Ayumu returned to her apartment a few hours later. She tossed her duster across the couch and sat heavily on her bed, much as she had before Chiyo arrived. Her gaze traveled over the room, finally stopping on the desk and its overflowing wastebasket.

Chiyo was gone. She would be in Aomori inside of the hour, and seeing Yomi. How was she, anyway? And Kagura... what was she up to? Had she stayed with TKD? She could be a second-dan by now! Ayumu picked up the list of addresses. She really had no excuse, now.

On a whim, she slid Edwin Starr into the CD player and cleared her desk with one sweep of an arm. You could almost call this a new era, she thought, slapping the stationary down and picking a name at random (Sakaki-san, this time) to be her first victim. She had no idea what she had to say to her old friends, but she'd say something.

It was odd, she reflected, as "25 Miles" filled her room and her pen danced across the page. Nothing had really changed with Chiyo-chan's visit, but in a way... she saw everything with new eyes. Perhaps that was an overly dramatic way to put it, but something was certainly different.

"I won't try and figure it out," she decided. Would the others be as excited to hear from her as Chiyo had? Hopefully they'd at least respond. She took a quick break to review what she'd done so far and happened to glance at the pile of papers she'd usurped. It was clear that trying to wring commercial fiction out of herself had been a mistake; you can only write what you know, after all.

And after going through so many memories with Chiyo-chan, she realized that there was a lot of good stuff in there. Would people pay to read about their adventures in Okinawa, for instance? It was just stupid enough to work...

Of course, to make sure she had everything straight, she'd have to consult the others, though some of their accounts would probably be pretty warped. Tomo's especially... wait a second. Ayumu snatched up the list. "Where's Tomo-chan?"

Chiyo leaned her head against her window and watched the tarmac rush up to meet the plane's wheels. She might've been nervous, but after the Yukari-mobile, being strapped into a metal cylinder and flung thousands of feet into the air by way of a continuous explosion was child's play.

What really made her nervous was her approaching visit with Yomi-san. She hadn't had the heart to tell Ayumu that about four months ago, Tomo and Yomi had had some kind of massive falling-out, ending with the Wildcat Idiot running off into the night. Nobody had heard from her since.

Yomi's method of correspondence was pretty weak; these terse little paragraph-long letters that only related the bare essentials of her life. Tomo had always forgotten to write. Thus, Chiyo had no idea what she would find upon landing. She didn't even know how the two had related before then—were they roommates? Neighbors? Lovers? (After Kaori-san, she wasn't discounting anything.) Chiyo had no idea what she would find.

Well, there was only one way to find out.