The Let's Play Archive

Ar Tonelico Qoga

by Feinne

Part 4: Cosmosphere

Aoto had agreed to let Saki turn herself over to the Clustanians, but he of course felt terrible about doing so. He wouldn’t be human if he didn’t.

I told her I would never run away and I'd accept my responsibility, but in the end, I...
Auntie Leu: Welcome! What's up, sir!? You look unhappy! If you're going to eat, then please sit.
Oh, I’m sorry.
Aoto, there you are. I was worried.
Tats, where’s Saki?
Doc is back. I don’t think we’ll see her again.
You just might be right…
I’m so stupid. I’m a big idiot.
...There are things you can handle and things you can't. We were just unlucky.
...Either way, I can't forgive the Clustanians! "Obey us or we'll destroy your town!" That's going too far!
Auntie Leu: That’s how the Clustanians do things.
Auntie Leu: They never change. Are they up to something else now?
Auntie Leu: Well, if you can’t tell me everything, I won’t ask you anymore.

As I said before, real heroes can’t really understand how their enemies think. It’s part of what makes them heroes, but at the same time it is a bit of a handicap.

…That’s horrible.
…Yes, it is.
Anyway, our journey ends here.
It’s not because Luphan told me to, but I’ll still go help Master.
You should go back to Blue Canyon Hamlet, too. If you keep a low profile, they won't catch you.

That they’d returned had attracted a bit of notice.

Oh, you’re here too? Sorry, I didn’t notice.
What do you want from us?
Well, how would you like to have a Song-Magic-singing Reyvateil escort you? I'll give you a special deal.
No, thanks.
I’m not asking you! I’m talking to that boy over there.
Thanks, but no thanks. I’m used to travelling on my own.
Oh, really…?
Are you sure?
Anyway, let’s go rest at the Inn. I have to say goodbye to you tonight.

Aoto and Tatsumi headed down to the Inn, they were both exhausted.

Don’t look so depressed. Let’s rest up for tomorrow.
…Okay, sure.

The next morning, they learned an important lesson about trust.

…Okay. Take care.
You, too.
Listen, it’s an emergency! Fallen Heaven is going to be Cleansed!
Luphan...! What do you mean? We gave in to their demands.
The Clustanian Army has still blocked off Ciela Port and purposefully refusedto let Saki enter the land!
...Auntie was right. As she said, Saki was just a reason to Cleanse! Dammit!
So, where’s Saki!?
Rev. Gengai escaped with her. Now they're heading to Fallen Heaven Peak on an airship.
If Saki is important to them, then we can still use her as a hostage...
E-excuse me, but do you two know Saki personally?
Sorry for not telling you, but there'sa complicated story behind it. Anyway, I'll go to Fallen Heaven Peak!

Aoto had made a bad choice earlier, and to compensate made another choice that was guaranteed to make his life much more full of incident.

I told her I’d sell her out to the Clustanians in order to save Fallen Heaven Peak, and she agreed!
…Do whatever you want. What you do is none of my business.
Thank you, you two.
Let’s head out now!
There are fierce, wild monsters in Fallen Heaven Peak. It's dangerous to go there without a Reyvateil.
But who would help us?
Tatsumi, do you know any Reyvateils who can help us?
Just one…

They returned to the bistro, having just one option.

Oh? Do you know me?
N-no, please go on.
Finnel, the tide has turned. I need your help. We're going to Fallen Heaven Peak right now. Can you come with us?
Fallen Heaven Peak!?
You should be happy! We’re hiring you.
You’re hiring me, but you’re going to Fallen Heaven Peak…
Are you scared?
N-no, I’m not!
I won’t force you.
That’s not what I meant!
So, what do ya say? Chop chop!
I’ll definitely go!
Alright! Let’s go then!

Luphan, however, was somewhat skeptical that she could be much help.

Huh? What now?
Finnel, have you ever done a Dive before?
It's a long journey to Fallen Heaven Peak. A Reyvateil without strong enough Song Magic is nothing but a burden...
So, if you really do go with us, then Dive and enhance your Song Magic.
Huh!? Why so suddenly!? Who’s going to Dive into me!?
I’ll pass.
Then, Aoto, it’s your job.

I’m pretty sure Aoto just said whatever he was thinking at the time regardless of how hard he should have been punched for it.

What!? Why do I have to give him my Diving virginity!?
It’s not like I wanna take it!
Then, let’s hire a better Reyvateil.
Well, life is indispensable, but safety can be bought with money. Let's go.
Oh, yeah.
Wait! Wait! Wait!
Whoa! Don’t scare me like that!
No! Don’t go! I want to be with Tatsumi!
What are you saying!?
Well, actually, Aoto is okay, too, but, it’s sort of…a different situation.
Alright. I’ll Dive, okay!?

Finnel clearly had some ulterior motive for joining up with them, but what it could be wasn’t clear.

What did you say?
Oh, nothing!
…Alright, Aoto.
It’s your time to Dive in her.
You’d better be gentle with me.
I didn’t say I’ll do it!
Let's go to the Dive Shop now. It's located in Waterforest Square.

And so they headed down to the Dive Shop.

Oh, this is a Dive Shop, right?
Dive Shopkeeper: It just so happens that it is. So?

Dive Shopkeeper:
He’s not very friendly.
Well, that’s not really what Dive Shops are about…
Exactly. Diving means to interact with a Reyvateil directly within her core.
What's important is that they trust each other.
Well, I’m worried now.
Watch what you’re saying!
Dive Shopkeeper: Hey!
Be quiet! You wanna Dive or not!? If you're gonna do it, then just do it. Stop chitchatting!

Things weren’t exactly going well and they hadn’t even started yet.

Dive Shopkeeper: What troublesome rascals…
…What a rude shopkeeper…
Dive Shopkeeper: Nah!?
I didn’t say anything!
Luphan, continue with the explanation.
As I told you earlier, Diving is an act of going into a Reyvateil's mind and enhancing her Song Magic.
In order to sing strong Song Magic, she has to have abundant mindfulness. In other words, she must train her spirit.
So, by overcoming the upcoming ordeals, her Songs will grow stronger and stronger.
Please make sure to combine both your minds and bodies into one...
I'm giving you my sacred Diving virginity. Don't blow it, okay!?
I didn’t ask for it.
I'm worried about their future...
Dive Shopkeeper: I told ya! If you're a man, just stop whining and peel off your skin!
You, too! Don't hesitate at the last moment! Make up your mind!
Y-yes, sir!

Feinne on Qoga: Diving
Diving is just simple as can be. We go to the Dive Shop, pay some money, and if we’ve met the requirements (usually just having enough Talk Topics at the level seen) we’ll get sent to whatever level we’re on. You spend the Dive Points earned in battle to go through the scenes. Be careful with your choices because some of them can crash you out or cause serious problems for you later on in the level. This time we don’t get new Song Magic directly, but we do get the means to make magic more powerful, which I’ll talk about after the Dive.

Dives are deeply personal affairs. So, of course, I hacked the Tower and watched the logs because I was bored one day.

Video Record- “Finnel 1”


I’m not going to judge how weird her Soulspace is, not my place.

It’s kind of creepy looking. I wonder if all Cosmospheres are like this.

She sure has a strange Mind Guardian, though.

Whoa! You scared the crap outta me! Who are you!?
I'm Momoko, Finnel's Mind Guardian. Pleased to meet you.
Mind Guardian? What’s that?
A Mind Guardian should I put this? ...Like the Soulspace Owner's assistant.
Hmm... That's weird, but alright. In any case, you're Finnel's friend, right? Nice to meet ya.
The pleasure is all mine.
By the way, where is the Owner?
I don't know. Maybe she's crying a river around here? That's where I usually find her.

Finnel was stuck on a pillar surrounded by thumbtacks.

Whoa, what is this place!? It's got thumbtacks spread out all over. I can't even walk.
Oh, Finnel! Why are you standing in the middle of thumbtacks!? How did you even get over there?
Please help me!
Hold on a sec! I’ll be right there!
…Now, how can I get over there?
Why don’t you just step on ‘em?
Hell no! That’ll be painful!
Hmhm. Are you sure about that? Maybe it won’t be as bad as you think.
…I don’t know.
Aoto! Please help me, quick!
…Alright, just wait a little longer! What should I do…?

If walking over thumbtacks was going to be a problem for him, it probably would have been for the best for him not to Dive anymore.

Alright, I'm a man, after all! If you say so, I'll walk on them! But if it hurts, this won't be pretty.
That’s if it hurts, right?
...Oh, you're right! It doesn't hurt at all. Are they just an illusion?
See? I told you.
Hey, Finnel! These thumbtacks are just an illusion! Don't be scared. Come over here.
No, they're not. I stepped on them earlier, and they hurt!
…Geez. Alright, I’ll come and pick you up.
Thank you…
You really are clumsy, aren’t ya?
First of all, you're in the middle of a thumbtackfield... This is your Cosmosphere! Aren't you free in here?
No. This is my Cosmospshere, but there is no freedom for me.
...I don't understand. This is a reflection of your mind, right? Can't you change it however you want?

That is much harder than it sounds to just say.

Oh, well. Your Cosmosphere is creepy!
Especially that eye! What is that!?
…I don’t know. It’s been watching me for as long as I can remember.
Someone's watching you? Did you do something bad? The prison, thumbtacks, chains...are you being punished?
No! I don't even know what's really going on here... seems like the inside of someone's mind can be really funky.
Anyway, there's no reason we have to stay here, right? Let's go.
But the thumbtacks... And, I haven't eaten anything. I feel dizzy.
Alright, alright! I'll carry you out of this place.
...That's impossible. You can't even hold me.
How can that be?
…You’re right! What’s going on in this world!?
I don’t know…
I'm getting more and more confused... Hey, Momoko, get over here!

Aoto clearly didn’t really get that a Mind Guardian isn’t there to help him but Momoko clearly saw some potential fun in doing so.

Why can’t I touch Finnel?
Do you want to touch her body? Are you a pervert?
That’s not what I meant!
Okay, but seriously, touching has been banned here. That's the law of this world.
Like, you know how during a play or a movie, the audience can't touch the actresses, right? Hmhmhm.

…Aoto, I’m starving.
…Okay, wait here. I’ll go get you something to eat.
Thank you…

Aoto was already getting confused at what was going on.

Yeah, it is mysterious. Hmhmhm...that's why Cosmospheres are so fun.
Enigmatic realms that reside within the mind! The mysteries of the human soul! That what it really is.
But, you're a big part of this enigma. So...why don't you release Finnel from her cage? That's so cruel.
Oh, that's not cruel at all. That's what she asked for.
That's ridiculous! She hasn't even eaten anything. She looks so hungry.
That's what she wants. I know it sounds like a lie, but it's the truth. You'll see for yourself soon enough.

Aoto managed to track some food down, but things weren’t going to be so easy.

A cage...and thumbtacks... What a world...
What the heck's going on in her mind...?
...Oh! There's some food in the cage! I am kind of hungry...
But the cage sturdy. I can't open it.
...That's it! Momoko might be small enough to fit through this.
Hey, Momoko! C'mon out here!
Hey now. Just who do you think you are?
You can fit between these bars, right? Can you get me that food that's just begging to be eaten in there?
I can, but you won't be able to eat it.
Oh. W-well, I knew that. I'm just going to bring it to Finnel.
Then, I won't do it.
Why not?!
If she gets to eat right away, it won't be any fun. Right?
Fun...? Aren't you Finnel's ally?
Hmhmhmm. Of course.
...Forget it. I'll do it myself.
Good luck. I'll be watching you with a big ol' smile.

Aoto went looking around for some other way to get the food from the cage.

Huh!? Someone’s shackled up!?
Hey, are you okay?

A strange little fairy creature was chained up.

I’m Aoto. Are you…a fairy?
Ternita: I'm Ternita. A Hyuma that resides in this world. Sure, I guess a fairy isn't that inaccurate.
A Hyuma…?
A "resident of this world" is more accurate.
Hyumas are the embodiments of Finnel's emotions and phobias.
Ternita: Nice to meet you, Aoto. Are you an outlander?
Well, I surely don’t live in this world.
Ternita: Please! Can you unbind me?
Residents of this world can't unlock these bindings. Please do this favor for me, sir!
Interesting… What should I do?

The tricky part of these things is to understand the rules by which the Soulspace works. This was not the sort of place where things come for free.

Okay, I'll unlock them, but only under one condition.
I'll free you, but you'll have to do me a favor in return. You can't refuse, no matter what. Got it?
Ternita: With incredible pleasure!
...Uh, am I imagining things, or are you really turned on right now? Is it because you'll be free? Or...
Anyway, I'll set you free. Hah!
Okay, you’re unlocked!
Ternita: Ahhh, thanks so much.
Okay. So…
Ternita: As I promised, I'll do ANYTHING. Please give me a command, Master!
Um, you're a bit...too excited...
Ternita: M-my heart’s racing…
Wh-why do you look so…y’know!?
Ternita: Ohmigosh...I can barely hold it...
A-alright, listen up.
Can you help me take food out of the prison?
Ternita: "...Can you help me?" That's no good. You should say, "Grab the food, idiot!" Otherwise, I'll get turned off. Try it!
Huh? Why're you correcting me?
Ternita: I'm so excited!
Fine. Okay, go to the prison and bring the damn food back! I'm commanding you, brat!
Ternita: Y-yes, sir! I'm so honored to serve you!

Ternita: Master, I'll go to the prison right away!

Anyway he and the creepy fairy set out while Momoko watched their progress.

…What a weirdo.
Hyumas are the personifications of their owner's personality. So, most of them display pretty extreme behavior.
In other words, Finnel shares a characteristic with Ternita.
Really? I've never seen Finnel act like that, though.
Naturally. Not all of them are apparent. Most characteristics are hidden deep within her mind.
Her true feelings, which fail to reach the surface, become a myriad of Hyumas, scattered all throughout her Soulspace.
Isn't it fun to find them one at a time? I hope you see many embarrassing sides of her.
…I…I’m not interested in that.

They returned to the cage full of food.

Great. We’re here.
Ternita: So, you wanted me to get the food out of that cage, right?
Yep. I’m counting on you.
Ternita: Very well! I’m going in!
I’m back!
Awesome. You did a good job.
Ternita: Hehehe. Thanks. I’m flattered.
Okay, let’s take this food over to Finnel. She’s famished.

And with the food in tow, Aoto and the pervert fairy returned to Finnel.

Hey, Finnel! Are you still alive?
A-Aoto...I'm starving... I don't much longer I can last.
Hehe. I brought some food for you!
Ternita: Sir Aoto, you want me to give this food to this lowly woman, right?
That’s right…
Ternita: Then, here…
Wow! It looks so yummy! I’ll eat it-…!

Momoko knocked the food out of Finnel’s hands.

Hey, Momoko! What do you think you're doing!?
Well, you wouldn't be any fun if she got to eat it so easily.
Oh food...
Alright, now what are you going to do? Hmhmhm...
Hey! Aren't you Finnel's friend!?
Well, that's a silly question. It's time for Ms. Momoko's special lesson of the day.
Listen up, okay? Mind Guardians are the most precious things and memories their master has.
In short, the Mind Guardian is a guardian who is the closest being to their master.
Isn’t that right, Finnel?
Y-yes, ma’am… You’re absolutely right!
Since you didn't hold onto the dish carefully, all that food was wasted.
Aoto brought it to you, but you ruined it.
I'm sorry...
Hey! You're the one who made her drop it!
It’s all my fault. I’ll eat it all.

Aoto wasn’t going to just sit there and watch the ridiculous scene playing out in front of him.

No, you don’t have to… The food you brought me is delicious…
Who said you were allowed to talk to him as if he was a friend? You’re being way too rude to Sir Aoto, don’t you think?
Y-yes, I was an impertinent wench! Sir Aoto, this is delicious. I’ll eat it all. Please forgive my insolence!
See, you can do it.
Stop! This isn’t what I want. Finnel, that’s enough. Don’t eat it.
If you're hungry, I'll bring you more food. If you're scared of Momoko, I'll beat her up. So stop doing that.
I’ll protect you!
Thank you, Aoto... *sob*
So...don't cry anymore, okay?
Okay... I was always alone...always being bullied. I was so lonely...

Aoto unfortunately didn’t listen very well, and rather missed that a much deeper issue was leaking through to even this shallow level.

*sob* *sniffle* ...Th-thank you...

Still, he’d managed to complete the level.

Oh, it's a Paradigm Shift.
What the hell does that mean?
You don't know anything, do you? Alright, Ms. Momoko will teach you another lesson.
A Paradigm Shift happens when Finnel opens herself up to you.
When she thinks it's okay to show you more of her true self, a Paradigm Shift occurs.
In short, she's ready to show you a more embarrassing side of herself! Do you get it?
I...don't have to see those things...
Oh, I know you're really interested in seeing more embarrassing sides of Finnel.
Well, maybe…just a little.
Hmhm, how frank. I like that. Plus, by going through Paradigm Shifts, you can go deeper into her mind.
By doing that, you can gain more powerful Hyumas.
The Paradigm Shift is always the key to boosting her up.
I…I see…
Then…I guess it can’t be helped.
That’s right. You have no choice.
...Wait! I still haven't forgiven you for the way you treated Finnel! That was just plain mean!
Oh, really? It sure seems natural of you to get the wrong idea. I think I'll enjoy this role of the villain.
Later gator!

Momoko left Aoto to finish things up.

Wahhh! When did you get here!?
Just now. You’re going to the Stonehenge, right? I’ll go with you.
Oh, really? Okay, let’s go then.

And so they headed to the Stonehenge.

Oh! This place is shiny…
I heard that if you enter the light, you'll move into a deeper layer of my mind.
It's my first time, so I'm a little excited...and a little nervous.

Aoto, did you know that each time you enter a deeper level, the world grows more and more extreme and hostile?
…! Even more!? Isn’t that dangerous…?
…Sort of, but it’ll be okay. You’ll save me again, right?
Okay. Let’s go!

And that was that.

They’d succeeded at strengthening her Song Magic, so Luphan was willing to go along with bringing Finnel to Fallen Heaven Peak.

Congratulations! I think you’ve caught a Hyuma.
What’s that?
Hyumas are…like fairies. I met them while I was Diving.
Hyumas are pieces of her mind that are necessary for enhancing her Song Magic.
By using Hyumas, you can make Song Magic stronger. That's the name of the game.
Now that you've enhanced your Song Magic, let's head for our destination.

Feinne on Qoga: Hyumas
So, rather than get new Song Magics, we get Hyumas that allow us to change how our Magic works. We can assign up to four Hyumas at a time, one to each shoulder button. When we Purge with that shoulder, we get two benefits. The first is that we get whatever bonus is attached to that Hyuma, such as increased Healing, improved stats, resistance to elements, and resistance to status. The second is that the Hyumas change the battle music, generally to something much more favorable to us than the basic music. Hyumas come in four levels, and higher level Hyumas are of course more powerful. In order to program high level Hyumas you need to sacrifice some money or items as gifts to the Reyvateil in question. Don’t make me explain why, it should be obvious by now.

Despite how bad things had seemed at the start, Aoto had actually completed the Dive, which impressed Tatsumi.

What’s wrong, Tatsumi?
Well, you seemed pretty hostile, but you’re actually pretty compatible with him, personality wise.
Who are you talking about?
What…!? Wh-why is that!?
Because despite your attitude, you’ve accepted him into your Cosmosphere.
Th-that’s only because in order to tag along with you guys, I have to be able to use strong Song Magic…
But Aoto’s been unlocking Hyumas one after another without any problems.
Doesn’t that mean you two are compatible?
N-not necessarily!
It’s just…
Well, you know, I…I wanna be able to use superb Song Magic, too… That’s only natural, right?
So, it’s not about our compatibility or anything…I swear.
Oh, is that right?
O-of course.
Well, but at least it’s obvious that you like him enough to let him stay in your Cosmosphere.
I said, that’s not true.

Feinne on Qoga: Party Topics
Sometimes when you reach certain areas with the right party you get a special little scene like this where your party members talk about something. They’re pretty cool and fun little things.

Aoto really didn’t get how important Diving was.

You never gave me your feedback.
Huh? What are you talking about?

No! I can’t accept that this idiot took my Dive virginity!
Don’t call me an idiot! It was consensual!
I know that, but…
Because I Dived into you, you were able to get Hyumas, right?
You should be happy, not mad.
That’s why I didn’t want to let you Dive into me!
You don’t know anything about Diving, and you were my first. You didn’t even sweet talk me!
Give me back my first Dive!
Ah, alright, alright!
I saved your life, remember? Let’s just call it even.
You don’t understand! I hate you!

He wasn’t a total idiot, though.

Don’t you feel scared in battle?
I can’t say that it’s not scary, but why?
Well, I kind of forced you to come with us on this journey.
I knew this would be dangerous, so it’s okay.
Really? You don’t have to push yourself so hard. You can go home if you want to.
It’s really fine! I’m stronger than I look.
Yeah, but…
I didn’t know you could be so nice.
You really care about me…
N-no. I’m just saying…you know?
Then, it’s not a problem that I’m going with you, yeah?
…W-well, if you’re fine with it, then it’s okay with me.

The Dive came up again a bit later, proving he was still an idiot in the end.

Aoto, you caused a Paradigm Shift in my Cosmosphere!
Yeah, I did.
What’s wrong? Were you traumatized by the experience?
N-no. That’s not it.
Just uh…in the Cosmosphere, you…
S-stop! Don’t say it!
Don’t talk about what happened in the Cosmosphere!
Oh, really?
Well, you haven’t seen much because that was only the first Paradigm Shift, right?
Maybe you can tell me about the first one after you achieve the second Paradigm Shift…
(Well, maybe she’s better off not knowing about such a horrible world…)

Luckily for him she seemed to want to help.

Hey, Aoto, are you relying on me?
I wish I could say, “Don’t be so cocky,” but yeah, I am.
Huh!? Uh…
I didn’t think you would admit it so frankly…
But it’s a fact. I can’t deny it. So, what about it?
Oh, n-nothing!
If it really was nothing, you wouldn’t have asked. Tell me the truth.
Well, that’s…
I’ve been fighting a lot of battles. I’m starting to get a little tired…
…Oh, sorry. I didn’t realize that.
Don’t worry. I’m fine!
But if you’re tired, I can’t force you to push yourself any harder.
Aoto, don’t underestimate me.
The reason why you’re dragging me around is because you guys need me, right?
I’d be too worried if I stopped helping you guys with Song Magic.
Plus, when someone is relying on me, I have to work harder!

That’s certainly enough for one day, children. Next time, I’ll tell you what happened when they left for Fallen Heaven Peak.