Chapter 20:


Fantasy Life

Kaida was sitting down with Yami further upstream when Rei found her. Rei came over and spoke in a soft voice. "You wanna talk?"

"I just want to be alone right now."

"Well, you're going to have to be alone with me." Rei sat down next to Kaida. "I'm sorry for what happened."

"Why are you apologizing? You're not the one I'm mad at."

"True, but I doubt that jerk will apologize any time soon." She reached over and wrapped one arm around Kaida's shoulder as tears came down her eyes. "Let it out. I'm here for you." Kaida cried out her frustration and once she sat up Rei asked. "Do you wanna go back to camp?"

"Not yet. Just a little while longer."

There was a rustling noise from behind and Kei emerged from the bushes along with Matsume, Asa, and Chiyo. "There you are!"

"Kei, you followed us?" Rei asked.

"After you left Yun got into a heated argument with Jun. He even slapped him. During the argument, Yun figured out the reason for Jun's attitude. Yun sent me to get you."

"I don't care for his reasons," Kaida said. "It doesn't change what he said."

"Let me fill you in." Kei began the story that Yun had told her, being careful not to miss any of the details. "I am not saying Jun was in the right, nor do I think you need to forgive him. However, Yun believes that Jun is taking his anger out on you because of Yami, but even as we speak Yun is beating some sense into Jun and I don't think you'll want to miss that."

Kaida managed a slight smile from Kei's last remark. "Although what happened is tragic. I don't know if I can forgive him. But if Yun is doing his best to keep this team together, then I don't want to be the one to let his effort go to waste."

"Yeah!" Rei exclaimed. "Jun might be a jerk but Yun is our friend. Now let's go and be there for him when he deals with Jun." Kaida and Rei got up, and the girls made their way back to camp.

At the campsite, Jun was packing up his tent when Yun found him. "What do you think you're doing?"

"Packing," Jun stated abruptly. "None of you want me or need me so Dallas and I are leaving."

"Sorry but no."

"What did you say?"

"I said no. You are going to come back with me to find Kaida and the others so we can apologize."

"Not like they'd forgive me even if I was sincere."

"Don't take your anger from mom and Saiki out on Kaida and Yami."

"I told you not to mention her!"

"Well, I am!" Jun was taken back but the force in his brother's voice. "You even began to dislike all mythical creatures after what happened. You can't hold this rage in your heart forever."

"What am I supposed to do with it then?" Jun was louder than ever. "It's not fair! It's not fair!" He broke down crying. He felt his face with his hand. "Tears?"

"It's been a long time since I've seen you cry." Yun giggled. "I remember you used to be such a crybaby when we were young. Mom would cook you some food to cheer you up."

"Hm, and you would also slide down Saiki's tail as if it was a playground. Mom would get onto you because you'd always manage to injure yourself or get sick playing outside." Jun laughed a little. "I had forgotten that."

"Even though we had to say goodbye painfully, there were still good times too. And I wanna say I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"For being a burden. You had to take care of me when I was sick and help me when I was hurt. I was putting more pressure on you but not once did I think about how it might affect you. I blame myself for your hatred towards mythical creatures and I hate myself for not being a better brother."

Jun stood silently for a moment, not knowing what to say. "No, I'm the one who should apologize. I let my emotions build and I took them out on you. For that I'm sorry." He bowed before continuing. "And there are three more people and a dragon I must apologize to as well."

"You mean, you'll talk to them?"

Jun nodded. "I don't think they'll forgive me but my conscience won't allow me to let this misdeed be ignored. Please, take me to where they are."

On their way back to camp, Matsume looked around frantically and Chiyo fidgeted. "What's wrong with them?" Kei wondered.

Rei listened intently while Asa mumbled under her mask. She had said something to make Rei gasp. "She says they smell smoke."

"Smoke from a campfire?"

"No, like a forest fire." The sound of a falling tree was heard nearby and the air became thick with grey smoke. "We need to get out of here!"

"It might be too late. Look!" Kaida pointed to an area of the woods engulfed in flames. At the sight of the fire, all the creatures panicked and began running back towards the direction of the camp. The group made it a few yards before coming to a halt.

"Why did they stop?" Rei asked watching Matsume sniff the air frantically.

"I think the smoke is interfering with her sense of smell. I don't think she'll be able to find her way back to camp," Kei replied.

"What will we do?" The fire was getting closer.

Kaida was next to speak. "Yami! Head back to the clearing and take off. Go find Yun and let him know what's going on!"

"But he'll have to go back where the fire is," Kei exclaimed.

"Don't worry. Dragons are fireproof so he'll be fine. We need to keep the others safe because soon the fire will encircle us."

Yami did as he was told and ran back towards the clearing where he had room to take off into the sky. Rei spoke next. "So where do we go if Matsume and Chiyo can't find the camp?"

"We will just have to go where the fire isn't." Kaida made a hand signal to Chiyo at which she laid down. "Rei, Kei, get on Chiyo. We'll have to make a run for it."

"What about you?"

"I'm fast. I'll run alongside Chiyo with Asa and Matsume. We will all get out of this somehow but for now, we run." With that, the group dashed towards the other side of the mountain as the fire engulfed the woods behind them.