Part 29: ARC III: Part 7: The Baron's Big Debut!ARC III: Part 7: The Baron's Big Debut!
We rejoin Zala and Stoic at Zala's home. Stoic's pacing back and forth.
Finley's been gone for hours. That can't be good.
Maybe he went home.
I'm not that lucky.
Speak of the devil... Finley runs into the scene and over to the door.
What are you carrying around there?
You'll see in a minute!
He enters the house.
... I don't get it.
We'll know soon enough.
B-Man said I needed a costume if I was going to be helping him and Shroud! So I figured that before we went on patrol again tonight, I would go into town and buy some stuff I could use to make one!
That's what you came up with?
You know... I actually think it works for you.
Yeah, the least effective disguise yet.
You wouldn't catch me or Cade dead in something like that, but this was a decision left up to you. The only question is... what will you call yourself?
Ha ha ha!! The Baron of where? Crazytown?
Any minute now, someone's going to have a cap busted in their-
None of that. We got in enough trouble the last time you provoked her.
Right. We have to stay focused on the objective!
I suppose it wouldn't hurt to head over to the guard office earlier this time.
How are you sure he'll be back?
I've told you. Those two mages will want to finish the job on the office in order to convince the people in Pearlton that they need Equipment King's weapons and armor.
There's no other theory that might work?
No, and I don't want to hear that anymore. You're part of our team now, act like it.
Part of the team... Hell yeah!! Let's go, partner!
I don't know if you're quite a partner yet.
Hurry it up! It's almost dinner time and they have good food over at that office!
Their main office is over on the other side of the grounds... where you registered. They do have a smaller office set aside in that chapel, though.
It isn't used for much, as far as I know.
Selene... That's the most I've ever heard you say.
Wha... why are we even talking about that?! Cade, I can't believe what you just did!
You're lucky Master Ketsu didn't kill you!
Can you imagine being murdered by your class's guest speaker? What a way to go.
... Why are you calling him "Master" Ketsu? That's really unnerving.
You're not afraid of anything, are you?
You have to understand... I get angry sometimes like any other guy, but there are only a few times in my life when I've been that furious.
I just couldn't take that jerk's demogoguery.
You've been reading too many books lately, Cade.
I understand why someone might get offended... but he was still a guest! He has a right to his views!
He wants those views to be the law of the land. I don't feel like I need to show him courtesy when people like him don't have the courtesy not to kill others based on some stupid notion of superiority.
Evrind, why in Arcadius's name do you insist on defending him?!
Enough! Don't you two have class soon?
Yeah... The physical combat class starts any minute now.
I guess we should get going.
And then we cut to said class. The teacher finishes instructing a studen and then...
What should I do?
TRAINER: When attacked by an enemy, a true monk will be able to anticipate his moves and deliver a strong counter-attack.
TRAINER: Let us see how you handle a direct attack.
The trainer flies across the room and Cade does not handle it.
TRAINER: Brother Cade, you are going to have to react quicker than that!
Yeah... that's pretty clear. Let me try again.
They repeat direct attack charge.
I... I don't know.
TRAINER: You are not confident in your ability to fight with only your hands. Think on this for our next session.
Thank you, teacher. However, I can't take all the credit. My family taught me the basics years ago.
TRAINER: Yes... I'm quite sure they did.
Now we cut to Stoic, Finley and Zala staking out the guard office.
Why do you say that?
This is the second night in a row that we've sat out here and we've got nothing!
Keep your voice down1
Yeah, sure. Wouldn't want to scare off someone who isn't there.
Care to repeat that little comment, pipsqueak?
No need for this. The night is still young, Finley. He may yet show, but not if we yell at each other.
Hey! Stoic, you forgot lesson two!
Don't call me Finley when we're on the job! It's The Baron!
"Oh well. Guess I'll touch base with them tomorrow. For now, it's time to grab myself those tower keys."
Lesson three. This work will often test your patience. If you can't be bothered to sit and wait, you are unfit for the greater challenges ahead.
This is the third night in a row that we've sat out here and we've got nothing!
Then there's a noise.
It came from over there!
Shh! Stay in hiding.
"You can't fool me! I know someone is there! I heard the voices, man!"
The man conjures a little flame with his hand.
Fire magic! It is him! Let's roll!
Wait! We don't know where the other one is!
The Baron immediately starts shooting our mystery fire mage and he hops up and down in pain.
Yow! What in the name of Arcadius?
Well, I suppose there's no choice now.
Well, I'll be. You're Stoic, aren't you?
That's right. If you've heard of me, you no doubt know the pain you're in for if you don't come along quietly.
Heh heh. I've always wondered how I would stand up in battle against you. I am the battle mage Torin Radney!
And you must be Shroud!
Hardly. You face an even greater enemy now, for I am... The Baron!
*sigh* Don't get carried away.
Too bad. I would have gotten much more appreciation if I had taken both of you out. Guess I'll have to settle for you, skeleton!
B-b-b-by Arcadius! You're Zala!! You're a legend!
That's right, and I've had enough of you putting me under suspicion for subpar arson! Ready to burn?
Oh man... they told me there was a fire elemental out here... but I never thought it was you! I am outta here!
Torin dashes away...
... and... oddly enough for a fire mage, takes refuge in a cave behind a waterfall.
We got him now! He's cornered himself!
I'll have to leave him to you two. There's no way I'm going through that.
That must have been his plan, but he'll see that Stoic and I pack more than enough strength to deal with him!
Something's still not right here...
What do you mean?
Does he have no concept of how magic works? His fire spells will be practically useless in that damp cave!
Ha! What an idiot!
Maybe that is the only explanation. Still, we haven't seen the other one yet. Keep an eye out, Zala. You may have to deal with him.
Damn, I hope so.
Let's go, Baron. Be ready for anything.
I follow the path around this small lake.
What in the hell?
Your turn, my ossein friend!
He nails Stoic with... a fireball.
Ha! Not so tough without that crazy elemental witch are you?
What do you mean "How?" I just blasted you both, that's how!
Uh... Let's beat him up first... ask questions later.
Yeah... Good instincts, Baron.
Still want more, eh? Bring it on!
This is a pretty straightforward fight, except that because Shroud's not here we have to heal via items. Having Baron Pistol Whip Torin reduces his magic attack power by a decent amount so make sure to keep that up, but it's a pretty easy boss fight anyway.
Don't kid yourself, pal. You're beaten. Now I want an explanation. What the hell kind of mage are you?
Huh? You saw what kind of mage I am, nitwit. I use fire and lightning magic.
Don't insult my intelligence, punk! You don't strike me as smart enough to have mastered two schools of magic, let alone able to cast fire spells in a place as wet as this! It's a trick, and I want to know how it works!
You're nuts! It's no trick! It's just what I do!
Well, how did you learn to do it? It must have taken years!
No, not really.
Look, I learned my spells from other mages. I watched them in action and then I found I could cast the same spells!
You were able to copy the magic of other mages just by watching them?
Why are you so interested, anyhow?
Just answer the question, ingrate!
Fine! The answer is no, it's not that simple. I do have to see them cast the spell, but it takes effort on my part... it's like tensing a muscle.
Bad metaphor. I don't think Stoic has done that for a while.
This is no time for that kind of nonsense!
The point is that you have to be focused and it tires you out.
So it isn't something that you should be doing during battle, for example.
Yeah, because it requires all of your attention.
I've never heard of anything like this. How did you learn this ability?
I'm... I'm not sure. It was something I discovered as I grew up. I'm... I'm not the only one, though. I've met others... several in fact.
How... how can that be?
Torin passes out.
We should probably take him back to town, right?
Yeah. There jail cells inside the guard office. They're underground, so they survived his fire attacks. He'll be happy to know that when he wakes up. Let's go.
Everyone watches the guards escort Torin away.
It's not over yet. There are a lot of questions I intend on asking him. I'm troubled by some of the things he said.
When you study an element of magic, the properties of that element become part of you.
So? Everyone knows that.
Finley didn't. Geheheh
If what he told us was true, he's able to learn a spell without any of the traditional training. He gets the magic itself, but none of the other effects.
That does explain how he was able to still fight in that damp area.
Wait a minute... Stoic, didn't you tell me on the carriage ride down there that lightning mages are able to see in the dark?
He couldn't see us! He had to use a fire spell to figure out where we were!
... You're right.
He said he wasn't the only one either.
That's what worries me the most. We may be dealing with a new kind of mage... The kind of mage who can cast fire spells without any vulnerability to water.
... Or cast earth spells without any effect on his speed.
Later and elsewhere, it's started to storm over the monastery as Cade enters the chapel.
A little minigame here where you have to time Cade's wind spell after a lightning flash so it goes off during the thunder. It's easy. I nail it on my first try.
Now we have to search the room. And the key is in the most obvious place anyway.
It's only me. No need to worry.
It's really coming down, isn't it?
I don't mind the rain... I actually find it soothing. Something about the noise it makes helps me think.
What are you thinking about?
I suppose I can tell you... Since you don't know me very well. If you did, you would probably laugh.
We've only been gone a few days... But I really miss Port Arianna.
I don't think there's anything embarrassing about being homesick.
There is if you've never been homesick before.
It's hard to explain, but I've always been sure I knew exactly how the rest of my life would go. But since we settled in Port Arianna, that's changed.
Now I see possibilities.
What kind of possibilities?
I just can imagine all these different ways of living my life... and they're not just pipe dreams, either. I can see a path from here to there.
I don't know whether to be excited or scared about that.
What is it about you seaside folk? I can't seem to not get personal with you people.
... Who else have you talked about this with?
Oh, just that charming boy from the armor shop-
Oh dear, it's gotten late! I had better sleep!
Oops! Guess Cade's still a sore point.
Next time, we do the long awaited history class quiz, get some more info about Evrind, and a very bad thing happens. Also it might not even be the end of the school arc, but I'm pretty sure the update after will be the end of it.