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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Zestiria: Three Out of Five Stars


Maybe I was expecting too much of the 20th Anniversary Title for the "Tales of" JRPG series.  But still there are some things I just can't get over!

That wonky battle camera!

Okay, so getting dirty with monsters in the actual world means getting trapped in tight spaces and being accosted in doorways.  But so often I felt the need to adjust the camera with the left stick because suddenly and without warning I was staring at someone's butt, someone's feet, a wall, a monster's hairy/slithery/ugly backside.  Really battle camera?  REALLY?

Bland characters

I don't know what it was but there wasn't really a single character I truly liked.  That's unusual for me since there's usually an affinity for either the hero or a side character after having spent so many hours with them.

I could barely make heads or tales of the earthen historia that showed snippets of the past.  Unless their backstory is in print somewhere else, I knew very little about the characters but had to accept the fact they were thrown together in this quest.

VERY straightforward quest

The villains were predictable.  It was truly a good vs. evil plot.  The evil was evil for its own sake.  The good was entirely Mary Sue with no moral quandaries.  Killing was ok as long as you killed bad people.  Really?

The side-quests were also very short and unremarkable.

Characters who weren't likable: This one's for you, Rose

Midway we are introduced to a whole new heroine, one who we knew nothing about, who was automatically accepted into the plot, whose jokes were not remotely funny (what's with that cat mouth and holding her stomach pose??), whose English voice actress just kept squawking at you so much you were tempted to switch to Japanese.  (Shudders)

Two characters actually are replaced midway through the game.  Zaveid is good looking and easy on the eyes without a shirt, but that's about it.  He has the character of a loser surfer unsuccessfully trying to hit on girls.

And Mikleo (aka Meebo), the hero's literal BFF, was dull as a doormat.  Don't want to know what happens to him in the after story.  Don't really care....

Giant world does not equal awesome experience

First of all there is NO WORLD MAP.  I had no clue where everything was in relation to other places so when I teleported, I had no idea if I was going in the right direction.  Since warping cost $$ I couldn't do it often. So if I was on the wrong side of the map oh wells, gotta walk.  For once there was no flying contraption that got you from place to place for free.

At least they had established local maps wherever I went, even dungeons, but that kind of took away the experience of discovering what was around the corner.

Second, it took FOREVER to walk anywhere.  After a time, I was like, "Oh my God, am I there yet?  How much further is the next town?  AM I WALKING IN REAL TIME?  Why am I still in the middle of this place?  That cactus looks awfully familiar."

Plot craters

So many things left unsaid.  Why were there no more Shepherds?  The Age of Chaos only happened a little more than a decade ago? Then why is the land so tainted?  Who left the earthen historia?  Why were there multiple copies of the Shepherd's history book?  Who were Sorey's parents?  Why did Mikleo need to be a seraph?  Why were Hyland and Rolance even at war?  What was Maltran's problem with Alisha being who she was?  Why were the Forton sisters all corrupted into the same type of Hellion?

Where did that gun weapon come from?  Why were Symonne and Dezel considered unlucky?  What was the point of Rose's backstory?

Please don't tell me all of this is explained in some book later to be published only in Japanese.


So to sum up, only the battle play (sans wonky camera) was fun.  I liked that I could bring anyone into a battle; and then link up with the spirits in a very Milla Maxwell type of way.  I didn't like that Alisha became a NPC.  If you hated Rose, you had no other options.

The DLC should never have been priced.  It is a free download hands down in any country.  It was 2 dungeons and some sub plot but nothing worth paying for.  I had hoped it would be something like a 2nd part of the story, like Legacies was for Tales of Graces; how Xillia 2 continued with the same characters as Xillia 1 but with new heroes, or how Dawn of the New World was a sequel to Tales of Symphonia.  But alas, no.

Alisha's Conviction (DLC) was a short blip in the plot.  Rose is an inexplicable b***h to her because she's an insecure child, but Alisha finds her 'answer.'  The end.  Who cares how she goes about it or anything.  Lordy, writers, really?

Even after reading the awful Japanese fanboys rage against this game, I kept my mind open and still wanted to play this game.  But unlike other Tales games, I was able to put it down.  For days on end I left it untouched, not really caring if I finished.  I spent $60US on this! That's a bad sign for any game.

So really 2.5 - 3 stars out of 5 is the best I could give it.

The inevitable fanfiction lives on

People will love/hate male x male relationships, and I actually don't care as long as it's a good story, but there are not enough heterosexual Zestiria fanfiction out there.  All the bishounen/yaoi fans have claimed Zestiria as their own.  It's like no one really cared about the other characters enough to make a diversified fanfiction library.  To me, that just speaks volumes but it's still early.  In a year I'll look again and see what's out there.  Or will there just be more romantic Sorey x Meebo stories?  Meh.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chihayafuru Vol. 14, Chapter 77

So I actually got Xillia 2 out of my system!!  But Tales of Zestiria will be delivered to my door on October 22!!!  Before I get lost in my little world of JRPGs, I thought I'd translate another chapter of Chihayafuru.

I'm also watching Nirvana in Fire - Lang Ya Bang - 琅琊榜 And I totally find it fascinating.  I think I like it more than I liked Splendid Politics.  It's really well written and produced and that's surprising from a Mainland China drama.  I never thought I'd like Mainland dramas, but the people are really well performed actors, and I totally admire the characters.  No love triangles.  Just politics.  And hidden identities.  And kung fu masters whose qi gong lets them fly through the AIR! Yeah!  A little Crouching Tiger, a little Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and a little Saiunkoku Monogatari.

For a girl who was raised on Hong Kong TVB period costume dramas, this is totally up my alley.  I encourage everyone to watch it.

Volume 14, Chapter 77

[We last left Arata in shock when he is told by Hiro/Retro that his friends and their team have made it to the Omi Jingu final match against Fujisaki High.]

Taichi and Chiyaha....

Are moving forward to the final round to be Japan's best team?!

Hiro lingers, and closes the sliding door shut with a light 'slap - pak.'

Shinobu grins.  Hee...

"It's just a high school kids' competition, whatever does he mean by "Japan's best" even?  I just don't get it.  Just.  Don't.  Get.  It.  Everyone's 'really strong' right?  Arata!"

Before she finished that though, Arata's hand lunges past her face to the door latch.  She is completely aghast, and Arata pauses, before huddling down as he remembers he's still forbidden to enter the competition hall.

"So after all that, you really aren't going, right?" Shinobu asks.

"If I go now, I can forget about tomorrow's individual competition..." Arata says woefully.
"What?" Shinobu chides.  "Arata, you finally realize the individual competition is actually more important?"

"Arata!" says one of his teammates, "As long as you quietly sneak out you won't be caught.  There's so many people in there.  Just go.  Wasn't this your goal in the first place?"

"Breaking the rules and not getting punished for it is not something the Omi Jingu council takes lightly, Sho!" Arata exclaims.

His friend and Shinobu are shocked by his sudden outburst.

Hiro's words still echo through the room: Aren't you going to them?

Taichi and Chihaya... are in the final round....

Arata sits stoically in seiza style.  (Translation Trivia: This word actually derives from two Chinese characters 正座, which literally means quiet/peaceful sitting)

They are competing to be Japan's best!

Shinobu suddenly stands and takes off her pants, revealing her snowman boxers.

"OMIGAWD STOP!" one teammate cries, covering his face.  "Don't take off the bottom half!"

Shinobu changes back into her uniform, now dry.

"Man, you're just like an old fogie (so old fashioned)," says another teammate.

"I just think about tomorrow and then I'm already really agitated!" says Shinobu. "I should hurry up and go home.  Laters."

"Shinobu!" calls out Arata.  "Some people are actually really motivated by it (team matches). Just for a bit, why don't you go watch the team competition?"

"....  That's.... highly unlikely, don't you think?"

Caption: Any high school competitor, no matter how many competitions...  For the sake of ensuring the competition goes smoothly...  will in advance have all the groupings of 50 cards at the start of the game.

Announcer: "Please shuffle the cards."

Caption: Then the two opponents will mix the cards together.... each of them receiving 25 cards, turn them face up and group the cards accordingly.

Panel: Everyone studies their cards intently

Chihaya: ...
Desktomu: This is...
Tsukuba: Omigawd I'm so nervous...
Meat bun: I only have one 'single syllable' card, yet I don't have any cards beginning with "chi".  This would have been be very detrimental to Chihaya.

Chihaya looks up at her opponent and notices for a brief moment she is smiling as if she is in on a little secret.  The smile disappears as soon as Chihaya takes a closer look.

Suddenly all of the Fujisaki players bow respectfully to request a break, before the male players get up and leave the room.

In the audience, they are shocked. They've just arranged the cards. They're already getting up to take a break?  The lot of them together?

"They've already gotten up?  Such bravado..."

I don't get it, thinks Miyauchi-sensei.
How fearsome, comments Kana.  Sumire just gawks in shock.

In the audience, Nayuta (Hokuo team) thinks, Mizusawa....  That's just how Fujisaki does things.  From the very beginning they set the pace of the match.  Don't let it throw you! (TN: don't let them intimidate you)

When everyone looks at Mizusawa's team, each of them are stretching or spending the time repositioning themselves.

They're all so calm, thinks Miyauchi-sensei.

Not a problem, not a problem, thinks Taichi.

Flashback to one of Desktomu's tips: "There were five matches in total inclusive of the final round.  Even with Fujisaki's third years their minds would be weary.  In order to not feel like last night's leftover meatloaf, Meat bun's description by the way,  I think they're not going to remain seated.  Maybe only the female addition will remain."  (TN: Not sure how it reads in Japanese but the Chinese translation uses "tai lao" where I used an English equivalent to convey the meaning, leftover meatloaf.  'Tai lao' are sacrificial meats of male animals - bull, ram, and boar - offered at the altar in ancient Chinese religion, appropriate since the Fujisaki strength is mostly male, and the captain a tomboy.  Leave it to Meat bun to come up with a turn of phrase that relates to food....)

Master Deskotumu, thinks Chihaya, you really are remarkable.  You predicted everything correctly!
She takes a deep breath.

Karuta is.... thorough memorization.... thorough forgetfulness....  and then repeat!

Memorize then forget...memorize then forget!  She concentrates hard through her past matches today.

An image of Megumu Osaka comes to mind.  Forget...I have to forget her.

If I can't forget her....  Her heart is pounding loudly in the background.  Boom.  Boom.  Boom. Boom...  I won't be able to beat someone who just entered her first match....  I need to clear my mind!

Outside, the Fujisaki players are all stretching.
"Where's Rion?" asks one of the players.
"Just shut it," reprimands the captain (Makoto).  "What does it matter?  Is it a good thing?  That little brat clearly lacks stamina, but insists on not doing stretching exercises?  Even if it's not compulsory."
"You guys really coddle Rion," she continues.  "I mean it's true! Her talents are really shocking.  But it's it really evil how her face has no expression?  Why would anyone welcome someone like that?"
"Also," she comments as they continue stretching (TN: clearly she rants about Rion ALL THE TIME since her teammates are largely ignoring her), "She's consistently remained a B ranked player.  Tsk, just because she's maybe a bit cute."
"Hey, Makoto!" says one of her teammates.  "I do have a girlfriend."
"Me too!" chimes in another.
"What?! Really?" asks Makoto.
"My girlfriend is first year Shino Mimi," says Kanata bashfully. "We started dating in the spring."
"I started the spring semester.  Mine is Ayami Seno. (TN: totally guessing her name here)
"I'm shocked!" declares Makoto.  "What about you Emuro?  Don't you like Rion?"

He stares at her blankly.  "Rion's chest... is like that of a preschooler, right?"

Oh my gosh, that's right  Emuro you....!!  Because you're so perverted your nickname is 'Ko-ero'! (TN: that's a guess on my part, because it uses part of Emuro's name with the word 'perverted'.)

Emuro continues muttering in his own little world, "At least let her be an E cup or doesn't matter what her face looks like... Of course what her ass looks like is also important..."
(TN: As a woman I am completely offended and disgusted with Emuro's character and he needs to die.... are karuta cards sharp? Someone should ninja star one right between his eyes...seriously...  But I believe the author wanted to portray that he isn't anything like Arata, even though they may resemble one another -- according to Taichi)

"Well, this is what I think," says Kanata.  "Isn't it you, Yamai (Makoto) who actually has feelings for Rion?" (TN: I replated "like" with "Has feelings for" because the connotation is that she likes Rion romantically)

Wha---?!  ME?!  What the hell did you just say...?  Makoto blushes furiously.  She grabs Kanata by the collar and declares, "Who the heck would like that 'mask'...?"
"Well that's--" argues Kanata defensively.

In the background a shadow of a girl looms and continues getting closer.

"Don't say such disgusting things, Kanata!"

It gets closer...

"That little monotone sneak, whose only good quality is that she can listen well..."  Makoto suddenly feels a malevolent force behind her and turns around sharply.

She and Kanata note no one is there.  (Shinobu has already left)  (TN: Shinobu is like a malevolent ghost, attracted by strong feelings of hatred -- hahahaha)

"What was that?" she demands.
"I didn't hear any foot falls," comments Kanata.
"How creepy..."

Caption: This power of acute hearing... can be the competing team's strength, and she among the top players... Happily gathering together, loudly making noise...  separate from karuta...

Shinobu thinks of Arata, still under house arrest in the Fukui West sitting room.

Today is the day for the team competition! 

Arata!  Why?  Arata?  (TN: Shinobu lives for the karuta cards, so to make friends that are not karuta cards is something she cannot fathom)

Caption: Break time is limited to 15 minutes.  Ten minutes have already lapsed. 

Meatbun and Tsukuba are waiting in agitation.  Desktomu is mentally preparing by studying all of the cards in front of him.  Think quickly! First plan to move, how to steal, how to give it away...  Think of all possible combinations!

His thoughts earlier [I probably...won't be able to win...  it's not that easy.]
I want to exceed...even my own analysis.  (TN: Desktomu wants to push his own limits, and exceed his prior prediction that he won't win).

Taichi is lost in own thoughts until his opponent returns.
"Forgive me," says Emuro, bowing from his seat.

On the outside...he really does resemble Arata.  Does everyone who studies karuta have that same quality..... Taichi wonders.

The national arena for team competition... my opponent is Fujisaki's wild card... An A rank...  I'm the one who wanted to fight him!

If I can prevail here... or possibly change something--

"Oh, I remember!"
"You're the B rank student who competed against us last year....  I remember!" Emuro smirks.

The implication of his words: So then... you're still a B rank, eh?

I've just been snubbed!  (TN: the Chinese version says bei hua xia le yi tiao xian, or a line has been drawn, meaning he's been classified into his own rank, or Emuro has distinguished between their classes/levels)

I've just been sized up.  Aah... and in a very rude way...

Emuro's thoughts are taking a completely different direction.  Actually, I really wanted to see Mizusawa's other female player (Kana-chan) take the stage, thinks Emuro.  To think an H cup would be jiggling in front of my face...

Kana: Why do I feel like I'm being ogled...?

Oh wells...

If I win this time around Sakurazawa-sensei will let me touch her F cup beauties.... (TN: I think I'm thoroughly disgusted with this guy...)

Sakurazawa: [Just continue your A rank style of wishful thinking]  TN: Dream on, buddy.

Makoto is still making an ugly face and clearly agitated: What the hell kind of nonsense was Kanata spouting, that guy!  He actually said that I liked Rion... What the heck, I like Rion....  What 'like'... (TN: clearly she has issues she should sort through....)

Meanwhile Kanta looks over to his twin in the audience.  Manata!  Just watch me, Manata!

Ichimura stretches: This time around, should I use that to compete? Knight... fighter...

What is this? Kana watches.  Fujisaki seems so relaxed...

Announcer:  "Let the match begin!"

The orator begins the opening verse and everyone in the audience, especially Kana, listens in awe.

Orator: Naniwa-zu ni
Sakuya kono haana
Ima o haru-be to
Sakuya kono hana

(TN: "In Naniwa Bay, now the flowers are blossoming. After lying dormant all winter, now the spring has come and those flowers are blossoming." As written by Wani, a semi-legendary scholar from Baekjae.  Baekjae is one of the kingdoms in Korea's Three Kingdom's period, circ. 18 BC - 660 AD.  Back then everyone who was educated read/wrote poems.)

It's so different.  So this is what a master sounds like, thinks Chihaya.  Competition!  I'm with the others in this competition!

Orator: Okuyama ni 
Momiji fumiwake
Naku shika no 
Koe kiku toki zo
Aki wa kanashiki

(TN: Totally winging it and guessing what this next poem is -- so if I'm wrong, please advise!!!  But it mentions "red leaves" in the Chinese version so I'm selecting Poem 5.  I'm wondering how accurate the Japanese-Chinese translation is here.... "In the mountain depths, Treading through the crimson leaves, The wandering stag calls. When I hear the lonely cry, Sad--how sad!--the autumn is." )

Rion is able to take the cards before Chihaya and she sits bewildered.


What is this?  It's different!  This is totally different!  The reaction, the feeling both!

Sakurazawa watches quietly.  Rion... you've only entered this one match... and the orator is your maternal grandmother, Yamashiro Kyoko, of the 7th rank  Will you have an enjoyable performance?  Everyone else, also...

A Kanata raises his hand to halt the pace of the game again.

You just need to take five cards... then you should be able to...

Skewer Mizusawa...

Until they've completely lost all resolve....

Why...Arata? asks Shinobu, sulking with arms crossed in the back of the room.  Everyone near her is shocked to see her there.  Surely this is going to turn out to be a boring match....

Friday, October 16, 2015

Never Alone

My doujin I compiled into an AMV.  Because I obviously am totally procrastinating and don't want to work over the weekend....

Doodling my way to Zestiria....

Ugh, for once I have to work on a weekend.  But before I do that, I wanted to complete a little project of mine.

I've been working on this since I tried to put Princessia in the Snow behind me.  It seems this mega fangirl mood won't leave me.  I'm obsessed with all the possibilities of Elize's life as a grown up.  What started out as a series of doodles became a full on short fancomic: slice of life + Elize Lutus, my favorite Xillia/Xillia2 character = magic and rainbows. ^_^v

Aaaaand, if my dorkiness wasn't enough here, I've actually put it into a compilation with a soundtrack on my YouTube channel.  (Because Shimokawa Mikuni is awesome, and I really like the lyrics to Karenai Hana.)  I found the music appropriate for a girl who has come of age and found her path, which is essentially the theme to almost every fiction I've written. :-p

If you're an amateur music video enthusiast, go ahead and watch the movie:
Cover Page

Read the pages in traditional manga style, from upper right corner to bottom left.
Page 1
Page 2

Page 3

Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13

Okay, now I feel like I've contributed enough to the Xillia fandom.  I need a confessional for Xillia fanatics...I'm such a dork for fangirling over my own head cannon... (Just in case it wasn't clear....)


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I haven't fangirled this much in a while...

So I got bored waiting for October.  I'm glad people have read Princessia in the Snow and commented or favorited the story on  

Since then I still haven't gotten over my Elize/Gaius obsession.  I think I haven't fangirled this hard since I shipped Hubert/Pascal from Tales of Graces f.  

I picked up my drawing tablet again, and decided to do a fan comic that takes place after my Xillia fanfic, but not necessarily connected.  It can be read as a stand-alone story that takes place on Elize's 19th birthday.  (see left)

I haven't done doujin since the height of my NaruxSaku obsession.  I almost forgot about my earliest fan comics, Nagareboshi and By Your Side.  I hope they continue to have hits on YouTube and the fanbase stays alive and well.  #NaruSaku4ever #KishimotoYouAreBannedFromRomance

So my Elize story is just a fluffy doodle, slice of life story. If I continue doing a page a day, I should be done by the time Zestiria is released!! Heh.

I'm really just escaping into my hyper-fangirlism to avoid the harsh stresses of real life since this week is going to be rough. But still, it's nice to be able to escape somewhere!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

When I grow up...

I did some doodling this week to get my mind off of work.  Sometimes my clients...I can't even.... "Why don't people do what I want!  Fix it!" LOL, sure, as soon as my hypnotism license and my gun license come through, I'll get right on that.... X__X

A lot of the Tales Series characters are younger, smaller.  While I don't appreciate ships that involve underaged children (>_<) I often wonder what characters like Anise (Tales of the Abyss), Karol (Tales of Vesperia), Presa (Tales of Symphonia -- though technically she's mentally an adult) and Elize (Tales of Xillia 1, 2) would be like if they grew up.  I admire characters who went through a lot when young, but find their own paths and become awesome in their own right.  They embody the human struggle to become more than what we are.  I get so attached to these JRPG characters, lol, probably because I spend 60 -90 hours of gameplay with them.

This is a simple drawing of what I think Elize would look like by the time she turns 18.  It's a side-by-side comparison of her other incarnations in Xillia 1 (the shy test subject from Labari Hollow) and Xillia 2 (the cheerful schoolgirl who has made lots of friends).  Elize is the only Tales character I can think of where the players are allowed to see her evolution.  The adult version will include her little doll since Teepo will always be a part of her persona. ^__^ v  Her clothes are a mix of Kanbalar and Sharilton, and I used colors from the other two palettes to demonstrate her adult character is a blend of who she was before.  The emblem on her dress is inspired from Gaius' banner ^_^.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

What if Gaius modeled underwear...?

Yes, this is what I do in my spare time and since I have a notebook full of Gaius sketches in various poses and states of undress, I thought it'd be nice to digitally ink one.  Am I a little embarrassed about my hyperfangirlism? Oh yes.  Will it stop me from continuing?  Oh no.  From experience I learned that I need to just let these things run their course.  Any form of suppression over the things I love to do will only result in repressed feelings that will suddenly erupt out of the blue at very inconvenient times.

Thanks to "Drawing with Jazza" on YouTube, I've been studying the male figure and hands; two subjects I never quite got the hang of when I took my first and last art class in junior high.  (That was back in the day when there were no cell phones and digital art was unheard of.)

Gaius is graceful, and I wanted the lines to flow well.  His pose is both fluid and unmoving.  His clothes are both tight and loose and he's draped in light and shadow.  A bunch of contradictions here, but above all this 2D character is fit and gorgeous.  He's walking towards the camera like he's about to do a hair commercial and he knows he's beautiful.  I'm a sucker for all things beautiful.

Chihayafuru Vol. 14, Chapter 76

Since I was prompted, I dug up my volume of Chihayafuru again.  I think it's therapeutic to get away from my infatuation with Elize and Gaius of Xillia2, and even though Gaius is HOT, I don't think it's healthy to obsess so much in drawing the male figure with all those glorious abs since in RL men don't look like that.  (No one I know, anyway!  Most office workers are not really in good shape and they tend to smoke and drink to excess!)  I need to keep reminding myself that 2D characters are fun to look at but unrealistic to expect to run into in life.  (She says as she reaches for josei/shoujo manga to read...)

Anyhoo...when I read about the Fujisaki team my impression of them was...weird.  But strong.  These opponents, Megumu, Rion...these are all people Chihaya needs to beat before she can even get to the Queen.  This is going to be one really really really long manga....  Do I dare continue my #Chiharata ship???  I swear, mangaka nowadays just play with our feels...

After being having my heart gouged and trampled by Naruto's ending last year I've been absolutely paranoid about all my other manga ships.  #Narusaku4ever.


Chapter 76

"Tsubuka-kun, you have to win..."  Kana chan simply hides her face in her good hand in defeat, hiding her right hand behind her.
"Kana-chan," says Chihaya before she takes Kana's hand and notices her right middle finger is really bruised.
"You..." says Chihaya in shock.  "You injured yourself during the last match."
"It looks really swollen!" says Desktomu.

Kana simply smiles behind her tears.  "It''s a good thing it was only me.  It's a good thing it wasn't Chihaya who was injured."
"Kana-chan," says Chihaya, holding on to Kana's hand, "what kind of nonsense are you spouting?"

Instead, Kana grasps her hand passionately.  "We're really fortunate!" she insists.  "We're fortunate that the team's trump card wasn't injured, and that we've finally become a legitimate competitive first year team... This situation is our, no, Mizusawa's time to shine!"  (TN: the translation actually says, "stage" here, but I think the English equivalent would be spotlight.)

Everyone marvels at her words.
"Could it be, Tsubuka-kun, you already knew...?" asked Sumire, "that Kana-senpai was injured?"

"O-Of course!" he insists nervously.  "I had been watching Oe-senpai all this time!"
OMG, you're such a liar, thinks Sumire.  You're always lying through your teeth.

I was actually only worried about her stamina.  I had no idea she was injured, he thinks.

"Just kidding! Tsubuka-kun you have to win...."

The way that Oe-senpai lies and the way I do are completely different... (TN: meaning that Kana lies to protect and support others, while he lies only for himself.  I think he finally feels his shame acutely)

Meanwhile, Miyauchi-sensei tends to Kana's injury in the lounge.  "Just put ice on it, Kana.  I brought medicated bandages too."
"Bandages?" asks Kana.  Miyauchi-sensei opens up a bag and explains, "I have medicated bandages, elastic bandages, antiseptic...  Oh!  I also have ointment!"

Caption: She definitely coaches sports...

"You still won even when you were injured like this.... It's probably a sprain.  It's possible that it might even get more swollen after this."

Kana just smiles at her coach.  "I'm okay."  Miyauchi-sensei stares at her.

With such a small hand, she thinks as she helps patch Kana up.  Not only Oe, but also Tsutomu...  How can they make these concessions and yet... even though they're backing down, they're still giving strength to the others.

Meanwhile, back in the hall, the Hokuo players are in a huddle and Sudo-kun overhears them.
"What?  Someone on Mizusawa's team was hurt?"
"Don't change the subject.  Focus!"
"Everyone needs to exert their full power!"

Insert: Sudo and the others from Hokuo sit and wait for the match to begin.  We're watching.

"For anyone to say, that color red is irritating so I don't like it, or, I'm not going to wear it.  Our senpai  all wore the same T-shirt to come out here and support us.  We are not the only ones!"

We're watching.

The defeated Hokuo camp sits proudly in the audience to watch to the end, despite their loss.

But there's also another person who isn't our senpai in the crowd... (referring to Meat-bun's sister)
"Don't worry about that one!"
"Man, don't make me gag!"
"Don't say that, she came to support us!"

Hiro looks down silently.

(TN: don't really know what the point of that panel was -_-; it's like the mangaka is just drawing panels with filler...or I've lost something in translation...)

Yamashiro Rion.

The Fujisaki captain, Makoto Yamai, is pondering her coach's decision for the last match's roster.  I can't believe she made the cut.  Her.  How scary....  All of the third year guys adore her.  It's so unreal...

Even her hairstyle is just copied from mine...  That's too creepy!  (TN: wow, conceited much? I think she sees her kouhai as a rival.)


"It's because I watched the Mizusawa match, and I have an impression of each players' style..." says Rion.
"So what?" Makoto cuts her off.  "You wanna lecture the third years?  No thanks!  Besides, what the hell did you ever do to become an actual member?  You can't be ignorant of the fact that the third year members have always been the backbone of the team!  Why didn't you just refuse?"
She points an angry finger at Rion.  "We could win even without you!"
"Makoto, that's enough," says Ryouga.
"Why is everyone so damn protective of Rion?  Her face has no expression, and it gives you the creeps... It's like she's wearing a mask!"
"But," interrupts Rion.  Her face is without any emotion.  "Ever since I've joined...we've been winning.  Also, the person who should decline this match isn't me."
"You don't have to tell me that, you little iron masked freak!"

I already know!  Fujisaki's real terror is---

Team coach Midori Sakurazawa sits in the lounge and thinks to herself, This year isn't the problem.  It's next year... The third years are going to leave the team and there's not a single prospect among the freshmen.   But still, should I not have chosen Rion and broken protocol by promoting a first year?  No!  This time, I absolutely had to let Rion play....

Or once again switch a third year to let a first year play, she thinks coldly.

"Sakurazawa-sensei," calls out Hokuo's coach, Mochida-sensei.
"Mochida-sensei, it's you," she greets.
"Congratulations on making the final match.  It is you guys, after all.  But I just saw you take out a third year player, is that right?  He was actually the player who beat out my student Kameda-kun very early on in the last match..."

She stares at him blankly.

"Sakurazawa-sensei is really something," comments another Fujisaki student in the audience.  "You can't just remove a third year from the team so lightly."
"Yeah but Manata-sempai is really strong....  It's totally understandable that he feels that way."

Manata Suzuki is actually sobbing in a corner of the lounge alone, disappointed that he can't play his last team match.

Meanwhile, Manata's twin, Kanata Suzuki checks in on him.
"Manata... your leg injury isn't serious right?  It's still not too late, so why don't you go talk it over with Sensei?"
"Kanata..." his brother says before breaking down into heavy sobs.
"I'm f-fine!  I'm j-just thinking of all the hard work and effort I put into ..."  He tears up and falls back into a little ball.

"Suzuki Manata is a marvellous competitor," Sakurazawa sensei remarks to Mochida.  "For tomorrow's individual match, I've placed my hopes on him."

Mochida sensei then thinks to himself, This is how Hokuo lost.  It's my fault.  I don't have that sort of strength, or Sakurazawa-sensei's mentality for dealing with third year competitors, and putting all her team members to good use.... This is a champion's strength!


Meanwhile, Kana reaches out an injured hand up to the moon as she gazes out the window.  Tearfully she recites tanka poetry.

Nageke tote
Tsuki ya wa mono o
Kakochi gao naru
Waga namida kana 

(TN: I can't translate Chinese at that level but it is about the moon on a lonely night, so my best guess is Poem 86, "Should I blame the moon For bringing forth this sadness, As if it pictured grief? Lifting up my troubled face, I regard it through my tears."  Since Kana mentions the monk Saigyou, I think my guess is right, since he's the author of #86.)

"Oe-san?" asks Miyauchi sensei.
"This poem represents the feelings in my heart," laments Kana.  "What sort of troubles did Master Saikgou have when he recited this?"
"I-I'm...glad you're feeling better," says Miyauchi-sensei.  (TN: probably bewildered that Kana lives and breathes tanka poetry)

Kana takes a break from her recital to see her teammates.
"For this last match I fully believe in my notes, 100%," announces Desktomu.  "Everyone gather round."

"Fujisaki's team consists of all power players, and it would kinda be like facing five Sudos from Hokuo's team."

"Wha-aa?" exclaim Meat-bun and Chihaya simultaneously.
"Why are you saying things that make people even more nervous??"

"There's no real difference in achievements among them but their characters are totally different, and their player roster has been ordered as 1. Emuro Ryoga, their wild card, 2. Ichimura Mitsuki, 3 & 4 twins Manata and Kanata Suzuki, 5. Makoto Yamai."

"What's this question mark?" asks Meat-bun referring to Desktomu's notes on Makoto Yamai.
"I'm not really sure what to make of that person," confesses Desktomu.  "I can't tell if it's real strength or just coincidence."

Taichi takes a glance at Emuro Ryoga and thinks, He resembles Arata.  I don't know if it's his build or the glasses on his face.... Prior to this, did I already forget what Arata looked like?  Before I was clearly able to remember what he looked like.  Is it because I've lost my energy...

...during this team competition?

(TN: I think Taichi is coming to the realization that he might not have the stamina to face Arata during the individual competition.)

"But, it's ultimately up to the members of the semi-finals," continues Desktomu-kun.  "In the final match one of the twins is likely to be switched and one of the first or second years will step up into the formation."
"What? How do you know?" asks Meat-bun.
"I thought you just said all their players are A-ranked 3rd years?" asks Chihaya.
"Right, even so...I think they're going to add a female first year."
"How the heck do you know that?" demands Chihaya.
"Based on various aspects of my analysis.  Also, I've watched 3 of their matches."

Rion Yamashiro is a formidable girl.

"One other thing," he continues.

This is all I can do for you guys.

I most likely have no ability to win my match... it won't be that easy.



Announcement: *Attention.  All competitors, please return to the main hall.  The competition is about to begin.*

The hall is filled with the teams from the semi-final match as well as the finals once again.  The audience is all abuzz.

"Hey, Nakayama!  It's going to be a mad rush if we finish watching this match and then catch the Shinkansen.  Will we be all right?  It'll be all right, yeah?"

What a tense atmosphere, thinks Manabu Nakayama.

(TN: For those of you who don't know, the Shinkansen is a speed train that runs long distances in Japan.  If you ever get a chance to ride it, it's fun.  I think I rode it ages ago to see Osaka castle during cherry blossom season.  I don't think they run it to full speed though... >__<)

In the audience, Sumire checks on Kana who seems bowled over with tears in her eyes and asks, "Oe-senpai, are you alright?  Did you really want to play that badly?"
"Of course I wanted to play!" answers Kana.  "Or rather, if I knew that it would turn out like this I would have definitely played!"

This worked out well..  She gave such a straightforward answer, thinks the match organizer as he observes the orator who has just arranged the cards in front of her (TN: that old man who put Arata under house arrest, I forget his name).  For a high school competition this is a very impressive gift.

The orator for the final match...  is Yamashiro Kyoko.  (TN: the Chinese version refers to her as "qi duan" which literally means 7 sections and I think it's a TW turn of phrase for excellence, or top level)

"For high school competitors this is too high an honor," Kana cries.  "She's a superb orator!"
"Ha ha," laughs Sumire.
This world is too deep for me, thinks Sumire.  I don't get any of this at all....

 This is it, thinks Kana, tied up in her emotions.  This is the final match, at Omi Jingu no less....

In the highest competitive arena, 

With one of the best orators in the nation,

I really want to play....

In the background Manata Suzuki weeps loudly next to Sumire.

"I will now announce the finalists roster for both teams," says the organizer.  "Fujisaki High School, Yamashiro Rion and Mizusawa High School, Ayase Chihaya."

Yamashiro? thinks Kana.

Someone in the audience murmurs, "From an A-ranked 3rd year perspective, Fujisaki's manpower seems lacking...."
"She's pitted against a sophomore no less."

The organizers both recognize Rion, finally.
I've seen her before.... So she's a student at Fujisaki?
Is that why she responded to quickly and agreed to do it?  (TN: OMG how could you not know?? Isn't this cheating??)

Flashback to Rion and her captain:  "You'll be first on the roster.  If you lose, I won't even acknowledge you, Rion."

Flashback to Desktomu's pep talk: I don't know which girl is going to be added to the roster, and I have no notes on her.  But Ayase, you...

You want to be Queen, don't you?  (TN: meaning even if she's powerful, Chihaya needs to find a way to beat her to make it to the top)

"Fujisaki High School, Kanata Suzuki, and Mizusawa High School, Nishida Yusei."

As they're both staring at one another, they each think, "Sorry but, I'm going to eliminate you."  (TN: OMG Meat bun please redeem yourself...)

"Fujisaki High School, Emuro Ryoga, and Mizusawa High School, Mashima Taichi."

The audience gets louder and someone from the Fujisaki camp marvels, "Whoa, it's a duel between wild cards.  Expect no less from the finals!"

This is unexpected, thinks Desktomu, their tactician.

Flashback to Taichi: "Let me handle the wild card."

It ended up not being Ayase, and became Mashima's challenge instead....

I won't back down....

Even if my opponent was Arata in the team competition... bring it on.  (TN: the literal translation in Chinese is "I'm not afraid," but Taichi was just so cool in prince mode, that I gave him another line.  I do like him, and I usually fall for princes like him, but I'm still with the moody dark horse on this one, #teamChiharata).

"Fujisaki High School, Ichimura Mitsuki, and Mizusawa High School, Tsukuba Akihiro."  Tsukuba-kun is shaking in his boots. His opponent wonders what's up with him.

Flashback to Desktomu: "For this match, as long as you can maintain that expression, you'll be fine."

This time I will break through everyone's low expectations of me, and I will become the hero!

"Fox-eye?" asks his opponent jokingly.
"What?!  Did you just give me a nickname?!" Tsukuba asks suddenly. "How can a squinty eyed guy like you even qualify to give me a name like that?"

"Fujisaki High School, Yamai Makoto, and Mizusawa High School, Komano Tsutomu."

"Huh?" Makoto grunts as she sizes him up.

"So, Mr. Spy.  You guys qualified?  Impressive.  But... don't even think you can win against us.  Of course, even the champions couldn't hold their title against us."

"I would say the same to you, Yamai-san," says Desktomu calmly.  "Don't feel bad when the wind from the force of my hand smacks you in the forehead."  (TN: Desktomu, good job trash talking! She has a really large forehead...I bet she's self conscious about it.)

Makoto looks really pissed off.

"OMG, they're grandstanding!  They already announced the roster?" ask the Hokuo members (TN: were they lost in their own little world until now...?)

"Everyone," announces Chihaya to her team.  "Actually I'm really greedy."
"What? This we already knew," comments Desktomu.
"Compared to becoming Queen...compared to becoming the best female karuta player in all Japan, playing together with you all to become the best karuta team in Japan will be much harder than any of that."  (TN: and that's a challenge she wants to face with them.)

They all gather round and put their hands in to rally.


Meanwhile, back in the detention room....  Shinobu checks on her uniform and decides to change....right a room full of boys.... (TN: Really?)

The Fukui team members start to panick.  "S-Stop!  Don't just change right in front of us!!  Can't you warn us first??" (TN: u might go blind >-<)

Suddenly, Hiro/Retro from Hokuo opens the door to their room.
"What? Who are you??" demands a member from the Fukui team as he peeks from behind his fingers.
"Who is that?"
"I don't recognize him."

"Retro!"  Arata recognizes his shirt.  Hokuo, is a high school in Tokyo.  The champions of their division.  So Retro continued to play karuta as well....

Flashback to Taichi's words: "Even if I lose in the first round at tomorrow's competition, today, I want to win every single round." 

Hiro grips the sliding door.  Mashima's an idiot.   What good is it to go all out in the team competition... He above all others wanted to be A-rank!

And probably even more than me...

"Wataya-san," says Hiro.  "You...Aren't you going to go...and support them?"

"Mashima and Chihaya have made it...  to the final match to be Japan's best karuta team!"

Arata just stares as it sets in.

Chapter end.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Ok, I'm moving on.... sort of....

I couldn't help it.  I had to the urge to paint some rendition of my fanfic Princessia in the Snow, and so I spent days over this drawing.  I'm offering it up to the fans of Xillia & Xillia2.  After creating the fanfic I find myself still fangirling over the pairing.  I think it's an after effect of trying really hard to get into the characters' heads to finish the story and to make the pairing work, so much so that I've become obsessed with them.  -__-; 

So maybe Teepo is saying, "Elize, Gaius says he--" before Gaius stops him.  Who knows.  Whatever inappropriate utterance Teepo is about to make we shall never know.  Elize on the other hand has handpicked her signature flower, princessia, maybe for the graves of Jiao and her parents.  I made Elize's clothes a bit in the fashion of the capital, Kanbalar.  After all, her stay there will be of some duration in my fic.

So there it is, I'm still obsessing over random things before Zestiria comes out...


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tales of Xillia fiction complete, now I can move on to other things....

Finally finished with my fan-fiction and I can't wait for Tales of Zestiria!

I'm happy with the outcome of Princessia In the Snow.  In the Xillia cannon, princessia in flower language means "Precious treasure" (Eng.) and "long and healthy life"; or "Irreplaceable treasure" (Jap.).

People probably question my choice of character focus and pairing in my Xillia fic if not my choice of the Tales of series.  I like Elize's character and her quirky alter ego Teepo.  Having written stories in the Vesperia and Graces universe, it was fitting for me to choose Xillia.

At first, it proved difficult getting into Elize's head. At first I thought I understood her; but who you are grown up may be different from who you were when younger though the core principles don't change. What her motivations were, why she did things independently and what things set off her dark, emotional side were a mystery.

The main event that triggered this pairing to begin with was a side quest when Gaius and his new friends from Trigleph agreed to go on a trip to Rieze Maxia (I forget the name of the forest) and he fell asleep mid-sentence because he had been working too hard. I never felt bad for Gaius until then, and just as with Elize, I decided Erston also had a right to be happy. That's when my ship sailed (waves goodbye). 

This wasn't just another romance but the story of a girl who was struggling to be free of her dark past, and in the process of going through that gritty mire she found her OTP. The concept of "intertwining fates" was something Milla had said in the game and I borrowed it as inspiration to draw their connections by bringing Wingul, Jiao, Labari, Rowen and Jude to the forefront. 

Surprisingly when I peeked inside Gaius I found he has A LOT of feels, just like Elize. To be a good king he must be empathetic and responsible, but he has probably never wanted anything for himself since that battle when he was 13.  Underneath, he is still Erston and I wanted to draw out who he really was under the stern exterior.  When you think about it these two were damaged from the start but I couldn't figure out how they could be catalysts for one another. It wasn't just another love story not only because these two aren't cannon but these two are extremely different. I didn't have much to work off of which makes fanfiction so much harder, hence the length of the story was really a lot of character development to make the pairing likable and believable.

It was natural for Elize to be working in politics (due to Rowen and Chancellor Marcia and even Driselle's influence) but also medicine, since she is a healer.  Using the princessia flower as a center for the storyline proved useful as it constantly threw them in each other's paths.

Since my ship was uncharted territory I was giddy to invent it all, just as I had with Shinigami Nonsense.  My tastes for unusual pairings probably started with Taiyou tou Tsuki.

Eventually, what I used to mold their characters was Sakuraba's themes for Kanbalar and Hamil; "A Lord's City Towering in the Mountains," and "A Mountain Village in the Dawn." Elize and Gaius are uniquely tied to both those towns and it helped that they were both written/blended in the same flavor.  I had an entire soundtrack by the end, relying on inspiration from Trusty Bell/Eternal Sonata, Kingdom Hearts, Austenland, Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Escaflowne, Kung Fu Panda, Master's Sun, Ouran High School Host Club and the Xilla OSTs.  Needless to say, my OST collection is kinda big...

I also collected all 100 cats and played all tag team levels in the Coliseum with Elize/Gaius and the interaction between them, as well as after battle commentary proved very inspiring.  Gaius on "auto" uses "Chivalry" and if you change his settings to "act together" he will literally be her shield and insert himself when she's attacked.  Also, Teepo's chomping on Gaius skits cracks me up every time.

Gaius' powers are referenced to light and the sun while Elize's powers are all rooted in darkness. These are two complicated people who would at first seem to be polar opposites, but by their differences they draw out their true selves and accept each other wholly.

The princessia flower, a plant that glows in the darkness despite the extreme cold in which it grows, becomes the symbol of their relationship. I know it's weird but I ship it. I ship it badly. 

-Kero (7/26/15)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sarasah, Vol. 1, Chapter 2

Translator's Notes:  One of the reasons why I like this manhwa so much is because of the art.  Once you get past Ji-Hae's nonsense, you continually hope she can grow her character and obtain some redeeming qualities.  Since we only have 8 volumes to work with, there isn't much character development for her yet, and that's sad.  But still the art and the plot carry you through, hopefully, and you enjoy this comic as much as I do.

The Chinese title, "Chun Yue Shi Kong Zai Ai Ni" literally means "passing through time to love you once more."  But who will she love?  Who will love her back?  In this portrait, we see that she is fully loved, as the flower has fully blossomed.  We may never know how, but as her readers we hope she will have gained some wisdom by then.

Since she's in her borrowed body, I'm going to refer to Ji-Hae as Ari now.  When we last left Ji-Hae/Ari, she was somewhere in a forest and she chopped off her hair.  When girls cut their hair it's symbolic for severing ties to an unwanted fate (i.e. when they break up with someone, or change jobs) so here's hoping she can change hers and Lady Ari's life for the better...

Chapter 2

"Ugh, which direction should I go?"  As she looks up to the sky, the round, glowing orb given to her by Lady Gangmeungjang comes floating down towards her.
"Ah, that's...!"
 The little orb starts to sprout the legs of a fox and as the bubble bursts, the animal comes crashing down into the brush.

"Um..."  she peeks over and sees a cute little dog thing with wings.  
"OH MY GOSH!!" she squeals.  "You're SO CUTE!  CUTE!  CUTE!  Come! Come here, quickly!"  As she reaches out to it it lets our a ferocious growl and chomps down on her hand.
"Owowowowowow..." she says, nursing her hand.
"Ugh, tastes gross," the little animal says, wiping the taste off his tongue.  "What the heck? Why is this place so empty?  This is definitely the human realm.  Why am I here?"
"Oh," says Ari, chiming in.  "I guess since you just woke up you're still kinda confused.  You were a gift from Lady Gangmeungjung to help me."
"Lady Gangmeungjung?  Help you?" it asks.
"What..?  Do you think I'm lying? It's true!  She said 'Here, this is for you' -- that's what the goddess said!  So, from here onward I am your master!"
It gives her a puppy dog stare.  "Master...?"  And then it head butts her right in the gut. (TN: -_-;) 
"You thought I was going to say something like that?!  Not!!"

As the little creature walks down the road Ari tries to say, "Wait, that's..."  She looks up to the heavens angrily.  "How is that something 'to help me'?? The little bastard is useless!"

Next to her something rustles in the bushes.  She looks down and screams when a wild board is roused by their loud voices.
It starts pawing the ground.
"This...what...?" she stares, terrified.  As it starts to rush her some one calls out to her.
"It's dangerous!"
 Ari is suddenly carried off by a young man on horseback.
Bub-Min Rang
"Ah.." she utters as she turns to face him.

"Are you all right?" he asks.  All she can do is nod before the wild boar charges again, causing his horse to rear.
"Aaaaah!" she cries out.
"Hold on tight!" he orders as they gallop away.

When they finally make it to a clearing he brings his horse to a steady stop.
"It's all right you let go of me? I'm about to suffocate."
"Ah!  I'm so sorry," she exclaims, letting go of his chest.  "Th-Thank...Thank you," Ari manages.  He then notices her unusual hair style and lifts her face with a finger to her chin.
"What's this?  Why is your hair so strange?"
"I like it like this," she retorts defensively.  "This is my style."
"Style?"  His hand examines a lock closely.  "You like looking this weird?"

"Let go. I wanna get off." Ari lets herself off his horse by sliding off the side.  "My butt's about to split in half."
"You' about to...?"  He suddenly bursts out into laughter.  "Hahahahahahaha!  You truly are an amusing child!"

He laughs so heartily....

"Excuse me," she starts.  "Where is this place?"
"What I mean is...  What country is this?"

Is this girl mentally ill?  Now that I look at her, her clothing, her hair and her manner of speech is all really strange.

"What's your name?" he asks.
 "My name?  Um..."  What should I say?  What am I actually called here?
"My Lady Ari!" exclaims a servant who approaches them.


"Where have you been?  You suddenly disappeared, causing us all to look for you..."  Her maid gasps as she examines her appearance.  "What on earth happened?  How did your hair get like that?"
Her family's manservant comes to her side and pales.  "Did you run into bandits?"
"No, no," Ari answers quickly.  "It's not that..."
"Just now the young miss encountered a wild board in the forest, she was nearly mauled to death.  As for her hair, it was already like that when I found her."
"A wild boar you say?" exclaims her manservant.  "Oh my, please accept our sincerest of thanks, my lord.  We humbly thank you for saving our young miss."
"It was nothing, please don't trouble yourself."

A noble courtesan on a horse trots towards them.  "There you are Bub-Min Rang."  (TN: "Rang" is an ancient honored title for young men of status)
"Ah, Mistress Gye-Hwa.  Well, we'll be going now."
"Please take care on your way back," says the servant, bowing.

"Wasn't that Lady Ari?" asked the courtesan.
"Do you know her?" asks Bub-Min.
"Of course," she answers.  "She's Lord Seon-Pum's first born daughter.
"Lord Seon-Pum?  Heh, Lord Seon-Pum and his daughter are nothing alike."
"It's seems like you're especially concerned about her," says Gye-Hwa.  "Should I be jealous?"
"In my opinion no one can compare with your beauty, my lady," he says with a smile.
"You flatter me," she laughs.

Meanwhile, back in town...
"Whoa!  Wooooooooooow!" Ari gapes out one side of her carriage at her new surroundings.

Who'd have thought the impossible could happen!  An ancient marketplace...really looks like this!  This doesn't seem like the Joseon Period.  (TN: 1392-1897) this Goreyeo?  (TN: 918-1392)  Goguryeo? (TN: 37BC-668AD)  That would be awesome if it's actually Goguryeo!

Judging from this standpoint it seems I was a noble in my past life.  This is awesome!  Totally great!  

Ah!  She notices her servant staring at her sitting with her legs splayed.

Ooh!  Careful!  Gotta be careful!  I must look really strange to others.

"My Lady, it's time to descend the carriage," says her servant.
"Huh? Oh, right."

As she walks into the front garden of her home she is worried.  Wow, this is going to be harder than I thought.  Not only do I not recognize people or places, I don't even have a trail to follow.

On top of that I have no idea who my family or friends are in this life.

"Ah!  Ari?!" a lady dressed in fine robes exclaims and approaches her.

Who's this?

"What on earth! How did you hair get like that?"

Well, it's true I don't know for sure but I can't deny this feeling I have towards her.

"Hi Mommy!"
"Oh! No, no!  My bad!  Mother.  My hair was too long and cumbersome, so I cut it."
"What did you say??"

It's gonna grow out eventually, what's the big deal?

"Mother, your daughter would like to continue with this fashion."  She turns to leave.  "Because I am weary, I will take my leave first.  Please, you should also retire."  Suddenly she trips over her own hem and falls flat on her face.
"Lady Ari!"

She looks up miserably as blood drips from her forehead.
"Oh my!  The doctor!  Someone go fetch the doctor!"
"Yes Madam!"

Her manservant crouches near her and slaps something onto her forehead to staunch the bleeding.  She stares ahead in shock.

Back inside her chambers...
"What is this?  What do you mean exchanged with a lost ghost?  Are they really saying that about me?"  (TN: I think the phrase is like spirited away, kamikakushi, or when a soul of someone dead replaces the soul of someone alive...sort of what happened, actually)
"It's true, my lady," answers her handmaid.

Really....this is such a different era.

"You're called Gu-Seul, right?"
"Yes, what is it?"
"Do you know what our country is called?"
"I'm only asking to see if you know, I'm testing your knowledge," she insists.  "Could it be you do not know?  Is it true?  It's true, isn't it?"
"Even though it's been here for a long time, as Saro, Sara, Seona, Seora, Seobol.  It's called Silla now."  (TN: pronounced, shee-la)
"Silla?!"  Ah!  She covers her mouth.  

So this is Silla Period.  (TN: 57BC-935AD)  Silla, huh?  Is it unified Silla?

"What year is it?"
"My Lady...!" Gu-Seul gasps, about to cry.  "You don't remember?"
"No! NO! I was just thinking out loud!"  Looks like I'll have to stop asking her.

"That's right, can you help me get my drawing paraphernalia out?"

Later that night, Ari is finished drawing a very simple version of Seung-Hyu on paper.
"Who is this?" asks Gu-Seul.
"This is Seung-Hyu."

Ah! That's right, he wouldn't be called that here, would he?

"His name isn't important, but, have you ever seen him before?"
"No," answers Gu-Seul.
Haha, Seung-Hyu!
"Are you certain?"
"Yes..."  If you draw it like that, even if I did know him how could I tell from looking at this? Gu-Seul thinks to herself.
"Who is this young man?"
"Oh! He's the person I like."
"Whaa--?"  Heavens!  Lady Ari really is acting very oddly!
"What should I do?" Ari mumbles to herself.  "Where should I go to find him?"

Later that night, Gu-Seul reports back to Ari's mother....
"What did you just say?!  She asked you what country this is??"
"Not only that, but she drew a picture of a strange man and said it was the one she loved...!"
"The one...she...?"  her mother gasps, clutching her head.  What is happening...?  Could it be she has lost her mind?

"What shall we do, my Lady?" asks the other servant, a nursemaid.

"It can't be right.  I seems as though it is more complicated than that.  She cut her hair, behaves like a low born commoner, completely different from the Ari we know."

She sighs, "Gu-Seul.  What has been said here cannot leave this room, it is my order to the entire household that no one speaks of what has happened.  Also..."

Wait for me Seung-Hyu...I'll find you....

"You are absolutely under no circumstance to let Lady Ari go outside, and do not let her meet anyone!"

Chapter 2, end.