Sunset Over the Coastline
While vacationing in Auguste, Ayer attempts to further suppress his alter ego through a grueling swimming regiment. Seeing this, a few older brother types in the crew hold a barbecue to hopefully help Ayer relax.
The crew has come to Auguste for summer vacation.
Among the throngs of visitors, one young man is swimming in a hazardous area definitely not fit for light sport.
Ayer: Huff... Huff...
Ten more... Before these high waves die down...
Vyrn: Uhh? Hey, Ayer's over by that beach. Looks like he's back to training again.
Lyria: Oh, you're right. He's still at it even though we're on vacation. It seems like he's obsessed...
Vyrn: No thanks to that other Ayer.
Lyria: Oh right... It could be about Bowman...
Bowman is a manifestation of Ayer's personality, a psychological phenomenon that has been manipulating the young man for half of his life.
With no way of knowing when Bowman will reappear to take control of his body, Ayer struggles to repress his other half.
Ayer is a brawler who was earning his bread by fighting in an illicit arena.
However, once this arena was exposed by local authorities, the brawler and his partner Bowman fled and ultimately stowed away aboard the Grandcypher.
As a natural result, Ayer became a part of the crew and was reunited with his sister Jessica. It was then that Bowman's true nature and motives were made clear.
Ayer: Huff... Huff... What are you trying to pull, Bowman?
Bowman: Ha ha ha, calm down, buddy! I never meant any harm!
Ayer: Why didn't you tell me anything? My sister's been journeying in search of me because of you. She even ended up fighting a primal!
Bowman: Well, y'know... You were just a little squirt at the time. You never would've agreed to deceive your family!
Bowman: Listen, I'm sorry. That was my bad. Look, I'm real apologetic about the whole thing!
Ayer: You think apologizing's gonna do anything?
Bowman: You're real upset about this whole thing, aren't you? Were you that close to her? Heh. You're still just a baby after all.
Bowman: You've really gotta quit blaming others for this stuff. Sure, I told you to run away from home and become a fighter, but you were the one who decided to do it!
Jessica: Ayer, what in the world is going on?
Ayer: Don't come over here. I'm not done talking with this jerk.
Vyrn: Talking with... who exactly?
Ayer: With Bowman, obviously! The guy right in front of me!
Lyria: Bowman? Is he one of the islanders here? I don't see anyone...
Jessica: Are you okay? Did something happen after you ran away from home?
Bowman: Hahaha... Looks like the jig is up.
Ayer: Sis, behind you!
Jessica: Huh? There's nothing there.
Ayer: No way...
Ayer: Am I... going crazy?
Bowman: You were crazy from the beginning.
Bowman: You're the only one who can see or hear me. The only person who knows I exist... is you.
Bowman: A shame, Ayer. I was your number one fan.
Ayer: Urgh... Graaah!
The other half of Ayer, the cognitive phenomenon who led a young man to become a fighter... That is Bowman's true nature.
Since then Ayer has been struggling to repress his tormentor and keep control of his own body.Continue 1
Vyrn: He doesn't look so good. If he keeps that up, he might hurt himself. Should we see if he'll take a break?
Lyria: Yes. It's Ayer, so he'll probably just push us off, but there's no harm in asking!
Ayer: A break?
Vyrn: Yeah, it's summer, so live a little! You can slurp some great ramen at the beach house!
Ayer: Oh. Ramen.
Lyria: You don't like it? I thought it was a good idea...
Vyrn: Now, see here! You're either gonna take a break or—
Vyrn: Wait... So is that a yes or a no?
Ayer: It's a yes, but what's with that shocked look?
Lyria: Hahaha, sorry. It's just you really surprised us.
Ayer: Right. Catch you at the beach house.
Vyrn: What was that all about? He usually puts up more of a fight...
Lyria: I guess we got lucky! Don't you think he'll start to open up to us more if we all sit down to a delicious meal, (Captain)?
Server: Sorry about the wait. Here's your ten raw eggs in a mug... Th-this is really what you wanted, right?
Ayer: Yeah. Thanks.
Ayer: Glug... glug...
Ayer: Whew... Anyone up for some chicken skewers?
Ayer: I'll get a stick of breast meat. Salted. You guys can have the marinated stuff.
Ayer: I could go for some tofu too. It's summer, so I'll take it chilled.
Vyrn: Raw eggs, tofu—man, your favorite foods are weird! You only eat goopy stuff now?
Ayer: Goopy? And no, of course those aren't my favorite foods.
Ayer: The food you eat determines your agility, you know. Meat alone isn't enough.
Lyria: So you've been eating goopy food every day... for agility?
Ayer: Stop calling it goopy.
I've been trying to get better control of my body.
Vyrn: A-ah, well, I know why you're tense, but how about eatin' some stuff you like too?
Vyrn: Yeah, don't worry about Bowman! We'll always be there for you no matter what!
Ayer: So that's what this is about. Look, Bowman and I, that's—
Lyria: What Vyrn said! You should order what you like, so don't hold back. Let's see what's on the menu...
Lyria: Oh! How about tropical fruit punch? There's ramen, yakisoba, and shaved ice too!
Ayer: Hold on. I'll drown if I eat that much food.
Lyria: Then you'll have to stop swimming for today, I guess.
Ayer: Why does the food get first priority? We should get rid of half this order at least.
Ayer: Sigh... Look, the reason I'm working out is for a problem I've always had. One even before Bowman.
Vyrn: Huh? A problem before Bowman?
Ayer: When I was on the top of my game, it was like seeing my opponent frozen in time. The tougher the fight got, the slower the world moved.
Ayer: That doesn't happen anymore. I can't get fired up. Even if my opponent's a real challenge, I can't focus...
Ayer: I'm arena trash now. It's exactly like before Bowman came...
Lyria: N-no. Ayer, you're still so strong...
Ayer: I understand myself. So until I can fully reclaim my instincts, I have no intention of taking it easy.
Vyrn: I get it... That's why you're trainin' so hard every day. But how are you gonna reclaim your instincts?
Ayer: Good question. If I train like hell, I'm sure something will happen.
Vyrn: Sounds like you haven't thought about the big picture here. Why don't we think about the cause of the problem?
Ayer: Whatever. It'll be a waste of time though.
Lyria: B-but if you keep swimming like before, you could hurt yourself. Let's think about it for awhile...
Vyrn: The only thing I can come up with is for you to, you know, say bye-bye to Bowman.
Ayer: What's he got to do with it...
Vyrn: But you said it, right? He's the one that got you into fightin', pullin' all that strength outta you.
Vyrn: This kinda stuff goes over my head, but before you start all this dangerous training again, you gotta—
Ayer: I said, what's he got to do with it!
Lyria: Aah! Ayer, calm down...
Ayer: Sigh... Sorry...
Ayer: I can't... I wish I could, but...
Ayer: I'd be just another small fry without him...
Vyrn: H-hey, wait! Are you really goin' back out into those big waves?
Lyria: That's dangerous! A-and we still have some chicken left...
Ayer: Take 'em! Here's what I owe.
Vyrn: Yikes, and there he goes... Can't believe he got that upset...
Lyria: Maybe Ayer can't believe it either...
Vyrn: Yeah. He's definitely got some soul-searchin' to do.
Vyrn: Although I can't even imagine havin' one of your trusted pals turn out to be some kinda mind trick that fools you and your family...
Lyria: Me neither. He seemed to love him like a sibling...
Vyrn: Yeah, just like an older brother...
Vyrn: Heeey, (Captain), speakin' of older brothers...
Even though Ayer had been pushing the physical limits of his body in the turbulent afternoon tides, he now stares disappointedly across a placid, sunset-tinted ocean.
Ayer: Sigh... The waves this afternoon were unbelievable...
Ayer: The colors, the sounds, the air—this is like a totally separate world...
Ayer: A totally... new world...
Bowman: This is the new world we both wanted. We sacrificed everything to get here.
Bowman: C'mon, it was my idea to have you leave home and go underground! And I was the guy who taught you how to fight!
Bowman: Hey, don't be glum! There are still greater heights to be found out there!
Ayer: Damn it!
Ayer: It makes me sick. I fell for it... I fell for all the crap that crazy hallucination told me...
Ayer: What am I supposed to do? Nowhere to go, nothing to do... Not even a damn sign...
Ayer: Hah. I guess that makes me the biggest fool of all...
Vyrn: Heeey, Ayeeer! You done with today's training?
Ayer: (Captain), Vyrn, Lyria...
Lyria: Uh... Um, you haven't eaten dinner yet, right? We have a suggestion.
Ayer: A suggestion? What the—did you bring someone...
???: Haha. We heard everything.
Gotta tell you, overtraining won't get you where you wanna go, kid.
???: Hahaha. Guess you're at the age where you just wanna go to the max all the time? I can relate—I was there too at one point.
???: And chowin' down on goop for every meal? You can lighten up, bro. You're not an old man—yet!
Ayer: Wh-why the hell is everyone ganging up on me?
A trio of full-grown gentlemen has appeared before the anguishing Ayer.
Only time will tell how the young man will himself grow from this curious encounter.
Curious Beach Encounters
The crew splits up to prepare for the barbecue. Ayer gets stuck on fishing duty with Siegfried, who tries to teach him about the power of perseverance.
A quiet night has fallen on the beach; Ayer sits, fishing in this solemnity.
(Captain) and Siegfried are beside him, watching the young man as he stares out into the ocean.
Ayer: What to talk about...
So you like fishing?
Siegfried: No, not really. When I was on the run, it was less of a hobby and more of a way to survive.
Ayer: Ohh... On the run, huh?
So—how about you?
Ayer: Me? I'm not so interested in it.
Siegfried: Can't blame you.
Ayer: (Captain), this sucks! Do something about it already!
Ayer: Argh, how'd things end up like this!
A group of some of (Captain)'s most distinguished friends have gathered at the beach.
Siegfried, former captain of the Order of the Black Dragons, the group of knights that preceded the illustrious White Dragons.
Seofon, the leader of the Eternals—the strongest group of skyfarers to ever roam the clouds.
And Lowain, the rambunctious but lovable leader of the not-so-renowned Team Lowain.
Just as this group causes Ayer to approach peak confusion, Vyrn and Lyria begin explaining.
Ayer: A barbecue?
Vyrn: Yeah! Come make dinner with us! Everybody's already been busy gatherin' ingredients!
Ayer: You're going to celebrate with this bunch? You're kidding, right? Which country are you going to assault?
Lyria: Haha, it's nothing like that. We just happened to bump into each other, and our conversation led us here.
Ayer: Yeah, that's hard to believe... What are you planning?
Lowain: Haha! You look like you got the heebie-jeebies. But, bro, bee-bee-queue by the beach—what's better?
Lowain: I'm just sayin' you don't wanna miss it. Like, it's just food—but to me, it's food that represents, uh, a never-setting sun. That's the truth hidden in a man's heart!
Ayer: Heebie... jeebies?
Vyrn: Yeah! Ayer, you're gonna be a food gopher with (Captain)! Here, fishing poles!
Lyria: Good luck! Other than fishing, what else should we do... Hmm...
Ayer, beleaguered and tired of the barbecue preparations, sits begrudgingly among the group of mature fellows.
Ayer: Haven't caught a single one...
Ayer: Damn, what is with this... Is this spot just terrible?
Ayer: I've had it—this is a waste of time. We can just buy fish at the market. You guys should start packing—
He glances into Siegfried's bucket and sees a wriggling mass of fish, shellfish, shrimp, and even squid.
Siegfried: What's the matter? Going back so soon?
Ayer: Going back? So it is possible to escape from this hell! How'd you catch so many fish anyway?
Ayer: Ah... I mean, um, do you have a trick? O-or something?
Siegfried: Tricks, let's see...
Siegfried: Hmm... Nope. No matter which technique you use, it's almost all the same.
Ayer: That's... You caught so much. How could there be no technique?
Ayer: No way.
Siegfried: Haha. I'm no different from an amateur when it comes to skill. But, you know, we're both using the same fishing poles.
Ayer: So? How do you explain the difference in what we caught?
Siegfried: Well, I guess if I had to say, it would be our difference in perseverance.
Siegfried: Yes. Keep at it no matter what, prepare yourself for things to get better, and wait for opportunity to come knocking.
Siegfried: Of course you never know when it'll come. But life swings between joy and sorrow in a flash, so it's possible to blink and miss your chance.
Siegfried: That's why perseverance is so important.
Ayer: And what if opportunity never comes?
Siegfried: Oh? I suppose it's safe to retreat if there's absolutely no way things will improve.
Siegfried: But as far as I know, nothing is absolute. The opportunity might be big. Or it might be small—but it will come.
Siegfried: And that doesn't change no matter what path you choose.
Ayer: How philosophical...
Siegfried: Haha. But you can see the practical results in our buckets, right? That's the difference perseverance makes.
Ayer: That's just... Ugh...
Choose: Let's persevere a little longer.
- Let's persevere a little longer.
- That's good advice.
Ayer: Sigh... You guys really won't let this go.Choose: That's good advice.
Ayer: Maybe. It's just, well, if this guy is the one giving out the advice...Continue 1
Siegfried: Look at that. Your pole is bending, Ayer.
Ayer: Huh? Ah... A-ah!
Ayer: This power—what the hell!
Siegfried: Nice, a befitting catch. We'll lend a hand. Come on, (Captain).
Giant Fish: ...!
Curious Beach Encounters: Scene 2
After procuring fish, Ayer heads into the woods to collect firewood with Seofon. The leader of the Eternals criticizes the young fighter's peculiar form of cowardice.
Having procured a few fish, Ayer and (Captain) meet Seofon in a grove to collect firewood.
Ayer: Sigh... How many people does it take to get firewood...
Ayer: And why isn't he already done? If he'd just use that sword of his, we'd have kindling in five seconds flat.
Ayer: Argh, damn it—a bug bite. Careful, (Captain). The insects are hungry tonight.
Seofon: You sound so dainty. Bug bites put hair on your chest, you know.
Ayer: What the hell is that supposed to mean... Anyway, we came to help with the firewood.
Seofon: Much appreciated! Let's start with these branches. Make sure you pick up just the dry dudes!
Ayer: Wait, pick up branches? What's the point of that?
Seofon: Seriously? Uh... Did you forget we're having a barbecue? Let's see, add the number of people with the amount of food aaand...
Ayer: You're supposed to be the strongest skyfarer in the skies, right? Why aren't you using your sword?
Ayer: It'd be way faster to chop up the wood we need... And you're out here in your speedbros—what a joke.
Seofon: Great question! What can I say—it's all just personal conviction.
Seofon: You've gotta sweat a little when prepping for a barbecue, or it won't taste as good.
Seofon: A barbecue is a test of how much you can accomplish in a day. If you can work hard, then you can eat good.
Seofon: So my sword is staying in its scabbard. Now come on—we've got bugs to bug and sweat to sweat!
Ayer: You... go ahead and do that. I'm going to gather my fair share and head back.
Seofon: Whoa, you're a cold one. I haven't even addressed my swimwear yet.
Seofon: So, it's like this... Aaactually, let me ask you a question first. Why are you not wearing speedbros?
Ayer: Wh-why not? What are you suggesting?
Seofon: I'm just saying that I'm not sure why you're wearing such a long swimsuit.
Seofon: What are you so afraid of? Both the unnecessary length of your trunks and the sarcastic cut of your jib—it's all a defense mechanism.
Seofon: It's like you're scared to expose your true self.
Ayer: The hell...
Ayer: What are you saying? You can't tell that much about someone from their swim trunks!
Seofon: So you're not a coward then? Then let's see you put on a pair of rad speedbros like these bad boys!
Ayer: What has that got to do with anything!
Choose: It might help...
- It might help...
- On with 'em already!
Ayer: Damn it, Speedbrofon! Are you really one of the Eternals?Choose: On with 'em already!
Ayer: I-if you're going to feed into his weird fantasies, then you try wearing something like that!Continue 1
Seofon: Haha! Your face is looking a little red, pal. Aah, I remember being young and embarassed...
Ayer: Groan... That's it. I'm done. I'll see you back at the beach.
Ayer: Defense mechanism... Sarcastic whatever-of-jibs... Grumble, grumble...
Seofon: Heeey! Ayer, stop!
Ayer: What? If you want firewood, just pick up—
Seofon: Not that. Weapons out—there's a monster just ahead!
Curious Beach Encounters: Scene 3
Back at the beach, Ayer feels better after enjoying some of Lowain's special barbecue grub. The young fighter thanks (Captain) for introducing him to men in control of their own lives and even begins to feel more in control of himself.
Lowain: Yo, ladies and gentlebros! It's me, BBQ master Lowain, and I'm here to say—let the beach party begin!
Vyrn: Hahah! Man that grill, Lowain!
Lyria: Yeah, yeah! I can't wait to see what you cook!
Somehow the crew has managed to put together all the constituent parts of a barbecue.
Thanks to his exquisite skills, Lowain is able to fire up a variety of dishes at a nimble pace. Everyone is snacking on the dishes and dishing about their day.
Siegfried: So? Were you able to resolve our little incident, Seofon?
Seofon: Resolve? Hmm, maybe not so much—sometimes these things gotta work themselves out. But about Feendrache...
Vyrn: Hey, Siegfried! There's something round in your clam. What is it?
Siegfried: Well look at that—a pearl. It's a sizeable one too.
Lyria: Oh, it's so pretty! Seofon, there's something round in yours too!
Seofon: Hmm? Gulp.
Ngh! I think I just swallowed it!
Lowain: Got a steak for ya! Your plate, please... O-oh, you not a fan of the fatty pieces?
Ayer: Uh, no. I just...
Ayer: You know what, I'll take it. But you're not going to have any?
Lowain: Haha, I'm right as rain, my man. I've been snackin' this whole time. Hey, you too, (Captain)! Gimme that plate!
Ayer: (Captain), I guess I was a pain today.
Ayer: I didn't know what to think about your strange friends, but to put it short, Bowman is... Well, it's like I've gained something I thought I'd lost.
Choose: Sorry for tricking you.
- Sorry for tricking you.
- They're all dependable bros.
Ayer: Not at all. It's not like you fooled me.Choose: They're all dependable bros.
Ayer: I-I wouldn't call them that. Sounds weird.Continue 1
Ayer: But it's that... Maybe because they're older...
Ayer: Hanging out with that bunch let me reflect on a lot.
Ayer: Thank you.
Ayer, thanks to his curious encounter with this group of mature gentlemen, has suddenly begun to open his heart.
And even his expression, which had been a hardened look of unease, begins to relax into a soft air of content.
Seofon: Haha! Y-you just burned your crotch with a hot shrimp! You okay? Need some ice or something?
Siegfried: Fwheeeoo... That's gonna leave a mark. Can't treat it without getting those trunks off. Want us to cut them up for you?
Lowain: Huh? Pops, you lost it? Awkward sauce was not on the menu for this BBQ!
Seofon: Haha! Trust me when I say it'll be more awkward for us than for you!
Siegfried: Alas, most beach wounds—grill burns, jellyfish stings—come with awkward treatment.
Ayer: Psst, (Captain)... I take back what I said before...
Ayer: These guys... There's no way I would take them seriously!
Even though Ayer closes his heart once again, the smiles of friends as they share their night together on a beach will live forever in his memory.