Part 26: Episode XXI: Monstrous Sympathy
And with that, the party departs Royburg to... once again go straight back to the Blackwhelm Cave to deal with the same exact monster again. Sure, why not? Im really glad the world map doesnt have any random battles.
I like to think hes just been standing there for hours screaming this at anything that passes by the cave entrance.
Music: The World of Snow
! Youre that girl from before...
Thats right! Im glad you remembered me.
That thingie in your hair got bigger.
*looks down* Im glad I got to see you again one last time... Im gonna go kill that woman, before she comes to kill me!
*shakes head* No, you mustnt do that... You mustnt kill anyone. Youre a gentle boy, I know you are...
*shakes head* But Mamas gone... Im scared... What am I supposed to do...?
Im really hungry too.
Live... You need to leave here, and live on.
What good will that do?
Well, you met me, right? If you keep on living, youre sure to meet other people, too! Thats how lives become linked to one another...
*shakes head* I dont get it...
Hey! S-Links arent a thing in this, Setsuna...
I know that.
One day you will. All you need to do is keep living...
All right... Ill try. Ill try living... like you say... I feel like I can trust you... But why are you being so kind to me?
I did try to kill you before.
Im on a journey to try and make sure theres a future for everyone... I want that future to include you.
Thank you... All right... Ill do my best...
*nods* Its a promise.
Yeah, its a promise.
Why does that gremlin keep repeating you?
Oh come on! Youre a werebeetle. You cant call me that!
Dont worry about him. He just wants you to be happy too.
*nods* All right... I promise...
And so the Beetle Boy ventures out into the frozen wastes with zero experience, no supplies, nobody to help him beyond well wishes, and the only way out of the region being through a town that he is definitely shitlisted in. Best of luck, kiddo!
Skinny Boy exits, presumably never to be seen again...
Hell be fine.
Im glad to hear you say that... I think so, too. I believe in him... his future...
Hes a little guy. Itll probably be a real quick death for him.
Hate to break it to you, but people and monsters dont exactly co-exist. Look at Kir. Hes and his people got pointy ears and a tail and people are lining up to kill them. First time anyone gets a whiff of that kids mandibles, the nearest village will be breaking out the pitchforks and torches. I give him a week. Tops. Assuming they dont string him up as soon as he tries to pass through Knightburg.
It doesnt have to be like that.
It doesnt *have* to but... reality kinda is what it is...
I want things to change... no matter how long that might take. This land... This way of life... The relationship between humans and monsters...
So we should probably mosey back to town. Ive got a sack full of slain monster materials heavy enough to crush a small child.
Come on, lets go back. If we hang around here too long, Juliennell get suspicious, right?
*surprise* Hah! Dont worry about her! One blast of my magic and shell be sorry she ever messed with us!
Yes, yes, all right...
Do I hear my name...?
Music: March to Rebirth
Taking a stroll.
In a dangerous place such as this?
Oh yeah. Having to dodge penguins and junk really helps with the cardio workout. You should give it a try.
Well, what are you doing here?
There is someone I am looking for...
And we are the first people youve encountered?
There was a child but he too was taking a stroll. Careless.
*shake head* Hmph... Anyway... You head back to the village. My people are about to hold a banquet in your honor. I hope you accept their gratitude.
Well be happy to.
Weve gotten all but stiffed in the last handful of villages.
I had heard that the masked mercenaries favored solitude, and avoided contact with others... But you are remarkably socially disposed, it would seem.
Stereotypes like that are always painful to hear. Im a people person.
Unless, of course... you insinuate something else entirely.
Youre imaging things. I suppose its easy to get paranoid when youre head of a knighthood...
*starts walking off* Come on, lets go...
Kir immediately nearly gets his shit ruined by a rogue white snake. Way to go, kiddo.
Julienne has his back and one-shots the new enemy to show off her remarkable
What was it you said again? One blast of your magic and shed...?
*sweat drop* ......
Hey, dont bag on the kid. For all we know shes a glass-cannon that hits hard but a light breeze will have her crumpled on the floor.
...Yeah. Thats right!
You tell ehey!
Another snake monster slides up behind the party...
Are you trying to get eaten?
What do you want to try negotiation? Alright. Lets go. Hey, snake! You dont have shoulders.
Diplomacy has failed.
Hes right, Setsuna! Not all monsters are harmless like that boy! You need to accept that some of them can be reasoned with, and some of them cant!
MOST of them cant, in fact. Id go as far to say as almost all of them cannot be reasoned with...
Yes, I know... Im sorry for worrying you.
HISSSS! (What do you mean I dont have shoulders? What the f)
Music: No Turning Back
Time for a brief battle against a new enemy: the Snecter. Snecter, huh...? Youre really going with that...? Alright. Its a dopey snake creature with only 236 HP and isnt too much of a threat, despite oddly getting an introductory cutscene.
Its biggest threat is breathing fire all over the entire party for a moderate bit of damage. It can also bite our characters to absorb some of their HP, because thats a thing snakes can do in video games, and causing Paralysis. And... well, thats about it...
Id probably skip over even giving this monster the time of day beyond a single short paragraph. But its one of... two whole battles in this entire chapter. So here we are.
Music: March to Rebirth
I must say, I am impressed with your prowess in battle. You would make fine recruits for the knighthood!
Yeah... Not interested.
Hows the pay?
You will receive boarding, hot meals, and the honor of serving the knighthood.
...Not hearing anything about pay here. Pass.
*shakes head disapprovingly*
Hey, Im always open to exploring exciting career opportunities. Especially since... Err... Never mind.
I see. How unfortunate. Very well, I shall return to the village ahead of you. Try not to be tardy.
Come on, lets go! Theres gonna be a banquet, right?
Tch. You cant be cross with her AND eager to go to her dinner invitation.
Yeah... My stomach says otherwise.
Alright then. Thats it for Blackwhelm Caves. Really. Just took a stroll there to get a cutscene. Back to Royburg we go. Again. For the third time.
Hey, look! Theres a big fire over there! They must be getting our banquet ready!
Bummer. They must have burned beetle boy at the stake.
Im just saying, I dont want any of you to get all shocked and appalled if we find that kids head mounted on a pike further down the road. Ill just be standing here going Told ya so if you do.
*looks down* ......
Are you fishing for sympathy?
Were not gonna do the sympathy for the monsters trying to kill us thing from here on out. Not happening... Once youve plunged a dagger into a Pengys big dopey button-like eye for the twelfth time, youre beyond being able to pull that card...
*shakes head and looks down* No, its not that. I know it cant be helped... I understand that... I know its not that easy... If everything could be solved by talking things through... Then the sacrificial pilgrimages wouldnt have gone on this long... But... still...
*looks up* I believe that we can change things on this journey.
*shakes head* Were not really going to go to the banquet, are we?
You see a bonfire in the middle of some town controlled by an organized militia at night? Its time to skip town.
Lets look for a guide.
Youre right. We need to find someone to take us across the ice, and get out of here.
*looks down* What... So were not going to the banquet, after all?
No, please... Go ahead, take your time.
Go ahead and pick up some pastries and crumpets. Maybe have a lovely dance with milady Julienne. Well just wait. You bring us a doggie bag to share later.
*sweats* Youre scaring me, Aeterna! Come on, I was only kidding! Lets all go and look! We must be able to find someone who can help us get across the Floeberg Waters!
Now they say that and imply we ought to poke around town for assistance. But nah. Were just going to barge straight into the gathering in the middle of town.
Music: Feeling of Unease
You must remember this always! Unless our hearts are as one, our kingdom shall never be restored! Yet despite this... In our last battle against the monsters, these two young knights attempted to turn tail and flee! Not only is this unbefitting conduct for a knight, it is an impediment to our kingdoms restoration! Thus... in the glorious and honorable name of our kingdom...
Please, wait! We didnt try to turn tail!
We had no choice but to turn our backs on the monsters, to aid a child who had failed to escape!
True, the child was immediately torn to ribbons by the monsters before we could do anything. But we tried! That must count for something!
Silence! Enough of your feeble excuses!
Why, Lady Julienne!? Before, you would command us to always prioritize human life over combat!
So why? Why do you now lust for violence so...? Do you take pleasure in doing battle with the monsters!?
Not only are you blind to your failings, but you attempt to turn the blame unto me... Despicable! Simply inexcusable!
Is this your idea of a banquet, lady?
This is crazy!
Theres no crumpets. Youre doing it all wrong.
*disapproving headshake* Dont give her tips on how to cook people, guy.
Aha... It is the heroes who saved our village. Is something wrong?
We want to cross the ice...
So if we could just skip the banquet and get that guide... thatd be great... Well get out of your hair with all... this...
Nice, Endir! Only you would have the courage to COMPLETELY ignore the mood like that!
Ah, yes... Wait there for a moment.
The people of the village look up to you so much... Why are you doing this?
*shakes head* Why are you trying to kill the very people you are supposed to be protecting? We must protect the lives of those who will create the future...
...Yeah, just ignore her. Shes in a mood. Now, that guide...?
Hah! You are to lecture me on the preciousness of life, are you? You travelers... Judging by both your performance in battle, and the tone you now take... It would appear you are not in fact mere travelers at all. What noble cause is this journey of yours in aid of, pray tell?
*steps forward* The future of this land, and the lives of everyone in it, thats what its in aid of!
Yeah lets all just throw out moral platitudes in front of the crazy woman about to burn people to death. You got one Nidr? Aeterna?
*shakes head and sighs*
The future of this land... and the lives of everyone in it...? I see.
You are the sacrifice... and her party... are you not?
Julienne powers up. Looks to be at least a Kaioken x3.
Music: Deadly Gamble
She seems annoyed with us...
Quickly! Carry Her Highness inside at once!
But she was just going to execute us...
...Yeah, not really feeling the loyalty here, to be honest.
Consider yourselves pardoned... or at least given a head start to run. Now help!
Cornelius and the knights drag Julienne indoors. Meanwhile, Kir has been thoroughly owned...
Augh! Im done for! Gahh! Ill never make it!
If youve got that much energy left, I think youll be fine...
Were not wasting an Athenian Water on a cutscene injury. Those things cost real money. Suck it up.
Kir picks himself up...
Music: March to Rebirth
Any regular person woulda been lucky to get away with their life!
Anyway, what the hell happened to Julienne just now?
Hey, I nearly died there if not for my sk
Weve moved on, Kir.
Forget about her. If were going to leave here, lets do it now.
We still need someone to show us across Floeberg Waters, though... Why dont we take another look around, just in case?
Ehh... Maybe later...