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[Minor GMing of Asuka approved]

At last, the house lights completely went out. Cheers erupted from the audience momentarily, as every head in the room turned toward the stage. An eerie blue luminescent glow was all that they could see by, coming from a light directly above the microphone in the front center of the stage. Lili held her breath, as the rest of the audience did, waiting for their masked entertainers to take the helm. It was as if the entire room was tied together mentally, a hive-mind united by their love of what they were about to see and hear.

And then suddenly, from stage left, footsteps. The sound of air knocked about by heads snapping to attention was just barely audible enough to hear through the thick silence, but it was enough to get Lili pumped up again. Asuka looked over as well, though more out of curiosity than out of anticipation. Through the dark walked a single figure, face obscured by both the darkness and a white ceramic mask, into the blue light in the center of the stage. Surprisingly enough, even as the crowd around her began to cheer again, Lili felt more scared by the man on stage than anything. His presence sent icy daggers into her room-temperature warmed body, the sensation of cold on hot causing a strange panic to enfold Lili. As the crowd quieted, the man took the microphone in his hand, and breathed into it.

"Good evening," He said, and the crowd erupted in response. Lili opened her mouth to speak, but no words found their way out of her mouth. "Good evening, Kinsmen of Kingman," He began again, after the crowd had seemingly quieted down, "Tonig-"

He was cut off again by more cheers and applause as the other members of Six Things walked on stage behind them, taking their places at their instruments on stage. Though Lili couldn't see his face, she could tell that White-Mask was surprised at the positive reception from such a small town. Lili was right there with him - he hadn't expected so many people to show up to this concert. She took one last sweep behind her, looking over the room. It was filled to the brim with excited music aficionados and common people alike: Lili even recognized a few faces of people from around town. Suddenly, she felt like the space was no longer hers alone. All at once, reality came crashing down. Six Things to a Cycle weren't just her band after all.

"Fuck it," White-Mask laughed, "We'll just start." Yet again, the room exploded with thunderous applause and cheering. Asuka, still focused on the people on stage themselves, could see White-Mask's hands just barely trembling.

The projector in the back of the room flicked on, a backdrop of a sepia-colored field now on the wall behind the band. The woman with the Oni-Mask began to pluck her guitar strings as the drummer behind the kit began to lightly brush the suspended cymbal to his side with mallets. The bass player started to pick his open E-string, but it didn't hide the fact that, for whatever reason, Oni-Mask's guitar was not making a sound, though she kept playing on. As the sound of a violin playing a high A Flat filled the room, Oni-Mask's guitar finally became audible, a glimmering eerie arpeggio droning on, becoming one with the room until it was indistinguishable from the room's background noise. She pressed down on a looper pedal, and stopped, letting the sound ring out further.

The band members looked at each other, then at White-Mask, who nodded at the drummer, still on the suspended cymbal. It was time to begin.

Out of seemingly nowhere, the drummer brought his mallet down like a hammer on the cymbal, and the gates of hell opened up, letting all the wayward souls of Limbo forth into a world not yet ready to welcome them.

The next two hours were a blur of emotion, music, and blaring noise, as the House of Sound paid host to Six Things to a Cycle. A music critic would go on to note that, technically speaking, the band played their most flawless concert of their whole tour. The band seemed their most energetic in years, playing a discography spanning set list that included two songs that had not been played since their first tour, and three songs that had yet to debut. Of particular intrigue, the critic wrote, was the reinvigorated energy with which Oni-Mask played her guitar, especially on the new songs. She would look, consistently, to the left side of the stage, as if one particular fan was giving her all that energy by themselves.

Lili's inhibitions melted away by the end of the first song, as she realized that even if she didn't have the band all to herself, the room around them liked them as much as she did. Amidst the droning guitars and weeping strings, the booming drums and haunting synths, the most consistent element of sound in the room was the audience's applause after each song. After the third song, she could not stop smiling, every element of the music falling perfectly into place for her eager ears. Though the experience would not be as life changing as she had assumed, it would ultimately prove to be a rock from which she would build the rest of her High School experience. Asuka, though interested in the music as well, spent most of the time simply observing and nodding. To her, it was pleasant, and she could appreciate it on an artistic level, but she was more interested in talking to Lili.

When the final note was played, and the final projection, of the word "Battery," faded from the screen, and the house lights went up, Lili felt as if she had been to heaven and back. As the audience cheered one last time, the band on stage frozen in tableau at their final poses in the song, Lili cheered along. She couldn't help from putting an arm around Asuka as she did so.

The two sat outside on a bench in a bus shelter just a block down from the venue. The rain had let up during the concert, but the two decided to take refuge just in case it picked up again. It was hard to tell this late at night, as the sky looked all the same shade of black. Lili still couldn't stop from shaking, feeling as if she was still inside at the concert.

"I," Lili began, then stopped. She didn't really know what to say. Words were the language of the worldly and materialistic. They had lost their meaning long ago. Music was the true language of the cosmos.

"That was," She breathed, "I mean, what did you think?"
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~



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Twin Infinitives · Memories from the Past