june 30th: moonlit lanterns

It was darker than usual outside, with weather that wasn't too cold or warm. A perfect day to be outside, so most people were. It was an important day today for the history of Aderas: Independence Day. Every year on the 30th people gather together, and set off floating lanterns to the sky, to represent the same lanterns the people in the war used to sent signals to each other. It was the simplest way to send a message back then, only if the others knew on what condition you'd start the lanterns on.

Unlike many places, the Local Coffee Shop was open late, much later than normal. Most likely to serve the influx of possible customers across the street at the park.

Busy night. How's your first month here?

Very fun. It seems to be always happy here. Always fun to come into work.

You never met Lewis right?

Only on the news.

Right. You would of liked him. Old. But he fun to be around with. A body of a 62 year old man, with a personality and soul of a 20 year old. Always had a smile on his face. A shame he's gone.

I mean... that's kind of our job right? Putting on a face to make everyone happy around us. No one wants to wake up to some grumpy, just-out-of-school kid in the morning.

You cold put it that way. I like to think of it as  trying to make the best out of someone elses day. A simple "good morning" and smile could make the difference between someone having a good day or a bad day. But if you're having an off day, just call in. You don't have to be forced to work. It's a stressful job anyways; You could probably tell.

Compared to many other places, the main goal of the shop is to make people feel happy through the delicate art of coffee, not really aimed on earning a lot of money. That's where the Local part of the name comes from, it makes you feel like you're part of a local community, and not just a replaceable customer at a fast food store.

Yeah. That's a good way to look at it. Thanks.

Hi. Can I have a small cold brew please?

Kristen smiles to the customer and greets her.

Good morning, welcome the the Local Coffee Shop. We'll get that for you in one quick second.

annnd... Done!

It's not done yet! We haven't done this side of it done!


Wow, that looks really good so far.

Jessie did indeed stretch the truth. The two girls decorating their lantern with crayon and markers haven't done the best job, but they're just a couple of 1st Years, they haven't really learned much. Even if it was nothing near to the work of professional designer, it still had it's own charm. The abstract art scene was pretty minimal, and the two girls would probably be a good fit for for that.

Thanks Jessieeee!

It also is physically impossible to say a mean thing to that smile.

So for this side, what should we do.

Minaaa. I wanna get this floating already!!

We need this last side first. Okay, what's something fast we can do.

You could write your names to show your friendship. Right now no one can identify who made that. Also writing the year would be cool to look back on.

Oooh. Good idea Jess.

Go Jessie!

It's not that fancy of an idea.

Two two write on the final side in large bold print: "Mina + Anne. 476" to top off their decorations. The final side took about one fifteenth of the time of the each of the other three sides.


Yes, we can set light it now.

The lanterns sold nowadays have a very complex centerpiece to make lighting them dead simple. You just press a button on the core, and then you set it flat on the ground, and once you're a few feet away it starts rising.

Can I press the button?

Lets both!

They press the button, and a small light on the core starts blinking. They step away, and sure enough, it lights up.



It starts rising in the air with all the other lanterns, and starts heading east away from the park.

How fantastical!

The room was dark and cold, illuminated only by a small lamp and the window to the outdoors.

so beautiful.
i wish more days were like this.

in the end, though,
                               it doesn't change anything really.

such a pain this month has been.

the break i have now should be good, but there's still a lot to consider.

Was I Ready for This?   absolutely not.
Could it have been delayed another month... maybe.
Too late now, there is no turning back

The audio recorder was stopped, and it saved the recording to the archive, along with all the other recordings.

Meanwhile, Jack sits on the balcony of his apartment, overlooking the center of the city. Small drones buzz across the sky. He stares out to the horizon, and at all , and back down to his hands. He looks back up, wondering what he should do.

Recently, he had withdrawn from his co-workers and friends. Many worry for him, some even try and visit. He doesn't open the door or answer any messages. He hasn't left his apartment in weeks, and wonders if it's even worth continuing.

Yes, he thinks. He tosses his phone off the balcony. It falls until it reaches the ground, where it gets squashed and broken by a passing car. He stands.

I'm    leaving.

At Eastern Park, families gather to launch their lanterns just before the sun sets. Everyone, young and old celebrate today's special day by either lighting candles in front of their house, launching lanterns, or just simply getting out of the house to enjoy the sight of the sunset and the sky.

Even for Acros, sitting miles away, on the roof of the abandoned parking garage, the lanterns in the sky look like twinkling stars in the night. Something inside of him wishes he could come back home to his wife. To come back to his daughter that barely experienced anything the world has to offer. She was so young, and had never learned to speak, let alone go to school and make friends.

Aw don't get emotional on me.

He throw's an arm around Acros, who begins to tear up. Acros has been like this only once before, but something about the possibility of finding out who killed everyone he loved and why just sits unwell for him.

Thanks for being here for me the last year.

He sniffles. Dan pulls out a tissue from his jacket pocket.

You're a real friend. You kow that right?

Of course.

Both of them stare back into the city. After a moment, Acros chucks.

It's been so crazy you know? It feels like just yesterday we were at that party.

Another moment passes between them.

Just... thank you...

No problem man. That's what friends are here for.

Dan pulls Acros into a hug. Then the sobbing begins.

Shhhhh. Don't cry.

Some time passes before Acros pulls back.

Yeah... I'm sorry.

He wipes his eyes.

No. Don't be. Listen... it hurts me just as much as it hurts you. I really loved my sister. She—

Really? Most people despise of their siblings.

She... she was sweet. She didn't have to die. She shouldn't of died.

Dan throws his arm over Acros again. Acros leans his head on Dan's shoulder.

We will survive this pain. After this is all sorted out, we can go back to living a normal life. Maybe in another country.

But will it ever be normal again?

Dan doesn't know the answer, but knows what Acros needs to hear.

Yes. I think it will. We will survive this pain. Love does not fade.

They look out to the rising lanterns.

My father used to sit with my mother and I on our back porch. He told us to pick out the brightest one, make a wish upon it, and follow it until you can't see it anymore.

Your family was full of tradition?

Yup. I didn't really understand the meaning of it all until I started to live my own life. Until I had a family of my own.

We'll get through this. We just need to trust Mike and his mystery man. He trusted us, that we wouldn't go rat their entire operation, but now... it's our turn. Our turn to trust him.

They're all so prettyyyy...

Ana and Fredrick got separated from the rest of the group, and continued wandering throughout the park and out the city. They've been sitting on

Uh huh. Next year we gotta do our own!

I heard they're hard to do properly. But we could just Zoom some tutorials up.

We should totally do it!

She points towards one of the lanterns. He can't tell which one exactly was pointed at but goes along with it.

Ooh ... look at that one! It's like all fancy.

A custom design, huh.


Ok. Gotta write this down.

He gets out his hyperPhone and writes down a reminder to look more into it.

Imagine having like cute flowers and colorful art on it.

That would be fun to make. The most epic lantern ever!

He adds to the notes that title, and some of his own ideas.

Can it be pink?

uh... No. Well, maybe. We have a year to figure it out. I'm sure we can do it. We're in AT Art, it's all about doing things with color.

That would certainly be a fun project.


They conversation ends, as neither knows what to even say. A few minutes go by just relaxing, as they wont get another free moment like they have now for another while.

Remember in primary school we played out in the sun?

Ohhhh. Times were so different back then.

I wish we could still be back then.

The world had changed so much so quickly, and no one really thought it was a bad thing.

Then they do their little fix. It's been six years since the change, and life just goes on.

Switching was soooooo not fun, remember? Took me like a week not to wake up so early. I had nothing to do and no one else was up either.

ahaha I remember getting messages from you at 4am about how you're so bored.

Yeah. I wanted you to feel my pain. That week was so horrible!

She sighs.

ugh ... how long you think it's gonna be till the temperature becomes an issue again.

I dunno. We should ask Max that. He's in some science AT so I bet he'd know.

The sun was rising, meaning the end of the day was near. Ana had wanted to use today as the day she'd confess her feelings to him. She's always been too scared to do it. Time was running low, and they'd have to go back to the city soon.

hey there's      something    that's   been  on my mind

What is it?

i    i     i  um

Her face turns red. She knows she can't get out of it now.

well   i   uh     i--

i love you...

artifact: a sky with some lanterns

Wait-     HUH?

They were both stunned from what she said.

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