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The Dark, Dazzling Stage

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Lisa had pointed at the purple cat plushie displayed at a shooting game booth as a joke. A 'let's show them what they were missing' kind of a joke. Maybe she shouldn't have been surprised that she was taken seriously. Sayo had shown up when the others had declined, in a pristine blue yukata that complemented her eyes. One such careless line from Lisa begat 'as you say', and just like that, face set in grim concentration, perfect shots fired, the prize was secured.

Bouncing the doll on her hip, Lisa said, "You know, you have amazingly steady hands."

"It was only a carnival game."

"Kyudo club, right? Steady hands, patience, focus… Dentistry?"


"Or sewing?" Lisa traced the black butterfly she was planning to add to the doll. "Hina'd never be interested. If it had to be music, I'd have thought shamisen, or violin. Not electric guitar, definitely not a rock band."

"Perhaps if one were tragically unimaginative it would seem unthinkable."

Well, excuse me, Lisa said, sticking her tongue out. Sayo inclined her head, pointed, look, cotton candies. Like that, a truce was secured. More festival food followed, all of it junk food. Tonight, Lisa forgot about her weight. She forgot about a lot of things tonight, as she suspected Sayo also did.

Rough fingers secured around her wrist, Sayo led her around the crowd. Lisa was starting to feel the buzz rattling between her eyes. Too many people, too much noise. So they weaved, here, there, flowing where there was a gap in the throng like water. Away entirely – well, Lisa had no problems with that. The stage was the sky, and the sky was wide enough for the entire town if needed be.

Miraculously, Sayo's perfect viewing spot existed. Far enough to allow them to breathe, near enough to be wrapped in the festivity. Quiet enough for a conversation about the weather or two.

"If it were those other things, I wouldn't be here, with you… with Roselia. I like being here. It's a good start."

Lisa stared at Sayo resolutely staring at the sky. It'd seem to be the continuation of the earlier aimless conversation, but… "That's post-hoc, though?"

Sayo held up a finger. Up, look up, here it comes. Up on a clear, starless stage, vivid against the light-polluted darkness, a concert of radiance and well-tempered cacophony.