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An Azumanga Daioh fan fiction story
by DB Sommer

Any and all C+C is appreciated. You can contact me at sommer@3rdm.net

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Azumanga Daioh characters. They are owned by Kiyohiko Azuma, Genco, J.C. Staff, and ADV Films.

[Forward: This takes place at the second year summer beach festival, meaning everyone but Kaorin is present. This will be a set of scenes around a common theme, like Sex Education was.]

~Something Fishy~

"Yay! I can't believe all of the new things they have here this year!" Chiyo cried out in delight as she took in the exotic sights and sounds surrounding her and her companions.

Kagura said, "I heard someone say that the guy responsible for setting up this thing went to America and saw a carnival. He was so impressed by it he decided to give this year's festival the same sort of feel."

"But some things never change!" Yukari shouted in delight as she headed toward a stand holding a goldfish catching game.

"I didn't know you went in for that sort of thing," Yomi said as the teacher plopped down some money and grabbed one of the tiny nets.

"She's been into that stuff since junior high," Nyamo informed the girls. "And she's good at it, too. Watch."

With lightning fast quickness, Yukari's net flashed into the water, catching a fish without breaking the thin gauze. The barker gave her a small bowl with water in it to hold the fish.

Chiyo peered at the bowl in Yukari's hand. "Wow! It's actually kind of cute." She started to turn toward the others, but leapt back, startled, at Sakaki's sudden appearance at her side.

Sakaki bent down to look at the bowl as well. A small smile appeared on her face at the surprisingly cute goldfish.

"What's his name going to be?" Chiyo asked Yukari.

The teacher shrugged. "You pick one."

"Mr. Tadakichi Two," Osaka suggested. "Because he looks so much like Mr. Tadakichi."

Everyone stared at her, including the fish.

"The resemblance is in the eyes," Osaka explained.

"I think we should call him Sushi," Tomo recommended.

"I was thinking more along the lines of Chibi-chan," Chiyo said.

"That's a cute name." Sakaki smiled at Chiyo in approval.

Yukari looked more closely at the fish. "You know, back in the old college days, I was pretty renowned for my ability to swallow goldfish. Observe." Yukari reached into the bowl, grabbing the fish by its tail. Before anyone could react, she raised it above her head, opened her mouth, and allowed it to drop into her maw. There was a gulping sound, then Yukari looked back at the others. "See? I haven't lost my touch. I could handle ten of them, no problem."

Sakaki stared at her, horrified, while Chiyo was closest to tears.

"What, you guys wanted to try it?" Yukari asked in confusion.

"I told you Sushi was a good name," Tomo said in satisfaction.

~Handling Palms~

Kagura was in the lead of the group when she stopped in front of a small purple tent with yellow stars sewn into the fabric. A cloth curtain separated the entrance from the interior. "Ooo, look, a palm reader. Izumiya the Seer. Sees all, knows all. Sounds like fun."

"And the price is pretty cheap," Osaka commented as she pointed to the two-hundred yen fee mentioned on the placard on the outside.

Kagura pointed to a sentence below the price. "It says only one person at a time, though."

Chiyo hurried to the front of the group. "I'll go first. I really want to know my future." She dashed inside before the others could stop her, excited at the prospect of having her future told. The interior of the tent was shrouded in mist, which Chiyo identified as smelling like dry ice. A man wearing loose robes and a turban with a red jewel embedded in the front sat before a small table that held a crystal ball in the center. "Greetings, young one," he intoned in a deep voice.

"Why do you have a crystal ball if you're a palm reader?" Chiyo asked.

"It's for the effect. Same with the mist," the man explained. "Now sit down and let me read your future."

Chiyo hopped onto the small wooden chair that sat across from the man and held out her hand, palm upward.

Izumiya held her hand in a light grip, and waved his other hand over it. He chanted in a surprisingly melodic voice, invoking the name of something called "Olly, Olly, Oxen Free." When the chant was complete, he stared at the palm.

After several moments, he said. "I see you are going to set out on a great journey to a far off land, whereby great knowledge will be bestowed upon you."

Chiyo's eyes widened in surprise. "Wow! How did you know I'm planning on going to college in America?"

"No, no, it'll be much sooner than that," Izumiya assured her.

"Next year?"

"About then."

"Good, I'll have graduated high school by then. I was a little bit worried they might try to make me skip another grade, but it's good to know I still have a year left to spend time with my friends."


Chiyo removed her hand from his, giving him his money. "Thanks a lot. That really puts my mind at ease." She waved good-bye leaving him to stare at where her hand had been.

Chiyo emerged from the tent, smiling. "He's really good. He told me I'd be going to America next year. The next person can go in."

Sakaki was closest to the entryway. Curiosity won out, and she entered the tent. By the time she entered, Izumiya had recovered and was again in his 'Mystic Seer' pose. "Enter, and allow me to tell you your future.

Sakaki sat where Chiyo had just moments before and held her hand out.

The man again held her hand in his own and repeated his incantation. Upon reaching the appropriate crescendo, he stopped and stared at her palm.

And stared at it.

And stared at it.

Blinked, then stared at it some more.

After two whole minutes, he turned away from the palm and back toward Sakaki. "I'm sorry. I can't see a thing."

Sakaki's heart leapt into her throat. "Do you mean I don't have a future?"

"I mean there are so many scars on your palm, I can't see your lines. Do you handle broken glass on a daily basis or something?"

Sakaki emerged from the tent, placid as always.

"What did he say?" Chiyo prodded.

"I should wear gloves more often."

The others stared at Sakaki.

"I think he's ready for the next person," Sakaki said, breaking the trances the others were in.

"That's me." Osaka entered the tent.

Izumiya's poise had returned. "Greetings. Come closer and let me see your future."

Osaka sat down. As the Seer grabbed her hand, she said, "Did you know I can read palms, too?"

"Ah, no, I wouldn't know that since I haven't read yours yet," he said, taken aback. It was a state he was rapidly becoming used to.

"My grandmother taught me. Let me see if I can still do it." Before Izumiya could protest, Osaka reversed the hold and began reading his palm. After staring at it for a moment, she turned to him, a stare of deadly intensity in her eye. "Whatever you do, don't go flying."

"Huh?" he asked.

Osaka held out her hand.

"What?" he asked.

"I get two hundred yen for reading your palm, just like the sign says."

Osaka emerged from the tent.

"So what did he tell you?" Tomo asked.

"Not to come back in there again," Osaka said.

The others were uncertain of how to respond to that one.

"I read his palm while I was there. Apparently he's going to be shot down in the near future, so I told him not to go flying.

"I want to know my future," Tomo grabbed Yomi by the arm and dragged her toward the entryway.

"It says only one person at a time," Yomi pointed out.

"I want you to go in with me."

"How come?"

"If he gives you a bad future, I might not want to hear mine," Tomo explained as she forced Yomi to enter the tent.

This time the Seer appeared out of sorts. Seeing two new customers, he strained to regain his composure. "Greetings. Who will have their future read first?"

"Yomi." Tomo shoved her forward for emphasis.

The usual irritation at Tomo's pushiness wasn't there as Yomi tensed up slightly. She regarded Izumiya warily. "I'm ready."

This time the seer didn't bother with any showmanship. He simply held her offered hand and began reading her palm. "I see that you are suffering under a terrible weight, as though a great burden has been set upon your shoulders."

Yomi looked over to Tomo. "Right on the money."

"My turn, my turn!" Tomo insisted as she muscled Yomi out of her seat and took her place.

Izumiya held her hand. "I see that you are a great burden."

Tomo turned to Yomi. "Cool, me and Yomi are suffering from the same thing."

"That is not what he just said!" Yomi snapped.

Minutes later, the pair emerged from the tent.

"That was cool," Tomo declared happily.

"That confirmed my worst fears," Yomi bemoaned.

Osaka stopped Tomo. "Let me read your palm, and we'll compare predictions."

Tomo did as she was asked.

Osaka read her palm. "I see that you are a great burden."

Tomo's eyes widened. "Wow! That's the exact same thing he said about Yomi."

"It is not!" Yomi shouted, shaking her fist at Tomo.

"I guess I'm next," Nyamo said as she entered the tent, avoiding the upcoming conflict between lifelong friends.

Izumiya, who had been holding his head low, suddenly perked up. He stood, bowing dramatically. With even more flair than he demonstrated for Chiyo's benefit, he said, "Enter and allow me to see your future."

Nyamo did so. Izumiya held her hand gently, caressing it with his other. He did so for almost a full minute. Nyamo was about to say something when he began.

"I see you are a lovely woman, a beautiful rose among a field of dandelions. An icon of femininity that is a treat to the eyes the way ambrosia is to the palate."

"Shouldn't you be looking at my palm when you're saying that?" Nyamo asked.

"Oh, of course." Izumiya tore his eyes away from hers and stared at her palm. "I see that despite your great beauty, your heart is lonely."

Nyamo nodded her head sadly.

"I see you shall remain this way the rest of your life."

Nyamo's jaw dropped. "No!"

"But wait! What's this? There is one faint hope."

"What is it?" Nyamo asked eagerly.

Izumiya closed his eyes and furrowed his brow, as though he was concentrating deeply. "It's… it's your only chance. After you have left the festival, you must call 555-6161. Only then will you discover your soulmate."

Nyamo stared at him in disbelief. "You're kidding."

"He is the one you have been seeking your entire life," Izumiya assured her.

Nyamo's look of disbelief became one of suspicion. "That's your phone number, isn't it?"

"No, really. It's your only chance at salvation. You'd be a fool to throw it away."

Nyamo snatched her hand from his. She was about to say something more when an idea struck her. "Actually, while I'm not available, I do have a friend that is. She's the same age as me, attractive, has a good job, and most importantly, is available."

"Oh?" Izumiya said. "Perhaps she has a chance at salvation, too."

"I'll send her in."

"Yoo hoo! I'm here to have my palm read," Yukari said in delight.

Izumiya put on his most charming smile. "By all means, come right in." He held the chair out for her.

Yukari accepted it, flashing her legs at him and posing seductively. "I don't usually let guys I just met hold my hand, you know."

"I can see you're a woman of restraint and class," Izumiya said suavely. "If you would be so kind." He indicated Yukari should hold out her hand.

She did so. He leaned so closely he breathed on the palm, caressing it with his breath as well as his hand. He peered closely….

"So, what do you think he's going to say about Miss Yukari?" Chiyo asked.

A resounding, "AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!" emerged from the tent.

"Yeah, that's about what I figured," Yomi said.

Izumiya stomped out of the tent, his very form radiating unrestrained anger. His eyes settled on Nyamo, and he pointed an accusatory finger at her. "You! How dare you try to foist that, that, that… thing upon me!"

"Hey, she's all right, once you get to know her," Nyamo defended.

"No, she only gets worse once you get to know her. Take it from me, I can tell."

Yukari emerged from the tent, sniffing indifferently at the seer.

Izumiya grabbed his placard, and threw it into the tent.

"What about my future?" Kagura protested.

"I don't know, and I don't care!" Izumiya snapped as he reentered the tent, throwing the curtain shut behind him.

"I can read your future," Osaka volunteered.

"Okay." Kagura held out her hand.

Osaka's eyes moved back and forth over Kagura's hand as though she were reading a book. Eventually, she said, "Wow, an entire baseball team." There was a hint of awe in her voice.

"What about an entire baseball team?" Kagura asked.

Osaka blinked, as though she suddenly realized Kagura was there. She laughed hesitantly. "Never mind."

"No, really, what did you mean 'an entire baseball team'?"

"Some things are best left unknown," Osaka said sagely, then released Kagura's hand and walked away.

Kagura stared at her back in distress. "What was it about me and a baseball team you saw?" She began following the dreamy girl, begging and pleading for answers the entire time.

~~Things Left Lying Around~~

"All right! A ball toss."

Everyone turned to see what had caught Kagura's eyes. It was a large gaming stand that had a bottle toss. Six solid-looking milk bottles, stacked in a pyramid with three as the base and one at the top, were at the far end. Several softballs sat on the edge of the stand. A barker shouted that it was only a hundred yen per throw.

Kagura elbowed Sakaki lightly in the side. "Hey, why don't we see who the better pitcher is?"

"I'm not really interested…" Sakaki's statement drifted off as she noticed a sign on the inside that said, "Knock all six bottles down, and receive the cutest thing you've ever laid eyes on."

"I'll do it," Sakaki said with determination.

"I want to do it too!" Tomo shouted. Soon, the rest of the girls announced they wished to join the competition as well, leaving Yukari and Nyamo standing back and watching.

The band of six marched up to the stand, where a number of incredibly cute stuffed animals of various sizes hung about the borders.

The barker next to the stand adjusted his glasses, ones with coke bottle thick lenses. After peering through them for a few seconds, he smiled and announced in a loud voice for all the passersby to hear. "I see we got a whole group of young ladies willing to try their luck! Step right up ladies, one at a time, and win yourselves a prize!"

"Me first! Me first!" Chiyo shouted. She paid and picked up a ball. Drawing back as far as she could go, she hurled it with all of her might.

The ball landed on the ground in front of the bottles.

"Darn!" Chiyo said, displaying an unusual amount of frustration.

"Me next!" Osaka paid the man, and picked up another ball. Like Chiyo before, she drew back and hurled it with all of her might.

It bounced off the pyramid, not even causing the bottles to vibrate.

"All right!" Osaka shouted.

"You didn't knock any over," Yomi pointed out.

"But at least I beat Chiyo-chan," Osaka explained.

Chiyo's displeasure doubled.

"Let me show you how it's done," Tomo bragged as she paid for her turn. She picked up one of the balls and tossed it up and down, catching it in her hand. "Now I'll show you the patented 'Tomo Tokino's Fastball From Hell'."

"You're only going to embarrass yourself," Yomi said.

Unperturbed, Tomo smirked at the bespectacled girl. "I'll show you, oh ye of so little faith. First you got to build up a lot of arm speed." Tomo began her windup, spinning her arm so fast it was nearly a blur.

"And once you build up enough arm speed, you start spinning for additional velocity!" Tomo began spinning in a circle.

Her voice raised several more decibels, straining with effort. "And once you've built up enough spinning, then… you… release… it!"

Tomo did so, sending the ball straight into Yomi's gut. It hit solidly, knocking all of the wind out of her and causing her to double over as she fell to the ground.

Tomo snapped her fingers. "Shoot! I always lose control during the release. I guess you can call me 'Wild Thing'," she quipped to the others.

"We'll be calling you 'Broken Arm Thing' once Yomi gets her wind back," Kagura said.

"I'm next." Sakaki paid the barker. She stared at the pyramid intently. Drawing back her arm, she released the ball.

Her throw was on target, knocking five of the six bottles over.

"Close, very close," the barker told her.

"My turn." Kagura paid the man and struck a pitcher's pose. She closed her eyes in concentration, then opened them, focusing the entirety of her being on the target. She entered a windup, and threw the ball hard.

The ball struck the middle of the pyramid, knocking all of the bottles over.

Kagura smirked at Sakaki. "Ha! I finally beat you."

Sakaki shrugged.

The barker gave Kagura a warm smile. "Congratulations, Little Lady. You won the grand prize, just like the sign says." He handed her the prize. However, there was one slight problem with it.

"This is Chiyo-chan," Kagura pointed out as she held Chiyo up from under the smaller girl's arms, just like the barker had done when handing her over.

"I see you've already named her." The barker continued smiling.

"You can't give her to me!" Kagura complained.

"But she's by far the cutest thing you've ever laid eyes on, and like the sign says, I have to give you the cutest thing you've ever laid eyes on. So there you go."

"But she's a person!"

"And a darn cute one."

As Kagura and the barker began arguing back and forth, Sakaki blushed as she had a brief fantasy of winning a Chiyo-chan of her own. She wondered if she could ask the barker if she could play again.

~~Rude Americans~~

"Pretty impressive stuff," Tomo said as the group of girls — sans their adult companions due to Yukari dragging Nyamo off to a sake vendor — entered another area of the festival, one filled with food stands.

The group was in the middle of the difficult task of picking and choosing which stalls to visit when a man with blonde hair and Western features approached them. In broken Japanese he said, "Excuse, please. Need… help."

Tomo moved to the head of the group. She told the others, "Obviously from this man's accent, he is American. Allow me to take care of this."

The others stood aside, their confidence in their English speaking skills somewhat less than Tomo's.

"I shall open this conversation with a standard English greeting," Tomo informed the others as she walked up to the man. She turned her full attention to him and boldly said, "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir."

The man's eyes goggled in shock. He shook his head furiously and ran away from her as quickly as he could.

Tomo frowned. "What a jerk. I guess it's true what they say about Americans being rude."

Yomi began trembling in anger. "That wasn't English, that was French. And it wasn't a greeting, you asked him to sleep with you."

"Oh." A knowing light flashed in Tomo's eyes. She pondered the matter for a moment, then said, "I still think he was rude. He didn't even think about sleeping with me for a second before running off."

~~Artistic License~~

Sakaki decided to look around on her own. While spending time with her friends was fun, there was something about having a few moments to oneself that seemed nice. And she was still a bit disappointed that she couldn't win a Chiyo-chan.

Sakaki passed by a larger stand with curious pictures adorning the front. There were a wide variety of them, from small illustrations to much larger ones, all of them obviously drawn by hand by someone with considerable artistic talent. She looked over them as she walked by. She was almost past it when one image in particular caught her eye. It was an incredibly detailed drawing of Necoconeco. It was easily the cutest rendering of the pair she had ever seen. There was no doubt in her mind that she absolutely had to have the picture. She'd never forgive herself if she let this opportunity pass by.

Curiously, the stand had a closed door. Sakaki knocked.

"Come in."

Sakaki entered and saw an older woman sitting on a stool in the middle of the room. A larger number of images lined nearly every surface area of the interior, though none of them were nearly as cute as Necoconeco. There was also a flat surface, almost like a doctor's examination table, in the center. An odd set of what appeared to be color pencils sat in holders near the woman.

Sakaki said, "I want that picture of Necoconeco."

The elderly woman examined Sakaki with a curious eye. "I had you figured for more of a tiger girl. One pouncing or snarling. I got some real nice work with them. I think it would be more appropriate for a fierce-looking girl like you."

Sakaki shook her head, dismayed at the idea that she was fierce-looking.

"Well, it's good that you know what you want. Necoconeco it is." the woman patted the table. "Hop on up and tell me where you want it."

Sakaki stared at her curiously. "Where I want it?"

"Want it somewhere out in the open, or on a place that only you would know about it? I think on your pelvis would be the best place for that kind of tattoo. Or on your breast. Remember, placement is everything when getting a tattoo."

Sakaki's mouth dropped open nearly as wide enough to rival Kimura's.

"There's Sakaki." Osaka waved the taller girl over.

Sakaki rejoined the group. As they began walking to the next area of the festival, Sakaki dropped back to the rear with Chiyo, whose smaller legs had difficulty keeping up with the manic pace Tomo was setting.

Sakaki turned to the smaller girl. "Chiyo-chan, you're smart, right?"

Chiyo blushed. "I guess so."

"Do tattoos make people cute?"

Chiyo scrunched her face up. "Not really."

"But what if it was a cute tattoo? A really cute one of something like… Necoconeco. Wouldn't that make the person cuter, especially if they were… fierce-looking?"

Chiyo scratched her head. "Well, I guess maybe it would then. Why do you ask?"

"I was just wondering" Sakaki said as she scratched at her breast, a slight blush entering her cheeks.

~~Death From Above~~

With the adults returned, Yukari singing merrily out of tune, the group eventually gravitated to the largest object in the festival, a tall Ferris wheel. It reached high into the sky, and was easily the largest the girls had ever seen. Open seats provided the passengers with an ideal view of the entire festival grounds.

"We gotta ride that!" Tomo declared.

"It looks kind of scary," Chiyo said as she stared high up in the air, tilting her head so far back that she nearly fell backward.

"Is it as scary as riding in Yukari's car?" Tomo asked.

"No. Ferris wheels can't crash into things," Chiyo admitted.

Tomo stared upward too. "That's really high up. You can hardly see the top. I bet couples could make out without anyone knowing about it."

Yukari gained a mischievous gleam to her eye. "You can ask Nyamo about that. She's been on all sorts of rides with guys before."

"I have not!" Nyamo blustered as all the girls looked at her in surprise. "They're only letting people on in groups of two," Nyamo pointed out, quickly changing the subject.

"I want to go with Sakaki!" Chiyo cried out, latching onto the taller girl's arm. "I won't be scared if I'm with her."

Sakaki appeared as though she was about to say something, but upon seeing Chiyo's pleading look, remained silent.

The rest began pairing up. Tomo grabbed Yomi before she could protest. Osaka and Kagura went partnered up, leaving Yukari and a still fuming Nyamo together. The pairs boarded the ride in the same order in which they chose partners.

As Yukari and Nyamo boarded, Yukari's mischievous grin returned. "Bet you're relieved you're not going to have to worry about any misplaced undergarments, like when you rode the 'Tunnel of Love' in the amusement park back in our senior year."

"Would you be quiet!" Nyamo snapped.

Osaka and Kagura were halfway up on the wheel's revolution, enjoying the sights below.

Osaka turned away from the sights and to Kagura. "Why do you suppose they call them Ferris wheels?"

Kagura scratched her head. "Maybe someone named Ferris made the first one."

"Oh." Osaka was silent for only a moment before asking, "Why do the call them roller coasters? I can see the rolling part, but they don't really coast along. They actually go very fast."

"Maybe someone named Coaster made the first one."

"Oh." Osaka thought about the matter some more. "Maybe someone named Mary made the first merry-go-round, only they misspelled her name." Osaka noticed a wet drop splatter on the seat next to her, breaking her line of thought. "It looks like it's starting to rain."

Kagura scowled at the wet substance. "That's not rain." She looked up and shook her fist in the air. "You try spitting at us again, Tomo, and I'll rip your lips off when we get back on the ground!"

"Aww, they aren't any fun," Tomo pouted, moving back in her seat

"You shouldn't be so childish," Yomi reprimanded.

"Okay." Tomo returned to looking over the side of the open air car. As she shifted her body, the car swayed slightly. She began moving back and forth, causing the car to rock. "Do you think if I swung really hard, I could make it do a complete circle?"

"Yes, so stop it!" Yomi screeched as she held on to the safety bar for dear life.

Chiyo looked over the side of the car and to the ground below. "Wow! The people look like ants from up here. What do you think, Sakaki?"

There was no answer.

Chiyo wondered what was going on and turned her attention to her companion. Sakaki was sitting completely still, her hands gripping the safety bar so hard her knuckles were turning white.

"What's wrong?"

Sakaki murmured something.

"What was that?" Chiyo asked.

"Heights," she said, just barely audibly.

"What about them?"

"I… don't like them."

Chiyo looked at her in surprise. "But you're so tall."

"I don't like being that high up either," Sakaki admitted.

Just as they got to the very top of the Ferris wheel, their movement stopped, making the car sway. Instantly, Sakaki grabbed onto Chiyo, trembling slightly.

Chiyo felt an uncharacteristic surge of ego and pride. As much as she looked up to Sakaki, in more than a physical sense, it was kind of neat being able to beat her in something other than a test. In order to ease Sakaki's mind, and her hold, Chiyo said in a reassuring voice, "Don't worry. If this car was to snap free and plummet to the ground, I'd break your fall with my body."

For some reason Chiyo couldn't fathom, Sakaki's grip tightened.

~~The Cards Say It All~~

The girls were just about to call it a night when they stopped in front of a curious-looking machine. The top part held the upper half of a mannequin, adorned in robes appropriate for a court magician, in a glass case. The lower part had a slot for money and a place where something could be dispensed. The exterior was surrounded with hearts and in hot pink lettering it said, "Magus, the Love Predictor."

"Hey Nyamo, want to see if your next relationship will end as disastrously as your last?" Yukari said in a sly voice.

"I'm kind of curious to see what yours will say," Nyamo shot back.

"Let's all do it!" Tomo shouted.

Osaka was the first to grab a coin and drop it in the slot. The machine lit up, and the mannequin's arm dropped down, as though it was putting something into the machine's lower part. A second later, a card came out of the proper slot.

Osaka picked it up and read it aloud. "'There is no romantic problem so great that a boob job can't make it better'." Osaka looked down at her chest, or lack thereof, then back at the card. "Whoa, that's some seriously good advice."

Chiyo tried her luck. She read the card she was given. "'Strike while the iron is hot before time robs you of your youth and looks'."

"Ha! That sounds like Nyamo's card," Yukari giggled.

"We are the same age, you know," Nyamo said in a dry voice.

Yukari's giggles died.

Chiyo looked to the others. "I'm not in danger of losing my looks, am I?"

Tomo considered that. "I was just saying to Yomi that I think you look like one of those troll dolls with the funny hair that sticks up more every day."

Tears welled in Chiyo's eyes as she was about to cry.

"You're still cute, Chiyo," Sakaki assured her. "Remember, even that barker thought you were the cutest thing around."

"That's right." Chiyo sighed in relief.

"I'd be more than happy to own you," Sakaki added.

Chiyo laughed nervously.

Tomo was next in line. She read her card, "'True Love is often closer than you think. Let lifelong friendship change to romance and achieve happiness'."

Yomi put her coin in. "'True Love is often closer than you think. Let lifelong friendship change to romance… and… achieve… happiness'." Yomi frowned at the card, then stared at Tomo.

Tomo said, "So, you want to start making out or what?"

"Hell no!"

Sakaki took her turn. Silently she read to herself, "For all of your exceptional abilities, expect karma to even things out as you'll have a normal romantic life." Sakaki scratched her head, trying to figure out what was exceptional about her.

It was Nyamo's turn. She read hers silently, then began laughing.

"What is it?" Yukari asked.

Nyamo tauntingly waved the card in front of her. "It says here romance is no problem for me since I'm a babe magnet. Hahaha…." Her laughing suddenly died off and she read the card again. "Wait a minute. 'Babe magnet'?"

"Sounds right to me, Miss Masculine-Looking Female Gym Teacher." Yukari snickered as Nyamo ripped the card into pieces so small it was like a rain of confetti when she tossed them to the ground.

Still smirking, Yukari put a coin in the slot and read her card. "Mine says, 'Yeah, right. Stop wasting my time and yours'." Her eyebrow began twitching madly. "Why you worthless piece of crap!" She threw the card on the ground and began stomping on it.

Kagura was the last one to try. She read her card aloud as well. "Your window of opportunity is brief. Quickly, propose to the man on your left before it's too late." Kagura looked to her left. The only person there was a normal-looking guy, a couple of years older than her, hunched over something, as though he was peering at it closely.

"Yeah, right, like I'm going to propose to a complete stranger," Kagura scoffed.

The youth suddenly shouted out, "Yes! I won the grand prize. A million dollars a year for life! Wahoo!" He began dancing around, shouting out in glee as he waved a ticket of some kind around.

Yukari placed a comforting hand on Kagura's shoulder. "That's all right. If you had proposed to him and he had accepted, I would have had to kill you for stealing my opportunity from me." She left Kagura and began running after the dancing man, shouting out how she thought he was cute and she would let him treat her to dinner.


Author's notes: Not much of a bang to end it on, but that's sort of the problem with vignettes. They just end. Thanks for reading.

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