The heat broke, as summer vacation came to an end, and August and September came with a cold breeze, as school reopened. I had taken down one wisher and also earned some pocket money for myself in the process. Normally, at this point, we would start looking for another wisher, but fortunately, we had one right here in the city.
“(Only two days till the meeting with that wisher,)” Dee was excited after waiting for so long.
“(Yup,)” but I kept talking to him at a minimum.
“(So when are we leaving for that place?)”
“(I didn’t just choose that place on a whim.)”
“(So there was some other reason why you chose that place.)”
“(And you’ll know when class starts.)”
After the morning assembly and the new semester opening speech of the principal, it was time for homeroom.
“As you guys know, the second semester has started,” the teacher said, “And with the second semester comes everybody’s favorite event.”
“The outdoor camping trip,” the whole class shouted in unison.
“Good, you all remember. Today is 1st September. You won’t have more than introductory classes today. And once the lessons pick up pace, having two days off would not be easy to recover. So with that in mind, the camping trip will be the first event of the semester.” The whole class roared once more. “I am not finished yet. The spot would be as usual the Kamiyama hills. The class rep would distribute the flyers. Prepare all of the necessary items. We will leave tomorrow at 8.”
And with that final announcement, homeroom was over and the teacher exited the class.
“(So that’s what you meant,)” Dee voiced his understanding.
“(Yup,)” the flyers came to me. And I took one and passed the rest to my back, “(Kamiyama hills are right next to Mangetsu lake. We go there every year and it is already marked in the school’s annual event calendar.)”
“(And we can not only meet with the wisher without giving away our residence, but we could do it in camouflage as there would be a lot of students at the camping site.)”
And now all that was left was wait.
“So, you are leaving on a camping trip tomorrow,” Myra commented after listening to my plans. We were going back home on the train as usual. “When are you returning?”
“The day after tomorrow.”
“That soon,” she sounded disappointed..
“You looked almost sad that I was going and now you want me to stay there longer.”
“Yeah, I would be a bit lonely going home alone for two days. We didn’t really meet that often once your job ended as well. But on the other hand, I want you to enjoy it as much as you can. And I don’t think two days and one night are enough,” Myra explained her conflict.
“Please. Living in a forest with bugs and all kinds of creepy crawlies, ugh, one night is more than enough,” I gave her my honest opinion.
“You know you sound like a spoiled brat sometimes,” she pouted for some reason.
“It is nothing to feel spoiled about. Mankind built houses, buildings and found cities for a reason. I just don’t see any reason to go back to being cavemen.”
“*sigh* sometimes I don’t know what to say to that absurd logic of yours,” she face palmed herself. But then quickly recovered as she moved onto a different subject. “Anyway, we are seeing each other after sometime, we should go somewhere.”
“You say that but we are already on the train. And it takes us nowhere but home.”
“Truth be told,” she smirked, “I was planning to drop off at an earlier station.”
“I had plans with Yua. She said that since I treated her at the café, she would treat me back.”
“Oh right, you did come to the café with Yua once. But I never imagined that you were the one treating her.”
“Well, she insisted that she should pay as she was the adult, but I wanted to be the one to treat her.”
“You two seem close.”
“Yeah. Ever since the time we got into that accident and she took us to the hospital, I have been meeting her a lot. Of course we met when I came to see you. But in the city as well. I would run into her on the way to the station. She would always talk to me or treat me to something. Before I knew it, we became close. So, I wanted to at least thank her by treating her to something for once,” she kept talking with a strange glee in her eyes. “But even after I did, she insisted that she would treat me back,” and then she giggled. “So, I am going to her invitation, but I think you would be more than welcome.”
I could’ve refused to not interrupt their meet up. But then I did not know what kind of effect it would have on Myra. Plus I was free till tomorrow anyway. So I said yes.
“Good afternoon, Yua,” Myra greeted Yua as soon as we entered the café, which by the way was a cat café. Partitioned into a dining area and a cat zone. We were in the latter.
Yua sat there on a bench and cats laid all around the place. She was in her usual work clothes. The buttoned up top, slacks and a nice long line coat for the detective touch.
She greeted Myra back as soon as she heard her, “Hey, Myra,” and then she saw me right behind her, “And an unexpected guest. Long time no see, kid.”
“Pardon my intrusion,” I said.
“You have been forgiven,” she said jokingly.
“He was leaving on a camping trip tomorrow, so I thought why not join us one last time,” Myra explained as she took a seat beside Yua and I sat in front of them.
“Camping trip? To where?”
“Kamigami hills,” I replied.
“Ah, that’s a nice place,” Yua smiled as she reminisced old memories, “We used to go there for family picnics all the time.”
“Really. But isn’t that place far?” Myra inquired.
“Not really. I live in Kanjou so it didn’t take that long by car.”
“I see,” Myra responded as she understood Yua.
“You do realize it is still three hours from Kanjou, right,” and then I responded as I contradicted her.
“Nothing gets past you, does it?” she laughed.
“And if you live in Kanjou, why are you in Tokyo everyday?” I continued my list of questions.
“Work demands. Besides, Tokyo isn’t that far. And before you say anything, Tokyo really is close by car. I mean you people waste hours inside the city riding a train but travelling on your own vehicle really is fast.”
“So, what are we doing?” Myra brought the conversation back from the road trips to the cafe.
“Well, I wanted to try the silk chocolate mousse. I heard that it is pure bliss,” Yua drooled.
“It sounds heavenly from the name alone,” and Myra joined her in drooling. But being reminded of my presence all of a sudden she said looking at me, “Wait, but you don’t like eating sweets, right?”
“Yes. But I like cats so I guess it evens out,” I said stroking one of the many cats in my vicinity.
“Whoa so many came to you,” surprised at the number of cats I had gathered in such a small time, both of them exclaimed.
“Then I guess you could stay here while we delve into our desserts,” Yua suggested.
“Is it really alright,” Myra looked troubled.
“Yeah, it’s fine,” but I didn’t mind. In fact I preferred it this way.
“Well then, we will be back in a jiffy. Enjoy those felines,” Yua said, dragging Myra into the dining area.
“(Do you really like these pesky creatures,)” with both of them gone, Dee decided to give me company.
“(Yes,)” I gave a curt reply.
“(What’s our plan for tomorrow.)”
“(Meet with the wisher at night.)”
“(Ok, what’s the matter? You aren’t talking like you usually do for quite some time now.)”
“(Of course I can’t. Especially now that I now for a fact that I can’t trust you.)”
“(For the last time Negai, there is no one you can trust more than me in this wish game.)”
“(You say that with only the fact that you never lied to me as your claim. But I don’t think deceiving someone with the truth is any better.)”
“(Okay. Let’s set this straight once and for all. I admit that I act a bit different from the other Jinns. But this is my first time at a wish game. I just want it to be as fun as possible. And the way you are acting right now is no fun.)”
“(You know what would really set things straight? Tell me everything you are hiding from me right now.)”
He stayed silent at my demand. And then after some time, he talked again.
“(*Sigh* Fine. I guess I should since you already know. There are secondary wishes. There are the normal wishes, the bound wishes, which is basically what you have been making up until now. The only rules are that it can’t involve any wisher in them. And then there are secondary wishes. They are basically conditions that you fulfill to lift of the conditions of the bound wishes.)”
“(So basically boundless wishes, right?)”
“(You could say that. And just to be clear, every Jinn has his own secondary wish and it is only known by that Jinn himself. The only thing that the others know is the name. The one we say was Sood’s secondary wish, ‘Loan.’ Besides its name there is nothing that I know. But obviously we say it first hand so I think we can guess.)”
“(Raj Gupta said that he would do anything necessary to clear his name. And then all of a sudden it was cleared for him. As if he got the results before even doing anything. Or to be exact, he loaned them)”
“(Yup. I think that should be it.)”
“(I knew it there was a reason behind Jinns having different personalities.)”
“(Yup, you are pretty sharp after all. And that is why I want you to understand. I can tell you the names of all the Jinns’ secondary wishes and by the end of the day, you would have theorized all of their meanings. What would be the fun in that?”)
“(Fine, then what are you proposing?)”
“(Nothing. I want to act like I have till now. I just want to make it clear since you misunderstand my role. I will tell you anything you may need to know one step at a time. Think of it like a progression system. When we come across a new wisher, if we can identify the Jinn, I will tell you all about him.)”
“(Fine,)” it felt like how Dee would act. Weirdly geeky. But there was still a loophole in all this that he was trying to hide “(But let me ask this. What about you? What about the secondary wish that you have?)”
He sighed as if he knew it was coming.
“(I thought you would say that. Now I could tell you now and you would know in less than a second what it means, it’s that obvious. So, instead how about this. If you can beat the wisher that we will meet tomorrow, with bound wishes, then I will tell you.)”
“(Deal it is.)”
“How cute,” suddenly I heard a different voice from my side. I looked and found Myra and Yua looking at me with sparkles in their eyes.
“Do you think he was talking to the cats?” Myra asked Yua in a whisper that I could obviously listen.
“It doesn’t matter, it is cute as hell. You know what to do, right?” Yua replied to her. And then the next moment both of them took out their phones and started snapping pictures.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Only when I tried to get up to stop them, I realized I had a heavy cat on each of my arms. Plus the cat on my lap was sound asleep by now and I didn’t want to disturb it. And then there were a number of cats at my feet. So basically I was helpless before them.
“You know what. It is a rare chance and we have to take full advantage of it,” suddenly Yua had that mischievous look.
“What should we do?” Myra asked her like a soldier asking his commander.
“Snap some pictures from his phone as well.”
“Yes mam,” Myra very casually took out my phone from my bag.
“Don’t I have any say in this,” but my protests fell on deaf ears.
Myra quickly operated my phone and said, “Oh right, he has a lock on his phone.”
“Very sus. But we can still open the camera from the lock screen.”
“Don’t worry commander, I know his password.”
“How the hell do you know that?”
“You set it in front of me. I remember stuff too, Mr.Big Brain,” all of a sudden she was mad.
“Yeah, she can remember too, Mr.Big Brain,” and Yua fanned the flames.
“467442. Look, it opened.”
“Great, now broadcast it to the rest of the world too,” I screamed with sarcasm.
“No, I won’t along with the fact that you use the same password with every phone and possib-”
“Ok stop now. What has gotten into you?” I had never felt so helpless like this my entire life.
“You males would never understand,” and then the mastermind Yua leaned against Myra’s shoulder like a devil. “Now Myra, snap his picture. While you are at it, check his gallery. Post that picture on his social media and tag yourself. And in the end don’t forget to check his messages and contacts. Especially see what name he has saved you by”
For the first time in my life, I screamed so loud.