Chapter 50:


Fantasy Life

Sofia and Samuel offered the teens a place to rest for the night. Yun agreed reluctantly on behalf of the team. The remainder of the day was spent helping the couple with caring for the reserve. Jun and Kaida helped Samuel and Camila with outside chores like tending to the plants and cutting more fire wood. Kei stayed in the house and cleaned with Maria. Lastly, Yun and Rei worked with Sofia to do checkups on the mythical creatures. Alba lent a hand using her powers to help cure the sick creatures.

"Your caladrius is rather something young man," Sofia praised Yun.

"Thank you," Yun replied. "She's improved greatly over the years. So tell us Sofia, have you traveled off of Mt. Fuji? Or have you stayed here since coming to Japan?"

"Oh, we haven't had the luxury to travel. We spend most our time out and about tending to the wild ones." Sofia finished applying ointment on Jada's hurt wing. "I can't imagine what they must be feeling, to have outlived their human companion must have made each creature feel terribly lonely. If I can help them feel even the slightest bit comforted, then my job has been fulfilled."

Listening to Sofia's words, Kaida thought back to Himari. Did Chiyo miss her? Would Chiyo go back to that time once Kaida passed on? What would Yami do? These questions roamed through Kaida's head into the night, but after a long day of working she slept soundly within the warm walls of the cabin.

The next morning, Maria made breakfast for everyone with Kei's help. "I hope it's to your liking. Kei was a big help in the kitchen. She even taught me some new recipes to try"

Rei took a bit of pastry laid out before her. "MMM! This is delicious!"

Sofia, Samuel, and Camila also gave their nod of approval. "You all were such a big help yesterday. I don't suppose you would mind staying a bit longer to help, would you?" Samuel asked.

"Sorry," Jun declined politely. "But we need to continue on our mission to find our next clue. It was great helping you yesterday and we are grateful for a place to sleep, but we've wasted enough time already."

"Yeah, Charlie and the others are probably way ahead of us by now," Kaida commented.

Sofia sighed. "What a shame. It's been such a pleasure having you here."

"And we might stay a bit longer," Yun interrupted.

Jun turned to face him. "Did you not hear what I just said? We need to get moving!"

"Oh I heard what you said, Jun. But where we need to be is right here." He glanced over at Sofia and Samuel. "Isn't that right, arbiter?"

"An arbiter?" Kei questioned.

Samuel smirked. "You're a sharp young man. What gave us away?"

"Yesterday, when I asked Sofia if you have traveled elsewhere in Japan, she told me no. But contrary to what she said, there is a guide map of Kyoto in the garbage bin and a fridge magnet from Nara." Yun pointed out each of these things as he spoke. "It also seemed odd to me that you two would be out here in the middle of nowhere working at a reserve."

"Hold on, Yun," Rei interrupted. "I'm confused. Can you explain for the rest to understand?"

"Put simply, Rei, these two are working as part of the Fantasy Life League. Isn't that right?"

Samuel laughed at Yun's claim. "Oh man! I thought we had the lot of you fooled into staying with us forever. Good one on you."

"Why are you here then?" Kaida asked. "And why didn't you say anything?"

"Are you trying to keep us from finding the next clue?" Jun added.

"Quite the contrary," Sofia stated. "Allow me to explain. You see, I am the coach for the Argentinian team in the competition and my husband acts as manager. Each team's coach and manager were to be stationed at the destination of the first clue. We were waiting for you."

"So that must mean Yui and Tsuda sensei are out there somewhere with another team?" Rei questioned.

"If those are the names of your coach and manager, then yes. Each of us were to create some sort of story to keep the contestants preoccupied. Ours was that we are running this reserve and that we needed some help in exchange for some hospitality. Yun, however, was quick to figure us out."

"Does that mean this isn't a real reserve for the creatures?" Kaida asked.

"Oh no," Camila answered. "The actual owners of the reserve are on vacation and they let us use their property."

"Correct," Sofia continued. "The first part of the challenge for the second clue is to realize that we are part of the competition using little hints provided, such as the magnet. If not, then you all would be walking in circles around the mountain."

"The second part of this challenge," Samuel continued, "is to complete an assignment of our choosing. Once you fulfill the task we give you, we will tell you the final location for the scavenger hunt."

"Ok," Jun began. "So now that Yun has completed part one for us, what's the assignment you have for us?"

The couple glanced at each other before Sofia said, "We want you to find and rescue a mythical creature on this mountain."

"What are the details of this assignment?" Yun questioned.

Samuel was the one to answer. "You and your creatures must go out and search for a wild mythical creature in need of help. It doesn't matter what kind of creature or the severity of their situation. Once you find said creature, perform first aid before bringing it back here. Once the creature has been delivered to us, you have completed the assignment."

"Sounds easy enough," Rei exclaimed.

"Oh and one other thing," Sofia said. "Maria will be tagging along to make sure you comply with the rules set before you. Although, I'm sure you won't have any trouble following them."

Maria slithered over to the table to address the group. "I look forward to working with you all."

Kaida stood up form the table. "No time to start like the present. Let our search and rescue mission start in earnest."