One day, after training together on the ship deck, Aliza and Stan tell each other about their adventures abroad. Just as they are about to hold hands, Farrah appears and asks them to help out with buying supplies at their next stop.
The crew and Aliza visit Tahar Island to learn the origins of the phoenix techniques that have been passed down to Aliza from her grandfather.
On the island, they bump into Aliza's childhood friend, Stan, by coincidence, and together they stop the primal beast Tisiphone in its rampage.
Afterward, Aliza and Stan decide to join the crew and journey with them on the Grandcypher as the two continue their training.
It is early afternoon on a sunny day. Aliza and Stan are on the deck, pouring their energy into their training.
Stan: Huff, huff... T-time out...
Aliza: Huff, huff... I think I need a break too.
After taking a sip of water and wiping away their sweat, the two lean against the railing on the deck of the ship and take in the cool breeze.
Aliza: You know, I thought this when we were in Tahar too, but your swordsmanship's improved a lot!
Aliza: Back when I was kidnapped by Nephthys, you'd freak out at the smallest sign of a monster... but it doesn't seem like a big deal for you anymore.
Stan: Yeah. I did travel around by myself for a while, and I really worked hard in my training.
Stan: Now I can take on even a hundred enemies!
Aliza: Staaan? If you show off like that, you're gonna end up like you did back in Tarvi.
Stan: Oh... Yeah, you're right...
Aliza: Do you have any idea how worried I was back then? I'm not having any of that ever again, you hear me!
Stan: Yes, ma'am...
Aliza and Stan started off as childhood friends, which gradually bloomed into something more as they grew up.
Despite their desire to be with each other, they have yet to receive the approval of Aliza's mother, Alicia, chiefly due to the differences in their social standing.
Determined to gain Alicia's approval, Stan once set off by himself to the Tarvi Dunes to find the golden flower, a legendary plant from a fairy tale, in order to prove his worthiness.
Stan managed to find the flower after overcoming many hardships, but fell victim to a terrible disease along the way that almost cost him his life.
Reflecting on his foolish actions, Stan decided to go on a journey so he could train to become a stronger person that's worthy of Aliza.
Stan: A-anyway, it's not just me who's improved. Your moves have gotten even sharper.
Aliza: Yeah! I got a lot done while you were away, you know!
Stan: Like what?
Aliza: Like testing my skills in a martial arts tournament, and learning about what true strength is while taking on all sorts of missions with (Captain)...
Aliza: What about you, Stan? What did you do while you were traveling by yourself?
Stan: I took on some missions as well to raise funds for my journey, dealing with monsters and stuff.
Stan: Oh yeah, I met an incredible swordsman on one of the islands I went to. He could slice a huge rock into two with a single stroke of his sword!
Stan: I trained under him for a while as his apprentice, and he never failed to impress me in anything he did.
Aliza: Whoa, that's amazing! I'd like to try training under someone like that too!
Stan: He's gone home and won't be back for a while though. Apparently his grandchild was born.
Stan: I wanted to train under him for a little longer, to be honest, but it'll be nice if he can spend some time with his family.
Aliza: Yeah. My grandpa spent a lot of time with me when I was growing up too, so that'd be really great.
Aliza and Stan continue telling each other about their adventures abroad.
Aliza: I went through all kinds of things while traveling, but it looks like you did too, huh?
Stan: Yeah. I didn't expect to be able to see you again so fast though, and have the chance to tell you about my adventures like this.
Aliza: You can say that again. Not to mention, on the Grandcypher!
Stan: (Captain) and the crew are the same as always. It's like coming home.
Aliza: Definitely! They're basically my second family.
Their laughter rings out across the deck of the ship as they chatter away.
Aliza: (What is this feeling? I'm having so much fun just talking to him!)
Stan: (I haven't felt this relaxed in a while. Oh man, I hope I'm not making any weird faces...)
Their laughter dies down like a passing breeze, leaving the two perplexed at the abrupt silence that follows.
Aliza: (W-what next? Now it feels awkward with it being so quiet...)
Stan: (Next topic... Next topic... Someone give me a topic to talk about!)
Stan: (Oh yeah!)
Stan: Hey, Aliza, you know how Attiyah and Tabina hugged back there? That sure was something!
Aliza: H-hug? Um... yeah! It really was!
Stan: (Come on, Stan! Why did you pick that to talk about!)
Aliza: (Why's he suddenly talking about a hug! How am I supposed to react?)
Aliza: Well, uh... I-I don't really know, but maybe that sort of thing is normal for couples...
Stan: I-it probably is! Not that I'd actually know...
Aliza: (Ugh, what am I saying? This is such an embarrassing topic... I can't do this!)
Stan: (Argh, I messed up... Now it's all weird...)
Aliza: (So does that mean Stan wants us to h-hug too? Probably, right? I mean, we're together and everything...)
Aliza: (Ahhh, I can't do it! I can't, I can't, I can't! Hugging is like a totally different level!)
Aliza: I caaan't!
Stan: Ergh... What's with the sudden kick...
Aliza: Huh? Oh no, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to kick you...
Aliza: Hey, Stan, I don't think we've reached the hugging stage yet...
Aliza: But did you maybe... wanna hold hands?
Stan: Hm? What did you say?
Aliza: I mean, we're not just childhood friends anymore, so maybe we could do, like, something more... special...
Aliza: Besides, we danced together and stuff back at Tahar! So holding hands shouldn't be such a big deal, right!
Stan: Ohhh! Y-you wanna... hold hands?
Aliza: You don't have to shout it out loud, silly! Are we gonna do it or not!
Stan: O-oh, well then...
Stan swallows and extends his hand. Aliza slowly reaches out to take it.
Farrah: Oh, hey! I found Aliza and Stan!
Aliza & Stan: Whoa!
Startled by Farrah's sudden appearance, Aliza and Stan instantly drop their hands.
Juri: Hm? Stan, Aliza. Is something the matter?
Stan: N-nothing... Hahaha...
Aliza: We were just t-training! That's all!
Juri: Ah, I see! Then, if I may have the honor of joining you!
Farrah used to be an imperial soldier for the Erste Empire. She eventually left the empire in pursuit of Katalina, and has been traveling with the crew ever since.
No version of Juri
Juri used to work for the Erste Empire as an imperial soldier, and had joined the army in the same year as Farrah.
Although he originally joined the army out of admiration for his father, who was also an imperial soldier, witnessing the army's evil deeds propelled him to leave it. He now travels with (Captain) as part of the crew.
Upon joining the crew, Aliza, Stan, Farrah, and Juri got on well immediately, being of similar age.
Aliza: Anyway, what are you guys up to? Did you need something from us?
Juri: Our supply of materials is running low, you see, and we have been charged with the task of replenishing the stock at our next stop. However...
Farrah: There's a lot more we need to get than expected, so we're looking for people who can give us a hand.
Aliza: I'd be glad to help! You're coming too, right, Stan?
Stan: Y-yeah, of course.
Farrah: Great, thank you so much! That's one problem solved!
Aliza & Stan: Yeah!
Aliza & Stan: ...
With their attempt at holding hands ending in failure, Aliza and Stan can't help but become increasingly conscious of each other.
Juri: (I wonder what's wrong. Both Stan and Aliza are behaving strangely... Perhaps something happened?)
Sensing something off about Aliza and Stan, Juri tilts his head in bewilderment.
Meanwhile, oblivious to her friends' internal conflicts, Farrah carries on with checking their shopping list.
As the ship sails on, the faint outline of the crew's next destination slowly comes into sight.
Aliza, Stan, Farrah, and Juri head out into town and decide to split up into pairs to buy the supplies. They draw straws to determine the pairs, and Aliza and Stan find themselves separated for the shopping trip—much to their disappointment.
The ship arrives at the port, and Aliza, Stan, Farrah, and Juri head into town to buy their supplies.
Farrah: I was looking at this map, and it seems the shops we need to visit are super spread out.
Juri looks over Farrah's shoulder at the map.
Farrah: So I was thinking—it'd probably be faster if we split off into two groups to get the supplies. What do you think, Juri?
Juri: So the shops are located in opposite corners of the town, huh... You're right. It might be better if we split up.
Stan: (Whoa, their faces are so close! Don't they feel awkward?)
Aliza: (Wait a minute, are those two going out? They're obviously way ahead of us in their relationship!)
Ever since their conversation on the ship, Stan and Aliza find themselves oddly conscious of each other.
Juri: Stan, Aliza. May I ask for your opinions?
Aliza: Huh? O-oh, yeah, the supplies! So we're splitting up into pairs? Sounds good to me.
Stan: Y-yeah! Sounds good! Guess we gotta figure out who's going with who. How're we doing this?
Farrah: Let me think...
Stan: (Let me go with Aliza... Come on!)
Aliza: (I wanna go with Stan! Please!)
Farrah: Stan and I will go get the food supplies, and Aliza and Juri can get the other items for the ship. How's that?
Aliza: Erm, well...
Aliza: Y-you know, all the food supplies can get pretty heavy, since we have to get so much.
Aliza: You should leave that kind of thing to me. I'll carry the heavy stuff back!
Farrah: Oh, you're right. We do have to buy a lot since we have more people in the crew now.
Aliza: Exactly! So for the food, Stan and I can go—
Juri: If the supplies are going to be heavy, then I should go instead of Aliza.
Stan: B-but the other items might get heavy too, like... rope and stuff. So Juri and I should probably split up!
Aliza: Y-yeah! That's probably best!
Farrah: Hmm... I wonder what the best way to split it would be...
Juri: Since any pairing will have its advantages and disadvantages, why don't we decide by drawing straws?
Juri: We have carts to transport the heavy items, and both Aliza and Farrah train daily.
Juri: I don't think any of us will have trouble carrying anything.
Farrah: That's true. How 'bout we decide with straws then?
Aliza & Stan: Oh...
Aliza: Well... okay! Let's go with that!
Stan: Y-yeah, that seems fair!
And so, the four of them draw straws to decide the pairs for buying supplies.
Farrah: It's settled! I'll go with Aliza to buy our food supplies, and Stan and Juri will get the other supplies for the ship.
Stan: (Why did it end up like this...)
Aliza: So... now that we've decided on the pairs, let's get going!
Juri: Let's meet back here after we finish getting the supplies. Well then, shall we?
Juri: (Something really is off about Stan and Aliza. I wonder what happened...)
The four of them split up into pairs and set off in opposite directions to collect their supplies.
Changing Perspectives: Scene 2
Aliza and Farrah head off to buy the food supplies. Farrah tells Aliza about how much she respects Stan's cooking skills, which leaves Aliza impressed and swelling with pride. While they are conversing, a man beside them steals food from the store.
Aliza and Farrah arrive at a shop teeming with customers buying their groceries.
Aliza: Hey, you've been staring at those vegetables for a while. What exactly are you doing?
Farrah: I'm comparing the two to see which is better.
Aliza: But they're the same vegetable... Is there a difference?
Farrah: In fact, there is! When I was little, my mom would teach me how to look at them every time.
Farrah: How fresh it is, how heavy, how it smells, the color... By carefully selecting your ingredients, you can maintain the health of your family—not to mention, the dishes you cook will taste better!
Aliza: I see... I feel like Stan's told me something similar before.
Farrah: Really? Then it must be true, since Stan's so good at cooking! I'm glad I followed what my mom taught me.
Aliza: Hmm, I knew Stan liked cooking, but I didn't know his cooking was so good that even you'd say so, Farrah.
Farrah: He's a master at cooking meat! He can gauge how the meat will cook from its thickness and quality, and doesn't waste a drop of the juice that comes out of it!
Aliza: Whoa, he's that good at it? I had no idea...
Farrah: I heard that when Stan worked as an attendant, he practiced again and again in order to make the most scrumptious meals for his employers.
Farrah: He must have cared a lot about them to have spent so much effort.
Aliza: I see... Oh, Stan...
Aliza: Hehe, I'm surprised to hear that! That's pretty impressive if even you know about it, Farrah!
Farrah: As someone who's also trained for the sake of somebody else—Katalina, in my case—I really respect him!
Aliza: (I didn't know Stan had that kind of side to him too. It does sound like something he would do though.)
Swelling with pride, she smiles as her mind wanders back to a memory of Stan cooking for them.
Suspicious Man: (Okay, now's my chance...)
Beside Aliza and Farrah, a man glances cautiously at his surroundings before slowly slipping food into his pockets.
Changing Perspectives: Scene 3
As they shop for the ship's supplies, Juri asks Stan if anything happened with Aliza. Stan confesses that he and Aliza are going out, and tells Juri that he feels unworthy of her. Juri encourages Stan by reminding him of his steady self-improvement. Just as they are about to head back, they see Aliza and Farrah chasing after a thief.
Meanwhile, Stan and Juri are making their way through town to buy the necessary supplies for the ship.
Stan: Will this do for rope? I think we also need to get some blocks for the tackle...
Stan: Juri? What're you zoning out like that for?
Juri: Oh, my apologies. I was lost in thought about a particular matter...
Stan: And what's that?
Juri: It's nothing. After all, it may simply be a misunderstanding...
Stan: Now you've got me interested. Come on, you can tell me!
Juri: Then I shall ask directly.
Juri: Did something happen between you and Aliza?
Stan: Huh! W-what makes you think that?
Juri: The two of you behaved strangely back when we were asking for your help on the ship deck.
Stan: O-oh... Um, well...
Juri: Is there something troubling you?
Stan: N-no! I mean... I guess it is troubling me, but...
Juri: Is someone after you? In that case, please be assured that I will lend you my full support!
Stan: Wait, Juri! It's a personal thing!
Juri: Are you saying that I should leave a friend in danger, Stan!
Juri: I will not meddle in your affairs. But I assure you, I will be your sword and fight to the end—no questions asked, no matter who my opponent may be. So please—
Stan: Um... I think you're imagining something completely different...
Stan: It's got nothing to do with swords or fighting...
Stan: It's about... Aliza.
Stan: We're going out. Aliza and I.
Juri: Hm? Going... out?
Juri moans and sinks down to a crouch, covering his face with his hands.
Stan: Whoa, hey! You okay, Juri?
Juri: (Now I get it... What was I thinking!)
Juri: (Be his sword? Why did I say that! I look like such a fool for putting on airs and reading the situation wrong!)
Stan: Hey, Juri... Sorry. I got you worried by acting weirdly, didn't I?
Juri: My deepest apologies. I didn't mean to pry into your secret...
Stan: Well, it's not exactly a secret. We just haven't openly told anyone about it yet.
Stan: So don't worry about it... I take things the wrong way every day, so you're not alone.
Juri eventually regains his composure, and the two continue their hunt for supplies.
Juri: Now I understand... That's why the two of you were so restless when we were deciding on the pairs for supplies...
Juri: And that's why Aliza always seems to be staring in your direction...
Stan: It's kinda embarrassing when you put it that way.
Juri: M-my apologies! It's just that...
Juri: I'm not quite sure what... going out... involves exactly...
Stan: Huh? Juri, you mean...
Juri: Haha... I have yet to experience such a stage in my life, you see.
Stan: Huh. And the whole time, I thought you were going out with... Never mind.
Stan: (I see... So that means...)
Farrah: So I was thinking—it'd probably be faster if we split off into two groups to get the supplies. What do you think, Juri?
Stan: (They could only be that close 'cause they weren't conscious of each other at all...)
Juri: When you... go out with someone, I assume that involves... holding hands?
Stan: A-actually, we haven't gotten around to that since... I'm not really worthy of her yet...
Stan: I made a promise. I promised Aliza that I'd become someone dependable, someone strong enough to protect her.
Stan: But I'm still nowhere near that. I'm not giving up, but at the same time, her being together with someone like me just seems ridiculous...
Seeing Stan's dejected expression and drooped ears, Juri is touched by Stan's honest feelings.
Juri: I... I don't think you're unworthy at all, Stan!
Stan: Huh! What's this all of a sudden?
Juri: It's true that Aliza is incredibly strong, both in mind and body! She never misses a day of training and constantly seeks to improve herself.
Juri: She continues to acquire new skills without losing what she learned growing up! I imagine it will take quite some time to catch up to her!
Juri: But if it's you, Stan, then surely!
Stan: Whoa there, Juri! Let's take it easy, 'kay? People are looking...
Juri: Oh... I'm sorry.
Stan: What's gotten into you? Why're you so worked up about this?
Juri: Well... I really admire Aliza and her strength, you see. I'm certain the others would say the same.
Stan: Yeah. It's true that the reason I'm honing my skills is so that I can be someone suitable for Aliza.
Stan: My refusal to give up and my pursuit of strength are probably from Aliza's influence on me too.
Juri: That's why I see you as an embodiment of the perfect swordsmanship that my father once told me about.
Stan: Huh? Not Aliza, but me? Swordsmanship?
Juri: Yes. My father always told me to strengthen my resolve, to grow stronger steadily, day by day, and to never forget whose sake I wield my blade for.
Juri: Stan, seeing you hold on to your faith and continuing to train for Aliza's sake made me remember my father's words. That's why I got so heated...
Juri: My father was the same. My mother was captivated by this and decided to marry him for that reason. So you know, Stan...
Stan: W-wait a second! M-ma... ma...
Stan: Th-that's way too soon! Come on!
Juri: Huh... Ohh! No, I meant... I'm sorry! That was just in my case—or rather, my father's case!
Stan: Y-yeah, I know! You were talking about... swordsmanship, right!
Juri: Y-yes! Swordsmanship!
Juri: (You make a vow, exchange rings...)
Stan: (And seal it with a...)
A vision of a wedding ceremony surfaces in Stan's mind. He gives a strangled cry and sinks to his knees, embarrassed by his wild imagination.
Stan: Oh man... This is bad for my heart...
Juri: My apologies, Stan...
Stan: No. Thanks to you, I feel I have a bit more confidence now.
So, swordsmanship. Let's go back to that.
Juri: Haha... Yeah.
Stan: So going strong and steady will bring me closer to Aliza, right? Do you think I can do it, Juri?
Juri: Yes. I would never lie about something like that.
Juri: That's what I believe. And I am certain that Aliza has noticed your efforts as well.
Juri: That's why she is there beside you—because she believes in you. I don't think you are unworthy in the least, Stan.
Stan: Thanks, Juri. I'll do my best.
Juri: Of course, everything that I know is from my parents and what they experienced, so I'm not sure if anything I've told you will be of help...
Stan: Now see here... Ah well, never mind. I appreciate it, Juri. I'm glad I talked to you about it.
Juri: Anytime. I'm honored to be of assistance!
Stan: Okay, that seems to be everything on the list. Let's head back to—
Aliza: Stop right theeere!
Suspicious Man: Huff, huff...
Stan: What in the skies?
Aliza: Stan! Juri! Don't let that guy get away! He's a thief!
Stan: A thief?
Farrah: He stole some food! Juri, stop that man!
Juri: Got it! Let's pincer him, Farrah! He won't get away!
Thief: Damn it, there's more of 'em!
Thief: If you don't wanna get hurt, then move it!
The thief whips out a knife and swings it around menacingly.
Stan: I've had my fair share of monsters by now. This guy here won't stand a chance!
Aliza: Come on, Stan! Let's do this!
Aliza & Stan: Hraaah!
Changing Perspectives: Scene 4
After catching the thief, the four of them make their way back to the ship. As Aliza and Stan walk side by side, their hands brush. Stan bravely takes Aliza's hand, and the flustered couple continue walking to the quick beat of their hearts.
Aliza: It's about time you gave up!
Stan: Give back what you stole!
Farrah: I just notified the town guards! They should be here soon!
Juri: That'd better be all of it! You won't get off easy if we find out you're lying!
Thief: Eeek! This really is all of it...
Juri: Very well... We should be able to return everything that was stolen to the store without any issues.
Aliza: Yeah! Thanks, you two!
Soon after, the town guards arrive at the scene to take the thief away.
It appears the man had been stealing food from the local shops on multiple occasions. The guards thank Aliza and the others for their help in catching the culprit.
Having finished buying all their supplies, the four of them make their way back to the ship.
Aliza and Stan walk side by side, still thinking about their battle together.
Aliza: That reminds me, Farrah was talking about you earlier.
Stan: Farrah? What about me?
Aliza: She was complimenting the skill and attention to detail in your cooking. Stuff like that.
Aliza: You impressed her! Isn't that great?
Stan: Huh... I see. Heheh.
Stan: You know, Juri was complimenting you too.
Aliza: He was? Why?
Stan: He was saying how even though you were taught how to fight from childhood, you still make room for new techniques and work to become stronger.
Stan: I never thought about it that way, but he's right. It's impressive.
Aliza: I see... Hehe.
Aliza and Stan think on each other's words. They look down at their feet as they walk just slightly apart, their cheeks tinged.
Aliza & Stan: Oh...
As they walk alongside each other, their hands brush unexpectedly.
Accident or not, their hearts skip a beat.
Aliza: (What should I do... Now I'm thinking back to when we tried to hold hands on the deck...)
Stan: (We're in the middle of town, and Farrah and Juri are walking right in front of us... I guess now wouldn't be the time...)
Aliza & Stan: ...
Both of their minds wander back to their earlier attempt at holding hands. Their hearts flutter, beating faster and faster.
Stan: (Come on, Stan! Now's when you gotta muster up your courage and take the lead!)
Stan makes up his mind and gently slips his hand into Aliza's.
Stan: O-only until we get back to the ship!
Aliza: O-okay, only till we get back!
With their hands finally in one another's, the two find themselves reluctant at the thought of having to let go again so soon. Their grips tighten.
Embarrassed, they unconsciously face away from each other. But their steps remain in sync, the distance between them gradually closing despite their clumsiness.
Aliza: (Come to think of it, I was the one who suggested it first...)
Aliza: (Sorry, Mama. Looks like I have a secret that I can't tell you just yet...)
Stan: (Ahh... I should have taken off my gloves first before holding her hand...)
Stan: (It's not very romantic... but even if I'd wanted to take them off, my other hand was occupied by the supplies we got anyway...)
Juri: By the way, Stan—
Farrah: Is something wrong? What's Stan—
Juri: Nothing! Farrah, watch out for the pavement over there. Some of it's broken—see?
Farrah: Oh, you're right. Let's go around it so the cart doesn't get stuck in the cracks.
Juri: (Phew, that was close...)
Juri: (That's pretty bold of them, holding hands in the middle of town like this...)
Juri keeps his eyes in front as he continues pushing the cart, careful not to disturb Aliza and Stan's precious time together.
A little ways behind, the innocent couple continue walking hand in hand,
their footsteps barely keeping up with the quick beat of their hearts.