75.2 The Last Visitor of the Year
“Fuun, in that case, let’s go take a look.”
“Nntto, Priscilla will be happy if there is food.”
Are dumplings more precious than flowers? Mistral and I again laugh.
“Eetto, let’s see. Even with all this, I don’t think the dining area is open anymore. However, the main road should be filled with food stalls. Tasty food can be found there.”
“Great, great, let’s hurry.”
Priscilla-chan leads me along by pulling my hand without delay. Her, Mistral, and I thus walk down the dark, evening, street.
Even though walking down a street at night is normally scary, Mistral and Priscilla-chan don’t show any sign of being scared. Then again, this is probably less scary than the forest or Dragon’s Peak.
The main street can be reached from my house. Priscilla-chan heads there without any doubt.
Gradually, more people going back and forth begin to appear. By the time we reach the main street, it is packed with people.
“Even though there were many people at the second capital, this is also incredible.”
Mistral gasps out in wonder at the flow of people moving about.
“I think there will be even more later tonight. Everyone wants to enter the new year at the temple.”
“To see those rare things?”
“There’s that too, but it’s more like we’re all devoted believers.”
No doubt Mistral and Priscilla-chan, due to not having religions, can’t understand that sort of explanation. Still, for us of the Human Tribe, paying reverence to the Megami-sama of Creation is an important task. That’s why, on both important days and special occasions we naturally feel the need to go to the temple.
“The next time I see Ruiseine, I’ll ask her about religion.”
“Un, I’m certain she’d be enthusiastic to teach you.”
“I hope she goes easy on me.”
Mistral makes a wry smile.
“Nntto, can smell meat.”
Priscilla-chan pushes her way through a crowd of people and heads for a stall as fast as she can.
How hungry is that stomach?
Mistral and I, in a fluster, take Priscilla-chan’s hands. We then head to the stall selling meat. Afterwards, as we head for the temple, we stop at various stalls with enticing aromas. Priscilla-chan, carrying meat, fried corn, and a steamed potato in her hands, is satisfied.
“As I thought, it’s still early.”
Although the main street is crowded with people, the plaza before the temple still doesn’t have that many within it. Nevertheless, many people had gathered before a stage setup in front of the temple entrance.
“This… is the rare thing Ernea spoke of?”
Mistral is so deeply moved, her eyes are wide open as she asks me that.
“Fufufu, what do you think?”
Priscilla-chan has also stopped eating.
Mistral and Priscilla-chan are staring at the stage before the temple. Shine maidens and priests perform the kagura, a god’s entertainment.
The dancing shrine maidens wear extra clothing on top of their wonderful and beautiful garments that are like the one Ruiseine usually wears. Striking the drums and bells are priests. The shrine maidens match the beautiful and marvelous tone with gentle dancing.
“Nntto, where’s Ruiseine.”
Priscilla-chan starts looking around for Ruiseine. The shrine maiden garments seem to have reminded her of her.
“My, my, well, well, everyone is together.”
Then, Ruiseine appears from the crowd of people.
In a fluster, I catch Priscilla-chan just as she is about to jump forward. If she were to hug Ruiseine now while her hands are full of food, Ruiseine would scream.
“Yes, I am Ruiseine.”
“You don’t have your naginata today?”
Mistral notices that the long item Ruiseine carries is different from usual.
“Yes, I have a khakkhara for tonight.”
Sharan, Ruiseine jingles the khakkhara within her hand. The countless beautiful bells ornamenting the khakkhara’s tip give off a clear chime.
“Nntto, Ruiseine isn’t dancing?” (Priscilla)
“Fufufu, because I am a war shine maiden, my duty is to patrol.” (Ruiseine)
“I wonder, do those people performing up there specialize in dancing?” (Mistral)
“No, the shrine maiden presenting the kagura are senior shrine maiden-sama. Today and tomorrow are precious for they are the only times their kagura can be seen.” (Ruiseine)
“By the way, this dance is going to continue for three days and three nights.” (Ernea)
Mistral is shocked at my supplement.
“Ah, of course, the dancers will be rotated along the way.” (Ernea)
“…I suppose so. They’ll have to or their strength won’t last.” (Mistral)
“Fufufu, how fun and enviable.” (Ruiseine)
“Uuugh, sorry.” (Ernea)
Ruiseine, due to being on duty, can’t join us. That makes me reflect on our festiveness.
“Tonight, I am on duty, so it cannot be helped. However, please make it up to me next time.” (Ruiseine)
“Un, absolutely.” (Ernea)
“Nntto, to Priscilla too.”
“No, Priscilla-chan is together with us tonight. That’s different.” (Ernea)
“In that case, I too will tag along.” (Mistral)
“My, my, well, well, if it is like this, I feel like I am the one losing out.” (Ruiseine)
Ruiseine gives me a troubled look.
Uuugh, what should I do at a time like this.
“Well then, miss, back to work with you.”
With those words, Mistral drives Ruiseine away.
“Aah, Mist-san, so mean.”
Ruiseine disappears within the crowd of people at Mistral pushing her away.
“Alright, with this that hindrance…”
Mistrals muttering something disturbing gets a wry laugh from me.
While we’re deep in conversation, the plaza before the temple fills with a crowd of people. That, our coming when we did earlier may have been the correct choice. Even though we came too early, that allowed us to find a space near the stage.
“Should we watch a bit longer?”
Worried, maybe they’re getting bored, I try asking.
Priscilla-chan in particular seemed like she was getting bored and might start something, but the two of them are earnestly watching the kagura. Neither the village of the Dragon Tribesmen nor the village of the Long Eared Tribe have such customs or events. Maybe that’s why they’re captivated with interest.
I decide to also carefully watch the kagura together with everyone. It is different from my Dragon Sword Dance.
The movements of the dancing shrine maiden-sama are graceful and deliberate. The bells, flutes, and drums aren’t being played in a modern style, but with a peculiar characteristic inherited from ancient times long ago. Listening to it fills me with a sense of marvel.
Priscilla-chan seems to have remembered about her food. Her mouth is moving, mogu mogu, but she’s watching the kagura with great interest.
T/N: I wonder why it is that they don’t have their own form of religion? Could it be that only humans are pious? Their priests have holy power, so that seems to be a point in a goddess existing.
 Megami = Goddess
 Kagura = god’s entertainment. It refers to a specific type of Shinto theatrical dance.
 a Buddhist ringed staff used primarily in prayer or as a weapon. The jingling of the staff’s rings is used to warn small sentient beings (i.e. insects) to move from the carrier’s path and avoid being accidentally trodden on.