"I think we are lost."
"Shut it, Toshi. I know exactly where we are." Monoma said tucking the flashlight against his side, peering at the map in front of him.
"Oh really, please tell us where you have taken us then." Shinsou snarked back tapping away at his phone.
"Shin, Neito, play nice~ Or how else will we find cryptids with all your shouting, hm?" Aoyama chimed in looking up at them whilst sitting on a small boulder near their makeshift camp for the short time being.
Monoma and Shinsou stopped arguing for the moment and glance at each other. Shinsou broke the silence first, "Is this the first time he has ever said 'Cryptid' out loud? Or is it just me."
"No it's definitely just you." Monoma responded dryly. He continued looking at the map and following a part of the paper with his finger, his expression taut.
"Hilarious." Shinsou replied before walking over and peering over his shoulder to read along the map. "I told you we were lost."
Monoma threw his hands in the air clenching the map a bit too tightly, spinning around to face Shinsou to point a finger at his chest. "We are not lost! We just took a wrong turn that can be fixed."
Aoyama watched with great interest as they both went back and forth for awhile longer before Shinsou sat back shrugging and saying, "Fine, lead the way, Mo."
Monoma huffed before folding up the crinkled up map the best he could and stuffing it back into his backpack. Aoyama stood back up brushing off any extra dirt on his pants and picking up his own pack with him. Monoma started trekking back the way they came grumbling to himself as he kicked a rock suspiciously in the direction of a certain purple haired person. The person in question ignored it and took a long sip from his water bottle.
"You should probably drink up yourself, Yuu. It's been getting hotter for the past hour." Shinsou commented tucking his bottle back in and slinging back onto his back.
"Why thank you dear, but I already took a refreshing sip earlier~" Aoyama said smiling coming over to walk beside him.
Shinsou hummed in response, deeming it didn't need a response.
"Hurry up slowpokes! It won't be my fault if you guys get lost because you guys fell behind!" Monoma shouted from in front of them. Funnily enough he didn't look annoyed as much as he portrayed his voice to be. He turned around again and continued his walk.
Shinsou turned to Aoyama offering his hand to him with a grin on his face. "Shall we go before he gets himself lost instead?"
"We shall." Winking in response, they walked back to Monoma hand in hand. The moment was interrupted a few minutes later when Monoma shrieked loud enough to scatter bird in different directions from the trees.
"GODDAMN SPIDERS AND THEIR WEBS!"
"Hey there, demons, it's me, ya boy."
"But Neito we came for cryptids, did we not?" Aoyama piped up from his section of the cave he was inspecting intently.
"A demon is a cryptid if you think about it hard enough." Shinsou muttered picking up a rock, scrutinizing it before tossing it to the side. Aoyama glanced at the tossed stone before silently retrieving it and tucking it into his pocket for safe keeping. Safe keeping for what though, is only known to him.
"That's where you are wrong, Shin. A demon is a different type of supernatural that even saying such a thing is considered rude to even suggest that they are even in the same type of category." Monoma stated barely stopping to breathe as he ranted from his perch on a large boulder as he looked over some writings on the wall that looked foreign.
There was a beat as the words hung in the air before Aoyama broke it by coughing at the dust that had kicked up in the air.
"...When you said you took your cryptid hunting seriously, you actually meant it." Shinsou mused out loud coming to stand next to Monoma.
"Of course I do. If I don't then what hope do I have of seeing a living cryptid? Amateurs will not have a chance at seeing one if they don't put in the work for it—Hand me that would you." Monoma gestured to the paper with writing on it that had fallen off the rock.
"Awfully mature of you to say, deem me impressed—Here." Reaching up, he handed the paper to Monomas outstretched hands.
"I am always mature. I have to put up with you and Yuu's antics at school, don't I?" Monoma responded as he looked over the paper with rapid glances to it and the wall, eyebrows scrunched in concentration.
"True, but in my defense I don't know how I get into half of them."
"Me neither!" Aoyama put in dusting a suspicious white hard stone. If it was that.
"And might I mention—" Shinsou started.
"No you may not." Monoma inserted in.
"—That you get in more antics than both of us combined?" Shinsou finished smirking.
"I.. do not. That is absurd. I do no such thing. All lies I tell you." Monoma denied glancing up from his writing and looked over to Aoyama. "Yuu, Please tell Shin that it is not nice to spread lies."
"I could say that, but I would be lying myself and you just pointed out how bad it was to tell lies." Aoyama remarked innocently. Shinsou coughed a bit too forcibly leading to Monoma to look over and glare at him. Aoyama picked up the thing he had been dusting and presented it to the two.
"Is this something worth looking into?" He questioned turning it in his palms and inspecting the rainbow of light that shown from holes. Shinsou cocked his head in curiosity before kneeling down next to him and taking it from him, doing the same as he turned it around above his head.
Shinsou put it back down gently and whistled to Monoma, "Neito, I think Aoyama got something." Before the words even left his mouth, Monoma had front flipped off the rock, rolled, and sprinted towards them.
"What is it." Monoma stated as he picked it up.
"I have no idea, Mr. Cryptid Expert, that's why I called you." Shinsou droned already tapping at his phone searching up the mysterious white bony thing.
"Ha ha. Funny." Monoma remarked, "No, but seriously what is it?"
"Hm..It could be a Evolvulous Lutea, 'They are an uncommon, small bone-like plant and can be found only in some Japan regions. It shines a rainbow from the holes for 1 month before dying and spreading its ashes in the wind and growing anew. You can also find them in dark grey, silver and white.'"
"Huh." They chorused all of them looking down at it.
"Interesting, but not what I cam here for." Monoma voiced before walking back to his rock and climbing back up it.
"Pretty.." Aoyama commented and stashed it in his pack. It was starting to look full to Shinsou, but didn't comment on it. For now.
Everyone went back to their findings, immersing themselves into searching for a single clue that a cryptid was there. They occasionally would bring one another over to inspect it themselves for a second opinion before going back, this continued for hours before Aoyama yawned and Shinsou suggested they get back and continue sometime tomorrow.
"...Fine. But expect me to be at your rooms bright and fucking early. I know it's here, I can just sense it!" Monoma said packing up his notes and shoving them into his bag.
"Wouldn't expect anything different." Shinsou commented slinging his pack on and walking back to the entrance.
"Oui Oui, but Neito please wait until at least eight please? I need my beauty sleep you know!" Aoyama chimed in huffing a bit as he carried his backpack. Shinsou gestured to take it but Aoyama dismissed him with a smile. What is in that bag is what Shinsou wants to ask but figures that he wouldn't get a straight answer from him—or at least a non-vague one.
"Let's go, boys! I am starving from all this hiking today!" Aoyama exclaimed as he stretched his arms high before letting out a sigh.
"Yeah, yeah. still can't believe I didn't find or see a mention of a damn cryptid today." Monoma grumbled walking out the entrance with the others. He looked back for a moment searching before shaking his head and catching up with them.
But if Monoma had looked back for a second longer he would have seen a brown reptile standing on their two back legs peeking out from the distinct opening of a wall looking back at him.
Another day, indeed.
"Ahh that really hit the spot, Neito! Thank you for buying us dinner tonight~" Aoyama said smiling content.
"Ehh, it's no problem.. You guys went out with me all day I wanted to treat you guys like you did with me." Monoma reasoned his ears a faint red.
"Even still, dinner was good considering it came from the restaurant down the road." Shinsou commented winking at him as he gathered up the plates and put them in the sink they shared with their classmates.
Aoyama giggled before kissing Monomas and Shinsous cheek, "Well, I have had eventful day, Mon chéri, and would love to stay and chat more, but I am tired and must sleep."
"Goodnight!" With that, it was just the two of them alone to talk.
Aoyama dumped his bag on his bed hummed to himself as he reached inside the bag and pulled out an item.
"Ah~ It's beautiful—but not so much that it out shines even me!" He said to himself turning the item around in his hand causing it it glint rainbow patterns around the room. He set it down on his stand and upended his bag contents on his bed.
All of it was various items glinting or shining all different colors—ranging from a gem crusted with dirt, stones varying from different patterns or colors, to the plant they had found today and whatever else piled in.