Part 19: Chapter 18: Heart's Battle
Chapter 18: Heart's Battle
Loading Excerpt- Personal Logs, C. Bartel
My only consolation in this stupid place is that we seem to be almost at the end of it. As odd as it sounds I sort of miss the brutal fights out of nowhere with the Divine Messenger.
That is wrong. This is a bath house.
It's about the same size as Rakshek Resort though.
Wow, that's a huge bath.
I can do whatever I want with the land here.
But it seems I've gone a little too grand with my imagination.
Grand...? You mean the bath?
It's good that the bath is big, but I had other ideas and it got cluttered...
I got so confused that the place got full of trash. Won't you clean it for me?
I wanted to relax in here, but now, it doesn't feel comfortable taking a bath.
I'm not telling you to do it by hand. I'll lend you this fire blowing vacuum!
System Message: You were forced to take the Flame Cleaner!
If I had imagined doing it by hand, I would fill Gaea with trash.
Feinne's Fourth Wall Lectures:
So in this map we run around mashing the square button to shoot fire at trash. There's nothing hard about it, though you need to make sure not to miss a talk topic with Luca that's hard to see.
That was a crazy amount of trash though.
I feel a little dizzy from the steam...
Anyway, let's return to Lady Cloche.
It was so much trash. The flame cleaner was useful, but that trash was...
I'll be careful from now on. But... If this happens again...
Please clean up before it happens again!
It's a Sphere Key!
Anyway we went back into the Infelsphere, for what I hoped would be the last time.
No response... Or more like, she's daydreaming. Um, Lady Cloche?
N-now she's laughing to herself. Uh... Can you hear me?
Icefall Dragon: Don't bother her.
Watch out, Luca!
W-whoa... Don't come out all of a sudden. What if you step on us!?
And... Y-your face is a little scary...
Icefall Dragon: How dare you, you disrespectful girl.
So, what's happened to Lady Cloche?
Yeah, she's just off in space.
Icefall Dragon: Lady Cloche is having fun in her happy memories right now.
Hehe... Haha hehehe...
E-er, it's kinda scary, Lady Cloche...
What kind of memory?
It turns out it had to do with me.
Ah... That touch, I'll never forget...
And that frustrated face Luca made, hehehe.
I said it hurt, but... It was the most gentle insertion I've ever felt. I even thought he might've been so used to it.
But it actually wasn't. Because I was Croix's first. His "first"... It has such a nice ring.
Croix...? What is she talking about?
Uh, I don't know!?
In an emergency, the guarding knight must take responsibility.
Lady Cloche! You're awake now!?
I've been awake. I didn't think... you would end up doing this to me, too.
...You can choose someone else to do this if you want.
Your mission is to protect me. That would be dereliction of duty.
You have to give it to her. We'll give you some privacy.
Icefall Dragon: That's right.
What does that have to do...?
Croix, for your first time, you were very good. It was gentle... How you did it felt like you cared for the girl.
Y-yes... B-but it sounded like you were in a lot of pain that time...
Well... A certain amount of pain can't be helped. No one can make it so that it won't hurt at all.
Though it's something men will never be able to understand...
But... there is a difference. With kindness, care, and love... The same pain feels bearable and relaxing.
Oh, I see.
So I'm thinking, I can let you do it for me again next time.
Y-yes, thank you very much...
But, there's one thing I'm very mad at. Something that very truly hurt me.
Wh-what is that?
You don't remember?
I had no idea what specifically she might be mad at.
I'm doing my duty!
I think that was a terrible thing to say. I mean, you did do it. Don't you think it's rude to girls?
I get hurt too, you know.
Or what, did you think I'm an iron maiden who can't be hurt by anything?
Don't push the image of a maiden onto my personal feelings, too.
I-I didn't mean to do that!
I... see I didn't realize many things. I'm very sorry for it all.
But I really didn't think that at all.
When Amarie made fun of me, it was like a reflex, and I said it like that...
To know that it had hurt you... I sincerely apologize.
So you'll take back those words of calling it simply, your duty?
Of course I will.
Then show me the proof.
I mean what's a man to do at a time like this? I'm not so good with words, after all. And here in this world inside a world I can give her the kind of comfort our positions make impossible in the real world.
Excuse me, Lady Cloche.
I'm sorry Lady Cloche. It seems I'm not good at choosing my words.
And... I didn't want to hurt you again with more careless words, so this... is my feelings.
Uh... Y-you know, you...
I'm sorry. I couldn't think of anything other than this.
I-if you couldn't think of any other way, you must be stupid.
I'm sorry. But... I thought this would be the best way to show my feelings.
W-well, then it can't be helped...!
Then show me more clearly! Y-you're a little weak!
Y-yes! Then... e-excuse me.
I-is your sincerity that weak? Put your heart into your whole body!
Icefall Dragon: Oh? It seems to be a truly correct choice as a man. Keep the words to a minimum, and show with attitude.
Lady Cloche's gone too far too. What's with that, "Put your heart into it"!?
Icefall Dragon: When she's the maiden, she's not allowed to depend on a man's kindness. Why not allow her at least this much freedom?
W-well I mean... That may be, but... Isn't that abusing your authority?
Icefall Dragon: What an annoying girl. You shouldn't interfere with people's love life.
Love life...? W-wait! But I like Croix, too!
Icefall Dragon: Hmph. Don't "I like Croix, too!" me. Then why did you trick Croix? Why did you use him!?
Icefall Dragon: Well, whatever. Talking of the past won't change anything now.
The main topic is the "present". So, how do you feel now?
...It's like... I feel so confused... It's like, regret and the irritation of not being able to do anything...
Icefall Dragon: Lady Cloche always felt that way when she watched you and Croix.
Icefall Dragon: When Lady Cloche began having feelings for Croix, you were far ahead in the lead.
And in that situation, how strong did the feeling have to be not to give up, to keep trying...
I see... Yeah. I guess if it were me... I probably would've given up a long time ago.
Lady Cloche's feelings for Croix... Maybe it's really, really strong...
Icefall Dragon: Who knows? You should ask her yourself.
Since you were able to feel at least the edge of that feeling, it's good enough. You experienced Lady Cloche's feelings.
System Message: Obtained Mindgem: Underground Fires!
Icefall Dragon: Hm. I see. It seems you two have gotten to know each other even better now.
There's nothing for you to learn on the third level. The rest is up to your own practice.
Let us do the ritual of completion at the Sphere Gate. You better come.
None of us had any idea what was coming up.
Icefall Dragon: Glad you came. Once you're done with this ritual of approval, you'll be done with the third level.
But however, the admission for this level won't be easy like before.
What...!? I-it's not...?
Icefall Dragon: Before this, the theme was the past. You can't change the past. So as long as you were able to sympathize, it was fine.
But the theme here is the current path of love. I'm sure you know, but it's not easy coming to a mutual understanding.
Y-yeah, you're right... Because I know, I'm starting to feel scared...
Icefall Dragon: But! The Infelsphere program is an expert. A plan that best suits the two of you has already been set up.
Huh!? Wh-what is it? What kind of plan!?
Icefall Dragon: That's for you to experience yourself. Now, let's begin. Lady Cloche awaits.
Icefall Dragon: That's right. She's been waiting for you, fully prepared.
Prepared... for what?
Croix; More like, where is Lady Cloche?
Icefall Dragon: Of course I do.
Uhm, then are you going to guide us there again...?
Icefall Dragon: Let's cut the chat. Just go begin.
Hey, you! You're late!
Huh!? Wh-wh-wh-what is this Lady Cloche... And where is this!? And what was that gong sound!?
You came all the way here, and you're still muttering nonsense?
Now listen! I'm going to say everything I've been holding in today!
Huh? Wha? Eh?
I've been upset at you forever!
But my pride won't let me complain about you behind your back! That's why today, I'm going to tell you loud and clear!
L-Lady Cloche!? She seems so upset... I wonder if I should go in to stop them...
Icefall Dragon: Kid, you wait here. Don't interfere.
Huh? But if we leave them like that, I think something terrible might happen...
Icefall Dragon: I won't allow you to interfere with Lady Cloche. If you insist on going in to stop them, I'll fight you first.
You know, ever since I first met you, you were so rude!
N-no I'm not. But, I really am happy, though.
I just can't... look you straight in the eye yet.
We're kinda lost here.
He was in the middle of his mission! Women like you who can't sense the time and place lowers a man's value!
Y-yes, that time, I'm sorry I didn't pay enough attention to my surroundings...
And right after you ignored us, you went on thoughtlessly and said this...
Of course, I'd be happy to! I mean... I'd love to stay with you too, Croix.
Er, well, I didn't mean it like that, but... I-I-I'm very sorry!
Gen: It's nice to meet you, too... Wait, Croix...?
Gen: Oh! Luca's fiancé!
I never heard of any story that mentioned him having a fiancé! It was a complete sneak attack!
Um, well the fiancé part was a confusing misunderstanding, more like it was just Mr. Gen's point of view...
Misunderstanding my butt!
Lady Cloche, I think you're starting to lose your composure...
What did you say!?
W-wow, I think it's just getting worse now... Hey, how long do we have to leave them to it!?
Icefall Dragon: Until Lady Cloche is satisfied. I will watch over it until she's let our her feelings she was unable to say before.
Icefall Dragon: Just stay quiet and watch. There's nothing that will threaten any lives. She just wishes for a right ending.
How many people do you actually have to put up a good face to!?
I-it's not like that, though. Greeting with a happy smile is a staple of normal social situations.
I mean, well... I think you should be a little more amicable, too.
I-I can't be like you! I don't change my attitude for everyone I meet. I can't put up fake smiles for anyone!
But, um... Seeing that you get mad at everyone you meet, I think people would back away from you instead...
Or like, honestly, it's kinda scary.
W-well I'm sorry! Whatever, I'm not cute! I'm intimidating and emotionless!
Um, I didn't say that...
But it can't be helped! I'm the maiden! I have to maintain authority and charisma at all times!
You can say whatever you want without caring about your place... You don't know anything about my pain!
You think anyone can act like you do!? Th-that's just embarrassing!
It's just been so long, plus I didn't expect to see you here...
M-my mind wasn't ready... And so...
My heart's racing...
"My heart's racing..."
What's with that outrageously old fashioned cute-girl act!?
Ahh, so embarrassing! You think that kind of girl seriously exists in the real world right now!?
That attitude that depicts a guy's dream image, it's just impossible to think of!
Aww, but in terms of old fashioned and guys' dream image, I think you're more old fashioned than me...
I think that's more weird.
Y-you're such a...! Putting yourself aside and criticizing me now!? You're so despicable!
Wahhh! Please don't yell at me so harshly. It scares me.
What are you "wahhh"-ing about! "It scares me"!? What's with that sugary tone!
Stop sucking up to people with that sweet voice, it's so embarrassing!
Um, but I'm not sucking up to anyone. It's just my normal tone...
"Normal tone"!? What's that whiny sound for! You don't need to do that in normal conversations!
What part of that isn't sucking up!?
Um, but this is standard, and...
Just stop acting so... urgh! It's so stupid!
How badly do you actually feign this cutesy innocence?
I won't be fooled!
Luca couldn't take any more.
That's enough! I've had it!
Here I am, trying to stay calm and hear you out, and you keep going! I've had enough of you accusing me already!
What, if you're so jealous that you want to complain about it, why don't you just do the same?
People who can act cute win in this world! It's a skill, too, you know?
Haha, there's the truth. I knew you were a cunning, calculating two faced woman from the very start!
Y-you're so mean...
Croix~, Lady Cloche's being mean~.
Wh-what are you doing now!? Y-you, reversible-personality woman!
Who's reversible!? You're the two-face! A suggestive tease, trying to act more important than you are!
What!? I'll say this now, but playing hard to get is what a guy wants! Acting cute and naïve doesn't fly anymore!
Don't you know the eternal standard? It's always the straightforward innocent girl who wins in the end!
Who's innocent here? Your mask'll fall right off, you black livered woman!
Icefall Dragon: Leave them go at it until the end. Voicing out in action is the best way to vent out their anger.
Icefall Dragon: Don't get full of yourself. Not everything can be solved just by you trying hard.
I mean, for you to be here is unnatural to begin with. Since this is a field for the two "qualified".
You're only an audience who, by chance, was allowed to stay. Normally it'd be impossible for you to even come in...
...I see. Yeah, it was...
Icefall Dragon: You might've been able to intervene until now. But the deeper we go, the less place you'll have to come in.
Icefall Dragon: It's about time for you to stop coming. In the next level... You'll probably be an unnecessary existence.
*huff * *huff *
A-are you two okay?
You stay quiet, Croix!
This is between the two of us!
*huff * *huff *
It's alright now...
Let's put everything that just happened behind us. I'll make up with you...
I'm sorry... I was a little harsh. But after saying everything I wanted to, I feel a lot better.
If you still have any haziness in your mind, say it now. Here, on the spot. I'll listen to it all.
Oh, no! I'm alright! I acted up pretty badly, but I feel better after saying all that.
Now, let's go!
What?! Huh!? W-wait... You don't have to hurry off that quickly...
Icefall Dragon: ......
Is this really okay? It kind of feels unnatural in a way...
Icefall Dragon: You might be right. Looks like the contradiction is finally beginning to surface.
Contradiction...!? We were told of that before, too. What is this contradiction?
Icefall Dragon: I don't know the details. I just know that the progress isn't leading towards the world's objective.
Icefall Dragon: Well, it's nothing for you to worry about. This isn't a flimsy world that'd change just because of that.
And even in this situation, the two girls' hearts are coming closer. I'm able to cooperate with you now, too.
System Message: Combo Magic Mind Zapper: Lv E "Icefall Dragon" composed!
So it looks like we're finally almost at the Heart of Gaea. Don't worry Lady Cloche, I'll save you from whatever Jacqli has planned...
Next Time on Ar Tonelico 2: EXEC_SPHILIA/.