The Let's Play Archive

Ar Tonelico Qoga

by Feinne

Part 26: Finnel's Soulspace, Level 5

Aoto Dived again before they headed for Clustania. I guess he was worried about the almost certainty that they’d get into a fight there.

Video Record- “Finnel 5a”


The level seemed pretty similar to its form when he visited earlier, except that he could at least move around. Although given that it was Aoto that was probably the first thing that went wrong with this level, that he was there and could move around in it.

That's weird. I thought it'd be a little better.
You're so optimistic and ignorant!
It's never that simple. Your nonsense is like a mosquito bite to this entire world, you get me?
Then, Finnel's...
???: Excuse me.
Who’re you?
Okay. I'm leaving. Good luck.
H-hey! Weirdo...

And then the Hyuma who’d appeared laid out exactly how this world was going to work. I’d say I couldn’t believe Aoto didn’t already understand the point of this but he’s really bad at things so of course I can.

Emerge: I have a message from this world's host, Master Zoi.
...Host? Zoi? Who the hell is that?
Emerge: "Welcome, foolishly brave guest!"
"I regret to bring you this sad news, but this world will explode soon."
Emerge: "I hope you can rescue the Heroine within the allotted timeframe and create a Paradigm Shift."
"Otherwise, you'll be nothing but dust along with the rest of this Spiritual World."
Hmph. I'll just find Finnel and cause a Paradigm Shift right away. Then we'll be fine, right?
Emerge: "One last thing, dear guest. You can only unlock one heroine."
"It's possible to rescue two, but then you will have to choose one to Paradigm Shift with."
Emerge: "Therefore, I recommend not bothering with saving them both. If you dare to do so, neither will survive."
"On the contrary, if one dies, the remaining time before the explosion will be extend. In short, you must..."
Wait! First of all, who the hell are you!? Why're you gonna destroy this place!?

I don’t know why any of this was surprising really, this was a logical extension of the cruel games from the earlier levels.

What the heck is that!?
Emerge: "It is the one who observes this world in-depth and controls it."
"During this time, the countdown is active. I shall enjoy watching how you handle this situation."
"Best of luck with your decision."
...That's it.
Master Zoi!? Don't make me laugh...!
Hey, you!
Emerge: Y-yes!
Tell me where Finnel is.
Emerge: I can't do that. The host has prohibited me from doing so.
Damn...useless messenger. Fine, it's not like this is a big world or anything...
I will get you out of here, Finnel...!
The Hyuma, Emerge, has been unlocked.

Finnel was, of course, exactly where she was the first time he did this. By a toilet. Because there is something terribly wrong with her.

Hey, Finnel! Are you alright!?
Aoto, don't come near me! Stay away!
...Nothing's changed. Well, actually, I think it's gotten worse.
It is worse. Look at Finnel's limbs.
Chains and fetters!?
Exactly. She can't move from here. You'd better save her.
Finnel, why are you chained up!? I'll cut you free!
N-no! Don't come near me!
Shit. It still stinks like hell!
I said don't come this way!
But how can I set you free without coming close to you?
I heard some bozo named "Zoi" will demolish this tiny world.
I know...
Then, you know I need to sever your chains...

I mean the world is practically screaming its problems at Aoto and he isn’t getting it. It’s really painful to watch. What? No, I won’t give you a Kitty Candy if you figure it out before he did, those are terrible for you.

...Well, it does reek, but shouldn't you be freaking out a little more? We're dealing with your life here, you know?
I know, but...
...Oh, well. Anyway, I'll go look for the key. If you have the key, you can set yourself free, right?
Okay, then. Wait here.
...Thank you.
Don't mention it!

Aoto then proceeded on with the plot while carefully neglecting to go back and talk to Finnel again.

Hey, Finnel.
Aoto! I told you to stay away!
Your ankles are shackled. So...
Now's my chance to do all sorts of naughty and perverse things to you!
You always hit and kick me. But now, I will have my revenge for all your abuse.
Hey...wh-what're you doing...?
Mwahaha. What'll I do to you first?
P-please don't! I'll...I'll do anything you ask...!
I’m kidding…
Of course I won't do anything to hurt you. I've got to set you free.
...Oh, were just joking...
Why do you sound so disappointed?
I was sort of...excited...about it...
N-no! Nevermind!
You've got issues...

Anyway the Cosmosphere was horribly broken, and if he’d come in before removing Soma’s crystal Aoto would have mercifully been stonewalled. No such luck for us.

Huh? This looks familiar somehow...
Aoto, I have good news for you. I've located the inconsistent space sequence.
In order to connect the Unconnected World to this one, I'll dabble with the Sphere Allocation Table.
Please stay out of the Cosmosphere in the meantime, or this may affect your mind.
Alright. Then, I'll step out of here for now.
Okay. The reboot will be finished shortly. The two worlds will be connected by the next time you Dive.
Alright. Thanks, man.
Roger that! I'm disconnecting the network now. Bye-bye!

Aoto gave Teppo some time to fix the Cosmosphere, then returned.

Hello! The recovery of the Sphere Location Table is complete.
The flow of the story should be totally different from last time. Please try it one more time.

Soma was waiting for him at the broken area.

Video Record- “Finnel 5b”


Hey, it's you.
Soma! That was you!? What are you doing here?
Hmhm. Can't you tell? When I woke up, I found myself chained up.
Hehehe, how hilarious. I never expected you to see me in such a humiliating predicament.
I have to break out of these chains as soon as possible.
Soma, do you know someone named Zoi?
The game master, right? He's the inventor of this game with Finnel and I where only one of us can survive.
I'm sorry, but it's only a matter of time before I escape. If I use my full strength, breaking free is easy as pie.
Once I get out of here, I'll eliminate Finnel. After that, you and I will do a Paradigm Shift. I'm counting on you.
Who would want to do a Paradigm Shift with you!? I will save Finnel and then do the Paradigm Shift with her!
Hehe... Do you still not know? Should I pity or ridicule your pathetic ignorance?
...Huh? What are you talking about?

Soma just straight explained this all to him and he still didn’t understand.

...Huh? Are you stupid or something? She can't fool anyone. She's not that sophisticated.
Oh yeah? Well, what if she set this trap unknowingly?
I don't understand what you're saying.
Aoto, don't be fooled. In a way, she is admonishing you.
For example, say you have a masochist friend who sighs and tells you, "I'm in trouble. Please give me some advice?"
The reason she says it isn't because she wants your advice, she just wants some company on her self-abusing trip.
A pathetic masochist like Finnel is especially acute at seeking out those who pay attention to her self-pity.
But think about it. Having given her so much advice, do you see any improvements to her personality?
That's because she hasn't solved her problem yet.
The longer you stay in denial, the more of a victim you'll be of her unhappiness.

Finnel is baiting that trap. She may not be aware of it, but she certainly is seeking company to be unhappy with her.

Seriously I cannot believe he didn’t immediately see this was absolutely what was going on. Moron.

That's ridiculous! I've never heard of such nonsense! Who would willingly make themselves unhappy.
I'm not stupid enough to fall for your stupid lies.
I will save Finnel and cause a Paradigm Shift with her! If you stand in our way, it won't be pretty.
Fool! Fool!

He was also confused about how Soma appearing could have bugged the Soulspace out, because he again is deeply stupid.

Hey, Teppo!
Yes, sir. How may I help you?
So, the "Unconnected World" turned out to be Soma's world, right?
So it seems.
But Soma was always here. So why now...?
The reason is simple. Before, Soma was just visiting Finnel's world for her own interest.
This time, however, the situation was different. Soma was in her own world and from there entered that state.
By connecting those worlds, she was able to contact you while staying in her own world.
I see. Knowing that, maybe we shouldn't have connected those worlds...
Why is that?
Because if the worlds stayed separate, Finnel wouldn't have to worry about getting killed.
I'm not sure about that. When she gets loose, she'll probably come back to Finnel's world, just like before.
...Oh. So the situation wouldn't have been any different...?

Anyway Aoto continued to play by the rules of a world designed to end poorly and went looking for a key.

The key was of course going to show up as a Hyuma.

Huh? A Hyuma? Good timing. Know where I can get a key?
Home Aloner: N-no! I have no idea where you'd get a key thing-a-ma-bob!
Thing-a-ma-bob? You're acting suspicious. I'll make you spill whatever info you're keeping from me! Yaaah!
Home Aloner: Agh, damn!
Okay, I gotcha!
Home Aloner: Gyaaah, lemme go! Lemme go!
Ooh, you do have the key!
Home Aloner: Ugggh! If I lose it, the host will punish me!
Damn...fine. Come with me. That way you won't lose it, right?
Home Aloner: Oh, right! ...You're smart!
You really think so?
The Hyuma, Home Aloner, has been unlocked.

With the key, he returned to Finnel and displayed his poor pattern recognition skills.

Hey, Finnel! I got the key!
Here, you use it. I'll stay away from the toilet.
Th-thank you!

Aoto...I can't reach the keyhole...
Are you serious? Just try harder.
I can't... I'm almost there...but...
Forget it! I'll just open it!
No, no, no!
You're too slow! Soma's gonna come and kill you!
Soma!? Why...?
Soma wants to get outta this world instead of you, even if it means killing you. So, let's hurry!
I get it, but...please flush the toilet at least.
...Flush it!? Why don't you do that yourself?
The handle's too far away. I can't reach it from here.
Huh? Who the hell designed this stupid toilet in the first place!?
I dunno…

Here’s a hint, dumbass: YOU ARE IN HER MIND RIGHT NOW. I’m sorry, I can’t take much more of this.

You're so annoying. It's intentional, isn't it?
Sorry. If I didn't exist, Finnel couldn't exist.
How does that work? ...Stupid.

Anyway, Aoto left to go flush the toilet because he’s stupid and leaves people when the only sane person around is trying to kill them.

This is the toilet handle?
Why would it be in such a strange place? Hmm...
Oh, there we go. It's flowing. Finnel must be feeling better.
Hehehe. You're acting like a dunce, as usual.
...! Soma!?
Hello, Aoto. While you and Finnel were performing a stand-up routine, I unchained myself and broke free.
So, I'll be on my way to Finnel's side. You can just...take it easy.
W-wait a second!
She's quick! This doesn't look good. I've gotta get back right away!

He rushed back to try and save Finnel from Soma.

You're too late.
Since you were so late, I kindly opened the lock.
Let Finnel go!
I can't do that because I have to stop her heart from beating right now.
I'm sorry, but I don't have time. Do you remember the rule of this world?
If one person dies, everyone else's remaining time will be extended.
I will live on. And to do that, I have no choice but to sacrifice some of their lives.
So, you must die here and now, Finnel.
Do it if you really must. But know this: the moment you let loose your arrow, I'll have killed you in the next.
You sound so confident. Why don't we test it?
No! You'll die, Aoto!
Don't worry! Just sit back and watch. Believe that I'm gonna win, no matter what.
She's such a clumsy, and stubborn slob, but I still don't want her to die.
If you're trying to kill her, I won't go easy on you.
Even if you're close in some convoluted way, I'll never let you harm her. I'll deal with any moron that comes to hurt her!
I won't let you lay a finger on her! Finnel is...she's my...

Hell with this.

Lay a finger on her, and I'll slice it off for you!
Alright, I'll show you what the price of arrogance is.
I won't let you!
Kh! That's not possible!
Hmph. I win!
Aoto, hey...
Alright, Finnel, let's get you out of here.
We have to hurry!
Hey! You don't have to yank me by the collar...!

This all reminds me of a story.

I love chains.
Huh? You want to be chained up, too?
No, and make Finnel get down on all fours and pull her along like I'm walking a dog.
...That's what I thought. You're the other type.

So there was this girl, let’s call her Burelia, who really liked this guy who worked for her. Let’s call him Blyner.

We should be fine after coming this far.
...I said a little too much. Forgive me. You know how I get when I'm mad...
Hey, don't look so gloomy. I'll unchain you right now.
...Please don't.
What do you mean?
You don't have to take the chains off of me.
Well, actually...

So anyway Burelia managed to con Blyner into playing this ridiculous game with her where they were both students, and it was supposed to be really boring and ordinary.

...Huh!? What are you saying?
Well, not with just anyone. But with you, it's okay!
If you're my master...I want to stay like this.
I like to be controlled unconditionally. It makes me feel safe...
So, please let me stay like this for a while...
What? Aren't you going to make fun of me, embarrass me, or curse at me...? I am your servant.
Please don't ever let go of that chain in your hand. Knowing that you're holding it makes me feel safe...
What’s wrong?
Please call me servant like you usually do.
And...stare at me closely...with that intense, sexy look.
The more you watch me, the more special I feel.

That was really dull as dirt so I went into the code and punched things up a bit. Added some conflict to the whole thing.

What are you saying!?
Because...Soma is much stronger and more efficient than I am... was harder for me to keep living.
Death has always been stalking me, so I hardly ever feared it.
It was scarier to have to live a life brimming with sorrows and hopelessness.
But then when I saw you trying so hard to save my life, it made me think that maybe I do want to live.
I started to believe that living wasn't that sad, as long as I was with you. Besides...
I know you'll pull the chains when I'm going the wrong direction.
...Of course I will!
So, I want you to hold onto my leash tightly. In that sense, I want to be your servant forever!
As long as you keep me leashed, I'll continue to live! However tough my life gets, I'll live it along with you!
But, Finnel...
...Alright! If that's what you want, I'll leave your leash on.
Do you promise!?
Yeah. But...I'll never unleash you, even if you beg me. You'll come with me anywhere, even to the depths of Hell.

They got really mad at me like I’d ruined their dumb story or something. I still say fighting horrible monsters together is way more romantic than the crap they were supposed to do originally anyway.

...But anyway, you're a natural born ultra "M" girl!
Yep, you're a pervert. You feel safe being chained up, right?
Well, it's okay! I don't care if I'm a pervert. Just please remember this: I'm...
Only perverted when I'm with you! Around other people, I'm just a normal, wholesome girl!

They ended up changing the story around to something more like the original but I still claim a moral victory because they’re both dumb and she’s too old to put all the candles on a cake. Heh. Oh, and I guess a unicorn appeared in the Cosmosphere and imparted its wisdom on Aoto and Finnel, creating a Paradigm Shift. That certainly could have happened.

Let's go, Finnel!
But...what about Soma?
...We don't have any choice. It's better than you both dying!

It was kind of silly to worry about Soma since of course she was already going to be at Stonehenge waiting for them.

Hey, you're late.
Did you think the Paradigm Shift would go so smoothly?
I won't let you go, even if you escape into the depths of Hell.
Damn! Well, I have no intentions of escaping. No matter how many times we fight, the results will be the same.
I'll never lose to you, and I'll never let you lay a finger on her.

It was starting to leave a bad aftertaste, having to leave you here. So, deep down, I'm kind of relieved.
Yo, Soma, let's secretly Paradigm Shift together.

...You really are lenient. In this world, that is...

Of course, things weren’t just going to be easy like that. The world wouldn’t be cruel in that case.

Who are you?
Executie, the Hyuma in charge of Purgatorial Judgment.
Executie: So long as my heart still beats, you shall not pass beyond this place.
If you dare to should already know the consequences.
Executie: I recommend you think twice about who you choose to Paradigm Shift with before you go through with it.
At this rate, you'll incur my wrath, and I shall have to annihilate this world in a heartbeat.
...! Alright, let's retreat for now.
The Hyuma, Executie, has been unlocked.

It’s really lucky for Aoto and Finnel that someone who wasn’t an idiot was there.

Alright, let's hold a strategy meeting!
W-wait! Why are we having a meeting here!? I don't wanna do it!
Who cares where we do it? Besides, there's nothing anymore... Huh? It still reeks...
Aoto, the toilet is clogged. We can't flush it, and it's almost full...
Finnel, you did THAT much...!?
Like I said! I refused to have the meeting here!
Well, suck it up. We'll get used to the smell soon enough...
Urgh...but it's so embarrassing...
You should keep in mind that you're the one who is creating this embarrassing situation.
No, I’m not!
Hey, don't fight! We don't have any time!
That's your fault.
No, it’s not.
Do you have any good ideas?
I do have one idea.
What is it?

There was only one way forward.

Yes. Once we fuse, we'll be recognized as one being at the soulular level.
Provided that only one person is allowed to Paradigm Shift, the two of us can be that one.
Oh, wow! You're pretty sharp!
To be honest, though it makes me shiver to think that Finnel's clumsiness will become a part of me, I have no choice.
Ahhh! You insulted me, again!
I said, don't fight! Alright, let's do the fusion, then.
In order to complete the fusion, there must be mutual agreement. Finnel, are you sure you want to fuse with me?
I-I don't...mind...
Albeit I'm reluctant, due to the absence of alternative choices, I agree to do this with you.
I-I'm as unwilling as hell, too! But I'll do it anyways!
Alright, we have both come to an agreement.
So, are you ready?
Uh-huh... Oh, wait a sec! Aoto, get outta here!
To fuse, we both have to be naked, so...

So they got started with the Fusion.

Was yea ra exec FLIP_COSMOSPHERE.
Whoa... Soma, I didn't know you had such a slim figure...
If you wore a big, heavy costume like I do, you'd get the same results. Wanna try it?
No thanks…
en chs yor, en pitod yor!
Ungh...a new consciousness is sliding into me...!
Calm down. Take a deep breath.

The same strange voice as last time spoke to Finnel.

Again!? Who are you!?
???: It hurts... I feel like my body is breaking apart...
Your body...!? Are you alright?
???: In a few more years...
The Heart of...Gaea...
...! The Heart of...Gaea!?
???: Please...Soma...take the Heart of Gaea...

It was all very mysterious.

Finnel! Are you okay!?
You did it. I'm sorry, but you don't have time to sleep.
We have to get out of here, or else this world will explode into tiny shards.
...! Oh yeah! We have to excape now...!
And as a matter of fact, why are you here again?
Huh...? Well, because...!
You Peeping Tom! How many times do I have to tell you!? Don't ever come in! Stupid Aoto!

Awww! I always end up in this funneled juncture...
Hey, Aoto, look. I've got a better figure than you thought, wouldn't you agree?
...Oh? Yeah, I'd say so...
The secret lies in the large costume. Did you know that?
Okay, well let's escape now.
You can now use Soma’s Body!

They returned to the Stonehenge, like they should have had hope this could turn out well.

Executie: Ohh, I'm sorry. Time is up. The game is over!
Executie: I think going through after Finnel and Soma have become one was a brilliant idea. I'm impressed...
But, just as culling one off gives you more time, creating one body with two residents doubles your consumption rate.
What!? That doesn't make sense!
Executie: I'm sorry, but that's the law of this world. Therefore, you ran out of time a long time ago!
That's ridiculous...
Executie: Since you're out of time, neither one of you three will survive. This is a legitimate Game Over.
The three of you shall go to Hell! ...That is my verdict!
Aoto, I'm sorry, we tried so hard until now, and I felt so empowered to live on, but this is the end of the line...
Don't be stupid. Don't you remember? I'll follow you anywhere...even to the depths of Hell.
Hell, bring it on. As long as this world remains, it's fine! We'll definitely come back up here.
Tell that Sublime Will Guy, "Is it really that fun to bully Finnel, you nasty sadist?"
I will come back to defeat you!
Executie: Very well. I'll deliver your message to him. Although...even without me being his messenger, he hears everything.
Now, the three of Paradiso...
You died.

So yeah, dying was the only result that was ever going to come out of what they did, because winning was never possible.

Anyway Aoto screwed up again, what else is new?

I caused another Paradigm Shift. That’s it for tonight.
Wh-why!? Let’s talk a little longer.
Well, but…

Hey, Finnel.
Huh!? N-kyah!
You poked me in the forehead. Why did you do that…?
Well, I just realized that I’ve never trained my servant.
H-hey… Well, poking me in the forehead is fine, but…
(Is this expression on her face…for real?)
What’s wrong, Aoto?
Well, nothing. I’ll Dive again soon, so get ready for that.
Uh-huh. I’m looking forward to it.

I need to take a bath. Maybe several. We’ll continue this story later.