Ladies' Night Goes into Overtime
On their way home from a party with the Lowain bros, Korwa, Sutera, and Lamretta spin a sequel for their Albion Fantasy High counterparts. Problem student Korwa is sick of class president Sutera's lectures when she's simply trying to enjoy her youth. Her feelings for the uptight Sutera may go beyond simple annoyance, however.
Lowain, Elsam, Tomoi, Korwa, Sutera, and Lamretta are having a friendly get-together.
Lowain and his buddies' flights of fancy form a lively background for the festivities.
The hour grows later as the friends chatter among themselves, until finally the three bros doze off.
Korwa is a top-tier fashion designer who joined (Captain)'s crew in search of new stories.
She threw this bash to comfort Lamretta after a recent heartbreak.
Among the guests are Lowain, the Grandcypher's cook, and his two friends, Elsam and Tomoi.
Also in attendance is the guardian Sutera, who is hoping to learn the ways of feminine wiles.
The six of them enjoy a lively chat, with Lowain and his buddies' flights of fancy serving to spice up the discussion.
As the gap between fantasy and reality widens and narrows, the bros unwittingly drop off to sleep.
The light of a new day breaks over the Grandcypher.
Leaving the bros behind at the restaurant, Korwa, Sutera, and Lamretta totter homeward, rubbing at bleary eyes.
Sutera: Hmm... I'm not sure we should have left Lowain and the others there.
Korwa: They'll be fine. I think all that fantasy wore them out psychologically—they dropped like the temperature on a Mephorash night.
Korwa: Let 'em sleep it off at the restaurant.
Lamretta: Yawn... I'm beat too, an' it's not the booze or the all-nighter...
Lamretta: Mmggh... Mecha... psycho... Urgh, my head.
Sutera: Ah, Lamretta, are you all right?
Korwa: Hm... Yeah, I also kinda feel like I'm waking up from a weird dream.
Korwa: And that I'm better off not remembering it...
Assailed by unsettling memories, Korwa and Lamretta's faces take on a haggard look.
Sutera, on the other hand, still seems to be riding the high of an enjoyable evening.
Sutera: Hehe... That party really was just the thing.
Sutera: I feel like I've grown a bit just from attending.
Korwa: What parts did you enjoy most, Sutera?
Sutera: Hm... I think my favorite was the story set at school. That was really captivating.
Korwa: Oh, what did they call it again? Albion Fantasy High? They were really hyped up about that one.
Albion Fantasy High is a fiction born from the fevered imaginations of Lowain, Elsam, and Tomoi.
During tonight's party, the trio added Korwa and the others to the cast as students and teachers.
Sutera: And it was quite educational! I learned so much about life at the Albion Military Academy!
Korwa: Ahaha... I think they've taken a few liberties with respect to the actual academy.
The three friends think back on the yarn Lowain and his bros wove.
Lamretta: Jin was so cool as a teacher... Totally dreamy.
Lamretta: And that world's Farrah and Elsam were just made for each other, don't you think?
Korwa: Hm... As far as the guys on the crew are concerned, Farrah gets along pretty well with Juri, doesn't she?
Korwa: Elsam and Juri are completely different types... I wonder how that'd turn out.
Lamretta: Yeah... Elsam was such a goof-off. Hall monitor Farrah was always on his case.
Korwa: Mmm... I don't think Farrah sees Elsam as anything more than a problem child yet.
Lamretta: Yer right! And Elsam just thinks of her as a pain in the patoot who won't leave him be.
Lamretta: But maybe one day, a teacher asks Farrah to tutor him 'cause his grades are so bad...
Korwa: After hours of studying together in a deserted classroom, they discover new sides to one another they never guessed at!
Korwa: Yes, yes! The perfect way for young love to blossom!
Sutera: I see... Situations like these only arise in a school setting.
Korwa: And then, and then! What if it turns out that Vira's actually—
The friends come to a stop at a street corner, lost in their story.
Suddenly Korwa remembers a complaint.
Korwa: Oh yeah... I know it was just fiction, but in that world, Sutera and I were at each other's throats.
Korwa: We hadn't patched things up when the story ended either. That bugs me.
Sutera: I agree... But I suppose given the way our characters were set up, they'd naturally have trouble understanding one another.
Lamretta: Hehe... You still have much to learn, young acolyte. They jusht need the right push to see each other's side of things.
Lamretta: Then their bickering will turn into a deep and lasting friendship. It's a tale as old as time!
Sutera: I see... Is that how it works?
Korwa: Of course it is! You really know your stuff, Lammie!
Korwa: For example, let's say—
Korwa: Right! I don't have any interesting classes today, so I'm gonna ditch! Gotta use my time wisely!
Korwa: Now what should I do instead...
Sutera: Don't tell me you're planning to skip school again?
Sutera: Not on my watch! It's part of my job as class president to see that you attend your classes!
Korwa: Yeah, yeah. I hear you. I'll be there when the bell rings, so you go on ahead.
Korwa: Off you go. What kind of example will you be setting if you skid into class just under the wire?
Annoyance written plainly across her face, Korwa watches Sutera leave
Korwa: She's always acting like the model student... I make sure I show up to any class that's actually worth my while!
Korwa: Where does she get off lecturing me anyhow? My grades are better than hers!
Korwa: I bet that apple-polisher's only a class rep to earn brownie points with the teachers.
Korwa takes great pride in her swordplay and her academics. She devotes herself to constant self-improvement, determined to overshoot every goal she's given.
She does, however, spend a lot of time with delinquents like Lowain and his friends.
Coupled with the fact that Korwa ditches any class she feels isn't useful, her reputation in the faculty's eyes is less than stellar.
Today, yet again, she skips class to hang out with Lowain and the others in the school courtyard.
Korwa: That girl just doesn't know when to lay off.
Tomoi: You said it. I'm a teacher, an' she's still always up in my grill tellin' me what I can't do.
Lowain: But Korwie, you are ditching.
Elsam: Gyaha! He's gotcha there! Aren't you gonna get in trouble for cutting class right after she warned you?
Korwa: Ugh, shut your piehole. How are you three any better?
Elsam: Good... point.
Korwa: And you're a teacher! Why're you hanging around with us?
Tomoi: Good... point.
Korwa: Besides! Cutting class, hitting the stores and stuffing our faces with sweets on the way home, falling in love...
Korwa: Those are all precious experiences we can only have in the prime of our youth!
Korwa: I'm nailing all my core classes, I'll have you know.
Korwa: So why does she constantly have to yap at me about regulations?
Korwa: Rules, rules, rules! I'm suffocating with all the rules! Learn a few new words, you overgrown parrot!
Lowain: Whoa, Korwie, pump the breaks—you're spinning outta control.
Elsam: Yeah, you hangry? Chomp this chicken and chill.
Tomoi: Yeah, friend-o, settle. Sutera can come down hard on people, but...
Lowain: Mmm... You two're just incompatible.
Tomoi: Yeah, I mean, obvs. But, like—don't you kinda go lookin' for fights with her, Korwie?
Korwa: Who, me? With Sutera?
Korwa is caught off-guard by Tomoi's observation.
Lowain: I do kinda get that vibe, now that you mention it. Like Korwie's tryin' to get under her skin.
Tomoi: Ooh, I get it. The class rep's only pickin' up what Korwie's layin' down, right?
Elsam: Yeah. If the two of you were so different, wouldn't you just steer clear of each other?
Korwa: Mm... I see your point...
Korwa: I see your point, but I still don't think that's quite it...
Lowain: Hm? What is it then?
Lowain and the others exchange confused glances at Korwa's vague statement.
But far from being able to explain it to them, she finds that she, herself, is unsure of her feelings.
What's Up with the Class Prez?
The Albion Fantasy High story continues for Korwa and the others. Ms. Lamretta advises Korwa to have a frank discussion with Sutera to clear the air. Jin gives similar advice to Sutera and recommends a cafe where they can talk.
Korwa can't quite say why Sutera has been on her mind so much.
In order to pin down the reason, Korwa decides to observe Sutera for a while.
Sutera: Korwa! Have you turned in your homework?
Sutera: Korwa! Are you skipping class again?
Sutera: Korwa! Your uniform is a mess! Do your buttons up properly!
Korwa: Korwa, Korwa, Korwa, Korwa...
Korwa: Why does she always pick me, when there are so many other people skipping!
Korwa takes advantage of the quiet nurse's office to blow off steam with a good rant.
The noise brings a familiar woman crawling out of the nest of sheets on the neighboring bed.
Lamretta: Geez... Class is in session, so whosh makin' a racket in the nurse's office?
Korwa: Whoops, sorry.
Korwa: Wait, Lambo? Why're you napping in the nurse's office again, Teach?
Lamretta: Hehehe... I might've had a liiittle too much to drink last night.
Lamretta: Sounds like you got something on your mind, huh, Korwa?
Korwa: Nah... Not really.
Lamretta: A li'l late to put the cat back in the bag, after yellin' like that.
Korwa: Urk. Fine, fine.
Lamretta: Nyahaha. Give it up and spill your guts!
Korwa tells her teacher how Sutera gets on her nerves.
She admits how, even so, she frequently finds herself thinking about the class president.
Korwa: It's weird the way she keeps popping into my head... I mean, she acts like I'm her sworn enemy or something.
Lamretta: Hmm... I see...
Lamretta: So what I'm hearing you say is, you're worried about Sutera?
Korwa: Huh? How d'you get that?
Korwa: What I'm saying is, it gets on my nerves how she doesn't care about anything except her precious rules!
Korwa: There's so much more to life, but she's wasting hers putting on this whole perfect-student act.
Lamretta: Mmm... Sutera really is a good student though.
Lamretta: She works so hard she doesn't always have time to pay attention to anything else.
Lamretta: I know! If you're worried about her, why don't you try inviting her out for something fun?
Korwa: What? There's no way that stick-in-the-mud would say yes.
Lamretta: Not to worry. All you need is the right opportunity and it'll all work out.
Lamretta: How 'bout it? For a start, why don't you just have an honest talk with her?
Korwa: An honest talk, huh?
Korwa mulls over Lamretta's suggestion for a moment before nodding.
Korwa: You have a point. Whinging about it won't solve anything.
Korwa: Thanks, Lambo. I'll give it a shot.
While Lamretta is imparting her sage wisdom to Korwa...
Sutera is delivering a stack of class papers to Jin's office.
Sutera: Mr. Jin, here's the class's homework!
Jin: Oh, much obliged. I'm finishing up some grading... Can you set them on the side of my desk?
Sutera: You got it!
Sutera steps toward the desk where Jin and his red pen are hard at work.
As she sets her stack of papers down, she happens to catch a glance of one of the graded tests.
Sutera: (Wow... Korwa got an almost perfect score. Probably higher than mine yet again...)
Sutera: (How does she do it when she's always skipping class?)
Jin: Hm? Something wrong?
Jin seems to have noticed what Sutera is staring at.
Jin: Were you looking at Korwa's test?
Sutera: Uh, I... Yes. It caught my eye and then... I'm sorry.
Unable to dissemble, Sutera admits her transgression.
Jin speaks in a gentle voice.
Jin: Sutera. Is there something you wish to tell me?
Then, haltingly, she summons up the words to explain herself.
Sutera: I don't feel like Korwa takes her studies seriously. She's always skipping class, and her homework seems like it was dashed off at the last minute.
Sutera: Even so, her test results are always excellent.
Sutera: I can't help thinking how much better she could be doing if she would just apply herself.
Jin: I see. And it's those feelings which motivate your frequent fault-finding?
Sutera: No... It's not just that.
Shamefaced, Sutera drops her gaze.
Sutera: I'm jealous of her because I still have so far to go.
Sutera: I've been taking my frustrations out on her.
The confession takes Jin aback for a moment, but then he smiles.
Jin: Hahaha. So there is admiration mixed in with your resentment.
Jin: I think it would behoove you to express your feelings to her directly.
Jin opens a desk drawer and takes out a sheet of paper.
Jin: That reminds me, an acquaintance passed me this flyer. Why don't you take it?
Sutera: Hm? A new cafe?
Jin: I haven't been there myself, but I hear it's all the rage among your classmates. Perhaps the two of you could stop by together.
Jin: The change of atmosphere might make it easier to broach topics you would ordinarily find difficult.
Sutera scrutinizes the flyer.
After a moment she looks up with a determined expression on her face.
Sutera: I will! Thank you, Mr. Jin!
What's Up with the Class Prez?: Scene 2
Korwa seeks out Sutera to mend fences. Finding her surrounded by bullies, Korwa leaps to Sutera's defense. Together, they fight off the threat.
Korwa: An honest talk, huh?
Korwa: Forget airing my grievances. I've never even had a normal conversation with her.
Korwa: I don't know if we have anything in common at all. Maybe I should start by asking about her hobbies?
Korwa: If she says "studying and lecturing people," I give up.
Acting on Lamretta's advice, Korwa searches the school grounds for Sutera.
She passes the courtyard, then doubles back, spotting Sutera off in one corner, deep in thought.
Korwa: There she is. What's that she's staring holes through? A flyer?
Korwa: (Oh, it's a flyer from that new cafe's grand opening.)
Korwa: (It's been a big hit. I hear the parfaits are so colorful, it's fun just to look at them all.)
Korwa: (So even Miss Stick-in-the-Mud likes that kinda stuff. Kind of a surprise.)
Korwa: (I've been wanting to stop by. Oh. Is this my chance to talk to her? I could just invite her along.)
Korwa steps into the courtyard to enact her plan.
But before she can take a second step, several figures emerge from the shadows to surround Sutera.
Rowdy Student 1: Weeelll, if it ain't the class prez. Whatcha lookin' at all by your lonesome?
Rowdy Student 2: Hmm? That's a flyer from that hot new cafe. Not really your kinda place, is it, Prez?
Rowdy Student 3: Oooh, don't tell me the bookworm's gonna loiter after school instead of goin' straight home to study?
Sutera: I wasn't... really...
Surrounded by bullies, Sutera's expression becomes even stiffer than usual.
Korwa: (Hey, what do they think they're doing!)
Korwa: (What kind of weak sauce punks gang up on a girl three-against-one!)
Rowdy Student 1: Oh, I bet you were. What would the teachers think if we told 'em?
Rowdy Student 2: Hehehe... We wouldn't be able to tattle on ya if we all went together... Whaddya say? Let's go!
Sutera: Leave me alone! I—
Korwa: She's going with me!
Sutera: Huh? K-Korwa?
Sutera blinks in surprise at Korwa's sudden appearance.
The boys who had the class president surrounded are not thrilled at the interruption.
Rowdy Student 2: Tch. What's your problem?
Rowdy Student 1: Where's your manners, huh? We were talkin' to the prez here—not you.
Korwa: Where are yours? Are you too stupid to take no for an answer?
Rowdy Student 3: What'd you say? You wanna go?
Sutera: Um, Korwa? There's no need for you to get involved... I... I'll sort this out somehow!
Korwa: What? Cut the goody-goody act already! They were scaring you—I could tell!
Sutera: I wasn't scared!
Korwa: Ugh, it's so obvious! You were clearly—
Rowdy Student 2: Hey, you two! I think you need to learn a lesson about not makin' fun of people!
Rowdy Student 3: Hehehe, yeah. An' our etiquette class's admission policy is real equal opportunity.
Korwa: Hunh. Fine. I can handle the bunch of you on my own.
Korwa: You're gonna pay for bothering the two of us!
Korwa folds her arms and fixes the ill-mannered students with a furious glare.
Sutera draws her bow, ready to defend Korwa's back.
Sutera: No... It's too dangerous to fight them all at once. I'll keep the others busy while you handle each finishing blow.
Korwa: Hmm... All right. I'll leave that to you!
Sutera: No problem! I haven't been training all this time for nothing!
What's Up with the Class Prez?: Scene 3
The fight helps Korwa and Sutera acknowledge each other's strengths, admit their mutual frustrations, and take the first step toward friendship. Back in the real world, Korwa and the others head to a cafe to keep the party going a little longer.
Korwa: (Huh... I thought she'd be useless in any fight that wasn't strictly by the book...)
As she fights, Korwa sneaks a look at Sutera, who is providing backup from a little farther off.
Korwa: (But she feints like she's going to charge straight in, then manages to avoid any serious damage. They've barely managed to graze her.)
Rowdy Student 2: Guwaaah!
Korwa: (Yikes, poked him right in the eye. The class president knows how to fight dirty too.)
Korwa: (But her archery form is so elegant, and her arrows fly like gleaming needles through the air.)
Korwa: Geez. She's actually pretty hot stuff.
Korwa: Hehe. Better not let her show me up!
I suppose that will do.
Korwa: Yeah. They're out cold, and after that beating... er, lesson, they should clean up their acts.
Korwa: I was pretty surprised to see you fight dirty though.
Korwa: Eye-gouging, leg-sweeping... They don't teach that stuff in class.
Sutera: Umm... Maybe I should have stuck to the rules of engagement.
Korwa: What're you talking about? What's important is we won!
Korwa: Besides, the wild side of you is really cool!
Sutera's eyes widen at the frank compliment. Then she breaks into a smile.
Sutera: Thank you!
Sutera: I've actually been focusing really hard on techniques to box in my opponents.
Sutera: I have trouble learning new techniques unless I concentrate on them one at a time.
Sutera: And... Um... I could really tell from your moves how hard you've been practicing, Korwa.
Korwa: Thanks. Well, I guess it's no wonder you think I don't practice, since I skip class all the time.
Sutera: No... I'm embarrassed that I leapt to that conclusion without any evidence.
Sutera: I apologize.
Korwa smiles awkwardly.
Korwa: Nah. I did the same thing. I thought you were just putting on an act to get the teachers to like you.
Korwa: Seeing you fight just now showed me how wrong I was.
Korwa: I'm the one who should apologize. Think we can call it even?
Korwa bows her head in apology, then holds out her right hand.
Sutera looks on in surprise for a moment at this show of contrition.
Sutera eagerly grasps Korwa's hand.
Korwa: So even outside of class, you've been getting all sorts of extra lessons from the teachers?
Sutera: Yes. Recently Mr. Jin has been teaching me how to deflect an opponent's blade.
Korwa: Is that right? You spend so much time around him, I thought for sure you were crushing on him.
Sutera: C-crushing? O-of course Mr. Jin is a fine teacher, and I respect him, but nothing like that...
Korwa: Ahaha! You're bright red! Don't tell me you really do—
Sutera: Korwa! It's irresponsible jokes like that which give people the wrong impression about you!
Korwa: What's wrong with a little girl talk!
The distance that once separated them disappears as they talk.
Time slips by unnoticed.
Sutera: Ah! Um, no, that was—
Korwa: Whassa matter? You hungry? Oh yeah, you were checkin' out that cafe flyer.
Korwa: I know! Why don't we head over there to continue our chat?
Sutera: Good idea! Let's go!
Korwa: Awesome! Then we're off!
Side by side, they set out, still trading jokes.
From the sight of the pair, it's clear to see that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Korwa: There really is nothing like a coming-of-age story. Yep, I really like this one.
Lamretta: Mmm... Now that's the springtime of youth for you...
Sutera: Yes! What a great ending. Bittersweet and satisfying.
A glance upward reveals that the sun is already approaching the apex of its arc through the heavens.
Korwa: Whoa. We've been here a while, huh?
Korwa: We put a happy ending on this tale, so what say we pack it in?
Even as the words leave her mouth, Korwa's feet come to a halt.
Korwa: (I thought I was satisfied with that happy ending, but I still feel like something's missing.)
Sutera hesitantly raises her hand.
Sutera: Um... Do you want to keep talking a while longer?
Sutera: We could... have tea at a cafe, like in our story... What do you think?
Lamretta: Ooh, nishe idea. More girl talk!
Korwa: You guys...
Korwa: Yeah! I was just thinking I had more I wanted to talk about! Let's go!
The three friends link hands.
The gesture is met with a loud rumble.
Sutera: Ah! No, that was—
Lamretta: Nyahaha! Real-life Sutera's tummy is rumbling too!
Korwa: Ahaha! C'mon, time's a-wasting!
Korwa and Lamretta pull the embarrassed Sutera along between them toward a nearby cafe.
Though their fantasy world has faded away, the three women have a more personal tale still to weave about youth and friendship.