Chapter 5:


Fantasy Life

It had been a long week preparing for the upcoming Ashikaga High event. The students were all working hard to better themselves and their mythical creatures' strength, speed, agility, and stamina. Kaida was certain to take note of which area Yami and Chiyo were lacking and the three of them did some special training with Rei and Asa. Before long it was the evening of the big day.

Kaida was seated in her room finishing up the last of her homework when her father came in. "Are you ready for the big day tomorrow?" Masashi asked.

Kaida set her pencil down. "I'm trying not to think about it. The more I do the more nervous I get."

"Alright, be sure to get a good night's sleep you hear?"

"Yes, father."

The door slammed open and Jin entered the room carrying a tray of mochi and some tea. "Hey there Kaida! Thought I'd bring you some delicious snacks!"

"Jin, keep your voice down," Masashi scolded. "She's trying to study."

"Oh pish posh. She shouldn't be studying with such a big event coming up. Oh, you must so be excited! Or are you nervous? Do you know what events the school is having?"

As Jin continued to bombard Kaida with questions, Masashi raised his hand to his forehead and shook his head. "Unbelievable." He took the tray from Jin and set it down on Kaida's desk and dragged Jin out, still asking more questions. "I think it's time we go to bed."

Kaida laughed. "Seems like he's more thrilled about this competition than I am."

"Just do your best dear. Remember that we will be there to watch you so good luck." Masashi and Jin left the room.

Kumo came over and laid his head on Kaida's lap. She lifted a hand to pet him on the head. "Are you wishing me luck too?" She gave a long sigh. "I'm so nervous. I don't know how I'll ever get any sleep now." Kumo licked her hand as though to comfort her, Kaida smiled in reply.

As Kaida packed her finished homework into her book bag her phone rang. It was Rei. Kaida answered the phone. "Hello?"

"Oh, Kaida glad you're still awake. Meet me at my place in twenty minutes."

"Hold on I was about to-"

"And don't forget to bring Yami and Chiyo with you as well. See you soon!"

"Wait!" The phone cut out. "She hung up on me." Kaida's curiosity kept her from ignoring Rei's sudden request. She threw on a dress and ran out to the backyard. The yard was big, but mostly grass. There were trimmed shrubs lining the fence and pots of flowers that her dad had planted. Near the end of the yard was a single stall for Chiyo to rest under. Yami lay next to the stall sound asleep.

"Wake up you two. We need to head over to Rei's house right away." Kaida knew riding mythical creatures without proper attire was dangerous and should be avoided but she didn't have time to change. She climbed on top of Chiyo's back and rode bareback. Yami walked steadily behind them, and carefully avoided bumping into anything.

The three of them arrived at Rei's house. Asa was waiting to greet them outside the front door. Rei came out to greet them as well. "Kaida! Glad you made it." She was in her pajamas. "Sorry for the last-minute call. I was actually about to go to bed when she asked to come over."

"Who's she?" Kaida heard footsteps behind her and turned to see who it was. "Yui? What are you doing here?"

Yui was sitting on Oden's shoulder. He set Yui down so that she could talk to Kaida face to face. "Sorry about this but Rei's house was the most central location for us to meet. I had something I wanted to tell you so I called this little meeting."

"Why don't we go around back so we can talk," Rei said. "My mom is making some snacks for us." Rei led the group to her backyard. It was smaller than Kaida's because it wasn't expanded to fit a dragon. The other creatures made themselves comfortable but Yami had to wait out front. There was some patio furniture on a deck outside where Kaida, Rei, and Yui sat. Rei's mom brought out some fruit for the girls to eat before going back inside. "So what did you want to discuss Yui?"

"Thanks for letting us meet here Rei. I know it was super last minute but I found out something important that the two of you will want to know for tomorrow's competition."

"What is it Yui?" Kaida asked.

"I found out what events they will have tomorrow."

"How'd you manage that?" Rei asked with skepticism. "You're no longer supposed to be competing in this competition."

Yui slouched in disappointment. "That's true and my parents are still mad at me for it. They won't even let me join the band at school." She perked up. "However, I am still a valued member of the newspaper club and it is our job to track down the most top-secret information."

"You probably overheard the school board talking about it," Rei stated.

"Right you are! As you know the Fantasy Life League hosts different events every time. It could vary from racing, to diving, to combat, so teams need to work on a variety of skills. Well, I overheard the school board saying that they've decided on what event will be held to decide who will be on the team. Although I don't know who you will be up against from the other classes."

Rei became ecstatic. "Yeah but if we know the event that could give us a huge advantage! Right, Kaida?"

"Hm, I don't know Rei," Kaida hesitated. "It doesn't feel right getting such an advantage. I'd feel like I cheated."

Yui nodded. "I understand where you're coming from but this would be incredibly useful, especially for you."

"Why do you say that, Yui?"

"Because you're only allowed to use one mythical creature per event. Yes, you can alternate if there is more than one event being held but you won't get that chance tomorrow. Have you even decided who you're going to pick yet?"

"No, I haven't," Kaida sighed.

Rei looked over at Kaida. "You know, maybe knowing what event will be held will help you determine who you're going to use tomorrow."

"Rei's right, Kaida," Yui added. "You have amazing creatures but both are very different. Chiyo, for instance, is talented in combat and knows some magic. She is much more skilled than Yami. However, due to Chiyo helping your father so often you've formed a stronger bond with Yami, amplifying his abilities."

"I never thought about that." Kaida started feeling guilty for having spent more time with Yami than Chiyo but she knew Yui was right. If she wanted any chance at performing well in tomorrow's competition then she needed to know who to choose for the event. "Alright, tell us the event but only the event. I don't want any details."

"That's fine with me." Yui cleared her throat. "The event being held tomorrow is jousting."

"Jousting?" Rei questioned. "Are we in the medieval period now?"

"That's what I heard."

Kaida thought on the matter. "Jousting is a sport done on horseback which would make Chiyo the perfect option. But since not everyone has a horse-like mythical creature I can only assume that they will pair people up based on body type. If that's the case then a bigger physique may be what I need."

"At least you have creatures you can ride. Asa can't carry me," Rei remarked.

The three girls sat quietly, thinking about which creature Kaida should pick. Yui broke the silence. "Kaida, it's up to you to decide but I would recommend going with whomever you feel is up for this event."

"I hate having to choose," Kaida said. "I don't even know why I have two creatures in the first place." Her thoughts wandered. Looking over at Chiyo who was playing with Oden and Asa, she felt her decision was clear. "Chiyo. I pick Chiyo."

"Are you sure, Kaida?" Yui asked. 

"It's like I said before, jousting is a sport traditionally done on horseback. With that in mind, I think using Chiyo will give me the best advantage in this contest. Although, Yami will be disappointed."

"Well, he can cheer from the sidelines," Rei said encouragingly. "I think this is a great idea. Thank you, Yui for sharing this with us."

"Of course, but it's our little secret, ok?" Kaida and Rei nodded in agreement.

The group said their goodbyes and Yui said good luck to the two girls competing tomorrow morning.