A Fragrant Suggestion
Heles introduces Scathacha to Elisheba, proposing Elisheba become Scathacha's personal attendant. Some time later, intrigued by the flurry of Valentine's Day preparations in town, Scathacha enlists (Captain) and the crew to help her investigate, starting with chocolate-monster hunting on Chocolae Island.
Scathacha created an Erune vessel to house her consciousness, allowing her to travel with (Captain) and the crew.
After quite some time away, Scathacha returns to Alster Island. Heles comes to speak with her.
True Dragon Deirdre is the one responsible for maintaining peace with the monsters on Alster Island.
The dragon transfers her consciousness into an Erune vessel and travels all over the island incognito under the name Scathacha.
Eventually, she settles at the Great Court of Alster Island. One day, the former princess Heles comes to speak with her.
Scathacha: My own personal attendant, you say?
Heles: Yes. As well as looking after your day-to-day needs, she could keep track of correspondence from parliament while you are away.
Heles: I also thought it might be wise to have someone watch over your true dragon form while your consciousness is traveling in your temporary vessel.
Scathacha: Heh heh. That brother of yours would probably just say I need minding.
Heles: That boy is far too informal when he addresses you...
Scathacha: Don't worry about it. I've come to realize that it's a sign of intimacy—he knows he can get away with it because we're close.
Heles: I truly wish he would grow up a little. The trouble he puts me through...
Scathacha: You don't look all that troubled... But anyway, let's return to the matter of this attendant.
Scathacha: While I was away, I felt bad about making the parliament members come see me.
Scathacha: I don't need the other services, but having my own representative in parliament would be a great help.
Heles: Thank you for accepting my proposal.
Scathacha: But working at my side sounds like a tall order for a mortal.
Scathacha: It would be one thing in my mortal vessel, but I'd worry for them when I was in my true dragon form.
Heles: No need to worry on that score. I've already selected the perfect person.
Scathacha: Two steps ahead as always. And what manner of person have you selected?
Heles: Someone who has served as royal chamberlain ever since raising my brother and I. Shall I introduce you?
Scathacha: Yes, by all means. I'd like to meet this person.
Heles: Well then, Elisheba, please come in.
The door opens and a woman steps inside.
Elisheba: It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Sir Uisneach's wife, Elisheba.
Elisheba: It will be my honor to serve you from this moment onward, Deirdre.
Scathacha: So you're the one Heles selected...
Scathacha: (She bears a resemblance to Naoise. And there's definitely some magic potential there...)
Scathacha: (No, wait. Heles said she was her adoptive mother. In which case...)
Elisheba smiles at Scathacha's perplexed expression.
Scathacha: You said you were Uisneach's wife.
Heles: As you've surmised, she is indeed Naoise's mother.
Scathacha: I thought so. Why didn't you say so in the first place?
Elisheba: Forgive me if I've offended you. I didn't intend to conceal that fact.
Elisheba: However, I've decided not to acknowledge him as my son again until he has truly atoned for his transgressions.
Elisheba: If I were to call myself his mother or see him in person, my maternal affection would surely come to the fore, and I feel that would be unforgivable.
Scathacha: His transgressions. You mean injuring me?
Elisheba: Yes, and causing the fall of the kingdom.
Elisheba: A knight is bound to serve the royal family and protect the people... I can't forgive his actions.
Scathacha: I see... So that is your stance as nurse to the royal heirs, as royal chamberlain, and as the wife of a knight.
Elisheba: Just as you say.
Scathacha: (Hm... The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as they say.)
Scathacha: I respect your position. You will serve me on your own merits, Elisheba, not based on your spousal or maternal relationships.
Elisheba: Thank you for your consideration, Deirdre. I shall do so with all my heart and soul!
Scathacha: Good. For your first duty, I'd like you to fetch me some tea.
Elisheba: At once, Deirdre.
Scathacha: You've chosen well, Heles.
Heles: Haha... She was a loyal retainer to my mother, Queen Mugain, as well. I was sure you would take a liking to her.
Heles: Please don't hesitate to ask me if there is anything else I can do to be of service.
Scathacha: Thank you. I will.
And so Elisheba came to be Scathacha's personal attendant. Days and weeks passed, as they are wont to do.
Scathacha: I'm back. How has the island been in my absence?
Elisheba: Welcome home, Deirdre.
Elisheba: There have been several reports from parliament. Here...
Scathacha: Hm? Is this all you want me to read?
Elisheba: Yes. I've taken the liberty of compiling and summarizing everything that needs a decision from you.
Scathacha: Oho? You've judged for yourself which matters require my personal attention, have you?
Elisheba: I couldn't be sure my decisions were unbiased, so I asked for confirmation from the parliament members.
Elisheba: In the end, I think this will end up lightening their load as well.
Scathacha: I see. Some extra trouble now to avert future obstacles. Very well. You may continue.
Elisheba: I'm gratified that you approve.
I've put aside all the correspondence that arrived for you here.
Elisheba: There are some heartfelt seasonal greetings as well. Please have a look should you feel so inclined.
Scathacha: You appear to have thought of everything. Yes, I'll take them.
Elisheba: Are you going out, Deirdre?
Scathacha: Yes, I want to check on the city. You need not accompany me.
Elisheba: Ah, by the way, I believe you'll find that accessory stand you frequent is closed at the moment.
Elisheba: If you wish to see the proprietress, you may find her at her son's shop.
Scathacha: Indeed? Very well, then. I shall be off.
Elisheba: Please enjoy yourself!
Scathacha: (Those clouds look ominous... It's about to rain.)
Scathacha: (It's a good thing the old woman isn't working at her stall today, or else...)
Scathacha: (Wait. Running that stall is really more of a hobby for her. She could always have closed up shop early if and when the weather turned.)
Scathacha: (Is that how Elisheba predicted I'd find it closed?)
Scathacha: (What foresight. She really is an unparalleled attendant!)
Elisheba serves Scathacha with the same skill and attention with which she raised the royal siblings.
It doesn't take her long to earn Scathacha's trust.
One day, as Scathacha inspects the town in her Erune form, she notices something out of the ordinary.
Scathacha: (What is that sweet scent? It seems to pervade the entire town...)
Following her nose, the suspicious dragon pinpoints the source, located at the center of town.
Scathacha: (It isn't only that aroma. An unusual number of mortals are gathered here.)
Scathacha: (As well as a number of street stalls I've never seen. It looks as if they're preparing for some sort of festival.)
As she peers around at the townspeople, two young women walk by laden with shopping bags.
Bag-Toting Girl 1: Do you think we have enough ingredients? We got chocolate, walnuts, and...
Bag-Toting Girl 2: Hey, hold everything! You can't use that bag! It's way too plain!
Bag-Toting Girl 2: If you don't pour your heart into every detail, all the way down to the wrapping paper, how are you supposed to get your feelings across?
Bag-Toting Girl 1: Oh... Well, let's stop at the supply shop on our way home then.
Bag-Toting Girl 2: Okay. I'll come with you. We're going to make the best chocolates ever!
Scathacha: (Get their feelings across? Hm... Come to think of it, the stalls have similar slogans written on their banners...)
Scathacha: ("For that special someone."
"Show them you care.")
Most of the shops sporting the curious slogans are selling the same chocolate the young women were carrying.
Scathacha: (Why are so many people selling chocolate?)
Scathacha: (No matter how popular it is, surely they're dooming themselves to fruitless competition by all offering the same product.)
Scathacha: (Perhaps Elisheba can shed some light on this.)
Turning over the strange state of the town in her mind, Scathacha heads back to the Great Court.
Elisheba: Confectionery stalls? Yes, in recent years, they've become rather a sign of the turning seasons. Valentine's Day is coming up.
Scathacha: Valentine's Day? So it's a festival that has the mortals so stirred up?
Elisheba: Not a festival, exactly. More of a seasonal activity.
Elisheba: On Valentine's Day, people give gifts to those important to them—relatives, friends, romantic partners, or others toward whom they feel gratitude.
Scathacha: There's nothing preventing them from showing their appreciation on other days of the year, is there?
Elisheba: Haha... Some mortals need a little extra push when it comes to expressing affection or thanks.
Elisheba: Originally the tradition involved hunting the chocolate monster for ingredients and using those to make confectioneries.
Elisheba: But the hunt was difficult for many, so in recent years, it's become more common to buy commercial ingredients instead.
Scathacha: Not just anyone can hunt monsters and spirits, it's true. So that's why there were so many establishments selling chocolate.
Scathacha: Sweet gifts to express one's feelings. How fascinating.
Scathacha: I would like to participate in this tradition myself.
Elisheba: You would? Shall I procure some chocolate for you?
Scathacha: Haha. Come now. I'm sure you know what I wish of you.
Elisheba: Of course! I'll bring you a Sky Map immediately.
Scathacha: Do so! If I am to participate in this tradition, only the unadulterated form will do.
Scathacha: As long as we're about it, we may as well invite (Captain) along to the chocolate monsters' island.
Elisheba: Understood. If (Captain) and the others are unavailable, I will arrange for another airship.
Scathacha: Thank you. If that's the case, I'll have to hunt some extra monsters for the crew as well.
Scathacha takes a look at a map to plan her route to Chocolae Island, then heads out to rendezvous with the Grandcypher.
The crew is eager to join in, so Scathacha's hunt for ingredients is soon underway.
Living in the Now
Scathacha, Naoise, (Captain), and the crew head to Chocolae Island to gather chocolate ingredients. They share memories and tips about cooking with chocolate as they hunt the chocolate monsters.
(Captain) and the crew have agreed to help Scathacha experience Valentine's Day tradition in its purest form.
Together, they visit Chocolae Island, natural habitat of the chocolate monsters.
Scathacha: So this is the island where one hunts for chocolate ingredients.
Naoise: Thank you for transporting us aboard the Grandcypher, (Captain). Are you sure we aren't diverting you from more important missions?
Vyrn: Don't sweat it! This time of year, Siero always has plenty of requests for chocolate ingredients, so we'd've wound up here anyhow!
Scathacha: Nonetheless, we have put you to some trouble and we appreciate it.
Scathacha: Come then, no time to waste. We have chocolate monsters to find.
Lyria: You don't want to use direct heat to melt the chocolate. You boil water in a pot, and then put a bowl on top with the chocolate inside!
Lyria: Then you need to temper the chocolate to give it a glossy finish...
Scathacha: It's a temperamental substance to work with, I see. I will no doubt need a great deal of advice.
Scathacha: I've never attempted this before, so I appreciate you putting your expertise at my disposal.
Lyria: Ask me whatever you need!
Lyria enthusiastically chats to Scathacha about chocolate making as they walk. Following behind, Naoise and (Captain) smile fondly.
Naoise: All across the skies, people seem to be pouring their hearts into their Valentine's Day preparations.
Naoise: I remember seeing people excited over it back when I lived in Emmain Macha.
Scathacha: Only other people? You must have an amorous tale or two to tell.
Vyrn: Yeah, I bet you and Seruel were super popular!
Naoise: Well... There were people who would come with gifts for Seruel and give me something as well...
Naoise: But I was in no position to be involved in love stories.
Lyria: You weren't?
Naoise: No. Oh, but there was a handmaiden—a subordinate of my mother's—who was kind enough to give me handmade chocolates once.
Naoise: At the time, I felt guilty that she had gone to such trouble, but now that I think of it, making the sweets is probably part of the fun.
Naoise's companions lean in to whisper to one another.
Choose: Just one?
- Just one?
- Naoise just doesn't get it, does he?
Scathacha: I highly doubt there was only one such handmaiden.
Vyrn: Yeah... But he thought they were all just after Seruel...
Lyria: Ahaha... I don't think this is Naoise's area of expertise.
Scathacha: What a dolt. Apparently Heles was the only heritor of Elisheba's perspicacity.Choose: Naoise just doesn't get it, does he?
Vyrn: Y'think he really has no idea? Even he can't be that dense.
Lyria: On the other hand... It does kinda sound like him, doesn't it?
Scathacha: Mm. He does tend to need things spelled out for him. In fact, he might manage to misunderstand this sort of thing even if someone did state it plainly.
Scathacha: Could his boneheadedness be the source of Seruel's sharp tongue?Continue 1
(Captain) and the others continue their conversation as they collect ingredients from the chocolate monsters they've felled.
Scathacha notices that Naoise has ground to a halt as he inspects what they've gathered so far.
Scathacha: What is it, Naoise? Something wrong with the ingredients?
Lyria: Oh no! These are going into food, so we have to be really careful not to use anything dangerous!
Naoise: Oh... No, Lyria. Forgive me. I just realized that I had never eaten chocolate in its raw state, before processing.
Naoise: I was wondering how it tasted.
Vyrn: Huh, that's true. I haven't tried it fresh from the harvest either.
Lyria: I wonder if it's safe to eat raw. What do you think, (Captain)?
(Captain), too, is at a loss. Scathacha sighs.
Scathacha: There's nothing wrong with a healthy sense of curiosity, but nothing good ever came of an upset stomach. I'd advise you not to risk it.
Scathacha: Well. Your stomach could probably handle anything, Naoise. But the rest of you had better not.
Scathacha: Besides, these ingredients are supposed to be for Valentine's Day.
Scathacha: Eating them rather than cooking with them would imply a dearth of feeling, would it not?
Naoise: Very true. It's just as you say, Scathacha. I'm sorry I brought it up.
Scathacha: If you must satisfy your inquisitiveness, why not put aside some raw ingredients for later?
Scathacha: And this is the perfect opportunity, since it appears we have some chocolaty visitors.
Lyria: Meep! We need to be more careful not to let them sneak up on us, (Captain)!
(Captain) nods and prepares for battle with these most delicious of foes.
Living in the Now: Scene 2
Back aboard the Grandcypher, the group begins baking Valentine's treats with Heles and Seruel. At Scathacha's urging, they recreate the chocolate chip cookies Elisheba used to make when Naoise, Seruel, and Heles were children. Scathacha is pleased to observe how the cookies take her friends back to fond memories of their youth.
(Captain) and the others collect all the ingredients they could possibly need and return to the Grandcypher.
Seruel and Heles have made all the necessary preparations for making sweets.
Heles: Welcome back from your chocolate hunting, everyone. We've prepared the galley for you.
Seruel: I hope minding your companions didn't prove too much of a hindrance to your sport. Were you able to bring anything back?
Scathacha: Did you think your kingdom's greatest knight would be such a millstone around my neck?
Naoise: I'm afraid I took up more of (Captain) and the others' time by forcing them to collect extra ingredients to sample raw.
Heles: Oh dear. In that case, we should get straight on with our baking.
Come! This way!
Lyria: Ooh, thank you! Heles, I want to learn all your baking secrets!
Heles: Absolutely. I'm no patissier, but I'll do my best to guide you.
Heles: Seruel, you're in charge of prep.
Seruel: Sigh... You always take the good role for yourself, Heles.
Heles: I didn't raise you to let ladies do heavy lifting while you stand idly by, Seruel.
Seruel: I see how it is... As you wish, Sister Dearest. Allow me the honor of chopping chocolate and butter for you.
Heles: That's more like it.
Naoise: How may I be of service, Heles?
Heles: I'd like you to shell these nuts for us. It should be no trouble at all for a strong knight like you.
While Seruel and Naoise get on with the brute-force tasks, Heles instructs Scathacha, (Captain), Lyria, and Vyrn.
Scathacha: Hngh... This line just won't come out straight.
Lyria: Sigh... Drawing with chocolate is really hard!
Scathacha: If you deliberate too long, it hardens in the pastry bag...
Vyrn: But you're already gettin' better at it, Scathacha! This's a dragon, right?
Scathacha: Yes, it is. Practice does yield results, however gradually.
Heles: That gradual progress is the fun part, Scathacha.
Heles: Lyria, this cat you drew here is very well done!
Lyria: Ehehe... I guess I've made some progress since the last time I tried this.
It's supposed to be (Young Cat)! It's too bad cats can't eat chocolate...
Scathacha: Being able to see a physical manifestation of one's own progress is certainly a point in favor of making things oneself.
Heles: Haha. You collected plenty of ingredients, so we can make as many attempts as we need to.
Heles: Seruel, has the oven heated up yet?
Seruel: I believe so, and the fire is burning steadily.
Heles: Then let's begin baking this batter. You can pour it into these tins.
Scathacha: This is so slow. Why not just scoop the batter into the tins?
Heles: That would allow too much of the air we've beaten into the batter to escape, and hurt the texture of the cake.
Scathacha: I see... You have to follow the steps carefully, don't you?
(Captain) and the others set their batter-filled tins onto the oven shelves and excitedly close the door.
Lyria: Ooh, I can't wait for them to be done! Aren't you excited, (Captain)?
Scathacha: It will be some time before it even begins to give off an aroma, as I understand it. This is no pastime for the impatient.
Naoise watches (Captain) and the others with a soft look in his eyes. He turns to Seruel and Heles, who are at the sink beginning cleanup.
Naoise: I'm having a bout of nostalgia. This reminds me so much of the Valentine's Days of our youth at Emmain Macha.
Seruel: Heh... I remember us setting up camp in front of the oven once, waiting for the cookies to be ready.
Heles: As I recall, you ate so many cookies that Elisheba had to bake another batch.
Seruel: Oh, really?
Heles: She didn't mind. She was always worried over how little appetite you had as a child, so she was just thrilled to hear you asking for more of something.
Naoise: Haha. Another time, we were so eager for those cookies that we tried to help by stoking the oven fire...
Naoise: She was furious. She really let us have an earful about how we could have burned ourselves or someone else.
Seruel: Ah, yes... We were obsessed with imitating what the adults around us did.
Vyrn: Wow, so even you got into a little trouble as a kid!
Lyria: Even so, you were just trying to help. That does sound like you.
Heles: That stubborn streak of his was a real problem. He wouldn't listen to any of the attendants except for Elisheba.
Heles: He would clam up in front of anyone except Naoise, Elisheba, or me. Although he was meek as a lamb around Father...
Seruel: I beg your pardon! The terror of Emmain Macha who couldn't be reined in by the attendants was you, Heles. Or have you conveniently forgotten?
Vyrn: Haha! Just two troublemakin' peas in a pod, aren'tcha?
Scathacha: I suppose with your shared parentage and upbringing, you couldn't help but resemble one another, but it really does show.
Scathacha: Oh yes. What sort of cookies were they that had you salivating like the wolf about to descend on the fold?
Naoise: Chocolate chip cookies—cookies with small pieces of chopped chocolate baked into them. They had such a rich, buttery aroma...
Naoise: It's been years since I had any, but I can still taste them.
Scathacha: They were a significant part of your young life, weren't they?
Naoise: Yes... A precious memory.
Scathacha: Naoise, do you remember how to make those chocolate chip cookies?
Scathacha: Now that I've heard you extoll their virtues, I must taste them.
Naoise: Hm... I remember bits and pieces of the recipe, but not the details...
Heles: Hah. Who do you think taught me how to bake?
Scathacha: Very well then, Heles. You will teach us! Naoise, you will assist me. We are going to make chocolate chip cookies!
Naoise: Understood. I will return to prep work, and you and Heles can do the baking.
Scathacha: Naoise. I told you, you will be assisting me. I'll brook no more backchat from you. Hop to!
Of course, if you say so.
(Captain), Lyria, and Vyrn take a turn doing prep work, and the roll-out chocolate chip cookie dough steadily comes together.
When they have used every last bit of chocolate harvested, the baked goods are laid out on the table for a tea party.
Lyria: Oooh! Those chocolate chip cookies look sooo good!
Vyrn: Those chocolate decorations you and Scathacha made look pretty sharp too!
Vyrn: This one's me, right? And this one is (Captain)...
Heles: I can't believe you made such progress in a single day.
Seruel: The portion you asked me to put aside is on this shelf.
Seruel: Everyone, eat as much as you like of what's on the table.
Vyrn: Hehe. We made a ton, so this is gonna be a feast!
Naoise: One which calls for tea, I believe. How about this kind?
Scathacha: Alster Island tea. I have no objections.
Heles: Ah, given the type, I think we'd best leave the brewing to you, Naoise. Do you mind?
Naoise: Not at all! I'll get that started now.
Lyria: This type? Then you mean different people are better at brewing different kinds of tea?
Seruel: Yes. Heles is quite adept at suiting the right brewing method to the right tea leaves.
Seruel: But Naoise is the best at brewing leaves from the upper reaches of the Alster Island mountains.
Heles: It's strange, but I don't think I'll ever be able to rival his results with that one particular type of tea.
Vyrn: Huh... Isn't that weird, (Captain)? I wonder what the difference is.
The tea Naoise serves is indeed delicious, and pairs perfectly with the sweets, to the delight of all present.
Scathacha: Now. Let's try these chocolate chip cookies before they cool completely.
Choose: They really are delicious.
- They really are delicious.
- Do they taste like you remember?
Scathacha: Now I see why they made such an impression on all of you. These cookies are truly delectable!
Seruel: I can't find a thing missing in this recreation. I'm amazed at both the recipe and your memory, Heles.
Heles: You're usually not so frank in your praise. If only you were always this sweet.
Seruel: I avoid complimenting you because it goes straight to your head like this. I'm surprised you hadn't realized.
Naoise: This truly takes me back.Choose: Do they taste like you remember?
Seruel: Exactly so. They're almost identical to the cookies we used to squabble over.
Heles: This is bringing back so many memories...
Heles: It feels like only yesterday we were all living in Emmain Macha.
Naoise: This truly takes me back.Continue 1
Scathacha: (So this is what it means to put one's feelings into food.)
Scathacha: (I can see why mortals take the time and trouble to do so.)
Scathacha: (Yet another fascinating mortal custom, this Valentine's Day...)
The bittersweet chocolate and buttery pastry crumble in the mouth and delight the palate.
Scathacha's eyes narrow in satisfaction as she watches the group enjoy their tea party.
Living in the Now: Scene 3
Scathacha returns to Alster Island with chocolate chip cookies for Elisheba. Back on the Grandcypher, Naoise sets up a tea party for the two of them "to thank Scathacha for today." Choosing not to dwell on the brevity of her mortal friends' life spans, Scathacha makes plans to have fun with them this summer.
The day after the Grandcypher baking extravaganza, Scathacha travels back to Alster Island.
Scathacha: I have returned, Elisheba.
Elisheba: Welcome back, Deirdre! Did you enjoy Valentine's Day?
Scathacha: I did indeed.
Elisheba: I didn't expect you back so soon. Did you sense something amiss here on Alster Island?
Scathacha: No, nothing like that. No cause for alarm.
Scathacha: I simply wished to deliver these.
Elisheba: Oh! Did you bring back some of what you made?
Scathacha: We all worked on them together.
Elisheba, my faithful servant, I trust you will accept this token of my appreciation?
Elisheba: Your words do me honor, Deirdre. I thank you for your consideration.
Elisheba respectfully takes the package from Scathacha.
Scathacha: Savor them. I've already eaten my fill, so all of that is your share.
Elisheba: Haha, I look forward to sampling your handiwork!
Scathacha: Not all of them came out looking perfect, but I believe you will find them palatable overall.
Scathacha: One of the taste testers was particularly forgiving. I cannot guarantee they will meet your standards.
Elisheba: Thank you again. I will take my time savoring this gift that you all were thoughtful enough to give me.
Elisheba bows cordially and Scathacha nods, pleased.
Naoise: Oh, you've returned, Scathacha. When I didn't find you in your room, I assumed you'd be absent a while longer.
Scathacha: Yes, I arrived just now. Do you have some business with me?
Naoise: Yes. As thanks for today, I would like to offer you a private tea party.
Scathacha: Just for me? That's unusually considerate of you.
Scathacha: I don't remember doing anything in particular for you today though. Perhaps there's been some misunderstanding.
Naoise: Consider it a personal whim then.
Naoise: I'll brew some tea. Please wait for me in your room.
Scathacha: Heh... Full of caprice, aren't you?
Naoise: Here. I saved these chocolate chip cookies for you.
Scathacha: Hm... This is too much for one person. Join me, Naoise.
Scathacha: A party of one is a poor sort of party.
Naoise: There's justice in that... I'll join you then.
Naoise gives a slight bow, then takes the seat Scathacha offers. The two begin their private tea party.
Scathacha: It isn't only your palate that's forgiving... Look at this cookie.
Scathacha: Among its circular brethren, it alone dares to be different.
Naoise: Heles said it was a mistake to be slow with the cookie cutter...
Naoise: The dough warms and can stick to the cutter. I was merely trying to be careful, but my caution was ill rewarded.
Scathacha: Haha, you'll have to apply yourself more diligently.
Naoise: I suppose I will. Next year, my results will be more aesthetic.
Scathacha: I look forward to seeing your growth as a baker.
Naoise: You won't be baking next year, Scathacha?
Scathacha: Hm... It was quite a diverting pastime. I suppose I'll participate again.
Naoise: In that case, we'll have to practice together.
Scathacha: Yes, my skills still need some polishing. And an immortal lifespan needs many hobbies to fill it.
Scathacha's tone is light, but the reflection gazing back at her from within her teacup is more somber.
Scathacha: (Next year...)
Scathacha: (I suppose there are still many years ahead when I can look forward to plans like these with Naoise and my other mortal friends...)
Scathacha: (But how long will these companionable diversions be available to me?)
Scathacha: Hmph! A year is too long to wait! There are still many forms of mortal entertainment I have yet to experience.
Scathacha: Before Valentine's Day rolls around again, I expect you to introduce me to an even more enjoyable custom!
Scathacha: Quick about it, Naoise!
Naoise: More enjoyable than Valentine's Day? Hm...
Naoise: Oh, I have it! Why don't you come to Auguste this summer?
Scathacha: Auguste? Ah, yes, the island endowed with a sea by its primal guardian.
Naoise: The very same. There's a trade agreement in the works between Alster Island and the Auguste Chamber of Commerce.
Naoise: Negotiations have been proceeding smoothly, so Seruel and Heles will likely be paying Auguste a visit this summer.
Naoise: I'll be escorting them as security. Why don't you come along so you can enjoy the sun and sand at the beach?
Scathacha: Oho, a fine idea. I'll consult the council regarding the details.
Scathacha: However... I don't like that you phrased it as if I would be enjoying myself alone.
Naoise: Did I say something wrong? My apologies.
Scathacha: What is there to look forward to in a solitary excursion to the beach? It's no better than a tea party for one.
Scathacha: When I go to the beach, you will be at my side!
Naoise: Oh! You're quite right... Vacations are not meant to be taken alone.
Naoise: I'll ask Seruel and Heles to accompany you.
You truly are that dense.
Scathacha: (Well, no matter. If he's there to guard them, we can still force him to participate properly. I'll speak to Heles about it.)
Naoise: This will be your first time swimming in the sea, won't it? You'll need my protection.
Scathacha: Feh. You imagine you can protect a true dragon with that fragile mortal shell of yours?
Naoise: You mustn't take the sea lightly. Swimming in salt water is different from swimming in lakes or rivers. Even you could drown.
Scathacha: All right, all right. See you guard me well then.
Naoise: You may depend on me.
Scathacha lifts her cup to hide her smile.
As she savors the brew, her thoughts fly forward to a summer filled with discovery and camaraderie under the Auguste sun.