Playboy No More
One morning Elsam unveils an unusual hairdo and uses funky lingo. Lowain and Tomoi surmise that because a shopkeep refused to sell them premium cooking ingredients based on their looks alone, Elsam is trying to change up his image.
It all begins when the crew visits a certain remote town.
Elsam: Why, hello there, (Captain). I hope you are having a most splendid day.
Something seems conspicuously off.
Not sure how to respond, (Captain) turns to Lowain and Tomoi for assistance.
Lowain & Tomoi: ...
The two bros, having seemingly given up all hope, remain speechless.
Elsam: Oh my... I imagined you to be in an upbeat mood, but your vibes would indicate otherwise.
Choose: What is the world coming to?
- What is the world coming to?
Lowain: Wish I could tell you, Cap'n, but we're just as clueless.
Lowain: From the moment we saw him this morning, dude was talkin' weird and had this funny hairdo—all stiff and parted on one side.
Tomoi: Word. Sammy's never been the type to use hair gel that stiff...
Tomoi: Wait, haven't we seen peeps suddenly look and act all wack before? Oh snap...
Tomoi: Sammy, don't tell me you've been gettin' yucky with yucky dark essence!
Lowain: Shoot, that darn Pommern must be lookin' for a pummelin'!
Elsam: Hahaha. Surely you jest. I assure you I have not ever frolicked with dark essence. I merely wanted to keep up with appearances.
Elsam: Which will be of paramount importance, given that I've decided to learn firsthand the ways of a CEO.
The bizarre manner of speech being spouted from Elsam's tongue continues to bewilder, with one word in particular garnering unparalleled attention.
Tomoi: Bro, he just said CEO...
Lowain: (Captain), I think we've just found a lead on Sammy's bizarro metamorphosis.
Lowain: So, like, when we went looking for blewfish fillet at the grocer's yesterday...
Elsam: So what's that blewfish thing Lowain's anglin' for?
Tomoi: Dude, it's, like, totally cray-cray macho.
Lowain: It's a fish, bro—a fish! They're poisonous and mad strong, which makes 'em ultra rare. Their taste is totally the stuff of legend.
Lowain: They're so mythical that even Kat wants a bite—which is why I've made it my life's mission to find one. And lo and behold, we've got a shop right in this town that stocks 'em.
Elsam: Dude, if that ain't love, then I dunno what is. You know, I might've read somethin' like this in a picture book once.
The bros are shooting the breeze as usual in their jaunt across town.
Lowain: Yep, that's it right there. Place is fancy as heck, and they've got good eats up the wazoo.
They step inside the grocery store.
The Trio: ...
The gorgeous interior serves as a wake-up call of sorts, reminding the trio to behave.
Lowain: Um, 'scuse me. I heard you guys sell blewfish fillet here?
The cranky shopkeep carefully appraises the bros.
Shopkeep: Who sent you, I do ask? And who is it that will be using the fine ingredients from my shop?
Lowain: Erm, well... We're the cooks of our crew.
Shopkeep: Humph... Sorry, don't think I can sell you folks my goods, I do say.
Tomoi: I-if it's rupies you want, we've got 'em in spades.
Shopkeep: No, that's not the issue. Everything you see here is a name-brand item. I only sell to reputable chefs, I do say.
Elsam: Wait up, man. Lowain definitely knows what he's doin' in the kitchen. More so than your average cook.
Shopkeep: Humph... His meager skills might pass for a municipal dining hall, I do say, but I'm talking imperial palaces and five-star restaurants.
Elsam: Why, you rotten—
Lowain: (Hold it, Sammy! We can't be goin' into Megadude Battle Mode here!)
Elsam: (You just gonna let him diss you like that?)
The trio clench their jaws at the caustic tone of the shopkeep, but this is no time to be making a scene.
As Lowain tries to pacify Elsam, another customer enters.
Vira: What are you boys doing here?
Lowain: We've run into a bit of trouble tryna stock up food for the G. Cyph's kitchen.
Elsam: This nasty dude right here says we're not good enough for his grub!
Vira: Oh? And what might the reason for that be?
Shopkeep: Sigh... To summarize, we take brand image very seriously here, I do say.
Shopkeep: That's why we sell only to the most prominent and skilled chefs. Otherwise we'd damage the reputation of our existing customers.
Vira: I see.
Vira: Then as the former Lord Commander of Albion, I assure you of their culinary prowess. Will that be sufficient?
Shopkeep: My goodness! I had no idea, I do say! Please accept my humblest apologies!
The Trio: ...
Though they've successfully acquired the ingredients they sought, the bros remain somewhat disgruntled with the shopkeep.
Lowain: Seriously, you saved our butts big-time, Vira.
Vira: No need to thank me. I simply did what had to be done in order to procure ingredients for Katalina.
Vira: Besides, I had little choice once it was established that I was acquainted with you three.
Tomoi: Man, I can't stop thinking about that weirdo shopkeep's way of talking. "I do say, I do say," bleh.
Lowain: F'real. I kept callin' the dude a Pommern lackey in my head.
Elsam: So, Vira, why do you think that Pommern copycat wouldn't take our word?
Elsam: I, like, can't wrap my head around it, ya know? I just wanna know what made him change his mind so fast.
Vira: I couldn't say for sure, but his reasoning about selling only to worthy customers seemed honest enough.
Lowain: So the dude was sayin' we royally blow?
Vira: Indeed. By his standards at least. He appeared to be judging his customers mainly based on poise and hairstyle.
Vira: Perhaps he might have treated you differently had you gone in formal wear.
Tomoi: You mean like TPO—time, place, and occasion? Hm, didn't even occur to me. You rock, Vira.
Vira: If you plan on visiting similar shops in the future, do let me know. I'll gladly lend my assistance with anything concerning Katalina.
Leaving those words behind, Vira takes off.
Elsam: Dress code, hairstyle...
C, P, O, was it?
Lowain: Yep, that's how the crazy thing went down and led to this.
Tomoi: My bad, (Captain)... It's all my fault for runnin' lame acronyms like TPO off my mouth...
Apprehension in their hearts, Tomoi and Lowain turn to the transformed Elsam.
Elsam: I, your dearest Elsam, have decided to officially join the PPO movement—to change myself for the better.
Tomoi: We keep tellin' him he's getting it all wrong, but Elsam's not hearin' it...
Lowain: Aw man, what a jam...
Unable to revert their friend back to his normal state, Tomoi and Lowain are listless.
Only time will tell if Elsam will ever be his brosome self again.
From TPO to CEO
That night Lowain and Tomoi urge Elsam to revert back to his brosome ways by presenting him with hair gel he previously bought for a mixer. Neither side is willing to compromise, so Lowain has no choice but to give Elsam's hair hell.
Lowain: Aight, let's get ready to dish out the grub, dudes.
Elsam: But of course.
The Grandcypher galley is as busy as ever.
Lowain's buds carry the dishes to the mess hall.
Tomoi: We're havin' meat-lover's fried noodles sprinkled with the bestest herbs and spices.
Lyria: Yum! Today's food looks really good!
Elsam: May I suggest dipping the noodles into some of this scrumptious sweet and sour sauce? Your taste buds will thank you for a most flavorful meal.
Vyrn: ((Captain), Elsam's not himself. What's up with him?)
(Captain) can do naught but shrug.
The other crew members are starting to see the change in Elsam too. Something must be done soon.
Lowain: Looks like the rest of the fam is startin' to worry.
Tomoi: Sure seems that way...
Tomoi: I can tell Sammy's really pushin' himself too. 'Specially with the way he talks.
Lowain: F'real. If Sammy keeps up this royal metamorphosis...
Lowain: Worst-case scenario, dude's gonna go insane in the membrane.
Tomoi: First order of business is gettin' that hair back on track...
(Captain) offers a helping hand, but Lowain and Tomoi shake their heads.
Lowain: 'Preciate the gesture, (Captain), but we wanna see how much we can do for our bro.
Tomoi: Just give us one chance to show Sammy the light. I'm sure he'll come around if we show him this...
Tomoi places a small bottle on the table.
Lowain: Oh, that? Hm, we might actually pull this off...
Lowain: All righty... We've got our ace in the hole. Let's go to war.
Lowain and Tomoi are primed for battle.
The fated confrontation comes to pass that very night shortly after supper.
Lowain & Tomoi: ...
Lowain: Yo, Sammy. Whaddya think of goin' back to your ol' hairstyle and mannerisms?
Elsam: I must refute the possibility of that ever happening. I will stop at nothing to uphold my royal bearing in perfect correspondence with the BPO.
Tomoi: Dude, you're getting it all wrong! I'm gonna tell it like it is!
Tomoi: TPO means you gotta look at the timing to wrap up a party and own up to anything wack you've done!
Elsam: Speak as you will, but I've come much too far to concede now.
Lowain: Aight, you asked for it...
Lowain whips out the bottle from earlier.
Elsam: My word!
It turns out to be the bottle of hair gel that Elsam once eagerly purchased in preparation for a get-together with the girls in the crew.
Lowain: Sammy... That stiff hairdo ain't you, man!
Lowain: You like your hair all soft and fluffy with a few bangs for good measure! And this fancy-pantsy stuff gets the job done!
Elsam: I've parted ways with that hair gel for good.
Lowain: Change it back already!
Elsam: I will not!
Tomoi: Yes, you will!
Elsam: I refuse!
Their glares grow more menacing with each passing second.
Tomoi: Dude, we ain't gettin' anywhere. Sammy's sold out to his new hair gel.
Lowain: Yeah, I see that. We're gonna have to beat some sense into him.
Lowain: We'll just have to ruffle up a few hairs and show him what's up.
Lowain: We'll make this snappy, bro!
Lowain & Tomoi: Dye!
From TPO to CEO: Scene 2
Elsam gives after a brief tussle. He recalls a childhood memory which proved Lowain's culinary skills to him—to see Chef Lowain disrespected by some merchant based on his looks alone was heartbreaking, and Elsam was only trying to ameliorate the pain he felt. They chat it up late into the night, until an incensed Vira unleashes her wrath on them.
Knowing each other's tricks inside out from all their time together, the bros end up dragging the brawl on for much too long.
Lowain and Tomoi finally find an opening in Elsam's defense.
Lowain: Now, Tommy!
Tomoi responds to Lowain's gesture and circles behind Elsam.
Tomoi: Armlock engaged! Your turn, Lowain!
Elsam: Wh-what's your next move, Lowain?
Lowain does not utter a word, simply extending a hand to Elsam's hair.
Elsam: No, you will not—
Elsam: Dude! You have any idea how much time I spent every morning getting this done?
Lowain: Forgive me, bro.
Elsam's stiff hairdo wouldn't budge for the longest time, but it has now regained freedom at last.
Lowain and Tomoi approach the collapsed Elsam.
Lowain: Sammy... You awake?
Elsam: Lowain, I...
Tomoi: Tell me, Sammy, what got into ya? We don't have a clue as to how this could've happened.
Elsam speaks in pained grunts.
Elsam: I guess I never got over how that shopkeep dissed your cooking, Lowain...
Elsam: (Reminds me of back when we were still little sprouts. I remember it like it was yesterday...)
Boyfriend: Was totally my bad for bailing on our date last week, but can't we let bygones be bygones?
Girlfriend: Humph... A free meal's not gonna make up for the humiliation you put me through!
Young Lowain: Erm... 'Scuse me there, lovey-doveys. Mind if I chime in?
Elsam: (Lowain went right up to this couple having a lover's spat...)
Young Lowain: Have some of this soup. I made it on the fly.
Boyfriend: Hm? But we didn't order anything...
Young Lowain: It's an appetizer. Grandma ordered me to make some and serve it to you.
Boyfriend: Well, I don't see why not...
Elsam: (I'll never forget that chick's face when Lowain put the soup down in front of her...)
Girlfriend: It smells really good...
Young Lowain: Best eat up before it gets cold.
Elsam: All it took was one sniff for the two to stop fighting.
Elsam: They had the rest of their meal in peace... I've had mad respect for Lowain ever since then.
Tomoi: I remember that. Lowain's granny sending him into the ring was a shock, but the power of Lowain's soup was a double shock.
Elsam: I bet if some of that went around during the War, everyone woulda stopped fighting early on.
Elsam: That's why I couldn't stand that stuck-up Pommern knockoff. If only he knew...
Elsam: Sniff... I'm gettin' salty just thinking about it.
Tomoi: Yeah, I kinda got those vibes too...
Elsam: That's why I set out to reach royal heights—to take charge of the situation instead of leaving it all to Vira!
Lowain: Sammy... Tommy...
Lowain: Dude! There's no need to shoulder the burden alone! You gotta consider our feelings too!
Elsam: I... I don't care! Ngh! I'd do anything... to stand up for... Lowain's grub!
Lowain: You're not listenin', fam! D'you have any idea how hard it's been on us seeing you go off the deep end lately?
Their respect and consideration for each other is mutual—if somewhat steered the wrong way.
But it is from the heart, and that's what matters most.
Tomoi: So, like, I guess you could say our hearts are one?
Lowain & Elsam: Word up.
Tomoi: Anyways, we'd better keep it down. We make too much noise this time of day, and someone's gonna come out to hand us our booties—
The Trio: ...!
Vira: What's with all this racket so late at night?
Lowain: Erm... Sorry. We're just about done...
Vira: My dearest Katalina is going to have her beauty sleep soon. You would dare to disturb that?
Lowain: Well, we were just about to head back, so...
Vira: Silence! Your insolence will not be tolerated!
Tomoi: Whoa! Lowain, Vira's gone full-on Luminiera on us!
Lowain: Oh snap! She's not lookin' very friendly, is she!
Lowain: We didn't come out here to bond only to get creamed right after!
Tomoi: Our hearts are one now, Lowain... We can totally take her on!
Lowain: Okay! There's only one way to stomp a Luminiera-fied Vira!
Lowain: It's time for our ultimate form, brofams!
The Trio: Human Pyramid Attack!
From TPO to CEO: Scene 3
After a clash with Vira, the bros realize that she has gradually been warming up to them. They spend the night trying out Elsam's new hair gel and continue partying through the morning with funky hairdos.
The Trio: Pant... Wheeze...
Vira: Huff... Anyhow! Just stay quiet for the rest of the night, won't you?
The Trio: Our bad...
After verifying that the Lowain bros have gone silent, Vira snorts in disgust and walks off.
Tomoi: Dude, I thought we were goners.
Elsam: It's all my fault. The whole mess started with me...
Tomoi: F'real though, how long has it been since Vira last gave us a spankin'? She came so suddenly I almost wet myself.
Lowain: This wouldn't have happened if only I noticed your feelings sooner, Sammy...
Tomoi: Same goes for me, bro...
Tomoi: Seriously, how long has it been since Vira last whooped our butts though?
Elsam: Nah, you gotta remember she wouldn't even talk to us back in the day.
Lowain: Yeah, most she'd do is give us a cold stare from a distance as we sipped on our soups.
Lowain: We've been on the G. Cyph for a while now, and Vira's definitely warmed up to us over time.
The Trio: ...
Tomoi: I'd say we're definitely on the right track.
Elsam: Is it cool if I change my hairstyle back?
Tomoi: You can play poser all you want, but it's never gonna make you the royal peep you wanna be—regardless of TPO.
Lowain: Just like how Vira's gradually gotten used to us...
Lowain: It oughta be cool if we take it nice and slow, shootin' the breeze and playin' out our fantasies at the ol' joint all the while.
Tomoi: You said it, bro. Instant metamorphosis'll always be a no-go for me.
Lowain: Like, playboys gonna playboy, ya know?
Elsam & Tomoi: Word up.
Elsam: Shoot, that's deep...
Lowain: You ever consider that maybe Vira came out to teach us a lesson we'll never forget?
The bros silently enjoy the night breeze for some time.
Lowain: Sammy, how's that hair gel feel on ya anyway?
Elsam: Totes works like a charm for putting my hair in place. Don't even have to touch my hair for the rest of the day.
Tomoi: Yeah? Show me.
Elsam: You oughta know that ain't gonna be a cakewalk. Hope you're ready for an all-nighter—'cuz that's what it'll take...
Back to their good old selves, the trio continues chewing the fat with hair gel as the main topic of conversation.
The next morning...
Vira: Hrrgh... It sure took me a long time to fall asleep after that...
Vira is stretching out her arms while bathing in the sun's rays.
Suspicious silhouettes appear before her.
Lowain: Damn, bro. This might be more trouble than it's worth.
Tomoi: Nah, check this out. I think we got it to stay in place. All-nighter was worth it.
Elsam: Any time you wanna make a tweak, just add a bit of heat with a curling iron and...
Lowain: Vira! What's shakin', bacon?
Elsam & Tomoi: What's shakin', bacon?
Lowain: We tried imitatin' Sammy's new style for ourselves. Whaddya think?
You're asking me?
Looks fine to me...
Lowain: Whoa-ho-ho! Vira just tooted our horn!
The Trio: Wahey!
Though Vira was just being diplomatic, the bros are ecstatic.
She leaves them with somewhat of a mocking smile as she departs for breakfast.
It may have been a rocky start, but the Lowain trio finally calm down and are ready to accept a gradual change in themselves.
As long as they persist, perhaps they will one day reach royal heights rivaling that of even Vira.