"See? I told you it'd be easy!"
The captain looked in the mirror, seeing her face, her body, her face, her body, hearing the alchemist's voice perhaps more prideful than ever...how could she not laugh, in astonished awe? And hearing her laugh, a laugh she had never heard before, gentle and nervous, laugh a little more? Sure, she'd spent time trying out voices, practicing them, maybe a lot, but the sound of her laugh, something that had never even crossed her mind, was as unfamiliar and wonderful as the sight before her.
"You're okay, right? I know everything must be fine, because you were working with me, but please say something so I know, okay?"
"Yes, it's amazing. You're the best, Cagliostro." There was a time she could barely imagine saying those words with such sincerity. Certainly, it was always worth flattering the alchemist within reason, but she'd never imagined she'd feel this kind of true gratitude. "Thank you."
"Mmhmm! And if you ever change your mind, just remember it'll be exactly as quick and painless! But I can't imagine that happening, not when you're almost as cute as Cagliostro!"
Cagliostro, at least, would never change. She laughed again.
Word had gotten around the Grandcypher quickly, as could be expected with Ladiva and Lyria so enthusiastically on the case. Though she hadn't expected any trouble in the first place, the love and support she felt from the crew was even more than she'd dreamed, and she couldn't help but be moved, to feel her resolve become even stronger.
And then, she noticed something strange: she hadn't gotten any letters in a few days. Then a week. With so many friends across the skies, and those who'd heard of the Grandcypher's incredible captain, she was used to having plenty of correspondences to read virtually every day. And she knew just who to ask about this.
"Lyria," she said, softly, "has the mail been coming?"
"Y-yes! But...the ones that come for you don't have your name on them, and I thought..." Her voice trailed off, but the captain nodded understandingly. She smiled, and Lyria found herself at ease again. "Well, anyway...I did have an idea, I mean, there must be something we can do about that, right? I think if anyone would know, it'd be Siero!"
Sierokarte was very knowledgeable when it came to the skydoms, the captain thought. And she seemed to have connections...even if she wasn't the answer herself, Lyria was right, she'd definitely point them in the right direction.
The next time they approached the Knickknack Shack, Siero greeted the pair with the same excitement as ever. Though the captain was surprised at Sierokarte's enthusiasm and familiarity, she realized her identity must have still been obvious with Lyria there, as they explained why they had come that day. "Yup! You came to the right place! People change their names all the time, so I know everything you need. Just give me a minute, I'll write it all down for you!"
She disappeared for a moment, and returned with a single paper, with some printed words and additionally filled with small handwriting. Lyria started looking over it and sighed. "This is a lot of stuff..."
"I know, I know, the rules are pretty outdated by now...I don't think they've changed since I was young. I'll do everything I can to help you, as thanks for all your patronage! See," she said, pointing at some of her notes, "these are the things I can handle for you, and then I can also do part of these, but you'll have to handle the rest...it's a lot easier if you haven't traveled much, but it's a little late for that. Still, I know adventurers like you can do this, no sweat!"
The captain did her best to respond to that positivity with a warm smile, which Siero returned. As they walked away to return to the ship, she spoke up again. "Siero's right, this might take a while but we've got plenty of free time, right? We've got some errands to run, but they'll take us all over the place, so we can try and make the best of it."
"Yeah, but this whole thing is just awful! I think they know that anyone who's serious about it doesn't have a choice..." Lyria said.
Sierokarte had been right, it certainly wasn't that difficult. There weren't any devious riddles or terrifying monsters to deal with, no treacherous hikes or dark caves, just a whole lot of traveling around and waiting. First, they searched for documentation of the captain's birth and residence on Zinkenstill; it was pleasing to return home, welcomed with happy smiles and open arms as if nothing had changed, but it had been a long trip for something so simple. Afterward, it was on to Port Breeze, for records of the Grandcypher's history, to prove the airship hadn't been stolen or acquired through any other unscrupulous means. A somewhat arduous task, given the ship's abandonment, but not insurmountable, thanks to Rackam's dedication and a substantial amount of time waiting in lines and poring over the archives, at any rate. Because she'd had to declare her residence as an airship, she also needed to produce an ongoing record of her travels, for thirty days, noting each port or town visited and corroborated with official records from the authorities there. The captain briefly considered trying to spend the entire month in a single place, perhaps Auguste or another beautiful, relaxing island, but even if enough of the crew agreed (the thought was absurd), she knew she would become restless.
And besides, so much time spent idle would only detract from another important process: acquiring five letters from those she'd crossed paths with reaffirming her new identity-no one who lived permanently on the Grandcypher itself, of course. Siero had volunteered to write one herself, which the captain accepted for convenience's sake, though the prospect of catching up with friends who couldn't travel with her all the time was something she could only look forward to. The first stop, Stardust town, was pleasantly peaceful, and the twin Eternals agreed to compose a letter together. On Amalthea, she was fortunate enough to catch a spare afternoon for tea and cookies with Monika of the Crew of Enforcers...after waiting three days for her schedule to clear, of course. Queen Orchis was well, though particularly interested in the specifics of the captain's new body. She was forced to sheepishly admit she knew absolutely nothing about the alchemy involved. The last stop on the trip was the Rashomon Research Vessel, where the doctor performed some maintenance and upgrades on Robomi and apologized that there wasn't anything more exciting for the crew to check out.
Along the way, she'd been hard at work on one more task, which fortunately could be completed anywhere she was: producing a list of people to be informed by mail of the name change. She'd come up with more than sixty names already by the end of the first day, and on the second began looking through some of the mail she'd received in the past to remember more. Each day another two or three came to mind unprompted as well, until she felt she couldn't think of any more. In all, she'd listed five full pages of contacts. Did they charge for this part? She didn't want to know.
In all, with a few unrelated incidents to manage along the way, the quest had spanned forty-seven days. The pair returned to Sierokarte with a sizable stack of papers, and she cheerily promised to send them as well as pay the fees...in exchange for completing one small task for her. Predictably, that task involved defeating a monster on the island, nothing noteworthy for such a powerful and traveled skyfarer. But that kind of rote, boring encounter had never felt so good.
And finally, after another month had passed, she finally got the letter she'd waited so long for. Lyria hugged her from the side, as they read it together, feeling the joy wash over them:
Your request for a Change of Name has been approved. Henceforth, all records and mail shall be addressed to the Captain of the Grandcypher, Djeeta.