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In this retelling of the story from the anime series, Yukito Kunisaki is a puppeteer on a journey to find the "girl in the sky." One summer, his journey lands him in a small seaside town where he meets Misuzu Kamio, a lonely but optimistic girl on a mission to research the town's history. Yukito winds up hauling around Misuzu on a bicycle in her quest to learn about the legendary Princess Kanna, a winged woman who was once held prisoner on the estate where the local shrine sits. It's the season of the summer festival, and Yukito hopes to earn enough money with his puppet act to get something to eat before moving on to the next town. Instead, he accepts a free lunch, courtesy of Misuzu who also invites him to stay at her house. But then he meets her crazy, drunken mother Haruko who allows him room (in the shed) and board only in exchange for looking after the girl.
In a side story, Princess Kanna is befriended by Sir Ryuya, a soldier assigned to protect her. She confides in him that she is being held prisoner because of men's fears of her power to fly, but that she really only wishes to find her long lost mother. Unfortunately for Kanna, a curse has been placed on her, triggered whenever she confesses her love for another and ultimately resulting in her death. Misuzu also suffers under a "curse," an incurable illness whose symptoms of pain and nausea worsen whenever she starts to get close to someone. Still, she is determined to one day fulfill her desire to fly. For both Misuzu and Kanna, each man becomes her "one and only true friend." Yet, each girl would rather bear the inevitable burden of the physical pain than deny showing the sincerity of her love and risking heartache. Their twin fates, though tragic, also lead to triumph, as both are finally able to spread their wings and soar high above the clouds.