And now to continue with Hyouketsu Kyoukai.
At the resting room of outdoor cafe 'The Two Swans <Albiero>'.
The young girl with her sky-blue scarf was continuously shaking the teenage boy, who was sleeping on the makeshift bed.
"Shel-nii, wake up quickly— The festival is starting soon—!"
"...... Let me sleep for an hour more. I had worked till late last night."
"No— if you don't hurry up, the festival will end soon! Hurry, hurry!"
...... The Stars Festival will be held for three consecutive days, so it will not really matter if we miss it today.
Sheltis grumbled in his mind, and opened his eyelids slightly. He coincidentally looked straight into a listless Yuto, who looked like she was about to cry.
"Shel-nii...... are you really not going?"
"Do you hate being with Yuto?"
"...... No, nothing of that sort...... Ahhh, damn...... I understand, I admit defeat, alright!"
He could not endure that pitiful look of hers, and jumped out of his bed in desperation.
The three days of Stars Festival, which is dedicated to the Queen, will be held at the Second Living Sector.
The whole plaza was filled with banners of stars and the moon, as well as ceremonial decorations like pinwheels and wind chimes, which symbolizes the never ending winds of the floating continent. In comparison, the streets had a more typical look to them. They were typically filled with colorful balloons or ribbons, and the streets were bustling with activity from the various types of stalls.
"Oh, it has really started. So it is that lively right from the opening ceremony."
Sheltis took a brief glance at the surroundings after he placed Yuto down. The place was already filled with people, to the point where one will easily brush onto the shoulders of the passerby while walking.
"Ah- Sheltis! You are slow, I've waited for so long!"
The girl in overalls walked through the crowd. Her left hand was holding on a balloon, while the right was cotton candy.
"...... You are enjoying yourself really early."
"Well, I am waiting for you guys while enjoying myself. Ah, the balloon's for Yuto. Here's the pocket money as well - you can buy whatever you like."
"Yay! I like Eyri-nee the most!"
Having received the pocket money and the balloon, Yuto ran towards the stalls excitedly.
"Is it fine for Yuto to be alone? It will be bad if she gets lost."
Eyriey showed a confident smile:
"Don't underestimate me. There's a tracker attached to that balloon."
"...... So you have already expected her to get lost...... Forget it, it will be fine if we can get hold of her location."
Giving up on Yuto, who was already out of sight, Sheltis walked on with Eyriey.
Countless stalls were lined up along the two sides of the streets. Despite food and game stalls taking up more than half of the numbers, there were a few unique stalls around as well.
"Ah, Sheltis, look at that. There's a stall with a signboard that says, 'Helping you to find your lost items'."
"Probably a shinryoku spell that grants far-sight. It should not be a difficult spell if the area of effect is not too wide. Should be popular at festivals like these."
On the other side, was a temporary clinic set up by a shinryoku healer.
In this civilization where shinryoku and machines blend in harmony, the rapid mechanization may cause an illusion of a decline in shinryoku's usage, but in festivals like these, there are still remains of shinryoku deeply rooted into their culture.
"Oh right, Eyriey. How's it going?"
"Hmm? This cotton candy is delicious. Sheltis wanna try some?"
"I don't mean that......"
"I know, I know. You are talking about the message that I had left at Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, right?"
Her mindless speech in the crowd had caused Sheltis to be in quite a shock. However, there was no suspicious glares from nearby. In such a festive place, there should be no one who is interested in listening to the conversation of others.
"There's no action from Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> yet. Since it was left there only yesterday, plus the fact that Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> is busy preparing the ceremony of handover from the Queen to the Priestesses, there's not much hope to begin with - wasn't you the one who had said that, Sheltis?"
"Mmm...... you are right. Not to mention, this is all just my hunch."
He lifted his head and looked into the sky.
Blue and white. On the blue sphere of sky that reminds one of the deep seas, were clouds floating at a soothing pace. There is also chalk colored Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, that pierces through the clouds and the sky.
"Eyriey, isn't it time for the cannon salutes?"
When the Queen's praying period is over, the control of the barrier will be transferred to the Priestesses. At the same time, Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> will fire the cannon salutes, to signify the official start of the Stars Festival.
"...... Eh? That's strange."
The person who broke the silence was Eyriey.
"No, it just feels strange. It's already past the scheduled time for the cannon salutes."
She took a look at the clock located on top of the street light, and compared it with her own watch.
"Hmm? It's the same? My watch seems normal."
There was no cannon salutes. That meant the control of Hyouketsu Kyoukai had not been successfully transferred over. Logically speaking, that was something that will never happen. The maintenance of Hyouketsu Kyoukai is a huge ritual that is linked to the survival of the floating continent. At the very least, the time in regards to the handover should be flawlessly accurate.
Could it be that some accident had happened?
As he mumbled out the name of the girl who is already a Priestess, Sheltis looked towards the huge tower.