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Shift - Chapter 47 - The Fantasy You Want

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(Author’s Notes: I had meant to put this in the last chapter, but forgot. Well I’ve gotten to the end of the introductions for the main cast. So I wanted to find out which character is your favorite. If you have time let me know! And I’ll be asking the question again at the end of the major arc for reasons that’ll explain themselves soon enough.)

“We specialize in making your fantasies come true!” the woman said with a soft greeting tone. The woman motioned with her arms towards the door inviting them into the shop. Her straightforward respond to Saki’s question was almost jarring as though there was no hidden meaning intended with her words.

Hidden meanings however were not something that Hiroshi could stay away from. A vacant glow in his eyes appeared like he was checked out while still managing to look like he was getting excited about something. The same looked was quick to appear across Tatsuya and Kazuhiro, even Yuki. However, it was only a quick moment after Saki recovered from her stunned state that she turned and whacked the four of them in the head.

“What was that for, Saki?!” Hiroshi said bravely in the brief moment that he forgot who he was staring at. Tatsuya and Kazuhiro were still recovering themselves from Saki (Hiroshi had a little resistance built up from repeatedly being hit by Saki).

She stepped into a lean against Hiroshi as he leaned backwards. “Because I know what thoughts were going through your head!” Hiroshi tried to deny it, but Saki was not being fooled by a faux innocent face.

Yuki rubbed his head walking over near Saki, oblivious to what she was doing. “Why’d you hit me, Saki?”

“Because I know what you’re thinking!” she said turning her head over to snap back at him.

“But I bet Hiroshi was thinking something dirty! Why didn’t you hit him too?!”

Everyone around could not help but sweat in disbelief. Saki wanted to hit him again, but all she could do was raise up her arm before realizing the futility of it. She dropped it back down to her side sighing heavily.

Chapter 47 – The Fantasy You Want

Hiroshi tilted his head down relieved that he was saved by Yuki’s distraction. ‘Hard to believe he was someone to be feared with how clueless he is…’ He turned to check on his friends after Saki’s assault. It was not their first time, but they were still not used to it. “You guys doing alright?”


“…I’d hate to be on her bad side…”

“Yeah, well it’s something you get used to…” Old sores and bruises suddenly spiked dull pains of memories through his body from the more recent run-ins with Saki. He coughed feeling the choking in his throat from his thoughts. “Well…you ready to go inside?” Tatsuya and Kazuhiro both nodded eagerly to Hiroshi dragging over Saki’s attentions once more.

“We aren’t going in there! I can’t believe you thought this was a smart idea.” Saki grabbed up Hiroshi by the collar of his uniform’s jacket glaring at him. “You’ve taken this joke too far! What did you tell Yuki to get him to go along with this?”

“S-Saki!” Panic stricken was an all too familiar feeling for Hiroshi as he was on the balls of his feet with Saki’s demon eyes glaring down at him. Sweat poured down his face as he trying to get words out to calm down Saki. The choking in his throat made it difficult for him to speak clearly. “Y-You…got the…wro-ng i-i-idea!”

“I’ll tell you who’s got the wrong idea!”

Saki started to make a move, but Ayumi suddenly spoke up in a clear yet soft voice that interrupted Saki. Yumi had been trying to get her attention for a while, but her quiet voice was barely enough to leave her lips with Saki having turned violent. “Saki! Yuki’s gone into the building along with Jun and Ken.”

“What?!” she exclaimed dropping Hiroshi. Her eyes scanned the area trying to find him, but the place he had been standing was vacant. When she thought of how Yuki would react and that it was Hiroshi’s fault all she could do was raise her fist tightly as a vein popped from the back of her hand pulsing with frustration. ‘I can’t believe Hiroshi! How could he take a joke so far!?’ She looked around at the rest of the group. “Everyone wait here! I’ll go grab Yuki and his brothers!”

As Saki ran into the shop, everyone looked around at each other pausing for a moment. They all looked over at the woman still with the same warm greeting face inviting them all in. Her fine long black hair was pulled in the breeze that passed through the back alley as silence held everyone.

Inside the Mi Hana Shop, Saki was looking around the front desk reception area for Yuki. While Saki was not taking note, the interior of the building looked far more normal and easy on the eyes than its exterior. There was a large wood counter with a stack of brochures advertising their product protecting a middle aged woman dressed in a more subtle kimono of dark green. She pleasantly smiled allowing Saki her moment to franticly search around the room.

Once Saki, exhausted, came to a stop and walked over to the counter giving into the failure. The woman looked over at her speaking in an even tone that held an old fashion and refined accent that threw Saki off. “Greetings young child. You appear to be seeking something.”

Saki pulled back trying to work with the old Japanese and stiffly nodding. ‘I can’t believe anyone still talks like that…’ The woman waited patiently for Saki’s answer, but silence grew in pressure until it was a weight on Saki demanding her to act. “W-Wel-Um…” There drew out another long pause as Saki stumbled over words needed to speak. “…Have you seen high school boy come through with two younger boys?”

“Yes, he said he had brought friends. I had my younger sister show him the rooms available. How many are in your party?” The woman looked down at the counter pulling something out from under the surface. “Is this the rest of your party?”

Saki tried to wave her hand to decline the woman, who had the wrong idea. “No, we aren’t—“ She turned around quickly picking up on what the woman had said. The rest of their group stood inside the room with the young woman sliding the door closed. “What’re you doing here? I thought I said to wait outside!”

Yumi stepped forward with her hands held together in front of her looking nervous. She kept her head hung down toward the ground as Saki stared at her expecting her to say something despite nothing ever being said. Ayumi leaned to the side around Yumi getting into view. “Hiroshi explained it to us, Saki.”

“Huh? What’s there to explain?” Saki turned her head towards Hiroshi wanting an answer from him to explain, but he disappeared behind the girls. Tatsuya and Kazuhiro made themselves invisible as well only frustrating Saki even more.

Ayumi walked around Yumi approaching Saki. “The way he explained it, this place is more like a karaoke shop. Except that instead of songs they have some sort of virtual reality machine that creates whatever you want. Sounded like a game…”

Katsumi popped up around Yumi interjecting her vote. “But if its real sounds like a lot of fun!”

Saki eyes fell low and narrow as she looked around to all of the faces. She felt so stupid for misinterpreting what the woman had said. ‘I want to go die in a corner right now…’ Her entire body felt numb and limp as she slid down into a puddle on the floor not wanting to be seen. She could not help but feel as though they were all laughing at her for acting so embarrassing.

“Hey…where’s Saki?” Yuki said walking back with his brothers and a little girl wearing a bright light green kimono. Everyone pointed down at the dark pool of liquid on the floor that Ken immediately leapt into. They all reacted with the same petrified state of electric shock only imagining how she had to be feeling at the moment.

After Ken had finished playing and Saki recovered enough to be solid, she looked with dark depressed set eyes around until catching sight of someone she had not seen before, the little girl. Whether it looked it or not her mind was still sharp and recalled quickly what the middle aged woman had said. She looked over to the woman behind the counter and said in a weak low voice, “I thought you said your younger sister was with Yuki.”

The woman nodded pleased to see that she remembered so well. “Yes, you are correct.”

“Ugh! This girl’s creepy lookin’ and weird! I don’t like her eyes!” The little girl that had been sweet and charming looking standing quietly next to Yuki completely changed into a wicked, foul and cold little girl. She turned her head up towards the woman at the counter addressing her.

“Quiet! They haven’t paid yet,” the woman said carefully under her voice meant only for the little girl.

“What?!” the girl yelped before choking on it as she looked around towards the potential (keyword) customers. She just as quickly turned back into the kind looking girl with a sweet voice. “You have a very pretty face, Miss!” The stunned silence by everyone was sharply followed up by everyone falling over in surprise.

Everyone was slowly pulling themselves back up recovering from the shock as the young woman politely looked over towards the ground of students. “So will you be staying?” Saki, Hiroshi and Yumi could not help but sweat in reaction.

Yuki jumped to his feet and raised his arms into the air. “Yes!” Everyone could not help but fall over again, in spite of the fact that it was not surprising. Yuki looked around at everyone confused by their reactions. “So how much?”

Saki groaned out loud as she pulled herself up. The others recovered soon and gathered around the counter with things returning to normal. The little girl stood with the young woman in the hallway politely waiting as the middle aged woman handled them. It was the price that almost drove them away making it difficult for them to pay on their allowance. Huddling together and pooling their money they managed to get enough time for two hours.

“Thank you! My name is Hanabira,” the middle aged woman said finally introducing herself upon receiving the payment.

At that moment the young woman and little girl were bowing politely thanking them as well. The little girl stood back up first. “This is my younger older sister, Hana!” she said point cheerfully to the young woman. She then returned the finger to point at herself. “I’m Ha! I’m only eight years old!” The cute adorable expression of pride glowed across her face as she started to turn around to guide them to their room.

Saki could not let things go and stopped them wanting an answer. “Are you saying you’re all sisters? That’s impossible! There’s at least a thirty year gap in your ages!” She pointed over to Hanabira accusingly.

Ha turned her body half way getting her head around most of the way changing once more. “Thirty-four actually… Got a problem with that?” The look in her eyes changed so quickly it left Saki stunned in surprise for a second. “Come this way please,” said a sweet voice from her lips jerking back into the previous personality.

Confused and stunned was all Saki managed at the moment as the little child seemed to be taking enjoyment in manipulating her. The rest of them were not sure how to act seeing Saki being toyed with so easily. They moved through the hall directed by the child and the young woman towards a booth near the end. Hana ushered them into the room and slid the door closed once everyone was in.

Inside the room there was enough space for everyone to fit surprisingly comfortably. There were several couches placed around the walls and a couple tables as well. Behind them at the entrance was a computer panel built into the wall with a full keyboard and touch screen as Katsumi found out from her curiosity. Upon her finger contacting the screen it turned on presenting a greeting in Japanese and English. Above them a voice of a woman that was not one of the three they had met evenly greeted them. “Welcome guests to the Mi Hana Shop! The screen you have just touched is the computer where you can input any dream you wish to have fulfilled. Note: The Mi Hana Shop is a family friendly environment and as such there are restrictions. Please keep that in mind when you are making a request. Enjoy your stay!”

Saki looked around at Hiroshi, Tatsuya and Kazuhiro making it clear to them, she was finally recovering. Jun and Ken jumped off the couch running over to Katsumi standing by the screen looking eager to have some fun. They both tugged on her uniform to draw down her attention. Katsumi bent her legs to reach their level becoming quickly enamored by them once more. “You want to give it a try?” Jun nodded eagerly with Ken jumping up and down unable to keep his excitement under control.

Yuki stepped in around his friends to reach his brothers. He had a surprisingly serious face on contrary to his display earlier. “We should test it out first. We don’t even know if it works or what to expect. So let’s do something normal as a test and then go from there.”

Rational thinking from Yuki made everyone come to a halt. Hiroshi exchanged stared with Tatsuya and Saki getting very similar feelings. “I’ve seen everything now. Yuki being serious and reasonable.” Everyone nodded in agreement, including his brothers.

“Hey! I can be serious when I want!”

Ayumi smiled a little shaking her head slightly. “No, but that’s what make you fun!”

“Ayumi!” Yuki dropped his jaw open freezing in position shocked to hear such bluntness from her. His friends all laughed knowing how true a statement it was, especially with the way he was reacting.

Saki lowered her hand from her face after she had finished laughing. “But in all seriousness, Yuki does have a point. We should probably test it with something safe. We don’t know what it is anyway.”

“But it’s virtual reality!” Ken said trying to get them to skip safety. However, when he saw that Saki was gaining the support of everyone else he lowered his head in disappointment. Jun patted his shoulder to try to console him a little.

“What should it be then?” Hiroshi said scanning the others for answer.

“…I don’t know…” said Saki.

There was a long silence as everyone thought of something safe and normal to test. “…A meadow…” Yumi said softly thinking that her voice went ignored, but in the silence it carried well. Everyone pulled their faces up looking over at her making her embarrassed like she had said something wrong.

“That’s perfect, Yumi!” Yuki said quickly bringing relief to Yumi. He looked over to at Katsumi letting her input the request.

It ended up taking more than just the two words to get what they wanted out of it. Katsumi had to answer several questions about time, appearance and weather, but after a few minutes of stumbling through the form it accepted their request. When the computer beeped the entire room went into pitch blackness as though the power had failed. Everyone started to chime up with questions and confusion trying to understand what was going wrong. Katsumi tried to go for the door, but found that it was no longer where it had been. Slowly building over the panicked voices was a hum that encompassed them bringing everyone to a waiting pause of anticipation.

Like a drawn out breath the hum ceased followed by a new light appearing above everyone. They were not able to look at it in time before suddenly the black void was wiped away to reveal a lightly clouded blue sky with a large meadow of ankle tall grass overlooking the expansive fields of rolling hills as far as the eye could see.

The vista left everyone in awe unable to speak for a minute. Ken was the first to run out from where they were willing to give into the illusion. Yuki tried to stop him thinking that he would run into the wall of the room. When he failed, but saw that Ken was much further away than possible he started to believe.

“It’s unbelievable,” Kaede said as she began walking out away from the group.

A gentle breeze swept by everyone dragging along their hair. “Even the wind feels real…” said Yumi pulling her hair out of her face.

“It goes on forever it seems,” Kazuhiro said watching Ken get further way with Jun chasing after him.

“Yeah, I could easily relax and do nothing here for two hours…” Tatsuya said sitting down in the grass.

Saki knelt down towards the grass grabbing it by her hand pulling it free. “It’s pretty realistic for a virtual reality.”

“I didn’t think this was possible with the technology we have…” said Yuki staring up at the clouds. He looked over to Ayumi who still seemed to be enjoying the sights. A glance that lasted only a moment between them showed a change in her eyes that seemed to given him the same unsettled feeling. ‘…could this be the power of Kasou-ryoku?’

To be continued…

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