No matter how hard she tries, Narmaya just can't make a chocolate cake she's happy with. After visiting a famous confectionery, however, she decides to go to Chocolae Island to ask a chocolatier for some pointers.
It's the day before Valentine's, and Narmaya is hard at work in the galley of the Grandcypher.
With Teena and Lucius's kind donation of baking ingredients, everyone's favorite big sister has made it her quest to create the perfect chocolate cake.
Narmaya: There we go.
Narmaya: Now to turn off the heat and add a generous helping of chocolate cream to finish it off.
Soon, however, it becomes apparent that the perfection she seeks is not so easily found.
The kitchen is laden with proof of her failed attempts. Stacks of chocolate cakes litter the kitchen floor—several even reach to the ceiling.
Narmaya: No, no, no... None of these are right... And I need this to be perfect for (Captain)...
Over and over she tries. Yet a cake worthy in her eyes still eludes her.
Narmaya: Something's missing... But what?
After some thought she finally stands to her feet.
Narmaya: A stroll around town should do me some good! Who knows—maybe I might run into some inspiration!
The shops in town are in full swing for the Valentine's season, and customers come flocking to the market as a result.
Narmaya is astounded by all the excitement. She takes a moment to steel herself, then plunges into the crowd.
Narmaya: Wow! Look at all these people!
Narmaya: Hehe. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves—it's starting to rub off on me!
Narmaya's nose catches a hint of chocolate in the air. She follows it to a particularly busy shop and heads inside.
Narmaya: They're... beautiful. This isn't chocolate—it's art.
Only later would she discover that she has in fact stumbled upon one of the most famous chocolate boutiques on the island: the Chocolate Ship.
Narmaya: Ooh, this one looks so good... And this one too...
Narmaya: They all look simply wonderful.
Shop Attendant: Welcome to the Chocolate Ship! Would you like to try a sample?
Narmaya: C-can I really?
Narmaya: Well, I can't say no to that!
Narmaya: Mm? Mmmm!
After a moment of silence, her face lights up.
Narmaya: I... I can't believe this! It doesn't just look perfect—it tastes perfect too!
Narmaya: The hint of citrus! The smooth chocolate coating! How it melts in your mouth!
Narmaya: Mm, and this milk chocolate mousse is just heavenly!
Narmaya: What richness, and with this aroma of toasted caramel... It feels like... It feels like...
Narmaya: Like I'm lying on a soft bed of caramel, wrapped in a warm milky blanket as I drift off into a sweet, sweet dream.
Narmaya: Ah... Aaah!
Narmaya: No! I... I...
For a moment Narmaya is lost in utter bliss. But soon reality creeps back in.
Narmaya: (I'll never be able to make something this good for (Captain)...)
Narmaya: (Sigh... What am I going to do...)
Shop Attendant: Um, ma'am? Is everything all right?
Narmaya: Huh? Oh! Yes! J-just fine! Everything's fine!
The flustered Narmaya steps out of the shop to gather her thoughts.
Her troubled expression stands out among the carefree crowd of customers.
Vyrn: Hm? That Narmaya over there?
Lyria: Oh, what might you be doing here, Narmaya?
Narmaya reveals her dilemma to Vyrn and Lyria, who both happen to be in town in search of supplies.
Lyria: Hmm... I see.
Vyrn: Don't worry about it! Whatever you make, (Captain)'s sure to like it!!
Lyria: It's the thought that counts, after all!
Narmaya: Thanks, you two...
Narmaya: Well... You're right... (Captain)'s so kind—my captain would be happy no matter how the chocolate tastes.
Narmaya: But I want to give (Captain) the very best—something I'm proud of—not just settle for good enough...
Narmaya sighs and slumps her shoulders. Only then do Vyrn and Lyria realize how deeply the matter is affecting her.
Vyrn: Whoa. S-sorry... Didn't know you felt so strongly about it.
Lyria: We didn't mean to make light of your problem...
Narmaya: No, no! Don't worry about me!
Narmaya: I'm the one at fault... I'm just... always so insecure... Always...
An awkward silence descends. Lyria hurries to lighten the mood before a pity party begins.
Lyria: W-well! The chocolates in that shop must be really good to get such high praise from you!
Vyrn: Y-yeah! I wonder what their secret is?
Narmaya's eyes open wide as if struck by lightning.
Narmaya: That's it! Why didn't I think of it sooner!
Narmaya: You're a genius, Vyrn!
Vyrn suddenly finds himself being crushed in Narmaya's embrace.
Vyrn: C-can't... breathe!
Narmaya: Oh! I'm sorry, Vyrn! I'm just so happy! I couldn't help myself!
Lyria: You said you thought of something?
Narmaya: Hehe. It's so simple! I should have seen the answer from the start!
Narmaya: All I have to do is ask the shop's chocolatier about the secret to chocolate making!
Vyrn: Ohhh! Good idea!
Lyria: Let's try it then! We'll go in with you!
Narmaya: Great! Come on!
Hand in hand the trio skip merrily into the shop and ask after the head chocolatier.
Shop Attendant: Um... I'm sorry, ma'am, but the owner... He's away on a visit to Chocolae Island.
Narmaya: Chocolae Island? When will he be back?
Shop Attendant: My apologies, ma'am, but we've not been told when.
Narmaya: I see... Well... Thank you anyway.
Left with no choice, Narmaya grabs a pamphlet on the way out.
Vyrn: Aww. Well, it was worth a shot.
Lyria: If only we'd come a little sooner...
But Narmaya looks more determined than ever.
Narmaya: I've decided—I'm going to Chocolae Island!
Vyrn: What? You mean... right now?
Narmaya: That's right! To meet that chocolatier!
Narmaya: As long as there's a chance, I won't give up!
Vyrn and Lyria smile at Narmaya's unwavering conviction.
Lyria: Hehe. Well, if he won't come to us, then of course we'll have to go to him!
Vyrn: Heh heh! Yeah!
Narmaya: You're... coming with me?
Vyrn: Course we are! Right, Lyria?
Lyria: Right! You always take such good care of us, Narmaya—now it's our turn to finally help you!
Aww... You two...
Narmaya: Thank you, this means the world to me. It really does.
Narmaya nods to her friends.
Vyrn: All righty then! What're we waiting for? Let's find us a chocolate chef!
Lyria: Next stop: Chocolae Island!
Narmaya: Here, hold my hands and don't let go, you two. We wouldn't want to get separated along the way, now would we?
And so off they go to the land of cocoa, where the innermost secrets of chocolate confection await.
Sweet Hearts and Tears
Lyria, Vyrn, and Narmaya make their way through Chocolae Island and find a man under attack by a feral chocolate sprite. They rush to save him.
Narmaya and company have come to Chocolae Island in search of a renowned chocolatier. They have with them only a pamphlet containing the chocolatier's likeness and their wits to guide them.
Narmaya: Hmm, might be interesting to add some wafers to my cake.
Along the way Narmaya ponders all the different ways she can improve her chocolate cake recipe.
Chocolate Sprite: Gwooo!
Terrified Woman: Aaah!
Chocolate Sprite: G'uph...
Terrified Woman: Th-thank you! I owe you my life!
Narmaya: Hmm, but that might not go well together with the cake's texture...
Chocolate Sprite: Grrr!
Frightened Woman: Nooo!
Chocolate Sprite: Grugh...
Frightened Woman: You saved me! M-might I ask your name?
Narmaya: What if I put it in between the sponge layers instead!
Lost in thought, Narmaya doesn't notice the chocolate sprites she defeats, nor the people she saves as a result.
She simply walks on and on.
Vyrn: Is she okay? She just keeps mumbling to herself. Barely even looks at the sprites she takes down.
Lyria: Hahaha... I almost forgot how strong she is.
But no matter how much they search, their chocolatier is nowhere to be found.
Vyrn: Hmmm. Can't seem to find that chocolate guy anywhere.
Lyria: Do you think we passed him by? Perhaps he's already left for home?
Narmaya: Wait. We haven't looked here yet.
Narmaya is looking at a sign. It reads "Danger! Vicious chocolate sprites ahead!"
Narmaya: I wouldn't want to put you two in harm's way. Could you wait here for me?
Vyrn: Aww, don't say that! We're with you all the way! What're friends for?
Lyria: Don't worry! We'll be sure not to get in your way if danger comes!
Narmaya: Thanks, you two. I appreciate that.
Suddenly they hear a scream coming from beyond the sign.
Narmaya: Watch out!
Narmaya charges toward the direction of the scream.
Sweet Hearts and Tears: Scene 2
The man they save is in fact the chocolatier they've been looking for. As a token of thanks, he reveals his secret ingredient: chocolate sprite tears. Now they only have to get their hands on some.
Chocolate Sprite: Grrgh...
Narmaya and company successfully fend off the chocolate sprite and save the man.
Narmaya: Are you all right? Are you hurt?
???: Thank you, young lady. You saved my life.
Narmaya: Hm? Could you be the chocolatier?
She compares the likeness on the pamphlet with the man's face. The artist clearly took several liberties with the sketch.
Chocolatier: Ah, you got that from my shop, I see. Yes, that's me, all right.
Vyrn: Yes! We found him!
Lyria: Hehe. We did it, Narmaya!
Narmaya: I couldn't have done it without my helpers!
Chocolatier: So I take it you have business with me?
Narmaya: Oh, yes!
Narmaya: You see, I tasted some of your chocolate and thought it was wonderful!
Narmaya: I wanted to ask you what the secret to making such good chocolate was.
Chocolatier: Hmm, secret, you say...
Narmaya: Of course I understand that just knowing the secret isn't going to solve all my baking problems.
Narmaya: But I want to make a cake for someone very important to me. So I'll take all the help I can get.
Narmaya: Any advice at all would do.
Her fervent plea strikes a chord with the chocolatier.
Chocolatier: Hm... As a rule I never reveal my trade secrets to anyone but my apprentices. However, as I do owe you my life, I'll make an exception this once.
Chocolatier: I give you my word.
Narmaya: Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!
The chocolatier answers with a smile.
Chocolatier: But to tell you the truth, it seems to me you already have what it takes to make the very best chocolate.
Narmaya: Huh? Really?
Chocolatier: Haha, it's quite simple actually! The real battle starts before you even begin to make it.
Narmaya: Before I even begin?
Narmaya: Tell me!
Chocolatier: In short, from the time you gather your ingredients to the moment it enters the customer's mouth, the question is: how serious are you in giving your very best?
Chocolatier: You see, I never purchase my ingredients from a third party. I come here to Chocolae Island myself to gather them.
Chocolatier: Do you know why?
Narmaya: Because you want to give the customer the very best?
Chocolatier: Precisely. And seeing how you've come all the way here for that very reason, I have no doubt your chocolate will be even better than ever.
Chocolatier: Hahaha. And now I'll tell you a secret not even my apprentices are privy to.
Chocolatier: My secret ingredient: the tears of a chocolate sprite.
Chocolatier: Just a single drop—and keep this between us—is what's allowed me to create my award winning chocolates.
Narmaya: So how do I get ahold of these tears?
Chocolatier: I'm sorry, but I myself don't know the exact process. Luck was on my side when I got that first tear, but I've been unable to collect another ever since. Would you like to try?
Narmaya: Yes! Let's do that!
Chocolatier: I hoped you'd say that! Then let's go to where I first got my tear. This way!
Narmaya: Thank you!
Vyrn: All right! We'll help too!
Lyria: We'll find them for sure, Narmaya!
Narmaya: I sure hope so!
And with that they trek deeper into the island, searching for the mystical tears of a chocolate sprite.
Sweet Hearts and Tears: Scene 3
After many failed attempts, Narmaya finally gets a chocolate sprite to shed its tears when she shows just how much she cares for (Captain). That night (Captain) and company have their fill of chocolate cakes and more, courtesy of Narmaya.
Having caught a chocolate sprite, Narmaya and friends attempt to gather its tears.
But try as they might, no number of their ideas seem to work.
Chocolate Sprite: Grooo...
Narmaya: Pant... Pant... How do we get it to cry?
Vyrn: Pant... Wheeze... Don't ask me...
Lyria: Pant... Pant... Nothing seems to be working.
Chocolatier: I... I'm sorry I can't be of more help.
Narmaya: Sigh... Maybe it just isn't meant to be. Maybe I'm just not good enough.
Narmaya: If only my tears would do...
The young woman's eyes brim with tears. Her expression is one of exhaustion and disappointment.
Having given up all hope, Narmaya begins to stroke the sprite's head.
Narmaya: There, there... I'm sorry we put you through all that. I hope you can forgive me for being so selfish.
Narmaya: There's a good sprite... Would you like to hear a story, little one?
Chocolate Sprite: ...?
Narmaya: It's very, very close to my heart.
Chocolate Sprite: Prrrr....
The chocolate spirit seems to calm down at Narmaya's touch.
Narmaya: Once upon a time, there was a young girl who hid herself deep in the mountains.
Narmaya: Day and night, she would train in the ways of the sword.
Narmaya: Secluded there, she never thought about things like Valentine's Day or chocolate, much less trying to make it.
Narmaya: But now—having left the mountains and started a new life—the girl wants to make the perfect chocolate for someone very special to her.
Narmaya: So she reads all the books she can, studies everything she finds on sweets.
Narmaya: She even travels across the sky to a faraway island in search of secrets.
She locks eyes with the sprite.
Narmaya: Because if I can just see (Captain)'s smile—just that one smile...
Narmaya: It'll all be worth it.
Chocolate Sprite: ...!
The sprite's gaze doesn't waver from Narmaya's face. A single, chocolate tear forms in the corner of the sprite's eye.
Lyria: Narmaya! Quickly!
Narmaya: Oh! Right!
After some fumbling, Narmaya produces a small vial and uses it to catch the tear.
Chocolate Sprite: ...
With that, the sprite gives a look of contentment and disappears from sight.
Chocolatier: You did it, young lady! You did it!
Narmaya: I.... I got the tear.
Narmaya: But... How? Why?
Narmaya stands in disbelief, mouth agape.
But something seems to click for the chocolatier.
Chocolatier: That's it! It was so obvious! It's all about one's heart!
Narmaya: My heart?
Chocolatier: Yes! I remember when I was a young lad. I didn't have much in the way of technical skill, but I too had someone I held dear. It was for that person that I strove to do better.
Narmaya: So... the chocolate sprites shed tears for those who show love and dedication.
Chocolatier: Hahaha! That's right! And that must have been how I got a tear all those years ago!
Chocolatier: My thanks to you, Narmaya. You've reminded me of what's most important.
Vyrn: Heh heh! Nice going, Narmaya!
Lyria: I'm so happy for you!
Narmaya: Thank you, everyone, thank you!
Narmaya: Now I can finally make the best chocolate cake ever!
After much hardship, Narmaya has finally obtained the elusive tear of a chocolate sprite.
She wastes no time in returning to the ship to start on her creation. And so immersed is she in her process that she even forgets to eat or rest.
Now the sun has set, and Valentine's Day is almost over.
It's then that Narmaya calls (Captain), Vyrn, and Lyria to the dining room.
Narmaya: I'm sorry I took so long.
Narmaya: But it's finally ready. This is for you, (Captain).
Covered in stains of cocoa and fudge, Narmaya sets her creation on the table—a chocolate cake.
Narmaya: Happy Valentine's, (Captain).
Narmaya: I made this with all my heart. Just for you.
Narmaya: I hope you like it...
As if to reassure the unconfident Narmaya, (Captain) replies with a steady voice.
Choose: Don't mind if I do.
- Don't mind if I do.
(Captain) cuts off a piece with a fork and takes a bite.
(Captain) chews for a while, as if savoring all the love Narmaya's put in.
Choose: Wow! This is great!
- Wow! This is great!
Narmaya: Really? I'm so glad—you don't know how much that means to me.
With frightening speed (Captain) gulps down the cake. Soon nothing is left but the tray it once rested on.
Choose: That was amazing! Thanks, Narmaya!
- That was amazing! Thanks, Narmaya!
Narmaya: Ahh, that's a relief.
Narmaya glows with satisfaction.
Vyrn: Woo-hoo! Mission accomplished!
Lyria: Hooray! Congratulations, Narmaya!
Narmaya: Hehe. Thank you so much for helping me. You've been absolute dears.
Narmaya: That's why I whipped up a special reward for two special people!
From out of the kitchen comes another cake, a different type from the first.
Narmaya: Dig in!
Vyrn: Looks delish!
Lyria: Wow! My mouth is watering already!
Narmaya: It doesn't stop there, (Captain), so let me know if you'd like any more!
Lyria and Vyrn dig in, and (Captain) takes Narmaya up on her offer of another helping.
Vyrn: Whew! I'm stuffed!
Lyria: Hehe. It's so good! I just can't get enough of it!
(Captain) nods in agreement.
Narmaya: Hehe. Really? I'm so glad to hear that!
Narmaya: Because there's lots more where that came from!
Narmaya brings out several more cakes.
Vyrn: Hm? W-wait, what?
Cakes of all types fill the table until there's scarcely any space left.
Narmaya: I was worried you wouldn't like my baking at first... I didn't know what to do.
Narmaya: But seeing you enjoy my cakes so much—oh, my heart's jumping for joy!
Narmaya rests a chin on a her hand and stares blissfully at the trio.
Vyrn: (Psst... (Captain)... I got a real bad feeling about this...)
Lyria: (Ha... Haha... Wh-what do we do, (Captain)?)
Narmaya: Oh, by the way, this cake here has a little hint of citrus! Be sure to try it!
Narmaya: And this one goes really well with tea!
Narmaya: And this one! This one's really special...
They simply nod, smiles plastered on their faces.
Narmaya: (Captain)! Here, have a bite!
Narmaya: Open wide, strawberry airship's coming!
Narmaya: Say aaah!
(Captain) and company sleep with heavy bellies that night, for they had eaten their fill and much, much more.