KRYSTOFF: You don’t talk much about earth, for someone who lived there all your life.
JUN: I guess… There’s just not that much to say about it. I left for a reason.
KRYSTOFF: There isn’t anything you miss about it? Not even one thing?
JUN: Hmmm… I guess I wish I’d brought more of my clothes with me.
KRYSTOFF: That’s not what I mean. Also I will tailor clothes for you. Anything you want.
JUN: Thanks, I’ll consider it. I just feel weird having that much attention on me.
KRYSTOFF: Jun, selecting clothes and having someone make sure they fit you well is hardly what I’d consider attention. I’ll do it with my eyes closed if it bothers you so much. Just let me dress you nicely, for the love of god.
JUN: I didn’t know you felt so strongly about it.
His eyes blow wide like I just told him something inexcusable.
KRYSTOFF: Helloooooo? Do you even know me? I might be a prideful person, but I will literally get on my knees and beg you if you’ll let me dress you up more often.
JUN: Okayyy, I get the idea. I’ll let you. You don’t have to beg. I’m just a self-conscious little twit. Haha.
KRYSTOFF: Don’t be, it’s dreadfully annoying. You don’t need to be.
JUN: Isn’t it good for you, though? When I’m self-conscious, or angry, or sad. Isn’t that energy useful?
He looks distinctly uncomfortable at that.
KRYSTOFF: Perhaps on some base level, but…
REGENALD: It is most certainly not what the young master wants on a personal level.
REGENALD: What? Even I, in my infinite patience, grow tired of watching you talk circles around yourself sometimes.
KRYSTOFF: I wasn’t even!! …Not yet, anyway!
It’s been a while since Regenald and Krystoff have bickered like this. In fact, Regenald’s been mostly very quiet of late, something that makes me a little sad because I barely know him despite how much time we’ve spent around each other. But I think that’s just his nature. He seems content with his lot in life being Krystoff’s emotional support animal.
JUN: How did you and Regenald meet?
KRYSTOFF: You’re doing that thing where you change the subject so that you don’t have to talk about yourself. I’m not stupid, Jun. I’ll answer your question, but you have to answer mine after.
JUN: Wait, the things I miss from earth question? I already answered it.
KRYSTOFF: No, you deflected it with a half-truth. Come, now, Jun, don’t insult my emotional intelligence by assuming you can just slip these things under the radar without me noticing!
JUN: In all fairness, you do have an umbrella to backseat game your feelings for you half the time, so I don’t think an unflattering assessment of your emotional intelligence is totally unreasonable.
He stops and looks at me, and actually, sincerely looks a little angry, so I back off. He’s right, after all. I’m deflecting hardcore. I’m deflecting so instinctively, I don’t think I even put conscious effort towards the decision. I complained before about Krystoff’s lack of vulnerability, but in some ways, I’m even worse at it.
JUN: Sorry. I’ll answer for real. After you.
KRYSTOFF: Regenald was not enchanted when I met him, so to call it a meeting isn’t quite accurate. He was just an old, thrown out umbrella I found while wandering around as a “child.” I imbued him with magic shortly after, so that I could have a companion.
KRYSTOFF: And because I know you’ll pry about it again, I didn’t exactly have a childhood in the way you’re probably thinking. My kind are not tied to the physical realm until they are mature enough to manifest a physical form.
KRYSTOFF: But I was a special case because I’m half human. So I had a form very early on in my existence. It was just also weak, flimsy, and vague in appearance. I took many iterations before I was strong enough to tailor this form to my liking. I only tell you this so that you don’t try to picture me in my youth as a repulsive “baby.”
JUN: Why do you say it like that? Baby. Do you hate kids that much?
KRYSTOFF: No, I just know how you humans think, and I knew you’d assume I was a repulsive, helpless, wriggling wrinkle of a being for decades and decades because you assume everything ages the way you do.
REGENALD: Perish the thought.
Sounds a lot to me like they hate babies.
JUN: Okay, okay, you weren’t a baby, I get it. I have adjusted my mental image accordingly. So when you say imbued with magic, do you mean… you created Regenald?
KRYSTOFF: Only brought sentience to his latent existence. His personality and thoughts are his own, of course.
REGENALD: He would never create something as insolent as I on purpose, is what I have to assume he’s thinking.
KRYSTOFF: …He can also only stay alive because I siphon my energy into him, so he would do well to remember that and stay humble. If I lost all energy or died, he would die too.
REGENALD: So now you know why it is in my best interest to keep the young master well and alive.
KRYSTOFF: Uh huh.
He and Regenald glare, fondly, at each other.
JUN: Interesting. So you gave an umbrella a rib, Adam and Eve style, and made yourself a friend.
KRYSTOFF: Are you speaking in tongues?
JUN: Never mind. I’ll answer your earth question now.
JUN: There was this one gelato place I went to because it was next to my shitty part time office job. They were kind of expensive because their whole thing was shaping the gelato into flowers, but there was this one girl who worked there a lot who was really nice to me. She always gave me coupons and discounts that probably didn’t actually exist. I dunno why.
KRYSTOFF: She was flirting.
JUN: …I guess maybe? I’ve never thought about it that way. Huh.
KRYSTOFF: God, you’re dense. Why else would she give you special treatment?
JUN: I just thought she was nice.
KRYSTOFF: Now is it the food you miss or the girl?
JUN: I mean, both. The atmosphere of the place, the cute gelato, the way she lit up when I walked in, the reprieve it was from my boring job where everyone dumped work on me that was outside of my pay grade and misgendered me while they did it. I certainly wouldn’t go back to earth for just for the gelato place, but it was nice.
KRYSTOFF: I see…
JUN: Oh! I thought of one more thing I miss.
KRYSTOFF: What’s that?
JUN: Skateboarding. I thought about bringing my board with me to Duen, but I dunno, it seemed unwieldy and kinda silly.
KRYSTOFF: What in the world is skateboarding?
JUN: You don’t have skateboarding over here? At all??
REGENALD: …We do, the young master just hasn’t seen it.
JUN: Oh. Hahaha. Well, I had a huge skateboarding phase in middle school. Then I just kinda used it to get around since I never owned a car.
JUN: …You do know what a car is, right?
KRYSTOFF: Of course I know what a car is!! Half the people in the neighborhood have them! …And besides that, I don’t live under a rock!!
JUN: But you don’t know what skateboarding is…
KRYSTOFF: Well, I would if you’d explain it!
JUN: Okay. It’s just, like… a long piece of wood with four small wheels on the bottom…
I start pantomiming sizes and shapes, but I don’t know how much of a difference that’s making for his mental image. He follows along regardless.
JUN: And you stand on it… and you push off the ground with one foot, like this—and you do that to kinda propel it forward. And you can, like, get around quickly, or do tricks on it. Like cool jumps and stuff.
Krystoff stares at my pantomimed skateboard on the ground before looking back up at me with a face that clearly says I lost him.
KRYSTOFF: I really don’t envy your inability to levitate.
JUN: Yeah, well. Humans make do.
KRYSTOFF: If I may, it sounds to me like you don’t have very many reasons to go back to earth, then. Or any. …Have you decided to stay here? On Duen, I mean?
REGENALD: If I may interject for just one moment, we have been standing outside of Jun’s room for the past several minutes, and I would like to get on with this task before we continue talking.
KRYSTOFF: Right, then.