The Cherry Blossom Party — Part 2
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“Wow, they’re so pretty.”
Nell was the first to comment on the cherry blossoms, which had finally gone into full bloom. Their rose-flushed petals danced through the air each time the wind blew by, reminding me of the homeland from which I had long departed.
“They’re so pink!” said Shii.
“And pretty,” added Enne.
“Huh? This tree must be new. I don’t think it was here before.”
We weren’t the only ones relishing in the atmosphere. The girls were too—or at least most of them were. A certain vampire happened to be too preoccupied wrestling with the sense that something was out of place to pay attention to the beautiful scene laid out before her.
“Nicely spotted, Illuna,” I said. “I threw in a few more trees at the last minute in order to make the garden look better.”
To be more specific, I had both expanded and re-arranged the garden in order to make it more scenic. You see kids, to be a real demon lord, you’ve gotta give every little thing your all. No detail, no matter how tiny, is to be overlooked. And as far as cherry blossom parties are concerned, step number one is making sure everything looks picturesque af.
“Do not spend so much time ogling the trees,” scolded Lefi. “We have yet to finish the preparations.”
“…Lunch looked good. I can’t wait.”
While Illuna, Nell, and Shii all offered positive responses, Enne was too deep in daydream land to even hear the dragon. Her mind was still stuck on everything she’d seen when she peeked into the kitchen.
“Mind givin’ me a hand, Master? I need someone to grab the other side of the picnic sheet.”
I walked over and grabbed the large blanket we were using as a picnic sheet in order to get it nice and spread out. Right as Lyuu was about to grab the other side, the oldest of the three ghost girls telekinetically blew it away from her.
“Oh no, it’s floatin’! I’m so spooked! Oh well, I’ll just try reachin’ for it again. What could possibly go wrong?” She looked expectantly at Rei after finishing her two second monologue, as if she was expecting the wraith to somehow follow up her awful prompt. Lyuu… please. That was fake and lame, and you know it.
Rei and I looked at each other, but unfortunately, neither of us was able to come up with anything, so we ended up shrugging and shaking our heads.
“Erm… I think I mighta messed that one up. Let’s try that again,” said Lyuu.
“Well, you heard her, Rei. Whaddya say?”
The ghost mimed a sigh, as if to say “oh fine, but just this once,” then repeated the act and once again made the picnic sheet float.
“Uhmmm… Wait for me, sweetie. I ain’t gonna hurt you. Spendin’ time with me’ll be real nice, I promise.”
“Boooooooo.” I jeered. “That was so awful I’m taking away your food privileges for the day.”
“What the heck!? Ain’t that way too harsh for just a bad joke!?”
“Enough tomfoolery,” said Lefi. “We are waiting for you to finish your task…”
“Hurry. I’m hungry,” added a very impatient Enne.
“Right, my bad,” I smiled awkwardly. “Well, Lyuu, you heard them. Stop messing around so we can get a move on.”
“Blamin’ me like that just ain’t right, Master. That was just as much your fault as it was mine.”
I didn’t bother arguing with her, and instead looked towards the inn. Leila had just stepped out of it with a large basket in hand. Looks like she’s finally done with all the finishing touches.
“Wow, that looks heavy! I’ll get it for you!”
“Thank you very much, Illuna. Make sure to keep it steady.”
“Okay, I will!”
The vampire carefully made her way over to the picnic sheet, which we had finally finished placing, and plopped our lunch on top of it.
“Oof! That was really heavy!”
“The soup is too!” said Shii, who had brought over an oversized thermos.
“Sure looks like it!”
Illuna took off her shoes, dove onto the blanket, and started rolling around. Shii immediately copied her and did the same with the biggest of smiles.
“Hurry up, everyone! The blanket’s really comfy, so I’m gonna fall asleep if you take any longer!” said Illuna.
“If no one comes, then this spot will be mine! And the one beside it, and the one beside that too! I’m gonna travel across the land and conquer far and wide!” The slime spread her arms as wide as they could go.
“If conquest is your desire, then I will answer. These lands will be mine!” I cackled as I did the same, but only after I set the food and thermos aside to make sure nothing would get kicked or spilled.
“I guess I should really get myself a spot before it’s too late,” said Nell.
“Me too,” said Lyuu.
The two dove right into my arms, one on each side. I immediately pulled both closer in order to better enjoy the soft warmth of their bodies. Bliss.
“The younglings, I can understand, but I was not expecting the three of you to emulate them,” said Lefi with a sigh.
“Your tail is giving you away, Lefi,” said Leila. “It’s twitching in a way that makes it fairly obvious that you would like to join them.”
“T-that is most certainly not true!” denied the now blushing dragon.
“Lunch. Now. Please.”
Enne was the only one not having fun. She continued to impatiently demand access to the meal she’d been awaiting for days. Sorry Enne. You’ll get to eat soon. I promise.
After saying grace, we picked up our chopsticks and went to town.
“Wow, this stew smells great. I can’t wait to try it,” said Nell.
“Yuki and Lefi did their best together!” explained Illuna. “I think Lefi beat up a really really really strong monster that no one else could beat, then Yuki cut it up and got us this super super tasty piece of meat. That’s the piece we used to make this!”
“W-wow, uhm… wouldn’t that make this incredibly luxurious? Not even royals are able to get their hands on ingredients like that…” Nell seemed to have some trouble figuring out how she was supposed to react to the unexpected news flash.
“Try some of this, Nell!” Lyuu served the hero a piece of a Japanese-styled omelette. “I promise it’s real good. I spent a long time practicin’ how to make it!”
Nell reached for another piece as soon as she swallowed the first.
“Wow, Lyuu. It is really good.”
“Is it?” I picked a piece up and tried some for myself. “Huh. Wow, it really is.”
The flavour was rich, but not so rich that it came off as too strong. Both the sweet and savoury tastes were only enhanced by the dish’s incredible fluffiness.
“I’m real happy to hear it,” said Lyuu with a proud chuckle. “Just you wait. I’m gonna keep practicin’ all sorts o’ stuff, and one day, I’ll be as good as Leila!”
“Then I’ll have to drill all my techniques right into your head,” said the sheep demon. “Cooking is a lot like magic. It’s heavily based in theory, and understanding the science of flavour will allow you to easily produce any result you can imagine. I’m confident that you’ll have it all memorized in just two short years.”
“…On second thought, I think I’ll be leavin’ all the real hard stuff to you after all. Studyin’ ain’t for me.”
“That was a quick change of heart, if I’ve ever seen one.”
I laughed heartily, then tuned into a different conversation, namely one between the dungeon’s younger residents.
“Is that tasty, Enne?” asked Shii, as she watched the sword happily munch on a piece of stewed meat.
“Mhm. Very. You should have some.”
“Okay! Having lots of tasty stuff makes me really happy,” said Shii.
“Me too! It makes me want to sing!” Illuna started rocking back and forth as she followed up on her proclamation. “Happy, happy, I’m so happy! This is my happy happy happy song!”
“Illuna’s singing the song she only sings when she’s really really happy!” said Shii. “Let’s join her!”
Enne agreed to the suggestion. And soon, all three girls began singing along to the melody, which, while nice, seemed slightly off-tune. The wraith girls stopped playing around in the trees and descended upon their three friends just to spin around them in time with their song. Ahh… Bliss. Adorable, adorable bliss.
“That’s a nice song. Did you come up with it yourself?” asked Nell.
“Yup yup! Yuki told me that I should tell people I’m happy when I’m happy so that everyone else can be happy, and I can be even happier! So I came up with a song about being happy!”
“That’s a great idea. I guess I should be telling all of you how happy I am to be here today,” said Nell. “Being with everyone always brightens me up.”
“The feeling is mutual,” I said, as I gave her a hug.
“I’m a bit jealous, but I ain’t gonna complain since Nell doesn’t get to be ‘round often,” said Lyuu. “I’ll make up for it by huggin’ Lefi, since she smells real good!”
“Then I shall hug Leila. Her body is both soft and pleasant,” said Lefi.
“Thank you, Lefi. You’re quite huggable,” said Leila, who seemed to honestly appreciate the compliment.
“Happy, happy, I’m so happy! This is my happy happy happy song!” sung Illuna.
“It’s just the same words over and over, but it still makes me super happy!” said Shii.
The whole party broke out into laughter, unstuck ourselves from each other, and continued to enjoy the rare, springtime event.