A Chocobo Carol
Lartonphe and his feathered friend have finished their preparations, so we're ready to raise the curtain whenever you are!
I heard the two rehearsing just before, and─without spoiling the surprise, of course─I must say, I was most impressed. For a man and his chocobo to pursue the musical arts so profoundly─all while keeping the Twelveswood safe from harm─why, it's truly an inspiration to behold!
Which is not to minimize your role in all this─heavens, no! As a humble token of our appreciation, we intend to reward you with special certificates of good cheer, which can be exchanged for a whole host of delightful seasonal goods specially procured by Black Rabbit Traders.
If that sounds agreeable to you, let's get down to business─the business of putting smiles on the faces of every sweet little boy and girl in our audience.
Needless to say, this means we need to be at our absolute best from the moment the curtain rises until the very last note is sung. Why, if even a single boy or girl got bored and left mid-performance, they'd have every right to revoke my Starlight celebrant credentials!
Fortunately, I can be certain that would never happen─not with an accomplished adventurer like you conducting the performance! Lartonphe has assured me that master and chocobo both are prepared to follow your every lead, so all I ask is that you keep the tempo rousing and upbeat.
It would seem an enthusiastic audience has already begun to assemble. As soon as you feel ready, you need only speak to one of our two celebrants stationed nearby, each of whom has been tasked with gathering together a crowd for the performance.
I should give you fair warning, however. One of my colleagues has─how shall I say it?─a tendency to be a touch overenthusiastic about things.
I overheard her speaking to the spectators just before, and she was talking in no uncertain terms how this concert was sure to be “the stuff of legend” and feature “the most remarkable performers since Mih Khetto herself took the stage.”
Let it suffice to say that those in earshot of her will have high expectations for the performance, which means that there will be little room for error. Not that I doubt your ability to deliver a worthy show, of course─I simply suggest that you prepare yourself accordingly.
And with that, I do believe it's time we gave our audience what they wanted. Thank you again, friend─I, too, can scarcely wait to see what you and the performers have in store for us!
Feeling a bit of stage fright, friend? If you find yourself having doubts, just remember─it's all for the children!
Does it surprise you that I agreed to be a part of the performance? Well, it should not. I have talents beyond bow-bending, after all.
None other than Bowlord Lewin himself appointed me to my post, and our guild has cooperated with the Quiver ever since its inception. This Starlight performance shall be no exception.
You were able to find Lartonphe, I trust? He returned not long ago. And it's good thing, too! We were starting to worry we might have to delay the performance!
I'll thank you not to tell anyone that the fearless leader of the White Rams will be taking the stage this Starlight.
Finished your preparations? That's good. <sigh> I've been struggling to keep the younglings amused while they wait. Then I told them that only the most well-behaved child would receive a present, and they soon settled down. Anyway, it's about time we got started. This way, please.
Oh, it's you again this year? Very well. <sigh> The younglings are as restless as ever. I told them that if they didn't settle down, the saint's little helper would be bringing them a lump of goobbue dung for Starlight. Anyhow, I suppose we might as well begin. This way, please.
Oh, that wasn't bad at all, now was it? I try not to get my hopes too high, but I'm pleased to say you surpassed my decidedly modest expectations.
There was one boy in the crowd who seemed particularly taken with the performance. Is it true that was his father up on the stage with the dancing chocobo?
What a lovely performance, my friend! I never doubted you for a second. I only hope that our little friend Nalipponcque was as pleased with the performance as all the other smiling children.
Well? What did you think of my performance? I told you I was a bowman of many talents, did I not?
To tell the truth, I was a bit anxious to take the stage, but I must say there's something positively infectious about bringing joy to others through song. I finally feel as if I understand why Jehantel chose the path he did.
I'll thank you not to ask meow to sing while I'm on duty, mind you.
Not meow─meow. Gah! Why do the words come out so much more easily when I'm singing!?
Hark! The conductor beyond compare makes his grand entrance! The crowd can barely contain their excitement! Are your preparations complete, maestro?
Lo and behold! The conductor of legend makes his most triumphant return! Worry not, maestro─I have assured your adoring audience that this year will mark the arrival of your magnum opus! Are you ready to share the gift of your musical genius with one and all?
Bravo! Oh, bravo! Why, it was as if the Twelve themselves descended from the heavens to grace our mortal ears with a harmony of sheer beatific bliss. No doubt our children, and their children, and their children to come will sing of the legendary performance they bore witness to this day.
Why, there was one child in particular who seemed above all to appreciate your singular genius. If I recall, they said his name was Nalipponcque, and his father was in the choir. I would be most interested to hear his thoughts on the wonders he heard.
Oh, Father! That was the best! I had no idea you were such good friends with your chocobo!
Oho! Enjoyed the show, did we? I suppose all those hours your father spent rehearsing were not for naught! Ahahaha!
Rehearsing? You mean you weren't on emergency guard duty after all?
I am sorry, Nali. I only meant to surprise you, but it seems my deception went too far. Can you forgive your fool of a father for saddening you...and during Starlight of all seasons?
It's fine, Father. I wasn't that sad, after all. More than that...when do I get to ride the chocobo!?
Well, that depends on her, doesn't it now. What say you, my friend? Would you be amenable to giving my dear boy a ride?
She says...it would be her pleasure.
Whoa! That looks fun!
I want to ride the chocobo, too!
She says come one, come all! The more the merrier!
Your father is the best, Nali!
You bet he is!
Actually, Father...there's one more thing.
What is it, boy? If it's within my power to grant, you need but say the word.
I was wondering...maybe you could teach me how to sing? I never enjoyed music much until I heard your voice, but...seeing you up on stage, it just looked like so much fun!
But of course, my boy! Though I must say, there's really nothing to learn. Raise your voice and sing from the heart, and you're sure to bring joy to any and all who hear it! Isn't that so, my friend? Why don't you show Nali how it's done?
Ahahaha! She's singing! The chocobo's singing! I knew it─this is the best Starlight ever!
Song is truly one of the greatest gifts the gods bestowed on us. Nothing else quite has the power to bring together people of all ages, all heritages, and all walks of life. Thanks to you, I was finally able to share my love for music with my son, and I will be forever grateful for it.
I know! Next year, why don't we sing together? That would be so much fun!
If you haven't noticed, the audience is calling out for an encore. I told them not to get their hopes up, but if you wouldn't mind obliging, perhaps you should speak with Amh.
Maestro! You have heard the voices, yes? Your adoring fans are calling out─nay, desperately pleading for an encore from the depths of their souls! Surely you will not deny them your genius, yes?
To be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure what to think when a choir of bowmen took the stage, but it would seem my worries were misplaced. That was truly a most moving performance!
Why, just look at all those smiling faces! You and your friends have filled many a child's heart with cheer this Starlight. And not just that, you've brought together a father and his son...with a little help from their feathered friend. I daresay the saint himself would be proud.
You've more than earned yourself a rest, I'd say. So why not take some time to enjoy the festivities? And if you'd be willing to oblige your adoring fans with an encore before the season is through, simply say the word!