For a Melancholic Friend
The petition to reinstate Yurius as the Disaster Operations Planning Executive is officially approved, but Yurius is unmoved by the news. Concerned for their friend's low spirits, Albert, Mina, Mona, and Mena speculate that Yurius may not feel comfortable returning to the public stage and brainstorm a way to cheer him up. They decide to hold a surprise homecoming party for him.
One of the root causes of the disaster that befell the Kingdom of Levin originated from primal beast Destructio.
In order to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, Yurius tried to take his own life to kill the parasitic primal beast inside him.
Yurius was prepared to die, but the crew and Albert were determined to stop him.
Albert: I can't believe you had us help you with a suicide attempt! What kind of person uses his friends for that?
Albert: I've had enough! We're getting you out of here, and you better have a good apology waiting when we do!
Moved by the words of his friends, Yurius reconsiders suicide and vows to live.
One day Albert bursts through the door of Yurius's office, shouting at the top of his lungs.
Albert's Voice: Yurius! Yurius, are you in here!
Yurius: Thanks for blowing out my eardrums. Did something bad happen at the assembly?
Albert: No, everything went swimmingly, which is why I've come to deliver the good news.
Albert: The petition to reinstate you as the Disaster Operations Planning Executive was officially approved!
Albert: I had to tell you after hearing the decree. Before I knew it I was dashing through the hallways.
Yurius exhales deeply after hearing the news.
Yurius: I see. It finally happened...
Albert: Congratulations, my friend. This moment marks a fresh start.
Currently, Yurius is gradually being eased back into his former executive role.
This development, however, hasn't been made public.
Many citizens still loathe Yurius for murdering the former king, thus he's been kept out of the limelight to avoid dissent.
For that reason Yurius doesn't attend the assemblies, relegated to desk work instead. But that's about to change.
New King of Levin: Levin's smooth road to recovery was paved by the meticulous reconstruction plan devised by the former operations executive, Sir Yurius.
New King of Levin: It was also Sir Yurius who stopped Mallow's evil subterfuge. Time and time again he has brought us back from the brink.
New King of Levin: Now, that is not to say he hasn't committed sins of his own. I wish my father were still alive today...
New King of Levin: But on the day Father died, he shamefully tried to have Sir Yurius executed.
New King of Levin: Father was guilty of terrible deeds himself. To blame my father's death solely on Sir Yurius is too extreme.
New King of Levin: My heart tells me to give him a chance at redemption, so that we may find a path of atonement together.
Thanks to the new king's efforts to set the record straight, on top of countless clarifications, the public's hatred for the kingslayer gradually recedes.
In the wake of public opinion shifting toward the positive, the decision has been made to allow Yurius back into the public eye.
Yurius: First I must appear before the populace again and disclose every detail of my sordid transgressions.
Albert: Yeah. Security will be in place, and even if there wasn't, I believe the odds of violence erupting to be low.
Yurius: It may not fall under the category of violence, but the jeers and anger will certainly fly my way.
Albert: I can see that happening too, but I know a large contingent of people are willing to listen.
Yurius: I hope that's the case, though who knows how the outcome will turn out.
Yurius looks out the window toward black clouds hanging over the sky.
The man quickly turns back to look at Albert.
Yurius: Well, I'd better get started writing my speech. I wouldn't want to let the opportunity you and His Highness have given me go to waste.
Yurius takes a seat and is about to pick up a pen when Albert stops him.
Albert: Come now, my friend. Leave that for another day.
Yurius: It's still the afternoon. I have plenty of energy left to wiggle my pen.
Albert: Be that as it may, recently you've been cooped up in this castle without stepping foot outside.
Albert: Staying inside all the time can get oppressive. An occasional walk through the garden to get some sunshine does wonders for the soul.
Yurius considers Albert's suggestion, nods his head, and stands up from his chair.
Yurius: Say no more. I'll call it a day and relax in the courtyard.
Albert: Oh. Have a good time.
Albert watches Yurius leave the office and breathes a sigh of relief.
Albert: I was waiting for him to throw a sarcastic "you talk too much" back at my face but he didn't.
Albert: Lately he's lost his biting wit. I wonder if there's anything I can do...
Mona: He still hasn't...
Mena: Pepped up, has he?
Albert and the Levin Sisters gather at a cafe in town to discuss Yurius's condition.
Albert: Buckling to persuasion without a fight isn't like him at all.
Albert: I'd like to hear what each of you has to say about this.
Mona: Heehee... It's nice to feel wanted by our fearless leader!
Albert: Well, trying to resolve this on my own isn't in anyone's best interest.
Mena: Oooh! It's so touching to hear you say that!
Albert: Huh? What's that supposed to mean exactly?
Mina glances over at Mona, who simply nods sagely.
Mina: Yurius has a strong sense of responsibility. He's still worried about stepping back into the spotlight.
Mina: He might not feel ready to yet, even if he has told himself that he is.
Mena: Mm-hm, I think I get it. It's like when Mina dwells on a mistake and becomes detached from reality.
Mina: You didn't have to use me as an example!
Albert: Hm... So he's still grappling with anxiety...
Albert rests his chin on his hand, thinking to himself while sipping his tea.
Mona: This is just a thought, but do you think there's a way to snap Yurius out of his funk?
Mena: Hey, what about a trip to the sea? Albert's been to Auguste before—he'd know all the sights and places to be!
Mina: Oh, come on. You're just trying to find an excuse to hit the beach.
Mena: I-I would never! Er... Not that I wouldn't mind lying in the sand...
Mina: Yurius was never one to partake in trips purely for amusement.
Mena: Darn... Well, I thought it was a good idea...
Albert: It's still helpful to hear what everyone has to say. Any way to help him move forward is worth considering...
The table falls silent as everyone becomes lost in thought. Mona takes a bite of her cake, which seems to trigger an idea.
Mona: How about something simple, like a homecoming party?
Albert: Homecoming party?
Mona: You know, to celebrate his return to the fold. And yes, I know throwing a party for him now is kinda late.
Mona: Good grub, good friends—what's a better way to soothe the soul?
Mena: Ooh, not a bad idea! Delicious food totally melts the concerns away!
Mina: I agree with Mona. Just look at the parties we throw to welcome new recruits. You can see what a difference it makes on their psyches.
Albert: Hm, all right. Sounds like a plan.
Mena: Great! This probably won't happen again, so let's go all out! We're gonna need to reserve a spacious banquet hall!
Mena bounces in her seat with excitement, but Albert quietly shakes his head.
Albert: That's not his style. It'd be better if we held it in a small venue, like his office.
Albert: As for the attendees, us, (Captain), and those from the crew are more than welcome, but I think it should be limited to that.
Mina: When should we set the date for? We can confer with Yurius—
Albert: No, don't tell him anything. Let's make it a surprise.
Albert: He'll be noncommittal if he knows it's coming.
Mona: Then what about food and drinks? We could hire a restaurant chef to whip up stuff...
Albert: That's not a bad idea, but it'd be better to keep it simple.
Albert: I think grabbing his favorite wine and appetizer is the way to go.
Levin Sisters: Ooh!
The Levin Sisters are in awe of Albert's precise knowledge of Yurius's habits.
Mona: That's the power of a long friendship! You know everything about him!
Albert: No, I wouldn't say everything.
Albert: I'm pretty sure I know which appetizer he likes, but what kind of wine he enjoys is a complete mystery to me.
Mina: Yurius is very particular about his wine, isn't he?
Albert: Oh well. It should be fine. I'll just ask him subtly.
Mona: (Albert? Subtle?)
The way Albert said that so casually has Mona worried.
In any case, all four begin the preparations for Yurius's homecoming party.
To Beginnings, New and Old
Albert and friends attempt to figure out what Yurius's preferred brand of wine is, so they can serve it for his surprise homecoming party. While they are in Yurius's research lab, they happen across a faded cookie recipe, which brings up old memories for Albert. He reminisces about how he and Yurius used to get along like oil and water, due to how Yurius shirked his duties to the knightly order and stayed cooped up in his lab.
Albert plans a surprise homecoming party for Yurius, which he hopes will help his friend get back on track.
There's a matter of asking Yurius about his preferred wine, something Albert must find out without arousing suspicion.
Yurius: You came here specifically to ask me which wine brand I like?
Albert: Erm, not intentionally, no. I just happened to be passing by your research lab, and...
Albert: (Already your eyes of scrutiny are on me... Your intuition hasn't dulled in the least.)
Albert: You're always swirling a new vintage every time I see you. I was simply wondering what's caught your tongue this time around.
Yurius: You make it sound like I choose at random. Wines change with the season and one's finicky appetite.
Albert: Ah, so that's how it is.
Yurius: Didn't you once say to me that wine is wine regardless of the name on the label?
Yurius: Since when did you have a sudden change of heart?
Yurius: Hmm... Something is amiss...
Yurius's eyes narrow accusingly at Albert, when suddenly...
Mena: Knock, knock, Yurius!
Mina: Please allow us to explain why Albert's taken a sudden interest!
Albert: Wh-what are you three doing here?
Mona brings her index finger to her lips and gives Albert a look that says, "let us do the talking."
Mina: The truth is there's a friend we sisters owe a great deal to, and we'd like to gift him a bottle of wine.
Mona: Something different from your run-of-the-mill wineries. You seem like a man who takes his wine seriously, but...
Mena: We could never find you since you're busy, so we asked Albert if he could ask you for us!
Yurius: I see. Why didn't you say so in the first place?
Albert: Yeah... Sorry, that would've been easier.
Yurius considers the sisters' query and racks his brain for an answer.
Yurius: Might I suggest Lagrima Levin?
Yurius: It even appears in the Saint Lethan Tales, so it's somewhat historical. Makes perfect sense for a gift.
Albert: Lagrima Levin...
Mina: Do you know it?
Albert: Yes. I've tasted it before.
Yurius: Oho... How good of you to remember.
Putting on a telling smile, Yurius gathers up the papers on his desk.
Yurius: Now, if you will all excuse me. I promised to instruct His Majesty on how to read these documents.
Yurius leaves the office, and the visitors exhale in relief.
Mona: I think we managed to throw him off the trail, yeah?
Albert: Thanks for the save. His eye for lies is as sharp as any sword.
Mena: Uh, no, it's because you're really bad at keeping secrets! The way you asked Yurius wasn't subtle at all!
Albert: Is that so? Sorry...
Mina: No apologies needed! As far as we of the Sky Knights are concerned, we respect a leader who's frank and honest!
Mina's impassioned declaration draws smirks from Mona and Mena.
They now have the information they sought and are about to leave the research lab.
Suddenly Mena trips, and she tumbles into a stack of documents leaning against the wall, scattering papers everywhere.
Mena: Ow... What the heck! He installed traps in this place?
Mena's foot had struck a protruding fixture bolted into the floor.
Albert: Are you all right? It's an easy thing to miss. I've tripped over it myself.
Mona: Glad you didn't break a leg, but nice job cushioning your fall on that paper stack.
Mena: Sigh... My bad...
They all stoop down to pick up the strewn papers.
Mona: Are these research notes about monster ecology? It's nothing but complicated terminology...
Mena: Huh? This one has a drawing of a cookie on it. Think it could be a recipe?
Albert: What? Let me see that.
Albert looks at the page Mena picked up and cracks a nostalgic smile.
Albert: Hah, this guy... Can't believe he kept this.
Mina: Do you have any idea what it is? That paper is more faded than the other documents.
Albert: Yeah. And I'll never forget the taste of that cookie.
Mena: Wait, Yurius baked cookies for you? Whoa, I didn't realize you guys were so close since way back when!
Albert: That's because we weren't. We used to get along like oil and water.
Mena: Really? I can't imagine that! What was it like between you guys?
Mina: I'm curious as well! Please regale us with a story of your past!
Mona: (Ahaha... I wanna know too, Mina, but you've got a creepy look going there.)
With sparkling, inquisitive eyes, the three sisters huddle closer to Albert.
Albert: Hm, come to think of it, none of you had joined the order yet.
Albert: It happened before I became captain of the Sky Knights. Instead I was in command of a small platoon.
Albert: Yurius! What have you been doing all this time!
Yurius: What does it look like? I was researching confections.
An assortment of off-colored cookies are packed in a jar on his desk.
Albert: You've got to be kidding me! Shirking off another day of training? Have you no pride as a knight?
Yurius: Huh, someone's having a bad day.
Yurius: If hunger's to blame for your irritability, then feel free to take a cookie.
Knight 1: The commander's in there barking orders again...
Knight 2: Commander's a serious guy who runs a tight ship, but he should probably give up on that one...
Albert: Yurius grew up bearing the stigma of being the king's illegitimate child, raised by a duke who showed him no compassion.
Albert: Perhaps to get away from that dysfunctional home, he joined the order and brought his own brand of frivolity.
Albert: Holed up in his research lab and skipping training, everyone left him alone.
Albert: But I wouldn't stand for his insubordination. I was constantly issuing reprimands.
Albert: Not only do you ignore drills, but to remodel the facilities in this sector without permission is outrageous!
Yurius: No one was using it though. Besides, you never said anything about it. Therefore I viewed that as tacit consent.
Yurius: So much griping over trivial matters, like a crotchety old man. I ought to call you Old Man Sulky.
Albert: What! Do I look like an old man to you!
Albert: His background and status didn't matter to me. I viewed him as a troublemaker out to bend the rules.
Albert: But every time we spoke, he'd invariably steer the conversation in his favor.
Albert: Fine. If I finish one of those cookies and keep it down, you need to leave this room.
Yurius: It's a deal.
Albert: I will hold you accountable to your words!
Albert: Ugh, this smell! All I've done is open the jar!
Albert: Always smirking. Always mixing sarcasm and sophistry to obfuscate his point.
Albert: To put it bluntly, I was no match for him.
Albert: Huff... Urp... This taste... is unspeakable...
Albert: However... Now to uphold... your part of the bargain!
Yurius: Of course. On my way out.
Yurius: And now I have returned. How goes it, Old Man Sulky?
Albert: You smarmy...
Mena: Ah, so this is the recipe for that mysterious cookie you ate.
Mina: His notes are written here too. "Research idea: develop a confection for sale at the hot springs."
Mona: "Subject's reaction (Mr. Sulky): desperately begged for water. Tripped on the floor and fell. Product is a failure, as predicted."
Albert: He didn't have to record any of that...
Mena: You got played, Captain.
Albert: Bah. I can't refute that.
Mona: Still, it's weird to think you guys were on such bad terms.
Mina: Can you please continue the story? How did your relationship progress to what it is today? Please enlighten us!
Albert: Y-you're almost right in my face, Mina. Is it really that interesting?
Little by little, the sisters have literally backed Albert into a corner without him realizing it.
Albert: All right. It's not like I have anything to hide. But I'll do so while we head out.
Mona: Where to?
Albert: A place that means something to the both of us.
Albert: Now let's tidy up the rest of these papers before leaving.
Albert carefully collects the scattered documents that are part of Yurius's history.
The restacked pages crinkle softly, waiting for their master's return.
To Beginnings, New and Old: Scene 2
Albert takes the Levin sisters to a canteen in town, where he orders sandwiches for the homecoming party. He recalls how the canteen's sandwiches helped bridge the gap between him and Yurius, leading to them working together after much persistence.
Albert leads the sisters into town. They stop outside a canteen sporting a well-worn sign.
Mena: This place serves chow on the cheap! We come here all the time!
Mina: I didn't expect you and Yurius to have a history with this establishment.
Albert: Well, it's not the canteen itself that's important. I'm here for their sandwiches.
Mona: Ah, are we going to order them as apps for the party?
Albert: Exactly. I knew from the start I had to get them.
They enter the canteen, and an upbeat lady rushes to greet Albert.
Nice Old Lady: Little Albert! Where have you been hiding all this time!
The old lady claps Albert on the shoulder with a hearty guffaw.
Albert: I'm sorry I haven't dropped by in a while. If you're not busy right now, could I borrow a moment of your time?
Nice Old Lady: Of course, hun! Always free after the lunch rush!
Albert explains to the lady about Yurius's party and asks if she can prepare appetizers.
Albert: I can't think of a better appetizer to celebrate his return than with your sandwiches. Would it be any trouble?
Nice Old Lady: That sandwich-loving sonny boy is the talk of the town, for better or worse.
Nice Old Lady: But I believe in him! He's a cute fan of my shop, after all!
Nice Old Lady: Leave the sandwiches to me! I'm gonna whip 'em up so good, that boy'll be grinning into next week!
Nice Old Lady: Haha! Speaking of which, I never took him for the rah-rah, cheerful type.
Albert: Well, he isn't, but I know he'll be happy all the same.
Nice Old Lady: I don't mind using all my ingredients, but I need to see what I even have in stock.
The old lady hurriedly runs into the kitchen.
Mena: Wow. She's got guts calling Yurius "sonny boy."
Mina: She seems quite friendly with Yurius, but did he really like her sandwiches that much?
Albert: Considering he used to eat them almost every day...
Albert: Or rather, I made him eat them. That's more or less how we began our friendship.
Mina: You made him eat them? How does that work?
Albert: Oh boy, how to explain this one...
Albert searches for the words to describe the past memories flowing through his head.
Albert: Who knew a day would come where I'd be fighting with you, shoulder to shoulder.
Yurius: Hmph, I wouldn't worry about a repeat. This is a one-time deal.
Albert: On that day, the knight captain instructed Yurius to participate in a field training exercise.
Albert: Captain said, "The other knights need an example, so you are to join the drills at least once. Do this, and I won't ask again."
Albert: To which Yurius complied and fell in with my platoon.
Albert: Today we will be addressing guerilla warfare. A number of competing platoons are concealed in the forest.
Albert: The last platoon standing earns a steak dinner! And for dessert, hot springs manju, which I hear is the latest craze.
Knight 1: Heck yeah, I'll fight for that! So, what's our strategy?
Albert: When it comes to fighting in a forest where visibility is hampered, it's advantageous to locate our enemies first and launch a surprise attack.
Albert: We'll patrol the forest and pick off our targets when we find them. Rinse and repeat.
Yurius: Hah, I see you believe in the school of learning by failure.
Albert: What did you say!
Yurius: It's such a basic strategy that I'm sure our enemies have adopted it too. So if they're all out combing the woods, we're better off letting them come to us.
Yurius: Anticipate their attacks instead. Use decoys and traps to catch them off guard. That's the way to go.
Albert: While I do see the merit in your way of thinking, taking a defensive position seems like a waste of training...
Yurius: The only objective is to survive and win. Or would you rather rob your darling subordinates of their steak dinner?
Albert: Tch! I—
Yurius: Look, I have no interest in steak, but nonetheless I would like to end this as quickly as possible.
Despite his grumblings, Albert reluctantly adopts Yurius's tactics.
The decision pays off, for Albert's platoon successfully secures victory.
Albert: I have to admit, your strategy was the deciding factor.
Yurius: You can move as quick as lightning. The plan's success hinged upon your capabilities.
Albert: Huh, is that a compliment? That's another first.
Yurius: I can make an objective assessment when it's true. Besides, your offensives are uninspired; this plan won't work again.
Albert: Hnh. You should quit talking while you're ahead.
The two men take jabs at each other as a light sweat drips down their faces.
Knight 1: Yurius and Albert make a pretty good combo! You got tactics in one hand and power in the other.
Knight 2: They even play off each other without missing a beat. Never realized they were on such good terms—
Albert & Yurius: No way in hell!
How utterly asinine.
The simultaneous rebuke from the two men causes one of the knights to burst out laughing.
Knight 1: You're a real interesting fellow, Yurius. Color me surprised.
Yurius: I think you're seeing something that isn't there.
Yurius: Anyway, I'm taking my leave. My first, and last, field exercise was a delight.
Albert: Wait. Are you seriously forgoing the steak dinner?
Yurius: Heavy meals disagree with my stomach.
Albert: Sigh... The man's a lost cause.
That day, the exploits of Albert and Yurius spread throughout the order.
A few days later...
Albert: Hey, Yurius. Have you given any thought to fighting with my platoon?
Yurius: I thought you were an upstanding man who hated rule-breaking. Wasn't I promised to be left alone?
Albert: This is a personal request. It has nothing to do with the deal you made with the order.
Yurius stares back at Albert's solemn face and sighs.
Yurius: I thought you couldn't stand the sight of me. I was happy letting that be the case.
Albert: But we both have the same goal, wouldn't you agree?
Yurius: And what goal is that?
Albert: Every time I come here, I notice you're busy researching for the sake of furthering Levin's development.
Yurius: You seem awfully sure of yourself.
Albert: The results of your monster research are only shared with the captain. That's why the captain respects you.
Albert: I was curious how the captain predicted torrential rains would uproot hordes of monsters. When I asked, I was told you were the brain behind the thought.
Yurius: It seems no one around here believes in keeping their promises.
Albert: Recently, the hot springs town to the southwest introduced their hot springs manju. That came from your research too, didn't it?
Albert: I looked into it and discovered that an anonymous donor had sent their tourism bureau a package consisting of a business plan and a recipe.
Albert: The newest treat meant to rejuvenate the hot springs business was your invention.
Albert: I don't know why you keep your research a secret, but as a comrade in our knightly order, surely you have the kingdom's best interest in mind.
Albert: Step out of this room and fight with us. Let's bring glory to Levin.
Albert extends his hand to Yurius, but the other man ignores it. He spreads his own arms in an exaggerated manner and shakes his head.
Yurius: Is this a joke? Since when did I become a comrade?
Yurius: Even if I clearly spell everything out, a thickheaded man like you wouldn't get the point.
Yurius: You think I care about the kingdom? Well, there seems to be a misunderstanding. I conduct research for my own purposes.
Yurius: I was discreetly expelled from the home of the duke that raised me. This order isn't my sanctuary. Frankly, I don't belong anywhere.
Yurius: From the day I was born, I've caused nothing but trouble for the people around me by simply daring to breathe.
Yurius: Shunned by my own bloodline, jeered at by total strangers, and talked about behind my back.
Yurius: At least in this room, I can conduct research with bated breath. Then I might find some semblance of self-worth. I have no intention of leaving my comfy castle.
Yurius: Heh, bring glory to Levin?
Yurius: Naive stooges like you who brazenly wave the banner of morality make me sick.
Yurius: Are we done here?
Albert: I'm sorry, Yurius. I was just—
Yurius: I'm telling you to get out!
Looking through a small window from outside the research lab, Albert sees Yurius working at his desk.
Albert: He's locked himself in his lab again.
Albert: I was arrogant to think I knew what he wanted.
Albert: Just like the people who tormented him because of his blood, I didn't bother to get to know him personally.
Realizing his insensitivity, Albert bites his lip until he tastes blood.
Albert: What can I do...
Albert stares at the closed door, lost in thought.
Yurius: Phew... Perhaps I'll stop here and take a break.
Yurius begins to stretch when he catches an unfamiliar object out of the corner of his eye.
Yurius: Hm? Something is stuck to the window.
He leaves the room to check on the object and finds it's a paper bag with a letter attached.
Yurius: That fool of a platoon leader put this here...
Albert: Dear Yurius,
I wanted to send my regards with a small token of good faith.
Albert: I sincerely apologize for what happened the other day. This letter is only the beginning. I'd like to have another conversation in person.
Albert: I'm also writing to thank you. It was your tactics that earned us a savory steak dinner.
Albert: I thought long and hard about what reward you might like, but I didn't have a clue.
Albert: Based on what you once told me, I figured a meal that's gentle on your stomach and easy to eat at your desk would be ideal.
Albert: Mind your health, and don't work so late into the night.
Yurius: What is this? A sandwich?
His brow furrows as he studies the bag's contents.
Yurius: Who is he to worry about my health?
Albert: But when I peeked through the window, I saw him eating it.
Albert: From that day forth, I kept dropping off sandwiches and letters.
Albert: Rainy days. Windy days. Stormy days. Didn't matter.
Albert: One night I was on watch inside the castle. A sudden uproar from outside signaled that things were going to get rough.
Knight 1: Albert! It's a raid! Forces belonging to the lords are closing in on the castle!
Albert: While our main army group was out on an excursion, the lords from the countryside launched an insurrection.
Knight 2: C-Captain! We're the only ones left in the castle! What do we do!
Albert: Don't panic! We need to gather information on their fighting strength.
Knight 1: But it's pitch-black out there! It'll only be a matter of time before they breach the castle!
Albert: They won't get through the walls that easily. We still have time. I'll go check on His Majesty.
Yurius: Seems to me you're the one who needs to take his own advice and calm down.
Yurius: How anyone expects to conduct research with all this noise and yelling is beyond me.
Yurius: You're the strongest fighter on duty. If you leave this post to check on His Majesty—who's in the safest part of the castle I might add—what's going to happen here?
Yurius: I'll direct traffic; you focus on fighting back. Are there any objections?
Albert: N-no. That's fine, but—
Yurius: No buts. This is an emergency.
Yurius: Considering their formations and that it's a night raid, this attack was carefully planned out, but rigid plans can be torn apart.
Yurius: I'm splitting the platoon into five squads, each with their own objectives.
As the battle continues throughout the night, battle cries echo through the halls of Saint Lethan Castle.
Yurius calmly issues orders while Albert crashes through the enemy vanguard, galvanizing troop morale.
Finally at daybreak, the rising sun reveals that the enemy forces have been repelled.
Albert: We owe you a great deal, Yurius. Your leadership allowed us to escape disaster. Thank you.
Yurius: If only you weren't so busy working as a sandwich delivery boy.
Yurius: It needs to stop. I'm not a fan of people hounding me.
Albert: Yurius! Won't you hear me out one more time?
Yurius: I haven't changed my mind.
Albert: I want to fight with you!
Albert: I don't know your circumstances, it's true. It's hard to imagine what you've been through.
Albert: But I think I got a small glimpse on that day.
Albert: I have to admit, your strategy was the deciding factor.
Yurius: You can move as quick as lightning. The plan's success hinged upon your capabilities.
Albert: Huh, is that a compliment? That's another first.
Yurius: I can make an objective assessment when it's true. Besides, your offensives are uninspired; this plan won't work again.
Albert: Hnh. You should quit talking while you're ahead.
Albert: If we combined forces, there's no trial we can't overcome!
Albert: That's what I've come to believe!
Yurius: Pure lunacy. Devoting your life to justice is your own thing, but if you can't even separate delusion from reality—
Albert: This has nothing to do with justice! I want to fight with you—that's my decision and mine alone!
Albert: There is no one else that can replace you!
Albert: If you end up quitting, that would be my life's biggest regret!
Albert: Come on, Yurius! Get out into the world! Take the first step with me!
Albert: The knights I put my trust in will surely welcome you as well!
Yurius stares at Albert's outstretched hand.
Yurius: What madness is this? I'm being pursued by a crazy man.
Yurius: There were moments I enjoyed, I'll give you that much. But I highly doubt your claim that anything's possible.
Yurius: On the other hand, those sandwiches actually match my tastes.
Yurius: Keep the supply flowing. That's my one condition.
Yurius offers a faint smile and shakes Albert's hand.
Albert: From then on we started talking more.
Albert: And you already know about the stuff that happened afterward.
Albert: He made his research open, and the knights used his findings to predict monster migration and improve rations.
Albert: He even joined in on some of the field exercises. Opened up to the other knights.
Mena: So that's how it happened! What a story!
Mina: Persistently delivering sandwiches despite never receiving feedback... Kindness bleeds from our captain's heart!
Albert: I couldn't think of anything else really. Just had to hope for the best.
Right as Albert finishes talking, the old lady returns with a tray of sandwiches.
Nice Old Lady: Whew, thankfully I still had plenty of stuff lying around! I thought y'all might be hungry too, so I made extras!
Nice Old Lady: Ham, lettuce, egg, potato salad... Same old recipe, same great taste!
Albert: Thank you so much!
Nice Old Lady: Make sure you eat everything. I'll be rooting for you, Little Albert, and sonny boy too!
Although the times change, other things never do.
Albert and the sisters enjoy a timeless treat while reminiscing about the past.
To Beginnings, New and Old: Scene 3
The day of the homecoming party, (Captain) and crew join in as well, and the surprise is successful in lifting Yurius's spirits. Once the festivities wrap up, Albert and Yurius have their own private drinking party in Yurius's lab, where the two reaffirm their bond and toast to the future.
Preparations for Yurius's homecoming party proceed smoothly, and the day finally arrives.
Delicious smells fill the decorated office. Yurius and Albert aren't there yet, but the Levin Sisters and (Captain) are.
Mona: Thanks for the help, (Captain), even though you guys should be kicking back and relaxing as guests.
Vyrn: It's all good! Can't wait to see Yurius's eyes bug out!
While Albert and Yurius attend a meeting with the new king, (Captain) and the sisters put the finishing touches on the party.
Lyria: Oh! I hear footsteps! Sounds like they're here!
They all quiet down and wait for the door to open.
Levin Sisters: Congratulations, Yurius!
Lyria: Congratulations, Yurius!
Vyrn: Welcome back to society! And congrats on getting out of the infirmary!
Choose: Welcome back!Choose: Congratulations!
- Welcome back!
Yurius: I... suppose I should say thanks.
Albert: Heh, surprised you, didn't we? We put this together right under your nose.
Albert: Everyone was looking forward to celebrating your triumphant return.
Although the party had caught Yurius by surprise for a moment, he immediately recovers and nods.
Yurius: Ah... So this is the scheme Albert cooked up and was trying to keep under wraps.
Mona: Ahaha... We can't hide anything from Yurius.
Yurius: Well, that isn't to say I knew what the end result was.
Then Yurius spots a bottle sitting on his desk.
Yurius: Well, well. If it isn't Lagrima Levin. You're on the ball.
Albert: There are sandwiches too. The old lady at the canteen used everything she had to make them.
Albert: Remember how I used to deliver them to meet the condition for us working together?
Mena: Albert was super worried about your well-being!
Mona: We threw this party to lift your spirits, even if just a little.
Yurius: Ah, is that the reason? It's my fault for worrying you guys.
Looking humbled, Yurius picks up a sandwich.
Yurius: Mm. Still delicious as ever. Whether it pairs well with the wine is another story.
Albert: Was that sarcasm I heard? Does that mean the old Yurius is back?
Yurius: I'm letting myself enjoy this so that I can move on with my life.
He replies in his usual sardonic manner. But then his eyes narrow, and this time he speaks from the heart.
Yurius: To be clear, I was torn by indecision.
Yurius: I wasn't sure if it was right for me to return to the public eye.
Yurius: I understood how apologizing before the entire kingdom and returning as the disaster planning executive was the proper move.
Yurius: But there will still be detractors among the people. Politicizing me only makes the restoration efforts harder for everyone.
Yurius: In that sense, Levin would be better served if I operated out of sight.
Yurius: Those were the thoughts that made me feel listless.
Yurius: But if I don't take the first step forward, nothing will change.
Yurius: Someone once taught me that lesson.
Yurius looks at the sandwich in his hand and smiles from the nostalgia.
Yurius: And so I begin from zero again. Thanks to all of you, I am ready for that challenge.
Albert: I wouldn't say zero. You have friends who are willing to walk with you.
Mina: Despite what little we can do, we will do it to our fullest ability!
Lyria: Yes! We're here to support you!
Everyone nods in agreement with Albert's words.
Yurius: Heh, I'm the luckiest man in the Sky Realm.
Yurius: My sincerest thanks.
Seeing Yurius brighten again, Albert smiles with relief.
As the wine and grape juice flows, the sandwiches disappear the longer the party goes on.
When the party ends, Albert and Yurius, already tipsy, go to the lab for more drinks.
Yurius crouches down and pulls on a metal grip sticking out of the floor, revealing a wine cellar beneath the floorboards.
Albert: You going to do something about that handle? Mena almost hurt herself tripping on it.
Yurius: I'll handle it. I just don't know how yet.
Yurius reaches down and pulls out a bottle of wine with the same label as the one at the party.
Yurius: Lagrima Levin. Also known as Thunder Cloud's Tears. The earthy flavor of the fields really comes out in this one.
Albert: Yeah, I remember. You droned on and on about the delicious yields from the fields to the southeast.
Yurius: Exactly. I'm shocked you remember something about wine.
Albert: The day I drank this wine is a day I'll never forget.
Yurius: Heh, yeah. I haven't forgotten either.
They discuss a certain special memory while uncorking the bottle.
It was the day Albert was inaugurated as the new captain of the Sky Knights.
That night after the ceremony, Albert and Yurius share a toast.
Yurius: They say the heroes Foudre and Astros had a taste for Lagrima Levin.
Yurius: Did you know its bouquet comes from a special vineyard to the southeast—
Albert: I know, I know. How many times are you going to repeat the same story?
Yurius: When a reserved wine such as this is opened, I want an unsophisticated tongue such as yours to comprehend why.
Albert: This is the best one you have in your wine cellar, right?
Albert: I admit I can't taste the difference, but I appreciate the gesture.
Yurius: That's insane. You do know you'll be invited to more social functions now, where wine is guaranteed to be served?
Yurius: At least learn to discern the difference between reds and whites. Okay, Mr. Sky Knight Captain?
Albert: Ugh, would you quit calling me that?
Yurius: What, not to your liking? Fine, how about...
Yurius: Hah, what if I just called you "friend"?
Albert: Ah, okay. That'll do.
Albert nods with genuine sincerity, causing Yurius's smirk to fall.
Yurius: You can't be taking my joke seriously. Who in their right mind would accept such an embarrassing—
Albert: Nah, friend works just fine. Let's call each other that from now on.
Yurius: Sheesh. I wonder if that's the alcohol talking...
The two continue to chat in the lab amid the smell of musty, old parchment.
Albert: I didn't become captain to build the mightiest kingdom in the skies. I did it to protect the citizens.
Albert: Say, friend. I could use your help in creating a kingdom where everyone can live in peace and happiness.
Yurius: Wow, lofty ambitions coming from a mouth that reeks of alcohol.
Yurius: Though I do share the same sentiment. For the comrades who accepted me for who I am, I vow to do my best for them.
Albert: Not yourself?
Yurius: Doing things for their sakes reflects back on mine. I can see that now.
Albert: The day I became captain of the Sky Knights was also the day we first called each other "friend."
Albert: It hasn't always been smooth sailing since then, but our goals never changed.
Yurius: Yeah. Reminds me of wine.
Yurius: Aromas deepen and bouquets mature, all while the barrel outside stays the same.
A long silence follows as Albert studies Yurius.
Albert: You know, I hate to bring this up, but about returning as the executive...
Albert: If you're not up for it, you don't have to do it.
Albert: Logically speaking, you should apologize to the people and return to center stage.
Albert: But we're not heroes. You might be fine shouldering the heavy burden for now, but in time...
Yurius: I'm surprised to hear you say that.
Albert: I've changed too.
Yurius: Don't worry. It's not just you.
Yurius: I'll be fine. Like you've said before, I'm not alone.
Albert: I see. Carry on then.
Yurius: Heh. And can I count on your support?
Albert: Of course.
In the quiet that follows, the only audible sounds are that of cheese being chewed and wine being gulped.
Albert: We promised each other not to do anything that would sacrifice ourselves.
Albert: We started off at each other's throats, yet became close friends. Though we went our separate ways, we reunited and are now connected by a bond that can't be broken.
Albert: It's like we're completely in sync. Wouldn't you agree?
Yurius: The alcohol isn't even that strong, and you're already spouting nonsense.
Albert: I'm as serious as I was on that day.
Yurius: Yeah, I know you are.
Albert nods and fills both their glasses to the brim.
Yurius: You idiot! What kind of pouring is that?
Albert: Don't worry about it. It's perfect for making a big toast.
Albert: To Levin. To ourselves.
Albert: And to our futures. Cheers.
Yurius shrugs and downs the glass. But despite what his body language says, he looks refreshed.
Some day they'll look back on this night and remember it fondly as well.
To welcome that day with open arms, the two men vow to push forward toward a bright future.