Part 18: Chapter 17: A World of Shadow
Chapter 17: A World of Shadow
Loading Excerpt- Personal Logs, C. Bartel
Every so often there's a stark reminder here of what a terrible and arbitrary place Gaea is. We were confronted with a cruel scenario as we pushed onwards.
...4 Lady Cloches!? What's going to happen here...
I wonder what kind of show's gonna start. Isn't it kind of exciting!?
Oh... exciting? Then would you like to join the show?
If you can answer the next question correctly, I'll give you a great reward.
Cro! I think it's the key.
But if you are wrong, these girls' lives will not be saved.
Lives!? What are you saying!?
They look just like me, but are actually different people. Total strangers.
These girls spoke ill of me when I was working so hard... Isn't it horrible?
So I brought them here to punish them... I was just about to erase them.
But if you can answer the question correctly, I thought I might save them.
Playing with lives!? That's horrible! Lady Cloche. Wake up already!
Will you do it? Or will you abandon them and run?
If you want to play, you need to pay 500 Leaf.
Feinne's Fourth Wall Lectures:
Basically this is a shell game. There's three Cloches up there. One will introduce herself as 'Annie'. This is the one we want to track and point out at the end. It's pretty straightforward and shouldn't be a serious problem to pass.
Luckily we were able to keep track of which was Annie, and save them from this cruel game.
You got it right...
Now, it was a promise! Release the girls.
Well, that's fine.
System Message: Obtained Sphere Key: 2B!
Here's your reward. Use it however you want.
It was the key! The world will get bigger again.
These things have been getting stranger. None have been truly dangerous but I'm guessing it's only a matter of time.
Loading Excerpt- The Melody of Metafalica, C. Pastalia, L. Trulyworth
I'm going to share something I've really only shared with two people before. In the Infelsphere we experienced again the memory of the day I first felt like I had friends.
Good day. I was waiting for you.
A welcome? That's unusual.
You want to know more about me, right? So I was hoping that you would get to know much more of me.
It was something I would never forget. This is a memory of an incident that would change my life afterwards.
Go have fun in place of me. MonSun Girl!
MonSun Girl: This way, please.
Huh, oh, you... This room again. Good morning, I assume it's morning.
Your schedule today my lady, there is a meeting at noon regarding visitations to the I.P.D. disaster sites and petitions from regional representatives. In the evening, there will be a social dinner with the guests in the grand hall.
You should make sure to get enough rest during the morning.
Okay, I got it... It's so hard, everyday.
And I've readied tea for you here. You seemed unwell last night, so I prepared your favorite, rose tea.
Wow... Thank you. You're so nice. Ooh, this tea smells so good!
(She gets to drink such elegant stuff.)
I'm very glad you are happy.
Hey, why don't you come drink tea with me? Sit here and chat for a bit.
I'm very sorry, but I cannot do that, Holy Maiden.
I am a servant. To sit with you at the same seat is too much to ask of me.
Hm, I don't mind though. You can't even if I ask you to?
Please forgive me.
Okay... Then, can I go for a walk out in the garden later?
I'm free in the morning, right? Can you ask the scary man to give me permission?
Thank you! I owe you that.
Is there anything else?
Huh, uh, no. Not really...
Then I will excuse myself.
Okay. Come again if you'd like.
*sigh * This room is pretty, has nice sunlight, and the view out the window is great... But there's no fun.
If I'm not allowed to at least go to the garden, I don't think I can survive.
I wonder where Croix got sent to. Doesn't look like he's in the room... Maybe outside. Hmm...
Oh! There he is, in the garden! Croix! I'm coming out right now.
I see... So you got sent to the top of the tree out there.
MonSun Girl, was it... She's so rough, despite her looks. More importantly, are you okay to be outside?
Oh, yeah, I sent in a request to come out earlier. It's so annoying. I need permission just to go to the garden.
It's sort of odd, because my real memory didn't go quite this way. Obviously Croix wasn't there, but I'm sure the girl didn't look like this either.
Huh? What's this girl doing here?
Are you lost? Where's your mommy?
My name's Luca. What about you?
You don't even know your name...? Umm, then were did you come from?
Don't know that either, huh. What am I supposed to do?
But how did this girl get in here through all the security?
Oh, but the schedule said there's gonna be guests and whatnot today, so maybe she's one of their kids.
Maybe she lost her mom.
Are you sure?
It'll be fine. As long as we don't get caught by that snotty guy.
There! It's your turn now~. You throw flowers into that ring. It's a race to get as many as you can!
It got in! Good job! Now, it's my turn, okay?
Are you not going to play, mister?
Hehehe, this is a girl's game, so Croix can't play. Come on, let's keep going!
Oh, Lady Cloche... I mean. Thank you for earlier. It's so nice being able to walk around the garden freely.
Oh and this girl, I think she's lost. Can you play with her, too?
You said earlier that guests are coming, right? It might be one of their kids. We should go find her mom later.
Yes ma'am. I will go and ask.
And that's when things started to fall apart.
What!? Wh-why are you here? And, intruder...? What do you mean!?
Yeah, I've never seen this kid before. She's suspicious alright. Take her!
What are you saying? She's lost! I'm sure she just lost her mother!
How did she get in through all this heavy security...? That's more than enough reason to be suspicious.
You said there were guests coming today. Maybe she's one of their children.
I will look into that myself. It's not for you to worry about.
What is there to doubt about such a young child!? She can't do anything dangerous!
Just because she isn't dangerous doesn't guarantee that she's safe either!
A kid's got eyes and ears and a mouth too. You never know where and what they can say!
You, thanks for notifying us.
Hey, take this kid away!
Stop it! What are you doing! Don't abuse her like that!
Please don't take her away! Give her back here!
Give her baaack!
It seemed like there was no hope.
No way! She's just a lost girl! She was just playing with us! Why!?
Well... No matter how much they try asking, she won't speak. And now, they suspect she might be a spy...
What are you talking about!? She's just a kid!
At this rate, she'll be convicted as a dangerous element and at best, she'll be imprisoned, at worst... Well...
But... No, that's terrible...
Please don't feel distressed by this.
What are you saying! You're the one who tipped him! Why!? Why did you do that! You betrayer!
Notifying the Chancellor is my duty as one who takes care of your surroundings.
It's for your safety, my Holy Maiden.
How could you say that...!
Luca, that's this person's job... It can't be helped.
Of course it can be helped! She finally opened up to be my friend!
You're always with me! You're always closest to me! We're friends, right!?
I am your servant. Your possession, merely a tool. I fear to call myself a friend...
Please give up on the girl. Either way, you will never be able to see her anymore. You're of a different status.
Fine... Forget it. I'll be alone forever, okay. So please, at least save her! Please, can you ask them too!?
I do not have the power to do anything. I'm very sorry...
Feinne's Fourth Wall Lectures:
I mean is it really a choice here? You know this can't turn out well to get involved personally, so it's the only way.
I'll do it... I'll save her! This is no time to be crying! That's right... I'm the Holy Maiden right now!
And now for the consequences of choice.
I've ordered her release and a search for her parents. I will have her moved from the prison to a guest room.
Don't be going off on this stupidity. What do you think you're doing!?
Excuse me, I've brought the girl.
Thank you, Captain Leglius.
Hey, what are you up to!
I am Cloche Leythal Pastalia, the 33rd Maiden of the Grand Bell Hall!
Do you treat my decisions lightly? Chancellor Alfman.
I'm so glad you're safe... Are you okay? Does it hurt anywhere?
I demand you release this child under the name of the maiden. And I order her escorted back to her parents.
Enough with being full of yourself! Get over it!
Huh? ...What place!?
Wait, Captain Leglius! But you listened to me earlier...
In the Grand Bell's order of command, Chancellor Alfman is at the top. I'm very sorry, but please understand.
B-but no! Wait! Noooooo!
...She needs reeducation.
That place... As long as I live I'll remember that terrible place.
It's to reeducate you. Depending on how you act, your job as the maiden ends here.
You don't seem to know your position yet, Holy Maiden. You and I need to always be as one.
Or else, the people will think that there's internal confusion within the Grand Bell, which lowers our support.
That's why you and I can never show different opinions on any matter.
I'm not letting you out of this place until you're settled on this. Fully regret what you just did!
L-let me out ! Let me out of here!
Hey! Please let me out!
Please! I won't do it anymore! I'll listen to whatever you say!
Please let me out!
You're, MonSun Girl! I'm so glad... I'm saved...!
MonSun Girl: If you don't want to do this again, don't oppose him to recklessly.
And why is she being treated so terribly, just because she met with me!?
MonSun Girl: That's how holy your role as maiden is. A common citizen isn't allowed to touch or interact with you.
But... I want friends too! I want to talk normally to people too...
MonSun Girl: Lady Cloche cried for a long time too, just like that.
MonSun Girl: It was many years ago though.
...I see... Lady Cloche...
I'm sorry, Lady Cloche... That's why she was so happy to be staying with us...
MonSun Girl: You seem to understand that feeling now. So I will grant you this.
System Message: Obtained Mindgem: Scarlet Land!
MonSun Girl: Keep it safe. It's proof that you and Lady Cloche experienced the same thing, and felt the same way.
Hehe... Thank you...
MonSun Girl: Come to the Sphere Gate. You'll have to go through a ritual to move on to the third level.
And so we'd finished another level.
MonSunGirl: Looks like you're here.
So, how was it? How did I feel to be me, and interact with people around me?
I always wondered why you felt so alone all the time.
But after experiencing some of the events... I think I kind of understand why now.
You can't even make friends freely... That was beyond my imagination.
You had no freedom, not just with work, but with your private life and even connecting with people...
...So you understand.
Yeah. I understand more than I want to. And it feels like everyone I interact with will become unhappy...
...Yes. I thought that often. I even wished... the position of maiden would go away so that this wouldn't happen.
I didn't know any of it, and I said you lived in luxury and had no trouble... I'm sorry I said such horrible things.
You and I, with completely different background. We would never know about each other, but you felt my emotions.
...I thought... maybe this is what the relationship of friendship feels like.
...What do you think, MonSun Girl? Did Luca and I get to relate with each other?
MonSun Girl: Yes. I believe you both did enough to complete what was needed of this level.
Oh... that's good.
This is... the Gate to the next level!
MonSun Girl: It seems you have successfully communicated your thoughts for this level. Congratulations.
Thank you. I wonder what it'll be like next...
MonSun Girl: You won't know that until you go there. But now you'll both have to relate with each other on an even deeper level.
MonSun Girl: ...Are you scared?
N-no, it's not that! I'm sure we'll be able to get to understand each other... Just like this time.
Now, let's go if we're going to go.
MonSun Girl: Now I can be of use to you too.
Yeah. Thanks for your help.
But come to think of it, why do you try to help us?
MonSun Girl: That's because... it relates to serving our own destinies.
MonSun Girl: Yes. We are Song Magic, so only when their emotions become a Song, do we finally gain any worth.
However, a Song like me with coexisting emotions can't be formed unless their understandings are fully communicated.
That's why Combo Magic like me will help to raise their bond. It's a natural course of action, I think.
I get it. You help out so that you can become a reality.
MonSun Girl: That's about right. Either way, thanks to everyone, I can now become real.
I look forward to seeing you again.
System Message: Combo Magic Brave Thunder: Lv E "MonSun Girl" composed!
Loading Excerpt- The Melody of Metafalica, C. Pastalia, L. Trulyworth
Gaea is sort of hard to explain. It was a random and arbitrary place, sort of like a living Cosmosphere. Everything there was both based on truth and not the whole picture.
It's like a doodled world.
It really is doodles... I guess Lady Cloche thinks of kiddy things too.
You think so? I thought it would be innocently fun when I made this world.
It's fun, but... It's kinda scary. Will people actually live here?
People can't live here. And plus, this place was made just for you.
...Wh-why? What do you mean, a place for me?
You see, no matter how kind you are to me, I can't seem to trust you. So this is a test.
A test!? You mean...
Yes, a test. I want to know if what you say in the Infelsphere is true...
And if you really do understand me at all.
You don't seem confident. Is that too hard?
That's not true. I'll take on your test.
There are many people who look like me in this world. Find the real me.
You can't tell just by looks. You'll have to guess by conversation.
If you're correct... I actually might look up to you a little more, Luca.
Feinne's Fourth Wall Lectures:
So, we need to find the real Cloche. When we find the right one, we go back to Cloche and pay 500 Leaf, then talk to the right one. We can guess as much as we like but it costs us every time. Let's see if you can figure it out, it's actually quite easy if you really think.
"Um, hello... Mr. Croix... I, I love you! Please take me home!"
"Oh, how do you do? I was wondering who it was. Such a cute dog. Hehehe."
"My name is Cloche! I conduct Dive Therapy!"
"How do you do? I'm sorry but I don't need you."
"I, I don't need you! I don't care if you're gone!"
"Don't go! I'm sorry... I, I want to be with Croix..."
"Croix, you don't look too good today. I'm so worried about the future."
"Hey you! You better choose me, or else!"
"Big brother... Don't, don't talk to me! I'm, I'm so embarrassed..."
So do you know which one it is?
The fourth one.
It was sort of hurtful really but the answer was always plain.
Of course. I've been watching you so much in the Infelsphere.
I see... you're right.
I thought you would never guess right. Thank you for finding the real me.
A Sphere Key!
System Message: Obtained Sphere Key: 3A!
Anyway, as always passing the surreal test meant it was time to return to the Infelsphere again, even though we had no idea then what the point of it all really was.
I know this is sudden, but the theme will change from here on. Be careful, since it's not the same as before.
The previous levels were about the "past". But this level's theme is "current feelings".
Huh? Theme...? So you get to pick the conversations that go on?
W-wait a minute! We just come to this world because we want to talk with Lady Cloche...
That's your goal, which has nothing to do with the Infelsphere's program.
As long as you wish to come here, you will have to abide by the Infelsphere's program, at the least.
Now, the third level's theme is "current feelings", but this feeling depends on the relationship of the qualified.
And in the case of Luca and Cloche...
It's been decided that the theme is: Destined Battle of Rivals of Love.
Is that... like...
...I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this.
My explanation will end here. You two go experience the rest. See you later!
Thinking about this level really makes me laugh now, though it seemed deadly serious at the time. But I'm getting ahead of myself. We were talking about the Infelsphere.
Icefall Dragon: I am Icefall Dragon, your guide for this level.
Now this is a weird one... Hope you can go easy on us.
Icefall Dragon: No! That is difficult. Harden your determinations!
I see how it is...
Icefall Dragon: This world is quite different than those before! Be ready to face it accordingly, or else, no good result will come!
And now, let us go!
Oh. I'm glad to see more audience.
There's a lovely play showing today. I was very excited to watch it.
Play? There's a theatre inside the Infelsphere now...?
You'll see. So will you stay?
What do you want to do, Luca?
It feels strange... But I came this far. If Lady Cloche's willing to show me, I'm prepared to watch anything.
Icefall Dragon: A commendable endeavor. Now, let the performance begin.
Icefall Dragon: Ah, you, over here.
Also and I don't care that she's going to read this she has terrible taste and wouldn't know a good play if it struck her at speed.
Lady Cloche's Infelsphere seems to always be here...
Icefall Dragon: So spoiled. Can't you deduce that she's limited to this little freedom? Unlike you, who can walk freely around town.
Er... W-well, if you say it like that...
Icefall Dragon: Now, the stage has already begun.
I'm sorry it was a sudden summons.
It is no problem, Lady Cloche... I will come to your call, no matter when or where it may be.
Thank you... Yes, you are my knight. I remember your words from before.
Yes, my lady.
I want to be your ally.
I don't know what I can do by myself, but I'll always be by your side.
The Metafalica you aim to build... I want to help you create it.
And even if that means leaving the current Grand Bell, I don't mind.
Hear me out. I'm not here because I wanted to return to the Grand Bell.
I'm here for you and only you. You're the only reason I'm here.
Your words, full with your emotions... Whose heart would not be moved by it?
But I dream of making Metafalica. I'm responsible for making the people's dream a reality.
No, it's not a duty. I want to see a paradise where everyone lives in peace and harmony, Metafalica...
I want to sing it with my heart as well. For that... I will endure anything...
I dreamt of Metafalica when I joined the knights as well. So I really understand those feelings of yours as well.
Croix, will you dream the same dream with me? The realization and success of a world where everyone is happy.
But it is a painful path... If you stay with me, I will drag you into the rough road. Will you still walk with me?
Of course I will. I did not lie when I said those words.
I will dream the same dream as you. I look to the same world.
I know I still lack power, and it still irritates me, but...
Please don't say that. You work so hard for me. Have confidence in yourself.
And... it's none other than me... It is I who requires your strength at my side.
Lady Cloche... I...
Ah, you mustn't Croix. You cannot say any more than that...
I am a maiden, after all... I am not allowed those feelings...
Wh-wh-wh-what's with this super embarrassing cheesy play...!?
Icefall Dragon: Do you not understand the elegance of romance and art?
This isn't art!
Icefall Dragon: Deprived of culture and sensitivity, how unfortunate.
Oh shut up!
But... Instead, swear to me, Croix.
That you'll protect me from all enemies. That you won't let anyone hurt me.
Yes my lady.
You will swear then...?
I do... I will protect you with my life.
I was already close to freaking out at the cheesy dialog when she turned it up a level.
Wha-wha-what!? Aren't you embarrassed!? What's with this third-rate, melodramatic play!?
Oh, who would've thought it'd be you. Peeking into our conversation? What lowly conduct.
You're the one who's showing it off on purpose! All theatrical and stuff... It gave me goosebumps.
I see you don't understand the noble, lyrical conversation. How unfortunate.
What part of this is noble!? This melo-melo-drama madness is worse than the noon time soap operas.
You really aren't good at this, Lady Cloche. That sort of scenario won't fly in the Rim at all!
You're so stupid... You don't understand anything, do you?
Love burns more passionately, the more you try to keep it hidden.
The more obstacles there are, the stronger the tie. Did you know?
And Luca, you might say that you're his official girlfriend, but you broke up the other day, did you not?
Then it shouldn't matter to you. This is only about me and Croix...
I-it doesn't not matter! I... I really like Croix too!
Yes, I might have been using him. I treated him badly. But... my feelings for Croix are real too.
I... finally realized it.
Such a selfish story. I'm amazed.
You tried pretending on the surface and betraying at heart, using him some... And then say you still like him.
I would never do that. Even if it's a love that can never be revealed... My sincere heart will treasure Croix.
Is the Holy Maiden even allowed to say such a thing? That's a big scandal.
Listen here. I honestly don't care about status and position and whatnot.
I'm just a normal girl. I'll fall in love too. But being a maiden had been my ball and chain until now.
In order to sing Metafalica, to make paradise a reality, I was forced to endure it all.
I wasn't allowed to have feelings of a girl. I had to act out my role of being a perfect maiden, for so long.
But do you understand now?
That's why, in this world, we're free.
From now on, I'm no longer bound to my position as a maiden. I can tell Croix my feelings.
I can walk together under the light.
I'll say this now. I love Croix. More than you ever did.
Wha-what are you saying now?
Don't you get it? This is a declaration against you, Luca.
I love Croix. I love him from my heart. So I will never give him to you!
I knew then that there was no way I could match that kind of feeling.
Oh... I guess it's not for me to interfere...
That's right. I'm glad you finally understand.
...Well at least, until now, right?
You can be maiden and knight, but we have a history that won't lose to titles like that!
I know Croix's sad face, happy face, his angry face, all of it. I know the proud look he shows when he wins a fight.
No matter how poor we were, we would all surround the table, and share the food, even if it were only one thing...
We've shared the same sadness and joys!
Croix is my knight. Being the maiden is a path of agony. There's no freedom, you must endure responsibility and pressure.
But Croix said that he will give his life to me, knowing all of it.
He said he would look at the same future, and share the same pains and joys from now on.
You're greatly mistaken if you think you can surpass our tie with yours.
Hmhm... Alright, Luca. This is a serious battle.
Yes, the fight begins now, Lady Cloche.
Uhm... What about my feelings...?
Icefall Dragon: There are some stages where the guy shouldn't come in, young one.
Don't get so depressed. Today's a great day, for the two ladies finally revealed their feelings to you.
I'll give you this. Make sure not to handle poorly, this proof of their duel.
System Message: Obtained Mindgem: Emotional Bomb!
Next Time on Ar Tonelico 2: Struggle of Hearts