The streets bustled with new people. What was normally a quiet little town had now turned into a gallery of creative genius. Craftsmen from all over had come to the fair to sell their goods and Zen was no different.
It had been two months today since Orchie had found peace. Though she missed him terribly she knew now that he had been long gone since that day. The only way to save his life was to steal him from her. Her eyes cast down as she tried not to think about it. She needed to talk to customers and be happy. If she couldn't do those things, no matter how beautiful her masks were, no one would buy them. Instead they would go to someone else and she couldn't afford that right now. When she looked up again she met with something a little unexpected.
"Such lovely blonde hair and such a nice length. But why so sad?"
Zen made a loud squeak, a sound she didn't think anything but mice could make, as she fell back against her stand. Luckily for her the masks were undamaged - unlike her pride. Her cheeks flushed as she tried to compose herself and looked at the strange patron. She looked like a little girl and without her large hat she was definitely at least a head shorter than her. "U-Um.." she said trying to answer, advertise, something to distract from the strange closeness.
"You're not busy are you?"
"Huh?" she said and looked at her shop. "Busy? O-Oh yes! I'm a craftsman here."
The strange girl blinked and looked behind her as if seeing the masks for the first time. She had been so fixated on the hair that she hadn't even noticed her creations. Her eyes widened slowly as she moved to Zen's side and picked one up.
"You...made these?" she asked, holding one that was covered with sheet music and fun designs.
Zen nodded in response and smiled. "I liked that one too. It was fun to make," she said. Her interesting client now seemed so fixated by all of them.
"You made them all by hand?"
"...But there are so many!"
The taller girl giggled at this as she went behind the counter. "They don't take too long. Besides it's fun for me," she said and knelt down. There was a mask this girl reminded her of. When she found it she stood back up again. "Here try this," she said and handed it to the girl. As she struggled to put it on Zen came from behind the counter again. Her hands came closer to the girl's face, silently asking for her permission to help, the girl blushed but nodded letting the master take over. The mask maker moved closer to put on the mask properly. When the eccentric tried to remove her hat she stopped her. "No it'll match," she said, "Your hat is what made me think of it."
Her customer blushed and seemed confused by this but complied, letting the owner of the mask work her magic. When the mask was on she took a step back to see how it looked. The mask was green and purple, exactly like her hat, and covered in strange eyes. If she remembered correctly this mask had actually been based off of a strange nightmare that had scared her half to death. Though the mask was scarey to her it seemed much kinder when worn by such a sweetheart. The wig maker blinked as Zen continued watching. She realized she had been lost in thought she quickly regained herself and pulled out a small compact mirror she had with her. Her patron seemed rather astonished but pleased by how the mask looked. "This is..."
"Do you like it?" Zen asked. The girl nodded in response. "Then keep it," she said and took her hands. "It suites you much more than me. Just promise you'll tell your friends where you got it?"
She nodded but now was fixated on their hands. "Will you...come by my shop later? After the festival of course."
"You have a shop?" She nodded again. Zen paused a moment then nodded. "Of course I will. Where are you?"
"By the fountain. It's a small cart but I promise you won't miss it," she said and smiled. "I'll see you at sunset."
"Good da-" before she could finished the smaller girl had vanished in the crowd. A smile appeared on her face as she turned back to her shop. Though she had been interesting it was clear that the girl had sweet intentions. Wait! Even though she had been at her shop for a good long while, and her first costumer at that, she hadn't even gotten her name! "Oh Zen!" she said feeling frustrated with herself. Why did she have to be so forgetful sometimes? Though she had really been caught off guard. That was the first time someone had been so close to her, especially when they first met.
Finally the sun started to set and her last client was leaving. After sundown the performers would come out and start their main portion of the festival. Though they had performed all day they could now be the main focus, and the artisans could enjoy them as well.
When Zen had secured everything she made her way towards the fountain. She had made quite a profit today, maybe her friend had sent some buyers her way. That would have been very kind of her. She tried to tell her patrons of a shop down by the fountain but she didn't actually know what she sold. All she could assume was that it was something to do with hair since she had been quite fixated on hers.
The fountain came into view and she gasped at the sight. A small cart full of beautiful, colorful, and peculiar wigs. Zen's pace quickened as she came over to the cart and started looking around. She lifted her hand to touch them but then retreated. Touching someone else's work without their permission was rude - even if no one else was around.
"Welcome, it's nice to see you again."
Zen squeaked yet again from surprise this time almost falling over. Her heart raced as she looked over at the shop owner trying not to look guilty. "I-I didn't-" she started but then relaxed when she saw who it was. "I-I'm sorry," she said, "They're really lovely though. Did you make them?"
In response the girl nodded and smiled amused by her shy antics. "Did you get a lot of costumers?" she said the mask from earlier still on her face.
"Yes! Thank you," Zen said. "I'm sure I wouldn't have without your help."
There was silence between them for a moment as she started to become more flustered. She didn't know what it was about this wig maker that made her feel so meek when she was already shy enough. "O-Oh! I never introduced myself earlier, my name is Zen," she said with a sweet smile, though her cheeks were still pink. "What's your name?"
The wig maker blinked as the mask hid her response. Slowly she took off her means for hiding carefully laying it on the cart. "Heuller," she said looking flustered, "Is my name..It's nice to meet you Zen," she said as she bowed.
"Heuller," she said with a smile. It was such an interesting name for such an interesting girl. Though she felt shy she really liked being around her. She was really sweet. "Would you like to go to the festival with me?"
Heuller was about to respond when something happened. There was something in the shadows behind her and she knew it was after her. Hopefully it wasn't that big cow again, but regardless of what it was she couldn't let Zen get involved. Not when she had finally made another friend. Her eyes widened slightly when she heard Zen's question. The festival? She had heard everyone talking about it today. The performers, music, dancing, and all kinds of other wonderful spectacles. It would be wonderful but she couldn't cause a scene. A sad smile appeared on her face as she shook her head. "I...can't," she said.
Zen looked at her but then smiled faintly. "I understand," she said with a nod. "May I see you again? Tomorrow maybe?" she asked hopeful. The festival was all weekend after all, it wouldn't be too much to ask to see her again.
"Maybe," she said softer and looked down. She felt someone holding her hands and when she looked she could feel them being squeezed. Without another word Heuller felt comforted. She felt safe and accepted by this individual. Just like that time so long ago. Would it really be stolen from her again?
Zen moved to let go, to leave, but she didn't know if she could let that happen. Heuller squeezed her hands a little tighter and pulled her down just a little. She remembered when Rodin did this and how warm it made her feel. Maybe she could share some of that warmth with her. When she was close enough Heuller pressed her lips against the taller girl softly. She could feel her cheeks lighting up but she didn't really care.
As her cheeks started to feel as though they were on fire she decided it was best to let go. Zen was also blushing but it seemed much cuter on her. Both of them didn't say anything but they didn't really need to. Zen hadn't let go of the smaller wig maker's hands, but now she had to. Part of her somehow knew that this was Heuller's goodbye, that she needed to leave now. "I hope I see you again soon," she said. With that she finally let go and walked towards the festival lights.
"I hope to see you soon too," she said with a smile, "Zen." With that her shop seemed to vanish into thin air as if it had never existed.