Chapter 16:

Nikko National Park

Fantasy Life

To Kaida, the weekend couldn't last long enough. She felt a mix of excitement for the trip and lingering anticipation for how it would turn out. Along with the permission slip, Tsuda gave each student a list of what to bring. Kaida double-checked her luggage before heading to the team's meeting spot. Her belongings consisted of a small tent, a sleeping bag, and a change of clothes. Kaida had also prepared a saddle bag for Chiyo to carry some supplies in case of emergencies, such as the first aid kit and a compass. Everything was ready to go.

"Alright, I'm off now," Kaida said to her family as she patted Kumo on the head.

"Be safe, and call us if you need anything," Ayumi said as she walked over to hug Kaida.

"Make sure you, Yami, and Chiyo look out for each other, you hear?" Masashi stated.

"Don't worry. We'll be fine." She grabbed her things and ran out the door. "See ya!"

Outside, Yami and Chiyo were waiting for Kaida. She strapped the saddle bag onto Chiyo's back and gave the rest of the luggage to Yami, who carried it gently in one of his front claws. Once the bags were secure Yami took off flying, leaving Kaida and Chiyo by the house. Kaida leapt onto Chiyo and the two started in the direction of Ashikaga High School.

At the school, Tsuda and the students gathered around a van with a horse trailer attached. "Alright everyone," Tsuda began. "I hope you packed everything because once we get in the car there is no turning around. Kita and Fujihara go ahead and load Chiyo and Dallas into the trailer. Tani will be riding with them as well. The rest of you load into the van. Fujihara, did Yami go on ahead?"

"Yes sir."

"Good, I'm sorry to have him travel alone but there was no trailer I could rent that was big enough to hold a dragon as big as him."

"I'm sure he doesn't mind." At that, everyone began loading the van. Kaida quickly helped Chiyo into the trailer, big enough for the three to ride comfortably. She returned to help the others pack so she wasn't alone with Jun. Kaida inspected the van's interior as she helped Rei lift one of her suitcases. It was a large vehicle with the seats arranged to hold up to nine people, and plenty of storage space to spare for their luggage.

Once the van was loaded up, Tsuda did a final roll call for everyone before hitting the road. Tsuda sat up front with no one in the passenger seat. In the two seats behind him sat Kei and Kaida with Matsume resting on Kei's lap. Behind them sat Rei and Asa. And in the back sat Jun and Yun with a spare seat in the middle where Alba decided to rest.

The drive went without any interruptions excluding one stop to refuel. While the others were sleeping, Kaida and Kei talked. Kaida learned that Kei's father studied business in London and that she and her family would often take trips there. Kaida loved hearing tales of traveling since she had never left Japan.

"Is there a place you'd like to visit one day, Fujihara?" Kei asked.

"Well," She thought for a bit. Was there any place that she wanted to see? She never really thought about it, but then Kaida remembered a time her father told her about a place where lots of tulips grew. "I think I would like to visit the Netherlands."

"What for?"

"My father told me that in the Netherlands, Holland specifically, there is a place where lots and lots of tulips grow in an array of different colors."

"That sounds beautiful! I hope you get to go one day."

"Yeah, me too."

Tsuda parked the car in a field just off a dirt path. "We're here. Fujihara, Tachibana, wake the others up will you?"

Once everyone was woken up, they all stepped out of the can to admire the scenery. The area was covered in lush green trees with several streams flowing by. A waterfall was audible from where they stood. Most of the area was mountainous and from where they were, Kaida could make out a small town in the distance.

"This place is beautiful," Kaida admired.

"I'm glad you like it. This is where the five of you will be staying for the next week along with your mythical creatures.

"You're not staying with us, sensei?" Rei asked in a concerned tone.

"Not to worry. I'll be staying in a town close by so if anything happens, Tani and I will come to the rescue. Once we unload your things I'll be off, but don't worry. I have full faith in you."

It didn't take long for the group to collect their things. Soon, Tsuda drove the van and trailer out of sight. Kaida lifted a bag and said heavily, "Guess we're on our own."

Yun came forward. "Let's not worry. As long as we work as a team we will be just fine. I say we find a spot to set up camp and then divvy up responsibilities. Is that ok for everyone?" With an approving nod from the girls, they all began making camp. Rei had spotted a cave near the river that would be suitable if foul weather occurred but was also high enough off the ground in case of any flooding.

As they unpacked, Kei tore her tent. "Oh no! What will I do now?"

"You're kinda clumsy, aren't you?" Rei teased.

"Here, my tents all set up. Why don't you stay in this one?" Yun offered.

"You sure? What about you?"

"Jun brought another tent. I'll just room with him. We are brothers after all."

"Thanks, Kita?"

"Please, call me Yun. And may I call you Kei? I think it would help the team if we could all be less formal with each other."

"Ok, Yun," Kei grinned.

"You can call us by our first names too," Kaida added, indicating to her and Rei.

"I will, Kaida and Rei."

Jun scoffed. "Don't get chummy with them brother." He went back to raising the tent up.

"Sorry about him," Yun said. "Let's make the most we can out of this. You with me?"

Everyone gave a nod. And with that, their camping trip begun.