Part 17: Truth and LiesSaki had collapsed, and so they rushed her to the Archia Think Tank. He waited by her side until she woke, fearing the worst.
Video Record- Loss
Saki, you're awake! Are you alright!? Does it hurt anywhere?
...Excuse me. Who are you?
...Huh? What did you say?
Oh no! Your memory! ...Did you forget about me?
It's me, Saki! Aoto!
Yes! We've been on a long journey together to get here!
...Please, Saki! You have to remember!
...Saki? Do you remember me now!?
Fortunately, she did seem to have recovered her memory this time.
Whew Dont scare me like that
I'm sorry. I...
...Don't worry. I'm just glad you remember me.
Richa returned, and shed brought someone else with her.
As head of the Archia Think Tank, Raphael was the most powerful man in Archia.
Pleased to meet you. I'm Raphael, the Chairman of the Archia Think Tank. I'd like to thank you for protecting Saki.
...How do you know her?
It seems we need to have a confidential discussion with you, ...but not here. Could you please come to my office?
...Sure. Richa, please take care of Saki while I'm gone.
Alright. I accept your request.
Please walk this way...
Raphael wasnt one to waste time.
Video Record- Raphaels Story
When I confirmed her Hymn Code, I was very surprised.
Saki herself probably doesn't remember, but she used to live at the Think Tank.
But 10 years ago, she was involved in an incident. She's been missing since then.
...Actually, when I first met her, she told me she had been with a man called Kiraha.
What did you say!? Kiraha was our ...staff member here. What about him?
...He died right in front of me. He was killed by the Clustanian Army.
Oh Goddess...that's very sad... He was my best friend, and one of our most valuable workers. He was a genius.
He probably protected Saki at the cost of his own life. May the Goddess' blessing bring him eternal peace.
...If you knew Kiraha, then do you know his son? Just before he passed away, he told me to give this to him...
If Aoto were smarter, he would have asked more questions here.
...Oh, uh, I know his son very well.
I'll give it to him, personally. I want to tell him directly about what a great man his father was.
...Hmm, is this necklace special somehow...?
...What do you mean?
Well, I actually have the exact same necklace. See...?
Aoto...could you let me have this necklace?
This certainly is the same as Kiraha's. I'd like to examine them both more closely.
Even if it was for a stupid reason at least he was smart enough not to give Raphael every single thing he wanted.
...I see. That's unfortunate, but it can't be helped.
Let's get back to the initial topic at hand, Saki.
If you two were together for so long, you may have noticed her faults as a Reyvateil.
Haven't you noticed anything odd, like every time she performs Song Magic, she becomes heavily exhausted?
She is contaminated with a serious disease. She isn't even supposed to go outside.
Are you serious!?
When I saw the results of her exam, I could tell she used Song Magic.
Because of her numerous battles, her body is severely fatigued. She needs immediate rest.
...No! She's sick...?
Aoto, would you please leave Saki here...? In order for her to live a long, peaceful life?
Leave her here...?
Yes. It's the only way she can live a long and full life.
...I understand. If it'll make her live long and happy...
Thank you for understanding. You can leave all of Saki's troubles to me, and get back to your everyday life.
My everyday life, huh...?
Aoto left Saki at the Think Tank, trusting that what Raphael had told him was true.
...I know this is what's best for Saki! Her disease can only be managed here...
Alright, why don't I head to the Inn? Doc said it was Eulark, wasn't it?
Aoto was the first one back to the Inn, as making bad life choices tends not to be very time consuming.
Shopkeeper: Mr. Hikari Gojo yes, you have.
Have the others arrived?
Shopkeeper: No, not yet, sir.
I see. Itll be boring to stay in the room all by myself. Why dont I walk around a bit.
Speaking of which, I wonder how Tatsumis doing. Ill take a walk and look for him.
Tatsumi was nearby, talking with a girl in a shop.
Video Record- Tatsumis Friend
Aoto, are you done?
Yeah, pretty much.
I see. ...Where's Saki?
I left her in Ogai.
I found out she was a Reyvateil that belonged to the Archia Think Tank.
Uh-huh. The Chairman of the Think Tank told me it was best to leave her there for him to take care of.
You don't look very happy. Do you miss her? Oh, of course you do. She was a good girl.
...I didn't know she was sick. And her illness was jeopardizing her life.
Oh, is that right?
But, he told me if she stays at the Think Tank, shell live a lot longer!
And that it was her home in the first place. It... really is the best solution for her.
I see... Sounds about right... I think you made the right decision.
Um, excuse me...
The shopkeeper Tatsumi had been talking to was feeling rather left out.
Oh, sorry, Sasha. I didn't introduce you. This is Aoto. I've known him since I went to Blue Canyon Hamlet.
Oh, I see. Nice to meet you. I'm Sasha! Welcome to my Synthesis Shop, Nya Nya Ya.
Oh, nice to meet you, too, Sasha.
She's my oldest friend. She may look young, but she's a savvy engineer who can make anything. Trust me.
She does the maintenance on my V-Board. Sasha's tune-ups are the best in the business.
Hehe...thank you, sir! Oh, by the way, I launched another satellite the other day! Please try it out!
This time, the actual use ratio was probably about at least 30%!
Still only about 30...
Oh, no, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to... I'm the one who's making you hurry.
No, sir! I'll do my best to achieve 100% as soon as possible! J&K is helping me a lot, too.
I wouldn't trust those two too much, though...
Needless to say as far as Aoto was concerned nothing they were saying made any sense.
The satellite is like...an experiment we're working on together.
And J&K is a team that'll do anything you pay them for. Archia hires them a lot as mercenaries.
They also help me a lot.
I'm sure they're up to something fishy. You can be a bit naive sometimes, and that makes me nervous.
Oh, wow. I'm surprised you're so worried about someone. Finnel's gonna be jealous.
Huh? Why would she be jealous?
Speaking of which, where's Finnel? She was with you, right?
She tagged along with me for a while, then she got bored and went to look around by herself.
Did she get jealous?
Meanwhile, Katene and the Doctor were talking. It seemed Gojo used to live in Archia and still owned a clinic there.
Video Record- Katene and Gojo
...I haven't been back here since I left the Think Tank.
Why don't you sell this place? It's getting weathered...and no one's taking care of the building, right?
I'm attached to this place... It holds a lot of precious memories of my sister.
...That's what I thought you'd say.
...Have you found your dad yet?
Naw. Although I don't know if I'd still call the man who's abandoned his son and disappeared for 10 years a father.
...It seems like I'm not the only one who hasn't changed.
As you probably know, hatred isn't something that goes away so easily. I can't forgive him for leaving me alone.
...But, you continued his research at the Think Tank. Hating your family isn't easy. Blood is thicker than water.
Gojo, you can say that because you probably had a loving family.
I don't have any family anymore.
Oh, I see. I guess we have something else in common...
So it seems...
Okay, why don't we go now.
What are you going to do from now on? If you don't mind, why don't you come with us?
No, we have to part here. Based on what you've given me, there's something I need to investigate further.
Thanks for the information. If something happens, contact me.
The Doctor stayed behind at the clinic for a moment.
It really is the same as it was back then.
Huh? Whats this medical chart ?
That's! ...Oh, I guess I left it here. No wonder I couldn't find it anywhere in the new office...
...Oh yeah. I made this chart the day I vowed to uncover the truth about Archia's conspiracy.
I will avenge you, Aisha...!
Aoto and Tatsumi had finished up at Sashas in the meantime.
Alright, let's go.
Finnel and Doctor Gojo were back at the Inn already, and both wondered where Saki was.
He left her in Ogai.
He left her?
Are you serious? Why?
I told Tatsumi earlier, but she was a missing Reyvateil that belonged to the Archia Think Tank.
...Archia Think Tank? So Saki's now at their facilities?
Yeah, Chairman Raphael told me that she's sick, and he would take care of her.
Saki was sick...?
Yeah. But he said she'd be okay. The Archia Think Tank looks like a decent place. I'm sure she'll be fine...
On the other hand, Doctor Gojo was sure of quite the opposite.
What is it, Doc? You look kinda scary...
There's no point in sugarcoating it, so I'll just come out and tell you. Raphael probably tricked you.
Listen, the Archia Think Tank is the largest research facility in the world, but they've also got a dark side.
A dark side? Master seems to distrust the Archia Think Tank, too, but is there any reason for it?
...I had a sister. She was the only family I had.
One day, she developed Reyvateilic symptoms.
Once you develop Reyvateilic symptoms, you have to start taking injections of a life extending agent, called Diquility.
Unfortunately, we weren't that wealthy. We couldn't afford the life extending agents.
So, what did you do?
I let my sister go through the latest blocking operation that the Archia Think Tank had been offering for a low price.
What's a blocking operation?
You suppress the Reyvateilic qualities from manifesting and it keeps the symptoms from fully developing.
Back then, I believed that if she had this surgery, we would be able to live together as if nothing happened, but...
Unfortunately in every age it seems there are people willing to look past the suffering of others for their own gain.
Possessed? Isn't that like...?
So, did you tell the Archians about it?
Of course I accused them, but their explanation about her cause of death was a meaningless, perfunctory formality.
Right after the incident, I started to investigate the Archia Think Tank, to find out what exactly happened to her.
Through the course of my investigation, I found out that many children passed away after having the same operation.
That's when I concluded that they were probably used for some kind of experiment.
Wait. It's insane that there could've been so many victims, but...why does that necessarily mean that Saki's also in danger?
Th-that's right! Saki is an Archian Reyvateil!
I doubt that, actually.
You mean that might also be a lie?
Isn't that too much to speculate?
Then how do you explain Saki's memories about the pre-school? Why does she remember that but not the Think Tank?
Even if she really was sick, what if my theory is true...? Either way, Saki will die.
I get it. To be honest, I still don't know if Archia tricked me, but let's go back to the Think Tank tomorrow.
That sounds good.
Tatsumi, while he was concerned about Saki, was beginning to get a bit impatient about something else.
Hi. Do you have a second? I need to talk to you.
Well, when are you going to take me to Harvestasha?
I know now's not the right time for that, but you don't seem to bring it up unless I do...
Of course I'm going to take you! I swear I will!
Okay... Well, if it comes down to it, I'll look for her by myself.
That's all. Good night.
*sigh* What should I do...?
Aoto had been thinking about something else that had been bothering him meanwhile, and brought it to her to talk about.
I never thought I would visit the weapon shop so often.
Huh? You dont normally shop at weapon shops that often?
Not really. Im a steeplejack, remember?
But you always had weapons, right?
The first weapon I had was given to me by Steeps.
He gave it to me to break sturdy stuff.
I never thought I would use it as a weapon.
So, for me, blacksmiths were only for tool maintenance.
I didnt know that the tools I used to use for construction were actually sold as weapons.
Ive had tools with a lot of extra stuff like more edges, but I didnt know what they were for.
But Ive never seen people carrying those weapons, either.
Thats why its so strange. Theyre sold at shops, but weve never seen people using them.
Maybe someones just making them in large numbers, ignoring their actual demand.
I think he should make regular weapons.
They headed for the Think Tank again in the morning.
We're acquaintances of Saki, a Reyvateil who's in the Think Tank. Could we please see her?
Archian Soldier: Saki? Hey, go ask.
Archian Soldier: Yes, sir.
Gojos fears seemed to be justified.
What!? That can't be! Can I please talk to Raphael!?
Archian Soldier: You can't meet the Chairman without an appointment.
I just met him yesterday! You can tell him it's Aoto!
Archian Soldier: I said no! If you loiter here, we'll send you all to the jail.
Calm down. Let's go back for now.
They regrouped nearby to think things through.
The Think Tank sure is dubious...
Yeah, they're really sketchy.
What should we do? We have to help Saki.
Hey! What do you think you're doing!?
I'll break into the Think Tank!
Stop! There are a whole lot more Archian soldiers inside the Think Tank.
Anyway, we have to make a move. Let's go to town and gather some information.
They finally had a stroke of luck back in the city.
Aoto, everyone...you guys are safe.
You're here. Does that mean...the Great Fang Militia's already in the Tower?
Is Master with them?
Yes, Rev. Gengai is directing the preparations for the upcoming battle. I was sent here to prepare the weapons.
So, where's Saki? I thought she was with you all.
...Oh, so that's what happened? If you don't mind, please tell me details.
They explained to Luphan what was going on, and it turned out he could help.
We can't just leave Saki in there. If there's no other choice, I'll cut straight through their security!
There is a way to sneak into the Think Tank.
Are you serious!?
What is it?
In the basement, there's an industrial sewage plant that extends throughout the entire research facility.
It has maintenance hatches everywhere, and they connect all throughout the Think Tank facility.
That's great! Now we can get inside the Think Tank!
Uh...I don't have a good feeling about being in sewage, but...it's to save Saki.
Luphan, how do you know so much about Archia?
Rev. Gengai doesn't trust Archia at all. As his advisor, I have to do as much research on them as I can.
So, where is there an entrance around here?
Well, the closest one would be...near Ogai Memorial Pre-school.
What!? The pre-school!?
Yeah, that's Saki's pre-school.
What an oversight.
Each entrance is locked, of course. You have to unlock it somehow or you won't be able to get in.
No problem. I know someone who's good at that.
Someone who's good at picking locks...?
Katene wasnt just good with machines it turned out.
I never thought your prowess would come in handy like this.
I'm not too excited about trespassing, but since you asked, I'll consider it a special occasion.
...Looks like no one's here. I thought soldiers would be guarding it after yesterday's incident...
...What are you talking about?
What happened yesterday?
Certainly much better than Aoto was at making sure his friends knew what was going on.
Why didn't you tell me about something as important as that!?
Well, because it's all in the past.
...Okay. Anyway, just in case, from now on, we should try to do things together.
Oh, thanks, Katene!
Youre so helpful.
Anytime. Okay, then. Good luck.
And so they prepared to enter the Archia Think Tank. What happened there, though, will have to wait for another time.