Lute: Hm… I wonder if… Oh, I see…
Artur: What are you doing, Lute?
Lute: Oh! I was just observing this chemida beetle.
Artur: You haven’t changed at all, have you, Lute?
Lute: What do you mean?
Artur: You spent most of your time sequestered in your room, studying your books. On the rare occasion you went outside, you were paralyzed with fascination.
Lute: Of course! There are so many fascinating things to be learned from nature! There are a great many books out there, and I have read most of them, of course. But I’ve found that what is written can differ greatly from how things truly are. Take this chemida beetle, for example. I’ve been reading from “The Glossary of Falibrian Entomology” lately. According to the glossary, their wings fall off once they reach maturity. However, I have just found an adult beetle whose wings still work perfectly! Exceptions do exist to the rules my books outline. This is a rare specimen. I wonder, should we take it back with us?
Artur: Sigh… I hope this isn’t another of your pranks.
Artur: Do you remember when I loaned you my copy of “Lux Aeterna”? You replaced my bookmark with the tail of a sedgel lizard. You scared ten years off my life, I swear it!
Lute: Did I do that?
Artur: And! Knowing full well that I have a…mild…fear of spiders, you caught a small army of them and unleashed them in my room!
Lute: I thought that if I immersed you in the thing you feared, maybe you might be able to overcome your fear entirely! And I went to a lot of trouble trying to catch those spiders!
Artur: …Why would you do that?
Lute: Well, I did get a bit of a kick out of the experience myself. Why? Did it bother you?
Artur: YES! Oh, don’t worry about it. At least you did it because you cared about me, right? I’ll just accept it as the best gesture of kindness you can manage, Lute.
Lute: Are you tired, Artur?
Artur: Huh…? Oh, no, I’m… …… You’re right. I am tired. How could you tell, Lute? I was trying my best not to show it.
Lute: Oh, come on! There’s no one better than me at spotting things like this! I can tell, you’re mentally exhausted.
Artur: I don’t know what I expected, but… I had no idea war would be like this. One battle after another, overwhelming odds…and monsters!? In this day and age, we’re fighting monsters from the legends and epics? I know how much is at stake, but sometimes…I get so tired.
Lute: When you’re tired, there’s nothing better than a good meal and a long sleep. And if you look at page 990 of “De Floris Mysticis,” there’s a special herb that, once decocted into a potion, will help relax your muscles. Look for the parfina flower, and reduce it into a thick syrup before drinking. Oh, and I hear music helps you sleep. If you like, I can hum something for you.
Artur: Thank you. However, I think I’ll pass on your offer, delightful though your humming must be. You must be tired as well. Take care of yourself, and rest when you can.
Lute: I will. In fact, maybe I’ll just hum to myself instead. Will you be all right?
Artur: I’m fine. I feel quite refreshed, in fact.
Lute: Refreshed? How so? Was it some new kind of magic?
Artur: Perhaps, from a certain point of view. Your every word has nurtured my soul…
Lute: Hm. I’m not sure I get it, but as long as you’re feeling better!
Artur: Hello, Lute.
Artur: What is it? You look like you have something on your mind.
Lute: Oh. No. I was just thinking about monsters.
Lute: Yes. All these monsters are our enemies, I know, but…they’re not all bad, are they?
Artur: What are you talking about?
Lute: They’re kind of cute, don’t you think? I mean, like those revenants, for example.
Artur: It’s fair to say I will never understand your tastes. Besides, I thought you enjoyed using them as, well, magic practice.
Lute: Oh, I do. I do indeed. I use my magic to rip them to shreds…with love, of course.
Artur: Your way of expressing love is somewhat frightening…
Lute: Do you think so? Thank you.
Artur: No… That wasn’t a compliment. … Should I, ah, expect you to attack me with magic, too?
Lute: Hm? Why would I attack you with my magic?
Artur: You don’t get it?
Lute: No. Your strange logic baffles even my brilliant, brilliant mind. That’s why I’m curious.
Artur: Really? You don’t get it?
Lute: No, I don’t!
Artur: You really don’t?
Lute: Stop that!
Artur: I’m just giving you a hard time, Lute. All right. I’ll just come straight out and say it.
Artur: It’s because I like you.
Artur: In fact, I love you, and I’m hoping perhaps that you love me.
Lute: Oh! Oh!!!
Artur: Now, do you understand?
Lute: Er… Um… A-according to “A Young Girl’s Primer to Nazonian Magic,” that most ancient tome long sought by, er, the terrible Demon King himself… it’s not uncommon for a party to assign feelings of…er, love to the reanimated hordes they confront on the battlefield, and considering my incredible brain and the remarkable skills I–
Lute: Well, that is… What I mean is…
Artur: What’s wrong with you? I don’t often see you lose your cool.
Lute: Th-that’s because…
Lute: Well… My books don’t tell me anything about how to deal with love! So…
Artur: Heh… Heh heh heh… Ha ha ha ha!!!
Lute: I’m sorry. I’m a little out of my depth when it comes to love.
Artur: No, you’re not. Love needs no textbooks. Just be yourself, and listen to your feelings.
Lute: Is…that all I need to do?
Artur: I promise.
Lute: … Er, excuse me…
Lute: Well, er…
Lute: I’m glad…you’re here.
Artur: I am, too, Lute.