Dance of the Shining Stars on the Shore of Memory

Chapter 8

Mithra: Just as I’m free to forget or to remember things, you’re free to make people remember or to let them forget. There’s no point in suffering in silence for someone else’s sake and letting yourself end up covered in scars.


Akira: … you can just pick and choose bits of Mithra’s advice, you don’t have to follow it all to the letter. Even if you can’t always tell… the other person how you feel directly, I think it’s a good thing to accept that it’s normal to feel lonely instead of beating yourself up over it… you can even confide things like “he forgot something again” or “I feel really lonely” to a third party. I can at least lend an ear, if you ever want to talk.

Chloe: Master Sage… Mithra… … ahah… you’re right… if you don’t think it’s wrong of me to feel this way… and it’s okay to say that I feel lonely…

Like a little lost bird that had once again found its warm nest, Chloe’s expression slowly began to soften.

Chloe: Thank you, the two of you. Thanks to both of you, I feel like a weight is off my shoulders. Alright! Since I’m feeling better, I’ve got to do my best making the outfits for the Star Dance Festival!

Mithra: Is that why your room is such a mess?

Chloe: Ahaha… I guess it is kind of a mess at the moment. Yeah. I’ve been thinking about how to make a design that makes everyone seem as cool as possible. … hey, Mithra. If you want, would you mind coming with us to the Star Dance Festival in a couple days? Mitile told me that you got praised by the organizer for being really cool, right?

Mithra: That’s correct. He said that I’m sexy, and wild… stronger than Oz, and the coolest man in the entire world.

Akira: (Isn’t he adding on quite a bit from Mitile’s version of events…?)

I tilted my head slightly. Chloe’s violet eyes were sparkling like jewels.

Chloe: I totally get that! You’ve got a totally inimitable sex appeal, Mithra! It’s like if you get too close, you’ll get devoured in one bite, but you still feel compelled to draw near anyway without realizing it… it’s really dangerously sexy… to be honest, I’d already started thinking about what kind of costume would be best to draw out Mithra’s unique charm…!

Chloe leaned over and grabbed the sketchbooks on his desk and, one at a time, began showing the designs to Mithra.

Chloe: See, like this, I’d want to accentuate the length of your legs, so if we wrap a cloth around your waist instead of a regular belt… and a dangling hair ornament like this one here would be even sexier, I think!


Chloe: Ah—sorry! I was kind of getting ahead of myself…! See, the point of our mission here is that we want to attract as much attention as possible, right? It can be really hard to get a lot of people interested in the kind of numbers we need… but I think if we use your appeal to our advantage, Mithra, we’ll be able to steal the attention of just about everyone at the festival. I know we forgot to invite you along while we were back at Fran’s house, but I’d be really happy if you decided to come to the Star Dance Festival with us, Mithra…


Mithra’s expression was unreadable as he stared down at Chloe with his jade-like eyes.

Akira: (After hearing Chloe’s feelings on the matter, I want Mithra to come, too, but I’m not so sure about this…)

Mithra: Sure. I’m feeling good so I’ll go.

Chloe and Akira: …!

Chloe: Really…?

Mithra: Yes. Being complimented by you didn’t feel too bad. … that is to say, it’s the same feeling as when I’m talking to Rustica. You kind of just get dragged into his flow…

Chloe: … eh…?

Mithra: Looking at you, I’m reminded of Rustica. When I look at Rustica, I’m reminded of you. There are even siblings and parents who speak and act alike less than the two of you do.


Chloe blinked slowly at that, but before long, he smiled as though he were trying not to smile too big, and he clutched softly at his own chest. His face was one of genuine happiness, as though he had stumbled upon a bluebird.

Akira: (Chloe…)

He had been so afraid that if Rustica forgot things, that would sever the bond that Chloe had with him. Perhaps Chloe realized then that even if the thread of memory wasn’t the thing that connected him and Rustica, there was something else that bound them together

Chloe: … like Rustica… I see…

Mithra: What are you smiling about?

Chloe: No, it’s nothing. Ehehe, I’m just really happy to hear that!

Akira: I’m happy for you, Chloe!

Chloe: Right! So if that’s the plan, then I’m going to have to make Mithra’s outfit immediately. I’ll make a costume that makes you look amazing, so please look forward to it!


[int: Manor corridor, morning]

Akira: [yawn]

After that, Mithra took me to his room, and struggling to help Mithra get to sleep meant I ended up spending most of the night awake myself.

Akira: (In the end, Mithra couldn’t get to sleep, so I ended up sleeping in late myself…)

Chloe: Oh, Master Sage, good morning!

Chloe greeted me with a bright and chipper voice, but when I looked closer, he had the faintest hint of dark circles under his eyes.

Akira: Chloe, are you okay? You really stayed up late last night…

Chloe: Yeah! Talking with you and Mithra gave me a whole second wind. It’s thanks to you that the outfits are almost finished! I’m feeling really good about them.

Akira: Whoa, I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of outfits you managed to make!

Heathcliff: Master Sage, Chloe, good morning to you both.

Cain: Good morning, you two!

Chloe: Good morning, everybody.

Cain: Chloe, you’ve got dark circles under your eyes. Are you sleep deprived too?

Chloe: No, I’m just… wait, what do you mean “too”?

Heathcliff: We spent all last night talking about what we were going to do for our performances at the Star Dance Festival.

Cain: Mitile, too, and… well, he’s already gone off on official business, but Arthur was with us too.

Akira: Is that so! Well, thank you all for all of the work you’re putting into this.

At my words, Cain and Heathcliff exchanged looks, straightened up their posture, and turned to face me.

Cain: … when we saw Layla, we were all reminded of something. When it comes to wizards and humans, it doesn’t matter what you do, time is going to catch up to you. Our friends, our families… even if the world around us changes, we’re the ones who are going to stay the same. I thought I already knew that in the abstract, but seeing it face to face, it was a real reminder that that’s the future we have ahead of us.

Saying that much, Cain pushed his bangs back, and his now clearly-visible eyes narrowed softly.

Cain: I know I’m kind of just blowing smoke here, but I just really wanted to do something to help Fran. I feel like I’m on the same path as him… since I’m a wizard who’s fond of humans and all.

Heathcliff: And, more than anything—

With a smile like moonlight shining down on a nighttime road, Heathcliff reached out and put his hand against Chloe’s palm and cast a spell. Through the gaps between his slender fingers, I could see pale blue sugar.

Heathcliff: For a friend who does so much for someone else’s sake… I want to help you out, if I can, Chloe.

Heathcliff looked a little nervous to say the word “friend” out loud, but Cain nodded his approval.

Akira: (Everyone was keeping Fran and Chloe in their thoughts and trying to help in their own ways…)

Chloe: Everyone… thank you! I’m really, really happy! Let’s all do our best at the Star Dance Festival tomorrow!

Heathcliff: Yes! … but, ah, Chloe… before that, there’s one more request we have to make of you, if that’s alright.

Chloe: Huh? You need something from me?

Cain: Yeah. Look over there.

We looked where Cain was pointing. In the dining hall, Rustica was drinking tea with his usual level of elegance. … but his hair was a total mess, sticking out in every direction like he had rolled out of bed without fixing it.

Chloe: …!

Heathcliff: Because you’re doing so much, Chloe, I don’t want to impose… but it seems as though there’s something that needs your fixing.

Cain: And it being what it is, we don’t really think it’s our place to step in and intervene…

Chloe: … pfft… ahahaha…! My master really is a handful…! Thank you for letting me know, you guys. Give me just a second, Rustica, I’m coming!

Chloe took off at a jog. Watching him go, we turned to face each other and smiled.

Akira: (What a relief… I’m glad that they’re back to normal.)


[ext: Riverbank, evening]

--- And then, just like that, the day of the festival arrived.

Chloe: Good evening, Fran!

Rustica: It is a pleasure to see you again today.

Fran: Whoa…! The two of you look amazing! Chloe, did you make those outfits?

Chloe: Yeah! I’ve got one for you, too, Fran. I’d be honored if you could wear this outfit when you meet up with Layla.

Fran: Ah… is it really okay for me to wear such nice clothes?

Chloe: Of course it is! After all, you’re the man of the hour, Fran. Wear these clothes, and show the White Bridesveils to Layla at the place you made those memories!

Fran: Chloe… I really can’t thank you enough… hck…

Chloe: Wah, come on, don’t cry! You’ve still got a lot of important work to do, Fran!

Rustica: It’s just as Chloe says. It will be alright. Everyone is lending you their strength; I’m certain that it will all go well.

Fran: Right…!


Chloe: (I hope that the Sage and everyone else can put on a good show and that nobody gets hurt…)


[ext: City street, night]

The sun had completely gone down. The entire town was decked out with star-themed decorations. The people practically shone with people celebrating to their heart’s content. In lieu of the invisible stars in the sky, the people had created a night sky that spread out on the ground instead.

Heathcliff: This is amazing… there are so many people here.

Arthur: There are so many stalls, too. I wonder what that pie-like thing is? Oh, and they’re selling candy over there, too. It all smells really sweet and good! Before we go home, we should buy some to take home to Oz-sama and Riquet.

Cain: Ahaha. You look just like a little kid. I hope you’re having fun. I’m happy to see it.

Arthur: D-do I look that much like a little kid…?

Cain: Kinda! But you’ve always had that sort of innocent look ever since we first met. But back then, you were really reserved and careful. I’m really glad that you’re able to smile like that now.


Cain: Arthur?

Arthur: … it’s nothing, I was just thinking that I’m lucky to have such a good friend. Back then, when I was going out incognito with you as my body guard, were you always watching over me with that same smile on your face? I’m certain you were even then.

Cain: Ahaha… I’ve been caught. But it’s embarrassing to have it called out.

Arthur: Fufu. You embarrassed me first.

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