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Bros be Bros
The crew is off on a mission, but Lowain and his bros are on standby, idly shooting the breeze. Walder, Drang, and Pommern, each a benchwarmer in his own unique way, also appear. A sense of camaraderie blooms as the motley band of rejects break bread together.
Our story begins in a cafe on the corner of a bustling street in Port Breeze.
While the crew is off completing another mission, Lowain and his bros are on standby, idly shooting the breeze.
As they while away the time, they banter about this and that.
Lowain: Dudes. I've been thinking. Weren't we on standby for the last job too?
Elsam: Huh? Naw, man. That time doesn't count. It was your turn to make dinner.
Tomoi: But we were on standby the time before that too. It's been nothin' but standby these days. Dude, did you do something?
Lowain: Yeah, I made the grub too good, that's what. Seeing everyone chow down on my cookin' like that...
Lowain: As a cook I'm flattered, but... I wanna be out there with Kat, y'know. Sigh. Life's tough.
Elsam: Ha! You think that's the reason? Your cooking's sweet for sure, but there's gotta be some other explanation!
Tomoi: Definitely. Like, it's probably a strategy thing. Let's be honest, the crew has some pretty strong peeps, and we ain't one of 'em.
Elsam: Yeah, remember that time I got told off by Io? Like, she was magicking and stuff, and I got in the way or whatever?
Tomoi: First time I saw a little girl make a grown man cry... Gotta admit that magic was pretty rad though!
All Three: Magic's rad, she's so mad, gonna make you cry so bad! Io! Io! Io!
Lowain: But even if we clam up, Rackam'll start to worry 'bout us, right? Rock and a hard place much?
Lowain: What say you, bros? From now till the guys get back, are we up for some Operation: No More Standby?
Elsam and Tomoi: Oorah!
Walder: Heh heh heh. What are you guys up to in a place like this?
Lowain: Well, well, if it isn't Walder! So you're on standby too, huh!
Elsam: Waheeey! Wheeere's Walder? There he is! We were just chattin' about some top-notch, super heavy stuff. Want a drink?
Walder: Oh, yes. Can you get water here?
Tomoi: There's always that one guy who drinks nothing but water. So what are you up to anyway, Wald? Practicing your poses like you always do?
Walder: That is the way of the forest ranger. Would you three care to join me in my training? I think you have what it takes.
Elsam: No way! You think we have it in us? Lowain, we could learn some new moves from this!
Lowain: We owe you one, man! Operation: No More Standby is a go! How's about it, Wald, wanna bust outta standby with us?
Walder: Hm? What's wrong with being on the standby squad? It's a critical role.
Tomoi: Ahaha! Yeah, who doesn't love being on standby? Good one, man.
Walder: What's... so funny?
Tomoi: Oh, erm... s-sorry, were you being serious earlier?
Walder: A forest ranger is always serious! We've been entrusted with guarding the base camp, an extremely grave responsibility.
Walder: Only a select few are charged with fulfilling this critical duty!
Elsam: Critical duty? Select few?
Walder: Come, follow me! I'll teach you what it means to be in the standby squad!
Lowain: Whoa, you're so positive, man... It's deep.
Tomoi: The dragon scales have fallen from my eyes, dude. Well, not like we have anything better to do right now.
Drang: That's wonderful! No time like free time, as they say!
Lowain: Huh? Oh, aren't you the Black Knight's errand boy? So you're the guy that's been sitting by the counter all morning.
Drang: Guilty as charged! But worry not, I'm only in town to gather some information. I've no interest in getting in your way.
Tomoi: Gathering information? Why're you hanging around here then? You slacking off?
Drang: About that! Thing is, I'm on standby too. Sturm told me to—and I quote—stay out of her way.
Drang: Heh! Ohh, Sturm. I think she's warming up to me.
Lowain: I don't get it! So what are you so happy about? Doesn't that mean she hates you?
Drang: Ahh, but you've got to read behind the lines, friend! Truth is, I sprained my foot yesterday.
Drang: You see? Sturm's just worried about me! Always the prickly pear, she is!
Tomoi: Huh... Tough and thorny on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside sorta deal?
Tomoi: Dude! She's totally into you! Drango the mango, you've got a chance here!
Drang: Hahaha, is it that obvious?
Anywho, the point is: being put on standby could very well mean someone's looking out for you chaps!
Tomoi: That's gotta be it! I have been feeling a cold coming on. (Captain) must be concerned for me...
Elsam: Deep! This standby thing is, like, totally deep, dude!
Walder: Humph. It seems you guys have come round. Well then, let's perform our standby duties with all our might!
Lowain: Wait, back up a sec, everydude. I get what you're saying, but... I still wanna be out there with Kat, man!
Lowain: Whatever, I know what I gotta do: I'mma go up to (Captain), get on my knees, and beg to be put out on the field!
Elsam: Whoa! Swallowin' your pride and takin' one for the team!
Tomoi: Hold up! I'm coming too! I gotta see this!
Lowain: You dweebs can get lost! When I get out, I ain't taking any of you with me!
Pommern: Sigh... Oh, the travesty that's befallen me...
Elsam: Lowain! No running in the cafe, doofus!
Tomoi: Sorry 'bout that, mister. You'll have to cut this jerk some slack.
Pommern: It makes no difference to me, I do say... Just please, leave me alone...
Lowain: Yeow, that hurt you little—sir, I'm so sorry. Let me get you a drink by way of apology.
Pommern: Hm? Y-you! You're in league with those skyfarers if I'm not very much mistaken!
Lowain: Aren't you Pommy? Pommy the pompous?
Lowain: Perfect timing. I'll be out of standby in no time if I can bring you down. Let's take this outside, I do say!
Pommern: How absurd... Humph. Today, however, I'm prepared to overlook your misdemeanor.
Elsam: Huh? That's not like you, Pommy! Dudes, Pommy's played out!
Tomoi: You sick, Pommy? Need a drink to settle your stomach?
Pommern: Oh, do cease your prattle... I'm in no mood to trifle with paltry peons.
Walder: What did you say? Do you know who I am?
Walder: I am a valiant warrior of the woods! Walder the Forest Ranger! The captain of my crew has entrusted me to be on standby in their absence!
Pommern: Good grief, someone has a high opinion of himself. If you lot are on standby, then you really are paltry little—
Pommern: Sigh... Nevermind...
Drang: Hm? Captain Pommern, have you perchance fallen on hard times? Are the rumors true?
Pommern: Hng! Wh-why are you here? Don't tell me you're associating with this riffraff?
Drang: Oh no, far from it!
But back to you, Cap'n, don't feel too down about the parade! It's a total bore anyway!
Lowain: Parade? I dunno, that sounds pretty fun to me. Drango, fill us in, man.
Drang: Well, uhh, due to... recent events, Captain Pommern here wasn't invited to take part in the imperial army's military parade.
Drang: I don't think it's such a big deal. It's more like a routine drill.
Pommern: You couldn't be more mistaken! For a servant of the imperial army, to take part in a parade is an honor without equal!
Pommern: Sigh... I'd been chosen for every parade up till that last one. I'm currently on a journey of heartbreak and humiliation.
Lowain: Huh. In other words, Pommy's on standby duty too? Oh man, I wanna laugh out loud, but...
Lowain: How about you try begging your boss or whoever then? Getting on your knees can be pretty effective!
Pommern: What? And what good would that bring me?
Pommern: What I... What I really want is to get my call-up papers and contribute to the glory of the empire.
Pommern: No, this humiliation... is training that will allow me to contribute more than ever. It is an opportunity to reinforce my resolve.
Lowain: Pommy... Dude.
Pommern: Hahaha. What am I doing admitting all of this to the enemy. Forget everything I said.
Lowain: Hey, that's our line. I can't believe we let ourselves get lectured by you!
Lowain: Anyway, you ordered yet? How about that apology drink I offered you earlier?
Pommern: Hm? I'm not one to accept charity from the enemy.
Elsam: Pfft! We're on standby in a cafe, Pommy, chillax!
Tomoi: Hahaha! Y'know what? I'll pick your drink for ya!
Lowain: Let's all take a seat, dudes. We were enemies yesterday, and we'll be enemies again tomorrow, but here today, we break bread together.
Lowain: This is a today-only limited-time offer! I hereby declare the formation of the Union of Standbys!
Walder: Heh, a union you say? Well, you've got the fired-up zeal to make it work!
Drang: Hahaha! A ragtag bunch if I do say so myself! Not that I have a problem with that!
Pommern: But this would be considered consorting with the enemy!
Tomoi: Pommy, here's your drink! Telling you, man, this tropical juice is off the scale!
Elsam: Whoa, there's ice cream on it! Dude, you don't have to treat him like he's royalty!
Pommern: What? I'll have you know I am indeed of noble birth!
Pommern: Oh, what a bind, I do say! It seems I've no choice but to entertain you ragamuffins, until my drink is finished!
Lowain: Ahahaha! All right! I'm calling some grub, and I'm not holding back!
Chance, or perhaps fate, has brought together a motley group of individuals to form the Union of Standbys.
The union legislates its very first rule: once this day ends, its members will speak of its existence to no one.
For one night alone, they were as close as brothers could be.
Elsam: I am a valiant warrior of the woods! Elsam the Forest Ranger!
Walder: Hahaha! Not bad! Next time try holding your arms out at a wider angle.
Tomoi: Drango, which would you pick: a girl who looks mean but is actually really kind, or a girl who looks kind but is actually pretty mean?
Drang: Hmm. Choices, choices... Could you give me five minutes?
Lowain: And there she was, man, the most bodacious babe in all the sky. My soulmate, my one true Kat!
Pommern: Lieutenant Katalina? You're after her?
They talk into the night. This fleeting respite, and the strange bonds it forged, would leave a lasting impression on them all.
Lowain and his bros are still on standby, idly shooting the breeze. The captain of a certain airship mistakes Lowain for a brilliant fellow captain and consults his advice. Lowain suggests holding a party to gain the respect of the crew.
At their usual cafe, Lowain and his bros are shooting the breeze just like they always do.
Today's incoherent ramble is, of all things, about crew management.
Lowain: Dude, the crew's gotta party on the weekends. All night long, to the break of dawn, am I right?
Lowain: We'll forget about rank and rotate seats every 90 minutes. The crew dudes are gonna have a blast!
Elsam: Woohoo! Weekly parties sound epic!
Tomoi: Hey, what if we had a massive hot tub on the G. Cyph? You know, strictly for health reasons!
Lowain: A hot tub! But wait a sec, where's all the hot water gonna come from and stuff?
Elsam: And when we're flying at full speed, won't the water get everywhere and stuff?
Tomoi: But hey... Girls and a hot tub!
Lowain & Elsam: Sold!
All Three: Best idea ever!
Lowain: Hahaha! Man, pleasing a crew is tough!
Elsam: Captain Lowain! May I commend your totally awesome idea!
Tomoi: Me too, me too! Captain Lowain!
Lowain plays along, assuming the role of captain and throwing a few ideas around to see what will fly.
A man at the counter is startled when he overhears their conversation.
???: Hm? Captain Lowain? He seems to know how to get along with his crewmates.
Lowain: A box for keeping ice cream? We could get someone to frost magic the box to keep it cold.
???: I'm very sorry to interrupt you, but...
???: I'm... I'm the captain of a certain airship. As it happens, there's something I'd like to discuss with you.
Lowain: Huh? You wanna talk with me? Not sure why you'd wanna do that, but, whatever. Pull up a pew, dude.
Captain: Thank you. Now, I'm a little ashamed to admit this, but... sometimes I think I should give up my position as captain.
Elsam: (Pssst, Tommy. Why's he talking to Lowain about this?)
Tomoi: (Beats me. But the look on Lowain's face is cracking me up!)
Lowain: I hear you, bro. But you gotta take the rough times with the smooth. Better not to sweat the small stuff, y'know?
Captain: But lately all the orders I give go wrong. And we're running short of funds, so I've had to tell the crew to cut back on supplies.
Captain: Sigh. And then last night I... I wasn't invited to the crew's outing.
Captain: Argh, I'm so pathetic! How'd I end up as disliked as this?
Lowain: I feel you, man. I feel you. Sometimes that's the path a captain's gotta walk.
Lowain: But if you want to be popular, let me tell ya... you came to the right guy, dude.
Captain: Gasp! D-do you have advice for me? Please! Teach me!
Lowain: Piece of cake, brollio. Tonight, in front of all your crew members, you're gonna say this...
Lowain: Dudes! Henceforth, for every week, we will use the crew's funds to hold the most brodacious blowouts ever!
Or somethin' like that.
Captain: Huh? B-blowout? Every week? Brodacious?
Elsam: Ahaha! Lowain, weren't you listening? The captain here said they were short on cash!
Lowain: Huh? I'm sure they'll manage... somehow. Money can't buy popularity, my bros, remember that.
Tomoi: Bwahahaha! We didn't ask for any of your phony philosophy, dude!
Captain: But what if they get too wild and cause trouble? I have lots of young hot-heads in my crew.
Lowain: That's all up to your hosting skills, hombre. Let me teach you how to work a crowd. Trust me, I'm a pro!
Captain: Well, if you say so.
In the corner of a tavern, the bros and the other crew members are mingling with the locals.
Crew Member 1: Hahaha! Well, that job sure was a tough one! But we couldn't let those scoundrels get away with it.
Girl 1: That's so cool! It must be so awesome being a skyfarer!
Crew Member 2: Umm... D-do you have a boyfriend? I bet you do. H-hahaha...
Girl 2: Hehehe! Actually, we just split up. Looking for a new one. Anyone in mind?
Lowain: All right, guys and gals, now that you've gotten to know each other a little, it's time for... the Love Psychology game!
Crew Member 1: Oooh! I'm in, I'm in.
Crew Member 2: Wha—
Lowain: You're battling monsters when you carelessly break your weapon, but by coincidence there's another weapon on the ground close by you.
Lowain: What is the weapon you see?
Girl 1: Hahaha! Don't we get any options to choose between?
Girl 2: Let me see... If it were me, I'd probably go for a whip?
Crew Member 1: Phew... I haven't had this much fun in ages. Shopkeep, another drink!
Girl 1: Hey, you should slow down. Maybe we should get you some water instead?
Crew Member 2: No way! You're from the same town I'm from! How's the old man who runs the antique shop?
Girl 2: Hahaha! Him, yeah I remember him! I haven't been back there in ages though!
Lowain: Listen up, everyone! It's almost time to switch seats again! This time the boys all move three seats to the right!
Crew Member 1: Hey, tavern keeper! Can we order please?
Crew Member 2: What? Switching already? C'mon, just another five minutes!
Lowain: Aww, you guys starting to cozy up to each other? Fine, fine. Just five minutes, 'kay?
Crew Member 1: Hey! That's my plate! You can't just help yourself!
Crew Member 2: Hm? You dare defy me, peasant scum? I shall make the skies rain with your blood!
Lowain: Well, that escalated quickly. You guys are too funny!
Girl 1: Wh-what? Someone needs to stop them, they're scaring me.
Girl 2: Too right. I just wanted to have fun tonight, not this.
Lowain: Got it! Just hang there a sec!
Lowain: All right, all right, cut it out you two. Brawls are seriously uncool.
Crew Member 1: Shut up and get outta my face! You get in my way, and I'll take you out too!
Crew Member 2: Mwahahaha... Ruler of the breaking dawn, fallen god of the twilight, I summon thee! Dyun di Albadis!
Lowain: Right, that does it. You dudes are not ruining my party. Don't let the door hit you on the way out!
Lowain's World: Scene 2
The captain has trouble taking Lowain's suggestion of a blowout, but Elsam and Tomoi chip in with their own ideas to which the captain heartily agrees to. They imagine a scenario, but the captain's team is quickly wiped out when distracted by how cute the monsters are.
The captain of a certain airship asks Lowain for advice, but is having some difficulty taking all of his suggestions on board.
Captain: Hmm, I don't know... I think this might make the crew hate me even more.
Elsam: Plus his crew's low on dough. How about we think of a low-budget alternative?
Tomoi: Word. Like, how about being more hip? Gotta get with the times, y'know?
Captain: Huh? Hip? What do you mean?
Lowain: Yeah, that's it! A'right, Cap, show me how you give your orders. Like, if I was your crewmate and stuff.
Captain: Sure... Let's see...
Captain: Attention! All hands on deck! Man the battle stations! First division to starboard, second division to port—
Lowain: Cuuut, cut, cut! That's way old school, dude! You gotta pep things up a little, grandad.
Captain: I'm sorry. I've always been old-fashioned, that's just how I am.
Lowain: By-the-book kinda dude, huh? We'll fix that. Watch and learn, bro.
Lowain: Listen up all my home boys and home girls!
Elsam and Tomoi: Wassuuup!
Lowain: Let's make some noise!
Tommy to the west side and Sammy takes the east!
Elsam and Tomoi: W00t, w00t!
Captain: Gosh! Your men are so coordinated! I'm not sure I could pull off something like that.
Lowain: Hahaha! Being serious is cool and all, but it can be a total downer sometimes, y'know?
Captain: I certainly see your point! So if I were to loosen up a little, then my crew might just cozy up to me!
A certain crew heads out on a monster hunt. They soon find a mysterious shadowy figure before them.
Captain: Whoa, far-out! Isn't that, like, our quarry?
Crew Member 1: Totally is, bro! How 'bout we take 'em out and peace outta here?
Crew Member 2: Huh? Whoa, whoa! Hold up, dudes... Check it out!
Captain: Dudes! That monster's a total babe!
Crew Member 1: Hahaha! Now's our chance!
Crew Member 1: Why hello there, Miss Monster. You come here often? How's about you and I grab a drink?
Crew Member 2: Heh heh. Of course, your friends are welcome to join. There's this real nice place by the corner—
Captain: You two! Cut that out! I'm the captain here, show some respect!
Captain: Sorry about my boys. No manners, I tell ya. Let me buy you dinner to make it up to you.
Lowain: Hahahaha! You totally got wiped out! You're crackin' me up, Caps!
Lowain: Gotta say though, you're getting the hang of this! Just get the job done, and your crew's gonna love ya!
Lowain's World: Scene 3
The crew of yesterday's captain barges into the cafe saying their leader has disappeared after trying the Lowain trio's suggestions. Upon hearing that his crew was never disappointed in him to begin with, the captain comes out from hiding and reunites with the crew. The bros have saved the day once again.
The next day at the cafe, Lowain and bros are thinking over the advice they gave the captain they had met, satisfied with a job well done.
Lowain: Wonder how that captain's doing. I hope he does what we taught him.
Elsam: He's gonna be fine. A guy can pick up a lot just, like, listening to our verbal dexterity and stuff.
Tomoi: Y'know, I still don't get why he went up to Lowain. Wouldn't you wanna talk to a regular captain about captain-y stuff?
Lowain: Duh! It's obvious I'm on a whole nother level from the average airship grunt.
Crew Member 1: Hey! You three! What have you done to our captain!
Crew Member 2: Thanks to you geniuses, our skipper's gone missing! What did you say to him?
Lowain: Huh? Wait, wait, wait. You guys are talking about that dude from yesterday?
Crew Member 1: Tsk! Yes, him! What stupid ideas did you put in his head?
Elsam: What're you talking about? He asked for advice, and we just gave him what he wanted.
Tomoi: Darn straight. And what do you mean by missing?
Crew Member 2: Humph. It happened last night. The skipper came to our quarters and...
Captain: Wassup! Word, how is you all hanging? I'm gonna drop somethin' on ya that you gotta hear!
Captain: Errm, what was it again... Oh yeah.
Party, party! Henceforth every week is a paaartay on this ship!
Captain: Don't worry whether we got 'nuff dough! We'll raid the coffers! Urge to splurge, yo!
Captain: Hahaha! Aahahaha... ha?
Crew Member 1: Sigh... We were all dumbfounded. We couldn't do anything but gape!
Crew Member 2: After that he just staggered off somewhere. We haven't seen him since!
Lowain: I can't believe I'm hearing this. You guys should have hopped on board the party train with him. Downer, man.
Elsam: What a bummer. Your captain was just trying get your respect.
Crew Member 1: Huh? Trying to get our respect?
Tomoi: He wasn't a popular guy, right? You guys didn't even invite him to your night out. Don't you feel sorry for the dude?
Crew Member 2: What? What night out? We've never left the skipper out of anything.
Crew Member 2: Wait a second. Could this be about that one time?
Crew Member 1: Hmm, you might be right. There was that time when we snuck off the ship to do that mission, just us guys...
Crew Member 1: The captain had been worried about the ship's coffers, and he'd seemed really worn out. We wanted to help, so—
Lowain: So you did a job but kept it a secret so he could rest instead. Then that means...
Crew Member 2: We couldn't respect him more! All of us, we love our skipper!
Crew Member 1: Course we do! We're lucky to have a man of his caliber at the helm! We've gotta get him back.
Captain: Everyone... I'm so sorry. I heard everything from inside the bathroom. I'm sorry for all the trouble I've caused.
Crew Member 1: Oh, Captain! I'm so glad you're safe!
Crew Member 2: Sigh. You really had us worried back here! You were acting so strange yesterday.
Captain: I'm sorry, I really am. And... thank you.
Captain: Oh, and Lowain and brothers, thank you for everything!
Captain: My fears might have been ungrounded, but I've really learned a lot from you.
Lowain: Oh? Hahaha. Well, if you only take away one thing from all this...
Lowain: Take care and... just be true to yourself, dude.
Captain: Yes, that will be my watchword henceforth!
Elsam: (Haha! Lowain looks so smug right now!)
Tomoi: (Bwahahaha! Look at him acting like he'd planned this all along!)
Lowain: Hahaha! Well, why don't you guys pull up a pew? Let me treat you to a drink or something!
Somehow or other Lowain and his bros have saved this crew from their predicament. The banter once again continues into the early hours.
Party On, Shopkeep
Something new has caught the bros' eyes: the cafe guestbook. SOS messages appear throughout its pages, leading the bros to speculate the meaning behind them, with the shopkeeper cast as the lead role.
Once again in their favorite cafe, Lowain and bros are chatting up a storm in their own little world.
Today something new has piqued their interest: the cafe's guestbook.
Lowain: "Thanks for the cup o' joe. It was so-so."
"Try going easier on the eggs next time."
Elsam: "We're here on our honeymoon! Ahh, love!"
"Now we're divorced! Aw, hell!"
Tomoi: "Eternals in the house!"
"All who read these words shall die in a hundred years."
Lowain: Whoa. This place actually has customers.
Elsam: Not that I've ever seen 'em. That's what you get when your shop's in some dark back alley.
Lowain: You guys wanna order anything else?
Lowain: No more holding back, boys窶背e're gonna party tonight!
Elsam: I'll pass. Sold my wallet to pay the innkeeper.
Lowain: What? Dude, a man's gotta have his wallet.
Lowain: But never fear, Lowain's got you covered! Bam!
Elsam: Huh? One... Two... Two rupies?
Lowain: Think we can split some sky-high fries?
Elsam: Ha! Yeah, right. Keep dreaming, bro. Right, Tommy?
Ah, there it is again.
Lowain: You still reading that guestbook? Any lines in there worth a laugh?
One here too.
Elsam: C'mon, man. Spill already! What is it? I gotta know!
Tomoi: Huh? Oh, it's not exactly funny or anything, but look... It's some sorta code.
Lowain: Oh? 808? That a room number?
Tomoi: It says SOS, man. It just randomly pops up on some pages.
Elsam: Wait, SOS... Sounds like someone's killer fighting move or something.
Tomoi: No, it's a call for help.
Tomoi: The dates and handwriting are different, but all the messages have the same desperate feel to 'em.
Lowain: Desperate? Maybe their bathroom was outta toilet paper.
Tomoi: I told you, it ain't a room number. That does sound like high time for an SOS though.
Elsam: I got it! Sunrise Strike!
Tomoi: What about the O? And like I said, it ain't a fighting move either.
Lowain: SOS, huh... But why'd they write that in here? No one reads the guestbook but the shopkeep anyway.
Elsam: You got a point there.
Hey, what if he's the one they're trying to reach out to?
Tomoi: Well, why'd they take the trouble to write it in here? They could just go talk to him straight up.
Shopkeep: Hmm... What should today's special be...
Lowain: Wait... What if they were trying to pass him a secret message?
Lowain: That's it, dudes! I'm a genius!
Elsam: Oooh! I like where this is going!
Tomoi: Yes! Theory time! Three, two, one, let's go!
Any version of Eustace
is a crew member
Underground stuff, man, I'm telling ya. Just like Eustace was talking about.
Elsam: Oh, man! I can't wait to hear this!
Underground stuff, man, I'm telling ya. Just like that book on the shelf.
Tomoi: Book? Oh, Confessions of an Assassin?
Lowain: Like, you're a spy, but you gotta keep it secret and stuff. That sorta deal.
Lowain: And you gotta leave secret codes by the street to contact your contacts all hush-hush on the down-low.
Lowain: You catch my drift?
Elsam: Aww yeah! I know where this is going! I bet there's dark forces huntin' someone down!
Tomoi: Yep, a beautiful girl! The dark forces are always distressing some damsel.
Lowain: Definitely. And that means this SOS is...
All Three: A call for help from the girl to the shopkeep!
Silence grips the town as night falls. Only the echoes of a young woman's footsteps can be heard.
Her frantic footsteps stop only when she trips trying to turn a corner.
Damsel: No... It's all over... The Dark Forces are going to catch up to me at any moment.
Damsel: But I can't give up! I can't let them capture me!
Damsel: Who's there? Stop right there, or I'll shoot!
Shopkeep: Easy there, ma'am. You won't be needing that with me.
Damsel: I-I'm sorry. But who are you?
Shopkeep: I'm the one you called for. Remember the guestbook?
Damsel: Huh? M-my SOS? I thought that was nothing but a legend.
Shopkeep: It is. Nothing tonight actually happens; it's all a dream. Got it?
Shopkeep: Now, let's get you outta here.
The mysterious man takes the damsel by the hand and escorts her through the dark streets.
Party On, Shopkeep: Scene 2
Lowain suggests that the shopkeeper is a secret hero, rescuing those in distress. Events take an unexpected turn as they flesh their story out.
Lowain purports that the shopkeeper of the cafe is actually an underground agent. But the story doesn't end yet.
Elsam: Whoa! Shopkeep's so mad cool!
Tomoi: Ahahaha! She is so falling for him!
Lowain: I know, right? Our shopkeep's the underworld's number one, bros!
Shopkeep: Oh, we're out of peanuts... Maybe there's some left in the pantry.
Elsam: My vote goes to Lowain's theory. Mystery of the SOS窶敗olved.
Tomoi: For real? I mean, it's a rad theory and all, but it doesn't check out.
Tomoi: How's Shopkeep gonna fight off the bad guys? I've never even seen him get in a fight.
Lowain: He was a mega-top agent in the past. Case closed.
Elsam: Whoa! Talk about an awesome resume!
Tomoi: Where'd you get that info? I call baloney, man. Not that he doesn't look the part, but...
Lowain: I heard some grannies talking about him. Said he's seen tons of battles.
Elsam: Then it has to be true! Grannies don't lie, man!
Tomoi: What? Why? What's up with you and grannies anyway?
Tomoi: Hmm, but even if he was an agent, he just runs a cafe now.
Tomoi: It's been a long time since he was in his prime...
Dark Goon 1: Ack!
Dark Goon 2: Gah!
Shopkeep: Humph. That all you got?
The Dark Forces home in on the damsel, but the shopkeeper fends each assailant off with ease.
Or so it seems.
Shopkeep: Let's get moving. We need to get you off the island and窶
Shopkeep: Hm? Where'd she go?
Dark Ringleader: Mwahahaha! Looking for this, Shopkeep?
Shopkeep: Curse you, Dark Ringleader! I've been out of action for too long窶敗hould've been more careful.
Dark Ringleader: Humph. You've gotten rusty, ol' bud. Anywho, thanks for handin' over the damsel! See ya!
Damsel: No! Shopkeep, heeelp!
While bitter over his oversight, the shopkeeper chases after the dark ringleader and kidnapped damsel.
Party On, Shopkeep: Scene 3
The bros make an appearance in the fantasy, aiding the shopkeeper in battle against the Dark Forces.
A large flaw in Lowain's claim has been made apparent by Tomoi.
Lowain: Dude! The girl's been kidnapped!
Elsam: This is heavy, man! I'm not sure Shopkeep can handle this!
Tomoi: Life can be so harsh sometimes...
Oh, look at the time.
Lowain: No, I ain't standin' for this! Shopkeep can't lose yet!
Tomoi: Oh? Dost thou dare challenge fate?
Elsam: Heck yeah, we will! We're gonna take that dark ringleader down ourselves!
Tomoi: So be it...
Tomoi: Then go forth, my dudes, and make true thy conviction!
The shopkeeper's search for the damsel has brought him to the Dark Headquarters窶罵air of the Dark Forces.
Damsel: Huh? Shopkeep!
Shopkeep: Here's your order, ma'am. One large helping of me with a side of rescue.
Dark Ringleader: Heh! You show up in my house and expect to get out alive? You're crazy.
Shopkeep: Enough talk. Give her back. Unless you want me to serve up a plate of steaming-hot justice instead.
Dark Ringleader: Humph! I'll take my chances!
Upon the ringleader's signal, a horde of his lackeys appear.
Shopkeep: Full house today, huh.
Damsel: Oh no! Run, Shopkeep! Save yourself!
Shopkeep: And turn away all these hungry customers? Don't worry, when the tables get packed, you just need to call in some extra hands.
Shopkeep: Time to get to work, boys!
Tomoi: Welcome to Bro Cafe!
Elsam: Table for fifty?
Lowain: Right this way, sirs!
Dark Ringleader: What?
Shopkeep: Heh heh. Serve 'em up, boys!
All Three: Yessir!
Party On, Shopkeep: Scene 4
After finishing their story, a swordsman said to be the leader of the strongest crew in the skies strolls into the shop. He and the shopkeeper appear to be old acquaintances, and the bros realize their story might not be as far-fetched as they thought.
The bros are content after having rounded out the backstory they've made for the shopkeeper.
Lowain: Hahaha! Never thought too much business would be a bad thing!
Elsam: Haha! I need a raise before I'll take on a crowd like that! Twenty percent at least!
Tomoi: Pfft! Hahaha! What'll you do if he doesn't? Call the underground union?
Lowain: Wait. What if the reason this place is still running is because he's getting money from underground agenting?
Elsam: That has to be it. But I don't see how he's getting paid for saving the girl.
Tomoi: Whatcha gonna do, man? We're just making it up. Guess he must be doing some business on the side.
Shopkeep: Welcome to窶蚤h, Seofon, it's you.
Seofon: Good to see you, Chief. I was in town and thought I'd drop by. Care if I sit by the counter?
Lowain: Huh? Wait, is that who I think it is?
Shopkeep: It's been a while. You want the usual?
Seofon: Please and thank you. By the way, have you gotten any special visitors lately? I told them they could count on you in a pinch.
Shopkeep: Heh, so that's why my guestbook's full of SOS messages. I run a cafe now, Seofon, not a troubleshooting business.
Seofon: Sorry, sorry. I just think it's a waste, y'know? A guy of your talents...
Shopkeep: Oh, stop. That life's behind me now. The reason I became an agent in the first place was to earn enough to start this place.
Seofon: Wow, is that so? Well, eleven Eternals would have been weird anyway. Nobody likes uneven numbers.
Oh, and I'll have a parfait for dessert.
Dudes, dudes, dudes. I think that's Seofon.
Elsam: Huh? Argh, the darn plant's blocking my view. Shopkeep knows Seofon?
Tomoi: They look like they're laughing. How does the leader of the strongest ever crew know the shopkeep?
Dudes, dudes, dudes. Did you hear what they said?
Elsam: Something about... being an agent... eleven Eternals?
Tomoi: Eternals? The Eternals? The strongest crew in, like, ever?
Lowain: Don't tell me... Could that mean our made-up story...
Elsam: Isn't actually all made-up?
Tomoi: Like, it's not even a story... it's real?
All Three: Naaah!
All Three: ...
Lowain and brothers are enthralled by what they hear, and they find themselves eavesdropping well into the night.
Mega Happy Ending
After many years of tales in cafes, (Captain), the crew, and Lowain finally reach the Island of the Astrals. It is here that Lowain proposes to Katalina.
Lowain: After many years of foolish tales in cafes...
Lowain: We finally complete the long journey to Estalucia.
Lowain: (Captain)'s dad is in tears at the family reunion. Vyrn and Lyria are at the captain's side too, of course.
Lowain: And by my side... is the love of my life.
Katalina: So this is the island of the Astrals; we finally made it. I almost can't believe it.
Lowain: Me neither. Congratulations, Kat.
Katalina: Thank you. We couldn't have done it without you, Lowain.
Lowain: Naw, I should totally be thanking you. So, what're you planning to do from here?
Katalina: I wonder. To be honest I haven't quite thought about it yet.
Lowain: That so? Actually, I'm glad to hear that 'cause...
Lowain: Kat, this might be kinda sudden and stuff, but would you be cool with starting a new journey with me?
Katalina: Hm? Already thinking of where to go next? You never cease to amaze me, Lowain.
Katalina: And where do you suppose we'd go?
Lowain: Hmm, good question. How about we head to a little place called... happiness.
Lowain: Kat. There's an airship I've wanted to ride with you since the moment I met you.
Lowain: Will you be the captain of my heart for the rest of our lives?
After all these years, the buds of love have finally bloomed, and Lowain begins a new journey with the woman of his dreams.
And they ride on the winds of love happily ever after.
Mega Happy Ending: Scene 2
Wild banter blooms as Lowain imagines a proposal to Katalina on Estalucia. Upon Elsam and Tomoi's advice, Lowain attempts to revise his story to be more descriptive of the scenery.
Wild banter blooms at the Lowain and bros' old haunt.
Today their fantasies have brought them to the Island of the Astrals.
Lowain: How's that? Bet Kat's heart would totally give out from the mad romanticism.
Elsam: Hey, Tommy, you like my new wallet? Pretty sweet, right?
Tomoi: Yeah, it's totally rad, bro.
Wait, when'd you get that cash?
Elsam: I just pawned off some stuff I didn't need. Like Lowain said: a man needs his rupies.
Tomoi: Stuff? What kinda stuff?
Elsam: Winter wear sorta stuff.
Tomoi: What? Dude, you're gonna freeze to death next winter.
Lowain: Dudes, focus. This is my proposal we're talking about here.
Elsam: Yeah, yeah, we know. We've gone over hundreds of different combos already.
Tomoi: Right now it's on the Island of the Astrals, right? Doesn't the scenery seem kinda plain though?
Lowain: What's wrong with that?
Elsam: C'mon, man. You gotta put that imagination to work!
Tomoi: This is the island of the stars we're talking about. It's gotta look more, like, Astral-ish.
Lowain: More Astral-ish? Hmm, like how?
Elsam: Like, I guess, kinda more... Astra-dacious?
Lowain: That's, like, more vague than Astral-ish. And it's not even a real word.
Tomoi: Look, I can't find the right words, but... You guys'll look back on this for the rest of your lives, man. It needs an epic-romantic backdrop.
Lowain: Hmm. Astra-dacious...
Lowain: Okay, you mean something like this?
The crew finally reaches the Island of the Astrals. Lowain and Katalina share a tender moment together.
Lowain: We finally made it! The legendary island of the Astrals at the end of the sky!
Katalina: Indeed. There no mistaking it; this is the island of the Astrals. We couldn't have done it without you, Lowain.
Lowain: Naw, I should totally be thanking you. So what're you planning to do from here?
Katalina: I wonder. To be honest I haven't quite thought about it yet.
Lowain: That so? Well, might be kinda sudden and stuff, but what would you say to starting a new journey with me?
Katalina: Huh? D-do you mean—
Lowain: I love you, Kat. I swear on that Astral star right there: I'll love you till the end of time.
Though there's no wind, the Astral flag somehow billows on steadily, as if wishing the two well on their new lives together.
And they ride on the winds of love happily ever after.
Mega Happy Ending: Scene 3
As the bros quibble over the scenery of Estalucia, they find a letter written by Katalina telling them that the crew has already left for another island. After thanking the shopkeeper for his kindness, they leave the cafe and rush to reunite with the crew.
Upon Elsam and Tomoi's advice, Lowain attempts to revise his proposal. The island of the Astrals, however, proves difficult for Lowain to picture.
Elsam: Hah! A flag? Are you serious?
Tomoi: Ahahaha! And you vowed on that thing! Your eternal love's all over when that flag falls!
Lowain: I-it ain't my fault, 'kay! How am I supposed to know what that place looks like?
Lowain: No one's even seen the island! You try coming up with something better!
Elsam & Tomoi: Uhhh?
Elsam & Tomoi: Uhhh...
Elsam: I guess it's... big?
Tomoi: Oh. I always thought it was uber tiny. Never had any info to go on, now that you mention it.
Lowain: See? Told you.
Lowain: We'll ask (Captain) when the guys come back. Might know something.
Tomoi: Word. Guess Astral Island's on hold for now then. They're taking a while to get back though.
Lowain: Yeah, looks like. Am I the only one getting worried about them? Like, I had this weird dream—maybe it's a vision.
Tomoi: Oh, me too, man. Kat turned into this robot weapon thing and—Sammy, what're you doing?
Elsam ducks under the table and picks up a scrap of paper from the floor.
Elsam: There's something written on this. It's addressed to... us?
Lowain: Hm? When did that get there? Ohh, maybe it was that time when we dozed off.
Tomoi: All that snoring must have blown it off the table. What's it say?
Lowain: Dude, what if it's a love letter? Lemme see. Hmm...
Lowain: "My apologies."
Lowain: "Urgent business has arisen and we must leave the island without you. Look for us when you wake up."
Lowain: Signed: "Katalina Aryze."
Elsam: Huh? Urgent business?
Tomoi: Kat and the guys were back here?
Lowain: But they didn't wake us up?
All Three: They left without us?
Lowain: Wait! Where are they heading?
Elsam: Well, don't ask me! Oh, here it is at the bottom of the letter!
Tomoi: Grab your stuff, guys! We gotta get to port, pronto!
Lowain: All right! Only one thing left to do. Yo, Shopkeep!
All Three: Bill, please!
Lowain: Huh? Eighty-two thousand rupies?
Shopkeep: Yup. You said you'll pay the tab when leaving the island. You're leaving, and this is your tab.
Elsam: About that... Lowain wasn't really thinking straight when he said it.
Tomoi: You guys have gotta be kidding me. We barely have enough to pay for the ride outta here.
Tomoi: Sorry, Shopkeep. We're not really carrying that much right now. But Lowain will stay behind till we get back.
Lowain: What? Okay, okay, how about we decide who'll stay with a game of I Spy?
Elsam: Oh, oh! I'll start! I spy with my little eye—
Tomoi: We don't have time! (Captain) and the guys might already be at another island!
You guys are broke again, aren't you?
The shopkeeper lets out a sigh and steps in front of the boys.
Lowain: Huh? W-wait! Shopkeep?
The bros had closed their eyes in fear, but their eyes open to instead find the shopkeeper holding out a bag of rupies.
Shopkeep: Money for a ride. Go on—can't keep her waiting. You love her, don't ya?
Lowain: Thank you! I'll pay you back—promise!
Shopkeep: Yeah, yeah. Not that I have my hopes up.
Tomoi: Thanks! The food was great!
Elsam: Bye! We'll pay off our tab next time for sure!
Lowain: We'll be back to hang some time!
Shopkeep: Heh, those runts. Always stirrin' up a storm.
Shopkeep: Humph. But those boys sure know how to hang.
Lowain, Elsam, and Tomoi scurry out of the shop in a hurry.
The shopkeeper sees them off before returning to his daily routines.
Each day he tends to his cafe in peace, at times recalling the juvenile stories the boys often made... and always looking forward to their return.