Macho Lessons - a Tales of Vesperia fanfic
Disclaimer: Tales of Vesperia does not belong to me. This is a work of fanfiction.
Raven was taking one of his casual strolls through Dahngrest when he noticed a small boy with a very large hammer sitting complacently on the bridge leading out of town. There was only one small boy with a large hammer that he knew, and closer inspection proved that the figure was indeed Karol Capel.
"Hey, Karol, what's shakin'?" Raven asked, casually sauntering up to his pint-sized friend.
In response, Karol sighed heavily, not even looking up.
Without even asking, Raven knew what the problem was. "Still won't give ya the time of day, huh?"
Karol shook his head sadly, then suddenly looked up, a defiant gleam in his eye. "It's not like I'm not trying! Even saving the world isn't enough for her! Girls are so weird!"
Raven sat down next to his tiny friend and patted him on the shoulder. "There there, Karol. While I can't say that I have any personal experience with rejection by women, I can tell ya that girls can be unpredictable when you're not as cultured as moi. Maybe I could give you some more pointers? More lessons in machismo, perhaps? I am the most able teacher in that subject, after all."
This wasn't the first time that Raven had offered his services as a teacher, but the suggestion always made Karol slightly wary. Despite what Raven said, Karol had seen more than enough women reject Raven's advances in the past. He'd listened attentively to the suggestions that the old man had forced on him before, but none of them seemed like the kind of thing that would work on Nan. She would probably just laugh in his face. Still, if he didn't accept, then Raven would just keep bothering him, so Karol just nodded. "Okay, what's the lesson?"
Raven got back up in one quick movement and started towards the Crimson Stars tavern. Karol had to scramble to his feet, nearly tripping over his hammer trying to catch up to the old man. "The key, kid, is that ya ain't got any practical experience," Raven was saying when Karol finally caught up. "I can blab at ya all I want but it ain't gonna make a lick of difference in a real scenario. So what we gotta do is have you talk with some girls."
"What?!" Karol didn't like this idea already. There was only one girl he was interested in talking to. Besides, all the girls in Crimson Stars would be far too old for him. It would just be awkward; they'd treat him like a little kid. "No way, Raven! Not happening!" He attempted to turn around and get away, but at some point Raven's hand had grabbed Karol's arm in a death grip. "Stop, lemme go!"
Raven looked down at his young friend with a most solemn expression. "Karol, if you keep runnin' away, you'll never become a man. This is your first true step down the glorious road to manhood. Are ya gonna refuse?"
"Well, when you put it that way..." Karol took a deep breath, then puffed himself up to his full height. "Let's go!"
The two of them looked quite the pair walking into Crimson Stars together, but it wasn't the first time they'd visited the establishment. Even so, Raven was far more well known in the place than Karol; it seemed as though all the barmaids knew him by name, waving and blowing kisses in his direction. True to his nature, Raven had a kind word for each of them, usually coupled with a wink and a nudge, causing the target girl to giggle uncontrollably. Karol was used to this behavior by now, but he definitely felt like a third wheel. Wasn't this supposed to be his training ground today? What good did it do if Raven knew all the girls already?
After what seemed like forever, the two of them finally sat down at a vacant table. "Y'done yet, Raven?" Karol mumbled, slumping down in his chair.
"That was demonstration, my dear Karol, demonstration!" Raven beamed at his apprentice, as if he had clearly planned this all along. "Now it's your turn, kiddo!"
Karol sighed, depressed again. "What's the point? You buttered 'em all up already. 'S no point."
"Au contraire, Mr. Capel," Raven said, giving the boy a soft punch in the arm. "I didn't butter 'em all up. I just set the tone. The tone of looooove. There's plenty o' ladies in here I haven't talked to yet."
"Like me, for instance," came a soft voice from behind them. They turned to see Judith, leaning casually against the wall. Whether she had snuck in unnoticed or she had been there the entire time, it was hard to say. "You really should stop corrupting the youth of Terca Lumireis, Raven."
"I'm not corruptin' him! He asked for my help!" Raven put on his most wounded expression, which Judith and Karol could both see through instantly.
"Of course he did," Judith replied, her tone unconvinced. Regardless, she slid into a chair opposite Karol. "Alright, mister, give it your best shot."
Karol blinked at her a few times. "M-m-me?" Even though he knew Judith quite well, he was instantly unnerved at the thought of trying to flirt with her, especially in her usual state of... undress.
"Just pretend I'm Nan." Judith's amused smile melted into a grimace. "C'mon, Karol, what are ya, some kind of wimp?" she said in a voice fairly close to Nan's, moving her face very close to Karol's.
"Gaaaaah, alright, alright!" Karol nearly fell backwards out of his chair in his haste to back away from Judith's scowling Nan-face, flailing his arms about wildly. When he finally regained his balance, he scooted his chair back towards the table and cleared his throat. "Um, fancy seeing you here, Nan. Heh, heh heh."
"What do you want, Karol?" Judith snapped, still imitating Nan's voice.
Karol nearly jumped out of his chair again, but managed to control himself. "Um, um, um..." He gave a panicked glance at Raven, who was just watching the whole thing with a smug look on his face.
Judith leaned in again, her grimace becoming more violent. "Spit it out already!"
This time Karol did jump out of his chair, scooting quickly backwards and bumping into a passing waitress, who glared at him in annoyance. "Um, sorry ma'am," Karol said, quickly scooting back out of her way. With another sideways glance at Raven, Karol was extremely annoyed to see the old man snickering into his hand. "Cut that out, Raven!" he stage-whispered, though the admonishment seemed to be entirely in vain. He sighed and looked back at Judith, who was still making the Nan-face. "Please stop that, Judith, it's scary."
The look dropped off the Krityan's face immediately, replaced by a look of disappointment. "Aww, I thought it was fun."
"Maybe for you," Karol said with a pout. "This isn't working, Raven. I just can't be macho like you."
Judith laughed softly. "Macho? You think this guy is macho? He's just a lech."
"Oh, Judith darlin', you wound me," Raven said, a sad look on his face, hand over his blastia heart.
After shooting him a look of disgust, Judith turned back to Karol, reaching out and putting a hand on the boy's shoulder. "Don't push it so hard, Karol. You like Nan, right?"
Karol nodded, not looking up.
"And doesn't she like you?"
"Dunno." Karol glanced up at Judith, looking incredibly depressed. "She doesn't hate me. I guess."
"Well," Judith said, straightening up slightly in her chair, "as a girl, I can tell you that girls don't hang around people they don't like. Nan hangs around with you, right?"
Karol straightened up a bit too. "Yeah! We go hunt stuff together sometimes. Even though I'm not in the Hunting Blades anymore, they let me come along like an honorary member. Nan set it up for me and..." He trailed off, the implications dawning on him.
"See? Girls don't do stuff like that for guys they don't like. As a girl, I know." She gave Karol a wink, then leaned back in her chair slightly.
Karol considered this for a moment, an awed look on his face, then frowned. "Doesn't really help my problem though."
"Mmm?" Judith blinked a few times, as if she'd considered the conversation to be over and was surprised at its continuance. "What's the problem?"
"I can't... tell her I like her." Karol looked away, obviously embarrassed at his admittance of this fact to anyone.
"Ya gotta be smooth, Karol, smooth!" Raven interjected, leaning across the table towards the boy. "Smooth, an' confident, an' suave! Just take a cue from ol' Raven!"
Judith shot the old man a look of disgust. "Ugh. Ignore this guy, Karol. Just be yourself."
"Myself... huh." Karol assumed a look of deep concentration, staring at the edge of the table so hard that it looked as though he was trying to bore a hole in it. Then he looked up, a huge smile on his face. "Yeah! Thanks, Judith!" As fast as his feet would carry him, Karol hurried out of Crimson Stars, leaving his friends behind without so much as a goodbye.
Judith looked over at Raven, a bemused smile on her face. "Well, I'd say that went quite well," she said, stretching out her legs under the table.
True to his nature, Raven didn't miss a beat. "The only way it could go better, Judith darlin', is if you came over here and sat in my..."