Gerik: Hey, Prince! How’s it going?
Innes: Gerik… I’m sorry you had to see that ugly side of me.
Gerik: Huh? What do you mean?
Innes: At Renvall, when you stayed by me. If not for your loyalty, I would have fallen into the hands of those mercenaries.
Gerik: Ah, well, that’s my job, innit? But what’s your point? This is unlike you, Prince.
Innes: I’ve guided men into battle countless times before that day. I’ve always tried to be a model commander, to guide others by my example. But…I found that many of my soldiers wanted a less severe example to follow.
Gerik: Ha ha ha…
Innes: But you’re different. I’ve known that from the day we first met. How do you stay so composed in the heat of battle?
Gerik: I don’t know how to answer that… I suppose it’s just in my nature. Long discussions on the battlefield, however, are not. Let’s go already.
Innes: Nice work, Gerik… I see the Desert Tiger is still as fierce as ever.
Gerik: I can’t believe my skill with the blade is known in circles as high as yours. Let me tell you, I didn’t get into this line of work because I like fighting. It was a twist of fate that started me on this path…
Innes: Really? But I’ve heard of your fame from no less a person than my father. He tells me your name was once known from shore to shore on this continent.
Gerik: The past is the past. I was just doing what I had to. If I hadn’t, I never would have survived. But there’s something about combat that just doesn’t agree with my nature.
Innes: If that’s the case, why are you with these mercenaries?
Gerik: Ahh… The answer is so simple, you’ll probably laugh. Back when I was a kid, a friend from my village said he wanted to be a mercenary. He said he was going to be famous, the greatest warrior in all the land. No matter how many times I told him to give it up, he wouldn’t listen to me. Well, one day, he left for Jehanna. I didn’t know what else to do, so I went with him and joined the guild, too. Stupid reason, isn’t it? Anyway… I didn’t particularly like fighting, and while I wasn’t opposed to the money, I certainly wasn’t in it for fame… I just couldn’t let my friend go off and get killed.
Innes: And where is this friend now?
Gerik: He went off and got killed.
Innes: I see…
Gerik: So there was no reason for me to continue being a mercenary… But then there were other men who I considered to be my friends. I couldn’t bring myself to abandon them… And so the years passed and here I am. The thing is I can’t stand to see my friends die. But if you’re in this business long enough, people around you get killed. It happens. The only thing you can do is keep moving forward and try not to think about it. So… Yes, I’d have a problem if you got yourself killed. I’ve got no place else to go, and I’m tired of trying to forget.
Innes: Hmph… Do you really think I’d lose so easily? It won’t do for you to underestimate me.
Gerik: Oh, uh… Right.
Innes: There’s something I’ve always assumed to be true… Those born to royalty cannot show others any weaknesses or deficiencies. If they’re not perfect at all times, their enemies will take advantage of them.
Gerik: Yeah? So?
Innes: But meeting you has made me rethink that belief. My father told me before I left that I should watch you and learn from you. At the time, I believed there was nothing a mercenary could teach me. Now I know better. I am thankful to both my father and you.
Gerik: That’s enough of that. In my opinion, you’re much finer than I could ever be. The way you live, your manners, and your bearing… I could never pull it off.
Innes: Me? What do you mean?
Gerik: Look at you! You’re full of confidence. You’ve got pride. When I first met you, I thought, “What a high-handed dandy.”
Innes: Did you just call me…a dandy?
Gerik: But that’s just who you are. Being proud is not always a bad thing. You must have worked yourself near to death to preserve that pride. What I mean is that you never make excuses for losing or being beaten up. No matter the pain you face or hardship, you keep on fighting to honor that pride. It’s what defines you, and I can’t say that I don’t admire it.
Innes: It comes naturally. I will be king one day, and I will make Frelia the greatest nation in all the world. It will be a wonderful kingdom of wealth and power. When that day comes, I will command you to become general and lead Frelia’s armies. No, I’ll have you come and ask me to make you general.
Gerik: Ha ha ha! I can’t wait!