Chapter 23:

Return to School

Fantasy Life

The hospital was crowded with other people and creatures affected by the forest fire. The students had come to find out that the fire was started accidentally by another camper's chimera, a creature of greek origin with three heads; one a lion, one a goat, and one a serpent, trying to start a campfire. From one of the windows, Kaida could see the fire diminishing thanks to the efforts of a hydra and some water spirits who belonged to some local firefighters. In the hospital, there were some pixies flying around, carrying some supplies for the nurses and doctors. Kaida saw another caladrius resting on one doctor's shoulder as the doctor entered a patient's room.

Yun was released from the hospital in town where Tsuda had all the kids looked at for any burns or other injuries. Rei and Kaida got a few minor burns but nothing major, while Jun and Kei were unscathed. Kaida recalled during Yun's examination, Tsuda sat by the room the whole time with his arms crossed. She was sure he was feeling worried after finding out about the forest fire. Something he said later confirmed that suspicion.

Before everyone left the hospital, Tsuda turned and said, "I am so sorry to have left you guys in such a dangerous situation. If you all hadn't managed to get out of the forest when the fire had started, I don't know how I would ever be able to face your families. I still have to face that three of you got hurt because of my terrible idea."

Kaida spoke before he could continue. "But it wasn't a terrible idea sensei!"

"She's right," Jun agreed. "Because of you, I finally came to terms with something I've been holding onto for a very long time. Not to mention making amends with Kaida, Rei, and Kei. Sure a fire started and we almost died a few times, but that is not your fault. Because of this 'terrible idea' of yours we actually have become closer."

"That's right!" Yun exclaimed. "We're a team thanks to you.

Tsuda opened his mouth to protest but decided against it. The kids were safe and that is all he cared about. "I'm glad to see you all get along now. Tonight we eat! Pick any restaurant in town, my treat." That night they all went to a local restaurant and ate and laughed until they couldn't eat anymore.

The following morning, they were all back in the van on their way to school. Like before, the trip was uneventful, and all the teens slept during the ride. When Kaida awoke, Tsuda had pulled the vehicle into the school grounds where they had met up. "Alright everyone, we're here."

Kaida stretched her arms out before opening the door. Yami, who found them not long after the group found Tsuda, landed in the field where they practiced. Chiyo, Tani, and Dallas were thrilled to be let out of the horse trailer and free to run around. It was still early in the day and all the mythical creatures were full of energy.

"Maybe I should take them to the park?" Kaida questioned.

"That sounds like a great idea," Rei added. "But maybe after we all head home first."

Tsuda finished unloading the bags and then said. "Listen up. Since we came back early, I am giving you a day off from school. I've already cleared it with the principal so take tomorrow and rest up. Once you all return we begin practice for nationals. But before you all head out there is a question I have for you all."

"What is it sensei?" Kei asked.

"While you were out camping, I spent some time thinking of who to select as our team manager. After careful consideration and a recommendation from Fujihara, I would like to have Yui Hirota join us as team manager."

"Hold on," Jun said. "Wasn't she not allowed to participate due to foul play?"

"Yes, she is still not allowed to participate in any of the games, and we were originally planning on striking her off the list as a potential manager. But Fujihara gave her a recommendation and I agree that she would be the best fit."

"Yui, Rei, and I have talked things out and we believe that Yui has changed her ways," Kaida added. "She is smart and good at digging up information. I believe she can be a huge asset to the team if we give her a chance."

"It's true. I would be happy to have her as our manager," Rei said.

Kei spoke next, addressing Kaida. "I trust your judgment. I agree to have Hirota join us."

Yun gave Jun a playful nudge. "Well, it's not like we have any room to question Hirota. Right, Jun?"

"That's true, especially after the stunts I pulled." Jun turned to Tsuda. "We are in support of this decision."

Tsuda clapped his hands together. "Alright! With a unanimous vote, as of tomorrow, I will elect Yui Hirota to be our team manager." There was a brief moment of cheers as everyone clapped. "Gather your things team and get home safely."

Everyone grabbed their belongings and they all began their walks home. Once they were out of ear reach of Tsuda, Yun asked, "Does everyone have a minute?"

"What's up, Yun?" Jun asked. Everyone stopped walking as he spoke.

"I am still concerned about what happened in the forest, but I didn't want to say anything with sensei there. I think we should look into Chiyo's magic after practice and monitor it throughout."

"I'm in agreement," Rei said. "Kaida, you didn't even know Chiyo could use time magic, and that's some powerful stuff. It's best that we keep an eye on it."

"You're right," Kaida sighed. "I just don't know how she could have learned that kind of magic. They don't even sell books for teaching her that."

"Um," Kei interrupted. "If Hirota is going to be with us, should we let her know what's going on?"

"Kaida and I can fill her in," Rei replied. "We're supposed to see her tomorrow for dinner anyway. Plus, we can celebrate her admission to the team."

"Sounds like a plan. Rei and Kaida will update Hirota, then we can all keep a lookout for Chiyo's time magic. We need to keep this a secret. We don't know how many people will want to use that kind of magic for dangerous things. Understood?"

Everyone nodded in agreement and continued on their way. Jun came to a halt. "This is where Yun and I part ways with you girls. You all get home safe, ok?"

"We will," Kaida said as she waved Yun and Jun farewell. As she walked home, Kaida's mind was turning with all the excitement from the week. She was glad to have the next day to relax because, after tomorrow, her training will start in earnest.