Shin Aluinis Gabralai 3

They bought some Y-Bhang from a New Dervish vendor, and, holding hands, they ascended the brightwood stairway up to the upper galley of the Green Library.

“I’ve a fun idea: let’s watch the Droid Bards!”

“Are you serious? What are we, teenage kids?”

“Come on, don’t go acting all senior, I know you’d love it. Besides, don’t you want to make me happy? Droid Bard Battles are my favourite!”

The Library galleys were packed. A different group of festival goers in here. Actually the crowd was mostly middle Rites, suburban husband and wives on date nights, aging and fading scoober ravers, all properly settled into their lives with their Orgs and their families, but today adorned with the sparkles and designer snorkels and goggles of their youth, in contrast to their now sensible and conservative powdered faces and purple company braids. Seemed only pre-Rites here being offworld rich kids on Gabralai tourism, the Green Library being famous for being the birthplace of modern Balladry.

She looked at him and smiled, imbibing her Y-Bhang. “Cheers!”

Almost immediately he felt his perceptions shift. He felt happy, cool, natural, comfortable in his own skin, with her, amongst this crowd. The humidity of Art’s summer tasted sweet.

She rose with the crowd to cheer the mechanicals as they entered the stage.

The Chief Librarian played Tamadan, swanning about from his oversight box. As he bellowed into his mic, the spot light moved from one droid to the next.

“B Rise! 0-Successor! And the Antonym makes 3!”

Whoops from the crowd. B Rise was dressed in a black suit with bowler hat, performed a theatrical bow at his introduction, a wry smile upon his sliver lips. 0-Successor was a shining red droid: at her introduction she extended her 8 hands into a series of beatific mudras, he recognized as signs of the Vedic-K Army. The Antonym received the biggest round of applause, recognized as the reigning champion of Balladry for at least the past 4 years. A barely visible, partly perceptible presence, it shimmered and glitched at its announcement.

“You know I read somewhere that the Antonym’s designers styled him using old camouflage tech from the Crusades. Don’t you think it’s funny that what is now so chic and cool was once seriously military tech?”

“Really? Oh well … Who cares?” She shrugged. “Oh well at least he battles like a soldier, and drops rhymes like bombs.”

“Ha ha, funny.”

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