Once More, with Feeling

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Once More, with Feeling


110058 01 r03.pngJakob: This is it. Today, I tell her my true feelings!

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: C-Cleo!

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: Yes, Jakob? What is it?

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: I... Um...

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: Please hold that thought a moment. I hope this box in front of the door isn't what I fear it is.

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: ...I knew it! It's full of fiend fur! This is clearly your doing, Rodrigo.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: It certainly is! How does it find you?

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Do you not sense the difference between it and the previous pelts I've given you? It is so soft! So luxurious! So delightful!

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: It came from a fiend, Rodrigo—there's nothing delightful about it. Now please take this away and stop trying to make my life difficult.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Oh dear. It seems I have failed again.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: ......

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Er, it's Jakob, yes? Might I inquire as to why you are staring at me?

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: Why are you making Cleo's life difficult?

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: Tell me at once! And if I don't like your answer, I will... I will...

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: I am not TRYING to make her life difficult, sir! I am trying to make it happy!

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: ...That's really all you're doing?

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Well, I mean, I SUPPOSE there may be another aim in all of this, but...

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Bah! I don't have to answer to you! Why are you so desperate to defend the woman anyway?

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: I just...want her to be safe.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Hmm? Methinks I smell a rat hiding in that non-answer of yours.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Wiat, don't tell me you're also in—

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: What, me? No! Wait. Yes. Yes? No. Wait.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: ...What do you mean by "also"?

The two men glared as sparks flew in the air between them. And then...

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Cleo, my dear! I bring a new present that will fill your heart with wonder!

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: I am growing increasingly weary of having this conversation with you.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: This is not a pelt, I promise! Instead, I've brought a pair of bloody fiend talon—

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: I DON"T WANT ANY FIEND BITS, YOU DAFT MAN!

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Ah. I...I see.

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: Good. ...And as for YOU, Jakob!

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: M-me...?

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: Stop following me hither and yon like some kind of cowardly shadow! If you have something to ask me, then do it!

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: I... Erm...

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: Honestly, the two of you are even stranger than normal today. Did something happen?

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: I suppose one might say that, yes.

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: You know what? I don't think I really care. Now both of you go cool your heads somewhere until you're more...normal!

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: 110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Urk...

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: She's right. We ARE acting strangely.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: ...Yes.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Instead of making her happy, we're having the opposite effect—AND getting shouted at in the process!

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Perhaps we should declare a truce, you and I.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: ...Yes.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: I was hoping this might turn into more of a give-and-take type of conversation.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: I'm not good at talking.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Aaaah. So THAT'S why you are unable to confess your true feelings to her. An unenviable position indeed.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: And you can't seem to give her a present that doesn't make her flee in terror.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Just so. Apparently I lack any concept of what to give a person besides random bits from a monster.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: I was raised by a band of rough-and-tumble mercenaries, so the world of gift-giving is all a little beyond me.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: I was...also raised by mercenaries.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Truly? Ha ha! What a funny coincidence! It is little wonder we're both having so much trouble here.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Let me ask your opinion or something. Oh, and a simple "yes" or "no" is fine.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: Thanks.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: No need to thank me! Now then, I don't think the way we're currently going about things is going to get us anywhere.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: Agreed.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: So what say we put our heads together and try to think of a way to tell Cleo how we feel TOGETHER?

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: ...You really think I can help?

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: I can promise nothing—but seeing as how we come from similar backgrounds, I have a suspicion we might work well together.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: The only other option is to go ask someone who knows more about this kind of thing—but I'm honestly not certain I'd even understand such advice.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: You might be right.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: You see? Now let us put our heads together and see what we can figure out!

After much thought, the pair decided to craft a present for Cleo together. For since mercenaries maintain their own gear, they were both quite skilled with their hands.
And so, a few days later...

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: There she is. Let us see this thing done!

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: ...I hope she likes it.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Cleo! Pray accept this gift.

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: Did it come from a fiend? Did it even TOUCH a fiend? If so, I don't want it.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: It's...not from a fiend. It's... Um...

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Enough, Jakob. I shall speak for the both of us.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: ...Thanks.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: This is no fiend, Cleo—it is a small bear statue carved from wood.

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: And you're certain it's not actually from some tree-fiend that you chopped down? ...Very well. I suppose I can accept it.

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: Goodness, this is quite skillfully done. Thank you, Rodrigo.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Actually, this was made by me and...

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: (Hold a moment. Jakob is barely able to sputter out two words in front of Cleo.)

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: (That means I could pass this off as a creation entirely my own!)

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: (Flashback) I was...also raised by mercenaries.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: (Flashback) ...You really think I can help?

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: ......

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: Yes, Rodrigo? You were saying?

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: J-just that this present comes from both Jakob and myself.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: We poured our hearts into making it, to tell you how we feel about you. For you see, I... No, WE... Um...

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: C-Cleo! I also... Erm...

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: It's all right. I understand.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: 110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Ah!

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: And it just makes me all the more happy. To be honest, I've never been given a present like this before.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: I am so glad you understand!

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: I certainly do—this is your apology for getting in the way of my work of late!

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: 110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: WHAAAAT?!

100004 01 r04.pngCleo: I now fully understand how sorry you are. Now, if you'll excuse me?

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: *sigh* She didn't understand at all.

110058 01 r03.pngJakob: Still, we DID make her happy. That's better than nothing.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Yes, I suppose you're right.

110046 01 r03.pngRodrigo: Well then, no sense in breaking up a good thing. Let's continue striving to make her happy together!