The team got back to school the following morning. Kaida was sad to say goodbye to their hosts, especially Jackel. As a parting gift, he gave Kaida a bouquet of flowers from his garden. Kaida accepted and told him that he, Ando, Mina, and Jessie were welcome to visit Ashikaga anytime, and to come to see her and her family at the park. When waving goodbye, Kaida thought back to the first night they stayed at the hotel and the cryptic words Jackel had said that night.
A month passed after their victory at nationals. Tsuda and Yui were busy filling out the paperwork, rescheduling the hotel, and any other minute details. The team continued to practice out on the field at school, but now they had audiences come to watch. Word of their victory spread throughout the school, and one girl even went to the effort to make a Yun and Jun cheering squad. Kaida found it hard to focus at first but eventually learned to block out the onlookers.
One night while the team was out grabbing a bite to eat, Kei decided it would be a good idea for the entire team to have a sleepover. Yui jumped on the idea. "I think that's a fabulous idea! We should have it at my house."
"I don't know," Jun said.
"What's wrong with it, Jun?" Rei asked.
"I find it, well, awkward to share a space with four girls."
All the girls giggled. "You do realize you and Yun would be in separate rooms right?" Yui stated.
Jun blushed, "Besides, how are we going to fit all our creatures into your house?"
"Oh true!" Yui thought. "Chiyo and Dallas are a stretch, but there is no way I could fit Yami. Any other ideas?"
"What about at school?" Yun suggested. "It's big enough to hold everyone and there's plenty of rooms so Jun won't have to be so shy."
"Shut up, Yun!" Jun snapped as his face became even redder.
"That's a great idea! I'll ask Tsuda sensei if we can get permission to stay at the school, as a team bonding experience."
The following morning, Yui came with the news that they had permission to spend Saturday night at the school with their parent's permission. Kaida went home that Thursday evening and packed a small bag with some essentials. Ayumi and Masashi knocked on the door before coming in, followed by a happy Kumo.
"Did you know Kumo got out while you were at school today?" Masashi asked Kaida.
"He did? Where'd he go?"
"Oh, he chased the neighbor's cat a few blocks away. Itsuki, Jin, and I spent most of the afternoon looking for him."
Kaida laughed. "Silly boy. Glad he's back safe and sound."
"So are you ready for your stay at school tomorrow night?" Ayumi asked.
"Yes, I think so. We're planning on playing some games, maybe some karaoke."
Jin sneaked up behind Kaida and whispered, "Or you can tell some scary ghost stories. Muahaha!"
Kaida jerked away. "Jin! Where did you come from?"
"I snuck in behind the dog."
Masashi rolled his eyes before saying, "Stories are a must for any good sleepover."
"But I don't know many good stories."
"I know of one," Ayumi said. "This story has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. My mother used to tell me this story when I was a young girl." She sat Kaida down on the bed before telling the story.
"A long, long time ago, the world was full of all sorts of creatures, and none were hatched from a human soul. Unicorns ran freely amongst herds of horses, and there was a troll living under almost every bridge. However, creatures were much rarer to find than any wild animal and people began hunting creatures to extinction. It's said when the last mythical creature was no more, God decided to take part of our souls to bring back the creatures that were lost. But, one of our ancestors left a rumor behind before she died that one creature still lives."
"What was her name?" Kaida asked. "The one who believed there was still a creature left?"
"Her name was Himari Akiko."
The next night, Kaida and her friends all met up in one of the classrooms with Tsuda. "Alright everyone, as you know, you have free reign of the school. Just make sure you don't leave the premises after dark and leave before noon on Saturday. We're expecting someone to stop by to do some maintenance by then. I know you all wanted to use this time to have some fun but don't have too much fun." He said that last part with a glance at Yun and Jun. "Also, if you need me at any time, I live nearby so give me a call. Everyone has my number yes?"
"Yes sensei," Everyone said in unison.
"Perfect. I am going to finish up some paperwork in my office and then be on my way." Tsuda left the classroom.
The boys left the room and set up their sleeping bags in a room down the hall. Once everyone finished setting up Rei asked, "So what do we wanna do first?"
"There's still sometime before dark so I say we go out for some food then come back and play games," Yui replied.
"I'm cool with that," Kaida said. "Let's ask the guys."
After getting a quick agreement from Yun and Jun, the gang all headed out into town. They filled their stomachs before returning to campus. Yami was waiting for them by the field when they returned, expecting to practice. Kaida laughed, "Oh Yami, we aren't playing those games today, just some board games."
"It might be good for us to play out in the field for a little bit later though," Kei commented. "Since Yami can't fit inside the school, I'm sure he, Dallas, and Chiyo are all pretty bored out here."
"You're probably right, Kei." Kaida turned back to Yami. "We promise to be back out to play with you in a little while." Kaida and the others all went back inside and played games and laughed till near sundown. It was the beginning of a night they would never forget.