Suikoden II - Jowy's Story
A Fanfiction by Joanna Sherlyn Dunlap
"Suikoden" and all its characters therein are trademarks of Konami Co., Ltd. © 1995-1998.
English Translation © Konami of America, Inc.
Writer-Creator: Yoshitaka Murayama (Murayama-san, arigato!)
I debated forever about how I wanted Pilika to talk. In the games, she refers to herself in third person: “Pilika tried really hard.” From my understanding of Japanese culture, it is more polite to refer to people by name, and not by pronouns as we do in English. This may be why she speaks the way she does. I noticed other characters using a similar speech pattern and that lead me to believe that Pilika’s speech might have been due to translation error, and not an actual personal trait of her speech.
Though this had always made her more endearing to me in the game, the speech can seem out of place in a written work. So rather than copy her first-person speech patterns as used in the game, I decided to let her use pronouns. I felt it was more important to get across the concept of Pilika’s childhood innocence in the way that would be most appropriate for the language she’s speaking. In this work of fanfiction, she speaks English. I wanted her to speak as a child would, and therefore use pronouns like most English-speaking children. However, children occasionally make grammatical and syntactical errors. I wanted to include some of that charm into her speech. I hope this is a worthy substitute for those of you that cherished her first-person speech.
Chapter 3: A New Family
Jowy found Pilika sitting at the bank of the river. She was talking to a duck.
“…so, if you see him, Mr. Duck, please come and tell me, okay? Uncle Jowy really wants his friend back.”
Jowy was taken aback at these words. Just how much had this family sacrificed for him these past few days? Only now it occurred to Jowy that he had woken up in the only bed in the house. Joanna had been doting upon him like a mother. Marx, of whom Jowy had only heard speak, had watched out for his mental well-being from the beginning. Now this little girl, no higher than his waist, was out leading animals in a search for his friend. He was so thankful, and his heart was instantly knit to the little family.
He came up next to Pilika and sat down quietly. “Hi, Pilika. You talking to Mr. Duck?”
“Uncle Jowy!” she threw her little arms around his waist and buried her head in his chest. You’re awake! I was real worried.”
“Oh, I’m alright, Pilika, Honey,” he laughed. “I had you and your mom and dad and Mr. Duck to take care of me.”
Pilika unburied her face from his chest. “So you’re all better now, Uncle Jowy?”
“Yep. Uncle Jowy’s all better now. See?” Then he leapt up, ran to a grassy bit behind them, and did a cartwheel. Jowy, sharp and agile, stuck the landing. “Ta-da!”
Pilika applauded with joy, “Hooray, Uncle Jowy!” and then, “Look! I can do it too!” She bounded next to him and attempted to copy his acrobatic feat.
She was a little awkward, and Jowy could tell that cartwheels were not something she practiced regularly, but he cheered for her madly nonetheless. Pilika beamed.
“That was great, Pilika! Well done! Was that your first cartwheel?”
“Mm-hmm,” She nodded. “I’m just like you! We can both make wheels! Let’s do it again!”
“You want to do cartwheels together?”
“Yeah! Come on, Uncle Jowy.”
“Ok,” he lead, “now don’t stand to close. You don’t want to hurt anyone. You ready? Put your hands up. Now one, two, three!” They both wheeled on the grass and shouted “Ta-da!”
Jowy ran back to the bank. “What did you think of that, Mr. Duck? Weren’t we amazing?” He put his ear close to his beak, careful to make sure that “Mr. Duck” didn’t think it was a snack. “Mm-hmm. Uh-huh. Gotcha,” he nodded in pretend response. Then he walked back to Pilika. “Mr. Duck says that you were fantastic, but I could use a little work.”
Pilika looked at Mr. Duck, horrified. “Mr. Duck, don’t say that! That’s very rude! Uncle Jowy is that best wheeler in the whole world!”
Jowy laughed. “Now, don’t be so hard on Mr. Duck, Pilika Honey. He was just trying to tell you how good you did. Maybe you should tell him “thank you.”
“Thank you, Mr. Duck!” she shouted. “Uncle Jowy, could you show me how to make a wheel better?”
“Sure!” He exclaimed. Then he got an idea. He put on a playful commander voice. “Stand up straight, young soldier. Today, we teach you the art of the cartwheel.”
Pilika played along, standing at attention. She seemed to like the game. Jowy couldn’t keep his commander ruse up for long before crumbling to Pilika’s sweetness. Through the afternoon they laughed and played, perfecting Pilika’s new skill. He taught her to hand-stand up straight without falling, stressing the importance of good balance. He held up her legs until she could hold the position on her own. He taught her how to get a running start, and how to put one hand down after the other.
They were putting the finishing touches on a simple routine when Joanna called them in for dinner. Pilika begged for her to watch before they went in. Joanna agreed and called to Marx so they could both witness “The Grand Circus of Pilika and Jowy.” Unfortunately, Mr. Duck, who had long since swam away, had to miss out on the show. When the circus had concluded, Joanna and Marx cheered for her daughter’s new talent, the proudest of parents.
“You seem to have your energy back,” Marx commented to Jowy over a supper of vegetable stew and bread.
“Yes, thanks to the hospitality of you and your wife - and Pilika of course,” he added, looking over at the girl, beaming at the comment.
“Pilika Honey, did you thank Uncle Jowy for teaching you how to cartwheel?” Joanna asked.
“Thank you Uncle Jowy for teaching me how to make the wheel,” she politely responded to the prompting.
“You’re welcome, Pilika. It was my pleasure. Do you know,” He asked Marx and Joanna, “that Mr. Duck thought Pilika was more talented in the art of cart wheeling than I?”
“Is that so?” Marx asked Pilika.
“Yeah,” the girl answered between forkfuls, “but Mr. Duck isn’t really that smart.”
This sent everyone laughing.
* * *
Days went by. Jowy continued to live with the family, and in return helped out wherever he could. Marx was away often. He was a trader, and traveled to many towns and cities to do business with the merchants there. This left Jowy to get to know more about the shy, sweet Joanna, and the perpetually energetic Pilika.
He would garden with Joanna, and play with Pilika. They both seemed to enjoy it when he would use his staff to whack pesky vegetable-stealing moles on the heads. He tried his hand at cooking, but after burning soup one day, he decided that he better leave food preparation to the expert. Joanna, of course, showed no hint of anger at the situation. Pilika found it all quite entertaining.
Whenever Jowy went out to explore the village, Pilika latched onto him, following him wherever he went. His bubbly shadow kept a running commentary of everything they passed by. It didn’t take him long to learn that the village, Toto, had two nice dogs, one mean dog, many kids, a general store that “selled” delicious sweets, a smithy run by a giant man with a loud voice, a bridge with a monster living under it, and a very naughty boy that always pulled Pilika’s hair whenever he saw her.
Pilika stressed how important it was that Jowy stay away from him, but changed her mind when Jowy suggested that he whack him on the head like the garden moles. Pilika thought this was a very good idea. From then on, she referred to the child as “Mole Boy,” and giggled whenever she saw him.
Jowy mentally noted the different kinds of shops there were in town. He was a bit surprised to find that a shop intended for clothing also sold simple kinds of armor among the normal leathers and cloth.
The arms of war were long and ever-reaching, so even this small river village felt the need to boost their defenses. Perhaps he was closer to the border than he thought. If he was close to the border, it would be easier to get back home to Kyaro. Perhaps Riou had found his way home.
He thought it wiser to check along the river and the surrounding area first. So every day, he made time to walk it up and down, going further each time, looking for a sign of Riou. He asked people in town about him, but there was no sign of him. No one had heard of him. Jowy was getting more and more nervous every day that he would never find his friend. Even Marx would ask about him on his travels. When he came home, he regretfully told Jowy that he had heard no news of him. Still, he kept searching.
Days passed until Jowy had been in Toto for nearly two weeks. As frightened as he was for Riou, he found himself falling in love with the little family.
One night, after dinner, Joanna pulled Pilika away to help clean up. She pouted and protested, wanting to stay with Jowy, but finally, she angrily gave in.
This left Jowy alone with Marx. He was glad for it, since he hadn’t had the opportunity to spend as much time with him as the rest of the family. Marx suggested that they take a walk, and Jowy agreed.
Most of the shops were closed by now, and Jowy could hear sounds of laughter and shouting from inside homes and the tavern - the lone business still open. This sound mixed with the chatter of bullfrogs and the buzzing of insects, creating a comforting symphony of country life. The moon was waxing, near full, and the stars danced bright in their celestial ballroom. Jowy noticed how peaceful and beautiful it was. It was a refreshing opposite to the city life he had been raised in.
As the sounds of the town grew quieter, enveloped by the sounds of rushing water, Jowy and Marx stopped. They found a place to sit by the riverbank where he and Pilika had held their circus. The sound of the crickets were overwhelmingly louder here, a lovely complement to the night.
Jowy looked around at the transformed surroundings and hoped that Mr. Duck wouldn’t be too angry that a rather large bullfrog now sat croaking on his rock.
“It’s really nice out here,” Marx commented, settling down into a comfortable knoll.
“Yeah, the air’s nice and warm,” Jowy added.
“The water too. Though I still wouldn’t have jumped into the water with all my clothes on myself.”
So, it hadn’t taken Marx very long to get to the heart of the matter at all.
“Yeah, about that,” Jowy started, then he was at a loss for words.
“Don’t get me wrong, son. You have shown us that you’re a very nice, trustworthy young man. Pilika just loves you. But a man can’t help but be protective of his family - especially these days.”
“So, you could tell that my staff wasn’t made for fishing, huh?” Jowy laughed nervously, still not quite sure what to say, but knowing that Marx wasn’t going to trust him blindly any longer.
“Listen, Jowy. I respect you, so I’m going to talk to you straight.” You’re arrival here was very unusual. I was hesitant to trust you at first, but we couldn’t just ignore an injured man. Now we’ve let you stay for as long as you have mostly for the sake of our daughter and the umbilical-cord-like attachment she seems to have developed with you. And while you’ve been with us, you’ve been very helpful and kind. But you’ve more than recovered now. We’ve respected your privacy up till this point, but we do live in a border town in the middle of a war. So I need to ask you to tell me who you are, where you’re from, and who your friend is. Otherwise, I’ll need to ask you to leave.”
There it was. Jowy figured this would come up sooner or later. As a matter of fact, he had wondered why it had taken this long before anyone brought it up. He had almost begun to think that Marx was a bit too trusting. But he didn’t look like a stupid man. He was the head of his family, a trader. He was obviously savvy enough to deal with up-scale merchants, including those in the cut-throat metropolis of Muse he had heard about. Marx couldn’t easily be duped. Jowy decided he had kept cautious for long enough. He felt he could trust this family.
Jowy stood, turned to Marx, and saluted. He lowered his pretense and spoke clearly in his natural Highland accent. “Jowy Atreides. Unicorn Youth Brigade. Highland Army.” He dropped his arms and slumped his shoulders. “Or, at least, I was.” He lowered his head. “There is no more Unicorn Brigade.”
Marx stood, breathed deep, shoulders raising, as if he was holding in emotion. After a short while that made Jowy nervous, he spoke. “Thank you for your honesty, soldier. I honor your decision to fight so boldly for your country at such a young age.” Jowy’s nerves eased. This was not the reaction he expected from Marx. He continued, “ Now, who is ‘Riou?’ Tell me honestly, Jowy,” he said sternly. “Is he really a lost friend of yours, or is this some code name to bring in your troops? I don’t want you to have to betray your king and country, but I must keep my family safe. If you are a spy, and this village is in danger, allow me to remove Joanna and Pilika from harm’s way.”
“I could never wish harm on any of you, Marx. You needn’t fear me, for I am no spy, and I am no traitor either. I have been betrayed. We - all of us in the Youth Brigade were betrayed. Riou is my best friend. We grew up together and joined the Youth Brigade together. I always watched out for him. The Unicorn Brigade had set up camp in Tenzen, and when the massacre happened, we were the only ones to escape. We jumped into the river. That’s the last I saw of him. I swear on my mother’s life this is true.”
Marx noticed Jowy shaking from suppressed rage, and nodded to him, signaling his belief in his story. Marx stood beside him, and put one sincere hand on his shoulder, calming Jowy a bit. “I am sorry for your situation. I will ask no more of it. As long as you promise us no ill will, we will continue to harbor you, and help you look for your friend.”
Jowy looked to the sky and the mass of stars above, and sighed, choking back long-overdue tears. Then he turned and started back to town. “It’s been nearly two weeks, Marx,” Jowy said over his shoulder. “I truly doubt he is still alive.” Then the tears came. He didn’t attempt to hold them back any more. He let out a long sob.
He felt he was in his own private world until he felt Marx’s warm hand again on his shoulder. “You must never give up hope, son. You never know what tomorrow will bring.”