Part 29: Breaking The Illusion
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we investigated the Ether Well and made a startling discovery about the Demon War: the demons never existed. Instead, the great war 300 years ago was fought between mankind and the Havali. During our exploration, we came across a Havali woman named Tiamat sealed in biorite, whom Lorenza inadvertently freed. But she didn't seem entirely stable, and attacked us before fleeing the area. With her gone, we don't have a clear next move, but at the end of the update Ethan came to Hilbert and said that he had to tell him the truth. What does this mean? It's time to find out.
You're not making any sense. What are you talking about?
Hilbert, I've been hiding a lot of things from you.
I lost some of it, yes, but I remember much more than I pretended to. I had a reason to keep it from you, but it's no longer a valid one. I should've told you much earlier.
You mean... there's important information you've been keeping from us all this time? All right, I won't ask why if you're going to explain it anyway, but the others should hear about this too. I'll go get them, okay?
Part of the reason I hadn't told you yet is that... I didn't know how you'd take it.
Come on, we're a team. I don't want to hide anything from the rest. What is it? I have to know now.
Hilbert, you... You were being used. You aren't "destined" for anything. You just happened to be their victim.
All of this, it was all just part of their plan. Zawu was their agent who carried it out for them. They... They have been deceiving you all along.
Fade to black...
Hey, Hilbert. What's wrong?
It's because of me. I'm not the person I said I was. The story of my memory loss was more or less a lie.
What! What did you do!? Don't tell me you're a traitor!
Let him talk.
I'm not an enemy, but did serve on the enemy's side once.
We were a personal task force for General Castor, the man who's now the Kingdom army's supreme commander. We knew Zawu well too.
I'm surprised you held such a rank, but we already knew that you used to be a Kingdom soldier. What I want to know is, what is your relation to Zawu? How did you come to meet her?
... I don't remember.
It's not a lie. There are still gaps in my memory. What I do know, is that Zawu is acting as an ambassador between the Kingdom and the Havali. She is the one who gave Castor and I our positions. In a sense, she was our superior.
That may be true. The Havali are definitely using us.
But, you mentioned the Havali. Tell me more about your relation to them. What are their goals?
It's hard to say. Simply by allying and combining our strength, we'd be able to conquer the world. But just like you, we believed that the Awakening meant the revival of the ancient demons. We thought the Havali had the power to control these demons.
But that was a lie.
Yes. I was having some doubts myself, so I began to investigate. I discovered that the demons we believed in didn't exist, and that the Havali lost the great war. What I didn't know about at the time was that most of the Havali were sleeping underground. That explains why they were still being passive, and why they needed Lorenza.
So, was this discovery the reason you were imprisoned?
Yes. There was an intelligence officer in the Kingdom who found out what I was doing. The truth is, he wasn't supposed to know about this either. He just discovered it by himself. I wanted to protest to Castor about what he was doing, but this man saw an opportunity for promotion.
So essentially... there's little that we didn't already know. But why did you keep all of this a secret from us until now?
I came here... to fulfill a promise to someone.
Fade to black...
My name... Oh, I still remember. How long has it been? Months? Years? I don't know... How much longer...? What's that?
Jesus. I'm pretty sure that qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.
Who... Who are you?
That's a good question. It took me a long time to figure it out myself. If you need to call me anything, call me Phantom. And your name is... Ethan, isn't it?
Yes, I'm Ethan, but... What am I doing here? I...
When you remember more, there'll be a lot of things I want to ask you about. There's probably a lot that you want to know about me too. But first, we need to get out of here before they raise the alarm.
Fade to black...
It's the alarm? They must've discovered that you're gone. I made sure I wasn't detected when I got inside. I didn't think they'd check on your cell that often. Quick! We need to run!
Fade to black...
Shh! Speak quietly. Look outside. They're all over. They've got the place surrounded.
Is there another way out?
I went through a ventilation shaft on the side of the building. It was unguarded, but I doubt that's still the case.
I'll try to break through. It's better than being locked up again.
No, you won't get far. Leave through the shaft I was talking about. It's at the end of this corridor and to the right.
What about you?
I'll go through the front and buy you some time.
You can't do th--
No time to argue. I'm the one who got you into this mess. Listen, we have to move quick. First of all, take this.
Now, I have a task for you. I don't think I'll get the opportunity to do it myself. I may be asking a lot from you, but I think it's a fair trade for getting you out of here.
What is it?
There's a young man in the army of a country south of here. I met him recently by chance. He holds the seal of Alexander.
The seal of Alexander? So, what about him?
It could be a good thing, but it could also be very bad. I couldn't do anything at the time. I was barely capable of thinking, but that encounter woke me up.
So, what am I supposed to do?
If he is indeed an ally, you should help him any way you can. But if he turns out to be an enemy, you must stop him any way you can. Will you promise to do this for me? It may be of great importance.
I'll do my best.
Good. Now run, quick!
Fade to black...
Who's this old man? Did he escape from a cell?
He's got to be from here. Just look at him. Go and check with the captain to make sure.
Fade to black...
I had to determine if Hilbert was a victim or not, and in both cases, if he was a danger.
A victim? A danger? What are you talking about?
It's not that strange, Matilda. The one who gave Hilbert the seal of Alexander is Zawu. We now know she works for the Kingdom and Havali. Even before this, we already came to the conclusion that Zawu was trying to use Hilbert.
But that's in the past. We've gone our own way since then. They wanted to control Hilbert because he is the descendant of Alexander, but he broke free. Their plan has already failed.
No. It's not that simple. You... you still seem to believe that Hilbert was destined from the beginning.
Actually I'm fairly certain that most of our party considered this possibility for quite some time. I'm not sure why Ethan is acting otherwise.
Wh... What are you saying?
I'll admit that I had my doubts at first, but at the time I thought it didn't matter if it was true or not. I guess that over time, we all came to believe that it was the truth.
Before I met you, I found it hard to believe that Zawu found and approached a real descendant. But as I spent more time with you, even I almost started to believe it. This is why Hilbert is a victim. Zawu specifically chose someone who would buy what she told him. A normal person would've been skeptical, but Hilbert truly believed it.
Hilbert... Is this really true?
I... I guess so...
Why would they go through all this effort to convince Hilbert to fight against the "demons" if the "demons" are actually their own allies?
That's a question I can't answer. This is probably something Zawu came up with on her own. But... I can safely say that it's no more than a backup plan. In their grand scheme, it probably wasn't even a big loss.
Hilbert suddenly leaves the room.
I'm sorry. It's my fault. I don't know how to say something like this.
It's not your fault. This is ridiculous. I'll go talk to him.
Don't you think we should let him be alone for a while?
It didn't work for me, and it won't work for him. He needs to hear what I have to say. I'm going after him.
And we now control Matilda. As is usually the case in situations like these, we can talk to our party members before going off to speak to Hilbert.
Just keep his own feelings in mind. Be careful about what you say.
I'm still having trouble processing all this new information. It's probably not as bad once you see the whole picture.
I feel sorry for him. He's been trying so hard.
I should've said it earlier. I just couldn't do it.
We can find Hilbert just off the bridge.
I can't do that. If I leave you alone, you're only going to stand there and sulk.
Don't waste your time on me. I'm just an idiot.
What happened to wanting to be a hero? Is this all your dreams are worth?
What's the point? It was all just a lie.
I wanted to be recognized. She just... told me exactly what I wanted to hear. What kind of person lets himself be led on like that? I'm just a fool who believes anything he's told.
You're acting like a fool all right. What about everything we've accomplished so far? So you think you're just a normal person after all? Would a normal person have made it this far? We helped end the civil war in the Empire. Isn't that worth anything to you? What does it matter if you're not a descendant of Alexander?
You don't understand. You just don't understand. It's not about the lie I believed in, it's the fact that I believed it.
Felgorn said... "a hero should not be a tool". What good am I if I can't even tell what's the truth? I don't know what I should do anymore.
It's obvious what you should do! You should keep fighting! You shouldn't let this--
I know! I know, but... Before, I had a reason to fight. It was -necessary- for me to fight. Right now, it feels like it's only going to make things worse if I keep fighting. Maybe I should just go back home and forget about all of this...
Just leave me be. I want to think about this on my own.
Fine. Do what you want.
Fade to black...
How did it go?
Forget it. Just leave him alone for now.
Anyway, Ethan, I'm curious about something. You were also encased in biorite at the prison. Could it have been some kind of experiment? Just like us, the Kingdom is investigating the material. Was it to test the effect on humans?
Who knows... No, actually, it's probably as you say. There must be great power inside the biorite. The Havali used it to sleep for centuries.
Yes, and no doubt they want to use that power for their own good. But to touch on the subject you brought up, the Havali can sleep for a long time without aging. The effect of the biorite on humans seems to be more harmful. Or perhaps I should say it has side effects. Pardon me for saying so, but you don't appear to have changed for the better.
Only three years!? After hearing this I'm less concerned about his physical state and more surprised that his mind hasn't cracked like an egg. The Havali may have used the biorite to sleep, but from what we saw Ethan was awake for all of his imprisonment. Can you imagine being stuck even for a week in a state where you can't so much as move?
Compared to their 300 years, it's nothing. And then there's the memory loss too...
Exactly. You did lose some of your memory, correct?
Actually, I'm worried about that.
Worried that you forgot something important?
The things I discovered that led to my imprisonment... I kept repeating those things in my head. They were the things I wanted to remember the most, so I tried hard not to forget. And it worked. Those things, I remember as clear as day, but... I remember nothing about what I did before I was a Kingdom soldier on the Omega Team.
So, you know nothing about your youth? Is that what's worrying you?
The things I remember are those that I wanted to remember the most.
That's an interesting theory. You may be right. But that also reminds me of something else. This man you called Phantom.
I never found out who he really was, or what happened to him.
About that, I've noticed several similarities between you. The affected look, the fact that you were both attracted to the biorite, and the memory loss.
It's an interesting thought, no?
Interesting maybe, but none of this is helping us in any way. If anything, it raises more questions than it answers.
Yes. I don't know either.
The next morning...
Oh, you're up already? That's good, actually. I was just looking for one of you guys.
Captain? What do you need us for this early in the morning?
I just got a message you might want to hear.
Fade to black...
I said get up! Now!
What do you want?
We got some news you need to hear. Now that the Republic is gone, the southern parts of Pargon Island have fallen into chaos. Groups of bandits have taken control of the area through force and are doing as they please. The Kingdom army is still busy restoring order to Stonewall, so the south is being neglected.
I've had enough of this. Didn't you tell us that your town was attacked by pirates before? You -know- what they're going through. You said you'd become a hero. You -promised- you were going to defend that town, weren't you? That was long before you met any of us. That promise had nothing to do with being Alexander's descendant. What would your sister think if you turned your back on your town like this?
You're going, even if I have to personally drag you there.
Joanna, I... I...
That's sounding better already.
I'm still not sure about my future, but... you're right. I can't sit around while my hometown is in danger. I have to do something.
Good. Now you're sounding more like your usual self. Let's not waste any time. Moritz already took us to Pargon Island. We can leave right away.
And we're given control. Just as Matilda said, we need to talk to Moritz, but Ethan is standing in the way.
Yes, we are. Aren't you coming with us?
Er, why is that exactly? I can't really think of anything negative that would occur as a result of Ethan going to Whitelake.
Besides, there are some things I want to investigate.
It's your choice. I wouldn't mind if you came along, though.
I think this is something you have to do yourself. I'm sure you can handle it easily. Well, I'll see you again after this.
And Ethan moves out of the way. Despite his insistence that this is something Hilbert needs to do by himself, the rest of our party will still be coming with us. Thorve will take his place for the time being.
Is it time to go? Just say the word.
The game then gives control to us with the Brunhild right off the southern coast of Pargon Island. Though this does raise an interesting question. Weren't we sailing for this entire update? How did Moritz get the message that Whitelake was under attack, then?
Ah well, no sense in worrying about it I guess.
Fade to black...
Oh look, it's our favorite bunch of dicks.
I-It's not my fault! One of those men forced me to clean his armor. I ran when he wasn't looking!
You gotta make sure they don't see you! I told you that several times!
Shut up, you two. We've got to make a plan. That's what we're here for.
Yeah, that's right. This time, we'll show them who's boss.
So, w-what's the plan?
If we do that, everyone will see that we don't have to take this.
Yeah!! We'll make everyone stand up to these guys!
It's a great idea, right? If we start a real war, they won't stand a chance against us. We'll be the saviors of this town. All we have to do is light the fire.
B-but... what if no one helps us?
This is it. We gotta do it now.
Right. We'll do it.
We're your death. The game calls this fellow a Bandit, but I don't give a shit what he can do, because he dies before he gets a chance to attack.
Are you all okay?
Of course we're not okay! Have you seen the state of this town? What are you doing back here at a time like this?
Don't get me wrong. I didn't come here just to save you three. I'm here for everyone who lives in Whitelake. I'm here because I promised I'd protect this town.
Ha! What do you think you can do?
Get some actual respect from the rest of the Dick Squad, for one.
Yeah, he's right. We didn't have the guts to attack them in the end.
Tch... So what are you going to do now?
We have to get rid of all of them. Do you know where their leader is staying?
Yeah. He took over your old home, since it was empty anyway.
My home!? All right, here's the plan. We'll move from the west of the town to the east. We'll make sure each area is safe before we move on. You guys wait here, okay?
... Good luck.
All right. Just as Hilbert said, we're going to need to scout the town and kill any bandits we can find.
Of course, the first place we need to check is Cathy's house.
All of the battles in Whitelake are against a group of three enemies, drawn randomly from the Bandits in the back and the guy up front, known as... a Bandit. The armored Bandits can attack for about 80 damage or use Arm Cleaver to inflict about the same plus enfeeble. The unarmored Bandits hit for about 50, and counter most attacks with Sneak Counter for 25 damage or so. Neither variant is particularly threatening, as their HP is quite low.
Once the Bandits are down, we quickly rush upstairs to check on Cathy.
Her parents let us know that the bandits were forcing them to let them stay on the lower floor.
That's the only set of bandits in the western area of the town. Let's move on.
In Whitelake's central area, we find a set of bandits on the upper floor of the inn...
... and another just sort of hanging out by the well. These guys go down just as quickly as the others.
I also give Gale a whirl on the second set. While it doesn't hit as hard as Fireball, Iceblast, or Thunderbolt, the fact that it hits all enemies without using up a Crisis bar makes it a very worthwhile spell to have.
Anyway, we find one last set of chumps outside of our old house.
But when we head inside...
Wait, what the hell? I mean, I guess it's nice and all that Castor took out the leader for us, but when the hell did he get inside the house? I'm pretty sure the exits were all covered.
Hmm? Who are you? Are you a part of this sad bunch?
What? No! This is my house! Who are -you-?
Haha, it is? I'm sorry for making such a mess of your home.
Be careful, Hilbert. I think he's a Kingdom officer.
Your friend is right. I am indeed a Rosehart soldier. In fact, I am in charge of all the forces on this island.
I'm... pretty sure that was Felgorn. Either that or our fame rose fast.
You're the invasion leader? I don't believe it. Why would someone like that come here by himself just because of some bandits?
Do you know who this man was? No, I don't expect you to know his name or anything. He was a former captain in the Republic army. I gave all officers the opportunity to surrender to me. If he'd done that as well, he would've still been alive. But instead, he fled like a dog, and terrorized the countryside that he was supposed to protect. I have respect for all those who fight for power, for their country, or for their own ambition. But those who have no regard for the lives of civilians, who live like animals, for greed or vengeance...
It's my duty to bring back order to this land. The common men should not have to suffer.
It's hard to spare men at a time like this. Besides, it's a personal thing as well. But what about you? This is enemy territory now for you. It could've even been a trap.
I didn't have a choice. I had to help everyone. When I was young, I swore that I'd protect this town no matter what.
Haha, and that's the whole reason? Something you swore as a child?
You don't understand. These kind of people attacked our town before, years ago. My parents... were killed by pirates, right outside our home. I couldn't do anything but watch. After that, I swore I'd protect my sister and everyone else here in case it happened again. That's how I became what I am now. If I hadn't come here, it would've meant betraying myself.
So that's the real reason?
I was in the same situation as you. When I was sixteen years old, the imperial army destroyed my hometown. You must know what it's like, to feel completely powerless. There's nothing worse than that.
Yeah, I understand. I wanted to be strong so I could protect everyone I care about.
That's why I decided I needed power. Power so I'd never have to feel powerless again. It looks like we've both come a long way since then.
You want to fight me?
Haha... no, forget it. There's no point. Besides, I'm all on my own. I'm sure we'll meet again some day, Hilbert.
And Castor leaves by the eastern door. Joke's on him though, I'm pretty sure that exit just leads to an area that's entirely fenced off.
Was that man really a Kingdom general...?
Fade to black...
It was... it was nothing. I had a lot of help.
How did you get this strong? What have you been doing when you were gone?
Haha, it's a long story... I wouldn't know where to start.
Cathy! Are you okay? I hope you weren't too scared.
Nuh-uh. I've been fine.
Don't be silly. You won't get far by depending on me.
No matter what you say, it's because of you that this town is free again. We all owe you.
That's right. There's no need to be so modest. I'm sure that everyone here is very grateful to you.
Yeah! Thank you, Hilbert!
I... I don't know what to say.
We were wrong about you. I used to think you were an idiot, but you really changed.
Come on, Hilbert! Tell us about your adventures!
Yeah! Tonight, we'll hold a big party just for you!
Haha, where to begin...
Yes. In a way, it was a good thing that this happened.
In any case... we're not in a hurry, so we might as well stay here for the night.
The next morning...
Yeah. We're about to leave. What about you? Are you staying here or not?
Of course I'm coming too! What did you think?
You sound like you already forgot what you were like a day ago.
Yeah... you're right. I did forget. Because of the battle and everything that happened after it, I didn't think about it even once all day.
It wasn't stupid. I really felt like... like everything I did was already planned by someone. It all just seemed so pointless. Why try to make a difference if it won't matter what I do in the end? But... this has really given me new hope. I actually helped the people in this town. A year ago, no one would've expected me to be treated like a hero now. I have to focus on that, on the good things. I really think this journey has changed me for the better.
As long as you keep that in mind, you'll be fine.
Anyway, Ethan went to Herzog. We should go back there to pick him up. I don't know what he was going to do, but maybe he found something useful.
Zawu chose the wrong person. There's no way she could control you. You don't deserve to be the plaything of those two. You'll rise above them, like I did. Yes...
Next time: We've been hearing an awful lot about the facility Ethan was imprisoned in. Maybe it's time we checked it out for ourselves.