Chapter 20:

Futility of Fate

Last Wish

September 2. The day of the camping trip arrived. We boarded the bus at 7:50 and left at exactly 8. Groups of four were made inside the class. And with a class strength of 34 like us, there would be two left over. And who else was befitting that role than me and Taisho.

The bus went on the highway. Everyone was excited for an event that did not involve studying for once. The teacher looked happy that he too got to relax. Everything was going well. Too well that it almost scared me.

After about four hours of travelling, with one stop in between, we reached Kamigami hills. The entrance point at least, when our bus was pulled over by security. There was a wave of commotion inside the bus.

“Everyone calm down!” The teacher disciplined everyone before getting out of the bus to inspect this matter. Since I was sitting on a window seat, I could see the teacher walking up to the officer. His expression changed from calm to troubled as their talk progressed. And as soon as their discussion was over, the teacher pulled out his phone and made a call. I could not hear what he was saying, but it was pretty obvious that he was mad. He shouted over the phone before cutting the call in rage.

He massaged his forehead with his thumb and two fingers as he attempted to recompose himself before coming inside the bus again.

“Students,” he made an announcement, “ It seems like there has been a blunder. Apparently, our great principal forgot about the camping trip appointment. He claims that he had made the reservation, but the management at Kamigami hills had not received any such request. Hence, they had reserved the camping spot to someone else.”

“Teach, what will happen to the camping trip then?” The class rep was obviously the one to pose that question.

“Of course there is no choice but to cancel it,” the teacher replied with disappointment.

A wave of disappointment arose among the students.

“Now now. We can’t let this end like this either,” the teacher moved on to the next point, “we will now shift from an outdoor camping activity to a more indoor one.”

“What does that mean?” The class voiced their confusions and doubts.

“I will divide the budget we had for the camping trip into all the nine groups. We will head to the town of Kanjou next. There, you will use the budget allotted to you to manage your one night stay. It is a small town, so don’t worry about getting lost or anything. We will be supervising you at all points.”

The teacher tried to present the substitute plan with enthusiasm but the hype of the camping trip was not coming back. A lot of the students revered the idea of ‘staying in nature’ but I, for one, was all in for this new idea.

Except for one big problem.

“(Hey Negai, does this mean that our meet up is a bust?)” Dee voiced the obvious concern. I did not answer him and my silence was all he needed. “(What are we going to do now?!)”

“What are we going to do now?” very strangely, Taisho said the same words as Dee, who only I could hear. His reasons were different of course.

“What can we do? Honestly, I think we should be thankful that they are taking us somewhere other than home.”

“You are right. But Kanjou of all places. It’s not like Kyoto or any place worth seeing.”

“I think the point of this trip is to manage a crisis by yourself. I personally think it is much better than that old school camping thing.”

“You are right, but I came on this trip to relax and have fun. Not having some kind of practical lessons on stats and economics.”

He was right. It was supposed to be a fun little trip, not a training exercise. Going to some unknown town and managing your resources to last you a day and half didn’t feel much of a recreation.

“Unless, you had a guide,” I mumbled.

“A guide? You know someone from Kanjou.”

“I may. I think we can make this trip effortless and fun after all,” I proclaimed as I took out my phone to make a phone call.

There was still a three hour trip to Kanjou. It was more than enough time for her to prepare.


“Ahahahahaha,” she was laughing her lungs out, “You couldn’t go to the camping site so they decided to take you to some small town. And it was no place other than Kanjou. I mean, there are literally hundreds of better places for recreation. Oh my God, this is hilarious.” Yua Chieki amused herself with my situation. I had called her because she lived in Kanjou. I was a bit worried that she might be in Tokyo, as she normally is. I felt relieved to know that she wasn’t but right now, I was thinking it would’ve been better if she wasn’t.

“If you’re done laughing, can we talk seriously,” I was fine with her laughing the rest of the day. But I wasn’t alone. I had Taisho with me, who just sat there not sure what he should do.

“I am sorry, It's just too funny,” she tried to control her laughter. “So, how can I be of help?”

“Just tell us how to not be bored.”

“That is a tall order. I mean Kanjou is the most serene town you would find in Japan. There is almost nothing happening here.”

“How can you say that about your hometown?”

“It’s not my hometown. I came here after I got married. And frankly, this kind of peaceful environment is perfect for a wedded couple.”

“Don't you get bored?”

“Why do you think I am in Tokyo all the time?”

"So basically, you want me to give you a tour of Kanjou. Like, be your guide. But what do I get out of it?"

"Glad you asked. You see, Taisho and I have a very generous budget to explore this place. Take us to the best spots and we will take care of any financial matters."

"Don't try to sound professional for your age. Just makes you look cheeky, highschooler," she flicked my forehead, "but we have a deal. Let's go and show that even a boring town can be fun with the right people.

And off we went to the grand tour of the town of Kanjou.

Honestly, all of the places in Kanjou were average to say the most. There was nothing that stood out. Everything was as average as they come. Thankfully, we had Yua to give us an insider tour.

“This is a special vending machine,” she stopped in front of a vending machine in an alley. “Why is it special you may ask, because no matter how low you are on cash, this machine will always have a drink for you.”

We took a look inside to see what kind of drinks were in there that would sell so cheap. But there were only normal drinks you would find in any vending machine in Tokyo, very similarly priced as well. We looked at Yua dubiously.

“You don’t believe me? Watch this,” she pulled out a ten yen coin and put it inside the machine. Obviously there was nothing worth 10 yen in there. She then chose the most expensive drink inside. When she pressed the button, there was a slight feedback from the machine but nothing more. Nothing came out. We were still waiting for the magic to happen when all of a sudden, “Haaarg,” Yua kicked the machine with all her force.

We only heard a large *Thunk*. After that she reached for the pick up box.

“Viola,” she presented us with the drink she had chosen. Seeing such a feat I had only one reaction.

“Isn’t this illegal?”

“Of course not,” Yua spoke brimming with confidence.

“Mrs.Chieki, please do not abuse the vending machine,” all of a sudden we heard a megaphone. A patrol car had pulled up at some point.

“While we are at it, let me introduce to you Kanjou’s finest. All they do is nag people all day because there is no work for them to do.”

“Please don’t put it that way,” the officer replied on the megaphone for some reason, “you should be glad that the crime rate is down.”

“Yes yes. Thank you for protecting us.” Yua saluted them and the patrol car drove away.

“Well this is about the most interesting thing you will find in Kanjou. But let’s hit the markets.”

She took us over to Kanjou’s local market. Since it was a small town, it was no surprise everyone knew each other. And she was right, the only interesting thing we really found was the food and snacks. By the time we left the market, the Sun was going down.

“We should start looking for a hotel now. That is the main point of this trip after all,” Taisho suggested.

“You heard him. Guide, take us to the hotel with the best price to quality ratio,” I commanded Yua.

“If that means taking you to someplace I can pull some strings and get you a discount then I know just the place.”

She took us to a hotel on the same street as that vending machine.

“Amber, are you here?” Yua called out as soon as she entered the building. It looked more like a diner than a hotel.

“Ah Mrs.Chieki. Welcome. How may I serve you,” a girl with Auburn hair and freckles came to our reception. Her attire made it very clear that she was a waitress.

“A table for three.”

“Oh so we have company today.” Amber complimented and Yua immediately availed the chance to tease her.

“Yes, I have some quite good looking gentlemen here. If anyone piques your interest, you can always tell me.”

“Please have a seat and decide your order. I will take it in a moment,” Amber went red and rushed us to our tables.

“How cute. You guys must be hungry by now. This place is a diner, but the upper floors have rooms to stay in. It’s almost like an inn from those isekai games.”

“Eh, this is quite convenient,” Taisho appreciated the facility. “I should check into a room while you guys order.”

“Right. Here,” we had our funds stored in my wallet. And my heart jumped out of my chest when I tapped my pocket and found no wallet inside. Naturally, I started tapping and checking all of my pockets at a rapid speed.

“Oi, Negai. Don’t tell me,” Taisho has already guessed what this meant.

“You are hopeless aren’t you,” Yua sighed as she put something on the table. It was my wallet.

“Why do you have it?”

“You dropped it in the market. Seriously, despite your sharp wits, this is quite clumsy of you. Guess you have another side as well,” I could feel the blood rushing to my face in embarrassment.

“Anyway, thank God we haven’t lost our funds. So, I’ll check in.”

Taisho took my wallet and went to the reception.


“Myra is going to hate us so much,” she laughed as she enjoyed her after meal drink. Taisho had gone to the room while I stayed with Yua.

“You hang out with her all the time. I don’t think she would mind me hanging out with you,” I said enjoying my drink (juice of course.)

“You don’t understand, do you, lil' Negai?" she said with a weird roll in her voice.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Figure it out yourself."

She said that, but I had no idea what she meant. As far as Myra was concerned, she was a sentimental type who attached herself to any person or thing she came to like. And had hurt herself in doing so as well. To the point of breaking. I was just trying to fulfill her need for affection a bit more consistently. Or normally, I could say because her past experiences hadn’t been normal in any way.

And then I realized she had been doing the same. Since the day she saw her get into that accident, Yua had been hanging out with Myra whenever she saw her.

"Thanks for looking out for her," I thanked her for her overlooked efforts.

"?" of course she had no idea what I was rambling about.

"Isn't that why you kept meeting her? Despite the fact that you had nothing to do with her after you saved her."

"That's a bit harsh, isn't it. Saying that I had nothing to do with her,” she let out a chuckle, “But I guess you are right. I was sort of looking out for her. I guess seeing her reminded me of my old self. So sensitive, so reckless. Making stupid decisions and doing idiotic things without thinking about the consequences."

"So you saw the marks on her wrist too."

"You know about them as well. Goes to show that she still isn't hiding them properly,” she kept staring into her drink, “But yeah, I don't want her to isolate herself and make mistakes. If life is hard, then talk it out with someone instead of just throwing it away,” and then she looked at me, “On that note, I like you too. Mr.Big Brains like you who like to think about everything logically. That is the kind of person you need to stop someone from making illogical decisions."

"I'll take that as a compliment." I gulped down my drink in one go and Yua did the same.

"I guess it is getting late, I should go now. I need a good sleep after a day like today."

"Yeah I should head to the room, too. Thank you very much for today," I bowed to her in gratitude.

"Don't mention it kiddo."

With that, she and I went our separate ways.

"(So I guess that means we won't be able to meet with that wisher,)" Dee said disappointingly. He had been silently observing my actions the whole day, probably hoping that there would be some opportunity we could avail to go meet the wisher.

"(I guess so,)" but it was clear by now that it was not plausible.

"(Are we just going to give up like that?)"

"(Look, there isn't much time left since the meet up time. The fastest thing we can take is a cab or taxi and it would still take us all night just to go there and come back before sunrise. Between that, do you think we could do any investigations about our mysterious wisher? And besides. I don't think we can leave the town in the first place. I hate to say it. But we have to give up.)"

"(I guess leaving everything up to fate doesn't always work out.)"

I went to my room and then went to sleep as soon as I could to wash away this frustration with a good sleep.


I woke up at about 4 in the morning. I say I woke up, but I was only half asleep to begin with. The thought of missing out on that meeting bugged me the whole night. Maybe I should have thought it through, but I did not exactly have that leverage when I wrote that message.

But what’s done was done. If I tried to look at it a bit more optimistically, there was a possibility that the other party would not have appeared either. But no matter how I thought about it, all I could do was sigh.

“(You looked bummed out,)” Dee said. I took out some spare change from my wallet and put it back inside my bag.

“(I am surprised you are not. You are normally the one always complaining that you are bored.)” I wore my shoes, and headed out of the room.

“(I am disappointed, but also excited to see what you will do next. After all, you have never let things get boring.)”

I headed towards that vending machine after exiting the hotel. First thing I needed was a drink to wash away this mellowness.

As I stood there, examining every drink and deciding what I should choose, “Ah you’re taking forever. Scoot over,” I heard a familiar voice. The most frequent customer of this vending machine, Yua Chieki. “Nothing better to start a day than black coffee,” she said as she put in the money, pressed the buttons and the can of coffee dropped.

She immediately opened it up and started drinking it. It felt like she was struggling to stay awake. But there was something off about her. Precisely, her attire felt out of place. She was still in her work clothes. Her top and bottom were still perfect and she had her long line coat on. It was a little chilly that time in the morning, but it still did not demand this kind of getup. Even I was in my pajamas with nothing over it.

“Did you even sleep tonight?” I was inclined to ask.

“Don’t be silly. Of course I did. I don’t want to ruin my skin without my beauty sleep,” she said, as she stepped away from the machine and I, once again, got back to picking my drink.

“Isn’t it a bit early to get ready for work,” I asked while observing the machine’s display.

“You don’t exactly have a model routine when doing detective work.”

“I see.”

She had almost finished her drink.

“By the way, you don’t happen to know where my wallet is?”

“Again? Is that why you aren’t buying anything?”

“I never said that. But do you know anything about it?”

“Look I already found your wallet today once by chance. Don’t think that would happen again.” She threw something at me and I barely managed to catch it. It was a 100 yen coin. “Buy yourself something. If it’s out of your range, you can always abuse the machine.” saying that she left.

“(What was that for? Didn’t we leave our wallet in our room intentionally?)”

“She hasn’t slept all night,” but I couldn’t answer Dee’s question because my mind was busy processing something else.

“(Excuse me. What?)”

“She hasn’t slept all night. When I asked her about the wallet, she said she found it today but it was yesterday.”


“There is an interesting way the internal clock of a person works. Inside your head, the date doesn’t change until you sleep or see daybreak once again. Meaning if you don’t sleep the whole night, until the sun rises next morning, it would feel like the same day. Conversely, if you sleep in the middle of the day and wake up at night, it would feel like a new day.”

“(I still don’t get it.)”

“For her, the wallet thing and the whole tour happened today. But to me it was yesterday. The only difference I could think of is because I slept and she didn’t.”

“(Fine. Whatever your logic is, it is correct. But why does it matter whether she slept or not?)”

“Oh it does,” I said and went the same way Yua just did. I had just walked about a hundred meters when I saw her car. But Yua herself was nowhere to be found. I touched the hood of the car.

“(It’s hot.)”

“(And could you please explain what it means.)”

“(Don’t you see it. The last time we met Yua was just before we went to the hotel. It was about 9 P.M. She said she was going home, but she hasn’t slept. And it is clear that she just got back from somewhere.)”

“(Are you saying that….)” I completed Dee’s sentence.

“(She left at 9 P.M and came back at 4 in the morning. A six hour trip. This couldn’t be a coincidence right.?)”