Chapter 46:

Strange Meetings


A fresh week, fresh excitement, and eagerness filled the air. Though it did largely come from one person and may or may not be an Illusion Field. After a sullen weekend that lingered on, something needed to break that energy. At least that was the motive, for one such person. Everyone had different motives, some more questionable.

But let’s go with the positive one first!

Yuki tightened his fists together, psyching himself up. He pushed away stray thoughts, and approached Saki with a pleasant smile. “Hey Saki! You don’t have practice after class, right?”

It took a moment for Yuki’s voice to reach Saki completely. She turned slowly to see that he was talking to her. “Uh? Yuki?”


The look on his face was warm and determined, making it difficult for Saki to ignore him. Unfortunately, Saki could only look clueless at him. “What are you talking about?”

Ignored and dejected, Yuki slumped over. “You didn’t hear anything I said?” Her shaking head only made Yuki cry to know that all of his energy had been wasted. However, he wasn't going to give up and straightened himself back up reinvigorating his determination. “You don’t have practice, right?”


“Good! Then I want to go somewhere different today!” Yuki exclaimed, nearly jumping with excitement over the idea.

Chapter 46 – Strange Meetings

Before Saki could even give an answer, even a confused one, Yuki bounced over. Half of the class still hung around, which meant everyone heard him broadcasting his plans. That meant Yumi and her friends as well, who Yuki noticed up.

He appeared before them with a big smile, which might have seemed like a horror villain if he didn’t look so genuine. “Are you interested, Yumi? We’re going for the group discount!”

Kaede immediately put an arm out in front of Yuki. “Hey! We were talking privately, Hayashi.”

“So you’re not interested? I heard it’s really fun!”

Saki hurried over to grab him. “Stop bothering your classmates. I’ll go.”

“Really?” He jumped away like a kid following Saki. They returned to the nervous Ayumi with Hiroshi and his friends joining up.

The distance between Yumi and the rest suddenly felt like a river. She stared deeply at the cheerful expressions from Yuki and the boys. The grounded Saki bonked Yuki to make sense, while Ayumi timidly flailed. ‘They all look so happy…’

She looked over at Kaede and Katsumi as they stood between her and the others. Yumi tried to open her mouth, but stopped. Her eyes darted around to her friends again. Watching them pushed everything away until she saw Yuki glanced halfway towards her. His words came back to her.

‘To not focus on my past that I can’t change, but towards my future which still can be different.’

‘A different…future…’ Yumi nodded to herself. She stepped forward a couple steps. “Um…I…”

“Yumi? What’s wrong?”

“You okay?”

Her friends stared at her. She squeezed her hands. Their concern and protection made her happy, but she wanted something new. “I…! Hayashi!” Her voice raised louder than she intended and she slapped hands over her mouth.

It had been enough though for him to hear. “Yeah?”

“Oh I’m sorry, was he being too loud again? Apologize Yuki!”

“I was using my inside voice.”

“You never do!”

“You aren’t now.”


“I want to come too! If…the invite…is…” He immediately bounced around Saki. Yuki nodded rapidly to her and motioned her over. “Th-thank you.”

“Hiroshi Kuroda. Tatsuya Mori. Kazuhiro Nanase. Saki Furukawa. Ayumi Nishimura. Everyone, Yumi!” As he introduced the group they politely welcomed her. She still hovered to the edge with her friends.

“Kaede Ayabito.”

“Katsumi Soseki.”

With greetings passed, Saki pulled Yuki back in. “So you going to explain this new thing?”

“It’s this awesome place in town I heard about!” Yuki’s eyes were glowing like a child’s innocence and full of joy as it could be clear that he was imagining things in his mind.

Saki slapped him in the head again, noticing that he was losing control of his powers. “You’re skipping the details, Yuki…”

“Hey, quit hitting me!” Yuki dried up his tears from the pain and returned to his previous state, completely lost in the illusions. “Details, alright…I wanted it to be a surprise…” He began to look down at his foot aimlessly fidgeting, becoming dejected.

Yumi leaned in with curiosity to know what Yuki wanted to do. The sad expression that Yuki had immediately drew her towards him. “It’s alright... I don’t mind a surprise. It might be fun!”

A recharge from Yumi was all he needed to return his excitement. “Let’s go, everyone!”

Yumi tried to smile and nod while her friends questioned their own involvement. Following in behind was Hiroshi with his friends looking a little mischievous. Walking only made it so far as the school entrance before they were interrupted by two short shadowed figures that came running in towards them.

The short figures were faster than anyone could see being only a blur as they rushed for Yuki. Distracted in his excitement, Yuki was caught off guard by what happened until it was too late. The two blurs attached themselves to Yuki. A moment later, they shed their blackened cover with light illuminating their faces.

Ken had climbed up on Yuki’s back hanging off his neck. Jun silently held on to the edge of his uniform’s coat staring up at him. Surprise knocked him back a step. “Ken! Jun! What are you guys doing here? Shouldn’t you be home?”

Kaede and Katsumi leaned around curious about the elementary schoolers. Their energy came off infectiously making them start smiling. “Who are you two?”

Ken let go of Yuki seeing the girls close to Jun. He walked over to Kaede looking very confident. “We came to see Yuki! I’m Ken and this is Jun! Who are you?”

“Oh I’m Kaede! Came to see Hayashi? How come?”

“He’s our big brother! Our big sister let us go play!”

“They’re so adorable!” Katsumi said, grinning to herself.

Ken looked over at Jun giving him a smile with a mischievous sparkle along and victory sign. Jun pleasantly nodded in agreement with his brother. “Operation Cool and Cute was a success!” Ken declared to his brother, words that went mostly ignored by the others.

Yuki knelt down next to his brothers, rubbing their hair. “I wish you’d told me ahead of time. I’m spending some time with my friends today.”

The disappointment came clear over their faces. Yumi leaned down fighting her anxiety. “Um…is where we’re going…safe for children?”

“Yeah, I don’t see why not. You don’t mind?” Some quick silent exchanges went between everyone. The mute agreement settled everything, two more joined the party.

The large group of students, plus two elementary students, winded their way through the city. After school hours made the sidewalks their usually busy selves with students. It didn't help that Hiroshi’s directions forced them to travel through the busiest parts.

“This should be the last turn…” said Hiroshi as he checked the paper again. He turned his head side to side looking at the fork in the alley.

“This guy’s been sayin’ that for the last twenty minutes!” Ken said, kicking a bottle on the ground into the adjacent wall.

Ayumi sighed heavily, developing a pouting lip on her face from being so tired. “I’m so hungry…”

“We’re almost there, guys…” Hiroshi looked at the paper for a second time. ‘I think…’

“Come on! Hiroshi said we’re almost there!”

“You’re the only one still excited…” a long voice said from Katsumi.

Kaede’s eyes were half closed with her eyebrows pulled down in stress. “Where does all of his energy come from…”

No longer able to wait with his excitement, Yuki took a turn and charged down the alley. Saki reached out for him, but had no strength for a real attempt. The group turned to look around at each other, but mostly at Hiroshi with an implying glare. Sweat dripped down his forehead as he tried to back away from the frightening looks he was getting. However, they were all interrupted by Yuki returning screaming with excitement. “I found it!”

No one seemed to be looking at Yuki with their gaze on Hiroshi. “See he found it! I knew we were close, right?” Yuki waved at them before getting a dumbfounded expression on his confused face.

Jun took Yuki’s side quickly followed by Ken. Kaede and Katsumi’s eyes were turned towards the two boys and they took to Yuki as well. The rest were quick to fall in place as Yuki eagerly directed them to the place that he had found. Yet when they reached the building everyone just stood still in disbelief. No one could say a word for what they were looking at shattered their preconceptions of what was thought to be possible.

“Pretty cool, huh?”

“…right…” Saki finally said, as though she struggled to pull it out from her mouth.

“…I didn’t think it was possible…” replied Tatsuya as he tried to pull himself away from the sight.

Kazuhiro nodded slowly, still wide eyed by the building. “…unique…”

“…is that a skeleton?” Kaede tried to take everything in.

Being called a nightmare of design would still be understating the appearance. The building, if all of the decoration was pulled away, turned out to be a simple four floor structure large enough for several rooms to fit inside on each floor. Drawing the eye though was the single marble column near the door next to the fake skeletal remains of a bizarre winged lizard-like animal. Opposite of the column and door was a clay surface with Arab designs and a metal wire mesh. All coated in the worst possible color combinations of purple, pink, red and orange. The door seemed almost embarrassed to be present among the rest as it was a simple Japanese wood sliding panel door.

Yuki pulled back by the building, lifting his arm up in a presenting manner still ignorant of his friend’s reactions. “Ready to go inside?” All of them stepped back uneasy, including Hiroshi.

“I wouldn’t be caught dead inside that place!” Katsumi hid behind Yumi with Kaede behind her.

“Must be the wrong place, Yuki!” Hiroshi quickly pulled up his sheet of paper to look at it again. The others were nodding in agreement with him or whispering similar words.

Amongst the discordant voices and distracted eyes the door to the shop opened and a woman in a beautiful green kimono stepped out. She went ignored by everyone other than Yuki, who was politely bowing to her. The students continued to leave her unnoticed until she finally spoke up in a soft traveling voice that managed to quiet them. “Welcome to the Mi Hana Shop!”

She was quick to gain everyone’s attention, especially Hiroshi and his friends. “Woah-um…I mean it would be rude to leave now that we’re here.” Hiroshi tried quickly to reverse the decision. The young woman that greeted them filled out her kimono very well making it difficult for him to ignore.

Saki still tried to get over the storefront and looked over at the storekeeper. Yuki had left them in the dark about the nature of the business. “So what sort of shop is the Mi Hana?”

“We specialize in making your fantasies come true!”