Chapter 15:


Fantasy Life

Kaida woke the following day with a splitting headache. She wanted anything but to go to school. Despite how she felt, Kaida took some painkillers and got dressed. Yami and Chiyo had already left the house so she walked to school, meeting up with Yui on the way.

"Morning Kaida!" Yui noticed Kaida was a bit off. She slouched, which was uncharacteristic of her and wore a tiresome frown on her face. "What's wrong? You don't look so good."

"Well actually..." Kaida informed Yui of the fight she and the others had gotten into with Jun. She expressed her displeasure with the team and frustration with doing nothing about it. "I mean everyone else is great. Rei and I have already become friends with Kei, and Yun is nice but if Jun keeps getting mad at us, I don't know what we're going to do."

"Maybe Tsuda sensei will come up with a plan. He's not the type of teacher to sit there and let fights carry on, especially when this team is going to be competing in nationals soon."

That's right. Nationals are in three months. This realization made Kaida feel queasy just as her headache had finally dispersed. For the team's sake, Kaida hoped that Yui was right. She had believed things would work out.

The two girls arrived at school and met up with Kei and Rei. Both seemed just as down as Kaida but Kei was doing her best to hide it with a forced smile. When classes were over and it was time for practice, everyone received a message from Tsuda to meet in his office. Kaida figured he wanted to discuss the events from yesterday and hoped that Tsuda had a plan to bring the team together.

Kaida and Rei met up with Kei and walked to the teachers' lounge together. Yun and Jun were already in the office, seated in some chairs. "Welcome girls," Tsuda said. "Please have a seat anywhere you'd like."

"Pardon me sensei, but may I ask why we have been called here?" Kei said.

"I have brought you here today to help me plan."

"Plan what exactly?" Yun asked.

"You five will be going on a camping trip!"

"A camping trip?" Everyone repeated simultaneously.

Kaida spoke next. "Sensei, why are we going camping when there is training to be done?"

"Yes, well, after yesterday’s incident, I doubt that training will benefit any of you. That's why I decided to have a trip to bring the team closer together. Or at least I hope so."

"You hope so?" Rei exclaimed.

"Jun, your attitude is causing problems within the team and it is even affecting your brother as well. I believe going on this trip will either make or break this team. The result will depend on all of you. I haven't decided on a location but I already got permission from the teachers to let you have the time off next week. Today, you five will be helping me plan this trip for you and then tonight, go home and ask your parents' permission to attend."

"I don't know about this. I mean what if we only grow more distant?" Kaida asked.

"I'll only say this once so listen carefully. If you succeed in restoring good relations to this team then we will resume practice as if nothing happened. However, should you fail and this team falls to pieces, I will have no choice but to disband this team and withdraw from this year's Fantasy Life League."

Everyone gasped and sat staring at Tsuda. His face was stern and cold, Kaida couldn't remember a time seeing him so serious. She looked around at her teammates. They all wore it on their faces, even Jun, the weight that this trip held for the future of this team. If they succeed then their team will be stronger than ever, but if they fail, then it will be the end of the road and their hard work will have been for nothing. "Is it worth the risk?" Kaida asked herself.

"Well now, let's not dilly-dally." Tsuda clapped his hands together. "We need to plan a week-long camping trip by tonight so you all can go home and pack over the weekend. Let's get started."

Everyone sat together and planned their trip for the following week. Jun mostly sat by himself and didn't interfere so the planning process went by much faster than Kaida had expected. After a while, she began having fun talking with everyone and was even looking forward to the trip. They had settled on Nikko National Park which was only a couple of hours away from Ashikaga. Before the students were dismissed Tsuda had some final words to say.

"Thank you for your hard work everyone, mostly. Don't forget to get your parents to sign the permission slips I gave you and bring them to me the morning of the trip. While you are away I will be working on finding a team manager and taking care of some other work that needs to be done before nationals. So you better not fail this mission. Dismissed."

As everyone was leaving Kaida approached Tsuda. "Excuse me sensei but do you have any idea as to who you want the team manager to be?"

"I have a few candidates in mind. Do you have a recommendation?"

"Yes, I do." Once Kaida finished speaking with Tsuda, she left and walked home, carrying the permission slip in her hands the whole way.

"I'm home," Kaida announced as she opened the door to the house. Kumo was the first to greet her. He rolled on his back as Kaida knelt to pet him.

"Welcome home, Kaida," Masashi said. "Your mom is stuck at work so I went ahead and made some dinner. Help yourself."

"Um, we made dinner thank you," Jin huffed.

"And just what did you do?"

"Why I peeled the potatoes. It's a tiring job you know."

"Oh yes, how could I forget?" Masashi rolled his eyes.

"Hey dad, can I have you sign this?"

"What is it?" Kaida filled him in on the trip and why she needed to attend. She was careful in selecting her words when trying to explain the situation at school. "I see. Well, if it is to help the team then I don't see why you can't go. Will both Yami and Chiyo be going with you?"

"Yes, I'll be just fine with both of them there."

Masashi signed the slip and handed it back to Kaida. "There you are. Don't lose it."

"I won't dad, but I had better start packing."