The Let's Play Archive

Ar Tonelico Qoga

by Feinne

Part 81: Finnel's Soulspace, Level 8 part 2

So this was where he would have been stuck until that other persona regained her memory if I understand correctly, because her intervention was required.

See that green hill? It kind of stands out in this gloomy world...
You're right! Let's go check it out!
Message: Holt of Life has been unlocked!

The bright new land really was hard to miss.

Suzunomia felt quite bad now that her memory had returned.

You're...Suzunomia!? What the hell is this place!? Why are we here!?
You may ask those questions one by one.
Did you create this place?
Indeed. When I sang, this world was created. I recall how to sing, and the ability I had to create worlds.
Really...? Because the power of Moocherial in the real world was sealed...
This wretch remembers all. Simultaneously, I also realized the atrocious deeds I had committed...
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Suzunomia. I am the Will of the Planet who represents the act of singing.
When this planet shattered, and thus lost the ability to create, the Consensus discarded me as a waste.
Ever since, I had long forgotten who I was and even my own name...
The will to sing...
Indeed. This planet sings, and nurtures the warmth of life. I was the one who sang the Song, the source of life.
I floundered around to recall the past...and ended up abusing my peer.
Are you talking about Finnel?
Very good. I am partly to blame for the condition of this Soulspace. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
Then, first off, can you tell me what the terms and conditions are with your contract to take over Finnel's body?

She explained several pieces of the puzzle they’d been missing.

That means...?
Ayatane...! Originally, this vessel was created exclusively for me. Once readied, it was to be transferred to me.
Readied how?
Readied here refers to creating an environment to which I could easily acclimate. There are several options.
It seems to me that you have fused with Finnel. That is one form of acclimation. In that case, Finnel's raw will remains.
Ayatane wished to transfer this body to me completely. If that's the final goal, there are two options...
Finnel self-destructs her own Soulspace and ejects her soul from the body, or else...
...Undermine her soul...and dwindle the that she would end up having to release her space to another.
Precisely. The former is out of the question. It is tantamount to suicide. That leaves only one option left...
...What is that...? Do you mean Finnel was...
...Intentionally bullied.
Furthermore, in the form of a national policy.
How could that absurdity exist!? That's way too much...
For Ayatane, Finnel was only a vessel to receive Ar Ru.
In any event, since I was on this line...I'm partially responsible for this tragedy.
Therefore, I want to do something about this chaotic world. No matter how much I sing, this is the most I am capable of.

Even with her help, though, they still had a real problem.

So, the only way to change this situation is to change Finnel's mind? Is there any way to make her face reality?
That seems to be the case. If you help us, maybe we can force Ayatane to spit out what he knows about this.
Yeah. That way, maybe we can change her mind somehow. Let's go back to confront Ayatane.
I feel bad... I'm dragging you all into this mess...
What are you saying? First of all, we started this whole thing.
Earlier, I realized why all of us Wills of the Planet could fit in one body, which only has room for one resident.
It's because Finnel's soul had been so weakened.
Even though the Wills of the Planet have superior shockwaves, they can't fit into one body with a healthy-minded owner.
Ironically, we were able to co-exist in this vessel because Finnel had been severely wounded mentally.
Perhaps, we have Finnel to thank for that.

For you, Aoto, we were nothing more than nuisances, but that doesn't mean we can change the past.
In that case, we must act so that we can change the flow towards the positive.
Yurisica, Soma, thank you!

They went back to talk to Ayatane.

This time they had someone even less happy with him than they were along.

Sorry, no can do.
I remembered everything. I also figured out why you came here.
You took advantage of my obliviousness and used this world as a medium to summon Ar Ru.
...What does that mean?
An aloof Will of the Planet won't have contact with humans, so there's no means to communicate with human society.
Ar Ru, the most aloof of all the Wills, can control Moocheriel because I, a mid-level Will of the Planet, was here.
You lied and said you'd give me back my power, but you only used me to summon Ar Ru! That's unforgivable!
Hmph, an arcane deity who vanished into the ancient darkness of time... What nonsense.
Grrr! I'll destroy you!
Please don't hurt Mr. Kureha! He's an important person who purifies my mind.
Finnel, you're wrong! He's done so many horrible things to you. You're being brainwashed!
You don't know me!
I told you! I needed to be purified to live!

The purpose of the defense system became obvious.

Aoto, it's the defense system again. She won't listen to reason.
But if we don't do something, we'll never get Ayatane to tell us the truth...
...True. Okay, let's see what we can do.
Finnel, listen. You are a life form that was created to summon Suzunomia and myself into this world.
Ayatane created an environment in which he could easily manipulate you and weaken your spiritual energy.
No! I don't wanna hear it!
Just accept it, or else you'll grow weaker and weaker.
I can't! It's too late! Nooo!

The purifications will end soon, anyway. Once it's over, I'll be a pure, innocent soul and will leave this messy world.
Don't be stupid! That won't happen!
Then, what!? I can't play the games, I can't be purified, I can't be free! Do you want me to be in pain forever!?
That's not what I'm saying!
Don't patronize me! You don't know! You've no idea how much it hurts! I can't take this anymore! I'm supposed to be... I don't care about any of that! I just want to be happy...
Am I not even allowed to do that? I can't escape, at all? Ever!? I have to face this unreasonable reality!?
Listen to me, Finnel!

Soma was done listening to the whining.

I don't know if you're a defense mechanism or what, but I learned one thing from your blabbering.
If I delete you, everything'll be settled. You're the culprit. You keep influencing Finnel for the worse.
Me!? You're gonna kill me...?
Soma, no! Don't make such a hasty decision!
If I die, Finnel's personality might become completely dismantled and lose its structure.
The defense system exists to literally defend her soul.
If it's removed, Finnel will have to face reality. If she can't handle it, she may lose her grip on it for good.
That's right. I'm stabilizing her mind.
But right now, her mind can only be long as she keeps suffering?
I'll kill you!
Wait, wait, wait! Let me connect some dots first, please.

He was smart enough to get a smarter person to lay things out for him.

Fine. I'll recap your options and the pros and cons of each.
First, decide whether to remove the defense system or not.
This is extremely risky. Everyone's soul has one, and it keeps the mind stable.
In addition, this may not be what Finnel truly wants.
...Why's that?
She doesn't see this situation as a crisis.
This world is full of trauma, but it can't kill her.
At this rate, she may never smile from the bottom of her heart, but she'll live a relatively normal life.
I see.
Removing the system will force her to face reality. Her mental wounds may heal, but her mind may also collapse.

Taking that chance, she'll need another system of defense to rely on.
It's like when a baby chick first hatches from its egg...
The new defense system must accept her mind's state and sustain it so it won't fall apart.
You're the only one capable of this. If you're certain you'll love and protect her forever, you just might succeed.

But if your resolve is not 100%, you should reconsider. You must make up your mind.
...I see.

This was nothing like just killing that stupid Supervisor.

It's far beyond the realm of a normal friendship or even a relationship.
Don't forget, no matter how much you think you love her and wish to make her happy, that's simply your own desire.
If you're not determined to stay by her side and support her through thick and thin, for her sake, don't do this.
Take time to think it over. This is an extremely important decision.

It wasn’t quite time for Aoto to make that choice yet.

He had someone else to talk to about it first.

Momoko! What are you doing here?
I was watching the view of the night. I was thinking that it's such a gloomy world that we're living in...
You should realize that you're partially responsible for all the gloominess.
I do. Hey, more importantly than that, I heard you're going to remove Finnel's Defense System?
Yeah...well, I haven't made up my mind yet, though...
If we're lucky, this world'll see a new ray of hope.
...Hey, I'm confused about who you really are. You don't bully her for your own fun, do you?
Of course I'm bullying her for my own fun. That's a true story because that's what Finnel wants us to do to her.
I'm still doubtful about that. Finnel wants you all to be mean to her...?
When you saw me bully Finnel, what did you think? Please be honest.
Well, of course, I thought you were such a meanie. I thought I'd definitely have to push you back at some point.
When is "some point?"
Well, after something had happened.
What were you planning on doing until that happened?
Watching you 24/7 so that you couldn't do mean things to her.
Hmhmhm... That's so effective... Finnel's deeper layer is really smart.

I still don’t think he got what was going on.

Because that would mean that you'd eliminate me. And what result would this fine balance create?

Think about it on your own time. Alright, I'll be going now.
...Damn, I'm getting even more confused.

She’s saying you’re partially to blame.

Anyway it was time for him to make the call, and thanks to the magic of the simulator I can show you what a different Aoto would have done.

Let me say this again: this choice will create a very decisive transition in both yours and Finnel's lives.
Don't make this decision on a whim. If you remove the Defense System, you have to make her happy at all costs.
That may force you to have to reject someone else who is affectionate to you.
You have to make this decision, taking all of that into consideration.
...I will...

This Aoto chose to help Finnel, though we couldn’t remedy him being essentially Aoto and all that entails.

...Protect Finnel for the rest of my life. I will remove her Defense System!
That may just be your egotistical desire... She may not be longing for that outcome...
I don't care if it is my egotism! Finnel is my servant. I'll do whatever I want to do to her. What's wrong with that?
And, I don't like the fact that she has a major trauma that I'm not responsible for, either.
I just don't want to keep such a depressing gift for long!
Hmhm. Alright. So, you have the determination to supersede her obsolete Defense System, huh?
Of course!
Alright, then let's go.

They returned to carry out their plan.

Don't say that you're here to eliminate me.
You seem to be a quick learner. What other reason would I have, other than to remove you from this space?
As I told you before, if I disappear, Finnel's Soulspace will collapse. Are you going to kill me...?
That won't happen. As of today, I shall become the official ruler of Finnel's World!
...Huh!? What are you talking about!?
Ah-hahahaha. That's impossible, Aoto. How can such an outlander as you become the ruler of this world?
We'll never know until I try!
Don't say that!
But it is impossible. Even if it were physically possible, I don't think your mind could take it.
...Why not!?
Because, I'm Finnel, you know!? I'm the Finnel who resides in the deepest layer of her cognitive system.
If you kill me, it'll become a new trauma that will permanently stay in this layer.

She thought she had Aoto cold, but there was a solution she hadn’t considered.

Oh, that's what it is? It's so simple.
As long as it won't leave scars on Aoto's mind, it'll be fine. If I kill you, everything will be settled.
And I'll help you.
Soma! Yurisica! No! You guys have to stay with her, too!
Unfortunately, I no longer intend to linger anymore.
Same here. I'll return to Ar Ciel in a few years anyway. This is our penance for everything we've done to you two.
Why, cruel world...?
Aoto, please make Finnel happy. You're the only one in the entire universe who can support her.
A villain lives a villain's life and dies a villain's death... That's my aesthetic principle. The time has come.
W-wait! I-I-If you do that...!
Say your prayers! Hurahhh!
This is the final blow.
The Defense System has been removed! Aoto! Let's go to Finnel!
Hurry, or we don't know what she'll start doing.
Oh yeah!
You finally removed the Defense System...
Sorry, Momoko! I don't have time to talk to you right now!

He returned to where Finnel was caged.

The situation had changed significantly.

...What's going on here!? Everyone's down on the ground...
Richa! Mute! H-hey, Cocona!
Finnel!? Finnel, is that you?
Finnel...I'm glad you're safe! It's all good now! I...will...
Aw! Finnel...? Hey, wait a second! What's wrong with you...!?
Why did you...come to this place!?
Huh!? What are you talking about!?
Why did you appear before me!?
Grr! Wait a second!
Dying wouldn't be painful. Death was...a familiar event for me!
I believed...if I pain would go away...that death would release me. But because of you, I can't die anymore!

She’d long since reached the point where she didn’t even want a reason to live any more somewhere inside.

C-calm down...
If I die, I won't be free... I don't want to be away from you, so I don't want to die! But living is so painful... dare you ruin my life. How dare you...
...Turn my life into a living Hell!
You should die here, stupid Aoto! This world should be destroyed, once and for all!
Clustania...for persecuting me so much! And those Reyvateil biotches...!
I'll kill you all! I'll give you all a taste of the same Hell I went through!
...I can't...breathe... Please...let go of me...
This was how I felt every single day, without exception! You would want to escape this, too, wouldn't you, Aoto!?
So, escape! Get out of here! Now!
Dummy! How can I!? ...I'
I made up my mind to protect you for the rest of my life! I'll never let you go...
I'll live my life only for you!
...Why? better, too...

Agh... *huff* *huff* ...Finnel... *huff* *huff*
...Why...just for me...?
Tell me...! Why?

One question had tormented her for her entire life.

I never did anything wrong...I always did my best to make everyone happy...
But...why!? This is too much... I can't take it anymore!
Finnel! Calm down!
No! I said nooo!!!
Please leave me alone! Don't hurt me anymore!
...Finnel! Alright, alright... You've done very well... Good girl.
I want to live my life! So why can't I!? This is too much!
Why am I always the one who draws the short straw!? They told me to die... Poured hot water on me... Why!?
I didn't do anything to them!? I didn't do anything wrong...
Finnel, it's gonna be alright... You can live, so don't die! You can't die!
If you die, I'll follow you down into the inferno. So, you've gotta live...!
*sob* *sob*
Alright, Finnel...that's a good girl.
You must've gone through a lot of tough times... It must've been really hard...
I may not be able to fully understand your pain, but...
I'll never let you feel that way again. You won't have to go through that pain...
I'll protect you for the rest of your life. So...don't cry anymore.
Agh! ...Wahhh!

In one way she deeply misunderstood herself.

That's not true. You're a lot stronger than I am... I admire your strength for going through all that pain.
But you'll be fine from now on. You won't have to fight the pain anymore. I'll always be here to defend you...
Aoto... Do you mean it?
Hey, of course. I'll never let you be alone again!
If you still wanna cry, then go ahead! But from now on, you'll always have to cry in my arms.
*sniff* ...Aoto...
And then I'll caress you like a little baby...
...Thank you...Aoto... Uwahhh!
*sniff* *sniff*
Finnel, are you alright? You can cry more if you want to...
...Uhn-uh. I don't need to anymore. Thank you, Aoto. You really know how to make me feel safe...
Really!? I'm glad to hear that... Thank you... You'll be better from now on.
...Really? I'm so happy... We'll always be together, right...?
I don't...need to...cry...anymore...

Everything wasn’t quite settled, though. Finnel collapsed, and the world began to do the same.

...? This is...
Aoto, it's urgent! Get out of here! Hurry!
This entire world is about to collapse. Finnel has probably consumed too much spiritual energy...
At this rate, we'll be annihilated, along with this world! We must escape! Now!
...Okay. I'll bring Finnel over there!
That's meaningless! Finnel won't survive this anyway. We must prioritize our own escape into the real world!
Whether she'll survive or not doesn't matter! I've already decided to protect her till the end!
I'll stay with her, up until the last moment!
Alright. But come this way, anyway!

Their only hope was a Paradigm Shift.

We're saved! If she goes through it, we'll all survive for now!
Finnel! I'll never let you die!

They rushed to the Stonehenge.

But they weren’t in luck, the Shift faded.

The Paradigm Shift disappeared?
...Seems like the limit's been reached. This world will gradually vanish.
Really? Are you talking about her Cosmosphere?
Once we go back to the real world, she'll be fine, right?

Hey, c'mon! Say yes!
...Unfortunately, that's not the case.
This isn't limited to her Cosmosphere. Her soul's been damaged and she's lost the ability to maintain this world.
Slowly but surely, this world will return to nothingness and we'll all return to the void.
...But Finnel finally escaped her bitter past...
Why can't she just have a normal life!? This is so unfair!

Things were really looking grim.

...Momoko! You...
Well, since you cared for us so much, I came by to say thanks.
Good luck, Aoto. Take good care of Finnel, as always.
Momoko, what're you doing!?
I'm leaving her to you, Aoto. From now on, you'll be her Mind Guardian.
You're not planning to die, are you? What's the point!?
It's a good one. I'll be one less source that's consuming her energy.
Besides, her defense system created me, so I can't stick around if there's nothing left of it.
When I'm gone, my burden on her will lift. Then, after a while, the Paradigm Shift will return.
No! Don’t!
Let me be a good girl, for once. It was already determined that I'd disappear at the end anyway.
Take good care of her!

Momoko’s sacrifice reignited the Paradigm Shift.

It came back...
Okay, let's go!
...Momoko! I'll definitely make Finnel the happiest girl in the universe.

Next time we’ll talk about what was next. It’s actually pretty good.