Artur: Ah, Neimi. I'm sorry that our introduction has been so delayed. And please, just call me Artur. "Brother" is too formal.
Neimi: Oh... All right, Artur it is.
Artur: Very good. Ack!
Neimi: What is it? What's wrong?
Artur: Oh, nothing. Sorry. But...that hand mirror hanging from your waist...
Neimi: Oh, this? It's a keepsake from my mother. I had it stolen from me once, so I've made this leather strap for it. I can tie it to my belt and take it with me everywhere now.
Artur: It's... Excuse me, but may I look at it for a moment? Hm... Yes, well, that is interesting. If my memory serves, this is quite a valuable mirror. It is a gift given only to clerics of the highest order. Few of these mirrors exist, and for you to have one means your mother...
Neimi: Yes, she was a cleric... When I was young, an illness...
Artur: Say no more. I understand. But seeing you and the mirror she left you tells me something. Your mother was a good person, benevolent, faithful, and caring. And you are the product of her care, filled with the same light.
Neimi: Thank you... It makes me happy to hear that.
Artur: I'm delighted to have met you. We shall have to speak again.
Artur: I've been asking around since the last time we spoke. I found out that our convoy master had found a mirror lying on the ground. When I asked to see it, imagine my delight when I saw it was your mirror!
Neimi: ...Sniff... I'm so... so happy!
Artur: ... You know, when I was looking for your mirror, I was reminded... I had a similar experience when I was young. It's why I chose to be a monk.
Neimi: What happened?
Artur: One day, when I was just a little boy, I had lost a toy, and I was crying. I lived near a monastery, and one of the monks saw me sitting there weeping. He spent his day trying to find out why I was so sad and to cheer me up. It was so trivial—that toy was nothing but a trinket, but to me, it had value. I later found out a friend of mine had taken it without asking, but... Anyway, I was very happy that someone had stopped to show so much concern. To everyone else, I was just a petty child weeping over a toy. To this monk, however, I was a sad and lost soul, crying out in need. He was so kind, and he spent so much of his day on a child's tears. I admired his attitude, even then. It was then that I realized that I could honor his deed by becoming a monk.
Neimi: And...that's why...
Artur: Yes, that's why. Oh! Your mirror! Here you go.
Neimi: Oh...... I'm...really happy...
Artur: Ah. Just as I thought.
Artur: Your smile is delightful. It's a vast improvement on those tears. The heavens themselves must have wanted to see that smile and conspired to help me find your mirror.
Neimi: Thank you, Artur... I'm so grateful.
Artur: No, Neimi. I'm grateful to you. Talking to you makes me feel at peace. I feel like...some of the others make light of me from time to time.
Neimi: Oh, that's only... It's just because you're so honest and pure of heart. Someone I know...teases me a lot, too. All the time, he teases me.
Artur: I see... I'm sorry to hear that.
Neimi: Well, it's not that he's all bad. He can be very kind, but... But you're kind, too, Artur.
Artur: Thank you. You know, when you meet someone, that person reflects back at you like a mirror, revealing within them the emotions that you project. Angry people bring out the anger within others, just as sullen, hopeless people bring out nothing but the sorrow within all those to whom they speak. Do you know why so many people seem kind to you, Neimi? It is because you yourself are a kind person. You bring that out in others.
Neimi: Oh, Artur... That's so kind—I mean... Er... Thank you.
Artur: Please, Neimi, always hold that kindness close to your heart.
Lute: Oh! I was just observing this chemida beetle.
Artur: You haven't changed at all, have you, Lute?
Lute: What do you mean?
Artur: You spent most of your time sequestered in your room, studying your books. On the rare occasion you went outside, you were paralyzed with fascination.
Lute: Of course! There are so many fascinating things to be learned from nature! There are a great many books out there, and I have read most of them, of course. But I've found that what is written can differ greatly from how things truly are. Take this chemida beetle, for example. I've been reading from "The Glossary of Falibrian Entomology" lately. According to the glossary, their wings fall off once they reach maturity. However, I have just found an adult beetle whose wings still work perfectly! Exceptions do exist to the rules my books outline. This is a rare specimen. I wonder, should we take it back with us?
Artur: Sigh... I hope this isn't another of your pranks.
Artur: Do you remember when I loaned you my copy of "Lux Aeterna"? You replaced my bookmark with the tail of a sedgel lizard. You scared ten years off my life, I swear it!
Lute: Did I do that?
Artur: And! Knowing full well that I have a...mild...fear of spiders, you caught a small army of them and unleashed them in my room!
Lute: I thought that if I immersed you in the thing you feared, maybe you might be able to overcome your fear entirely! And I went to a lot of trouble trying to catch those spiders!
Artur: ...Why would you do that?
Lute: Well, I did get a bit of a kick out of the experience myself. Why? Did it bother you?
Artur: YES! Oh, don't worry about it. At least you did it because you cared about me, right? I'll just accept it as the best gesture of kindness you can manage, Lute.
Artur: Huh...? Oh, no, I'm... ...... You're right. I am tired. How could you tell, Lute? I was trying my best not to show it.
Lute: Oh, come on! There's no one better than me at spotting things like this! I can tell, you're mentally exhausted.
Artur: I don't know what I expected, but... I had no idea war would be like this. One battle after another, overwhelming odds...and monsters!? In this day and age, we're fighting monsters from the legends and epics? I know how much is at stake, but sometimes...I get so tired.
Lute: When you're tired, there's nothing better than a good meal and a long sleep. And if you look at page 990 of "De Floris Mysticis," there's a special herb that, once decocted into a potion, will help relax your muscles. Look for the parfina flower, and reduce it into a thick syrup before drinking. Oh, and I hear music helps you sleep. If you like, I can hum something for you.
Artur: Thank you. However, I think I'll pass on your offer, delightful though your humming must be. You must be tired as well. Take care of yourself, and rest when you can.
Lute: I will. In fact, maybe I'll just hum to myself instead. Will you be all right?
Artur: I'm fine. I feel quite refreshed, in fact.
Lute: Refreshed? How so? Was it some new kind of magic?
Artur: Perhaps, from a certain point of view. Your every word has nurtured my soul...
Lute: Hm. I'm not sure I get it, but as long as you're feeling better!
Artur: What is it? You look like you have something on your mind.
Lute: Oh. No. I was just thinking about monsters.
Lute: Yes. All these monsters are our enemies, I know, but...they're not all bad, are they?
Artur: What are you talking about?
Lute: They're kind of cute, don't you think? I mean, like those revenants, for example.
Artur: It's fair to say I will never understand your tastes. Besides, I thought you enjoyed using them as, well, magic practice.
Lute: Oh, I do. I do indeed. I use my magic to rip them to shreds...with love, of course.
Artur: Your way of expressing love is somewhat frightening...
Lute: Do you think so? Thank you.
Artur: No... That wasn't a compliment. ... Should I, ah, expect you to attack me with magic, too?
Lute: Hm? Why would I attack you with my magic?
Artur: You don't get it?
Lute: No. Your strange logic baffles even my brilliant, brilliant mind. That's why I'm curious.
Artur: Really? You don't get it?
Lute: No, I don't!
Artur: You really don't?
Lute: Stop that!
Artur: I'm just giving you a hard time, Lute. All right. I'll just come straight out and say it.
Artur: It's because I like you.
Artur: In fact, I love you, and I'm hoping perhaps that you love me.
Lute: Oh! Oh!!!
Artur: Now, do you understand?
Lute: Er... Um... A-according to "A Young Girl's Primer to Nazonian Magic," that most ancient tome long sought by, er, the terrible Demon King himself... it's not uncommon for a party to assign feelings of...er, love to the reanimated hordes they confront on the battlefield, and considering my incredible brain and the remarkable skills I--
Lute: Well, that is... What I mean is...
Artur: What's wrong with you? I don't often see you lose your cool.
Lute: Th-that's because...
Lute: Well... My books don't tell me anything about how to deal with love! So...
Artur: Heh... Heh heh heh... Ha ha ha ha!!!
Lute: I'm sorry. I'm a little out of my depth when it comes to love.
Artur: No, you're not. Love needs no textbooks. Just be yourself, and listen to your feelings.
Tethys: Do you remember the dance steps I showed you the other day, child? No? I'll show them to you again. Pay attention, as you'll be going next.
Artur: Tethys, we're in the middle of a battle. Can't this wait until later?
Tethys: My, aren't we confident! No, we can't have that. We have to practice. I refuse to have a partner who's too lazy to practice daily.
Artur: No, you're not following me. I'm not your partner. I don't want to—Would you please stop calling me "child" in front of everyone!
Tethys: What's wrong with looking young? After all, you have such lovely skin. May I...touch your cheeks?
Artur: Oh... Ah, normally, people wait for an answer before they start...er... well, touching me. Um... Would you please stop?
Tethys: Amazing! It's like velvet to the touch! You have such smooth skin!
Artur: Er... Excuse me... Ah... I really must protest... P-please... S-stop...
Tethys: Tell me... What's your secret?
Artur: I... I don't have any secrets! Oh... You meant my skin. Well, I just rub manon leaves on after I wash.
Tethys: Manon leaves? Those scratchy things? I always thought they would just leave a rash. Hm. Maybe I should try... I'll see you later, child. I'll be checking up on your progress, so be sure to practice those steps.
Artur: ...Huh? But... But I don't want to be a dancer... I... Sigh...
Tethys: Well, look who's come to see me! I'm glad to see you showing some initiative. You must be practicing a lot, hm? Well, show me what you've got!
Artur: Please! I have a name! I am not a child! My name is Artur! And...I really must protest about becoming a dancer. I have no interest in learning how to dance, do you understand?
Tethys: I'm glad you're here, because I have something I wanted to tell you.
Artur: Y-you do?
Tethys: I scrubbed my face with manon leaves, just like you said, but look... I got a rash, just like I thought I would. Look here, on my cheek.
Artur: Uh... Maybe you scrubbed too hard?
Tethys: Well, here... Take a look.
Artur: I'm not sure this is the right time. We're in the middle of a battle.
Tethys: We'll be fine. It'll only take a second. We'll be done in a flash.
Artur: Fine, fine... But let's be quick.
Tethys: Come on, you're not looking right. Get closer. Closer... More. Look right around here... See? It's red, isn't it?
Artur: ...A little, but...it's not that bad. Whoa!! I-if you turn your head so suddenly like that...your face is... It's so close to my...
Tethys: Hm mm mm. You're blushing. Are you all right, child?
Artur: I-I'm fine, but... Every time you're around, my heart...
Tethys: Starts thumping?
Tethys: To tell you the truth, you look just like my first love.
Artur: Is... Is that so?
Tethys: But he moved, and I never saw him again. Oh, it brings back such memories... He and I couldn't have been much older than, say, ten.
Artur: ...Are you telling me I look like a ten-year-old child?
Tethys: Yep. Those sparkling eyes are totally him.
Artur: ... I see... I know someone who looks like you, too.
Tethys: Oh, really? Who would that be?
Artur: ...My mother. She called me "child" when I was little, just like you do now. I used to like that then, but now that I'm older...
Tethys: ...Oh... A bit of a mama's boy, are you, Artur?
Artur: Excuse me? Mama's boy?
Tethys: Tee-hee... Very well. I shall mother you. Call me "mom," child.
Artur: ... Er... I... I'm not sure about this. Besides, I used to call her "mother," not "mom," so...
Tethys: I'm only kidding. I just love teasing you. However, I am serious about you becoming a dancer. Your good looks and graceful movement tell me you have the talent... You would make a fine partner. Just think about it, will you?
Artur: Oh, I forgot—that's what I wanted to talk to you about. I don't want to-- ...Er, excuse me. Tethys, would you wait up for me!?
Cormag: Hey, what's going on here? Don't get too close now. It may look calm now, but it's got a dangerous side. Like me.
Artur: S-sorry! Oh, the name is Artur.
Cormag: I'm Cormag. Nice to meet you.
Artur: You, too, Sir Cormag. It's a pleasure.
Cormag: So... Interested in wyverns, are you?
Artur: It's not so much interest as it is, well, fascination, if you will. The way how they fly in the sky at will... and their powerful limbs. I've seen them from a distance before, but I've never seen one up close... Do you think it would mind if I were to touch it?
Cormag: Nah, go right ahead. But wyverns can be proud. They won't warm up to anyone they think unworthy. Took me three years before this one would let me ride on his back. Oh, he hated me at first. Always snarling and snatching at me... I don't know how many times he threw me when I tried to ride him.
Artur: R-really? Maybe I should keep my distance then.
Cormag: No, he seems to like you.
Artur: How do you know?
Cormag: He hasn't tried to eat your face yet, for one thing. Maybe he can sense your, what'd you call it, fascination? Yeah, maybe it won't take too long for you two to be friends.
Artur: Hm. Well then, it's very nice to meet you, Sir Cormag's Wyvern?
Cormag: His name's Genarog. Next time you're around, come say hi.
Artur: What's wrong, Sir Cormag? Did something happen?
Cormag: The star-stone amulet that you so generously gave Genarog... It got shattered when an archer attacked us. It's not all bad, though. That stone stopped the arrow cold. Saved both me AND Genarog, it did. Had that amulet been not there, we wouldn't be here right now.
Artur: That's unfortunate, but I'm glad the amulet worked! I'll have to make a prayer of thanks for the stone's protection.
Cormag: Well, we owe you, Artur. And it's not exactly a perfect trade, but... Here.
Artur: What's this? This... This looks like a wyvern stone!
Cormag: A wyvern stone? Are they rare?
Artur: Yes, very! Where on earth did you...
Cormag: Genarog had it. I didn't have any idea what it was. I figured maybe you'd know something about it. And it looks like I was right, wasn't I? You know what it's worth? Well, like I said, it's yours. Keep it.
Artur: A-are you sure!?
Cormag: Sure. You don't mind, now, do you, Genarog?
Artur: Th-thank you... I mean it... Sir Cormag, Genarog... Wyvern stones are like dragonstones, only far more rare. Mages covet them. Having one focuses your powers, refines your magical control. But nobody knows where they come from or how to craft them. There are no more than a handful of wyvern stones in the world today. I never thought I'd even see one, much less hold one in my hands.
Cormag: So it's a big deal, eh?
Artur: It most certainly is, Sir Cormag. Genarog... I can't thank you enough. You've made one of my dreams come true.
Cormag: I'm glad we were able to help you, Artur.
Artur: I'll cherish this wyvern stone always. ...By the way, Sir Cormag, do you have a dream?
Cormag: ...My dream. Hmph... My only dream right now is to undo the damage Grado has done. I want Grado to be a peaceful nation again, ruled by a gentle man.
Artur: I'm sure you'll see your own dream realized, Sir Cormag. After all, we're all fighting to make that dream come true. You and Genarog have made my own dream a reality. And you know that I'll do what I can to make yours real, too.
Cormag: Genarog was right. You are a good lad, Artur. Tell you what. If we do restore peace, you must visit my homeland. And when you do, I think Genarog would like to take you flying.
Artur: I'd love to, Sir Cormag. I look forward to visiting Grado in better times.
Joshua: I'm Joshua. So, uh... You want to make me a bet?
Artur: A bet?
Joshua: Sure! Call it in the air: heads or tails?
Joshua: What's the matter? All you have to do is say heads or tails. So what's your call?
Artur: I have no idea what this is about, but I'll say heads for now.
Joshua: Right, so I get tails. Here, we'll flip now. Annnnnnd... Right! Tails. I win.
Artur: You win. Um... What do you win?
Joshua: Well, now, you have to do whatever I tell you.
Artur: What? Why do you say that?
Joshua: You lost, right? Since you lost, you've got to do what I tell you. So when this battle's over, I want you to train with me.
Artur: Train? What are you talking about? Look, I only said heads because you pressed me to! I don't remember you saying anything about what we were betting on.
Joshua: You shouldn't worry so much about the tiny details! You'll waste your life, worrying so much! Now, about that training. I always have a tough time fighting against people who use magic. I think it's got something to do with getting the timing right... I don't really need to polish my technique too much. However, I've noticed that these battles just keep getting harder. So, I figured I should train with someone who can use a little magic!
Artur: I commend your attitude, but I really can't help you... My evenings are pretty full as it is, so...
Joshua: Hey, now! A deal's a deal. I'll be waiting, so don't be late!
Joshua: Hey, Artur. I wanted to thank you for training. I learned a lot from it. I hope you're not too exhausted for today's training session.
Artur: Well, actually... Could we not do this today?
Joshua: Hey, now. Show a little enthusiasm, why don't you? An attitude like that ain't gonna win you any battles!
Artur: You may be right, but I just can't keep up with you. If you keep exhausting me in training, I'll be no good when the real fighting begins. I'm trying not to let it show, but I'm really worn out today.
Joshua: Then let's make a bet. If I win, you do what I tell you.
Artur: Joshua, I'm quite drained, and we still have much fighting to do. You should just rest tonight.
Joshua: Don't worry about me, Artur. So, heads or tails?
Artur: Fine... Heads.
Joshua: Great! You're heads, and I'm tails. Here we go! Incredible! Tails! I win again!
Artur: ... Could I see that coin?
Joshua: What for? Are you suggesting that I would actually cheat?
Artur: ...No. Sorry.
Joshua: So it's a deal. I'll be waiting for you tonight. Don't forget!
Artur: Fine... ......
Joshua: ...You're hopeless. Don't look so tired. It gets me all worried, and I can't go back to the front being all worried. Listen, just take a day off. Get some rest, all right?
Artur: But I lost the bet.
Joshua: The deal was, if I win, you do what I tell you. And what I'm telling you to do is take it easy.
Artur: Joshua... I appreciate it. I've never done much fighting. I think I'm just worn out. It's exhausting, having to keep your guard up all the time. But your kindness has rejuvenated my frazzled nerves a little.
Joshua: Well, we're still fighting, so don't let your guard down. Stick close to me today, and I'll watch over you. But don't skip tomorrow's training!
Joshua: Hey, Artur! You're looking pretty pleased with yourself today. Care to make a bet? If I win, we'll hit the training again tonight.
Artur: No need for bets, Joshua. I'll be happy to train with you.
Joshua: You're volunteering? Are you feeling all right? Did you take a blow to the head?
Artur: No, no. I'm fine. I'm just offering to help you out. It's easier than losing another bet to you.
Joshua: What do you mean? You've got even odds of winning.
Artur: You must be joking! Out of the past 21 coin flips, I've won two, and you've won 19! Those are impossible odds to beat, so there's only one answer. You must have some divine betting power or something. If I can help you train, I will, but I don't want to lose anymore.
Joshua: Hmph... But that's no fun! All right, you don't have to train with me if you don't want to bet.
Artur: ...Excuse me?
Joshua: I don't have any divine power. You've won 11 out of 21 coin tosses so far. We're about even. I was...cheating. Just a little, though.
Artur: You cheated? I felt so guilty when I accused you earlier. I guess I just trusted--
Joshua: Yep. That's your problem. I know trust and faith are important to you monkly types. However, on the battlefield, you can never trust your foe. If we were gambling for your life, and not for training, you'd be dead 19 times over. Well, I mean, you can only die once, but you get my drift.
Artur: ... I'm speechless...
Joshua: Ha ha ha. Good thing I'm a reasonably fair man, huh? No harm done, and you even learned a little something, didn't you?
Artur: I suppose.
Joshua: So here's the deal. I want you to keep being my partner. But this time, I'll be teaching you a little bit about wagers.
Artur: What's more important to you, Joshua? Gambling or training? I guess I don't even have to ask you that, huh? But no more cheating!