Chapter 4:

Volume 1 ❀ Chapter 3.1: Open The Door of Dreams ~ Target Acquired

Ideasthesia


❀ Present - June 27th ❀Bookmark here

“I never thought you’d be terrified of planes, Nobu. Given you float and all while we fight together it never crossed my mind you’d be afraid of heights.”Bookmark here

After we made it to the hotel the waitress from the soba restaurant had recommended to us, we sat in the gorgeous lobby awaiting the receptionist to book us a room. That’s why, while waiting for that to happen, we began talking about trivial stuff. Nobu hadn’t stopped talking since we took a cab to our destination, making small talk and chit-chatting about anything that crossed his mind.Bookmark here

“I have no idea why, but yup my dear Yui. I’m afraid of heights!” he smiled, playing with his hands. “Anyway, this place is something else, isn’t it?”Bookmark here

Old, with columns of resistant wood, invited us to the central hall once we came inside. A crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling, illuminating with brilliant colours the rest of the place. An unusual blend of modern and antique, you could say.Bookmark here

"Yui, I'm sorry you're involved in this." Nobu apologized out of the blue, catching me off guard.Bookmark here

“... It’s okay.” I mumbled, toggling my dress. “I was the one who accepted the responsibility in the first place. These are just...”Bookmark here

“Perks of the trade, or so to say?” Nobu tilted his head.Bookmark here

“... That’s a such a grim way to approach the situation ironically…” I sighed. “Risks. That’s the word you’re looking for. Honestly, you’re not made to cheer people up.”Bookmark here

“I know~ As I’ve heard some of you humans say… Life has one bloody hell of a sense of irony.”Bookmark here

“You are quoting Shinji right now!” I pouted. “But, hey…”Bookmark here

“Let me finish,” he smiled, that characteristic bead head of his bobbing with every gesture he made. “I’m… sorry, it turned out like this. This is taking a toll on you… and before you say anything, I’ve noticed. Your daydreams are merging more and more with each passing day with reality. This afternoon’s snowflake on your cheek… made me take notice that I haven’t done anything to help you with this… I’m a failure of a partner…”Bookmark here

Please… don’t… blame yourself over this…Bookmark here

“What I want to say is that, from now on, I’ll do my best to avoid those stressing situations for you. I’d do anything for you because… I love you.” taking my hand into his, Nobu gently presses his lips between my fingers giving me a gentle kiss. “That’s why….”Bookmark here

Nobu… you shouldn’t...Bookmark here

“I apologize for the intromission but are you Mr and Ms Mochizuki?” a well-dressed woman approached, eyeing both of us with suspicion. “I have the keycards for your room and it should be ready. The number is 507. Do you need help with your luggage?”Bookmark here

MR AND MS MOCHIZUKI?Bookmark here

“That’s fine, we barely have any, ahaha.”Bookmark here

With a burst of carefree laughter, Nobu stood up to receive the two cards while I kept still, unable to process what was happening. My body had turned into stone.Bookmark here

“Oh riiiight. Did my request…?” he whispered to the lady.Bookmark here

“Yes, the king-size bed…” still with suspicion, the woman crossed her arms. “I hope you have a wonderful stay.”Bookmark here

A KING SIZE BED?Bookmark here

“Nobu…!”Bookmark here

However, before I could say a word, he entered my secret realm: my own mind.Bookmark here

«Continuing from before… that’s why I’m going to sleep with you from now on so I can shoo all those bad dreams away!»Bookmark here

«We are minors! Well, at least I am underage! And how are you even supposed to…? Are you planning to poke my dreams or something? You’re unbelievable!»Bookmark here

«Underage? Yes, you might be but, you see, Nobu always does his homework before attempting these kinds of tricks so let me tell you a bit of trivia you might think I don't know about Japan but I actually do know! The age of consent is thirteen and, oh my god who would've guessed you are thirteenBookmark here

«Excuse me? Even I know my laws and yes, even if I'm in the age of consent, according to Article 34 of the Children Welfare Act this could be seen as very, very wrong! You could go to prison, how the heck did the hotel stuff buy your bluff!?»Bookmark here

«Well, I didn't think you'd pull that reverse card with me, however, I do have my methods of coercion!»Bookmark here

«Methods of coercion...? Are you secretly a yakuza?»Bookmark here

“What are you waiting for, my lovely wife?” he said out loud, extending his hand... And that is when I see it. A marriage certificate, signed with consent of unexistent parents. “Our honeymoon awaits!”Bookmark here

«You are a filthy liar… And is that forgery!? You deserve to be in jail!»Bookmark here

«What else was I supposed to say when they asked our age? That I’m a thousand years or more? This works out perfectly! And it isn't a forgery!»Bookmark here

«If Shinji finds out about this…»Bookmark here

«He won’t, he won’t!»Bookmark here

While I heard more babbling in my head, I went towards the same lady, asking for a request with a lower voice so Nobu couldn’t hear it. At the same time, he made his way towards the elevator, calling it to our current floor.Bookmark here

“Can I ask for a sofa-bed?”Bookmark here

The woman nodded, giving me a slight pat on my shoulder.Bookmark here

“So young and married already…” I heard her sigh. “I see your husband is… unique.”Bookmark here

“Aren’t they all?” I replied kinda annoyed, pretending to smile while I took my leave since I could feel that Nobu was about to shout for me to get into the elevator. “Thank you for the trouble.”Bookmark here

“It’s our pleasure to make your stay the most lovely as possible.”Bookmark here

After entering the elevator doors, the woman’s image disappears when they close. Nobu fidgets with the buttons like a small child until he finally decides to press the fifth floor one. Waiting while some jazz music flowed through the speakers, he tapped his foot up and down, impatient.Bookmark here

“Something wrong?” I dared to ask.Bookmark here

“Why did you ask for a sofa-bed?” tears formed in the corner of his eyes.Bookmark here

“Huh…?” I blinked more than once to process what he said. “Wait, you’re actually upset about that? And stop eavesdropping!”Bookmark here

“Why wouldn’t I be upset!? And please, there is NOTHING I can’t hear given that my fera form is...” he grasped my shoulders, being extremely dramatic until I shot him a dead-eye look, making him stop for a second to, finally just resume his supposed argument. “ Anyway, being every day away from you, not being able to be by your side every night…. Now’s my chance to make things right!”Bookmark here

“That isn’t right in the first place!”Bookmark here

DING.Bookmark here

“Well, that was fast,” Nobu said with surprise. “Our room shouldn’t be too far.”Bookmark here

The doors now opened, revealing a beautifully decorated corridor with golden ornaments. As if it were a tradition, after demonstrating the slightest bit of insecurity, Nobu gave me a slight squeeze transmitting me a sense of security and protection. I nodded, trying to show that I was fine.Bookmark here

Another crystal chandelier similar to the one at the lobby, greeted us with its beauty, the brightness of each little bulb illuminating the place. I could feel its light entering my body, encouraging me to survive this perfect nightmare. The whole place furnished in the Rococo style, made it look like a princess’ castle. I swallowed, intimidated by how dazzling it was, and lost by having so many corridors to explore once we got out.Bookmark here

“This place must be expensive…” my tongue slipped. “How did you…?”Bookmark here

“Yup, it’s this way,” Nobu’s hand guided me around the place, while I admired the paintings painted in oil. “Oh, and about that… don’t sweat the small details! Just enjoy the moment!”Bookmark here

He’s still as suspicious as day one.Bookmark here

«Aw, c’mon Yui! Haven’t I charmed my way into your heart yet?»Bookmark here

“Once you stop invading my thoughts like that!” I fixed my throat. “And you haven’t charmed your way into anything yet.”Bookmark here

Noticing his attempt to start a conversation, I tried to follow the mechanics ignoring the echo of my heels in the corridor.Bookmark here

“This place even feels like a castle if you ignore the room numbers on the walls,” I added.Bookmark here

“You are a princess, so you deserve the best!” he says immediately, blushing, like me, "I mean, you're like a princess today. The dress makes you look like a princess, I mean ... I better shut up.”Bookmark here

I laughed a little to lighten the tension.Bookmark here

“Even with that compliment, I’m still sleeping on the sofa-bed.”Bookmark here

“I thought Manabu’s smooth lines would work,” Nobu snapped his fingers.Bookmark here

I just smiled, remembering my two childhood friends back in Shirakawa. Shinji knew I left for the funeral with Nobu but, we didn’t tell Manabu the truth. Knowing him, he would somehow mess up and a huge rumour would start in regards to me and my relationship with magic guy here.Bookmark here

“It won’t open.” Nobu crossed his arms, sighing in frustration when the light turned red after swiping the keycard. “I tried with yours as well but…”Bookmark here

“Maybe they haven’t lifted the room yet? As in, make it available for us.” I wondered, placing a finger under my chin.Bookmark here

“I’ll try knocking… maybe someone is inside?”Bookmark here

“Why would…?” resigned, I turned my back. “Do it your way.”Bookmark here

It’s impossible it’s in use. Most likely they haven’t activated our keycards yet in the registry.Bookmark here

«Very well then, miss know it all. I’ll fidget with the doorknob instead!»Bookmark here

“Is your mouth too heavy for you to talk like a normal person?” I sighed again. “Try not to…”Bookmark here

But as soon as I turned around, Nobu was already casting a spell in order to break it.Bookmark here

“I’m going to go full Shinjirō mode on this door from the get-go to avoid any more problems!”Bookmark here

“BUT WITHOUT MAGIC!” I leapt into his arms, just in time before he actually activated something that would’ve probably destroyed the entire hotel. “Honestly… Full Shinji Mode as if he were an actual game character or…”Bookmark here

“Party Pooper…” he puffed both of his cheeks.Bookmark here

This guy…Bookmark here

“Anyone in here?!” he knocked this time, upset that he couldn’t do things his way.Bookmark here

Knock. Knock. Knock.Bookmark here

“Anyone?! Open up!”Bookmark here

Knock. Knock. Knock.Bookmark here

«Is anyone home!? Yui? Are you there!? Open up!»Bookmark here

A faraway memory made its way into my mind, while the voice of said person mixed with Nobu’s yelling for a nonexistent guest on the other side of the door.Bookmark here

❀ Five Months Ago - January ❀Bookmark here

“IS ANYONE HOME!?”Bookmark here

“SWHINJI!” I choked on a toast while I heard his voice coming from the outside.Bookmark here

“Swhinji?”Bookmark here

However, the new guy that had suddenly entered my life abruptly last night was clearly unconcerned about what was going on while pouring himself a glass of milk and munching a toast at the same time.Bookmark here

“Oh my Lord, the message I sent to him last night! I need to do something quick, I’m pretty sure he’s going to look for the extra key I hide under the entrance mat if I don’t...”Bookmark here

Click.Bookmark here

HURRY UP!!Bookmark here

«Hurry up for what?»Bookmark here

Without a single care in the world, the mysterious boy talked to me with magic.Bookmark here

“Stop invading my head like that, it’s disturbing! Now drop that toast and hide!” I yelled, freaking out.Bookmark here

«If you talk with your mouth full, I can choke just like you did a few secs ago. I could die.»Bookmark here

«Your priorities and common sense are all over the place!»Bookmark here

When I stood up, my scenario froze. The last couple of hours of my life playing over and over again in my head as I approached the door. Just like in those TV programmes and movies, I felt as if my life was being broadcasted on a cassette tape, someone pressing the rewind button with each step I took into the door, going back in time, to just a few couples of hours ago.Bookmark here

Yes, just a few couples of hours ago.Bookmark here

To understand my current situation, the reasons as to why I’m having an amicable breakfast with the self-proclaimed magical being called Nobuyuki Mochizuki in despite to last night events… and how to explain all of this to my best friend, Shinjirō Hinaga… I had to look back to what happened earlier during the morning.Bookmark here

I woke up just as always.Bookmark here

When the alarm clock went off, I realized that I had slept a bare minimum of around four in total but, due to the stress of yesterday night, my brain longed for a few more hours of sleep.Bookmark here

Still… it was a pretty crazy dream. Me becoming a magical girl...Bookmark here

The alarm kept sounding, and I stretched my hand slowly under the sheets to turn it off, only to run into the surprise that in the attempt I threw the alarm clock under the bed.Bookmark here

With a grunt, I knew I was definitely going to have to get up.Bookmark here

“No worries. I got it,” said an unfamiliar but, yet familiar, voice. Stretching their hand, they held the clock and put it back into its original place. “There we go. Good morning, Yui!”Bookmark here

When I saw who it was, I opened my mouth and let out a scream.Bookmark here

LAST NIGHT WASN’T A DREAM AT ALL.Bookmark here

The dark blue-haired boy with the yellow scarf stood next to my bed, staring at me with his wide, amber eyes. However, while I was yelling, he just crossed his arms, my dad’s pyjama dancing in his arms given it was a tad big for him.Bookmark here

“Will this be a thing every time you see me once you wake up? Hah, my dearest Yui… That’s so cliché,” he held a laugh, pointing at me. “Aren’t men common in this world too?”Bookmark here

“So it actually happened…” I murmured, trying to grasp my current situation. “You really are here…”Bookmark here

“Well, what are we waiting for? You had an alarm for a reason, right?” Nobuyuki sat next to me on the bed, and I scooted to the opposite side as a reaction. “Are you avoiding me?”Bookmark here

“What else did you expect? You broke into my house during the night, explained lots of things that made zero sense and even threatened to kill me… did you really think I’d be all friendly?”Bookmark here

“I did think that!” he was clearly upset about my reaction to his over-friendliness. “I explained everything… in a very big nutshell… but I thought all that bad first meeting experience had been forgotten and we’d be all buddy-buddy now given we’re partners!”Bookmark here

“Are you kidding?” I stood up, crossing both of my arms. “There’s still so much I don’t understand and you’re pretending I followed your pace during your explanation?”Bookmark here

“Why of course!” he nodded.Bookmark here

“You’re unbelievable…” I sighed, holding my forehead.Bookmark here

He’s such a "my pace" type of boy… I can’t follow his rhythm at all.Bookmark here

«Thanks!»Bookmark here

“That wasn’t a compliment! And don’t enter my mind like that, it’s creepy!” hugging myself, feeling completely exposed, I reprimanded him.Bookmark here

“Everyone says that at the start. You’ll get used to it!” he shook his hand, unconcerned.Bookmark here

Suddenly, my alarm clock went on again.Bookmark here

“...This is the second time it rings. Are you sure you don’t have anything important to do?” Nobuyuki asked.Bookmark here

“I have to get ready!” shocked, I grabbed my uniform from the hanger off the wall and ran outside to the hall.Bookmark here

“I guess it must be important,” I heard him say with a soft giggle while I locked myself in the bathroom on the opposite side. “I’ll be downstairs!”Bookmark here

Smiling to myself behind the door, the premonition I had during yesterday’s morning became true.Bookmark here

Something magical was about to start.Bookmark here

Something new.Bookmark here

“And I hope it’s for the best…” my voice got lost with the sound of the recently opened shower.Bookmark here

Quite a few minutes later, I was ready. I did everything as quickly as possible worried for Mr Magic Guy downstairs. I needed to have much more information than the one he told me last night, especially if I was going to live my daily life with a crystal rose stuck in my chest.Bookmark here

Once I made it down, there he was.Bookmark here

Apparently, Nobuyuki was already sitting in front of the chair I always used, smiling. A magnificent breakfast was placed on the table, wondering where it came from and if he had made it.Bookmark here

“How did you…?” words got stuck in my mouth.Bookmark here

“Didn’t I tell you last night? Don’t mind the small details! Also, I worry about your health! All I saw in the cabinets were cups of instant noodles and stuff like that, of course, it makes sense now why you’re underweight!” closing his eyes during his lecture, he opened them again to start eating.Bookmark here

He quietly ate the freshly made rice, the steam covering his face, while I sat down.Bookmark here

A grain was stuck under his left eye by some strange coincidence of fate, and I dared not tell him, believing that it would lead to more nonsensical topics instead of what really interested me: the magical girl talk.Bookmark here

I looked at my miso soup and took a sip. I didn’t wait long enough; thus, I burned my tongue and endured the pain.Bookmark here

Silence reigned on the table, only listening to the chopsticks from time to time with the plates, and the sound of our mouths savouring the food. I took a bite of some fish and I came across the surprise that there was a bone that I almost swallowed. I secretly dumped it in a napkin.Bookmark here

“So, um… Nobuyuki…” I knew it was time to start the inevitable.Bookmark here

“Just call me Nobu. That’s too long and we’re partners!” he said, munching on a toast.Bookmark here

“Yeah… right… Nobu… About that… partner thing…” my eyes went in all directions, not knowing where to look. “Does that mean you transform into some cute plush animal or something so people don’t discover your identity?”Bookmark here

“Please, there’s no need for something like that. Is that common in this world? To have some magical small looking plush toy talking to you and doing magical things?”Bookmark here

That’s what TV taught me.Bookmark here

«I’m glad our programmes back in my land aren’t as silly as yours,» he giggled.Bookmark here

“Stop with the telepathy or reading my mind or whatever that is, it really is disturbing!”Bookmark here

“It isn’t telepathy! I really do need to teach you the ABC’s of being a Veneficae…” he sighed, standing up and going straight to the fridge.Bookmark here

“What are you looking for?” I dared to ask, putting some jelly on a toast given I had to wait for my soup to cool down.Bookmark here

“Something to drink. I’ll have to talk a lot after all. It’ll be a veeeery long lesson,” he sighed, taking out a bottle of milk. “Ah yes, this will do. After all, I can’t stand hot food.”Bookmark here

“Can’t it be another in a nutshell lesson or explanation given I need to go to school in about…” I looked into the kitchen’s clock, just to end up feeling my world turning upside down. “FIVE MINUTES!”Bookmark here

“I knew that alarm was important. So there are school’s in here as well… It seems education is necessary in any World’s society…” Nobu said to himself, nodding. “It’ll have to be an after-school lesson then! Ah, but I need to go with you to class to ensure you’ll be okay!”Bookmark here

“...Huh?” I dropped the toast onto the plate, just to immediately grab it again. “You need what?”Bookmark here

“Go to class with you!”Bookmark here

“But you just told me that you don’t transform into a plushie! How are you supposed to…?”Bookmark here

“Haven’t you ever heard the words transfer student ?” he winked at me.Bookmark here

“And you were saying I was the one being cliché!” I sighed in desperation. “That’s a terrible idea. You stay here, don’t burn my house down and then we’ll have a better talk of all of this, okay?”Bookmark here

“Have it your way,” he whistled.Bookmark here

And then, it happened.Bookmark here

My current state of affairs happened.Bookmark here

“IS ANYONE HOME!?”Bookmark here

A voice I knew perfectly well was coming from the outside. So, so well, it terrified me.Bookmark here

“SWHINJI!” I choked on the same toast when I heard it.Bookmark here

“Swhinji?”Bookmark here

However, the new guy that had suddenly entered my life abruptly last night was clearly unconcerned about what was going on while still pouring himself a glass of milk and munching his food.Bookmark here

“Oh my Lord, the message I sent to him last night! I need to do something quick, I’m pretty sure he’s going to look for the extra key I hide under the entrance mat if I don’t...”Bookmark here

Click.Bookmark here

HURRY UP!!Bookmark here

«Hurry up for what?»Bookmark here

Without a single care in the world, the mysterious boy talked to me with magic.Bookmark here

“Stop invading my head like that, it’s disturbing! Now drop that toast and hide!” I yelled, freaking out.Bookmark here

«If you talk with your mouth full, I can choke just like you did a few secs ago. I could die.»Bookmark here

«Your priorities and common sense are all over the place!»Bookmark here

And now here I am, standing in the middle of the corridor with my school uniform on, looking at a very anxious Shinji who had just opened the door and changed his shoes for slippers. His reddened face gave me the slight hint he had been screaming for a long period of time while knocking on my door.Bookmark here

Heavily breathing, he reached towards my shoulders and held them tight. I noticed he didn’t have his beanie hat on, his rebellious hair being all over the place.Bookmark here

That means that as soon as he saw my message in the morning he… rushed over here.Bookmark here

Looking even closer, I realized he was even with half of his school uniform on, the other part being his pyjamas.Bookmark here

“Would you… like something to drink?” was the only question that came out of my mouth after seeing his fatigue.Bookmark here

He quickly nodded, just to notice a few seconds later that that wasn’t the main issue on hand.Bookmark here

Having him so near made my heart skip thousands of beats. His tanned skin, bright nutmeg coloured eyes that combined perfectly with that unique tangled dusty brown hair. A small beauty mark he always had concealed right next to his left ear was visible for a second, making my heart pound even louder. Having his breath so close to me numbed my senses.Bookmark here

“That’s not it!” he exploded, giving a slight punch to my head. Instinctively, I reached both of my hands towards the injured zone while my dark orange eyes began to form some tears from the pain. “What happened last night? Are you okay? That message was ominous as hell!”Bookmark here

“I’m sorry… I…” not knowing what to do, my mind clouded, until I noticed that the pants that he was wearing were from the latest superheroes programme I watch on TV every night. Subconsciously, I started to laugh. “I thought you didn’t like it!”Bookmark here

“Huh?” he lowered his view, trying to locate what I found so hilarious until it hit him. “Bloody hell, I forgot to…”Bookmark here

“Ehehe…” my timid laugh lifted the general atmosphere. “I’m sorry about last night. I heard a strange loud noise during a nightmare and I guess I wrote to you without realizing it.”Bookmark here

“Hah, you idiot…” slowly, he sketched a tiny smile that soothed me and patted my hair with utter delicacy. “Still, I tried calling you during the morning… I got sickly worried that something might have happened.”Bookmark here

“Yeah… about that…” I looked sideways. I’ve never liked being sly about topics but I had no other choice this time around. “My mobile died after I wrote the message and I charged it half-asleep. I haven’t turned it on yet… and… surprise! I forgot to pay December’s phone bill and my home network line is also resting in peace.”Bookmark here

“That’s another mystery solved… and for anything that’s sacred to you, please make some memo pads to know when you have to pay for basic necessities!” Shinji sighed. Suddenly, the food’s aroma from the kitchen made its way towards us, he sniffing it like a dog. “What is....”Bookmark here

“NOTHING!” I yelled, not knowing what to do. Mr Magic Guy could still be in the kitchen and the least I wanted to happen was a bigger misunderstanding. “IT’S NOTHING!”Bookmark here

“But it smells like… food? Yui… did you make breakfast for once?” my best friend blinked in astonishment.Bookmark here

“You… could say so…” I played with my hands, unable to meet his face again. “I’m trying to eat healthier.”Bookmark here

“Not buying it,” pushing me aside, Shinji entered deeper into my home without a single thought. “That’s rubbish coming from you.”Bookmark here

“Hey!” I pouted. “That’s pretty blunt!”Bookmark here

“It was?” he turned around, distracted for a moment. “Uh, sorry. You know I’m not good at expressing myself.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, but it still hurt a bit. I’m not saying rubbish, I did cook!”Bookmark here

«Actually, I’m the one who did all the cooking! Oh right, ignoring your lover’s quarrel with your boyfriend over there, he can enter the living room now. I’m not in there anymore.»Bookmark here

Nobuyuki’s words went straight into my brain, causing my actions to manifest before my actual reaction.Bookmark here

He’s not my boyfriend!” I whispered in an angry tone, just to notice I had actually said it out loud rather than to use the not-Telepathic communication I recently learned last night. Shinji stared at me, believing I had said something. “As I was saying, I did cook!”Bookmark here

“I hope the world doesn’t end today because of that,” he blinked with hidden amusement in his eyes and made his way to the living room, just to discover one half-eaten plate of food on the table, and Nobuyuki’s full course meal on the other side. “Yui…”Bookmark here

“That’s for my lunchbox!” I rushed towards the now cold food, doing my best to make an improvised lie. “I… made too much! Since I never cook and all that I… exaggerated a bit…”Bookmark here

I wonder where Nobuyuki is… But, leaving all of his stuff here! This is making things more complicated!Bookmark here

“Well… I’m glad nothing bad happened. Seeing that everything is… normal, I should get going. Less than five minutes for school to start and I already messed up with my uniform for rushing here.”Bookmark here

“I appreciate your concern, though,” I smiled, guiding him back to the entrance of my house. “Don’t forget to change your slippers.”Bookmark here

“I’m not that dumb!” he mumbled while doing what I said. “You should hurry up too. If you want I can wait for you after I change and we can go together. We can catch the nearest bus and make it on time.”Bookmark here

Going to school together like the old times! Although we still practically do so when he and Manabu wait for me at the intersection but… I mean! Going directly from our houses to school! We haven’t done this since Primary School!Bookmark here

«I’m happy for you, my beloved!» Nobuyuki invaded my mind for the second time.Bookmark here

«Stop it!!»Bookmark here

Screaming inside my mind might have had an effect in the real world since Shinji was staring strangely at me.Bookmark here

“Or maybe not,” he sighed. “I’ll let you finish your things and I’ll tell Ms Tanaka you will most likely be late due to some personal matters. Also, for further reference, you could’ve just left a voice message on the recorder. I know your old-fashioned flip-phone doesn’t have fancy apps but, just a small reminder that options exist. ”Bookmark here

I FORGOT ABOUT THAT. I could’ve just called him and left a message… But at the moment I thought Nobuyuki was someone dangerous and I just kicked him in the stomach to type a text message… AH, WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS YUI.Bookmark here

With that said, he closed the door after leaving the extra key on it’s hiding spot and made his way, me still in utter confusion about what just happened. As if nothing had transpired, Nobuyuki appeared by my side and started laughing.Bookmark here

“Well, with that face I would take that as no!” he twirled, just to go back to the kitchen. “You need to be more discreet when we do these things… Oh, and to lower suspicions since your friend seems to pick up any anomaly that surrounds your daily life, I’ll gladly use my share of the breakfast as your lunch. So now go and finish preparing yourself for school, that a lunchbox made fully out of love awaits you!”Bookmark here

Unable to process what just happened, and clouding Nobuyuki’s words in my head, I took out a small pocket mirror to look at my face. What greeted me was true horror.Bookmark here

A crooked smile that reflected anger and clearly a stop bothering me, leave me alone aura.Bookmark here

I lowered to the floor, making myself a small ball of self-pity.Bookmark here

“I ruined my chance to walk together!!!”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“I can’t believe you actually made it on time for homeroom and aren’t missing the first period!”

I could see Manabu yawning in the distance, playing as usual with a pencil on his nose, trying to establish a slight balance with it. His voice reached my ears, even though we were three desks away.Bookmark here

“Me too, honestly…” I replied with a sigh just for myself.Bookmark here

What amazed me the most, though, was how he was able to keep the pen in his place while whispering to me from the other side of the classroom.Bookmark here

As expected from Manabu.Bookmark here

That made me notice that the teacher, who was explaining a complex problem of physics, could have managed to listen to his comment perfectly.Bookmark here

I blinked for a moment, then turned my eyes towards the faraway window.Bookmark here

The reflection of the teacher in it showed that my hypothesis was true, but chose to ignore my friend since it was a routine of his to fool around, but unusually managed to get the highest grades in our year.Bookmark here

I got distracted by the passing of the birds that flew over the school, wishing to reach out and fly away with them. I don’t know from what moment I became some sort of frustrated dreamer girl.Bookmark here

Since that fateful day, everything changed. My life did a huge upside downturn when my parent’s just… No, it’s not worth remembering it at this time... And now… with all these strange things happening around me, especially Nobuyuki appearing out of nowhere saying I’m like a magical girl… This is too much for my poor heart.Bookmark here

It was time to change my scenery, now observing the head, or in fact, beanie hat, of the person that I consider my best friend in the whole world.

Observing his hidden profile in the physics book, ignoring the professor, was enough to make me smile a little.Bookmark here

I had never thought to see Shinji not pay attention in a class. Everyone thought of him as a delinquent, and he wanted that image to go away by being diligent, even if his scary look and sarcastic comments didn’t help most of the time.Bookmark here

He seemed to be writing something down fervently in a small notebook.Bookmark here

I closed my eyes, just to open them again in a couple of seconds and look under my blouse, quietly observing the crystal rose glimmering in my chest.Bookmark here

What am I going to do with this? Nobuyuki told me that it’s some sort of relic and that’s it’s stuck to me but… everything he said was so rushed up I could barely understand him. Especially after threatening me with ending my life...

I breathed a long sigh at no one in particular, finally deciding to look at the worksheet I should be resolving. In that same moment, I realized that I wasn’t in a better position than Manabu and Shinji, also rambling on in my own thoughts. Dozens of ideas exploded in my head, and I wanted an answer for all of them.Bookmark here

My eyelids closed again for a few seconds so that at the end a helping hand would pull me out of the trance.Bookmark here

“Just a couple of minutes and the class will be over, Miss Samidare. I don’t want to have to lend you my notes as I do for those two friends of yours once in a while, even if I’m from a different class.”

Pointing at them with just a little shake of the face, I could understand that the two boys sitting in front of me, at different ends of the classroom, had just fallen asleep while the teacher proceeded with his lesson.Bookmark here

I tilted my face and that’s when I met Koharu's eyes.Bookmark here

Short ash hair that was wildly combed. A small bed hair making slight “boings” while he moved his lips while speaking. Bangs that reached almost to his nose and a small ponytail was formed on his neck were something that fitted him perfectly well. His skin, almost as white as a porcelain doll; teal eyes that made him seem like a girl and stand out more.Bookmark here

I was speechless.Bookmark here

“Ah yes, I’m here at Ms Tanaka’s request and from the Student Council as well. It seems they want some of us to monitor some classes and see if the feedback students give about their teachers are true. Some students have sent anonymous letters about Mr Yamada not being… well, I’ll leave that to your imagination!”Bookmark here

“So… you’re basically spying?” I arched an eyebrow in suspicion.Bookmark here

A smile formed on his lips, to finally continue with his notes taking our conversation to an end.Bookmark here

Koharu is so diligent… no wonder he’s in the Student Council. He can even multitask with his studies and these requests.Bookmark here

I nodded to myself, diminishing those thoughts and to let Koharu know I understood his point, and I do my best to start doing something productive. To no one's surprise, I couldn’t understand a single thing from the worksheet and I didn’t pay attention to Mr Yamada’s indications at the very beginning.Bookmark here

Frustration built deep within me.Bookmark here

I’m… mediocre… Useless. I can’t get good grades, I’m not even in a club… But I have good friends… Good friends, I don’t deserve… Happiness took everything precious from me. I’m afraid… to lose everyone I care about again.Bookmark here

I saw my two closest friends, each doing their own thing. I found it entertaining to watch them both in their world of dreams.Bookmark here

Manabu snored without considering his surroundings.

Shinji rested on his arms, probably exhausted by the stress I caused to him this morning, forgetting to close the notebook he was using a while ago.Bookmark here

That was a world in which I wished to be at this precise moment as if there were no tomorrow. If only I could really close my mind for a moment, I would be accompanying them but, the sudden icy breeze that made me shiver, caused me to realize that Koharu was watching me with a cold look as if trying to send me a warning.Bookmark here

Ah, Koharu can be scary sometimes when it comes to classes! He really doesn’t want to end up sharing his notes with three people.Bookmark here

I did my best to write something but it was to no avail.Bookmark here

Now that I think about it, Nobuyuki told me that I was… a… Somnia? He said something about dreams. Could that be my power? Do I have any powers? Maybe… Maybe I could try something out? I’m pretty sure Manabu and Shinji wouldn’t mind if I intrude their dreams… But, how do I do it? What if I make the school explode or something since I have no clue how this magic thingy works… C’mon Yui, stop overthinking!Bookmark here

That’s why I decided to procrastinate and attempted to draw an outfit. If I’m a magical girl, then I need to have a cute dress, right?Bookmark here

As I raised my pencil to try my hand at some fashion designing, the bell indicating the end of classes rang.Bookmark here

The noise of the notebooks and papers hitting the desks, while the chairs were dragged instead of raised against the floor, formed the soundtrack called: end of the period, time to fool around while the next teacher arrives.Bookmark here

I let myself collapse as all the tension in my shoulders vanished, my orange eyes looking at both heads that stood before me.Bookmark here

Manabu, with no concern for the rest of the world, yawned once more as he stretched his arms. Mr Yamada just coughed, pretending to fix his throat, while saying goodbye to us until next week, making us take note of today’s homework.Bookmark here

However, before leaving, he stopped near the desk of two girls telling them something, to which they nodded.Bookmark here

"Make sure to go to the office later today, okay?"Bookmark here

"Of course we will~♡" one of my female classmates replied happily, clapping her hands beside her left cheek.Bookmark here

Afterwards, he left.Bookmark here

"Ah, it's so exciting to be able to share the same room at least for a few minutes!" the same girl sighed as if she were lovesick. Bookmark here

"Just make sure his lapdog isn't near, that annoying upperclassman sticks to Mr Yamada as glue and acts all love-dovey... As if she had some special treatment!" Her friend seemed annoyed.Bookmark here

I don't get what they see in Mr Yamada. I know he even has a fan-club and many girls from different classes and ages agree he is handsome. However, I can't quite grasp what they see on him. Maybe that's what Koharu is investigating? The girls who are head over heels for him? Still, I can't quite understand why he would mention that sort of stuff would make others complain... Maybe it's all a prank? Perhaps some jealous girls writing nasty stuff. They mentioned there's an upperclassman that is always by Mr Yamada's side, after all, maybe it's that?Bookmark here

I moved forward, trying not to think too deeply about something that did not affect me in the slightest.Bookmark here

On the other hand, Shinji was still asleep on his arms, even the physics book that covered his head so that the teacher would not see him sleeping, had just fallen on his head.

I sighed.Bookmark here

“Well, I should go back to my class now,” Koharu stood up, fixing the papers he was carrying.Bookmark here

“This is taking a toll on you,” I commented after seeing some eye bags on his face.Bookmark here

All this stress on Koharu... If it ends up being a nasty prank and nothing wrong is going on I will be mad.Bookmark here

“It is…” he started to walk, just to turn around before leaving from the other side of the classroom, on the opposite door. “During recess, I’ll share my notes with all three of you!”Bookmark here

“Thank you!” I waved goodbye after he closed the door. “Even if he wants us to pay attention, in the end, he finishes up doing the opposite. Such an odd guy… Anyways, I think it’s time to wake Shinji up.”Bookmark here

With delicacy, I approached towards his desk and I removed the book from his beanie hat, to observe how he slept peacefully. His sighs were soft, causing me to imagine that every time one escaped, small clouds formed around him being guided to the sky.Bookmark here

He frowned a bit, wrinkling his nose. Probably something bothered him.Bookmark here

I chose to tap him lightly on the head with the worksheet I held in my hand. Slowly he opened his nutmeg coloured eyes, which shone from the sudden entrance of light.Bookmark here

“Hmm?" Shinji mumbled, finally stretching his back on the seat. Calmly, he begins to rub his eyes. “Did the class...?”

"Yup, it ended a while ago" I answered, taking the physics book away.

“Oh, crap…” ashamed of his actions, he evaded my gaze. “Was Mr Student Council Vice President here?”

“He was, and it was a bit scary to have him looking at my back with a menacing look just so he wouldn’t end up sharing his notes with us… which he’ll do in the end anyway.” I let out a small laugh. “Did you sleep well last night or…?”

"Well, if you wake up abruptly with a text message full of typos in the subject section with no context at all, who would?" He puffed his cheeks with some annoyance. “Seriously, if it was a bad dream you could’ve had told me as soon as you woke up and cleared the misunderstanding.”Bookmark here

“I… kinda forgot.”Bookmark here

Because I woke up and Nobuyuki was once again next to me!

"Forget it, it doesn’t matter anymore. At least I know you’re okay."Bookmark here

“Guys!!! Guys!!!” we hear Manabu happily approaching to us, his blond hair waving with the small winter breeze. “You wouldn’t guess who I saw exit the classroom just now!”Bookmark here

“Koharu!”Bookmark here

“Mr Student Council Vice President.”Bookmark here

“... Are you two psychic?” he said in dismay.Bookmark here

“He was sitting right behind me,” I told Manabu. “He said he had to come to check this class out because there have been some complaints about Mr Yamada.”Bookmark here

“And since he works for the Council, he gets a free pass to skip class and do some spying…” Manabu pondered, placing a finger under his chin. “Well, that’s not why I was here anyway! That’s not important at all… What matters the most is, will Koharun lend us his notes?!”Bookmark here

“He said he would during recess…” I felt exhausted.Bookmark here

“Yippie!!!” Manabu gave some small twirls, basking in delight. “Even if he’s on a different class we should be covering the same topics!”Bookmark here

After some more random chit-chat and such, the day went by absurdly fast. I didn’t even notice or think about what happened last night. During recess, we even shared our notes and hung around Koharu who used to be our classmate last year and sometimes came to visit us while doing Student Council work.Bookmark here

In the end, it was a pretty ordinary day ignoring the fact that when I had to go back home, I’d have to return to a magical reality I’m still denying to believe despite my best efforts to make it meld with my reality.Bookmark here

Although, when I exited the school gate, something out of the ordinary was waiting for me.Bookmark here

Once we all received our paper for the job experience project during the afternoon’s homeroom, Shinji and Manabu took their own ways since they had some stuff to do at home. That’s why I was alone when it happened.Bookmark here

A black german shepherd was looking at me endearingly, waving their tail.Bookmark here

I looked around, believing that maybe one of the students was their owner. However, it was to no avail. No one seemed to recognize them, and no name tag was in sight. Feeling sorry for the little big guy, I approached to pat his head, just to find myself being tumbled to the ground while the unknown dog licked my face happily.Bookmark here

“S-Stop it, it tickles!” giving my best attempt to stand up, I calmed the friendly dog down and crouched to be at their eye level. “Are you lost? Is your owner around here?”Bookmark here

As if they would understand me…Bookmark here

But, surprisingly, the dog barked and did some small leaps in the air. I tilted my head in confusion.Bookmark here

“So… is that a yes or a no…?”Bookmark here

“Oh, Yui!”Bookmark here

A familiar voice. A voice I had only heard for one day but, for some reason, it brought up a huge sense of nostalgia forming a knot in my throat. I turned around just to see Yuiko Tsukiame, the “perfect” version of me.Bookmark here

Or at least, what I aspire to be. I barely know her but… why do I feel this way?Bookmark here

“Hey, um, Miss Tsukiame…” I replied dumbfounded, staring at her clothes. “Is that our school uniform?”Bookmark here

She was indeed wearing the light blue sweater and grey skirt, which made me realize my question was dumb.Bookmark here

Why can’t I hold conversations like a normal human being?Bookmark here

“You can just call me Yuiko!” she answered, bowing down her head to greet me politely. I blushed due to how uncomfortable it was, so I did it as well. Afterwards, she giggled and answered my obvious question. “It is indeed. I was asked to come today to check if the measurements were correct. Does it look good on me?”Bookmark here

“It looks wonderful,” I blurted. “I mean, yeah it suits you.”Bookmark here

“I appreciate the compliment,” she smiled back at me, to then take notice of the dog that was still wagging its tail obediently by my side. “Is that your pet?”Bookmark here

“Oh, not at all!” I waved both of my hands nervously. “I found them here as if they were waiting for someone but it looks like no one is their owner. The dog is super friendly too even if they look a bit scary for their size!”Bookmark here

“German shepherds can sometimes be feared for their colour and size. Nonetheless, they are just as loyal, alert, active and intelligent like any other dog. They can also be quite a bit aloof. However, with the proper care and love, they end up being the best companion in the whole world due to their protective instinct being strong. They will defend you no matter what, whatever the cost.”Bookmark here

“You seem very knowledgeable…” I looked at Yuiko to then stare at the nameless dog’s eyes.Bookmark here

“I have a black german shepherd, that’s why!” she replied with joy, clasping both of her hands. “His name is Kuro. A bit cliché of a name but, I was a mere child when I met him.”Bookmark here

“That’s isn’t cliché at all!” I tried to assure her. “When I went to a festival and caught a goldfish, I named it Kingyo because I couldn’t end up thinking of something clever and just called the goldfish, goldfish.”Bookmark here

I saw how she held her laughter, just to end up breaking in giggles instead. The homeless dog came near to me and licked my hand, making me smile and laugh too.Bookmark here

It seems this day wasn’t so bad at all.Bookmark here


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Author Note: I had to break this chapter in 2 parts since Honeyfeed's Character Limit didn't allow me to publish it in its entirety.Bookmark here

Ehanso
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Prism
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Rose’
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Erii
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