Kou Makes a Promise
Yuel, Societte, (Captain), and the crew head to Mimaka to find a cure for the curse that has robbed Kou of the use of his legs. While Societte and Yuel go on ahead, (Captain), Lyria, and Vyrn stop into a teahouse with Kou, who is feeling feverish. (Captain) feeds Kou some shaved ice, much to his embarrassment. Kou promises to join their journey once he is cured.
Kou is the descendant of a long-lost royal family.
Raised to be nothing more than a vessel for the resurrection of Ninetails, Kou encountered (Captain) and the crew on an island called Akino.
The crew freed him from Ninetails's grasp, and, by combining their powers, Kou, Yuel, and Societte managed to banish the monster who had killed their ancestors.
Kou set out on a journey to correct the falsified accounts of Ninetails's benevolence which his own family, the ninth, had spread.
Some time has passed since then.
Kou: Urgh... I've hit rock bottom...
Kou is currently receiving the dubious honor of a piggyback ride.
Yuel: Easy, li'l man. I know yer rarin' to soak yer tail. You'll getcher chance soon enough.
Kou: I'm not pining for the hot springs... I'm humiliated.
Kou: Which you know full well. You're just a big bully... Stop treating me like a kid already.
Societte: Yeah, that's right, Yuel. Just for bein' such a big meanie, I'm gonna take Kou away from ya.
Kou: Societte... Please don't use that as an excuse to carry me around like a knapsack.
The three royal descendants, Yuel, Societte, and Kou, are visiting the secret island of Mimaka, whose hot springs supposedly have the power to lift curses.
Kou was hit with a curse several days earlier which robbed him of the use of his legs, and the group hopes to find the cure here.
However, they are having a devil of a time actually locating these blessed springs.
Vyrn: This is a pretty big town... Wanna just grab one of the locals and ask directions?
Kou: Nhh... I suppose so. Maybe that... would be best.
Lyria: Are you okay, Kou? You look pale.
Kou: Hm? Oh... Now that you mention it, I do feel a little feverish...
Yuel: Don't be a hero, Kou! Is the curse rampin' up?
Kou: I think I'm just tired from the trip... It's not the curse. I'm fine.
Societte: No, you should rest. Yuel and I can keep lookin' for the hot springs.
Yuel: (Captain), you take care o' Kou, 'kay? We'll be back in two shakes!
Yuel slides Kou off her back and plops him into (Captain)'s waiting arms. That done, she and Societte are already hurrying away.
(Captain) stands there for a moment, holding a bundle of perplexed Kou, then decides to make a pit stop at a nearby teahouse.
The captain carefully sets Kou down in a chair before grabbing the seat beside him.
Kou: I can't believe (Captain) had to carry me... I'm so embarrassed...
Vyrn: Boy, do you pick the wrong things to get hung up on. Are you feelin' all right?
Kou: I still feel a little warm... I'm sure I'll feel better once I've cooled down a bit. Please don't worry.
Lyria: Hmm... Still... There must be something we can do to help...
Searching around for inspiration, Lyria's eyes light on the menu mounted on the wall.
Lyria: "Now serving shaved ice."
Kou: Shaved ice? So they serve that on Mimaka too.
Kou: I tried some green tea-flavored shaved ice once on my travels. It was quite good.
Lyria: Green tea flavor? Coming right up! C'mon, Vyrn and (Captain)!
Kou: Huh? W-wait, I—
The trio hurry off to buy some frozen treats.
Lyria: Ta-daaah! Green tea-flavored shaved ice just for you! And look! It came with red bean and mochi ball toppings!
Kou: Ahaha... You really didn't have to go to so much trouble... But thank you.
Kou: It looks delicious. Oh, um... is there a spoon?
Kou looks around and notices one in (Captain)'s hand.
Kou: Oh, you brought one for me.
Kou reaches out.
But (Captain) pulls the spoon out of his reach and instead uses it to scoop up some shaved ice.
Kou: Oh... Oh no...
Choose: Say "ahh" for me!
- Say "ahh" for me!
- Mmm, delicious!
Kou: I knew it! Please don't do this! I can eat on my own! Look! My hands are perfectly fine!
(Captain) ignores the flustered boy's protests and lifts the spoon to his lips.
Kou: Nngh... I see you won't take no for an answer.
Kou: Very well. I accept my fate.
Kou: You... big bully...Choose: Mmm, delicious!
The spoon sails toward Kou's lips... only to make a midair course correction and zoom into (Captain)'s mouth.
Kou: (I... I thought for sure (Captain) was going to hand-feed me that shaved ice.)
(Captain) can't help but laugh at Kou's confusion.
Kou realizes he's being teased simply for the pleasure of getting a rise out of him.
Kou: You... You're just a big bully, (Captain)...
(Captain) apologizes and scoops up another spoonful, offering it to Kou.
Kou: It's... it's not that I wanted you to feed it to me...
Kou: But are you really going to let me eat it this time?Continue 1
Kou: Ah... Aahh...
Kou: Mm... That combination of bitter and sweet... The chewy mochi... It's delicious.
A pacified Kou allows (Captain) to feed him the rest of the dessert.
Vyrn: Did that bring down your fever at all?
Kou: W-well... My face still feels hot. But that's (Captain)'s fault.
Kou: I'm breathing easier though... Yes, I think I'm fine now.
Kou: I really am just being taken care of left and right.
Kou: I feel terrible.
Lyria: You shouldn't think that way! You'd do the same for any of us!
Kou: No, I'm sorry... That's not what I meant.
Kou: It's not that I hate being taken care of.
Vyrn: Then what's the problem?
Kou: I'd been thinking that when I next caught up with all of you, I'd like to join you on your journey.
Kou: I was hoping for the opportunity to repay all your help and kindness.
Kou: But with my legs in this condition, that's not going to happen. That's what's depressing me.
Choose: It'll be all right, Kou.
- It'll be all right, Kou.
Lyria: That's right, Kou! Don't worry! We're going to get you back on your feet!
Vyrn: Yeah, don't worry your fuzzy little face about it! Your big sisters and the three of us have got your back!
Kou: You guys...
Lyria: Once your legs are back to normal and we settle this whole mess, you have to come along on our journey! Promise me!
Kou: Haha... You're a force to be reckoned with...
Kou: Yes, of course. I give you my word.
Lyria: All right! Hehehe.
Kou locks pinkies with Lyria, Vyrn, and (Captain) in turn to seal the deal.
Their kindness puts a genuine smile on the young boy's face.
Step Up, Big Bro
As they work to help out the residents of Mimaka, Kou and You begin to get along like real siblings. Later, the two hatch a plan to use the skills they learned working at a hot spring inn to thank the crew for all their help.
Thanks to (Captain) and the others, the curse You laid on Kou is lifted, and Kou is once again able to walk around freely.
They manage to free You from Ninetails's control after years of the demon preying on her mind and corrupting her actions. Together, the royal descendants defeat Ninetails.
Kou and You settle their differences, and Kou supports You every step of the way as she makes amends for her actions toward the people of Mimaka.
The two work at the hot spring inn to repay You's debt to the town. Living and toiling side by side strengthens their bond until they seem like siblings.
Time slips by, and Kou and You leave the island as official members of (Captain)'s crew. One day, aboard the Grandcypher, Kou calls You to his room for a chat.
Kou: Promise me you'll keep what I'm about to say just between the two of us.
You: Gahaha! Sounds like you've got some mischief in mind. That's not like you.
Kou: Don't twist my words. You've got it backward.
You: Oh yeah?
Kou: Hahaha. How would you like to join me in repaying my debt to (Captain) and the others?
Kou: They've saved my tail in two battles with Ninetails now. I want to show my gratitude properly.
You: Debts? Gratitude? Gahaha... What're you talking about?
You: Not! I'll do it! I'm in! All the way! Pssht. As if I'd do anything else!
You: I was just wondering how I could say thanks to Sis Yuel, Sis Societte, (Captain), and the others!
Kou: Hehe, good. With you by my side, I know I can do it.
You: But... What're we gonna do?
Kou: Think about it. What skills have we recently acquired?
You: Uh... Oh! We got good at speed-eating fried tofu!
Kou: What? No! When did I do that with you?
Kou: C'mon, think! What did we both learn to do while working at the inn?
You: Oh! Hostility!
Kou: Hospitality! We learned all the techniques! Cooking! Clean-up! Drink service! Even new dances!
Kou: You knew what I was talking about, didn't you? You're just messing with me.
You: Gahahaha! Sorry, sorry. You get so hot under the collar, I can't resist.
You: But you need a lotta prep to give someone that kinda welcome.
You: We wouldn't be able to set it up on the Grandcypher without them noticing. The cat'd be outta the bag before you even closed it.
Kou: That's true... Let's talk with the innkeeper about it.
Kou: She might have a large enough room she'd let us use.
You: You're so smart! That way, we can meet up with everybody from Mimaka too! Let's go, let's go!
The two children excitedly discuss their plans to throw a party for (Captain) and the others.
Then they do their best to suggest setting a course for Mimaka, without revealing their hospitable intent.
Step Up, Big Bro: Scene 2
Kou and You ask the owner of the inn they once worked at to lend them a room, but the only one available has been sealed shut for decades. The kids venture inside and find a surprisingly luxurious room, but they are soon assailed by supernatural phenomena and find themselves unable to leave.
When the Grandcypher makes port in Mimaka, Kou and You slip away to visit the hot spring inn.
They explain their plans to the owner.
Innkeeper: How nice of you kids to want to repay your friends' kindness. I'd be happy to lend the two of you a room...
Innkeeper: If only I had one to spare.
Innkeeper: We're in the middle of peak season, and I don't have a single open room, I'm afraid.
Innkeeper: Sorry I can't help you out, kids...
Kou: Oh no, that's all right! I'm sorry to make such an unreasonable request when you're so busy.
Kou: Hm? What are you looking at, You?
You: That corner room over there...
You: The whole time we were working here, even when the rest of the inn was packed, that room always stayed empty, remember?
Kou: That's right, now that you mention it. But if the inn is booked solid, then I'm sure that one—
Innkeeper: It's vacant.
Kou: What? It is?
You: Then! Then! Can we borrow that one? Pretty please?
Innkeeper: Mm... I don't know...
Innkeeper: You see, no one has opened the door to that room since looong before I was even born. I don't know why.
Innkeeper: It spooks me, so I've always kept it locked up tight.
Kou: An eternally sealed room... That is spooky.
You: Is it? It's just locked. What's the big deal about a plain ol' room?
Innkeeper: Perhaps... But even so, it hasn't been cleaned for decades, so I'm sure it's filthy.
You: Hey, no problem! With me and Bro Kou on the job, we'll have it spick-and-span in a flash!
Innkeeper: Hmm... I suppose it couldn't hurt for you just to take a look. If you decide you want to use it, you're welcome to it.
Kou: Really? Thank you so much!
You: We did it! Now we can show everyone how much we appreciate them!
Kou: Hehehe, let's not get ahead of ourselves. First we have to see if the room is in usable condition.
The two children take the room key from the innkeeper.
You's ears and fluffy tails are pricked up excitedly as she trots after Kou.
But the moment the door opens, the smile slides off her face.
Beyond that door is another one.
The second door is festooned with magical wards and chained shut, locked with a heavy padlock.
Kou: It's all sealed up...
As if in response to Kou's voice, the lock shatters and the chains crash to the floor.
Kou: I-it's okay. The lock must have been really old and rusty. It's just a coincidence that it happened to break right then. Must be.
You: Aha... Gahaha... Sure. That makes sense...
You: B-Bro Kou... Y'think the door opening by itself is because it's old too?
Kou: Heh... Of course. Must be. Um. Let's take a look inside.
Kou: (Well, it is dusty, but it's such an elegant room... And large too.)
The luxurious room takes Kou by surprise. Together, he and You step inside.
Careful of his companion, who is almost glued to his side, Kou inspects the room to determine its suitability for their purposes.
Kou: (Neither the floorboards nor the tabletops look rotten, and none of the windows are cracked... The furniture all seems to be in good shape too.)
Kou: After all those chains and wards, I wasn't sure what we'd find, but... it certainly looks all right.
You: Y-you think? I've been getting a nasty feeling from this place since we walked in...
Kou: Nasty? How so?
You: Well, look. That picture, for example...
With a trembling finger, You points to a painting hanging on the wall.
Kou: It's okay, You! Please, calm down! This is just another c-coinci—
Kou's words die in his throat.
In the spot where the picture hung are another host of wards just like the ones stuck to the door.
You: Yeeek! Bro Koouu! S-something fell out of it!
Kou: H-hair... And there's so much of it... Where did it all come from?
You: Aaaggghh! Look, look, looook! Th-that d-doll just blinked!
Kou: What on earth is going on here! What is this!
Laughing Voice: Hee hee hee heeee...
You: What was that! Who's there! Show yourself!
Laughing Voice: Hee hee hee heeee...
You: What're you laughing at! No more! I can't take any more of this!
You: We gotta get outta here! Let's beat it, Bro Kou!
Kou: Y-yes... I think that's best...
Kou: Ah... You? Did you close the door?
You: No! Why would I ever do that!
Kou: Oh no...
The door seems to have closed on its own. Kou reaches for the knob.
Kou: I-it won't open...
Step Up, Big Bro: Scene 3
Night falls with no hope of rescue or escape. Kou comforts the terrified You, but when she realizes he's hiding his own fears to do it, You puts on a brave face too. When Kou notices that the ghost seems to take pleasure in scaring You, he loses his temper and attacks the spirit.
Kou and You try desperately to open the door, but to no avail.
They call for help, but no matter how loud they yell, there's no response from the other side.
As they labor to find some means of escape, the sun sets, leaving them trapped in the dark in this uncanny room.
You looks to be on the verge of tears.
You: Yeek! Th-there it goes again! Did you hear that?
Hee hee hee hee!
What is it? What is it!
Kou gently pats You's head.
Kou: Look at me, You.
Kou: Come on. Listen to my voice and look at my face. Can you do that for me?
You: Y-yeah... Sniff... I can... do that...
Kou: Good job, You. Hehehe. You're a good girl.
You: Wh-what're you doing! Quit patting my head!
Kou: Do you want ear scritches instead? You've been handling this so well, you deserve some attention.
You: I'm fine! Knock it off! Stop acting like Sis Yuel and Sis Societte! What's your problem!
Cheeks pink, You peers angrily at Kou.
Which is when she notices how stiff his expression is, and the minute shaking of his shoulders.
You: (Is he scared too?)
You: (So why did he suddenly start saying all that nice stuff about me?)
You: (Was he just... trying to make me feel better? Even though he was scared himself?)
You: (Geez... He's busting his tail for me, and here I am jumping at every little noise...)
You: Hey... sorry. Thanks. I'm... gonna be fine!
Kou: Really? You don't have to pretend for me.
You: Yeah, I'm good! Those bumps in the night are only putting half my hair on end now!
You: All right, Bro Kou! Let's put our heads together and figure our way outta here! Just act like you don't even hear that—
A cold breeze whispers down You's back and she freezes.
She turns around stiffly.
Laughing Spirit: Hee hee hee...
You: Meep! I can see it now! Auuugh, this is even worse! Save me!
You bursts into tears once more and hides behind Kou.
Laughing Spirit: Hee hee hee hee hee!
Kou: (That's the same voice we've been hearing...)
Kou: (I swear it was only when You screamed that I heard that laughter...)
Kou: Are you enjoying scaring You like that?
Laughing Spirit: Hee hee hee hee hee!
Kou: You lousy bully! Stay away from her!
Step Up, Big Bro: Scene 4
With the ghost defeated, Kou and You are able to leave the room, which no longer seems haunted. They invite the crew there to show them some hospitality. At the end of the evening, Kou warms (Captain)'s futon, and ends up being drafted as a bed warmer for the rest of the night. The two sleep well, shielding each other from the cold.
Laughing Spirit: Yeeee!
With a gurgling, otherworldly screech, the ghost succumbs to Kou's attacks and fades from existence.
That very moment, the door opens.
Kou: You... guys!
Yuel: Kou! You!
Societte: Are y'all all right? Are you hurt...? You look okay... Oh, thank goodness!
You: Sis Yuel! Sis Societte!
Yuel: Y'all really had us worried! One minute ya were there—the next ya were gone. We waited an' waited, but ya never came back.
Kou: I'm sorry... But how did you know where to find us?
Societte: We had a hunch you might head to the inn, so we came looking.
Societte: Then the owner told us you'd gone into that room and hadn't come out...
Vyrn: Even with all of us pulling together, we couldn't get the door open. That really threw us for a loop. What the heck happened in here?
Kou relates everything that happened after they broke the seal on the long-unopened room.
Lyria: That's so awful... You must have been so scared!
You: Sniffle... Bro Kou... If you hadn't been here with me, I...
Societte: There, there... Kou took good care of you, didn't he? And you were very brave, You.
Choose: I'm proud of you, Kou.
- I'm proud of you, Kou.
(Captain) gently pats Kou's head.
The dam finally breaks, and tears spill down Kou's cheeks.
Yuel: Kou... You really hung in there for your li'l sis, didn'tcha?
I was... really scared too... I thought we'd never get out...
(Captain) folds the crying boy in a warm embrace.
Yuel: Easy, li'l man... You did real good today.
The crew lets the two children cry themselves out, then brings them back to the ship.
A few days later, Kou and You screw their courage to the sticking place and pay another visit to the sealed room.
All traces of supernatural activity seem to have vanished. The wards, the piles of hair, and the dolls are nowhere to be seen.
The children clean every inch of the room, then invite the crew over.
Shortly after (Captain) and the others settle in, they hear knocking at the door.
Kou & You: Excuse us.
Kou and You quietly push open the door and kneel in front of their guests.
Kou: Thank you for visiting our inn. We are thrilled that you accepted our invitation. My name is Kou, and it will be my pleasure to look after you during your stay.
You: And my name is You.
Kou: We hope to offer you a relaxing experience that will clear your minds and lift your spirits. Please take your ease and allow us to tend to your every need.
You: These sweets are our specialty. I hope you like them. They're freakin'... uh... they're extremely delicious.
Kou: Hehehe... If you'll excuse us, we must go prepare your meal.
Kou and You bow to the crew, then withdraw from the room without rising to their feet.
Yuel: Oh, geez, I... Lookit 'em bein' so formal... They're so cute I'm gonna cry!
Societte: They've grown... so much...
Vyrn: Yeesh, give 'em a chance to show off a little before you break down blubbering. I know you're proud big sisters, but this is ridiculous.
Kou and You pull out all the stops to take care of their guests.
The pair serves the crew food and drink and entertains them with dances in between courses.
At last, night falls. The guests climb into the futons You and Kou lay out.
Relaxed by a day of pampering, the crew falls into a deep, restful slumber.
All but (Captain), who remains wakeful, perhaps because of the unfamiliar surroundings. The captain decides to take a stroll.
When the night air has done its work, (Captain) returns to the room.
Kou: Welcome back.
Kou is waiting in the captain's futon.
Kou: It's a little cold outside, so I kept it warm for you.
Kou: Were you having trouble sleeping without a teddy bear? Need me to fill in?
Kou: Hehe... Oh, I'm only kidding. That's what you get for teasing me all the time.
Kou: Well then, it's time for me to—
Before Kou can climb out from under the blanket, (Captain) slips in alongside him.
Kou: Wha! Wait a second, (Captain)!
Kou: I was only joking! You're so pushy...
Kou: W-well, fine. I guess if you need my help getting to sleep then it's my duty. Don't tell anyone though, all right?
Kou resigns himself to his fate as (Captain)'s teddy bear.
Kou: (Captain)... Did you enjoy our hospitality today?
Kou: I hope we managed to return some fraction of the kindness you always show us.
Kou: Are you asleep? Don't tell me you passed out the moment you put your head down...
Kou: W-wake up...
Wow... (Captain)'s really sawing wood... So I guess that means... we really did manage to provide some stress relief?
With a small, proud smile, Kou nestles in beside (Captain) and closes his eyes.
Secure beside someone he trusts so much, Kou, too, sleeps deeply.
A little too deeply.
His guard thoroughly lowered, Kou oversleeps, and Yuel, Societte, and You all catch him snuggling with (Captain).
Faced with a storm of jealousy, the popular young man is obliged to play teddy bear for his sisters as well.