Part 33: Part XXV: Hear the Resolve of a Woman - Part BPart XXV: Hear the Resolve of a Woman - B
Linca, about that time we slew the dragon... Did it feel like you reached your goal, or did you at least feel some kind of satisfaction?
Ayesha, I thought that I would come to some kind of understanding after defeating the dragon, but... In the end, I understood nothing. It seems like that was not what I wanted to do after all.
But it became clear...that that was not the right solution. I probably do not actually like fighting.
Oh...that's a little unexpected. Hmm, but I guess it's not surprising.
I thought that I only had my sword, but maybe that was because my sword is all I know.
There's nothing "maybe about it. That's what I've always been telling you.
So it is, I see...
Well, you get a "well done" just for realizing that. Take your time and search for what you want to do.
What I want to do... To protect Marion is what I want to do.
But you're talking about your duty. I'm talking about something else.
Th-That's not realistic. To even stay together for 10 or 20 years is-
I am fine with either 10 or 20 years, if I am with Marion.
Anyway, we drifted away from the topic about how you were going to find your goal...
No. If my goal is to be with Marion, then... It means I have already achieved it.
A-Absolutely not! That's kind of cheating...
Marion, do you not like being with me...?
Oh, jeez. That's not it. This is this, and that is that, so you have to find your goal!
Marion got angry... And I got scolded again today...
Linca had such a kind expression on her face, when she was talking to Marion. Fighting wasn't the answer she was looking for, but maybe we're getting closer. She's definitely become much more lively since when I first met her. I'll ask her about Marion again when we go back on the road.
When you're fighting, you look very lively.
Now that you mention it, you might be right. Ayesha, your observations are very keen. It just occured to me that I might like to move my body. Marion's job is to thin, and my job is to move my body. I think we make a good combination. What do you think, Ayesha?
Hrh...do you think we make a bad combination?
No, no, I was thinking that it's great. It just suits you two so much.
I see! Then that must mean that we should stay together forever. Marion is scary when she gets mad, and is annoying when she tells me to tidy myself up or comb my hair... But I still cannot imagine separating from her. If we make a good combination, then it is only natural for us to stay together.
Hehehe, Linca, you really do like Marion, don't you?
Huh? Really? But you both get along so well!
As I said earlier, she is scary when she gets mad, and is annoying when she tells me to tidy myself up or comb my hair. In any case, I am not good at dealing with her. Why is she always like that? She should be a bit nicer...
Haha...I'm sure that's a sign of her kindness.
It is? That is hard to believe...
(I'm sure her strictness is her true kindness...)
After that, a long time passed before Marion returned to her office. She had to spend a lot of time out in the field, investigating the ruins around Hornheim, and even the Salt Desert where Tanya's family lives. She might be trying to find out all about the places I found glowing flowers. I helped her and Linca carry back all her findings from all her notebooks, and it took even longer for her to organize them. One day, when I came in to talk about the weather...
It's winter already. The area around here has a temperate climate, but it still gets chilly.
Marion, there is something that I always remember this time of year.
Me, too. Has it been...nine years since then?
Yes. On that day, it was snowing.
Nine years...? Snowing...?
Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to leave you out. It's about the day we first met. It was back when I was still new to this occupation and she was working for her former master...
It was when I was still shorter than Marion.
You're right... Back then, Linca was small and oh so cute. Thinking back, you sure did grow a lot...
I do not have any likes or dislikes for what I eat!
Is that something to be proud of?
Yes. I am superior to Marion, who has many likes and dislikes for what she eats.
No! I don't like beans of any kind! I mean, even if I did eat glasses beans, I still won't grow any more.
Umm...I feel like this conversation has gone off on a tangent...
Oh, sorrry, you're right. Hmm, what were we talking about?
Umm, was it whether or not you should eat glasses beans?
(Hmm, I wanna know more, but it seemed rude to bring it up again? It seemed a little complicated...)
Maybe I'll ask Linca when Marion and Linca are done with their conversation. From the way they were talking, it seemed like it could go on for a while. I don't know much about Linca or Marion's past, actually...I never asked them.
Linca! What are you doing in a place like this?
Hm? Oh...I was thinking a bit about the past...
Oh, about the story that you guys didn't finish before? (I want to hear more about the story, but...I wonder if it would be rude of me to ask...)
Yes... I have decided. I think I should tell you about my past.
Huh...? But...if you didn't want to talk about, I don't want you to force yourself...
Ayesha, you are my friend. I want you to hear it. If you do not want to, I will not...
Well, if you say so. I am your friend.
Thank you. Then please listen. I am not sure if I can describe it well, but...
Eh, not so good...?
Yes. Following the orders I was given by the person who raised me, I caused trouble for Marion and others. Back then, I believed that I was not allowed to disobey these orders. One day, there was a big battle and I was captured. With no relatives or guardians, all I could was wait for my day of judgment. However, for some reason, Marion saved me, even though I was her enemy. Marion will not tell me why she saved me, but... I now stay by Marion's side to repay my debt to her for saving my life.
So that's what happened...
Battles between people... I knew things like that happened in the past, but I didn't know they were still going on. I've always lived in this frontier, so I don't know much about the outside world. Maybe I don't know as much as I thought.
Ayesha, you are my friend, but in reality, I do not deserve to have friends.
I don't know all the details, but Linca, you are a kind and nice person. And that's enough for me. Let's continue to be friends like we are now, okay?
Ayesha...if you are okay with that, then I would like that, as well...
But, why are you telling you me this all of a sudden?
...I have a hunch, and it is not good. This land, compared to the center, is very peaceful, so I have forgotten the past, but... Something might happen in the future that is related to my past. Because of that, I started to worry that you may get caught up in it...so I wanted to tell you my story.
Yes. If you see Linca...please be careful.
...Huh? If I see...Linca?
Ayesha, you are so kind, I am worried about you. But, you cannot let your guard down around me.
Wh-What do you mean? I don't understand...
Just beware of Linca. Please remember that. Now then...
(Beware of Linca... I-I don't get it. I wonder what that means...)
She wandered off before I could ask her again, but... Could there be someone else named Linca nearby? The other Linca
Wow, this butterfly necklace is so nice. But, I think it'll look better on Linca than on me. Hehehe, maybe I'll buy it as a gift. She's been looking after me...
Oh, you're right. This probably would look nice on her.
Hehe, you think so, too, Linca? It looks so classy, it would be perfect for her. Wait, Linca!?
Oh...that doesn't sound like her. Her voice is so different from the Linca I know...
Hello. Thanks for being friends with Linca.
Oh, you're welcome. Coming from Linca personally... Huh? (There's something weird about this conversation... And something seems different about her...)
It'd make me happy if you'd keep being good friends with Linca. I'm counting on you, Ayesha cupcake.
Oh, y-yes... Ayesha cupcake...?
"Ayesha cupcake"? Linca would never call me something like that, but she's named Linca, too?
These were favorable circumstances. We were able to get a great deal on fresh vegetables. That's a relief. With our low salaries, we can't afford to spend a lot of money on food.
The game says that the first line above is spoken by Linca, but it sounds a lot more like Marion. Linca doesn't talk that fast, either.
Tonight, I will try my best to prepare scrambled eggs!
How can you cook eggs when we only bought vegetables?
Marion and...Linca!? Wh-Whaaat!?
Oh, Ayesha, what's wrong? What're you yelling for?
Oh, well, umm, I, necklace, and Linca, was a gift, and...
Okay, stop! I can't understand what you're saying. Calm down, and take a deep breath. Okay, iiin, and ooout, iiiiiiin, and ooooooout.
O-Okay, iiin, and ooout, iiiiin, and ooooooout.
Better now? Okay, start talking.
WEll, when I was shopping just now, Linca was talking to me. But another Linca came from that side with you...
Marion...it seems like Linca is here.
Seems so. To chase us down to this frontier... She doesn't give up, does she?
U-Umm, I totally have no clue about what's going on...
Right, I'm sorry. Since you've met Linca, I guess I have to explain everything... It's kind of complicated, so do you think you can come by my office later?
I do not want to cause trouble for Ayesha, but...please do.
(I should go to her office later. They both had such serious expressions... Anyway, two Lincas... What's going on...!?)
I'll just bring my groceries back to the workshop, then go to Marion's office. I'm really interested in hearing the story.
Thank you. Then I'll go ahead and start explaining our situation. But before that...I can't believe she talked to you before she talked to us.
It seems she has collected a lot of intelligence on us. I am sure she has completed all of the background checks.
I know this is a weird way to say it, but...are you two familiar with that Linca?
Well, to put it simply...she's Linca's sister, although that's a little misleading.
I-I guess that's exactly what it looks like, but...
Stuff happened in the past, and now we have a hostile relationship with her.
Ever since we came here, we have yet to fight her directly, but... I never thought she would follow us this far.
Be careful. They may look exactly alike, but their personalities are complete opposites. That Linca is pretty wicked.
I guess she acted completely different than Linca... But, she didn't seem like a bad person... She even smiled when she was talking to me...
That's part of her strategy. Either way, don't let your guard down.
The same clothes...? Linca, go take a look in your closet right now!
A while passed, so Linca must have been looking for her clothes. Thinking on it, it's no wonder Marion and Linca are so different from me. It seems both of them have a lot of experiences together in their past, but I don't know what this new Linca coming back means. I still don't know why they look exactly the same.
Marion, several sets of my clothes have disappeared!
I see, so that's how it is... It'll be real trouble if they switch places.
Marion, in exchange for the clothes that disappeared, she left a letter behind. Should I read it?
"Dear Linca, it's been a while. After you disappeared, I searched everywhere for you. We have never forgiven you for your betrayal."
"You seem to be living comfortably out on the frontier. That's unforgivable. Therefore, as minimal compensation, I'll be taking one precious thing from you guys. Please look forward to it. Love, Linca"
She's one troublesome girl... But I wonder what precious thing she's talking about...?
Maybe it is about the investigation report that you have been compiling since we got here...
Yes. Marion's salary is not even worth stealing...
But she probably won't have any use for my report, even with all that data in her hands...
I-It seems like this is turning into a big deal...
Yeah. I don't want to cause any trouble for you, but... This might get complicated in the future. If you see Linca, please tell us. But don't even think about capturing her, okay?
O-Okay. I'll let you two know right away. (I'm not really sure about the circumstances, but if I see Linca, I need to let Linca know... This is all just getting too confusing now...)
After that, a few days passed. Neither Marion, myself, or Linca had seen the other Linca. I told Marion that I thought she might have left by now, but Marion didn't think so, and neither did Linca. It seems Linca can basically sense when Linca is nearby. While she wasn't in town, most days, Linca still said she's near Vierzeberg, but couldn't tell where. I wouldn't like to fight with her, either... It'd really be better if we got along as friends, but... Invitation
Now that I think about it, I still don't know that much about it. But I don't wanna be too nosy. Hmm, I wonder what the other Linca's real name is...
Hmhm, you can call me Linca, as well.
Whaaa-!? Sh-Sh-She's here!?
Okay, don't cause a commotion now. I don't wanna call attention to myself. I hope you know what'll happen...if you're too loud...!
Good. I'm glad you understand your predicament...
(Wh-Wh-Wh-What should I do? I-I wonder if she's gonna do something to me... I-I guess I have to talk to her to lighten up the mood, so she'll be a bit less scary...!) U-Umm, you look very nice in Linca's outfit. (What in the world am I saying!?)
I guess. We do have the same face. If it looks good on her, it should look good on me, too. It is such a luxury, don't you think? She has five or six of the same outfit! Don't you think it's unfair that she's the only one who gets this, while we don't have the money to buy clothes?
Whaaaa-! How am I supposed to answer a question like that?)
I...probably shouldn't tell her it's because Marion keeps wanting her to be in the same clothes all the time. I doubt that would make her very ahppy.
So? Don't you think that's unfair?
Well...I heard she has spares because her clothes rip too easily...
We were very close to her. We were always together, no matter what we were dong. But then that woman appeared out of nowhere one day, and took her away...
(Sh-She totally ignored my comment about the clothes!)
Oh, that's... I-I wonder, haha, heh...
Ayesha, what do you think...? Between Marion and Linca, who's the bad one?
(Another unanswerable question! What should I do? How can I answer...?) Well, I don't really know about the situation, but... Umm... I can't picture either one of them as "bad" people, so I'm sorry...
...Hmm, I see. You're quite boring. You should at least try to play along.
Hyaaah! I'm so sorry!
It's fine. It's not like I care about your opinion anyway.
(Then don't ask me...!)
Putting that aside, I want you to give those two a message... Will you tell them to bring what's most important to them to the ruin to the south? But just relaying that message isn't enough... You must accept responsibility for bringing them. Okay?
Ruin to the south...? There's the Zweiteturm, but that's probably not what she's talking about. Closest ruins to the south would be the Oesten Marshlands.
Y-Yes. I understand!
Good girl. I'm counting on you! See ya!
(Whaaa-! This doesn't look good! But first, I need to tell them about this.)
Of course, I went to tell Marion and Linca about this. I don't really know why Linca is doing this, but Marion and Linca said they'd go with me. I guess the only choice I have to is to go to the Marshland and see what happens there. Resolve
I've been waiting... I see you relayed the message for me... Thanks, Ayesha cupcake.
No, well...I wonder if I'm supposed to say you're welcome...
We aren't obligated to put up with you, but we can't let you cause trouble for the people around us.
Stop stalking Ayesha!
I will, if I get what I want. Now, give me what's most important to you.
...This is what's most important to you?
It's what we've been investigating for the past few years. Nothing we possess is more important to us than this.
In a moment, Linca parried the other Linca's attack! It's amazing how fast the both of them were! I've seen Linca in battle plenty of times, but the way her sword moved effortlessly from her sheath to in front of her, protecting herself, Marion, and myself, was incredible. They're evenly matched, but this is starting to get really scary...
I don't care about papers, Linca, I'm gonna take what's most important from you... And, I will also be taking you back. That's my purpose for coming here!
I will not allow you to do that...!
She was the only one who escaped our tight besiegement during that battle. Her skills aren't ordinary. Be careful, Linca!
There is no need for worry! I am no longer my former self!
You think that you, the lowest of our ranks, can defeat me?
I have grown strong after coming to this land. Do not believe that I am still merely what I was in the past.
I'm surprised you can say that while you have two weights dragging you down...
Marion and Ayesha are not dragging me down...!
I want to protect these two of my own free will. I will become the sword that protects them! I am much stronger than I was before!
(Ohhh, what should I do...? I'll just get sliced up if I jump in, and I can't throw bombs at people...)
Do not worry, Ayesha. Please stay there and watch!
I...will not lose!
Another amazing movement! Linca charged forward and slashed really powerfully at Linca's sword. The speed and angle of the sword knocked the other Linca off-balance and forced her to back away a bit, into a defensive stance.
I told you, I am different than before. I am not merely acting on orders. I am fighting of my own free will.
Hmph...! You've got quite the mouth on you now...
I guess fighting the other Linca isn't necessary, but...I have no right to deny the resolve of Linca's heart. Marion has seen her grow up more than I have, but she's undergone an incredible transformation since I've met her. Combining the one thing she can do well, fighting, with the determination to protect those close to her...this is Linca's answer. Linca, let's fight together!
So yeah, it's not necessary to fight Sham Linca, as the Bestiary calls her, but I feel this is most appropriate plot-wise, and it's the only way Sham Linca's entry goes into the Bestiary. Other than the fact she's surprisingly fast, Sham Linca is no threat at all with ultimate equipment. Linca could quite easily solo her, even without Ayesha.
I'm not hurt, and it's all thanks to you.
I'm fine, too. Umm, what about the other Linca...?
This isn't what I planned. This is so not like me... But, I won't give up on you. You belong to me. I will return to take you back soon enough. Just you wait.
Soon enough, huh? Goodness, that child...
If she does come back, I will chase her away again. I am already where I belong. And, I am not Linca's property. I am Marion and Ayesha's friend.
I'm sorry for dragging you down. I'm glad you two weren't hurt...
Us, too. We're sorry we got you mixed up in this. And... Thank you for helping Linca. She was only able to win thanks to you.
And you too, Marion. Now, let us go home.
(I didn't know what was gonna happen, but I'm glad everyone's okay...)
Phew...that was pretty scary, but now Linca has found her purpose in life. I'm so happy. We decided to return to Vierzeberg to cool down a bit and talk about the future. Eight Lincas
The other Linca...said she'll come back again, but... Do you think she's really gonna come back?
For Linca, I am like her other self. I am sure...she will return.
But given that she's such a calculating individual, experiencing an unexpected result like that... I might be some time before she recalculates everything...
Then, we don't have to worry for now? I'm glad... Oh, this may be a silly question, but..are you and her twins, Linca?
...There are at least eight of us, including me.
What!? That many!?
There are probably more by now. It's such a pain to deal with. Well, if LInca comes back, protect me again, okay Linca?
Hey, where's your response?
Marion, do you not regret saving me back then?
Wh-What are you saying all of a sudden!?
I have been causing nothing but trouble for you since then. Simply carrying me close to you is like carrying a bomb. My very existence will bring trouble for you in the future. So, maybe I should just disappear from...
I'll get mad at you if you say anything more!
I'm sure Ayesha feels the same way. Right?
Yes. I'm totally not okay with Linca going away. Besides, I think it's wonderful that you two are together!
But, as long as I am here, I might bring further danger to you both.
Then, you'll just have to protect us again. Linca, you are strong. And if I say it, it must be true.
(Linca and the other Linca... It's a bit confusing, but... Yup. Staying with Marion suits Linca the best!)
To cheer her up, I asked Linca to come with me to the bazaar to look for something to buy as a present for Marion, to commemorate the day when Linca truly found herself. We decided to get a hairpin, but Linca didn't like the flower in it, so we decided to head to a small nearby ruin to look for prettier flowers. I found a great one, so I'm really happy. For the ones I love
Now. Let us depart.
Umm...something's been bothering me.
What is it?
When that other Linca appeared, it caused a big commotion... So I was wondering if you're okay with leaving Marion all by herself... If the other Linca appears when you're not around...
Thank you for worrying about us, Ayesha. But there is no need to worry. I know Linca's personality the best. Linca would not be satisfied with hurting Marion when I am not around. Linca's goal is not to hurt Marion.
I see... If that's the case...
If Linca were to hurt Marion, she would do it in front of me to make me feel mortified... That Linca would find it meaningless unless she could bathe in triumph while laughing at my failure.
Th-That sounds scary, too...
Besides, she may not look like it, but Marion can protect herself. Depending on the situation, Marion would probably defeat me.
Wha-!? I've never heard that before.
It is true. I told you before, but we met on the battlefield. I was captured in that battle, by Marion's hand. My sword has the advantage in close combat, but it is no match for Marion's gun at medium range.
Yes. Even that Linca would not be able to approach Marion without premeditation. And...Marion is very scary when she is mad.
Hahaha, I can kinda imagine that...
All in all, there is no need to worry about Marion's safety. Right, Linca?
Ohhh...the other Linca!
Have you come here for a rematch?
Of course not. Until I can measure your exact abilities, that could be disastrous. I'm returning to my country now. I just thought I should see your face before I do so. And, your face as well, Ayesha cupcake.
I still don't know why she calls me that. Maybe she's just teasing me...
Whaaat...? M-Mine, too...?
Yup. You're too cute to be Linca's friend. Next time I visit, I'd like for you to be my friend, too.
Eh, heh heh... What should I do? Umm... Well, if you can skip all that scary stuff, I'd love to...
No can do. It's impossible not to tease something that you find cute, am I right?
If you even try to lay a finger on Ayesha, I will...
Ooh, scary. I guess I better leave quietly today, after all... Well then, see ya later.
...I still have much to experience.
No matter what happens, no matter what kind of enemies attack... A single sword that never breaks... I need to become a sword like that!