The Let's Play Archive

Ar Tonelico Qoga

by Feinne

Part 25: The Grand Prix

They returned to the inn to think over what Richa had told them. Things were looking pretty bleak.

Video Record- “Before the Race”


What do you mean?
You heard what she said, right? The way I understand her, it's practically impossible to deactivate the Prome Wall.
But there's still a ray of hope if we can get to the Rinkernator. The key to extending Saki's life is there, too!
Well, that's easier said, than done. The Rinkernator is at the top of the Tower...
Plus, even if we did manage to get there, the only one who can operate it is Akane. ...We're screwed.
He's right. I doubt the Supreme Commander of the Clustanian Army would do us any favors.
...Probably not.

In the end they decided to focus on something they actually could deal with, the V-Board race.

I'll see you guys tomorrow.
Goodnight, everyone. Tatsumi, good luck on your race tomorrow.
Thank you.
Now...I'm going to the hot spring to relieve some tension before I go to sleep.
Oh, okay. See you later, then.
It's kinda rare to see Tats so nervous...
I've been thinking about Saki and Finnel so much...I hardly paid any attention to him.
Alright! I'll go help scrub his back or something and encourage him!

I don’t really get why that’s not a weird thing to do.

Hey, Tats!
Yo! I'll wash your back for you!
Y-you're coming in!?
Uh-huh. Why?
N-no! I'll be right out! Just wait for me outside!
Huh? Why?
Cuz...there's not enough space for two of us in here!
C'mon! It's not a drum can bath. I'm sure two guys can fit in there just fine...
See? It's got way more than enough space...

Funny story, you know that hole in the wall out in the shed? Your father did that when he first heard this story.

???: Kyah---!!!

Anyway Aoto beat a hasty retreat from the bath and went back to his room, very confused.

I went to the bathroom to help Tatsumi wash his back, but there was a girl in there instead... I'm so confused...
Aoto...are you okay?
Huh? O-oh, yeah, uh... I'm fine!
Hmph! Why are you smirking!?
I wasn't! A-anyway, let's go to the Racetrack!

Saki was feeling a bit tired, even though it was Filament fighting back in the Lymph Vessel in the end their energy came from the same source.

Hey, Saki, aren’t you looking a little pale?
Huh? Really?
Yeah. You look worn out. What’s wrong with you?
I’m not worn out. I’m fine.
Really? But…hmm?
I’ve been making you join the battles all the time lately.
You’re really exhausted, aren’t you?
N-not really! Saki…wants to help you…
I really appreciate that, but how are you really doing?
W-well, I’m just not quite used to this kind of thing, so…
I thought so. I’m sorry for my insensitivity.
Please don’t be. Saki may be a little tired, but I kind of like it.
I can be of some help to you, so I’m glad.
So, I can still fight.
…I see, but don’t try too hard.
(I hafta take better care of her…)

Saki was sad she hadn’t gotten to talk to Aoto much recently.

Aoto, have you been talking with Filly a lot lately?
Well, we’re just casually chatting.
It’s fun to tease her, so I can’t help it.
Please don’t bully her too much, though.
I don’t bully her. I’m just teasing her a little bit.
That’s fine, I guess…
Anyway, I always stay up pretty late, so…
Please come talk to me anytime you like tonight.

It seemed she’d also experienced something strange the previous night.

Aoto, the bath at Eulark isn’t unisex, is it?
If it was, I’d like you to help me wash my back…

I mean, nevermind! So, what about the bath?
Oh, yes…I took a bath alone at night.
And I heard a female voice from the gentlemen’s bath.
I think that was just your imagination.
No. I’m positive that it was a female voice.
I heard her say, “There’s no one to talk to, no toys and no bath oil. What a boo bath!”
I see, but the voice was coming from the gentleman’s bath…
Was that…!?
What? Do you have any idea?
I think I had a sort of ghostly encounter.
P-please don’t say that!
I won’t be able to take a bath by myself tonight…

Saki was also sort of concerned by how Aoto had been acting all morning.

Aoto, were you leering at Eulark?
I was just smiling. I do that a lot.
It looked more like leering than smiling.
Leering, smiling, grinning, smirking…they’re all the same. But I prefer smiling!
…Are you sure? You looked lascivious.
No, I didn’t!
You did… Aoto, did you…by any chance…peek?
N-no. I’m not a Peeping Tom! It was just a coincidence…
I mean, walking into the same bath…

I mean, nothing! D-don’t look at me like that!

Saki’d been stuck in weird places so often she had just stopped caring, which is sort of sad.

We’ve talked about this before, but it’s inconvenient to switch with your other personae, right?
Why are you talking about it now?
Well, you talked about it when you came back after being Filament.
You said, “I thought I was at Garvelt Bridge.”
Hmm…I thought it was inconvenient until just recently.
But I don’t think it’s inconvenient anymore.
Oh, really?
Yes. I think it’s because I’m used to it now.
I’ve been through a lot, like swapping identities, getting abducted and many other things.
I see…thinking that way, it seems like the Clustanians were useful for something.
For that, I’m very thankful…
Well, it’s strange to thank the people who kidnapped you…

They headed down to the V-Board track. Gengai had already been there for some time, as was immediately obvious.

Video Record- “Pre Race”


This is the largest V-Board competition in the world. There are a lot racers, so there's a big crowd to watch them.
So, is Tatsumi already in the stadium?
Yeah, all the athletes were supposed to gather on the course about an hour ago.
Good, everyone's here. You're all gonna be Tatsumi's cheerleaders today!
...Geez, you look totally gone. Is it really okay for a clergyman to be drinking in public during the day?
Shut up! Don't be such a square, cherry boy! I've been fighting life and death battles every day. Today's special.
...He's totally gone.
Hmhm...but he looks so happy.
Of course I'm happy! Are you kidding? Tatsumi finally joined the Grand Prix.'re the one who taught him how to ride on the V-Board, right?
He brought the best out of you. When you first met him, you thought he was just another weakling, but he's got guts...
Did you know them since he started, Doctor?

The conversation came around to how they’d met Tatsumi.

He was found...?
I was out air-surfing when I saw him lying on the ground, unconscious, at the foot of Fallen Heaven Peak.
I couldn't just leave him, so I asked the Doctor and Luphan to take care of him. Who knew he'd be a spunky brat?
He never said anything about that...
But, he recovered from his injuries, right? I'm so glad about that.
Of course, he only started to V to imitate me, but he got good enough to enter this competition. It's impressive.
Rev. Gengai, you look very happy.
Maybe that's what it feels like when your son grows up. We should just let him be in his own world today.
It's about time for the race to start. Let's go inside the auditorium.

They sat down, and the race began.

Video Record- “The Race”

Watching Strong Encouraged

Everything was looking fine for a while.

And then in the least surprising surprise ever Soma decided to make things more interesting.

Tatsumi managed to avoid the attack. Almost.

They couldn’t quite see what was going on in the stands, but it was obvious Soma had attacked ‘him’.

If Soma was surprised at all she didn’t show it, and she pressed her attack.

Having broken off the track, the two of them were headed straight for the Garvelt Bridge…

Aoto and the others rushed after them.

Video Record- “Cocona and the Crystal”


Oh no! This is an emergency!
...Damn Soma! How dare she try to kill her target during the event!? That little coward!
Anyway, let's chase them!

’Tatsumi’s’ disguise had been shredded in the crash, leaving just what ‘he’d’ been wearing under it.

...Umm? I?
...Oh yeah, Soma attacked me! Coward! Oh clothes were ripped apart... I can't disguise myself anymore...
My voice has changed back, too. This is the worst situation ever.
I never thought you'd be that rumored Reyvatail from out of this world. Coincidences are frightening, indeed.
Attacking someone during a race is unsportsmanlike, ma'am.

I’m not sure if Soma dropped the suit out of respect or just because that thing had to be incredibly hot.

...You have no common sense. That's why I don't like you. I've never seen such a boo jackass before!
Hmhm...either way, I'm impressed. Your V-Boarding skills aren't just a bluff. That was a fun competition.
How can you say that after ruining the whole thing? I hope the organizers come out here and arrest you.
Then I'll just change back to Finnel. You've changed quite a bit, too. I doubt either of us will get busted.
Anyway, let's call a time out on our race for now. There's no way to decide who won this duel.
And whose fault do you think that is?
Just listen. Why don't we call it a draw, and we can strike a deal?
I'll never erase any more key people from Great Fang, so'll come to Clustania with me.
...You call that a fair deal?
I would say it is, yes.
...Sure. I'll accept those conditions, but I get to add one more condition on top of that.
One more...?
Of course. You've betrayed me once...
That makes sense...very well. I shall accept your request. So, what is this one condition?

I was so happy when I heard she didn’t let a good opportunity go to waste.

...I want to uninstall it.
! What if I say request denied?
Then our terms will fail to meet an agreement. I won't give you the Heart of Gaea or visit Harvestasha with you.
I'll feel bad for Finnel, but you'll have to extend your life by using the other method.
...You're not going to budge on this, will you? Fine, you've got a deal.
I promised to quit assassinating people, so I don't really need this crystal anyway...

Anyway that’s when Aoto and the others showed up.

Hi, Aoto.
Damn you! Where's Tatsumi...? Ahh! Y-you're that girl from yesterday!?

So that’s when your aunt explained everything to, well, Aoto and Saki.

You know, you guys are pretty dull not to notice until I had to explain it!
I didn't even suspect anything until now... Then...did Gengai know about it?
Of course! Bwa-hahahaha!
And Luphan, who helped us treat her injuries, knew about it, too.
But, why did you disguise yourself as a boy?
...In order to fend off the Clustanians.
I...I mean, Cocona, came from another, very far away world.
But as soon as I arrived here, my airship was attacked by Clustanian fighters.
And then, Sasha, who came to this world with me, and Master saved me.
But why did they attack you...!?

Also I still say there was no way I could have predicted that the Clustanians would immediately notice she wasn’t a normal Reyvateil and as a result try to capture her. It’s not my fault some of the information the operation was based on was not, in the strictest sense, true.

What does that mean...?
...When I first saw her, I was surprised by her different structure and asked Luphan to help me research it.
Our research showed that they were trying to capture her because she was an unidentified Reyvateil unit.
I was ordered by our headquarters to capture her.
But I couldn't find her because she disguised herself and silenced her Reyvateilic signals.
I see... That's why when we were going through the inspection gate...
You had those strange adhesive bandages.
Uh-huh. I'm sorry for not telling you about this until now.
Well, I understand. It couldn't have been helped.
Cocona, we're both girls! I'm glad to have another girl on our team!
...Uh-huh. Please favor me, Saki.
Oh, and Aoto...
There's some good new for you. Soma agreed to uninstall the crystal that lets her manifest.
What? Soma, is that true?
Yes. I promised her. Go ahead, do it, Aoto.

Uninstalling a Hymn Crystal is not exactly a simple thing. I mean have you ever seen one of those things? They’re huge, and ‘uninstall’ isn’t exactly the right word so much as ‘remove’ because you have to actually pull it out.

...Are you ready? I'm gonna put my hand in.
...P-please do it...
Was yea ra chs hymnos yor...
En chsee fwal fwal yor...
exec na drone 0x11000101101
...! ...My hand!
Aoto's putting his hand inside Soma!
Is he going to reach in with his hand to remove the crystal...?
Ahh.... Fffhh...aaahhh!
Soma! Uhh! It's so hot inside you...! This is crazy...
Bear with it a little longer...! You can't back out on her now!
...! Yurisica!?
Search her out with your heart. Fumble around every inch inside of her... You will find what you're looking for...!
*huff* *huff* Search heart? Soma...where is it? Where are you...!?
Nygaahh! Ah...ah...ahhhh!
I...found something! Is this it...!?

Anyway, the idiot eventually managed to find the crystal. He’s lucky really, if she’d been up for it I’m pretty sure Soma would have smacked him around for taking so long.

*huff* ...Soma...?
...I'm...okay... Now...I can't come out anytime I want to.
...I kept my promise, Cocona.'s your turn... Please...take Finnel to Harvestasha...
Yeah, we know.
Please extend her life... As long as you do that, I'll gladly return this body to her...
Wait! I have one last question to ask you...
Why does Harvestasha want the Heart of Gaea? Does she really only need it to extend your life...? Nothing else?
...Yes. That should be right...
...Are you sure that's the only reason?

If Soma knew another reason why Harvestasha might have wanted the Heart, though, she never got to say, because Finnel returned to the fore.

F-Finnel!? Finnel!
I guys took care of Soma... I'm glad... Did she really listen to you guys?
Uh-huh. So, you don't have to worry about being alone anymore.
That's right, Filly!
...Thank you, Aoto. Thank you, everyone...

Aoto just decided to ask her about what Soma and Akane had said.

...Yeah. I don't even know if I'll live one more year...
One year!?
...I was born with this illness.
But I heard I could extend my life if I had the Heart of Gaea, so...I went looking for it.
...That explains why you were clinging to me for such a long time.
Idiot! Why didn't you tell me about such an important thing until now!
You're so dumb... If you had told me earlier, I would've treated you a lot better...!
...Aoto, this is strange... Why're you being so nice to me?
...So stupid.
Hmhmhm. Hey...Aoto...
...The stars over Clustania are really pretty, did you know that? I want to...go...see them with you.
We can go anytime... Just say when.
...I'm so happy now! I can't wait to go... see... Them...

And that was about when Finnel passed out.

She fell asleep.
When you pull a crystal out of a Reyvateil's body, it consumes quite a lot of stamina. Just let her rest.
Filly, that must've been tough...
Yeah, she had to bear it for so long. But from now on...
...Anyway, I know where we're heading, to Harvestasha and Clustania. The Rinkernator's also in Clustania.
Right! Okay, let's go to Clustania once Finnel wakes up!

Before they could head for Clustania, Cocona had business back in Archia to take care of.

Archia? Why?
Actually, during the race, Soma damaged my V-Board. It's been acting kind of funny.
So, I want to take it to Nya Nya Ya and change to a new board.
I see. You shouldn't go into an enemy base with a broken board.
Alright, why don't we go back to Archia?

Because Sasha is pretty much a genius she’d managed to work out a way to convert one of those board things into a proper weapon.

Ms. Cocona! Are you alright!?
I wasn't able to watch your race,but I was worried about you.
I'm fine...barely.
Your disguise was finally ruined.
Uh-huh, but I don't need it anymore.
I'm glad! Now you can go out in the daylight without pretending to be a boy!
...As if I were a fugitive...
Well, Ms. Cocona, by the way, good timing! It's finally finished!
...! That's...!
The V-Board you asked me to fix... I just finished it!
Thank you, Sasha! It's perfect timing!
Hehehehe! That's good to hear! The lady and gentleman of J&K found the materials I was looking for.
Huh? They did!?
Yeah, I know...but thanks to them your new V-Board is ready.

Saki was thinking of trying to emulate Cocona and disguise herself, before Aoto ruined everything the way I understand he always did.

About Cocona…
Who’s Cocona?
That’s Tatsumi’s real name.
Oh, yeah. I’m not used to that name yet.
So, what about Cocona?
Well, I just thought that maybe I want to disguise myself as a boy, as well.
Why do you want to do that?
Because I don’t know when they’ll try to kidnap me again.
So, if I look like someone else, maybe they won’t kidnap me.
I see, but I don’t think you can do that.
Why not?
Well, how are you doing to hide those great titties?
Y-you pervert!
I-I’m sorry! Please calm down! You’re gonna wake everyone up!

It really was a valid question I think. Anyway Finnel wasn’t happy about something from earlier and Aoto continued to be a jerk without even realizing it.

Well, this is kind of random, but you saw my Installer Port, right?
Of course I did.
I had to insert my hand in to uninstall Soma’s crystal. How could I not have seen it?
Don’t say that so explicitly! It’s super embarrassing!
Huh? It’s not like I saw your naked body or anything. Why are you so embarrassed?
You just don’t know anything about Revyateils!
To make a long story short, if you compare the Installer Port to another part of the female body…
…Come close…I can’t say it too loudly.
What would that be?

Needless to say Aoto was surprised and confused, a state I think he was in most of the time really.

I said…

…Do you get it?
…Are you serious?
I told you it’s extremely embarrassing!
I’m not supposed to show that to anyone, except a man I really like.
I-I’m really sorry! I’m so sorry! Please forgive me!
I didn’t know it was such an amazing, I mean, important place! Sorry!
You don’t need to apologize that much. It’s partially my fault, too.
And, I know you did it to save me. So I’m not mad.
I said it’s okay. You apologized sincerely, so I can’t blame you anymore.
I see. But I am really sorry.
Really. It’s all good.
I’ll tell you all about Reyvateils when we have the time.

Anyway, they were preparing to head to Clustania, the heart of the enemy. There was something else Aoto wanted to do first, unfortunately. I’ll tell you about it next time.