out her phone (ignoring the notification numbers next to the phone and text message apps) and swipes to see her digital trainer card. She taps on the button labeled Registered Pokémon
Remi grins down at the small letters. Kara hadn't even bothered to register
it. The first thing Remi had done when she made it to the airport was head to their PokéCenter to register the Dreepy as legally hers.No take-backs,
she thinks, picturing her sister's enraged face. Remi doesn't even really know what a Dreepy is. But this one's hers
Remi is practically sleep walking at the back of the pack of students as they first deboard the plane. She'd managed to sleep on and off through the last half of the flight, but even plush, private jet seats were uncomfortable to sleep in for hours on end. The group makes their way to the hotel on the beach lining Hau`oli City on Melemele Island. A breeze drifts through them. It smells like salt. And flowers
. Remi can't help the drowsy delight that thrums through her.Alola
. She made it. She looks up to see the stars cutting across the sky, not a cloud to be seen. Her smile grows. Tack rubs his furry cheek against her face, chirping happily. Remi scratches him between his ears.
She's too excited to do more than follow behind her chattering classmates, taking in the sights and smells of this new region. Hau`oli is bright and colorful at night - Remi isn't sure what she expected a tropical city to look like. It's cheerful, music from different shops or street musicians echo through the streets, playing against the backdrop of gently crashing waves. Something sweet and sugary wafts through the air, making her mouth water. Remi files it away in the back of her mind, determined to find it later.
The hotel they're staying in is grand and bright, with a great chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Remi barely listens as Ms. Simone hands out instructions - she's too busy slowly spinning in place, looking at the ornate decorations. Slow, dreamy Alolan music plays through the building. "Miss Remi."
Remi's eyes snap up to see Ms. Simone looking at her patiently. She's missed something. Her classmates are already wandering off, towards the elevators. "A word?"
And just like that, the dream is over. Adrenaline spikes through Remi's body.She knows. Dad called. I'm expelled. They're gonna send me back to Galar and Dad will kick me out and stupid Kara's gonna feel so smug, that b-"Your father called the school."
Remi thinks she might throw up. "It seems you didn't leave your family on the best of terms."
Understatement. Ms. Simone gives Remi a gentle smile, almost indulgent. It throws Remi off. "I had a long conversation with the dean. Talked him down a bit."
The smile turns the slightest bit conspiratorial. Remi raises a confused eyebrow. "Remi, you are one of our most promising students. And you've made it this far. The permission forms have already been signed, the tuition payments made, and as for your sister's Dreepy..."
Remi can't help but gulp. The weight of the Luxury Ball is heavy in her jacket pocket. "It's registered to you. Perhaps Miss Kara could consider it an early birthday gift."
Remi blinks at her teacher, mind racing to process what she's saying."So..."
Her lips slowly turn up into a hesitant, disbelieving smile. "I can stay?"
Ms. Simone smiles at her and puts a hand on Remi's shoulder. Relief rockets through her body. The teacher presses a room key into Remi's hand, then pauses. She gives Remi a sober look."But Remi... I would consider myself on a tight leash."
Remi's smile drops immediately. She shakes her head up and down in a vigorous nod.
Ms. Simone gives one last smile and reaches up to squeeze Remi's shoulder. "Get some sleep. Big day tomorrow."
With that, Ms. Simone leave Remi alone in the lobby. Remi doesn't notice that her teacher doesn't head to the elevator, instead taking a turn to walk deeper into the hotel. No, Remi is too focused on the Luxury Ball in her hand. She watches the way the golden light of the chandelier glistens off its metal surface.
Suddenly Remi isn't tired anymore. She knows she should be - but the fact is muted somehow, pushed aside with the newness of Alola. She can stay. She gets to stay!
Remi can't fight the excited squeal that escapes her as she jumps in the air. She immediately stills herself as she catches the bewildered looks of the hotel workers. But still, she grins. In the next moment, Remi leaves the hotel, striding out into the Alolan night. She's too wired now to rest. She needs to explore
Hau`oli is big, but not as big as Hammerlocke. It doesn't have the same cramped, claustrophobic feel, with imperial castle walls on every side. Hau`oli is open and airy, with wide roads and smiling tourists, the ocean air welcoming all to lay down their worries. A wall of graffiti catches her eye - some sort of stylized flame design carelessly thrown over a skull. Remi ponders it for a moment. Dueling artists?
That same, sugary sweet smell catches her attention. Remi and Tack both turn their noses to the air, sniffing."New priority,"
Remi says, catching Tack's eye. "Whatever that is."
Not waiting for further instruction, Tack leaps from Remi's shoulder. He pauses to sniff the air again. Then he takes off down the street. Remi sprints after him, laughing, shoes clapping along the pavement.
Remi's out of breath when Tack finally stops in front of a small pink shop with a sign that says Momona Malasadas
. Her mouth waters as the smell overwhelms her. Tack barely waits for her to catch up before darting through the open door.
"Alola!" comes the worker's greeting. A few moments later, Remi and Tack are seated at a table, an enormous mound of fried dough, absolutely covered in sugar, placed on the table in front of them.
Remi takes a bite and thinks it's the best thing she's ever eaten. The brown outside is crispy and soft at the same time, sugar dusting off onto Remi's face, her shirt, the table... but the inside
. Steaming hot dough practically melts in her mouth. Remi thinks she lets out a moan.
Remi and Tack are on their third malasada when she pulls out the Luxury Ball again. She takes in a slow, deep breath. Then her thumb pushes against the center button. A flash of red fills the store. When it recedes, a tiny, floating green worm is looking at her.
She blinks. It blinks back.
It's huge eyes are close enough to her face that they practically fill her own vision. The Pokémon lets out a soft trilling sound, like a cross between a bird and a cat. "Uh... hey."
Tack chirps beside her. The Dreepy looks down at Tack and blinks. Then it looks back to her. It makes a little circle in the air, its green body undulating like a ribbon. Remi just looks at it.
...This was what her sister spent all that money on? Remi knew it was supposed to get strong later, but... really
A server walks past their table then, carrying a plate of steaming malasadas. The Dreepy chitters, then zips through the air. It snatches a malasada up as the server yelps in surprise, before flying back to Remi. It drops its prize on her plate, opens its mouth like a viper, and dives in to feast.
"Miss," comes the server's stern voice. Remi flinches in her seat before looking up at her. "If you can't control your..." She looks down at the Dreepy. Her eyebrows pull together. "...Pokémon... then I'm going to have to ask you to leave.""Uhh, sorry. Just on our way out."
Remi hurries up from the table as she speaks, dropping more money on the table. Tack jumps up to her arm and then shoulder, and Remi snatches up the Dreepy, half-eaten malasada still in its jaw. Remi all but sprints from the store.
They find their way to the beach and Remi drops down to the sand. The little Dreepy is still chomps away at the malasada, Tack giving it a curious look. Remi plucks the malasada away.
The Dreepy freezes, like it takes a moment to figure out what just happened. Then it looks up at Remi and hisses."You're trouble,"
she says to the little dragon. It blinks up at her. A sly smile curls its way across Remi's lips. She tears off a piece of the malasada and holds it out to the Dreepy in an open hand. It eagerly snatches the treat up. "I like trouble."
Eventually (after asking multiple people for directions) Remi makes it back to the hotel. When she opens the door to her shared room, she sees a misshapen lump in the far bed - her roommate. Remi can't see features in the dark, but even if she could, she'd doubt she knows the person. Remi hasn't exactly been a social butterfly since transferring to the school - not that Kara would ever let her have a social life, anyway.
Just as well. As long as it's not one of Kara's sycophants, Remi doesn't care who it is. She drops her bag on the remaining bed, grabs her pajamas, and heads for the shower.
She's not sure how, but cleanliness feels like and absolute luxury
. By the time she's warm in her bed, wet, dark hair falling down her back in waves, Remi feels the drain of the day pouring over her like water. She flops down onto the mattress, Tack hurrying to take his spot curled up at her side. Remi presses her lips together for a moment. Then she sits up and reaches over to grab the Luxury Ball off of her bedside table. Holding it under the bed's comforter to muffle the flash, Remi lets out Trouble.
He chirps in confusion before Remi pulls away the comforter. Trouble blinks up at her and gives his head a shake. Remi smiles. She offers him a finger. He angles his head down to look at it before his pink tongue darts out against her skin. He looks back up at her and flies in an undulating circle around her head.
Remi and Tack watch Trouble darts further and further away from her around the room, taking in their surroundings. He pauses though, when he notices her roommate for the first time. Remi stills. Trouble drifts down to the form, blinking at it, turning his head this way and that. Remi feels her muscles tense. She starts to lift the Luxury Ball."Trouble..."
she whispers in warning.
Quick as a flash, he darts down to collide with the body over the blankets, image flickering in the air for a moment. Red light fills the room too late, calling Trouble back to his Luxury Ball.