The sky bulged and dropped out our favorite group of travelers into what seemed to be a very joyous scene. Sakura, who had landed square in Kurogane's lap, twisted to look over her shoulder.
"I'm so sorry!" She said as she went to stand, but he grabbed her by the arm. "Wait a second…" He said quietly.
"What's wrong, Kurogane-san?" Syaoran asked as Fai, too, pressed him back down to the floor. "Do you hear-…?"
"DUCK!!!" Mokona screamed. The warm breeze swirled around them and a group of air scooters flew dangerously close over their head. Sakura yelped as Kurogane put her in a bear hug. Fai held Mokona between him and Syaoran, before glancing up at the motorists.
Kurogane fumed, "WATCH WHERE THE HELL YOU'RE GOING!" He yelled, as he helped Sakura up. "Sorry, dudes!" One of them screamed over their shoulder.
"What a welcome brigade…" Fai said brushing himself off, as he stood. Syaoran glanced around, "This looks almost like… that place on Piffle World? What was it called?"
The other four turned around to look around. They had landed in the middle of a very large building… with no ceiling to keep out the heated air. There were people everywhere. Coming from hexes on the floor or bulges in the sky, or just walking in. People hugging and crying, inviting loved ones home.
"It's an airport!" Sakura exclaimed excitedly, shielding her face from the setting sun. Syaoran took off her cloak and held it along with his. Even thought the sun was setting, it was rather hot outside. Fai smiled as a masked person walking on stilts leaned down and handed him a flyer.
"Welcome to Sydney's Crossing! You guys, oh! And gal…" He said smiling at Sakura as he lifted his mask. He was a handsome man, and there were clear smile wrinkles all over his face despite his apparent young age. "Ever been here before?"
Fai shook his head, blond hair flopping about. "Nope, We're just… world hopping." The man smiled wider and stood up higher.
"Is 'at so? We get quite a few of you guys this time of year. Well, but I assume you didn't know…" Kurogane grunted, "Know what?"
The man shouted to some one across the room, before returning his attention to the group. "You might melt out here, dressed like that! When it's you're first time here you get a free escort, at least for the fist day. She'll take you to an inn and answer you're questions… maybe take you to get some cooler clothes. That's not my job tonight." He added.
Some kids ran between the stilts and he put his mask back on. "The name's Noriko." Kurogane scoffed, "Noriko? Did your parents have a thing for sarcasm?"
Noriko smiled sweetly at him, "They must have known that I was going to meet some hot headed, smart-ass who would make a comment like that. So I guess they do."
Kurogane went to yell but Noriko continued. "Noriko, with no formalities if you please. Maybe I'll see you at the festival. 'Til then!" He said as he teetered off.
Syaoran took a step closer to Sakura as Noriko walked past. "Noriko... I wonder what festival-…?"
"That would be the Festival of Colors," Said a voice from behind them, nearly scaring them to death.
"Could you walk up to people like a normal person!?" Kurogane said angrily. The girl took off her mask revealing a pale childish face, and smiled. "Big man like you wasn't afraid of little of me, was he?"
Kurogane blushed, "I don't have eyes in the back of my head! How the hell was I supposed to know you there!?"
Sakura stepped in, "Are you the escort Noriko told us about?" The girl wasn't even as tall as her, she realized.
"Oh, yes. My name is Moriko Mizuki, but everyone calls me Yuki." She said bowing politely. Sakura smiled, "My name is Sakura, and this is Syaoran." She said also bowing. Yuki smiled at him, "Syaoran-san." She said waving.
Fai bowed generously, smiling at her. "Nice to meet you, Yuki. My name is Fai, this little creature here is Mokona and that grumpy looking man over there is Kurogane." He said.
She giggled, "He's cute!" Fai smiled "Mokona or the grumpy one?" Mokona hopped into her hands, "TeeHee, so is Yuki!" She allowed him to climb onto her shoulder.
"Follow me. I'll take you to the inn. We're pretty full this time of year, so I could only get two rooms…" They followed her out of the air port onto a busy street. There were more people on stilts, shop owners yelling advertisements, and people in costumes all over the place.
"Well, this is main street Crossing! It's normally busy, but even more so during Festival time." Sakura stepped up next to Yuki.
"This festival seems like a big deal!" She said glancing around. Yuki laughed and her mask slid around on her face, "I should say so! It's on New Years Eve!"
Fai stood up straighter, "When is that?" Yuki glanced over her shoulder. "Tomorrow. There's a carnival, and food stands everywhere. And the mask shops are in full swing."
She said, even though you couldn't see her face, you could tell she was excited. Fai turned to Kurogane, "Kuro-pon, we should go to the festival!" He said tugging at his sleeve. Kurogane swatted his hand away, "That is not my name! And why would I go anywhere with you?" He yelled.
Yuki laughed, "Actually, the carnival is quite popular among couples. We have a lot of proposals during the fair." Syaoran and Sakura smiled shyly, as Kurogane blushed. "COUPLES!? We are not a-…" Fai glomped him, "That's perfect!"
Yuki giggled, as Kurogane spun to get him off. "We also have the most weddings this time of year." She added slyly.
"What's the story behind that?" Syaoran said, feeling his inner historian come out.
"Well, oh!... Wait a moment, here we are!" She said turning into old fashioned door of a tavern. "Evening, Yuki!" the hefty bartender called, "These the visitors you called about?"
Yuki walked up and kissed his unshaved cheek, "Yup. Uncle Ayame, this is Sakura, Syaoran, Fai, Kurogane and Mokona." She said pointing respectively.
"Hi!" Mokona said from her shoulder. Ayame leaned on the counter, "And what, may I ask are you?" He said, smiling at Mokona, curiously. "Mokona is Mokona!" He auto responded, gleefully.
"Well, then…" Ayame laughed. "It's nice to meet you. Sorry we're really busy this time of year. You'll have to split the suite on the top floor."
Fai smiled, "That'll be fine, we're just grateful to have a room at all." Yuki gestured to the chairs by the unlit fireplace, "Uncle Ayame, they haven't herd the Festival of Colors story yet. Would you care to do the honors?"
Ayame hummed, "Sure, darlin'. But before that…" He placed a menu on the counter, showing a toothy grin. "Would you two gentlemen care for a drop?"