Dance of the Shining Stars on the Shore of Memory
Mitile: Wait, Mithra-san! Where are you going?
Mithra: What do you mean where am I going? I’m going wherever I can eat meat.
Mitile: Come on, can’t that wait until after we’ve played our roles?
Akira: (… everyone’s outfits really suit them.)
In the end, in addition to Rustica and Chloe, who were helping Fran-san on the riverbank, everyone who had joined in our excursion for the White Bridesveils the other day ended up deciding to participate in the festival.
Akira: Bradley—you too, thanks for coming today.
Bradley: Well, may as well see it out. Western Pipsqueak’s enthusiasm wore me down. .. and, whether it’s for some chick they fell in love with or for a buddy, I can’t find it in me to hate some dumbass so single-minded they’d lose track of time for how hard they go all-in.
While we’re talking, the bell signaling the beginning of the Star Dance Festival reverberates throughout the city. All at once, on cue, the entire town erupts in cheers. That’s what prompts me to give a secret signal to the wizards to begin our plan.
Akira: … well, let’s get started.
Arthur: Yes. So Fran and company can rendezvous once more with the one he loves. Let’s create a beautiful moment that steals everyone else’s attention away.
Cain: Let’s make it such a show that nobody will even think of looking at the riverbank! Leave the dance to me.
Mithra: Well, I already stand out the most anyway.
Heathcliff: I just have to take a deep breath and gather my nerves… I’ll do my best, too!
Everyone took their places, and Bradley let out a bold laugh.
Bradley: Alright, Southern Shortstuff, we’re up first. Let’s go!
[ext: cloudy sky, night]
Bradley and Mitile flew up over the city like a pair of shooting stars.
Mitile: 《Ortonik Sealsispilce》!
[ext: City street, night]
As the two cast their spells, a snowstorm of sparkling silver confetti rained down on the city. It was shaped like stars, and it showered the city as though the actual stars had begun to spill out of the sky.
Citizen: Hey, something’s coming out of the sky!
Citizen Child: Look, mama! The stars are falling out of the sky!
Citizen Woman: Wow… it’s so pretty!
Citizen: What’s going on? Is this magic? Magical technology?
Citizen: Ahaha. It doesn’t matter either way. It’s fun, right?
Citizen: Never thought I’d see such a sparkling sight in a town where you can’t see even a single star in the sky.
[ext: cloudy sky, night]
Bradley: Damn. Never thought I’d get myself roped into a job like tossing around a bunch of confetti.
Mitile: It’s not like we can make real stars with our magic, but… you’re still at least a little happy with yourself, aren’t you?
Bradley: … oi, that should be enough. Even if it’s fake, it’s better than a starless sky.
[ext: City street, night]
Cheers erupted from the people as Bradley and Mitile showered the town with stars, and now it was Heathcliff’s turn. He surreptitiously cast his spell.
Heathcliff: 《Repsev Aivulp Sunos》
A small orb of light appeared and began to zip around the bustling city streets. Overjoyed with the light that flitted up close to them, the children close to Heathcliff approached him.
Young Girl: Hey, mister, did you make that shiny thing? It’s really pretty…!
Heathcliff: A—ah, yes, I did.
Heathcliff smiled timidly as the children looked at him with sparkling eyes.
Heathcliff: Our show will be going on for a while. I hope you enjoy it. If you don’t mind, I’d like to show you something else.
When Heathcliff created wizard sugar before the childrens’ very eyes and offered it to them, they shouted with joy.
Young Girl: Wow! Thanks! It looks just like the stars you see in picture books!
Young Boy: Hey, mister… by any chance… are you a star fairy?
Heathcliff: Well, to tell you the truth… that’s a secret, okay?
Heathcliff smiled bashfully and raised a finger to his lips.
Smiling at Heathcliff’s exchange with the children, I took a deep breath to calm myself down. Next up was my turn. I had to raise my voice so as not to be drowned out by the lively attitude of the festival around me.
Akira: Whoa!! Look over there, it looks like someone’s putting on a really cool show!!
Citizen Child: Oh? Where?
Citizen: Look over there, in the center of town!
Citizen: Is something starting?
Right where everyone was looking now, there stood Cain and Arthur. The two of them exchanged brief glances, and then began dancing with swords in hand to the music that flowed throughout the city.
Arthur’s dance was elegant and majestic. As he bent his arm, the tip of the sword drew an elegant and smooth arc.
Cain’s dance was dignified and bold. His sword audibly cut through the air, and the cheers from the audience grew even louder.
Arthur met Cain’s eyes and smiled mischievously.
Arthur: Master, what do you think of my showing?
Cain: Just as I’d expect from my lor… no, just as I’d expect of my disciple. But… as a master and as a knight, I will not lose!
Arthur: Ahaha! Spoken as a true master. I’ll do my best as your disciple!
At once, their two-person dance turned fierce. The swift, decisive moments went over great with the crowd, and they began to cheer uproariously.
Citizen: Amazing! What a cool dance!
Citizen: They’re both putting on a lovely show!
Just then, the sound of a fiery explosion rang out from the sky. Clad in a shower of sparks from the fireworks, Mithra swooped down out of the air. As if the crowd had collectively been yanked back by the collars of their shirts, the audience’s attention snapped to him and erupted in a roar of cheers.
Mithra looked down impassively at the town around him struck a painting-like visual, attracting everyone’s attention simply by standing there.
Citizen: Wow, that guy is beautiful!
Citizen: He’s not just beautiful, he looks powerful… he looks super strong!
Mithra: Yeah, I know.
The corners of Mithra’s mouth turned upwards in satisfaction. His costume fluttered around him as he turned around. … it was just as Chloe had said. Even though my higher brain was warning me that it would be dangerous to get too close, his beautiful smile was impossible to resist. There was no rhyme or reason; he just moved his body along with the music on instinct. His extravagant dance was a true sight to behold.
Mithra pointed, and following the arc of his fingertips, an intense flash of light shot up into the sky. Enormous golden fireworks bloomed like flowers one after another in the grey sky, and the crowd cheered.
Children: That’s amazing! Such pretty fireworks!
Citizen: This year’s Star Dance Festival is different from the ones before. I’m glad these people came!
Citizen: H-hey! Isn’t that guy a wizard?
Citizen: For a wizard to have slipped in unnoticed… I feel like I’ve been tricked, you can’t trust those guys at all…
Citizen: If it results in having such a wonderful time, I’m okay with being tricked.
Citizen: Hey, red-haired guy! You should dance again, like you did before!
As all kinds of voices shouted around me in the city, I couldn’t help but glance towards the riverbank at the outskirts of town.
Akira: (Thanks to everyone’s hard work, it looks like there’s nobody out on the riverbank. Fran-san, are you doing okay? I hope you’re able to meet up with Layla…)
Heathcliff: Ah, here you are, Master Sage.
Akira: Oh, Heathcliff! Thank you for everything you’ve done. That ball of light show you did was very nice. It’s just like that boy said—you look like a star fairy.
Heathclif: Ahaha… I have to admit, it’s a little embarrassing that you saw that. But, thank you very much.
Heathcliff spoke in a very modest way as he shyly turned his attention to the fireworks that Mithra was setting off.
Akira: It’s really beautiful, isn’t it? They look like flowers blooming in the night sky.
Heathcliff: They do indeed. … I hope that the people across the river can see a little bit of this, not just hear it…
A particularly large firework went off. It bathed us in its golden light and the sparks scattered. Heathcliff’s lapis lazuli eyes, which had been reflecting the fireworks, now seemed to reflect me. He smiled with his eyes.
Heathcliff: … Master Sage, you can leave this to us. It’s alright.
Heathcliff: I’m sure that Chloe and the others would be more at ease if you were there with them, Master Sage. I saw that you were looking at the riverbank just now and you seemed concerned.
Akira: Ahaha… you saw that, Heath? … thank you very much, Heath. I think you’re right. I’m going to go check in with Chloe and the others!
[ext: Riverbank, night]
Fran: Ah, Layla…!
Layla: You are…
Fran: You’re here after all..! … it’s really nostalgic. Even back when we first met, it was like this, with you standing alone here on the riverbank…
Layla: … “back when we first met”?
Fran: … ah… … hey, Layla. Do you really not remember me, after all?
Layla: … ah…
Fran: I see… … but even so, Layla. I think… it’s okay if you don’t. Because I still love you, and you’re important to me, and that’s never going to change. … I came here today because I want to show you something.