The Eyes Have It
The Festival of Masks
The lights and sounds of the Festival of Masks beckon travelers in from afar, music filling the warm summer-night air beneath thick strings of paper lanterns. Fires burn in the toro all along the path snaking up to the grand pavilion, and closer in the smell of fried food and sticky candied fruit hangs thick in the air. People mill between bright food stalls while, far off down the hill, yells and bangs echo up from Ogre Oustin' courses. The crowd is a colorful mishmash of young and old, dark-skinned and pale, and all wearing monstrous pokémon masks. Who can say exactly what sort of people lie behind all those frozen, smiling faces?
"Oh? More travelers?" asks a bald-headed old man seated near the entrance to the pavilion. His Munkidori mask is pushed aside to reveal a broad, deep-creased smile. "How wonderful! It seems there's more every year. I do hope you'll enjoy our festival. If it's your first time here, I certainly recommend a rendition of The Loyal Legend, the very tale this festival celebrates! There's one about to start up at the shrine."
Indeed, a modest crowd has gathered around the shrine at the crest of the hill. But there are plenty of diversions along the way to entertain a traveler: stalls selling masks, candy fruit, shaved ice, and other festival treats. Fortune tellers, souvenir sellers. And the stall for Ogre Oustin', of course. Two preteens stand out in front of it, apparently having some kind of argument. Well, a one-sided argument, maybe: the taller one, a girl in a Munkidori mask, appears to be berating the boy in an Ogerpon mask about something.
Meanwhile, a photographer weaves in and out of the revelers, staying near the edge of the crowd with her camera at the ready and a Hisuian growlithe trailing at her heels. Every now and again she snaps a picture, but she's frowning--she doesn't seem to be seeing what she wants here.
Welcome to the Kitakami's Festival of Masks! All its pleasures are yours to enjoy. What will you do first?