Side story: ????
“Lefi, look! They have hats for you.”
Holding up a funny hat, I was showing it to my familiar Lefi.
“I see not how you could have come to this conclusion, it looks most perfect for you. I pray you wear it.”
“No, no, no, the shape suits you more with how weird it is.”
“And how should this be the case? My horns render wearing this entirely impossible.”
“Oh, that’s no problem, the store can modify it and cut holes for that.”
“Truly? That’s considerate of the- Wait! I will not wear that!”
As we were arguing over the hat a cute blond girl called out to us.
“Come on guys, hurry up!”
That was Illuna, a girl who’s been living next door for a long time. A very clever child, to the point where it was hard to believe she was so young. I wish this dragon took an example from her sometimes.
“Sorry, Illuna. What do you want to ride first?”
“I wanna ride the roller-coaster!” Said Illuna with her hands in the air. Cute.
While I was softening up at the sight, I could hear Lefi mutterring next to us.
“I must inform Leila and Lyuu once we return, for I seem to have contracted myself to a pedophile…”
“Could you stop saying stuff like that?”
We were currently at the amusement park, for no special occasion beyond the fact that Lefi said she had never been to one, and that we had spare time.
Our neighbor Illuna came with us because she understood her family’s situation. Their household consisted of three sisters, with the elder two working to make a living. As such, she couldn’t be selfish and wouldn’t speak up even if she wanted to go play. Which is exactly why we invited her.
Her sisters were Leila and Lyuu. We were generally good neighbors with them, and they had grown to be close friends with Lefi, and now I was returning the favor. No wait, I’m Illuna’s friend too, I don’t need excuses to have fun.
“What might this boring playground be? Why would Illuna request to ride such slow horses?”
“That’s a merry-go-round. You see, you use it by- wait it’s better if I don’t tell you, I’ll show you once we get closer.”
“I… do apologize.” Said the dragon.
“I’m so excited!”
Not knowing I was laughing internally, Lefi pat Illuna’s head as we made our way.
“Waaah!! This is amazing!” Screamed Illuna cutely.
“Holy shit this is fast!!” I screamed.
“Whaaaaaaaaaat is thi-aaaaaaah!?” And Lefi was just being noisy.
We were on a roller-coaster that ran in all directions, did full loopings and barrel rolls, overall with a great acceleration. The girls’ screams were very pleasing to the ear.
On the way over to the ride, Lefi’s face had shifted into greener hues, but kept quiet, probably to not quell Illuna’s excitement. I like that about you. Love your screams even more though.
“You’re the best Illuna!!”
“Who is the beeeeeeeest!?”
The roller-coaster eventually ground to a halt, with Lefi out of breath.
“That was fun!”
“Sure was! Okay, let’s go again”
“Wait, other mounts are at our disposal. Surely we could make an attempt at those first,” said a panicking Lefi.
“That’s right! Let’s go to the next one.”
The silver-haired girl sighed in relief as Illuna changed her mind. You played well, Lefi. But I know your weakness now. I’m sure you’ll show good expressions on the next ride.
With that in mind I turned to face our next destination. It was a haunted house.
Hang on, really?
“Huh, Illuna, you sure you want to go to a haunted house next?”
“A haunted house? That sounds fun!”
“What would this next facility be?”
“Well, y’know, haunted houses are like-”
Without time to finish my sentence I followed the girls who were headed straight to the entrance.
“Waah! That’s scary!”
“Is this a detached head? How intricate. It is truly well executed.”
Lefi found the time to analyze the fresh head while we were screaming.
“Regardless, Yuki, how pathetic of you it is to scream in such a manner.” Said my familiar with a cocky grin.”
“You know, Lefi, you need to be scared in haunted houses. It’s impolite not to.”
“Might you mean something like ‘Aaaah what the fuck!?’” said Lefi, imitating me with a funny face.
I wasn’t that bad with horror, and I generally didn’t really mind going into these kinds of places. But they used tricks that really surprised people. Even if you expect it, seeing a head suddenly appear in front of you will still surprise you. No helping that.
On the other hand, Lefi barely flinched at all. It apparently stemmed from a cultural difference. Unlike Japanese people, she didn’t really see what there was to be scared about. Even when we had watched a horror movie together, Lefi had been mostly unexpressive.
I knew it’d turn out like this. I should never have agreed to the haunted house.
“If you are frightened you should simply say so. Do you wish to hold my hand?”
“Are you scared Yuki? I’ll hold your hand too!”
As I couldn’t possibly refuse Illuna, I ended up holding hands with her.
“Hehe, how does it feel to have a little girl take care of you and hold her hand?”
“Shut up! You were screaming like hell on that roller-coaster before.”
“I do not know what you might be talking about.”
As we were arguing, Illuna turned to face us.
“Hey Yuki, Lefi.”
“Thanks a whole bunch!”
Looking at Illuna’s cute smile I could only rub the back of my neck while Lefi scratched her cheeks.
After that we went to many more attractions to make the most of the day. We followed Illuna around all day, wondering how she had that much strength in her small body each time.
On the way home, with Lefi holding a sleeping Illuna in her arms.
“Finally satisfied huh? Where does she even get all that energy from?”
“Children are truly amazing. I am not so old myself, and still find marvel at her display”
We both drew wry smiles.
“Well, I certainly had fun. Thank you for bringing me there, Yuki.”
“Why so straightforward now?”
“Well, I believe I enjoyed myself too much to lie about it. It was enjoyable to be with you and this little girl. What about you?”
“Yeah, wasn’t so bad being with you.”
Lefi suddenly grinned mischievously.
Lefi reached her hand out to me, and I grabbed it with a racing heart.
With fingers intertwined, lefi rested her head on my shoulder.
As we walked on in silence, the orange sunset turned to a starlit black sky.
Pale, gentle streetlights along the way.
With a sweet numbness from holding hands, the nightfall warmly tucked in the world.