|Grimmora School Den|
|Chance: Talon? Hey, kid, wake up. *poke*
|Talon: Wha..? Um, Chance. *yawn* Did I oversleep?|
|Chance: No, but why are you down here? Did you have insomnia again?
|Talon: Yeah. I did. But I practiced my sword techniques a bit.
|Chance: That's good. Well, c'mon, I'm taking you to see Dr. Markino.
|Talon: Sesa's dad? For my insomnia?
|Chance: No, just for a checkup and to refill your prescription. If you want, I'll mention it, but didn't you speak with Preston about it already? What did he say?|
|Talon: He said he didn't really know for sure what could be causing it and it could be any number of things. If you want to ask him yourself, he's still sleeping over there on the sofa. I'll go grab something to eat and get ready to go.
|Chance: On the sofa...? What the..? Preston?|
|Robin: Good morning, Chance! *hugs*
|Chance: Whoah, uh...Robin, you're human again.
|Robin: Yes, I am. Is Preston still here? Oh, yes, I see that he is...C'mon, Dr. Abirok, wake up!|
|Preston: Hmmmm...just a few more minutes, Professor Taglisa, and...um... Oh, what? Ms. Calypson! Oh dear, how embarrassing...
|Robin: It's okay. I just don't want you to oversleep. We have a class to teach in an hour.|
|Preston: Yes, of course. And, you certainly look lovely this morning, Ms. Calypson.
|Robin: Thanks. I just love these Aridian clothes. Very comfortable. |
|Chance: ?? Why were you sleeping on the couch, Preston? Talon didn't keep you up last night, did he?
|Preston: Oh no, not at all. I was up late doing some research and told Talon it was okay to practice in here so long as he was careful. He didn't seem to want to be alone. As for the insomnia...I can't really say for sure what's causing it, but he appears to be a little worried about his future. He's afraid of disappointing you.
|Chance: I see. I'll talk to him about it. ...But why would he be worried about that in the first place? Does it seem to either of you that I'm too tough on him?
|Preston: No, I don't think so, Mr. Tomasaro. It's normal. I used to get similar worries when I felt I may not have been able to live up to Aurora's expectations. As I got older and more confident I grew out of it. But it wouldn't be a bad idea to reassure him.
|Robin: You don't seem tough on him at all to me, Chance. I think the way you care for that boy is admirable. Especially considering how awfully young you are to have accepted such a responsibility. I also wouldn't be surprised if part of his worries come from the way his real father treated him.
|Chance: Thanks, Robin. I'm trying my best with him. And, Preston, thanks, too. You've been a great help. Well, I better get going now. See you later.
|Zumo: ... Oh. You're still here...uh, maybe I should just...
|Robin: Zumo! How are you this morning? |
|Zumo: Fine, I guess. Wow. I had almost forgotten what you looked like as a human and it took me a moment to realize who you are. You look nice. Those may be desert-elf clothes, but they look like they were made for you.
|Robin: Oh, how sweet. Come here. Let me give you a hug.|
|Zumo: Oh, uh. Heh. Um, I could get used to this idea...|
|Robin: I'll see you later, Zumo. I have to go prepare for class.|
|Zumo: Well, she's in a good mood for once. ... So, uh, just me and you left. I guess I should go...|
|Preston: Mr. Zumo, hold on. Is there something I did to make you distrust me? I'm sorry I stopped giving you waxed fruit, but ever since Raymond left I haven't had any more.|
|Zumo: Well, not really...but when Honen went to talk to you and disappeared right after that...I didn't believe you when you said he went on a vacation. I thought you did something to him and weren't telling the truth...Even though it was the truth, it's still sort of left me feeling...suspicious. I dunno...|
|Preston: Oh. Now it makes sense. I so deeply and sincerely apologize for that, Mr. Zumo. When I suggested Honen take a vacation the thought never occurred to me that he'd just take off without telling you. Otherwise, I would've reminded him to do so before leaving. But please don't worry that I'd lock him up or throw him out. He's doing remarkably well here.
|Zumo: R-really? Gee, um, no offense, but if you can't find anything wrong with Honen, I might have to question your credibility.
|Preston: I'm not saying he doesn't have his quirks, Zumo, but I'm quite confident in my assessment that he's not a danger to himself or anyone else.|
|Deuce: Honen, c'mon! Wait up!|
|Honen: No, no, you silly woman. I told you million times. You are NOT in love with me. You are just latching onto any man you come across who iz roughly your height. Dat's not good reason to chase after someone.
|Deuce: It's not just your height. We're both good with machines, we're both good pilots and fighters, neither of us have a sense of humor, we're about the same age, and...you're kinda cute! |
|Honen: Dat's not really enough.|
|Deuce: Oh, come on, it's all things we have in common. Relationships start and build from there.|
|Honen: What good will it do? As soon as you have chance to return to home planet...I am not interested in leaving zis one.|
|Deuce: I'm not returning to my home planet.|
|Honen: Aye, yai! You cannot give up hope so easily. Look, I even help you rebuild spaceship and radio if you like.|
|Deuce: It's not that I've given up hope. Maybe...I really want to settle down here.|
|Honen: I don't believe dat. How can you give up life's dream so easily?|
|Deuce: You gave up your dream to destroy all the magic-users, right?
|Honen: Yes, but who said it was easy?
|Deuce: My goal was to destroy Ghestov and he's gone. So I don't mind retiring from the mercenary business now.
|Honen: Ugh, allright. Look. I still think you are making huge mistake and zis has no chance of ever working out. But if you like, I'll come with you to ze lab after I get something to eat. Working in ze lab always takes my mind off greater worries anyway.|
|Deuce: Can I join you for breakfast?|
|Honen: *soupir* I suppose.|
|Zumo: ... Bleghhh...If this is what I have to look forward to, I might need to find a new employer. You sure you don't think he's nuts?|
|Preston: Positive, Mr. Zumo. Well, I guess I better get moving...|
|Nucleo: Hey, what have we here?|
|Nucleo: It's absolutely amazing! Astounding! The archaeological discovery of a lifetime! Why, I'll bet this has been sitting here since the dawn of time...perhaps longer. We'll have to carefully extract it and do some extensive carbon-dating tests to determine exactly how...|
|Preston: OKAY! I GET IT! I'M OLD!!|
|Nucleo: Oh, no, not YOU, Preston! I was referring to this potato chip between the cushions.|
|Preston: *sigh* Good morning to you, Nucleo.|
|Nucleo: I'm sorry. I was just messing with you, old friend. I just got approved for another archaeological expedition. I was wondering if you'd like to come along?
|Preston: Well, no wonder you're so excited. I would love to, Nucleo, but unfortunately, I fear that I really am getting too old for such ventures. Besides, I am more needed here at this time. I do wish you the best of luck, though. |
|Nucleo: I completely disagree that you're too old, Preston, but I understand if you don't want to go. Just know that you're always welcome to come along if you should change your mind. Well, I'll see you later, then.|
|Preston: Take care, Nucleo, and by the way, that wasn't my potato chip.|
|Nucleo: Oh, that's okay. It was a nice after-breakfast snack.|
|Preston: *sigh* That mountaindevil is as full of as much energy as he was when he was a small child. I remember when I was one of the youngest members of this establishment. Now, it seems I'm older than everyone except Aurora and Crow.|
|Zumo: Uh, yeah. I've gotta wonder what makes a desert-elf from Aridia come all the way to a place like this anyway? Was the shrink/accountant market overcrowded there or something?|
|Preston: Not really...but when I heard about this place, I saw it as an opportunity. Thought it would be more challenging for me. |
|Zumo: More challenging? You're either a masochist, or you're hiding something.|
|Preston: No. But the rumor was also that this place was better for learning about magic. Desert-elves...generally aren't the most powerful magic-users around, and therefore don't focus on it in their studies. My magic isn't extremely powerful, but it's proven useful on so many occasions that I don't regret honing my skills here. And, well, if I hadn't come here, I would've been wiped out by Karma's attack...like the rest of my family. So, things sometimes have a strange way of working out.|
|Zumo: Ooh. I keep forgetting about that. Sorry to have...um...|
|Preston: It's okay. Don't apologize. Ironically, I had planned to return to Aridia eventually, but instead I took over when Dr. Nexis Fried, the old school psychiatrist, retired. I still remember that first day I came here with such clarity...|
|Grimmora University, 35 Years Ago|
|Nexis: Okay, so who have we here? Prune Jabberwocky, isn't it? Pleased to meet you, young fella.|
|Preston: Preston Abirok, sir...My name is Preston Abirok.|
|Nexis: I see. Okay, quickly, Prune, I don't have much time. State your country of origin.|
|Preston: Aridia Kingdom, sir.|
|Preston: Uh, 6' 5", I think, but why is that...|
|Nexis: Male or female?|
|Nexis: Are you a human?|
|Preston: Um, no. I'm a Light Demon, more commonly referred to as a Desert-Elf. Humans typically don't have long ears like mine, and I have claws on my right...|
|Nexis: Because humans aren't allowed in Grimmora, son.|
|Preston: ...um, why not, sir? I've known humans in Aridia, and...|
|Nexis: Not my rules, son. But you're sure you're not one of them humans, right? Ya look like one...|
|Preston: Well, I haven't exactly traced my family tree back to its roots, sir, but I'm pretty sure I'm 100% desert-elf.|
|Aurora: Ah, there be our new transfer student. I think that'll be quite enough interviewin' for one day, lads. Why don't ye come with me, Mr. Abirok, and I will take ye on a tour of the facility.|
|Preston: Thanks, Professor Taglisa. I would love to.|
|Aurora: *whispers* And don't be mindin' Dr. Fried and his accusations too much. He has severe tunnel-vision and cannot tell ye have long ears. That's why he be thinkin' yer human.|
|Preston: Ahhh, I see. Well, I also have...|
|Aurora: The most gorgeous blue eyes I have ever seen there, laddie.|
|Preston: Oh, thanks, ma'am, so do you.|
|Aurora: Uh, what was that, dear?|
|Preston: Hm? ... OH! Er. Um,....What I meant was...|
|Aurora: Oh, nevermind, dear. Let's just get ye settled in now.|
|Zumo: Ah, I see. So it was love at first sight, huh?|
|Preston: I suppose Honen told you about that?|
|Zumo: He did, but I knew about it long before then.|
|Preston: *cough* That wasn't the first time I saw her, anyway. *ahem* Anyway, studying under Dr. Fried for the next few years was...an interesting experience...to say the least...|
|Nexis: Hey, there, Prune Archaeopteryx, right?|
|Preston: Uhm...Preston, sir. Preston Abirok.|
|Nexis: Right. You wanna know something, Prune?|
|Preston: Is it something I don't already know?|
|Nexis: This whole psychiatry thing. Tell me what you think of it.|
|Preston: Well, I certainly hope that my studies and research will prove beneficial to whatever organization decides to hire me. It's my firm belief that mental health is as important as physical health and I hope to be of assistance to people in need, and...|
|Nexis: Well, it's all bullshit.|
|Nexis: Watch it, son, you're gonna cause a punctuation shortage at that rate.|
|Preston: I, I...I, um...*cough* I'm sorry. Can you say that again, sir?|
|Nexis: Well, it's true. It's all bullshit. It's just sitting around bullshitting with people all day. Day in and day out. Nothing but linguistic bullshit, flying through a paper shredder and splattering all over the walls. Some days, it's just little tiny pieces of it, and other days, it's big gigantic logflumes, son.|
|Preston: ... That is the most...poetic take on the field I have ever heard, sir.|
|Nexis: You wanna know how you can REALLY tell if a person is socked in the head, Prune?|
|Preston: If it involves bovine fecal matter, then I don't think I do, sir.|
|Nexis: I once knew a guy who wore a plaid shirt and had one toenail that was muuuuuuuch longer than all the others. One toenail. He got up every morning, ate cheese on rye for breakfast, then walked to a mailbox to mail a letter. And do you know what the contents of that letter were, Prune?|
|Preston: I honestly have no idea, sir.|
|Nexis: Well...neither do I, Prune. |
Your paper's due on Monday. I'll see you then. *click*
Good thing I didn't take a guess...
|Preston: Several years passed. Aurora adopted young Nucleo. I earned my degree. And on the morning of a planned return trip to Aridia Kingdom to celebrate my graduation...|
|Nucleo: Preston! ... Preston! Wake up! *stomp*|
|Preston: Oof! Ugh! *cough* ...I have really got to start sleeping in my room...So...what's up, little fella?|
|Nucleo: Aurora wanted me to wake you up. We're going to Aridia Kingdom today!
|Preston: Oh, yes, of course. How could I forget? I'll be right there.|
|Nucleo: Preston, aren't you from Aridia Kingdom?|
|Preston: Yes, I am. My family lives there.
|Nucleo: I thought so! I came from Aridia, too, but not from the Kingdom. I came from the mountains. ... Preston, you don't think anyone from the Kingdom will try to send me back to the mountains, will they?|
|Preston: No, of course not. And Aurora and I would never allow that even if someone tried.
|Nucleo: Okay, just making sure...Preston, do you think someday people will be able to go to the moon?|
|Preston: The moon? Why do you ask that?|
|Nucleo: I wonder what it would be like to walk on the moon. Do you think that will be possible someday?|
|Preston: I don't really know, Nucleo. I'm a psychiatrist, not an astronomer.|
|Nucleo: Oh, I see...a psychiatrist...|
Do you think it's crazy to want to walk on the moon?
|Preston: Eh-heh! No, of course not. |
|Nucleo: Okay! I just don't want you to think I'm crazy.|
|Preston: I don't think you're crazy, I think you're silly. |
|Nucleo: Okaaayyy!!! I'm gonna go tell Aurora that I woke you up. Don't forget to come with us when we leave!|
|Nexis: Hey, aren't you Prune Albuquerque?|
|Preston: *sigh* Preston Abirok, sir. |
|Nexis: Whatever, Prune. Listen, I want you to take over the department for me.|
|Preston: I'm sorry, but I can't do that today, sir. Aurora and I are going to Aridia and we planned to stay a few days.|
|Nexis: I'm not talking about just today, son, I'm talking about permanently taking over the department. I've decided to retire.|
|Preston: Oh, okay. Well, I have to go change into clean clothes and eat something. I'll talk to you later.|
|Nexis: Hmmm...*furrows brow*|
|Preston: *stumbles back* Whoah-whoah-whoah-whoah-WHAT?? Did you just ask me to...? Did I, did I hear you...correctly, Dr. Fried?
|Nexis: Yes, you did. I want you to take over the psychiatry department, Prune. Oh, that's right, I forgot. You're a doctor now. Let me say that again. I want you to take over the psychiatry department, Dr. Albacoretuna.|
|Preston: I...I don't get it...You're just retiring? Just like that? Out of the blue? Have you told Aurora and Crow yet?|
|Nexis: No, but I'm going to. I decided it was time to retire when I accidentally sent my tie through the paper shredder. I guess I'm just getting too old and not really with it anymore, son.|
|Preston: But, sir, we don't...we don't actually...have...a paper shredder...It's just your metaphorical...Uhm. Well, nevermind. But, why me?|
|Nexis: I know what you're thinking, Prune. Why trust a human with such an important task?|
|Preston: I'm not...human, sir...Claws...on my right hand...um...|
|Nexis: And to be honest, Prune...Well, the reason I'm turning the department over to you is because you're the only person whose name I can ever remember around here. Congratulations, son. I'll be heading off into the sunset now.|
Aurora will never believe this one...
|Preston: And that's my boring story in a nutshell. Sorry to have taken so much of your time, Mr. Zumo.|
|Zumo: No, no, man, that's okay. Most people won't take time to talk to an annelid like me. Either they think I'm too creepy or assume I wouldn't be interested. I'm actually flattered that you felt I was worth your time.|
|Preston: Well, if you ever want to talk about anything, Zumo, I'm as much here for you as anyone else. Maybe someday you can tell me your story.|
|Zumo: Uh, I don't know about that. It's pretty messed up. I trust you now more than I did before, but still...I don't want to give you TOO much information. Heh. Take care, friend.|
|Preston: So long, Zumo. I better prepare for that class.|
|Lukyan: Oh, man. You really do have it that bad for Aurora?|
|Preston: Oh for Leohtiss's sake!!! How long have you been back there!?|
|Lukyan: Long enough to know this place is even more screwed-up than I thought.|
|Preston: And people think I'm strange for sleeping on the couch. What are you doing on the floor behind the couch??|
|Lukyan: Gimme me a break! I'm a lurker!|
|Preston: This isn't a message board.|
|Lukyan: It looks like one.|
|Preston: That doesn't count.|