A Ridiculous Requirement, An Everyday Escapade

by: Shinka
I opened my eyes and realized I had fallen asleep trying to catch the sunrise on Anime Metaverse Island. My watch said 11:17 am: too late to make a wish, too early for class, but just in time for second breakfast.
It has only been two weeks since I arrived at AniMeta Island for school. The Associate Job curriculum was engaging, but I slept through my morning class already, so there was no changing that.
‘It’s ok, I can make it up,’ I assured myself.
Pulling my belongings together and shaking off the sand, I left the beach and headed to Rikka’s island. There is a shop there I wanted to check out.
Ridiculous Requirements, a shop that caters to exactly what it was named for, ridiculous requirements.
I stumbled upon this shop by chance when I looked for an umbrella hat. My roommate teased me about the hat, but I enjoyed the color and the functionality. ‘Hands-free, Baby!’
This time, however, I was going to get her something instead. Something amazing but also slightly ridiculous. Something to cheer her up and help with the failed prayers and anxiety.
But first, second breakfast. I crossed the street to my favorite spot, a diner called Munchies. They sell the most amazing triple-layer Belgian waffles, and I needed some sugar to think.
The waitress recognized me and she apparently already put in my order.
“Pick any seat you want, Jimin. The cook is whipping up your waffles now.” She shot me a wink. ‘You minx,’ I thought playfully and flashed a brilliant smile back.
Sitting at the far end of the counter, I started brainstorming what to get my roommate. She is smart, sensible, and driven yet vulnerable to bouts of loneliness. I thought about my lovely pet cat back home, Sirius, and found inspiration while reminiscing about his soft fluffy fur.
‘I’m gonna get her a plush. In fact, I’m gonna get her a giant plush. A giant cat plush.’ I told myself.
Polishing off the waffles and tipping the waitress extra, I left the diner and headed into Ridiculous Requirements. There were no items on display inside, with the staff being just as elusive. You simply waited in line and wrote down what you wanted and why you wanted it, then slid it through a slot in the back door.
I wrote, “Giant cat plush to cheer up my roommate,” and slid the paper through the door. There was a low rumbling, and then the door opened. Three giant cat plushies floated through and landed in front of me.
“Vich one do you vant?” a voice asked in a strange accent. I never saw anyone, but decided not to question it.
The first one was a tall plush. It looked like when you hold a cat up, and their feet dangle. It was cute but also roughly seven feet tall.
‘Too skinny. Next.’
The second one looked like a real cat but was five times the size.
‘They weren’t kidding about giant, were they? Too creepy. No thanks. Next.’
The last one looked like a loaf of bread with cat ears and a tail.
‘Promising, but still the size of my dorm bed.’
“Do you have this one in a smaller size?” I asked, pointing at the cat loaf.
“Zis is ze biggest one, an XXL. Ve also have XL through S size.”
“How big is the S?”
“Pumpkin sized.” Not very specific.
“And the M size?”
“Two Pumpkin Sized.” Again, not very specific.
“Hmmm, ok, give me the M size, please.”
The M-size cat loaf floated out, and I held it in my arms. It was super soft, gave off a slightly sweet smell, and my fingers barely touched on the other side. Purrfect.
“I’ll take it!” I said.
I thought back to all those times my roommate encouraged me when I was battling my own demons. ‘This plush will definitely cheer her up,’ I reaffirmed myself.
As I turned to leave, I heard her call out to me. “Vait. You get zis as a, how you say, a bonus.”
They handed me two miniature versions of the cat loaf that fit my palm. They were a bit warm to the touch.
“Ze micro size. Freshly baked,” I noticed it has a metal loop on a chain and realized it is the keychain version of the giant plush I’m holding.
“Thank you,” I said as I headed out the door. ‘I’m glad this shop could meet my ridiculous demands yet again,’ I mused. ‘Now the challenge of getting this two-pumpkin-sized plush back home in time to surprise my roommate.’
I peeked at my watch: 2:48 PM. Class started 48 minutes ago.
‘Whoops’ I muttered to myself.
‘It’s ok. Profesor Shinka just reads off the PowerPoint anyway. I can catch up later,’ I thought. My roommate’s surprise is my number one priority right now.
There was a bus stop next to the store, and while I waited for the next bus, I realized I was getting more curious stares.
It worsened when I got on the bus with the giant cat plush, and I realized even the driver was having trouble driving because they were too busy looking at it.
Once we got to my stop, I power-walked into the dorm, rode the elevator up to my floor with maximum anxiety, and dashed into my room.
3:23 PM. My roommate would get home in 20 minutes from the school library. I tidied up the dorm and placed the ginormous cat loaf plush in the middle of her bed.
‘I know you shouldn’t enter a girls' room uninvited, but I’ll ask for forgiveness later!’ I dashed into my own room and waited for her to come home.
I heard her come home a few minutes later and listened with anticipation while she walked into her room.
“OH MY GOD, NO, YOU DIDN’T!” she yelled from her room.
She burst into my room, holding the plush. “Look at it! It’s so fluffy! Ahh-”.
But before I could even reply, the giant cat plush glowed, and a blinding light enveloped the room.
As the light died down, I realized that both of us were now wearing matching black turtleneck sweaters that had a giant pink paw print and obnoxious “BFF” letters emblazoned on them in pink.
“What the f-” I muttered before my roommate chimed in, “Jimin! Is this plush magical? What are these sweaters? What is happening?!” she asked, jumping around in excitement.
“I can’t explain it, but these matching sweaters just feel FUN,” I said.
“Maybe they boost your FUN gains? Hopefully by a lot. You know we’re wearing them to Karaoke night on Friday, right? I just learned Kumi’s new song and choreo. Prepare to be schooled!” she boasted.
We both admired our new matching sweaters, proof of our forever friendship. The sweaters were as soft as a cat’s tummy, had a relaxing lavender scent, and felt like a warm hug from a long-lost friend.
As I was checking out the cat paw print, I remembered the two mini cat plush keychains in my pocket and handed over one of them to my roommate.
“Here you go, Momo, a little bonus proof of our friendship,” I said with a grin. She smiled with excitement, and there was a twinkle of a tear in her eyes.
“Thank you so much, Jimin. I really appreciate this! Do they have a hidden bonus too?”
“Hmm, I’m not sure, but holding them in my hand like this makes me feel protected from failure. It’s like a lucky charm that offers a bit of protection, along with being super cute,” I said.
“Oh I get the feeling too. Like nothing I do or make can go wrong. I also get the feeling you care about me and that makes me really happy,” Momo gushed, smiling brightly at me.
‘Mission Accomplished,’ I thought, mentally patting myself on the back.
We continued to check out our new matching sweaters and deliberated where we should hang the keychains.
Another action-packed day on Anime Metaverse Island. Another ridiculous escapade completed.
Loot Acquired: BFF Sweater Fat Cat Keychain
You went shopping for your roommate and bought her a giant cat plush. She absolutely loves it. Its inviting softness and sweet scent relieve all anxieties and loneliness.
No Item Shards acquired. The Universe saw fit to bestow a complete item upon you for your kindness.
You were awarded a BFF Sweater for being a generous & considerate roommate, an extraordinarily rare occurrence indeed!
You were awarded a Fat Cat Keychain for being a repeat patron by the shopkeep at Ridiculous Requirements.