Wings of Unity
“The Holographic Arena is where you’ll be doing a majority of tests and simulations against simulated enemies from the Insurrection and the Harvesters,” I said to the Blue Team as we walked across the stands of the Holographic Arena, the steel wasteland to the left of us. “The most advanced technology known to man is used to create these simulations, and you’ll find them to be very real once you get in.”
“When will we be starting our lessons down there, Ozaki-senpai?” I heard Mika ask me.
“Soon enough, possibly in a few days,” I answered her. “The armor and equipment should be back in our locker room, so I guess it’s whenever the Headmistress gives the go-ahead on things. For now, we should just be getting acquainted with the school.”
“Will we be going to the cafeteria, Kitaru-senpai!?” Tomoko’s high-pitched voice rang in my ear. “I hear that for dinner, they will be cooking steak and fried rice! Along with a bunch of sweets!”
“Aheh…” I chuckled. “We’ll be going there later on… When it’s dinner time…”
“I, for one, want to get started in the Holographic Arena,” Erika coldly said. “It’s time for me to break in my new weapons.”
Ayano grunted. “Your lust for killing and Tomoko’s lust for food match well.”
Erika looked at Ayano. “Watch your tone, Sasaki.”
“Kitaru-senpai?” Yukino’s voice called out to me while we walked. I turned around and I nodded. “I have a question… For the Holographic Arena, I know we’ll be fighting against simulations, but… What’s the likelihood for one of us to get hurt?”
I raised a brow at her and the Blue Team fell silent, awaiting my answer.
I… I don’t know what to say… Last year, only three students were seriously injured in the Holographic Arena, and only one of them didn’t make it… Geez! They really ought to prepare you for stuff like this…
“As long as we work together, as a team,” I smiled, avoiding her question. “We won’t have anything to worry about if we get hurt or not. And plus, Takimoto-san here will do her best to make sure that in the slightest chance something happens, she’ll take care of us.”
“That’s right!” the blonde-haired girl nodded her head and smiled. “I’ll do my best, everyone!”
Yukino smiled back at me.
Tatsuharu cleared his throat and we came to a stop. “However, it is possible for someone to die in the Holographic Arena. Blunt trauma, blood loss, and falling from heights have been the most popular ways to die in recent years. Just last year, a student passed away due to massive amounts of blood loss in the Holographic Arena. Isn’t that right… Ozaki-senpai?”
I looked at Tatsuharu and widened my eyes in surprise.
“Why would you say that?” Ayano frowned. I looked at Yukino and I found complete panic written across her face. She gasped and looked down at the ground as Ayano tended to her. “You’re a jerk!”
“Watanabe-kun, that wasn’t very polite of you to do…” Mika added. “You’re really making yourself look bad… And it’s just the first day.”
Nobu folded his arms over his chest. “However, Watanabe-san over here is correct.”
“Yeah, but!” Ayano looked back at Yukino. “But he didn’t have to say it like that! We all know what happens to students after they graduate from this school – we’re going straight to the Void! He hurt Yukino’s feelings… What kind of a teammate does that!?”
Tomoko fell silent and looked at Yukino. “Yukino-chan, I’ll share some of my cookies with you later, okay? Please don’t be sad.”
“Yukino-san, please don’t let what he said bother you,” Sayaka frowned as she rubbed Yukino’s back.
Tatsuharu scoffed. “It’s the reality of the situation. Did you also know that in the Void, there is a high percentage of death? Don’t be fools. This isn’t some normal school. Training or not, we’re all bound to meet our fate!”
Erika dug her face into her scarf. “You talk too much.”
Shadow took a step closer towards Tatsuharu and put his gloved hand on the bespectacled boy’s shoulder. Tatsuharu had sweat rolling down his face and Shadow simply shook his head in disappointment. Tatsuharu gulped and glanced over at Yukino.
“M-my apologies… Akiyama-san…” he said in a soft voice.
I frowned and looked at the Blue Team.
We are… Such a mess… Why am I stuck in this situation? Why ME? Out of all people… But, I must do something.
I balled my hands into fists.
“Look, everyone,” I called for their attention, which they all gave me. “It’s my responsibility as your team leader to make sure each one of you is safe – I promise I will make sure that you’re all safe. I know we all started off on a rough step for the day, but I hope we all get along soon because… We simply can’t have that as a team. We’re together as one.”
“Kitaru-senpai is… Right…” Yukino said.
Shadow nodded his head in agreement. The others seem to have shifted their mood to a more hopeful one, except for Tatsuharu, who just looked away from the rest of us.
“Hmph,” a voice grunted. I turned around and found a man in janitor clothes sporting a gray-colored walrus moustache across his face. He pointed at a sign that hovered above him that said Arena Closed for Maintenance.
“Ah, Masahiro-san,” I said with a bow. The custodian looked at me and slowly nodded his head. “Sorry, we’re just getting ready to head to the Village.”
The Village consisted of different housing buildings that were used as dormitories for students. As of recent years, the Village has begun to slowly merge together with facilities such as the pool and the lounging areas of the school, marking it as a recreational area for students as well.
“How do we find out who we’re going to be living with, Ozaki-senpai?” I heard Sayaka ask.
“Housing arrangements should be on a billboard right outside the Village,” I said to the Blue Team. “From there on out, you’ll be on your own for the rest of the day. However, I suggest you get your belongings from the mailing outpost on campus, then explore.”
“… Boo, I wanted to see the bakery in the city,” Tomoko puffed.
On the island Miyamoto Academy was located, it was in a city called Nishimura. Due to the Miyamoto Academy’s large amounts of land on the island, it was a whole separate area from Nishimura.
“The Headmistress is kind enough to keep teams close to each other when it comes to where your dorm will be,” I said with a smile. “We’ll most likely be in the same building.”
“Kitaru-senpai… You’re in a whole different building,” Ayano said.
I looked at the electronic billboard that glowed in front of us. Students from different teams amassed around to see where they would be living as well, and there were many voices saying who their roommates were. Everyone seemed to be content with where they were living.
Everyone, except for me.
“We’re all on the same floor as well,” Nobu spoke up. “The Blue Team will be inhabiting the fourth floor of Apartment Complex A. But, for you, sir…”
Tomoko stifled a giggle. “You’re going to be on the fifth floor of Apartment Complex B…”
“I don’t even have a roommate,” I sighed. “Well… At least I’ll be left to myself, I guess… Room B216, huh?”
“Yes, Yukino! We’re roommates!” Ayano shouted.
I looked at the Blue Team and saw they were all comfortable with where they’ll be living. I smiled for their happiness.
“Well, everyone,” I said to them. “We’ll be meeting at our locker room tomorrow after class is dismissed for the day. As of now, you’re all free to go about the rest of your day, but please, pick up your luggage first.”
They all looked at me and gave me their own forms of confirmation. I left them to their business and began walking away from the Blue Team.
I looked down at my hand and found a faint pulse of the blue energy.
All in one day, I’m suddenly the leader of the Blue Team and I have majutsu… Oh, and I’m the Guardian of Danketsu now.
I walked into the mailing outpost and found dozens of students walking around all over the place with their items. I headed towards the receiving area. Scanning the sea of baggage, I eventually spotted my suitcase and backpack. I grabbed them both and walked towards the main entrance, preparing to exit.
So many things going on today… I wonder if I’ll be able to live up to everyone’s expectations…
I looked up and noticed Yusa tugging a suitcase with her. She was followed by other students who also had their own items with them, and I suspected they were members of the Black Team.
Oh, and I have Tachibana-san to worry about now…
I let out a deep sigh.
What am I going to do? Why can’t things just be normal like they were last year…
Before I could contemplate it any further, I caught sight of a vending machine over in the far corner of the mailing outpost’s lobby, several chairs and tables nearby. I walked up to a brightly-colored one that contained a multitude of beverages and inserted a coin worth 500 credits, receiving a black-flavored canned coffee in return.
The sound of the canned coffee opening brought chills of nostalgia to my body. I can’t recall the last time I had canned coffee, but it must have been a while. I took a sip and felt its sweet, rich taste. Taking a seat on a bench, I watched as students passed by, carrying their things back to the dormitory. I was reminded of my original intention in coming to the mailing outpost and regarded my luggage on the ground next to me.
I turned at the sound of the vaguely familiar voice and saw a smiling, light-skinned face regarding me from the other side of the bench – it was Chizuru Yamamura.
“He-hey, Yamamura-san… What brings you here?”
“I came to retrieve my belongings. The Purple Team’s introductions are finished, and I managed to find you here, sitting by yourself and drinking canned coffee.”
“Ye-yeah… I already finished the introductions for Blue Team. All that’s left for me now is to carry my things up to my room.”
“I see,” she responded with a detached, formal tone. “How was your meeting with the first-years of the Blue Team? Did it go smoothly?”
“It went just fine,” I sighed, unwilling to answer honestly. “So, what room are you bringing your luggage to?”
“Re-really??” I felt my eyes widen.
“You’re m-my neighbor then… I’m in Room B216.”
“That is very nice to hear,” she lightly smiled. “Well, I must take this to my room. I’ll be seeing you around… Neighbor.”
I waved to Chizuru as she stood up and left, feeling the corners of my lips curving into a smile.
Finishing the can of coffee, I crushed it and tossed it into the recycling bin next to me. I grabbed my suitcase and backpack, stood up from my seat on the bench, and made my way towards the exit, hoping to venture around the campus a bit more.
“Ozaki-senpai!” I heard my name called yet again. I whipped around and found Sayaka with a massive pink suitcase in her hands. She jogged over to me and panted.
“Takimoto-san? What’s wrong?”
“Co-could y-you… Pl-please…” she attempted to catch her breath as she let out loose gasps for air. “… Help… M-me?”
“I’d love to help you in any way I can!” I smiled. She let out a few more pants and I raised an eyebrow towards her. “Would you like for me to get you some water, Takimoto-san?”
She shook her head and let out one last heavy sigh.
“That won’t be needed, Ozaki-senpai.”
“If you say so. Then, how may I help you? Is something the matter?”
“No, nothing’s wrong, Ozaki-senpai…” she looked away and a light blush formed on her face. “It’s just… I need a little bit of help… With my luggage. You see, my butler isn’t here now to help me carry my luggage to my dormitory…”
“Y-you have a butler…?”
“I was wondering if you could help me carry my luggage.”
I worriedly looked at my own luggage, not wanting to disappoint her, but not wanting to leave it behind.
“Umm… Well… I guess––”
“It’s alright, sir, I’ve got it,” I heard a strong voice say from behind. Nobu appeared, holding two large boxes under one arm and a backpack over his back; he picked up the huge pink suitcase using his free hand with what seemed to be little effort. I observed Mika, Ayano, Tomoko, Tatsuharu, and Shadow gathered around a collection of other, somewhat smaller pink suitcases. I raised an eyebrow towards the blonde.
“All of this stuff is yours…?”
“It isn’t wrong to be too prepared, senpai,” she explained, chuckling. “This is the final load of luggage from the mainland, so…”
“Sa-Saya…” Ayano groaned as she carried a suitcase, walking past me. “D-do you really need all of this stuff?”
“Yes! It’s all very important to me!”
“Saya-chan is rich,” Tomoko explained as she struggled with another suitcase. “Her family lives in a mansion in downtown Tokyo!”
“Ugh!” Mika exclaimed, a look of anguish on her face as she heaved another suitcase. “This is just… So… Heavy!”
“I find this to be a completely facile and pointless waste of energy,” Tatsuharu groaned. “There is absolutely no purpose for me to be here, Takimoto-san… I cannot lift any of this.”
“Well, that’s fine then,” Sayaka responded, unperturbed. I looked towards the exit and saw Nobu leave, followed by Ayano, Tomoko and Shadow, each heaving Sayaka’s cargo, when something heavy was thrust into the one hand I had free… It was a large, pink suitcase.
“Alright, Ozaki-senpai! Take this and be sure to come back, there’s plenty more of that! Thank you again!”
I sighed and slowly nodded, feeling too tired to carry yet another piece of luggage, yet unable to risk disappointing Sayaka.
I walked into my room, the lights turning on automatically. I sighed and dropped my backpack to the floor, pushing my suitcase up against the wall.
Takimoto-san sure has a lot of things…
I took a quick glance around the room and observed it to be very spacious, with a coffee table near a small kitchen and a sliding door that led to what seemed to be the balcony.
“Unpacking can wait until tomorrow… I need to rest…” I said to myself as I unzipped my suitcase and pulled out random clothes to change into for the night.
I changed into gray t-shirt and black sweatpants and made my way towards the bed. I laid down on bed and pulled the blanket over myself, feeling a sense of relaxation I had lacked the entire day. I let out a yawn and stretched before I quickly fell into a deep, exhausted slumber.
After a couple hours of sleep, I opened my eyes. I looked at the clock on the nightstand – 22:00 – not even close to midnight. Smacking my lips together, I turned over in the bed, wrapping my arm around one of the large pillows.
It was warm and soft. I traced my hands over the pillow and found a shape that stood out. I grabbed it and lightly squeezed, closing my eyes again and grazing my fingertips over its surface.
A light gasp sounded throughout the room.
I opened my eyes and found the back of a silver-haired girl’s head. I felt the rush of waking up hit me like a train and my eyes widened even more.
She turned over in bed and I found myself staring at Yusa Tachibana, who wore her own sleeping garments.
“EH!?” her eyes widened in surprise.
“Ah… Tachibana-san?” I raised a brow. “What are you… What are you doing in my room?”
She quickly jumped out of the bed and I brought myself up, finding each other on the opposite sides of the room.
I felt the full force of her slap across my face and I felt dizzy. I looked at her before I fell backwards to the ground. Looking back at Yusa, I saw her jump out from the bed and she ran towards the cabinet, producing a combat knife from there.
“Ta-Tachibana-san!?” I brought myself back up to my feet.
“PERVERT!” Yusa screamed.
Acting out of instinct, I quickly grabbed whatever was the nearest object that I could use as a weapon – a lamp that sat on the nightstand. I looked down at the lamp and tensed.
“Wh-what the hell!?”
Yusa held the knife out and I could see a deep blush forming across her face. With her other hand, she covered up her chest and exposed cleavage. Enraged, she began yelling.
“THIS IS MY ROOM! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!?”
“EH!? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!? THIS IS MY ROOM!” I shot back with indignation.
Her face lit up with even more anger and fire consumed her golden-yellow eyes. “THE HEADMISTRESS TOLD ME THIS WAS MY ROOM! How did you… How did you even get in here… You… You pervert!”
I frowned. “Would you mind not calling me that!? I’m no pervert! How about we take this to the Headmistress and see who the damn real pervert is here, huh!?”
“Let’s!” her golden-eyes narrowed with anger. “Once I prove you wrong, I’ll see to it that you’re expelled!”
“Actually,” I said, scratching the back of my head and chuckling nervously. “Can we at least wait until morning? I’m kind of beat from my day.”
“You… You think I’m just going to have you sleep in the same room as me!?” she shouted, her resonant voice seeming to rattle the walls of the room. “After… After what you just did to me!?”
I frantically held my hands up and sighed.
“From what just happened, I’ve been sleeping next to you. You were in my bed, in my room. With all honesty, I thought you were a pillow.”
Her eyes widened and she gasped, staggering back. She gritted her teeth and looked down at the bed, causing me to raise my eyebrow at her with confusion.
“D-die… You will… Die… I hope you die, Ozaki! Go and die!”
“Aheh…” I grinned. “Why does this have to happen to me?”
She narrowed her eyes at me. “Because, Ozaki, you’re an idiot.”
“For some reason I knew you were going to say that…” I sighed. “Who knows? Maybe the Headmistress did put us both together.”
“It’s true, I did assign you both to the same room,” the Headmistress exclaimed with a wide smile. “I figured since you both are in the same predicament as one another, this will give you two a chance to bond and grow close. I didn’t… Expect that though.”
My cheek stung from another slap that Yusa gave me. I rubbed it and frowned. “Okay, let’s be honest, I did not deserve to be slapped on the way here…”
Yusa shot me a glare and I sighed. She turned to face the Headmistress and she also frowned, with a light blush on her face.
“Headmistress… It specifically states in the student handbook that male and female students are supposed to be separated from living in the same room…” Yusa pleaded.
“It also states in the student handbook that teams are supposed to be led by third-years, and that the responsibility of a Student Council President is supposed to belong to a third-year as well,” the Headmistress shot back, keeping her smile on her withered face. “You two are lucky, you get to be exempt from all of these rules. I didn’t think you two would be bothered by this pairing.”
Yusa’s face lit up with a heavy blush. “You wouldn’t want to know what it was…”
“Hmm…” the Headmistress rubbed her chin. “Well, with the look of embarrassment on your face and the knife to Ozaki-kun’s back…” she raised a brow towards me. “Oh, Ozaki-kun… You did not…”
I looked away and puckered my lips. “I thought she was a pillow…”
“I cannot wait to see the look on your sister’s face when I tell her this,” the Headmistress chuckled. “Quite hysterical indeed.”
“Headmistress… This is a serious matter at hand…” Yusa frowned. “I don’t think I’ll be able to perform my duties to the best of my abilities if I have this idiot here around me. I’m going to have to sleep with one eye open in constant fear he might pull more stupid stunts.”
“Okay, wow,” I looked at her. “It’s not like I’m here to hear you or anything…”
“My decision is final, Tachibana-san,” the Headmistress said. “You two are going to share the same room until further notice.”
Yusa turned to face me. “You will be sleeping on the floor. Tsk, pervert.”
“I can accept that…” I sighed. “And would you mind not calling me that?”
Yusa lowered her knife and took a step towards the Headmistress. “I accept. However, Headmistress, I want to know why Ozaki and I are given this special case.”
The Headmistress let go of her smile and a serious look formed on her face. “We need to run things differently this year. Unfortunately, we have lost quite a few students already in the Void that just recently graduated last year…”
I thought of Hayato and his squad. The ones who seemed so determined, so motivated to make a difference in the world…
“You two were chosen for a very specific reason to be doing what you are,” the Headmistress explained. “You both have heavy shoes to fill, and… I apologize that I have to put all the weight of this on your shoulders – you’re only second-years, you still have a lot to learn. But I have no choice.”
Yusa looked at me and she sighed.
“How many graduates did we lose?” she asked as she turned back to the Headmistress.
“A total of seven squads numbering between four and eight Troopers in each squad… For this month only,” the old woman replied. “Your father actually contacted me personally about this matter. His opinion weighs heavily upon the reason why you were picked as team leader of the Blue Team. With you two, we can do things differently this year.”
“But why?” I asked.
“Because, Ozaki,” Yusa spoke up. “If we just keep things the same as the way they were before, we’re just going to keep sending our peers to their deaths.”
“That’s correct, Tachibana-chan,” the Headmistress said.
“How are we going to make a difference this year, Headmistress?” Yusa asked.
The Headmistress rubbed her chin. “We’ve already started with you two, and the next step would be having Ozaki-kun join the Student Council.”
“Ah… What?” I looked at the Headmistress.
“You heard me, Ozaki-kun,” she smiled. “You will be joining Tachibana-chan on the Student Council to make sure everything is okay.”
“Make… Make sure everything is okay?”
The older woman nodded back. “Tachibana-chan here can handle the statistics of the entire school’s combat ratio to provide a better output towards how we look to the ASC. And you, Ozaki-kun, can rally the student body to do their best! Together, however, you two will oversee that there is a healthy lifestyle for the students here.”
“Er…” I rubbed the back of my head. “Nutrition wise? Or…”
“No, idiot,” Yusa interjected. “As in there’s no problem in the social hierarchy of the student body, that there’s no rules broken, and that everyone is in sync with the school.”
“You two will do a great job at leading our school,” the Headmistress smiled. “I just know it!”
So many things happened today… Am I ever going to get a break? Also, isn’t this a part of the Headmistress’ job? Oh, no…
Yusa nodded. “I will do my best, Headmistress.”
“Me too,” I said.
“Hey… Are you two familiar with the term… Good cop, bad cop?” the Headmistress asked. Yusa and I exchanged looks and we both shook our heads. The Headmistress smiled and nodded. “Exactly how it’s said.”
“Headmistress,” Yusa said. “Where do we go from here?”
“There needs to be trust between you two,” the Headmistress said. “Once that trust is established, you two will get along just fine. You two are dismissed for the night, and please try not to kill each other – we have a school to run.”
We both bowed to the Headmistress before we made our way out of her office.
I walked with Yusa as we headed back to the Village. I glanced over at her and found her staring straight ahead, as if she was avoiding me.
I raised an eyebrow at her as I followed her echoing footsteps. She quickened her pace further as we left the administrative building
I looked up at the night sky as the heat of the evening hit my skin. Hearing the cicada’s drone and seeing the moon and stars seemed to calm me noticeably. I realized suddenly that Yusa would soon walk out of sight, and brought myself to run towards the silver-haired girl. My mouth opened and words escaped.
“Ta-Tachibana-san, wait!” I called after her. She stopped, dead in her tracks, and looked back at me – an angry expression plastered across her face. “Shouldn’t we walk back to our room together? It’s dark out, after all.”
“You mean my room. I’m not finished yet, Ozaki. I will find a way to get you out of my room and I will exact my revenge on you – just wait.”
“B-but I still think we should walk back together,” I replied, struggling with what to say. “Since… The Headmistress wants us to be a team, as you know.”
She tensed up for a second, but then regained her composure and tilted her head towards me in a vaguely menacing manner.
“If you really want to,” she began, her voice conspicuously mocking. “I’ll make sure no scary monsters hop out of the darkness and snatch you.”
“Hey… Do you really want to do this?” I asked.
“Be your roommate? No. Talk to you? No. Breathe the same air as you? No,” she said. “However, it’s a part of the duty as the Student Council President to make sure everyone on this campus is safe and getting an education. Even cretins like you.”
“Oh, wow… New word, huh?” I sighed. “Pervert’s overused? Anyways, we’re both on the same side, don’t you at the very least want to try to get along with me?”
She looked at me. “You have been a pain in the neck ever since you bumped into me this morning.”
“Right…” I sighed. “Sorry about that…”
We walked along side-by-side on the lit pathway, headed for the dormitory, in complete and utter silence. I took another glance back up to the sky before turning my head towards Yusa.
“I used to stargaze every single night when I was little,” I began. “It was something I loved to do – especially with my mother.”
“I see…” she muttered in return.
“Hey, Tachibana-san… Have you ever been stargazing before?” I asked, curious. “Do you ever spend an evening gazing at the stars above?”
“Just what are you trying to do, Ozaki?” she turned to me, a heated expression on her face. “One-sided small talk with someone who hates you won’t change their mind!”
“I’m…” I staggered back and raised my hands up. “I’m sorry if what I’ve done offended you, Tachibana-san.”
“Hmph… You have too many things to apologize for,” she reprimanded, suddenly glaring at me intensely. “So, I suggest you cease speaking – before more problems arise,” she huffed as she continued walking.
I frowned and we continued our walk together.
“Right…” I said meekly.
Something needs to come to mind that will let Yusa talk to me more. How are we going to even handle our duties if we can’t get along?
The rest of our walk back to the Village was in silence. We took the elevator up to our room and exchanged nothing but complete silence with one another.
We entered the room silently and I closed the door behind me.
“Remember where you’re sleeping – the floor,” Yusa said to me as she got herself into bed. She looked back at me, a deep blush on her face.
“That’s right, Tachibana-san,” I responded as I grabbed the pillow I had been resting my head on earlier.
My mind lit up with flashbacks of my childhood. A young girl with black hair and crimson-red eyes, two vicious shadows, sharpened claws covered in blood, fireflies buzzing towards the night sky, and a full moon shining bright.
I looked at her and I exhaled. “Trust me.”
She pulled a pillow over the bottom half of her face, leaving her golden-yellow eyes visible to look at me. “If you do anything, I will end you right here, right now.”
“Yeah, yeah…” I said as I lifted my shirt up. Yusa flinched and looked back at me, her eyes widening in surprise.
I turned to face the mirror and saw what Yusa had just seen – myself, of course – but I looked at my torso and saw the claw marks that went from the bottom left of my stomach up towards my right shoulder. I let out a deep sigh and put my shirt down.
“Ho-how did you…” she began to ask, lowering the pillow. “Those resemble… Harvester Runner claws…”
I shook my head. “They… They aren’t claws from a Harvester Runner…”
“Then where are they from?”
“To be honest, my childhood is very… Foggy,” I explained to her. “I was involved in a kidnapping attempt by the Insurrection when I was younger. I don’t know why, but they didn’t take me… However, they kidnapped my friend.”
I turned to face her.
“Ozaki, I’m not sure where you’re going with this,” she voiced, a serious look on her face.
“For some reason, this is the only memory I can remember clearly as night and day, Tachibana-san…” I frowned. “I’ve hid this from most people, and let’s face the facts, you and I are going to be around each other for a long time. You don’t have to listen to me if you don’t want to.”
She looked at me. “I’m listening.”
“Well,” I began. “It started at the Moonlight Festival when I was around nine years old.”
I closed my eyes and felt myself escape into memories of the past.
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