A sea of tiny, silvery stones was scrunching noisily beneath the plentiful feet that mercilessly walked over them, the owners mostly too distracted to acknowledge their beautiful shimmering. Every head was lifted upwards to get a first glimpse at their destination. There was one reddish mop of hair which was facing the ground though, allowing eyes full of curiosity to appreciate both the shimmering and glittering of pale moonlight against them as well as the almost delicate noises the tiny stones made under his shoe soles.
Almost like a sea of tiny crystals. What a beautiful thought.
The closer they got to their destination, the more was the scrunching drowned by a faint pumping of bass, joined by a steady beat - almost like a heartbeat.
In the midst of the crystal-sea, as he liked to think of it, lay a rather huge structure.
Though no one had ever seen anything like it before, hushed whispers named it a huge canopy bed, and he could see where they were coming from.
Transparent fabric was framing the platform above, flowing downwards to hide whatever might be beneath it. Even though transparent the multiple layers of delicate fabrics didn't betray what lay behind them. Only a number of colorful spotlights were dully staining the pure white. Similar to bedposts, four huge spiral staircases led to the top floor, which looked like a small city in itself.
The group's guide began to climb up the stairs and everyone eagerly shuffled behind him to follow. Impatient feet were stomping over the delicate golden steps and cold fingers harshly grabbed onto the ceiling for support, completely disregarding the intricate details carved into it.
Most humans were like that. They didn't went out of their way to acknowledge or search for the beauty around them, just mindlessly charging forward.
Not so Fukase.
He didn't pay any attention to the people who kept squeezing themselves past him, clearly bothered by his dawdly attitude.
His fingers gently slid over the ornaments, feeling the ridges and smooth edges in the cool metal.
Suddenly his attention was drawn by an audible gasp going through the group of humans who had reached the top floor. Following them, his eyes widened at the overwhelming sight.
Fukase would have loved to stop and take in his surroundings, but the guide kept ushering them down a set path and so he trailed behind them, his head whipping from left to right. It looked like a mix between a circus and a festival. There were colorful booths, exotic-looking buffets and creatures bustling all over the place. He saw furry ears and tails, occasional hooves and claws, unnatural skin tones and hair colors, not to mention their fancy attires.
The boy almost stumbled over his own two feet as the group came to a halt and gathered themselves in front of a small stage where two men stood with spotlights following their movements.
Both had a rather human appearance though Fukase could easily tell that something was off about them. One had a healthy tan with his caramel-brown hair carefully swept to one side. He had a rather roundish face with chubby-looking cheeks and a charming smile. Fukase also noted him wearing a few expensive-looking golden accessories like a wristwatch and a bracelet looking like a curly phone cable. Despite this sounding rather plain, his deep red tailor-made suit made sure he stood out. His partner on stage was more pale and his shorter hair was black as ink with a simple hairstyle that gave off a boyish vibe. His overall more petite figure was accentuated by a vibrant lilac suit and he looked ridiculously young altogether. But to Fukase there were tiny signs like the almost unnoticable wrinkles around his rather droopy eyes and the expensive-looking but discreet silver wristwatch which gave away that he was at least not a teenager anymore. While he seemed to keep a good view on everything, his partner was smiling and chatting with the tour guide. Until he got a nudge from a boney-looking elbow.
Straightening his attire he lifted a microphone to his lips with his smile never ceasing.
Soon his deep and smooth voice was carried out over the noise of the busy festivities around them.
"Welcome, young humans!
Ladies and Gentleman~!
All of you, who have been chosen to attend today's festivities.
Today, on the very day where one year fleetingly touches the next one for a moment shorter than the blink of an eye, the world's may be connected. This is a place for the mysterious and forgotten ones, for spirits and entities alike. And because this is a very special day, we are willing to share ourselves even with humans, just for today! So please be our guests!
We welcome you...
...To the Death Disco."
That moment a veil was lifted and a huge sign at the top of the stage got visible, spelling out the name in chopped capital letters and in another foreign language below.
The group broke out in a mix of awed whispers and cheers that eventually fell into a round of polite clapping. The name sounded menacing at best, but something about the booming voice of the host was just so... charming. It was hard not to respond to it positively. A rather unsettling thought.
After thanking his audience he made hushing gestures with his hands to calm them down again.
He cleared his throat to continue.
"My name is Sakurai Sho,
this is my charming support Nino and we're delighted to be hosting this show!"
His lilac-partner smiled cheerily and waved once before he spoke up himself.
"We wish you a delightful evening~
Please feel free to stroll around and discover all we have to offer.
Help yourselves at the food booths, enjoy our exquisite entertainers and just have fun mingling and conversing!
You will find a few maps strewn over the complete area to prevent you from getting lost.
Also, you may have noticed it already upon your arrival, but below us is another area with an actual disco where you can dance and drink to your liking.
There are a bunch of charismatic servers who are willing to help you to their best ability, but you will always find us at the main square; if any inconveniences occur,
you may not hesitate to speak up about it!"
"You can also talk to us about convenient things, though~", the red host Sho threw in with a playful wink. He received a more insisting nudge that left him laughing heartily and after another round of polite clapping the mumbling along the group got louder as it dispersed.
For a while, Fukase lingered in front of the stage, waiting for the people around him to scatter and leave him some room to breathe.
He observed the two hosts leaving the stage where the red one was quick to engage himself in another chit-chat with a women while the violet one seemed to give directions to one of the coordinators.
When he was the last human in sight, he decided to explore the area.
Not sure on where to go first he just turned left to follow a path marked with colorful pebbles. Soon he reached a dead end though. At the end of the path stood a huge pole with a bunch of signs attached to it. Pointing in all sorts of directions some were seemingly handwritten while others were framed by blinking LED lights.
For a while his gaze lingered on them. Some weren't written in his language while others didn't seem to be made up of human symbols in the first place.
The top one boldly read "Do not follow a set path."
Below that he could read a few others.
Taking a look around he decided that his eyes were simply overwhelmed and he closed them.
A smell akin to burnt sugar lingered in the air with traces of something fruity and fried stuff. There were many different sounds, ranging from the buzzing noise of people conversing to the faintly pumping bass below his feet to... A piano? Blinking his eyes a little to re-adjust them to the bright and colorful lights, he left the path to follow the melodic piano sounds.
The floor beneath him looked like pieces of broken candy canes that formed an overall colorful ground. Enthralled by the piano, Fukase stepped past every booth, hardly paying any mind to the curious guests. A horned man with impressive muscles and a silver mane. Two little twin girls with different skin colors had their heads switched and sewn onto the other twin. A grotesque creature with extremely long legs was casually standing at a tall food stall.
Fukase passed by all of them, only the piano in mind.
He crossed left at a booth consisting of a huge fishtank and the colors only hurried by as he caught sight of a fancy stage. The floor of the stage with it's multiple little platforms was completely blue, laid out with flowing and shimmering fabrics. Strewn in between were huge white puffs that looked like clouds. High above the stage, however, a sea of artificial grass was fixed with dozens and dozens of colorful flowers dotting it. A few were hanging down the ceiling. The back of the stage was taken by a huge mirror which displayed everything upside down. And so Fukase looked at himself standing in the sky with big eyes.
Then his gaze traveled downwards to the two musicians who were seated in between the clouds. There was a petite guy with bunny ears casually sitting in between the clouds, leaning against a platform and appearing to be asleep with his head tilted back and an acoustic guitar leaning right next to him.
Quickly his attention was drawn in by the huge pearly white piano and the woman playing it.
Standing on another platform it was easily visible for the audience. There was a blond woman sitting behind it, her fingers gracefully flying over the keys. Her hair was short and framing the face with natural waves. She was dressed in a stunning white dress which gently enveloped her in hundreds of white feathers. From this distance he could only make out her tightly fitted long sleeves with sparkling decorations. Everything else was drowned by the fluffy-looking feathers that went from her shoulders down to the extremely long trail that cascaded down the whole platform behind her.
The only dots of color were her long trails of sparkling red earrings and the strikingly deep red lipstick.
As she was so peacefully playing, with a serene smile on her face, Fukase couldn't help thinking she looked-
"...Like an angel. She's pretty, isn't she?"
He jumped a little at the sudden proximity of a playful voice talking into his ear.
"Woah there, someone's a little jumpy~", the person to his right said with his hands raised in surrender as he took a step back.
Now this guy looked entirely human. He was taller than Fukase himself and very suavely dressed in a matching suit with waistcoat and a tie snuggly bound to loosely dangle around with his every movement. The expensive-looking fabrics ranged from dark grey to black and had various patterns like elegant pine stripes or tiny structures woven into them.
The man's complexion was almost sun-kissed, harmonizing with the warm grey of his clothes. His short, raven-black hair with blond specks had been meticulously styled to look like a cross between mature and youthful. Various silver accessories ranged from his simple earrings to the various rings on his fingers that casually held an equally decorated black cane.
All of this was registered in a mere two seconds when a hand was waving in front of his face.
"Oi, you still there? No need to be star-struck. Though I appreciate it."
Fukases head flew up to meet deep brown eyes and a playful smirk.
"I... I didn't mean to stare. I'm sorry." he hurriedly replied, bowing a little.
"Ah, don't mind it. As I said, I'll take it as a compliment. Am I a more interesting sight than your angel?"
Fukase felt the heat rising up his cheeks.
"Uhm. I... Uh-"
The men broke out in laughter, patting his shoulder.
"I'm just toying with you, don't be like that~"
He looked forward again, absentmindedly playing with the cane in his hand.
"She really is beautiful though."
Fukase nodded, his eyes fixed on her.
"You might wanna talk to her. But keep in mind she's already involved with the bunny guy."
Fukase tried really hard not to sound disappointed.
Again he was met with loud laughter that somehow seemed mocking.
"I'd still talk to her. Whenever else would you get the chance to talk to an angel?"
The song neared it's end and Fukase was pulled out of his daze when the guy patted his shoulder one last time.
"Well, after this one she's gonna have some time for you. I guess I'll see you around then."
"Wait. Please. Uhm... Are you... human?" the brunette awkwardly asked, rubbing his neck.
"Pff, I don't know whether I should be offended or not? Do I look like I belong to the likes of you?", he playfully retorted. Not sure what to answer to that, Fukase shrugged. He shook his head at the shorter one and offered him his hand.
"Hidaka. Nice meeting you Fukase."
"You... Already know my name. Uh. What else am I supposed to say now? Nice to meet you too, Hidaka."
Deciding that nothing would stun him anymore, he simple shook his hand.
Hidaka's eyes flew over to the stage.
"Ah, look who's done playing."
His head flew around to the stage where the girl indeed retreated her hands and politely bowed her head to the applauding crowd.
He looked back to his right and found the man gone. Blinking in surprise, he merely shrugged it off and continued to look at the pretty angel in front of him.
Maybe he really should go and talk to her. Fukase was torn.
Shifting his weight from one foot the other he finally walked over to the side of the stage so only a few feet separated them. She glanced down at him in interest and Fukase cleared his throat quietly before he spoke up.
"Hello." he simply said.
He got rewarded with a cheery smile.
"Hello to you, too."
Her voice was soft and pleasant to the ear.
"You... play very well." he lamely added.
"Oh, thank you. That's nice of you."
Before they could fall into an uncomfortable silence, she gestured to the space next to her.
"You can take a seat up here, so you don't have to look up all the time."
"Oh... Oh. Yes, thanks."
He awkwardly staggered up the stage's sidelines where he sat on a white block mimicking a cloud. The brunette was about to voice out his worries about being there when he heard a few soft guitar strums and turned his head.
Close to the center of the stage, the other boy had picked up where the angel had left.
Now that he sat closer he also got a better view on him. His figure was petite and his facial features even more youthful than the ones of the violet host Nino he had encountered. He seemed very relaxed and serene as his fingers calmly pulled the strings. The melody sounded natural and cheery without being too overwhelming. When his peaceful voice joined in, Fukase automatically felt himself relax a little. As he was playing, one of his long furry ears with the brown spots tended to flap forwards again and again. The fur looked as soft as his short dusty brown hair. He actually blended in perfectly with the puffy clouds and the angel beside him, Fukase noticed with a pang of disappointment. Judging by his overall appearance with the wide woolen pullover that made him seem even smaller he could already see where the swooning females in the audience were coming from.
"He's really good, isn't he?", the girl asked and Fukase turned back to her at once.
"Uhm... Yes. But I still prefer your play." he said, hoping it wasn't too fast-forward.
She smiled so wide that she had to bite her lip to hold it back. Adorable.
"So? Do you like it here?"
Fukase nodded, not caring about his open display of eagerness.
"It's amazing! There are so many attractions, I'm not sure where to look first. And the people are so interesting, there seems to be a lot of different food-"
As if on cue, his stomace grumbled slightly and he tripped over his words, a hot blush creeping up his cheeks.
The girl chuckled a little at this.
"Maybe you should actually try those, then~"
"Uh, no, it's okay. I'm not that hungry... Except this was you telling me you're actually busy, then..."
"Oh no, I'm happy about your company~"
And her smile was so bright and sincere, that Fukase's eyes immediately flitted over to the bunny-guy.
"...won't he get angry?" he hesitantly asked in a small voice.
Tilting her head in confusion, she followed his gaze.
"Koike? Why would he be angry?"
Fukase tried to keep the fidgeting and wavering of his voice at bay.
"Well. Since he's your... Since you two are... Uhm. An item."
"What??" she broke out in loud disbelief, clutching her hand over her mouth when she felt the looks she got.
For a moment Fukase feared he might have overstepped a border, but he soon realized she was trying to hold back her laughter.
Now he felt the heat increasing with every second. He must have looked like a tomato.
"Why... Why would you think that?" she asked in between her fits of soft giggles.
"Well... I was told so." Fukase replied defiantly, rubbing his hot cheeks with the cold backside of his hands.
The girl seemed to pause at this.
"Oh, I have seen you talking to the black Trickster. So that's what it's about~?"
"The black... You mean Hidaka?"
"Yes. We usually call him the black Trickster, though. He must have taken a liking to you, since he gave you his real name." she replied with a patient smile.
Fukase scrunched up his eyebrows in displeasure.
"So he lied to me?"
"Hmmm~" she thoughtfully hummed as she tapped her cheek in thought, "Maybe he did. You see, the black Trickster has a way with words."
"You seem to put a lot of emphasize on him being the 'black' Trickster... Are there any more?"
She shot him a surprised look and for a moment Fukase was distracted by the way the spotlights were reflecting in her bright orbs.
"You are pretty observant, aren't you, uhm...?"
"OH. I didn't introduce myself. That was so rude of me, I'm sorry-"
Fukase scrambled up to make a cordial bow.
She dismissed his worries and elegantly bowed in her sitting position, sending the feathers bouncing.
"My name is Saori. Nice to meet you, Fukase."
"It's... My pleasure." he stammered, a little thrown-off.
He was about to open his mouth again when a round of applause interrupted them. Fukase politely joined in as the bunny-like person bowed, sending both his ears to comically hang down until he lifted his head and sent them jumping back into place. He really looked adorable, there was no denying that.
When the audience slowly dispersed, he leisurely padded over to them.
"I see Saori has a fan already?" he asked as soon as he was close enough. There was a teasing touch to his voice, but it was kept at a minimum. He mainly sounded friendly and genuinely interested.
It didn't help Fukase's flustered expression though.
Saori just huffed in mock-pouting.
"You can't snatch him away, you have enough fans already!"
In an act of being mildly hurt he grasped his heart.
"You replaced me pretty easily as your number one fan, so cruel!"
then he offered Fukase his hand, flashing him another serene smile and effectively ripping him out of the gloominess he felt upon watching the playful banter between them.
"I'm Koike. Nice to meet you... Fellow Saori-Fan." he ended with a mischievious twinkle in his eye.
"I really don't want to disappoint you two, but the next performance is coming up."
"Oh. I'm sorry. I'll leave immediately. Thank you for your friendliness."
The bunny gave him a friendly wave and Saori joined with more enthusiasm.
The brunette turned to make his way down again.
When he turned around once more, he was met with the sight of Saori who had lifted her hands to her lips, calling out one last time.
"If you'd like to, let's spend more time together later!"
Fukase nodded happily and while he skipped down the stage to continue exploring the venue, the picture of a smiling blonde angel was deeply embedded into the back of his head. And even though Koike had given him mixed verbal signals to say the least, Fukase was very sure that the two were not involved after all. At least, not in this way. The bunny's body language had told him that they were merely friendly acquaintances. Then again, he had also had a good feeling about Hidaka and look where it got him.
Fukase had always lived under the impression that his knack for details had left him with a rather accurate intuition but maybe he should re-evaluate.
Lost in thought about his earlier mishap, Fukase let out a startled gasp as someone bumped into him.
With a loud yelp the person took him to the ground where they landed in a tangle of limbs.
A mop of strandy grey hair was tickling his face but as soon as he had gotten a whiff of strawberries, the person had already scrambled up to her two feet again.
"Oh my, I'm so sorry! This happens from time to time, I'm so ditsy!"
The slightly overwhelmed Fukase grasped the outstretched hand and tumbled upwards again to be faced with a tiny creature in an oversized hoodie with the hem of a skirt peeking out below it. She looked young and female with huge, sparkling eyes and freckles around her nose that made for a playful contrast with her porcelain skin.
She had gray hair which was messily cropped to shoulder-length and had so many dark and bright highlights that it was difficult to make out a definite color other than grayish.
Like so many other visitors she had an unusual pair of shiny round ears that were cutely curled inwards at the end.
And a high-pitched voice that didn't seem to stop rambling.
"Ah, what would Rina say, I can already hear her complaining. I'm sorry again, I should watch where I walk or stop running overall- am I talking too much? Oh, I didn't even introduce myself, I'm Kii! Nice to meet you~!"
Still a little dazed, he shook her hand.
"That's such a nice name!"
"Uh, thank you?" Fukase replied not sure what exactly about his name was supposed to sound good.
The girl unabashedly straightened his clothing as she kept talking.
"So, I should make it up to you, right?"
"You don't actually need to-"
"I can't offer you anything great, but... I know pretty much every corner of this venue~! I could recommend you a few attractions!"
"Well, you really don't-"
The girl pounced on him, hugging his arm childishly.
"Aww, pretty pretty please~!"
By then, Fukase had given up.
"Alright, so... Do you know where I can find something nice to eat?"
"But of course! Food is my specialty! Let's go, off to the 'Moonlight Station!'"
Full of enthusiasm she dragged him along and the human was having a hard time keeping up with the energetic girl.
"The 'Moonlight Station'! My favorite buffet in here~!"
Remembering the way proved itself as an impossible task with Kii tugging him along impatiently, leaving booths and colorful fairy lights to pass by in a flash.
They went past a stage with dancers where a bronzed woman was moving seductively with her golden dress sending specks of light through the crowd with every movement. A huge card house that was built by two people looking exactly like the princes depicted on said cards.
A magician wearing so many colorful hats that Fukase got dizzy at the sight.
They came to an abrupt halt, sending him to almost tackle the light-weight down.
Before he could open his mouth to thank her, she had already placed a hand on his shoulder.
"I'd love to hang around a little more but unfortunately I'm in a hurry - Sorry for that. But just try the food, it's all delicious! My favorites are the fried meat and cheese cubes! See you around~!"
With that she rushed off and Fukase wondered how long it would take for her to bump into the next unsuspecting person.
Shaking his head a little to free it from the overwhelming presence, he took a look at the actual buffet.
Which wasn't any less colorful than the rest of the event. Befitting the theme of the moonlight station all the food was presented in round bowls representing stars and planets.
He grabbed a star-shaped plate and began to aimlessly take a few spoons of anything that looked interesting but not too interesting. While he was still wandering the table up and down in search of those fried cubicles, his eyes fell on an... Eyeball. That was sitting in the widely opened mouth of someone looking up at him.
Fukase almost dropped the plate when he jumped back. The creature laughed maniacally while munching on the eyeball.
"You should see your face! Boy, calm down~! It's just candy!"
Letting out a relieved sigh his posture relaxed.
"...Or is it?" the creature added with a mischievous twinkle in her unnaturally colored eyes.
The brunette gulped and retreated another step to take in what he assumed to be a girl. If the frightening amount of colorful ribbons adorning her hair down to her skirt were anything to go by. Fukase had to admit that she was the most overwhelming presence he had encountered yet. Not only did she wear a Lolita-like dress with those ribbons and intricately intertwined straps of lace in all bright colors known to man. Her face was adorned with tiny sparkling crystals in the form of teardrops that were also strewn above her head like a layer of diamond snow. Colorful make-up, striped stockings and gloves made of pearls - all this was nothing in comparison to the huge and extremely fluffy-looking tails that were swaying behind her, befitting the equally big pair of furry ears that poked out of her light blue hair. They were of a pure creamy color, though the tips looked like she dipped them into a bucket of hair dye - which might have very well been the case, considering her overall appearance.
Overall she looked like a furry animal that fell into a rainbow-puddle and had then rolled around in powdered sugar.
The slight wariness in Fukase shouldn't actually be held against him, he decided.
Not knowing how to react he just stood there, frozen.
"Now, now, Kyary. You're scaring him. Keep it down a little."
He flinched and turned to be met with yet another animalistic creature. Out of all the males he had met so far, this was the least human-looking. Not only did he have a big pair of shaggy dark brown ears with long fur standing out of his black, curly hair and a voluptuous bushy tail that reminded him of a wolf. He also wore nothing but a vest over his relatively toned upper body that was made of different straps of fabric. Unlike Kyary, they all looked rather natural and gave him a wild touch. Which stood in stark contrast to the pair of glasses with the tiny, golden frame sitting on the bridge of his nose.
He smiled, showing sharp canines.
"Please don't be scared, human. Foxes love to fool around with your kind."
"It's... alright." he replied unsurely, bowing shortly to the wolf and, as an after-thought, to the fox as well.
"I'm Fukase. It's nice to meet you."
The fox that had been called Kyary swiftly walked around him with a teasing smile.
"Haaah... What a polite young thing...! Sweet as sugar~"
Even though she made him kind of nervous, he didn't show it and took the offered hand of the wolf. He had very sharp nails.
"Nakajin. It's a pleasure, indeed. I was actually going to eat a little snack for my break but you're free to join me. How about a little reading afterwards?"
"Reading? What kind of reading?"
He swore he saw the wolf's eyes twinkling.
"I may not look like it, but I'm actually a fortune teller."
"Really? It would be an honor!"
With a kind smile the Nakajin gestured him to wait while he filled a plate of his own. Only then did Fukase realize that the fox had strolled off to somewhere.
He accompanied the wolf back to his booth which consisted of nothing but a small, wooden table with two chairs in front of a tiny striped tent. While enjoying the fried cubicles of cheese that were indeed as delicious as Kii had told him, he enjoyed the atmosphere around him.
The wolf wasn't overly talkative, but the silence wasn't awkward at all. Here, many guests passed by but only a few even cared to notice the tiny table they were occupying. Fukase curiously observed and admired the different creatures and attires. Once in a while a human like him strolled by without paying him too much attention.
"Have you had a good time so far?" the wolf's smooth voice suddenly broke the silence in a conversational tone.
Fukase didn't hesitate.
"Yes, I have met many intriguing people and saw a lot of wondrous things. It truly is a magical festival."
A gentle smile was the reply and Nakajin rightened his glasses and licked the remaining sauce off his lips.
"It's nice to hear that. So... Would you like me to present you with a card reading?" he asked while stacking the plates of both Fukase and him on a nearby stool.
"Yes, please." the brunette answered, trying not to sound too eager.
The cards he produced from one of his large pockets didn't resemble any card game he had ever seen before. He couldn't catch a proper glance though, since they were already being thoroughly shuffled as the wolf didn't break the gaze he had on Fukase.
"What would you like me to tell you about?"
Fukase thought about it.
"Hm... Maybe something about what is waiting for me at this fest?"
His brown orbs followed the cards being shuffled around for a bit more until Nakajin fanned them out and willed him to choose two cards.
He looked at the cards in contemplation, before settling on two that had somehow called to him and following the instruction, he flipped them and placed them on the crimson velvet tablecloth.
One showed a snow globe while the other depicted a cloudy sky.
A tentative finger was placed on the pretty painting of the white, fluffy clouds.
"This... is symbolizing that something is about to happen as clouds are the messengers of the heaven, announcing an event.
While this-", he continued, his finger wandering to the snow globe, "-simply tells us that the upcoming events are bound by this time and place. Like a snow globe it will occur all of a sudden, just to let the effects slowly sink in like snow falling. And the final card..."
He swiftly pulled out a card seemingly randomly and placed them over the other two.
A clock pointing at midnight sharp.
"...is for you to figure out." he said with a smile.
"It's a definite key to tonight's happenings, so please keep it in mind."
Fukase nodded gratefully and rose from his seat to bid his farewells.
Unsure on where to go from here on, he slowly made his way across the festival's grounds, once in a while stopping to watch an attraction. It took quite some time, but eventually he saw the upside-down stage coming back into view. Would it be too soon to visit the angel again?
He already saw the wide sea of pure white feathers when suddenly something colorful jumped into his vision and he made a double take.
"Peek-a-BOO!" Kyary playfully exclaimed and boy, did Fukase's heart stop for a second.
With her tails dangling as she shifted from one foot the other she waved a scolding finger before his eyes.
"My, my, you are still wandering around here! Don't tell me you're one of those scaredy kitties that don't like to explore! You're missing the whole festival!"
"Uhm... Sorry?" Fukase carefully offered while quietly asking himself why she was even bothered by that. Before he could voice these things in a polite manner however, he was already grabbed by the upper arm and swung around.
"Let me give you a small tour, little kitty!"
"I'm not a cat-"
"Of couuurse you aren't!" she said in a mocking voice reserved for babies while playfully poking his arm as she dragged him along.
"-you're a kitten~!"
"I'm not though!" Fukase said, being a little miffed at the way she talked to him.
Kyary didn't seem depressed about it whatsoever and kept pulling him along.
She showed him the huge aquarium where mermaids kept singing sweet tunes while making music with water through mysterious instruments and the doll house where stuffed toys were mixed with actual creatures in disguise.
Soon she was pulling him towards one of the spiral staircases and Fukase found himself going downstairs and the air changed when he was no longer under the open night sky.
Countless draperies of feathery fabric were fixed to the ceiling, fluttering to unseen gushes of air and drenched in colors by various spotlights hidden somewhere in between them.
A wooden plate above them announced that he was now entering the Death Disco.
Though Fukase would have almost preferred to stay on the staircase where he had a fantastic overview on everything - the dancing people below being illuminated by all these colors, the surreal setup with trails of water running down the walls, the reflections of light and water dancing vividly... Everything looked so, so far away in every sense of the word.
Still, there were people behind him and he couldn't block the path. Besides, Kyary was still impatiently tugging at his wrist, her bushy tails tickling his face from time to time.
So they he descended the remaining steps and Kyary called out to him over the bass pumping steady like a heartbeat.
"Welcome to the actual Death Disco!"
Fukase wasn't usually one to dance the night away but in this magical setting, he wouldn't condemn anyone who did.
They went past the dancing people however and Kyary pushed aside a veil separating the vast dancing area from something akin to a lounge.
Fukase was surprised at how much of the noise was kept out by just a few veils, but at this point he had stopped asking questions.
Instead he enjoyed the sight of plush carpets and foreign plants raking up the walls and hanging from the ceiling, twirling around quaint golden chandeliers.
The atmosphere was a little more somber, but very pleasantly so.
They went up to the rather deserted bar where a beautiful lady in a voluptuous fur coat above her golden evening gown was sitting, all furry ears and tails as he had already seen before, sipping on a colorful cocktail while lost in deep melancholy.
The brunette decided to order a non-alcoholic drink when Kyary suddenly squealed, shocking poor Fukase for the third time that night.
"Over heeere, YamaPi!"
He was actually surprised someone decided to follow this call, but a young and entirely human-looking man didn't seem unsettled at all and approached them easily.
The suit he wore was midnight black and suave, topped off with a vibrant red handkerchief. His light brown hair gently framed the skin that was almost as sun-kissed as Hidaka's had been. Rather droopy eyes and plump lips completed the unique but definitely handsome man who was flashing them an almost airy smile.
"Good evening. Are you enjoying the night?"
"This is YamaPi, one of the most popular hosts around here!" the fox girl chirped and Fukase gladly returned the offered handshake.
"Aah, are you trying to recommend me, little fox?" he said with a playful vibe to his rather quiet and pleasant voice.
Then he turned to Fukase.
"I hope it's not too much of a disappointment but I'm not the type to flirt with males. I wouldn't mind showing you over to Jun, though. He doesn't mind keeping people company, no matter the gender."
Fukase almost choked on his recently acquired orange juice.
"That's okay, I didn't want to, I mean-" he stammered wheezingly as a sudden commotion made him close his mouth and look up in alarm.
He was sure he'd just heard someone scream. The noise rose and without paying attention to his company he blindly charged ahead and crossed the lounge, threw the veils aside and was met with chaos.
Loud mumbles were rumbling through the disturbed crowd that seemed keen to either leave the place or remain frozen in place.
Spotting the source of the commotion Fukase impatiently pushed himself through the crowd, taking advantage of his lithe and inconspicuous appearance.
He stubbornly fought himself forwards until he was able to peek between two heads into the circle that had formed. It wasn't until he crouched down, however, that he saw the reason for the distress.
In the middle of the floor was a girl curled up together with the red host, Sakurai, hovering over her.
Fukase rose before the crowd could push him to the ground, completely shocked.
Just in time, it seemed, for Sakurai got back to his feet and made use of his microphone.
"Everyone, please step back and lower the music's volume! I repeat - please step back!"
The crowd reluctantly agreed and Fukase let himself be pushed back a little. The view on the girl got clearer and Sakurai used his hand gestures to vainly try and calm the crowd before lifting the microphone back to his lips when the music had sufficiently been turned down.
"Please do not step any closer! I unfortunately have to secure this area as it has become a crime scene as of now. I am very sorry to announce that one of our dear fellows has been assaulted..."
He paused for a second. A second that Fukase spent staring at the red puddle blinking in the spotlights.
"...and has been confirmed to be dead. Please do not panic!" he repeated as the commotion arose once more.
"We will investigate this on the spot and lock the exits so the person responsible for this assault is not able to flee this festival. We hereby ask everyone having only the slightest clue to report it back to us! If you have seen anything suspicious, especially concerning the victim, don't hold it back, please-"
He still went on but the voice was dull in Fukase's ears who was still looking at the figure in terror.
There she lying on the floor, surrounded by scattered golden scales and curled up almost peacefully if not for the puddle of blood coming from the wound on her neck.
It was the silver-haired girl that had bumped into him earlier.
Kii was dead.
Who killed her?
Suddenly the card showing a clock came to his mind and he looked at his own wrist watch.
It was midnight.