Chapter 2:


Idol Mind

"So what's Desiree look like?" she asked him, massaging her temples.

"She has pale purple hair to about here," his left hand made a chopping gesture at the middle of his torso to indicate this, "and a dress of a darker colour, with sleeves longer than her arm."

Amelie grabbed her phone and punched 'furisode' into the search bar, showing Quartz the image results. "Like this?"

He shook his head. "Shorter skirt, thinner sash." By the time he'd finished saying this, Amelie had disappeared, leaving her phone on the table.

Before Quartz could question where she'd gone, she came back, a fluffy white towel and silver flats in hand. She held them through the window, telling him, "I think you'll fit these. Clean your feet, then wear them, and be careful not to ruin them."

"W-Where'd these come from?" he fretted, cringing at the mere idea of wearing shoes.

The blonde turned her head away in a mixture of embarrassment and melancholy, her face ruddy. "My sister," she mumbled, prompting Quartz to ask her to repeat herself.

"They're from my sister!" she snapped, noticing that Quartz was still confused. "S-She-"

Her chest heaved, then her breathing became ragged. She reached for her face with the towel, only to find tears falling all over the windowsill.

Quartz narrowly missed hitting the window as he took the items and balanced them precariously on the window frame, then patted her on the back without saying a word. Ever since his amber-haired companion Ember started chasing after any male fairies she considered attractive, she'd been rejected many times over, always resulting in damaged pride and empty revenge threats from her end.

Thus, it was basically instinct for Quartz to provide reassurance, regardless of what form he took.
Amelie went back to bed, snivelling and sobbing, for another hour or two before bothering to switch into a wine-red halterneck top and jeans. However, when she arrived at the kitchen while still attempting to pull a comb through her chin-length hair, another surprise awaited her.

It was a dark-haired boy in a navy tracksuit that sagged all over him. This was Takuma (her coworker at the local bookstore), with a pair of tongs in hand, staring intently at a steaming-hot pan that smelt vaguely of oil. Suddenly, the pan began to spit, causing him to jump despite his attentiveness.

"We're not working today, Takuma. Why are you here?" she scowled as he frantically adjusted his glasses, then worked to turn the sausages within the pan. Amelie glanced around to find her mother silently setting the dining table.

After finishing cooking the sausages and sliding the slices next to some previously-prepared lettuce and hash browns, Takuma produced his phone and opened an email - it was one of their coworkers, asking for help moving equipment for a competition in the city.

The three of them sat down with the TV on in the background, so a familiar voice rang out through the house as they ate: "The competition's happening today, so I'll see you at Wetherton Stadium if you want a shot at being an idol! This has been Kris Sheehan's local broadcast, signing off for the day."

Amelie's ice-blue eyes darted to Takuma as soon as she connected the dots.
The Wetherton Stadium wasn't quite as grandiose as the Colosseum, but it was shaped roughly the same. As soon as Amelie stepped into it from one of the audience entrances, she almost dropped the cardboard box she was holding. The main stage, laid out in birds' eye view before her, was in the shape of a large black keyhole, the round part flanked by large hexagonal screens. Beyond that, there were rows upon rows of seats and off to her right, there was a small drink bar.

"Takuma! You're not surprised at how big this place is?" she snapped.

"Thing is, I've been here before. For her concert." Takuma pointed towards the round part of the keyhole, where there was a lady with a pale purple bun in a white wraparound dress and matching high heeled boots, talking to a redhead decked out entirely in leather.

Amelie's jaw fell open. The redhead was Kris, but the lady was Kanade Yumeda! Current rising star, and singer of the first OP for the recently-debuted "Familiar of Forty" anime! What was she doing-?!

-oh wait. Kris did say this was an idol competition. Someone like her would be the perfect judge.

While the two burned internally with fanaticism, they slid through the audience gates as calmly as they could and dumped their loads near the base of the stage. Just then, Kris gave a yell, startling the other people who were setting up equipment around the straight part of the keyhole.

Kris leapt off the stage to greet them, prompting Takuma to turn tail, his face suddenly red with embarrassment, while Amelie just froze.

"Sheehan-san!" Yumeda shrilled, her boots clopping as she hurried down a small set of stairs to catch up with him. "We were in the middle of planning!"

The blonde let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding as the two stars launched into an argument. Of course, as soon as word broke out Yumeda and Kris were arguing, the paparazzi weren't far behind, prompting the four centres of attention to run.

You can resume reading from this paragraph.