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Returning home makes Deliford realize that his family needs him. He joins a local arm wrestling competition where he finds his old rival from the imperial army, Daryl.
An envelope finds itself on the Grandcypher as (Captain) and company continue their adventure.
Inside is an epistle from Deliford's wife.
My Dearest Deliford,
Your mom and dad... Oh, it's terrible.
Please come home at once.
Deliford: Mother! Father! What's wrong? I came back as soon as I received word!
Deliford's Father: Oh, Deliford! You're looking as splendid as ever!
Deliford's Mother: Please, honey, we can talk while we eat—wouldn't want Deliford's favorite dish to go cold now, would we?
Deliford: What's this... You're all the picture of health... I thought something had happened to you!
Deliford's Wife: I'm so sorry, dear... Your parents said they wanted to see you so badly, so I...
Deliford: Then that letter was—
Deliford's Wife: I had to lie to get you to come back home. I'm so sorry.
Deliford's Father: Don't be hasty, Deliford. She's not at fault here. If you need someone to blame, then blame us.
Deliford's Mother: Forgive us... But we didn't know how else to see you again.
Deliford's parents embrace their beloved son, tears overflowing.
Deliford: Mother, Father, forgive me. Despite my age now, I still make you worry all the time...
Deliford hugs his parents back... and then grabs his wife's hand and gently strokes her head as a gesture of love.
However, the marked increase in wrinkles on her hand and white hairs on her head leaves Deliford a bit shaken.
Deliford: My deepest apologies... Words cannot express the guilt I feel for putting so much pressure on you.
Deliford's Wife: There's no pressure at all, dearest. You've been sending us more than enough to get through each and every day. I consider myself happy.
Deliford has never stopped sending money even after leaving the Erste Empire military.
But his absence as the head of the family has no doubt caused great pains for his wife and parents.
Deliford takes pause to reflect on the fact.
Deliford: (Captain), I have a request to make. Will you please hear me out?
Deliford then proceeds to take the crew out to town.
Lyria: What's the matter? Why did you bring us out here all of a sudden?
Vyrn: Sheesh... You could've at least let me finish those succulent crimson orbs first.
Deliford: No, it has to be now.
With a determined look on his face, Deliford pushes the door open to a bar.
Vyrn: The heck? You're telling me I skimped out on my apple-licious meal just to come to a bar?
Deliford: Barkeep, I've come to ask a favor: please hire me as a bodyguard!
Vyrn: What the—Are you for real, old man?
Deliford: Don't even pretend to call me old! I am Deliford, master spear wielder of the empire! I won't lose out to any youngsters!
Unfortunately no prospective employer would want to hire a 37-year-old with such a large blank in their job history. The barkeep makes this crystal clear.
Barkeep: Maybe if you were younger... At your age I'm not sure you'd be able to handle the rowdy customers and thugs who show up.
Deliford: You refuse me even though there is nothing my spear cannot pierce?
Unable to deny that his age may be catching up with him, Deliford nearly gives up.
Lyria points at something on the wall and screams.
Lyria: You see that, Deliford? There's your chance to prove that you haven't lost your touch!
Vyrn: Hehe, I'm with Lyria on this one! There's no way you'd lose in a contest of strength!
What Lyria pointed to was a poster on the wall detailing an upcoming arm wrestling tournament.
The day of the arm-wrestling competition comes.
Deliford lives up to his name and steamrolls the competition.
Deliford: Mng! Yaargh!
Barkeep: Another victory for Deliford!
Lyria: That was incredible!
Vyrn: Hey, barkeep! You weren't kidding about hiring Deliford on the spot if he wins, right?
Barkeep: You can say that again! Here's hopin' I come out of this with an arm-wrestling champ as a bodyguard!
Vyrn: Perfect! That should be a relief for Deliford's family.
Barkeep: Time for the final matchup! Feast your eyes on the reckless man daring to challenge the unstoppable Deliford!
Deliford: You... How could this be!
Daryl: Hah hah hah... Looks like fate's brought us lifelong rivals together again, Deliford!
Deliford: Although it's only arm wrestling today, this brings me back to the time we fought for the title of Lionbrave in front of the empire.
Daryl: You got the upper hand back then, but now it's payback time! Bring it!
Daryl: Hngh... Like it or not, you're goin' down today!
Lyria: Wow! This is getting to be so exciting!
Vyrn: The tables are turning! Look, Deliford's pushing him back inch by inch!
Deliford: Daryl, this is the power of family! I will not lose!
Daryl: (Urghh... Where does his power come from? I'm done for...)
Things take an unexpected turn as Daryl closes his eyes in disappointment.
Daryl's Daughter: You can do it, Daddy! Don't give up yet!
Daryl's daughter squirms with excitement amidst the commotion.
Deliford feels his strength diminishing in the heat of the moment. Daryl does not let the opportunity slip.
Lyria: Mm, Deliford came so close to winning.
Vyrn: Geez, I can't believe your muscle soreness popped up just when you had him!
Deliford: Hahaha... Oh, how embarrassing this is...
???: Seriously, Deliford? What the heck did you let me win for! Now I'm just pissed!
A caustic, salty voice calls out from behind.
Deliford: Daryl... You think I let you win?
Daryl: Heh. I see right through you, punk.
Vyrn: Whoa, what's going on here? Deliford, I thought you lost 'cuz of muscle soreness.
Daryl: Tch, he went easy on me at the last moment so my daughter wouldn't have to see me lose!
Lyria: But why? Don't you have your own family to worry about, Deliford?
Daryl: Yeah, the barkeep told me you were bettin' everything on that competition. You're the one who should've walked away champion.
Deliford: I'm sure you know, Daryl...
Deliford: That as important as it is for an adult to provide for one's family, keeping the dreams of children alive is just as important.
Deliford: You're pulling off something that I never could. And it would be most dishonorable of me to get in the way of that.
Daryl: Humph, you're too softhearted. That's why you never get ahead in life.
Unable to come up with a rebuttal, Deliford simply walks away with an awkward smile.
But Daryl's tree-trunk arm grabs him by the shoulder, and he whispers in his ear.
Daryl: Wait up, Deliford. We're not done yet.
Daryl: I gotta know... Don't you ever plan on returnin' to the empire?
Deliford: How could I ever? I'm a traitor now. In fact I'm baffled as to why you haven't already run me through...
Daryl: Geez, why the hell do you even think I'm askin'? Come on, you can't be that thick.
Deliford: What's that supposed to mean?
Daryl: I'm sayin' I'll put in a good word for ya to the higher-ups!
Daryl: Well, anyway... I guess that'd make us even then!
Daryl briskly walks away.
A tinge of happiness briefly overtakes Deliford before he notices the look of confusion on Lyria's and Vyrn's faces.
Lyria: Um, Deliford? What's wrong?
Deliford: It's nothing...
Understanding the nature of the situation, (Captain) whispers softly in Deliford's ear.
Choose: Take good care of your family.
- Take good care of your family.
- Do what you believe is best.
Deliford: Thank you, (Captain). I appreciate the consideration.Choose: Do what you believe is best.
Deliford: How pitiful I must appear... Many thanks for bearing with me, (Captain).Continue 1
After much careful deliberation with his family, Deliford eventually decides to leave the crew to rejoin the imperial army.
The flabbergasted crew try to stop him, but as his mind has already been made up, they simply see him off.
Toast to Friendship
Daryl convinces Deliford to leave the crew and take the imperial army's entrance examination. When they go out with another old friend, Zechs, to celebrate, Deliford's mood is dismal—a problem they quickly resolve.
Three hoarse voices raise a toast in the midst of a noisy bar.
Daryl: Hahaha... You did the right thing, coming back here! Let's start by celebrating your acquittal from all charges and permission to take the imperial army's entrance examination!
Deliford: Thank you, Daryl. And, Zechs, I owe you one for setting everything up for me.
Zechs: Heh, don't get ahead of yourself. Save the thanks for when you actually pass.
Daryl, Deliford, and Zechs—three promising recruits who joined the imperial army together back in their heyday.
They were neither nobility nor graduates of the Albion Military Academy; they started as privates and climbed the ranks through sheer effort alone.
They engaged in much friendly competition, but trusted each other with their lives when it mattered.
Though they each ended up leading vastly different lives, a strange twist of fate has brought them all together once again.
Zechs: Haha, relax. Maybe I'll even become your direct superior. I'd whip you back into shape in no time.
Zechs: Actually, that's a pretty good idea coming from me. I'll teach you not to betray the empire ever again. Hahaha...
Daryl: Hahaha. Cool it, Zechs. We're just lucky we never had to face the situation he had to.
Daryl: You have a family yourself, don't you? Imagine putting that on a scale and being forced to make the most difficult decisions around it.
Zechs: Humph, never put my loyalty on the same level as yours.
Deliford: Haha. Ahahaha...
Deliford: You speak to me of loyalty, but when have you ever acted out of your fealty to the empire? Are you not simply mistaking your thirst for fame and glory as loyalty?
Zechs: Hehe, that's more like it. I was wondering when you'd start talking back; you're gonna need that aggression.
Zechs: Just be sure to keep it up if you hope to pass tomorrow's evaluation!
Daryl: Hey, don't go all scaredy-cat on us now...
Daryl: You're still the same ol' Deliford who fought me for the title of Lionbrave, right?
Zechs: Heh, the world knows you as the empire's master spear wielder who can pierce through anything, but look at you now.
Deliford: Tsk... You speak the truth. I wonder... What is it I'm so afraid of?
Deliford: Perhaps it's because I've left the empire for so long that I've gone soft...
Zechs: Let's take this outside, Deliford. We'll beat your militant side back into you!
Daryl: No holdin' back now. Time to show us some of that imperial spirit you've got brewin' in ya.
Toast to Friendship: Scene 2
Thanks to Daryl and Zechs whipping Deliford into beastly fighting shape, he effortlessly passes the evaluation. Deliford at first shows concern about the interview stage, but Zechs lets Deliford in on some inside info about one of the interviewers, giving him the confidence to fight on.
Daryl: Hahaha, cheers!
Daryl: What's with that face? I thought you passed the evaluation with flying colors?
Deliford: Indeed, I did. It's all thanks to you two.
Daryl: Then cheer up already! A toast to Deliford!
Daryl: The heck? This isn't like you, buddy. I'm not feeling any o' that fire from ya.
Deliford: Sorry... I just get so uneasy thinking about tomorrow's final interview...
Deliford: You're probably going to laugh, but as a former turncoat, I don't know what they might have in store for me...
Zechs: Relax already. I'll tell you right now: your interview tomorrow is bound to go well.
Deliford: How can you be so sure?
Zechs: Paracelsus is in charge of the proceedings this time, and he tends to go easy at the interview stage.
Deliford: Do you know him, Zechs?
Zechs: Sure do. He's my direct superior. I'm sure he'll see your talent for what it is, Deliford.
Zechs: And when he does, he'll no doubt make good use of your expertise—regardless of what you might've done in the past.
Deliford: That's good to hear!
Daryl: Hahaha, no worries then. Don't forget we've got your back all the way too! Be proud of it!
Deliford: Yeah... I guess you do have a point.
Daryl: All right then... Raise your glasses again, everyone. It's time to go through with the toast!
Deliford: Hold it! I once learned of a most fascinating tradition in a far-off land.
Daryl: Oh? Tell us about it.
Deliford: In that land they propose a toast by tossing their glasses on the ground after finishing their drinks.
Deliford: It is, in a way, a dance of victory; or rather, a morale-boosting custom.
Daryl: Hm, that's a pretty unique way o' doin' it. Why don't we try it ourselves?
Zechs: Heh, never would have thought of it myself. I guess that's the advantage of being a skyfarer. Haha...
Deliford: All right, guys! To my unbridled victory at tomorrow's interview!
Their ruckus catches the attention of the others in the bar, especially as they toss their glasses on the ground.
Barkeep: What was that sound?
Argh, what have you done? You'd better pay for this!
The interview draws near.
Deliford effortlessly answers every question, demonstrating his remarkable acumen and unshakeable strength of mind.
The interviewers, too, have a favorable impression, showing a keen interest in Deliford throughout the entire session.
The main interviewer, Paracelsus, gets ready to ask his final question.
Paracelsus: I have just one last question for you. Depending on your answer, we just might have you play a central role in the upcoming mission.
Paracelsus suddenly gets up to draw an elaborate summoning circle on the ground.
Paracelsus: Tell me: what do you find to be more valuable than life itself?
Deliford: Oh no... Could this be...
Deliford: This is no time for hesitation. I fight for my wife... and for my parents.
Deliford: And of course, for my two good friends who've always believed in me and pushed me to be a better man!
Deliford valiantly charges into the white light, his actions speaking louder than his words.
Toast to Friendship: Scene 3
A glorious victory for Deliford as he passes every stage of the imperial army's entrance examination with flying colors. Deliford, Daryl, and Zechs reminisce on good times past and raise a toast to their friendship.
Deliford: I don't know about this...
Daryl: Aww, c'mon now, you breezed through the interview and earned your spot back in the imperial army, but you're lookin' as gloomy as ever.
Deliford: But my contract only lasts for this one mission. In other words I'm just an agent...
Deliford: I can't shake off this feeling of insecurity...
Zechs: I've said it before and I'll say it again: pull your weight on this one mission and you'll be back in permanently.
Zechs: I didn't talk to Paracelsus about you joining my platoon for nothing, you know.
Daryl: Hahaha, I'm sure it'll work out. But for now you're officially back with us! We need to celebrate again!
Deliford: Sigh... I really wonder if I'll function well back in the army again...
Daryl: Ugh, you just never stop worryin', do ya? You've always been too much of a realist.
Zechs: Nah, he dreamed big back in the day—always talked about serving as a general, marrying the lady of some noble house and becoming a feudal lord, and so on.
Deliford: That was my youth talking! I'd prefer you not bring up the nonsense I used to spout. Besides, we're supposed to be upstanding adults now.
Deliford: That's right, adults... This is not the age to be dreaming anymore.
Daryl: Heh, you cry foul every time someone even suggests you might be gettin' old, but now you're actually blamin' things on your age?
Zechs: I think we've got plenty more years ahead of us to keep dreaming. No need to be embarrassed about it.
Daryl: Right on. Let's not worry about our dreams never comin' true. Focus on making it work and the steps we need to take to get there—life's easier that way.
Zechs: Hehe, Daryl's right. You might be contracted, Deliford, but you should be glad that you got cleared of all your charges.
Zechs: Just leave things to me. I'll make sure you shine out there.
Zechs: All you need to focus on right now is following our directions and showing some backbone.
Deliford: Zechs, Daryl... I can't thank you enough.
Daryl: Whoa, cut that out already! You're makin' the drinks salty!
Deliford: We do not hail from houses of nobility nor are we graduates of the military academy... We got to where we are through pure effort.
Deliford: So many of our comrades have been lost to the battlefield or have retired.
Deliford: But I consider the three of us gathered here tonight to be true friends.
Deliford: Our beliefs may differ, and our paths may one day diverge again. But I shall never forget this night.
Deliford: To that let us drink, my friends!
Daryl: Yes, friends forever!
Zechs: Heh, friends forever.
Barkeep: Gah, you three again! Do you have something against my establishment?
Business in this bar later booms as it becomes known as the place to propose unconventional toasts.
But neither the barkeep nor the Deliford trio ever foresaw that happening.
Way of the Craftsman
Deliford receives a letter from his wife asking for money. However, every place he goes to find temporary work turns him down because of his age. Eventually, Galadar employs him as his blacksmithing assistant, with the ulterior motive of teaching him that increasing age does not mean decreasing capability.
One day Deliford receives a letter during his travels with (Captain) and the crew.
Seeing that it's from his wife, he hurriedly opens it and begins reading.
Letter: Your father's fallen down some stairs and hurt himself. He's in pain, but his life's not in danger.
Letter: However, he's staying in the hospital for now. I'm writing to see if you can send home some money to help out.
Deliford: Hmm... I have to do something...
Deliford sets out to find a temporary job that would allow him to send some extra rupies home.
However, his search gets off to a rocky start.
Deliford: Grr! Why... Why do all of these places discriminate based on age!
Deliford: Tch... They value youth. But is experience not at least equally precious!
Deliford continues futilely skimming through a variety of help wanted ads, but they all have an age limitation.
In a fit of frustration, the knight tosses his fists into the air and decides to head to the tavern to clear his thoughts.
Deliford: Sigh... What should I do...
I get it—these are hard economic times.
Deliford: Tch... But are there really no generous employers who would take a chance on a man from my generation?
Fist firmly clenched around his glass, Deliford grumbles to himself about the state of the world.
Spotting the dejected man from across the room, Galadar walks over and plops down on a neighboring stool.
Galadar: Gahaha! You've been sulking over here like a sad wee pup for hours now!
Deliford: Ah... Well if it isn't old Galadar...
Galadar: Come now, tell me. What's the matter? You've got such a sour look on your face.
Galadar: Mmm? Drinking's not gonna fix your problems. You've got to be in a good place before you take up the pint.
Deliford: Of course. I know that I shouldn't be here... But...
Galadar: Hmm... Not sure I'll be able to solve your problems, but if you want to talk about 'em, I'm all ears.
Deliford: In truth, Galadar, I...
Deliford explains his situation to Galadar and asks him for his advice.
Galadar throws his head back, his beard majestically swinging in the air, and lets out a boisterous laugh.
Galadar: Gahaha! You're worried about a tiny thing like that?
Deliford: What! Galadar, this is a serious matter to me! You shouldn't laugh!
Galadar: Aye, but it's not as serious as you think. Age limit, schmage limit. You should just go to one of these places and show them what you got.
Galadar: Heh-heh. Especially if it's mercenary work. Show 'em how strong you are, and they won't care that you're not some spring chicken!
Deliford: That's the problem. I'm an old rooster now. Not sure I have the strength of a younger man...
Galadar, seeing how dejected Deliford has become, furrows his eyebrows and begins to conjure up a plan.
Galadar: I've got it. Why don't you come work for me?
Galadar: Gahaha! You don't have to look so surprised.
Galadar: Heh-heh. I've got a lot of weapon repair orders, but don't have the help I need to fulfill 'em all. That's where you'll come in.
Deliford: I don't know what to say... Thank you. Truly, from the bottom of my heart.
The following day Galadar and Deliford borrow the facilities of a local blacksmith.
Galadar lights a massive furnace, heats a steel ingot, and pounds it with his giant hammer.
Galadar: Hah! Hah! Gahahaha!
Deliford witnesses the master work, seeing not only the practiced strength of his arms, but the raw stamina and power inherent in his movements.
Deliford: Hmm. Galadar is certainly an artisan worthy of the name. What immense strength...
Deliford: (But only Galadar could do something like this. I could never hope to imitate him.)
Defeated by self-doubt, Deliford lets out a sigh.
Galadar: What's the matter? We haven't even started yet and you already look done.
Galadar: Here, you try swingin' the hammer for a bit.
Deliford: But... That hammer is colossal. I couldn't possibly wield it.
Galadar: Gahaha! Not to worry. You'll be using that little hammer over there.
Galadar points to a smaller hammer leaning against the wall. Deliford walks over and picks it up.
Deliford: (Hmm... I shouldn't have a problem with this weight. But I must seem pathetic...)
Deliford: (I shouldn't think things like that right now. I've been hired to do a job. So I have to do that job as well as I can!)
With Galadar guiding his actions, Deliford begins his tasks in earnest.
A few days pass.
Deliford is captivated by the sight of the repaired weapons, each tempered to the point of looking brand new.
Deliford: I can't believe it... All of these weapons were so shoddy before. This is definitely your work, Galadar!
Galadar: Gahaha! If you hadn't have been here to help, things wouldn't have gone this smoothly.
Galadar: Here, you've earned this.
Galadar hands Deliford his payment.
Feeling the weight of the rupies in his hand, Deliford bows deeply.
Deliford: I'm indebted to you... With this much, my family should be taken care of.
Galadar: Gahaha! Indebted? Not at all! You really helped me out!
Deliford: But all I did was watch you work and attempt to replicate your actions.
Deliford: I could never swing that massive hammer like you do.
Galadar: Gahaha! What are you talking about? The hammer you used was plenty heavy!
Deliford: The hammer I was using was heavy? Really?
Galadar: Gahaha! Guess you didn't notice after all.
Galadar picks up a smaller hammer from his tool box and hands it to Deliford.
Galadar: Here. This is the first hammer I ever used.
Deliford: Well, I suppose the hammer I was using wasn't as light as this one...
Galadar lines up a variety of hammers on his workbench with a cheeky grin.
Deliford: Incredible... You have so many of the same hammer...
Galadar: Heh-heh. Just try to lift them one by one.
Deliford steps up to the tools and begins picking them up individually.
He is surprised to find that a huge range of weights despite the similar appearance across the hammers.
Deliford: Wha... What is this!
Galadar: Notice that the last one is about ten times heavier than the spear you normally wield?
Deliford: It couldn't be!
Deliford rushes to the entrance of the workshop where he laid his spear. He reaches for it and is stunned to see that Galadar is correct.
Deliford: I can hardly believe it... Why does my spear feel this light?
Galadar: Gahaha! I was replacing your hammer with a heavier one whenever I had the chance.
Galadar: Heh-heh. I thought you'd figure it out, but you were so hard at work, you never picked up on my little scheme.
Deliford: So you were training me this whole time?
Deliford: It's unbelievable...
Galadar smiles broadly at Deliford before turning to leave the workshop.
As he walks away, Deliford bows deeply to the man in an act of deep respect and appreciation.
Deliford: Impressive... I was able to get this strong without realizing it thanks to Galadar.
Deliford: I can no longer use my age as an excuse—no way, no how am I losing to people half my age!
Deliford: Gaaargh! I've changed my attitude, so now it's time to change my life!
Deliford: Gaaaa—argh? I-I threw out my back...
Deliford now understands the importance of an adult being confident in his or her actions.
However, whatever he has learned from Galadar, it remains to be seen if he'll be able to translate that same confidence into action when push comes to shove.