Chapter 16:

The Festival of the Gods - Day 2

I Became the Plus-One to a Party of the Gods

The following day was a whirlwind of activity.

It was the second and final day of the Nth Festival of the Gods and Caisey was being dragged around like a finely dressed mannequin. He wore fancy black attire with a golden sash looped around his waist and shiny jewelry around his neck, wrists, and a few fingers. His hair was curled into oblivion, curls so unspeakable he feared a bird might come take his hair for a nest.

I’m so glad Don’s not seeing me like this, passed through Caisey’s mind as he traveled slowly by open caravan through the streets of the Gods’ Realm. It was a parade. He waved at people as they congratulated him and threw celebratory gifts into the caravan alongside him.

The day-two festival was coming to a glorious end. Apparently, the second day of the dangerous festival was rather tranquil and human-like. It always took place in the golden streets of the Realm where hastily-erected vendor booths and food stalls lined both sides of the busy roads. Streamers and lanterns fluttered above everyone’s heads, connecting palaces and shrines in a magical way that formed roads in the sky. Sweet music spilled out into the streets, either lyrical hymns sung on melodic voices or the sounds of woodwind and stringed instruments handled by masterful hands.

Caisey had learned that the itinerary for this second day included carnival thrills like duck hunting with water guns and eating contests, culminating with a splendid fireworks display come nighttime. And he was to be present at all events.

He sighed behind his wave and smiled at the onlookers before him and wondered, Where is Rina?

He had a long day ahead of him and hadn’t seen her since she’d stuffed him into the outfit “befitting a hero,” she had claimed. After that, he’d been manhandled by some cherubs insisting that he needed a change of hairstyle and inexplicably came up with the idea of giving him that horrible permanent wave.

He would never forgive them. He felt like Tommy the Clown but a lot less cool.

“Hey, Chosen One!” Came a sudden call from the right side of his caravan. As strange as it was to be referred to as ‘Chosen One’ at all times, Caisey was slowly becoming used to it and so turned instantly upon hearing it.

His jaw practically detached from his face when his eyes caught sight of the caller.

“DON?!” Caisey bellowed, wondering briefly if he was seeing things. He rubbed his eyes and looked again, “It’s really you, man! Why? Wait— How? I’m—”

“Stop blabbering and scooch over.”

Don swung himself up on the slow-moving caravan and plopped down next to Caisey. He welcomed his friend with a big hug and a smile that showed off his glistening white teeth. Then, he said, “I thought I was being abducted by aliens.”

Oh it’s Don, alright, Caisey said to himself, smile stretching his cheeks. “How’d, no, when’d you get here?” Caisey asked, ecstatic. He had so many questions.

“This morning! Dude, this is amazing! I didn’t even know a world like this existed!” Don was screaming every word. It took Caisey all he had not to tell his friend to shut up since he understood his excitement. “And almost everything is gold, man! Like, real gold! Un-freaking-believable!! And wanna know what’s craziest? There are people with wings here. Like, real wings. Can you believe it?!!”

All this time, Caisey had been beaming at Don’s outbursts, but now his smile slipped off his face. “Ha-ha,” He laughed nervously. Something uncomfortable stirred within him. “Wild, right…?”

For some reason, despite this being his dumb, easy-going best friend Don he was talking to, Caisey didn’t want to divulge that he too was a winged being now. He suddenly felt scared of being too different. Because this was a different type of different that was hard to overlook or explain. It might be something their friendship couldn’t get past.

Caisey worried if he even qualified as Don’s friend anymore.

Don must have sensed his unease because he patted Caisey on the shoulder and said, “You’re pretty awesome, Case. Being here. Being ‘Chosen.’ You’re the man!” He laughed aloud as he clapped Caisey on the back several more times like an old man telling a joke to a youngster.

“Ouch, stop!” Caisey whined, but he was laughing, too, and felt much more relaxed. He’d still wait to let his wings out, though, just to be safe. “I’m glad you’re here, Don. Where’s Lisa, by the way?”

“OH. MY. GOD. Or should I say gods…? Can you believe where our point of arrival was??!”

Caisey could guess. “Rina’s—”

“YES!!!!” Don screamed at the top of his lungs, startling Caisey, causing more than a few concerned stares, and ultimately forcing Caisey to smack him across the face.

“Ouch, man! Why’d you slap me?! … Also, I tried to ignore it, but. What’s up with your hair?”

It was dark out and the boys had participated in every festival activity they could think of by the time Rina and Lisa appeared before them like a pair of beautifully dressed apparitions. Caisey was still licking sauce from around his lips while Don’s face was buried in the remainder of a corndog they had gotten from the previous stall.

“I can’t believe you can stomach that after what we just went through,” Caisey was saying to Don, his mind flashing through images of their tortuous attempt to stuff thirty-some WHOLE chickens down their throats in three minutes and forty seconds to beat a couple of glutinous gods. Caisey, of course, knew they had no chance, but he was required to participate in all the festivities, so participate he did. And he forced Don to join him.

Worst mistake of his life. Don seemed fine, but Caisey needed a restroom. Maybe they would’ve let me forfeit after a couple chickens if I had asked, Caisey thought. Then he remembered how hardcore the gods were on every occasion and shook his head solemnly. No, they wouldn’t have.

So, when Rina and Lisa appeared in matching silk dress robes with arm sleeves that flowed long in the gentle outdoor breeze, Caisey felt that he and Don were a couple of unworthy worms. They both stood gob smacked in the middle of the busy festival grounds. Around them, gods and goddesses alike were admiring the girls’ beauty.

“Y-Y-You… Rina, you… look…” Caisey trailed off, admiring Rina’s figure in her clothing. The only difference between the girls’ dress robes was the color. Rina’s was blue, of course, while Lisa sported a burgundy option.

Caisey didn’t want to be biased but…

Rina looks freaking amazing. He thought. In the background, Caisey was faintly aware of Don commenting about Rina looking ‘like a snack’ and Lisa charging at him with hands and curses.

“Hey, hey!” Rina sang in front of him, “Earth to Caisey! Don’t stop there, finish complimenting me, please~” She twirled and hopped, showing off the flowy fabrics.

Caisey laughed. “You look like a goddess.” He said, knowing she would pout at the obvious statement.

OfcourseIdo, but what else?” She twirled again and again, making poutier faces at Caisey as she did so. “Isn’t there a word in your head that starts with a B? And ends with a ‘ful’?”

Pretending to think, Caisey settled on, “Nah~” He sang like Rina, “Can’t say there is.”


“Hahahahaha!” Caisey relished the moments he could be the first one to tease Rina and not the other way around. He conceded when the goddess’ extreme pout scrunched her nose. He leaned in quickly to peck her it and answered, “You look beautiful, silly. And gorgeous, and heart stopping, and mesmerizing, and all those other things. You know what I mean.”

Rina beamed, and the aura of her godly happiness hit him like an intoxicating fragrance, making him swoon a little. He’d forgotten she had the power to do that. “Of course, I do!” She said again, slower this time, but continued with, “I needed to look as good as my handsome man.”

She winked at Caisey as he flushed a deep red.

“With this hair?” He stressed, messing with the curls.

Rina nodded, grinning toothily. “Even with the hair.”

Meanwhile, her actions undermined her words. From under her extreme arm sleeve, she tugged a hair tie off her right wrist and motioned for Caisey’s head who bent down to meet her height. With a quickness, she tied his luscious locks back into a mid-height bun.

Caisey laughed, “I knew it. Liar.”

“I simply couldn’t do it.” Rina admitted, and they both laughed together for a long time. She then returned to insisting that he looked good with any hairstyle. Caisey rolled his eyes to all of it but couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.

The universe had truly given him the perfect girl.