Title: Singing Down The Moon
Series: Rune Factory 3
In Kuruna's requests, it reveals that she doesn't think she's pretty. Shara has a habit of constantly going on about how cute other girls are, especially Kuruna.
Fic_promptly: Author's choice, author's choice, moonshine
Thanks to Jana for the beta :)
The soft sound of rain mixed with frog songs in the night. It was a cooling contrast, the rain against her skin in the warmth of the public bath. Shara sat near, weaving flowers into the bun Kuruna had temporarily taken on to keep her hair from getting into the bath—she had heard the salts and additives could make her hair dry, or at least that was what Shara had said before. The desert wind already made her hair dry enough as it was; she certainly doesn't need to help it along.
Monica had already gone to bed, and they were the only patrons left in the bath. Just themselves and the velvet quiet of the night. Sometimes Shara's hand slipped and touched her neck instead of her hair, and her fingers were surprisingly soft and warm against her wet skin. Kuruna smelled like Shara now, full of spring flowers. It was toyherb this time, twisted up into a flower crown.
"You're making me look like a bride," Kuruna said.
"You should. You'd be the prettiest bride," Shara said. "Can you imagine, going through the flower fields like that?"
Kuruna felt her pulse go a little faster. "Really, you're so silly...and I can't say that I do, I'm afraid I've never seen these fields," Kuruna said.
"Whaaat? You haven't seen the flower field? We have to fix this! But when morning comes, because all the flowers are sleeping now. It would be a shame to wake them."
She was so whimsical, it brought a smile to Kuruna's face. "Of course, I wouldn't want to wake them."
"Ahh, I think I'm too hot. I'm feeling a little dizzy," Shara said.
"A-Are you all right?" Kuruna said.
"Mmm? I just stayed in a little too long. Still, it feels so good, it's a shame to leave."
Shara came out of the bath languidly and reluctantly. Water dripped off of her as she slowly dried off.
Kuruna awkwardly looked away and dried off herself. Her heart was beating fast because she stayed too long in the bath. Really. That was all.
At the edge of town, at the edge of the settlement, they both paused. The moon was full and bright, as white as winter snow.
"I guess this is goodbye for now," Shara said. "But I'll see you again tomorrow, right?"
But did it have to end? The rain had stopped, leaving the ground damp under her feet. Each step left an indentation, a footprint memory.
"I know it is late, but perhaps you can walk with me a while?" Kuruna said. "I want to show you something."
"It's awful late, but..." Shara wavered a moment. Finally, she made her decision. "Yes, just let me tell Grandpa I'll be out late!"
She ran off, the veils in her hair bobbing, flower scent in her wake. Kuruna waited at the edge of the hornless settlement. And to think, just a year ago, this would've been something she wouldn't never have considered. Friendship with a hornless girl? Preposterous. Now, she couldn't imagine her life without fishing trips and days spent together. Shara was such a bright spot in her life, so full of hope and lightness.
After a long day of making decisions for the settlement, it was a relief to lay down her burdens as an elder and be a normal girl for a while.
When Shara returned, she smiled. Shara simply brought it out of her, happiness bubbling up as if she'd been thoroughly enchanted.
"Are you ready to go?" Shara said.
"I was just about to ask the same," Kuruna said.
It wasn't far to the sand dunes. No monsters ever came here, and it was far enough from the cliffs to be safe from the falling rocks which kept any traveler constantly on guard. The stars spread out for miles, as far as the eye could see. Ondorus could read the stars, name the both the hornless and Univir constellations, but Kuruna had never memorized them.
She sat down on the cool, damp sand. She should've brought a blanket, she thought.
"This is my favorite place," Kuruna said. She took a deep breath of the cool night air as they stared up at a sky cluttered with so many stars.
"I can see why, it's really gorgeous," Shara said.
Shara's hand rested on hers, warm against the coolness of the night. The harshness of the desert seemed softer with Shara near; less harsh, and more beautiful. The thought of a life without Shara in it was too painful to even contemplate.
It was fleeting thought. She buried it, frowning more at herself than Shara.
"Is something wrong?" Shara said.
"N-no! But I believe that as elder, I need to return and go to bed. I have many duties to attend to tomorrow, you see," Kuruna said.
"Okay, see you tomorrow. Don't forget about our date, now," Shara said.
But Shara was already leaving, one hand lifted in a wave as she headed back towards the settlement.
Kuruna blushed in a way unbefitting the elder of the settlement. She tried to recapture her composure all the way home, with little luck.
Shara showed up before noon. In the desert, this was a time for rest, but the hornless did not take such precautions—with their temperate, fertile home, they hardly needed to.
"Oh, did I come when you were sleeping again? I keep forgetting about the napping...it's such a good idea, though."
"It's no problem. These days Zaid is often skipping out on the midday rest," Kuruna said.
"He's good at skipping out on things, huh?" Shara said.
"That he is," Kuruna said.
Shara laughed, and motioned her forwards. "Let's get going."
It wasn't a long trip past the few buildings, and the strange rainbow painted abode of Daria that they came to the flower field. Kuruna let out a long gasp when she first saw it. She turned around, taking in the color and scent of the place. It was so lush and beautiful. In all her years of living in the desert, she was unused to this much verdant growth all around her.
All this time, Shara had been watching her, and slowly braiding a crown of flowers. Now she put it on Kuruna's head.
"So this is where your town practices its marriage ceremony?" Kuruna said.
"Yup! Isn't it beautiful? Monica and I tend to it all the time," Shara said. "Maybe you'll even get married here."
"Oh, I hardly think that would be right—" Kuruna protested.
Shara reached out to pat her arm. "Oh, I insist. This is your homeland, too. It should've been years ago, I'm just sad it took us so long to make amends between our people," Shara said.
"It was both sides, I realize that now. For all the hornless had wronged us, I held to a bitterness. I thought you little more than monsters," Kuruna said.
"I'm just glad that it's over and you're my friend now. Just imagine all those years I had to go without you around."
Kuruna stepped out, the flowers grazing against her as she did.
"The flowers look very happy today. Probably because such a pretty girl is walking through them," Shara said.
"Then they're very lucky to get to see you every day," Kuruna said.
"I was talking about you, silly!"
"M-me? What are you even talking about? I'm not pretty at all—it isn't nice to tease," Kuruna said. She glowered at Shara.
"Who told you that? Was Zaid being mean? I'll have to go teach him a lesson," Shara said.
"Of course not, I am the leader, not even he would disrespect me," Kuruna said. "Honestly, it's not like anyone had to tell me. It's quite apparent."
"Quite apparent? Anyone with eyes can see you're the prettiest girl around," Shara said.
She was surprised by the feel of Shara's embrace, so sudden and warm about her. Kuruna blushed as pink as the flowers in the field.
"H-hardly, you're being ridiculous!" Kuruna said.
"You're the one who's being ridiculous. You're gorgeous. I can't believe nobody's ever told you that before. I'd marry you in an instant."
Her heart was beating so fast. Sometimes she couldn't tell if Shara was teasing or not. She was starting to feel utterly giddy—very unbecoming for an elder of the village.
"An instant?" Kuruna said.
"Less than an instant. A half-instant. I'd snap you up before anyone else could."
"Honestly, Shara, that's not a funny joke."
"Who says I'm joking?" Shara said. She held Kuruna a little closer, and Kuruna tried to catch her breath. She was blushing so much, and the embrace felt so right.
"Did you just propose to me?" Kuruna said.
"Would you marry me if I asked you?" Shara said.
"I...didn't even know we were dating," Kuruna said.
Shara giggled. "Life's funny like that. You think you found your best friend, and then you realize that you were dating all along and she was meant to be your wife!"
"I can think of nothing that would make me happier than being with you for the rest of my life," Kuruna said.
"You took the words right out of her mouth," Shara said.
They held tight, eyes misty and laughing, still so new to what had been there between them all along.