Chapter 41:

Himari Akiko

Fantasy Life

Wandering through the countryside, the teens were figuring out a plan. All they knew was that Chiyo had transported them back in time. They were just not sure how far back. Along the way, they saw a caravan traveling along the road on top of a hill. Everyone hid in some nearby trees except Yami, who had flown overhead and hid in the clouds. While hiding, Yun noted what the travelers were wearing and saying.

"Did you hear of Tokugawa Shogunate?" One of the men asked another.

"Yeah, sounds like they have some big plans for this country," the other replied.

As the travelers passed, the team emerged from the woods. Yun turned to the rest of the group. "That first man said Tokugawa. We must be at the begging of the Edo Period."

"We went that far back?" Rei exclaimed. "That was like a thousand years ago!"

"More like four hundred actually," Kei corrected.

"I was being dramatic! Am I the only person panicking here?" Rei turned to Kaida. "Does Chiyo know how to get us back?"

"There's a good chance she does, but if we go back to the time we left then-"

"Then we'd still be in big trouble with that gang," Jun finished.

"You're the one who started that fight in the first place, Jun!"

"Rei, calm down," Yui said gently. "Getting upset will only hurt our situation."

Yun spoke next. "Yui is right. I actually have a sinking feeling that Chiyo chose this particular time for a reason. Maybe she can take us back once we discover what that reason is. Then we can worry about saving our school from the Black Wolf Gang. But first, we stand out like a mermaid out of water. Let's find a town and get a change of clothes."

"But we don't have money," Yui stated.

"We can figure that out later but let's keep moving for now."

The group trudged along the countryside a little more. Along the way, they saw a phoenix couple nesting in the trees, and a few different kinds of yokai roamed the forest as well. Kaida looked on as some fairies flew over the fields along with a lone qilin. It was a peaceful journey. As they neared a small house with a woman outside hanging the laundry, Chiyo began to whinny.

"Chiyo, what's wrong?" Kaida asked, trying to calm her down. Chiyo took off running towards the woman near the house. "Come back!"

The woman was tall and thin. She was quite a bit older than Kaida and the others. The woman turned to see the white unicorn charging at her. To Kaida's surprise, she seemed excited. "Huh? Is that you Chiyo?" The woman asked. She set down the dress she was about to hang, then ran up and patted Chiyo on the muzzle. "You just wandered off. I'm so glad you got back alright." She looked behind and saw Kaida and the others running towards her. "Hm? Who are your new friends?"

"Chiyo, don't run off like that," Kaida panted. "I'm sorry. She's a little excited."

"It's quite alright, but how do you know Chiyo?"

"I could ask the same."

The woman looked Kaida and the others over before laughing. "I see. Come into my house, I'll explain." She proceeded to walk towards the house, only turning back to say, "Oh and by the way, my name is Himari Akiko."

Himari opened the door to let everyone inside. The house was too small to fit all the mythical creatures so Chiyo and Dallas stayed outside with Yami, who was still flying through the clouds. Inside the house was a kitchen, a single futon, and a living area which they all crammed into. "It's not much but please make yourselves at home."

"You said your name was Himari Akiko?" Kaida asked.

"That's right."

"My mom has mentioned you before. Something about you being my ancestor."

"Oh, how nice to meet a relative. May I ask what your name is?"

"I'm Kaida Fujihara and these are my friends." Kaida introduced each person and all the mythical creatures to Himari. Kaida noticed the confusion when she said "their mythical creatures" and began to tell the story that her mom had shared the night before.

"I see. Yeah, no one here has a mythical creature per se, but we do befriend them. I met Chiyo while working in my garden. It's still hard for me to fathom that in a few years all the creatures living happily in the wild will be gone."

"So Miss Akiko," Yun began.

"Please, call me Himari."

"So Himari, just to clarify, are you aware of Chiyo's time traveling ability?"

Himari gave a slight nod before speaking. "Chiyo's been able to do that since I met her. It's quite rare, even amongst unicorns. However, there are dangers in tampering with time so I forbade Chiyo from ever using her magic unless it was an absolute emergency. I also told her that if she ever needed, she should travel to a time where she could meet with my descendants. I was sure someone would help her. Kaida was it? Your mom said that I died believing one last mythical creature living, correct?"

"Yes, that's what mom said."

"If I were to guess, the time came when Chiyo was in a desperate situation and traveled to your time."

"Woah! This is a lot!" Rei exclaimed. She turned to Kei, "Are you following this?"

"More or less," Kei replied. "So does this explain why Kaida has two mythical creatures?"

"What do you mean two?" Himari wondered.

"The dragon flying around out there also happens to have hatched out of my egg along with Chiyo."

"That is the most likely scenario," Yun stated. "Given what I've seen so far, Chiyo has kept her promise by only time traveling during an emergency."

"But before, it was always a few minutes into the past," Jun interrupted. "Why a few centuries this time?"

"I think I may have an answer," Himari said. "Chiyo has to think clearly of a time and place where she felt safe to travel back into the past. If Chiyo felt threatened or wasn't able to pinpoint either of those two, then she must've thought it best to come here."

"So if she can pick a time and place to travel back, what about forward?" Yui asked.

"Traveling into the future is more difficult since the future is never known. It will take great concentration for Chiyo to take you all back to your time but I believe she can do it."

"Well, we better make it fast."

"Why is that, Yun?" Jun inquired.

"Because if Kaida's story is true, then we don't have a ton of time before all the mythical creatures get hunted down, putting ours in grave danger."