It had been a week since Chiyo pulled everyone back into the Edo period. During that time, Kaida partnered with Himari to help Chiyo use her time magic to go into the future. While the two of them were occupied, the others who were dressed in old garments Himari bought for them, split into two teams. Jun and Kei went out into the nearby town to gather information on the hunting of mythical creatures in the area. The others stayed back to help Himari with her chores and to come up with a plan on how to defeat the Black Wolf Gang when they all managed to get back.
In the woods outside the house, Kaida was frustrated at the little progress they made with Chiyo during the week. "Agh! Why can't we get this right?"
"Kaida, do you wanna take a break?" Himari asked softly. "It would probably help calm you down."
Kaida took a deep breath and exhaled. "Yeah, let's rest." She turned to Chiyo. "Sorry for getting so worked up. I know you are trying your best."
"Traveling to the future requires her to use all her magic. On top of having to concentrate on a particular location and time, it seems Chiyo is struggling to do both." She caught the look of discouragement on Kaida's face. "Come. There is a place where we can rest just up ahead." Himari led the way to a hilltop overlooking the nearby rice paddies.
"This is a nice view," Kaida commented.
"I come here when I need to think. I know it's plain old rice, but I find looking at the fields peaceful."
"I see what you mean." Kaida glanced over at her companion. "Hey Himari, I was wondering, is there anything you'd like to know about the future? You haven't really asked any questions during our stay here."
"Well, I am curious. But I believe knowing too much about the future can have serious consequences so I thought it best not to ask." She fiddled with the grass beneath her. "Although..."
"What kind of place does Japan become?"
"Can you elaborate on that?"
"It's just, with the new era I wonder what this country's future holds. Nothing of detail, but I just want to know if Japan will be alright."
Kaida looked out into the field, thinking of how to respond. "It's beautiful. Sure there are some terrible things that happen over the years, but all those events led up to what Japan is in my time. I haven't done much traveling so I can't say much about the rest of the world. But despite any hardships, I believe Japan has become a beautiful country."
"It's a shame I'll never see that. Is there a dream you have, Kaida?"
"Well, my father and I love to grow all sorts of flowers and other kinds of plants. My favorite is a flower called a tulip."
"They aren't introduced to Japan until much later on. They are kind of shaped like this." Kaida did a rough sketch in a patch of dirt of a tulip bulb. "They don't have a particularly strong smell but they come in all sorts of colors. There is a country called The Netherlands where you can see tulips of different colors as far as the eye can see. I want to visit there one day."
Himari's face lit up. "Wow! That sounds amazing." She sat for a moment in silence. "May I ask you a favor?"
"When you go back, will you find my grave and bring a bouquet of those tulips? Even though I don't think I'll ever see them alive, maybe I can see them from beyond."
Kaida was taken back by the request. Sitting next to Himari made her forget that she was her ancestor. "Yes, and I'll even grow the flowers myself. I'll grow the prettiest ones just for you!"
Himari laughed. "You must be pretty talented."
"You can thank my dad. He taught me everything, including which plants need more what, how to get rid of insects, and how plants can use the sun to make their own food."
"What was that last part you said?"
"Plants making their own food? It's a process called photosynthesis." Himari looked down in thought. "Um, Himari, is everything alright? Hello?"
"What if," she began. "What if Chiyo could produce more magic by absorbing magic from another creature?"
"I don't follow."
"Chiyo struggles with using a hundred percent of her magic while concentrating on the location. But if we find another mythical creature with strong magic and Chiyo borrows some of its energy then-"
"Then Chiyo will be able to focus more on traveling to the right location! Brilliant! But we would need a creature of significant magical ability to pull that off. And from what Jun and Rei said last night, the population of different creatures is depleting every day."
"We can use your friends'. The mummy and kelpie and all the others may not be as magically adept as a unicorn but if Chiyo utilizes the magic that all of them possess, it might just be enough."
"Let's go ask them." Kaida and Himari both got on Chiyo's back and rode to the house.
After telling the others about the idea, Yun responded, "I think it is worth a shot. If this allowed Chiyo to more accurately choose a specific time and location then it will aid in our plan to bring down the Black Wolf Gang."
"You guys came up with a strategy?" Kaida asked.
"Yes, now we just need to pull it off without a hitch. When do you want to try heading back?"
Before Kaida could reply, Jun and Rei stormed through the door. "We've got a problem," Jun exclaimed. "There's a group of hunters that entered the town and they're planning on coming through here tomorrow to catch any creature they can. I don't know if Chiyo's figured out the spell but we need to be out of here tonight."
"Kaida, is she ready?" Rei asked.
Kaida turned to Yun. "I guess we'll try it tonight."