Izana: Hello, Lord Avatar! I have a little present for you!
Avatar: That's so nice of you! Huh. What is this? It looks like some kind of uniform.
Izana: Exactly! I made us matching outfits! This style is all the rage in Izumo! But I didn't stop there! I bedazzled the tunic with mirrors. They reflect spells! Now you'll be stylish and safe! I can't wait for you to try it on!
Avatar: Whoa! This thing is heavy! I can hardly move!
Izana: Oh, that's too bad. Well, no worries. Here. Try this on instead. Ta-da!
Avatar: How many outfits did you make?!
Izana: I always say, "You must have options!" Here we have the pinnacle of Izumo fashion... The cape! Just look at the embroidery! Isn't it breathtaking?
Avatar: Uh...it's certainly flashy.
Izana: Don't be silly! If anyone can pull this off, it's you. Everyone will be talking about you!
Avatar: ...I'm not sure I want that.
Izana: What a shame! Well, perhaps this is more your style--
Avatar: Izana, wait! Why are you giving me all this stuff?
Izana: I wanted to show you my appreciation! After all, you saved my life! I just want to see you happy, and there's nothing better than a brand-new outfit!
Avatar: I guess so...
Izana: Don't you worry, Lord Avatar. I won't give up until I've tickled your fancy! So it isn't clothes? No problem! I've got plenty of tricks up my sleeve. It's important to be a good host no matter where I am! I treat all my friends as guests. ...And I want my guests to feel welcome whether we're in a tent or a palace!
Avatar: Izana's a good host, but I'm terrified to see what he comes up with next!
Avatar: Izana, thanks again for a great feast. The Bounty of Izumo was delicious!
Izana: Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Avatar: We all did! In fact, I brought you a thank-you present.
Izana: O-ho! Is this a book? How kind of you!
Avatar: I have to apologize. This one's from my personal library, so I'm sorry it's used. I thought you might like to read some Nohrian literature.
Izana: How splendid! I look forward to reading it! I'm sure I'll learn a lot! Perhaps our next gathering can be a Nohrian theme night!
Avatar: Wow. ...That's an interesting idea.
Izana: I want to be an excellent host to all of my guests—no matter where they're from!
Avatar: Izana, that's a nice thought, but the best way to do that isn't with gifts.
Izana: Don't be silly! Of course not. It's not just about favors. There's also the appetizers!
Avatar: Actually, it's more than that. I've learned a lot from you about being a host... Being a good host isn't what you give your guests, but how you make them feel. That's why everyone loves your parties. You make everyone feel special!
Izana: That's very kind of you to say. You'd make a thoughtful host as well. In fact, you're very generous. See? You've already given me a gift!
Avatar: I learned that from you too.
Izana: If you really want to take your party planning seriously, there's one more thing.
Avatar: Oh? What's that?
Izana: You really do need a better outfit! Now, come on. Just give me one more try! I'm sure I'll get it right this time! Stay here! I have just the thing!
Avatar: You ran off the other day in the middle of our conversation. Did I offend you?
Izana: Heavens, no! You haven't been worrying your pretty little head over me, have you?
Avatar: You left in such a hurry. I thought maybe I said something wrong.
Izana: I assure you, it was quite the opposite. Everything you said was right. Giving people bad news can be a heavy burden, but I didn't want you to worry.
Avatar: Of course I worry about you. You're my friend!
Izana: That is very kind of you, Lady Avatar.
Avatar: You would do the same for me! We'd support each other no matter what! Sometimes the future looks dark, but it's not hopeless as long as we're together!
Izana: Well, if that isn't a mood lift, I don't know what is! Thank you! I needed that. You don't need to be a fortune-teller to know that hard times are ahead. Still, I don't know anyone with a peppier outlook than you, Lady Avatar.
Avatar: I know we'll get through this. Brighter days are just around the bend! I'm sure of it!
Avatar: Every time Izana tells my fortune, I keep hoping he'll tell me who my soul mate is. I have an idea, but it would be nice to hear it from him!
Izana: Helloooooo, Lady Avatar!
Avatar: Izana? Where'd you come from?!
Izana: Heehee! Sorry! I didn't mean to startle you. Maybe I can make it up to you... Would you care for a little fortune about your love life, perhaps? Hmm?
Avatar: *gasp* How did you know?!
Izana: Oh, do you have a question about love? We all long for that special someone! Who will we spend our life with? Who is destined to be our soul mate? Let's find out, shall we? Rouy-lous-etam-si-anazi...!
Avatar: These chants keep getting weirder.
Izana: ...And your soul mate is...right in front of you!
Izana: Yes, it's plain as day. Your soul mate is ME! Shall we celebrate?
Izana: You're not disappointed, are you? I've been wanting to tell you how I felt for a while.
Avatar: Oh, Izana! I wanted it to be you, but I was afraid you'd say it was someone else.
Izana: Does that mean--
Avatar: Yes! I love you too, Izana! I'm so glad we're soul mates!
Izana: PHEW! Yay! I was sooooooo nervous!
Avatar: What do you mean?! Aren't we fated to be together? Why would you be nervous? You're not saying you made that whole thing up, are you?
Izana: Uh...no! Of course not! We're a match made in heaven! Seriously!
Avatar: Heehee! All right. If you say so.
Izana: Absolutely, my love!
Izana: We were destined to be together. I'm not even making that up!
Kana: Hey, Papa. There's something I wanted to talk to you about...
Izana: Anything for my little Kana Kabana.
Kana: Well, see, it's Mama. She's always treating me like I'm a little kid.
Izana: Hm? You ARE still a kid, right? You can't pull one on ol' Papa here. I was there when you were born, and I've been keeping a close eye on your age.
Kana: I know that! I just mean that I'm not as much of a child as I used to be. I want to help out more. But whenever I try, she just tells me to go play with my friends instead.
Izana: I see, I see. You want some responsibilities.
Kana: Yeah! I want to be someone she can rely on. Do you have any ideas on what I can do to make her happy?
Izana: Hm... You could do what I always do! Give her a divination and brew some cups of my ultra-divine jasmine-mint tea! And I let her stare at my hair. Voted best in Izumo, you know!
Kana: I know, Papa. And all that makes her happy?
Izana: Of course it does! Have you SEEN my hair?
Izana: You seem disappointed. Perhaps you could use some oolong-monkeyfruit tea?
Kana: No thanks, Papa. I guess I was just hoping for more ideas... You know, special things I could do for Mama to help her out.
Izana: Oh, I see. Let me knock it around the old noggin for a spell...
Kana: Oh, I know! Let's make it a contest, Papa!
Izana: Oooooh. A contest? What kind of contest?
Kana: A contest to see which of us can make Mama happier! Between the two of us, I'm sure we can come up with all sorts of things! Whoever gets thanked the most wins!
Izana: A high-stakes competition between father and son, eh? I like the sound of that! Imagine the drama! The suspense! The horrific tragedy when one is inevitably compelled to destroy the other! "What monstrous deed hath these hands wrought?! What blood hath they spilled?!" Ooh, I get tingles just imagining it. Count me in!
Kana: Really? Yay!
Izana: Although, you would do well to remember... Princess Avatar is my beloved wife. And Archduke Izana pulls punches for no man!
Kana: That's fine with me, Papa. I'm gonna beat you fair and square!
Kana: Hey, Papa. I've been doing really well on our contest so far! How about you? Has Mama been thanking you a lot lately?
Izana: Hehehe. Oh, you've no idea! I haven't even begun to try, and yet my tally grows daily! Are you sure you wish to see it? Very well, then! Look upon my tally, and know the feeling of true despair! Muahahahahahaha!
Kana: WOW! That's a lot! And you got all these without doing anything special? That's crazy!
Izana: Yes indeed! Though I have to admit that even I'm surprised at the number. Such is my magnanimity that I was unaware of how much I did for her every day. Do you tremble yet, knowing you have no chance against the great Izana? Heehee!
Kana: Never! Nothing's gonna stand between Kana and victory! Here, see! I counted mine, too! And the total is... um...
Izana: I-I don- How did you do this? You've got the same number as me!
Kana: Whoa, you're right! Say good-bye to you're crown, Papa! Kana's going to beat you big-time! After all, I don't have a job, so I can spend all day helping out for Mama!
Izana: (The kid is too clever for his own good.) Oh? And what exactly have you done to earn such praise from your mother?
Kana: I've mostly just been doing things around camp. In the mornings, I help make arrows for the archers. Then at lunch I chop vegetables and dole out the food. And at night, I bring Mama her maps and books for planing the war strategy. And I do a bunch of little things throughout the day whenever I have time.
Izana: Wowie zowie! Color me impressed, Kana-bun. Heh. You really are growing up, aren't you?
Izana: Oh, just a thought. I feel I might have been treating you like too much of a child too, is all. Not that long ago, you were still a little fleshy, pink squishbubble. And now, all of a sudden, you're a man of the army, serving like the rest of us. It's a little shocking. You could even say I "Kana-t" believe it. *snort* Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Anyways, I guess I'm trying to say that I'm very proud of you, squishbubble.
Kana: Hehehe! I've been working really hard. Soon there'll be nothing I can't do!
Izana: Oh, I can think of a few things. Like beating your pops at literally anything. But I DO bet you've been doing a very good job at making Avatar happy.
Kana: A good job... Hm. I just realized... Mama hasn't actually been saying "thank you" to me very much. She just tells me I did a good job and smiles. It's kind of a sad smile, come to think of it... Maybe i'm not helping her as much as I thought I was...
Izana: Hey, now. Don't be too sad. It's probably nothing. I'm sure you've been helping her out a ton. More importantly, this means you've been cheating, you little squirtbag! I knew you couldn't match my score fairly!
Kana: Haha! I guess you're right. I'll just have to work even harder for Mama tomorrow! I'm not gonna lose to you, Papa! I won't sleep until Mama thanks me twice as much!
Izana: Ohoho! And so the filial knife is sharpened! Well I won't lose to you either, Kanabee!
Izana: You look like someone spat in your bilberry smoothie, Kana! What's wrong? I thought you'd still be beaming about winning our little competition.
Kana: Yeah, I'm still happy about that, I guess, but... I was trying to help out around camp for Mama earlier, and she made me stop. She said I should be spending more time with my friends and playing around. She still thinks I'm just a kid. Haven't I shown her that I can help with stuff too? Or am I messing up? Is she just pretending I'm doing a good job?
Izana: Aw, don't worry your head about that! I know your mother thinks you're doing an incredible job.
Kana: But then why would she tell me she'd rather I not help with anything?
Izana: It's because you were doing TOO good a job, silly. It makes her sad.
Kana: What? Why would that make her sad?
Izana: She doesn't want you to miss out on being a child. And rightly so! People frown on you if you still play with dolls as an adult. Trust me, I know. They don't like frolicking, either. Especially not with flowers. Ooh, or taking naps. But children can do all those things, and no one will bat an eye. It's wonderful! So she wants you to enjoy the chance to live it up while you can. Plus, if you're too independent, she'll feel like you don't need her anymore.
Kana: I still don't think I get it.
Izana: Think of it this way. You want her to be able to count on you, right? She wants the same thing, but the other way around. And as you become more independent, the less she'll feel needed. It's the same for every parent.
Kana: I guess that makes sense. Sorta...
Izana: Don't worry about it too much. If it doesn't now, it will in time. Just try your best to humor us in the meantime, OK? How about this: keep helping your mother, but don't work for hours on end. Take tea breaks, pick daisies, dance in the fields-you know the drill. Show her that you can still be a child sometimes too. If you do that, I'm sure it will make her ecstatic. And it wouldn't hurt to try and spend some quality time with her now and then as well.
Izana: What? You don't want to spend time with her?
Kana: No, that's not it! It's just... I feel like all that stuff is just for babies.
Izana: No, Kana. It's not for babies. It's for children. And she doesn't want you to grow up too fast. She wants you to be a child for just a little while longer. Both of us do.
Izana: Squishbubble, we know you're growing and that you want to be responsible. You're going to be a big, unsquishy man one day. A great one. And we all know it. But for now... just kick back and take in the sweet, sweet sunshine. Enjoy yourself. At least a little bit, here and there.
Kana: OK... thanks, Papa! I'll think hard about everything you've said.
Izana: Now that's what I like to hear! Maybe you and your mother should spend some time together tonight. Whaddaya say? A relaxing evening in, just the two of you.
Kana: You mean... you don't want to spend time with us too?
Izana: What? You know, I didn't even think about that. Some father I am! Heehee. I would love to spend tonight with you and Mama, Kana!
Izana: Heehee. If only this kind of bliss could last forever... I suppose that's what spas are for!