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“I'm not so sure about going to the theme park.”

“Oh? Why's that?” Tsukasa looked at them. Shizuha looked pensive. Lalafin answered for her.

“Because the last time my mom gave us tickets, she wanted us to ride the roller coaster.”

“Ah…” Tsukasa herself wasn't very good with heights. “What makes you think that’s what the tickets are for?”

Lalafin shrugged. Shizuha offered to raise the mood by changing the topic, “How do you know I haven't ridden on one before?”

“Have you?” Tsukasa asked.

“Well, no.”

“There you go. She probably wouldn't bring us to a ride we haven't been on before. It won't be a roller coaster.”

“It’s for the roller coaster,” the ride attendant said, when they made the inquiry at the booth.

They must have misheard. No one gave free tickets for roller coasters. Tsukasa certainly didn't want to ride a roller coaster, which would probably take them to a height greater than any place she'd ever been. “I don’t think we’re dressed for it, Sir. What are they really for?”

“The roller coaster. Its highest drop is a little over a hundred feet. I heard the incline is so steep the ride looks like a full ninety degree angle. You’ll love it.”

“This isn’t something I wanted to be right about,” Lalafin whispered.

“We’ll see, won’t we,” Shizuha said, in a breathless tone that indicated a trace of subdued amusement and, possibly, panic. Shizuha? Panic? These were practically antonyms. And they weren’t supposed to ride a roller coaster. And yet here they were.

A long line of people was already crowding near the entrance, but their tickets could easily let them through the turnstiles.

“Don’t worry, we can just exchange the tickets!” Lalafin suggested. “We can tell my mom we took another ride.”

Shizuha and Tsukasa traded looks.

“No, it’s alright.”

“Yeah, it’s just one ride,” she winked. “And Frontier’s all about new experiences.”

As it turned out, the new experience took them a hundred and fifty feet high in the air. Tsukasa’s hands were whiteknuckling the bars as they took a sharp dive down the first drop.

—she screamed at the next instant. Someone was screaming with her—it occurred to her it was Lalafin having the time of her life, while Shizuha was doing her utmost not to make a sound. The ride was intensely outrageous.

By the end of it, the coaster was shuddering and shaking to a stop. They were sure it would fall apart at any second. “It wasn’t that bad."

“You sure? Your hands are shaking, Tsukasa," Lalafin said.

“It was a little bad.” Tsukasa helped Shizuha off the ride. She looked like she was going to be sick. “We’ve got someone who’s worse for wear. You good, Shizuha?”

‘Good’ was a complete understatement, but she didn’t want to make her feel worse. Shizuha nodded wordlessly, and Lalafin led her to a bench, popcorn in hand.

“Hey! I know what will make you two feel better.”


“Point me to the biggest stuffed animal you can find in this theme park and I’ll win it for you.”

They shared a smile.

Lalafin made good on her promise, and after many, many rounds at the game booths that Shizuha found herself to have enjoyed, the three of them happily walked out the park with a lifesized stuffed animal (a giraffe, by a stroke of fate) and bags and bags of food at Tsukasa’s insistence.

For the remainder of their time they bought souvenirs they thought Aruru and Misora would enjoy. They should thank Lalafin’s mom the next time they see each other, probably mention they weren’t fond of heights. But if any of the three thought coming to the fair had been a bad idea at all, none of them said a word.