Originally, I had pages 13-24 divided into three subsections: E-Merl embarrasses himself with Rachel and then seeks advice, Frigg fights Rachel, Gravedust muses over the growing conflict. But as I sat down to write ’em, it was clear that those “scenes” worked a lot better when I let them flow into each other and play off each other.

Scipio actually gets pretty talkative as soon as E-Merl soothes his self-concept by assuring him that he never talks. His advice shows knowledge of E-Merl’s limitations, but also some hope that E-Merl can overcome them. Scipio also seems, from his pensive gaze, to have the kind of actual romantic experience E-Merl was seeking with Gravedust… but one way or another, Scipio won’t be talking about that today. There are limits.

I still like E-Merl’s almost-meta-awareness in the next-to-last panel. Awkward as he is, there are a few romance-manga tropes/traps he’s been smart enough to avoid.

Not sure we should’ve let Rachel swear so naturally in her last line here, after the fun we had with her getting it not quite right in her first big fight. But maybe she did pick up a few rude words before she even joined up with Scarlett.