All Splendor's Eve
Miku woke up angry.
It’s never a good thing when you wake up angry. It just sort of sets the tone for the rest of the day, doesn’t it? It’s like just because you felt that way when you woke up, you’re destined to feel that way until you go to sleep again.
The phrase “never go to bed angry” also comes to mind, but that’s exactly what Miku had done the previous night. She had gone to bed angry, and she woke up still angry.
That’s not to say that she didn’t have a very good reason for being angry though. In light of current national events, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who thought her anger wasn’t justified (Unless that person happened to be a member of the NAVT, of course). Quarantine the Vocaloids? What kind of sick joke was this? Yes, Miku Hatsune had a right to be in this unhappy state and beans to anyone who thought otherwise.
And so it was that with a scowl on her face Miku got out of bed (angrily), walked down the hallway (annoyed), and into the kitchen to see about breakfast (which she would then brood over while eating). Or at least she would have, had her path not been blocked by a certain pink-haired Vocaloid master who was, at the present time, dancing and singing in a manner most jolly.
”To you to you good fortune be brought! For All Splendor’s Eve is here! Let laughter and merriment into your heart, and come and be of good cheer!”
On any other day, Miku probably would have cared that her master was prancing about the house like an idiot, but her current emotional state rendered her unable to give even one rat’s ass about it.
“Good morning” she grunted, and proceeded to shuffle towards the fridge.
But even with her anger so prevalent, she couldn’t help but notice that something was off. She couldn’t place it, but she was sure that there was something wrong with the scene in front of her. Everything seemed normal, Luka being a freak, decorations all over the place, festive music playing over the stereo; she couldn’t put her finger on it (because clearly those things are all normal, right?). Then she glanced at the clock and it clicked.
It was past ten in the morning! They should have been outside training over 4 hours ago! She spun around and pointed an accusing finger at Luka.
“Hey! What’s the big idea! Weren’t we supposed to be stepping up my training?”
Luka didn’t miss a beat with her reply.
“It’s the day of giving!” she stated as if everyone ought to know about it.
Miku took a closer look at the scene before her. Everything was wrong! Luka was being a freak, there were decorations all over the place, and festive music was playing over the stereo! Had the house gone mad between yesterday and today? Well, maybe Luka acting like an idiot wasn’t that unusual, but this time she wasn’t doing it on purpose.
“Right…” she replied, “Day of giving… sure…”
Suddenly Luka froze. Then she let out a noise halfway between a gasp and a squeak. In an instant she was inches away from Miku’s face.
“I can’t believe I forgot!” she said, barely suppressing her excitement, “I didn’t tell you about All Splendor’s Eve, did I?”
Miku’s response was an expression that was a combination of annoyance and disbelief. She supposed it shouldn’t surprise her by now. It was just easier to go along with these things when they happened.
“No. No you did not.” She said, knowing that Luka was going to explain it to her anyways.
“Oooohhhh yay!” said Luka, making that noise again, “Let me tell you all about it!”
“All Splendors Eve is a holiday from my country” she began, “It lasts three days and it’s the best thing in the world! Today is the first day: the day of giving. Tomorrow is the day of feasting, and the last day is All Splendor’s Eve, or the day of thankfulness. Oh yeah! I almost forgot! Here!”
She produced a colorfully wrapped package and handed it to Miku. Hey! Maybe this wasn’t such a weird situation after all! Any holiday where gifts were involved was ok by Miku. And had she said something about a day of feasting? This was sounding better and better! She was about to open her present when Luka stopped her.
“Ah! Not yet! Today is just the day of giving the presents. You don’t get to open them until the last day.”
Ok, that was just stupid.
“Don’t worry though!” she continued before Miku could protest, “There’s plenty of other things to do while you wait! Come help me decorate!”
She led Miku into the living room.
Miku’s blood froze. Anger welled up inside of her. There was a tree. A tree! In the house! It wasn’t a pine tree, rather a short, stubby, bush-like thing that Luka grew in pots out back, but it was still a tree damn it. So, we meet again she thought, her eyes narrowing.
But as much as she still wanted revenge on trees everywhere, she had to admit that this particular tree looked pretty good with the decorations Luka had put on it. There were shiny streamers and little animal ornaments adorning it as well as some cool strings of… hold on… what on earth? Those weren’t normal lights. They weren’t connected to any cord; they were just sort of… floating there. She asked Luka about them.
“Oh, I made them!” she replied, “I’ll show you how if you want.”
Miku did want. Very much so.
An hour later Miku had to admit that she was starting to enjoy this whole “All Splendor’s Eve” thing just a little. She had even managed to learn a song or two and was happily singing them along with Luka. The room now looked like either the lighting section of a hardware store, or a club. After learning the light-orb making technique from Luka, she had gone a little overboard. They were incredibly easy to make, requiring only minimal focus and a simple melody to create, and Luka said they stayed lit for days.
Miku wondered why Luka didn’t just use bigger versions of these to light the house but she quickly learned that once they were made, it was really hard to turn them off. Since the energy had left her control, she couldn’t regain dominion over it. Luka could do it, given time, but that was only because she was very experienced and had practiced a lot. She could not, however, turn off the ones Miku made since she didn’t know her energy signature well enough yet.
The little orbs also had a tendency to float around a lot. They carried no force at all so you could hold them and move them yourself, but they were so light that stray air currents moved them all over the room. Luka could make hers stick to things but the technique for that was more advanced and Miku hadn’t been able to get it. So now the living room looked like it was full of fairies, not that either of them minded.
“So it’s basically Christmas, only in the summer?” asked Miku, “Only it lasts three days and there’s no Santa?”
“Santa?” said Luka, looking confused.
“You know, Santa Claus? Fat guy, red suit, drives a flying sleigh?”
Luka’s expression didn’t change.
“Never mind” Miku changed the subject. “It feels like there should be snow.”
“It’s winter this time of year in Lucentia” said Luka. Suddenly she got a faraway sort of expression like she was daydreaming. “Right about now all the buildings would be dusted with white, the children would be playing in the streets, having snowball fights and making snow animals (Snowniigasen). It’s a truly wondrous sight.” She sighed a little. Miku could tell that she missed her home a lot sometimes.
Miku got an idea.
“Could you possibly… you know… just make some snow?” she asked, wondering if there was some sort of super advanced Vocaloid technique that would allow one to do that.
“Not even I can control the weather, Miku” replied Luka, “Still, just because there isn’t any snow doesn’t mean that we can’t still celebrate, right?”
It didn’t mean they couldn’t still celebrate, but Miku still thought snow would make it a lot cooler. Pun intended.
They spent the remainder of the day decorating the rest of the house, singing, and laughing. By the time she went to sleep that night, Miku had decided that All Splendors Eve was one of her favorite holidays.
The next morning Miku awoke with one of her light-orbs on her face and several more floating in various locations around her room. Those things were everywhere now.
As she shook off the sense-dampening effects of sleep, Miku noticed that there was an enticing aroma in the air. It smelled like… food? Wait a second… Luka said today was the day of… Oh hell yes.
Miku jumped out of bed and didn’t even bother changing into her daywear (she was still sleeping in extra pairs of Luka’s pajamas. The pink color of the clothes wasn’t her style, and they were too big for her (especially around the chest), but she was too excited by the prospect of a day entirely devoted to food to care at the moment.
Miku practically ran to the kitchen in her eagerness. What she saw upon arriving nearly made her explode. Luka was wearing her flowery apron and listening to her music (nothing unusual there), but it was the scene around her that had Miku salivating.
Every available surface was covered with different food-related items. There were cans and packages littering the countertops. The oven was on and Miku could see some sort of roasting animal inside. Appliances were whirring, water was running, and meat was sizzling. The smell was heavenly. Miku could only imagine the spread such preparation would produce.
At that moment, Miku could have died happy. It was like she was in a dream. Was it weird that she dreamed about eating? Probably not. Even if it was, Miku didn’t care.
She walked up and tapped Luka on the shoulder. Luka spun around and her eyes lit up. Taking off her headphones she wrapped Miku in a hug.
“Happy day of feasting!” She said happily.
Ok… awkward. That’s enough hugging now… really… alright this is starting to get uncomfortable.
“Yeah… happy day of feasting to you too…” said Miku, not sure how to react.
Luka seemed to notice her discomfort and immediately released her.
“Oh dear. I’m sorry. That’s the customary embrace of friendship” she said, scratching her head and looking apologetic, “You’re supposed to give hugs to everyone on this day back home. People stop each other in the streets for it.”
That… sounded strange, to say the least. People hugging each other all over the place didn’t sound like a good time to Miku, but that’s probably because she wasn’t the kind of person who liked to talk about friendship and love and sappy stuff like that. A whole day of hugging would be a nightmare for her.
Seeing her discomfort, Luka changed the subject.
“So… care to help?” she asked, gesturing around at the kitchen, “I’d be glad to let you try your hand at it, but you should probably go get dressed first.”
Miku took to cooking like a fish to… well, not water… more like sand… she was bad at it. After she burned her third attempt at frying some vegetables, Luka took over again. She advised Miku to go wander around for a while. Perhaps go outside, far, far away from the kitchen.
“But don’t touch the pit while you’re out there!” Luka said as Miku left by way of the back door.
Pit? What pit? There hadn’t been a pit out back before…
And then she saw it.
There was a pig. A whole pig roasting in a fire pit dug into the ground. Had that been there before? Miku was sure it hadn’t. In fact, she was sure that it hadn’t been there the previous day. When did Luka find the time to do any of the things she did? Did she even sleep?
Shaking herself out of her thoughts, Miku realized that wandering around for several hours was the kind of thing that was boring. She didn’t like boring. Boring was her enemy.
Then she got an idea. That sounds like a good waste of a few hours she thought to herself.
By the time Luka went outside to tell Miku that it was finally time to eat, she was very surprised that Miku hadn’t managed to break something. In fact, she hadn’t heard a sound from the outside since that morning. It was beginning to get dark.
The sight that greeted her eyes was one of the most beautiful things she had even seen.
Over the course of the day, Miku had apparently taken on the task of insuring that the outside looked the same as the inside. And she had done it the only way she knew how.
There were thousands of them. Light orbs, that is. They were everywhere. They floated around in the air like fireflies, got tangled up in the foliage of trees, and gathered in drifts at the base of the house. They looked a lot like… snowflakes. Glowing, luminescent snowflakes. If it hadn’t been for the temperature, Luka may have believed they were. The scene brought a tear to her eyes. She was sure that Miku hadn’t done it intentionally, but the sight before her stirred memories of a happier time. She felt that this was the most special All Splendors Eves she had experienced in a long time.
Miku appeared around the side of the house, absentmindedly batting around one of the orbs between her hands. She looked up and saw Luka and a smile broke out on her face. She began walking towards her.
“Well it’s about time!” she said, “I was beginning to think you’d forgotten about m…..”
She was cut off by a hug.
The feast was beyond description. The fact that it was for only two people didn’t make it any less impressive. Everything had turned out perfectly. They had understandably been unable to bring the whole roasted pig inside, but there was so much meat from it that it hardly mattered. Luka had taken care of the preparations all by herself. She had offered to let Miku do it, and she had been all too willing at first. However, when it came to the actual “cutting it open” part, Miku discovered that she was just a tad squeamish.
Every inch of the table was covered with one delectable dish or another. Miku decided that she had never been happier than she was at that exact moment. With that much food, how could she not be? The sheer amount of it was staggering. Undeterred, she vowed to eat until she passed out. And let no one be misled: after the eating was done, there was a sizeable chunk missing from the initial spread. There was also a considerable amount of work to be done cleaning dishes and storing leftovers, all of which was left to Luka, since Miku did in fact achieve her goal of being unconscious at the end of the meal. Luka didn’t mind though. She was just happy to have some company after so many years of spending this holiday alone.
She pulled the curtains covering the kitchen window aside and gazed outside. Miku’s lightshow was still in full force, as it would be for the next few days. Luka smiled, feeling like she was the luckiest person on earth. She then mentally chided herself for thinking that she deserved to be lucky. There were still plenty of sins she had to atone for.
It was happening slowly. Too slowly for Luka to realize it. But steadily, the walls she had erected around herself over the past twelve years of solitude were beginning to crumble.
The Next Morning
Miku awoke feeling full and happy. It occurred to her that she was no longer angry as she had been two days previously. She was still pissed at the situation at hand, certainly, but that lingering feeling of crossness had left her. In its place was a newfound sense of contentment. She was back to her usual self. No longer did that dark cloud loom over her head.
It wasn’t too hard to feel happy though, considering the events of the past two days. This weird foreign holiday was a laugh and a half. She couldn’t recall having enjoyed herself more in a long time.
She remembered something Luka had said to her.
“Ah! Not yet! Today is just the day of giving the presents. You don’t get to open them until the last day.”
Hold on a minute she thought, today is the last day.
What was she still doing in bed? There was a present to open! She could imagine what Gumi would say, seeing her getting this excited over a present. She wasn’t a kid anymore, after all.
Totally wasn’t going to stop her though.
When she burst into the living room, expecting music and a dancing Luka, what she found instead was just about the opposite.
Luka was there, but she wasn’t dancing, and the room was completely silent. Luka was knelt on the floor in front of a large framed picture. She looked like she was deep in thought, contemplating the photograph in front of her. Miku suddenly felt rather like she was intruding on something private.
However, when Luka looked up to find the source of the noise disrupting her vigil, she smiled.
“Good morning. Happy All Splendors Eve Miku.” She said.
“Am I… interrupting something?” Miku asked.
“Oh not at all” said Luka, “Today is All Splendors Eve, or the day of thankfulness. This is when we remember all the things we’re thankful for, as well as remember those who mean the most to us.”
Miku looked at the photograph. It was of a much younger looking Luka side by side with a white-haired woman who looked to be about the same age and had one arm around Luka’s shoulder, flashing a peace sign at the camera with a mischievous smile on her face. Behind them stood a statuesque man with his long purple hair tied back in a ponytail and an ornate sheath strapped to his waist. He was looking at the camera with a pleasant smile on his face.
“So… that’s her then? Your friend I mean.” Said Miku, looking at the picture.
Luka’s smile faltered a little but it held. There was a hint of sadness in her voice.
“Yeah, that’s Haku.” She offered lamely. She wasn’t sure what to say.
She was right thought Miku I really do look a lot like her.
“So… what are we supposed to do on All Splendors Eve?” asked Miku.
“Oh! There’s a ton of stuff!” said Luka, eager to clear the awkwardness in the air, “There’s singing and dancing and drinking… basically the usual festivities. At night, we hold a candlelight vigil and say a prayer to the Gods thanking them for our good fortune and humbly asking for calm seas and fair weather for the future.”
“I think I’ll leave the drinking to you. You seem to do enough of it for the both of us” joked Miku, eliciting a chuckle from Luka.
The remainder of the morning and most of the afternoon and evening were spent exactly as Luka had suggested: singing, dancing, eating (yes, Miku was hungry again), and generally having a good time. It wasn’t until about eight o’ clock that Luka noticed the time.
“Oh wow, where did the day go?” she said, “Oi! Miku!”
Miku looked up from where she had her head in the fridge (seriously, did that girl EVER stop eating?). Seeing that she had her attention Luka went on to say:
“Remember that thing I mentioned this morning? Yeah, it’s time for that so get your butt over here.”
“The candle thing?” asked Miku, still holding a piece of pie on a plate.
“Candlelight vigil” Luka corrected her, “And yes. This is the most important tradition of All Splendors Eve. You’ve got people in your life who you’re thankful for, right? Well this is the time where you thank the divines that you’ve been blessed with such fortune.”
Miku was instructed to kneel and bow her head respectively. Silence fell. Miku found it a little uncomfortable, but then again, that was probably just because she wasn’t used to it. She glanced over at Luka, who was in the same kneeling position and was whispering a prayer under her breath.
The silence stretched on. Miku thought about the people in her life that mattered to her. The only person she could think of right off the bat was Gumi, her best friend in the world, but as she thought harder it occurred to her that Luka now fell into the category of people who were important to her as well. She had only been with her for barely two months but Luka was already someone who she thought of as precious to her.
Being absorbed in her thoughts, Miku didn’t notice that Luka was staring back at her. She reddened and looked away when she realized the awkwardness of situation.
“I was just uh…” she said sheepishly. Luka cut her off.
“It’s ok, I understand” said Luka, “And it means more to me than you know.” Miku could tell that she meant it.
Luka was touched. She hadn’t ever thought that she could have someone as a friend ever again. She had expected to be alone for the rest of her life, but Miku had changed all that. But at the same time that she felt blessed, this newfound friendship also made her nervous. Miku trusted her. It wasn’t hard to believe, Miku was a trusting person who liked to see the good in people, but if she trusted her, then there was the chance that Luka could let her down, and that was what frightened her. If she made the same mistake again, she wasn’t sure she could recover a second time.
Now Luka was the one staring. She shook herself back to reality.
“So… how about that present now?” she said.
Miku was all too happy to oblige her. A sound of ripping paper and tearing cardboard later and Miku was holding her new present.
The gift was nothing special, but it held significance nonetheless. Inside the box was a pair of headphones. They were of a different style than Lukas and Miku thought they looked familiar, but she couldn’t think where she’d seen them before. Her question was answered, however, not a moment later when she glanced at the photo on Luka’s little makeshift altar. In the picture, the headphones were on Luka’s head. Miku glanced back at her.
“These were...?” she began.
“Mine, yes.” Luka finished for her, a soft smile on her face. “I used to wear those long ago when I was about your age. They’re from a time when things were a lot happier. Considering how much you remind me of those happy times, I figured they should be yours now.”
Miku wasn’t one for emotional moments, but something about the sincerity in Luka’s tone got to her and she had to struggle to remain dry-eyed. She didn’t know what to say, so she settled on “Thank you.”
The two friends shared a warm moment. Their kinship, born of the strangest circumstances, was no less meaningful than the bonds shared by any family. For better or worse, Miku Hatsune and Luka Megurine were friends, and come hell or high water (and both were indeed coming), they were there to help each other through.
In a darkened room, lit only by the few candles adorning the altar in its center, a white-haired woman was kneeling and offering up a silent prayer to the Gods. Despite the taint of the years, certain traditions were important enough to be observed.
There was a picture set atop the small altar. It was of two cheerful looking young girls and a handsome middle-aged man standing behind them. All three were smiling. The room was completely silent save for the almost inaudible whisper from the woman’s lips. There was a definite air of reverence about the situation.
The woman finished her prayer and opened her eyes, thoughtfully taking in the picture in front of her. That had been so long ago. Oh to go back.
Her gaze fell on the pink-haired woman in the photo and her eyes narrowed. An unnatural anger took hold of her as she stared at that woman.
Suddenly, there was a flash of white and a sound of shattering glass and the photograph was obliterated in a blast of powerful vocal energy.
Without a word, the woman stood, turned, and left the room as the small altar lay in ruins behind her.