(A/N: This chapter took longer than I thought. Why? Because halfway through writing it, my cat decided that what I really needed to do was clean up the puke she'd just deposited on my floor. And since I have a rather short attention span when writing, I immediately forgot what I was writing about.)
I kinda forgot to describe Duster last time, so I'll fix that now. Like most "zombie" fairies, Duster is about two feet in height with pale blue skin, pale blue hair, and a smoky blue robe that covers everything from neck down, save for the hands when they're reaching out to do something, and a pale golden halo. The most striking feature about Duster is the wings, though. Three pairs of long, half-oval fairy wings, but frayed as if burned on the curved edges; and burning with a bright blue-white spectral flame, scattering embers with every beat, which is sometimes very beautiful.
Dinner went over fine without much incident. Everyone is more interested in tomorrow's festival.
Night is a predictable affair in my family. Satori will insist on proper rest, Aya will make Satori chase her down because she likes staying up. Mima doesn't need as much because she's a spirit, and tries to scare the rest of us before Suwako finds her. Kanako just collapses into bed and doesn't move 'til morning. Koishi will invariably turn up with Aya, and then Rin and Utsuho will mess around before Satori gets them to go to bed. Sanae, me, and Duster are obedient.
Usually, anyway. In this case, Duster roped us into finding Mima before she finds us, and pulling on her ghost tail again.
We succeeded, but that's not necessarily a good thing.
Morning's normal, though. Everyone gets up, wanders to the kitchen, and argues over who gets the tea first while someone else actually gets some. The arguers are generally Kanako, Suwako, Mima, and Aya. Sometimes Duster too, but only to pull on something… Mima's tail, Aya's wings, Suwako's hat, Kanako's onbashira…
I stirred my tea gently with the grip end of a pocky stick. As I do, I chew dreamily on the other, chocolatey end.
I knew Duster was going to prank somebody. It might be me, it might not. I didn't care, though. I was watching the sunset and was completely relaxed.
I became considerably less relaxed when I saw who was sent to get us for the festival.
The Flower Master Of The Four Seasons! The Sleeping Terror!
The Full Moon Flower! The Dream-Border Youkai!
Supposedly the only youkai tough enough to stand up to Yukari and Reimu simultaneously and still have time to go home and do… Things to her servant, Elly Shiroi. Satori never specified.
Yuuka freakin' Kazami!
In case it wasn't really obvious, I panicked and ran back inside. I didn't forget my tea or my pocky, however.
Satori was the first (as always) to notice me. But while she examined my mind, Duster was the first one to actually ask "What's up, Arke?"
Apparently I get my flair from Aya. "Yuuka's here, everybody run for your lives!"
To my later amusement, Aya, Koishi, and Duster actually did run, Suwako spazzed out, Kanako hid behind Mima (who was trying to make herself invisible), and my sisters and I hid behind Satori, who sighed and tried to act like she didn't care.
Yuuka walked up, flower-umbrella gently held over one shoulder. She was wearing some sort of coat and trousers, in brown plaid and white. It made her look somewhat like a gardener, but she was meticulously clean. She had on a hat made of fresh green bamboo, with a red ribbon acting as a strip to border the brim, but the ribbon hadn't been cut, and flower gently behind her like a strip of long hair. Her green and black-flecked hair was a little messy as always, but of course clean. Her eyes, brilliant youkai-red, looked at each of us in turn before she smiled at Kanako, who made a somewhat mouselike noise.
Satori stepped forward and greeted her courteously. "Hello, Miss Kazami. You're here to get us for the festival? … Yes, I imagine she is… No… Yes… Sometimes… No, that's for her to learn when I think she's ready… I would prefer not… Very well… Yes, she is… Yes, they ran… No, I doubt it… You're welcome."
And with that, Yuuka winked at us and sedately walked back into the sunset. As usual, we all missed most of the conversation. Being an older youkai, Yuuka was quite comfortable with Satori, and so Satori didn't mind having her around, much to the dismay of the rest of us.
Satori glanced at those of us who were present. "Everyone get ready. Miss Hakurei wants us at the festival, and she's already drunk."
That was all we really needed to know. And most of us knew what to do.
Satori, Koishi, and Rin wore flowery, soft kimonos. Kanako discarded her big rope-and-sticks ensemble and donned a purple dress. Mima took what she called a ballroom dress. It looked like there was more lace than actual cloth.
Suwako took on a more mature appearance than usual, and was using a very nice paper umbrella and robe in purple and white. Sanae had chosen to take on a blue and white version of Reimu's outfit as a joke.
Duster and Utsuho didn't do anything besides groom and clean up.
For my part, I took out a long skirt and a shirt that basically looked like a shirt hung from the neck, with transparent sleeves. It was a nice gold-and-black flecking color, mostly black.
And then there was Aya. She had discarded all her black and white, and if it weren't for Satori catching her in time, would have gone out like that. As it was, she instead chose to use all fall colors. She wore a short skirt and, as always, a button-up shirt, except this one was much looser on her and had no pockets.
We thought we were all ready for the festival.
We think that every time and so far we've been wrong every time.