Part 47: ARC V Part 2: Everyone's Got Their Own Plans.ARC V Part 2: Everyone's Got Their Own Plans.
It's cool, man. I have experience with this. I made the last guy sweat bullets in Pearlton.
No, you didn't! Shroud and I will handle this just fine.
Well, everyone goes to speak to Emma together, regardless.
Calm down. We're not here to hurt you.
You're probably sore enough already. I apologize for that, I only hit you so hard because I thought you were the real Sparrow.
What? What do you mean? What about a sparrow?
Oh, come on! You're wearing his costume and you don't know who he is?!
Let's just start from the beginning. Why are you wearing that?
I was doing a favor for a friend.
What kind of friend asks you to hold up a bank?
I didn't do that! I wasn't trying to get any money.
Then why were you in there?
I... I was asked to go there in that costume. They said it was part of a promotion for a new store.
You've got to be kidding me.
They gave me two knives to go in with. I was supposed to hold them out and talk about how Equipment King has the best blades.
But before I could even start, people started screaming!
It's because that's the same costume as a famous assassin!
So you're telling us... that you have been traveling with the Equipment King leaders... and nobody has ever mentioned The Sparrow?
But who gave you that costume?! It was Vec, wasn't it?! He's The Sparrow!
Vec's like the one person the Sparrow couldn't be. Since Vec has the side effects of earth magic, and The Sparrow does not.
Shroud begins pacing in front of the cell.
"so dull, but it's all just an act!"
I don't know what you're talking about!
Who gave you the costume?! This is important, Emma!
... Nobody did.
We all talked about the promotion beforehand... but someone just put the costume in my room while I was out.
Nobody ever handed it to me.
Damn. Well, that figures.
I have a feeling we're done here.
Yeah, me too. Look, it's obvious you've just been used and tossed away here. I notice they're not exactly in a rush to bail you out or anything. Next time, maybe ask a few questions when something like this comes up.
CAPTAIN: That's my impression too. We'll just find some clothers for her that won't cause more chaos.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X130NPh92HM Mask of Kemosabe, Bubba Ho-Tep.
"Laurel says Emma was telling the complete truth. She concentrated very hard during the entire conversation and couldn't find anything that contradicted the story she told us."
I don't need her powers to know that.
That couldn't have been easy for you.
Well... I'd say we've done all we can do here in Artagel. Let's find Marin and get a boat to Nuntak.
I'm not going.
You guy take Marin and get that book. I'll stay here.
Why the hell would you do that?
I've got unfinished business. Vec will screw up eventually, and when he does, the real Sparrow will be sitting in that cell.
First of all, you don't even know that it's him. Second of all, you should know by now that you can't fight him alone.
Both times he beat me, it was because of a dirty trick! I know what to expect by now and I won't lose again!
Shroud turns away, and Stoic has to walk around him to face him again...
Oh, what do you know?
All. I'm especially familiar with what pride does to people. Messes with their instincts. Causes stupid mistakes.
This is dangerous territory, chum.
Gah, you know what? I've had enough of the lecture. You don't need to be giving me a hard time and acting like you never made any mistakes.
I never said--
And how dare you say that I've lost sight of justice! You're the one who brutally killed that necromancer after he had already been defeated!
The music stops, and Stoic backs up...
There's a short pause....
I've made mistakes. A whole bunch of them. Maybe what happened in Rellenia was one too, but that doesn't matter right now.
I think you can beat Sparrow... But not like this. You take him on with this hothead attitude, and he'll beat you without breaking a sweat.
You have to control the anger, and use it to help you focus... and it's a serious mistake to go after him now.
When we found out the Toutens escaped, you said to look at the bigger picture. We need Marin's book to expose Equipment King.
This has been your plan from the beginning, and now you're telling me you want out? I don't buy it. I think once you take a few minutes to calm down and rest, you'll realize that you don't want to miss this.
And frankly, none of us would feel comfortable going all that way without you.
I've never been to Nuntak...
All right... Let's go.
We find ourselves in Cassies shop so... uh, we go down stairs I guess!
It is. Thank you for everything, Cassie. Keep your head up and I'm sure this shop will be around for many years now.
Thank you, dear. I hope that's true... and you all better be sure to take good care of Cole!
Don't worry. We'll protect him with our lives.
Where is the old timer, anyhow?
He's waiting outside town. Gino's with him.
Yes indeed. You know him... Snuck out hours ahead of time hoping nobody would see him.
We... already said our goodbyes... I'm so worried. He's not a fighter like you folks, he's... fragile.
Oh, he's a fighter. Maybe not in the exact same way as us, but he's a brave man. He'll be fine.
Yeah! Besides, this Nuntak place is seriously backwater. We won't have any trouble.
Okay... Well take care now! And be sure to come back and visit!
Then we start to leave town and...
Good morning, Bubba... Boy, you don't look so good.
Had too many drinks already? It's early.
Dah, I wish! No, tis the opposite in fact! I been trying to have a little less ale... and it is nae easy!
Cut back on the beer? You sure about that, Bubba? You fight pretty well when you go crazy like that!
Finley! That's hardly supportive!
Heh heh heh! I appreciate that, lass, but he's not wrong. That's why I must be stayin' here.
You're not coming to Nuntak?
He just said that, fool.
Nothing wrong with clarification, B-Man. Sheesh.
Not that I didn't enjoy gettin' rough with those varmints, but for now I think it's best for ole Bubba to recover.
We understand, pal. You've done more than enough already. Just take it easy for now.
Aye, and best of luck to ye in all of yer travels! Oh, I almost forgot! Yer buddy Cole is waitin' at the bottom of this here staircase!
Right. Let's find him and get moving.
Take care, Bubba! It was nice to meet you.
You too, lass. Thank ye for all yer insight.
... Why were -you- hiding?
What are you doing hiding behind this tree, man?
I don't like to spend too much time outside if I can help it... especially when Hand agents are crawling about.
Well, we're all ready now. Let's head to the harbor on the eastern shore of this continent.
Apparently we're walking to this harbour.
That path south is the one leading to the Fairy Legislature. Anyway, when we begin the trek to the harbour, we cut to another scene.
Mr. Kovak isn't feeling well... And we just had something of a... disagreement.
*Sigh* Let's just say that sometimes I wish I had a job that allowed for more compassion.
Voyd teleports behind Auburn.
Sorry to startle you. I'm here to escort Mr. Kovak to a meeting with Master Ketsu.
Feeling under the weather, eh? That's too bad. Well, I'm sure Master Ketsu will be perfectly happy to have you come in his stead.
He has returned?
Not exactly. He's at our new headquarters in Harrol, but I'll have us there in no time.
Ah, Mina Lolian's hometown. And Arius Sherron and his party saved it from a pair of necromancers (A weak lich and his birdman apprentice) doing their end of the Treaty of Thanatos way back in the day.
Ah, of course.
Wait wait wait. Vec, you don't have time to go to Harrol!
You're not so familiar with our guest's abilities, I see.
What do you mean?
During the Clean Slate VLP, Volrath says that teleportation magic only works short distances because of the massive amounts of energy required for longer distances. This makes Voyd's long range teleportation ability very remarkable. Almost like it's his unique superpower...
Anywhere in Solest?
Anywhere is possible, yes. But it has to be someplace I've been before. To be more specific, it has to be someplace I've left a beacon at.
It still has its limitations, though.
I don't get it.
The beacon is... how can I explain this... It's like leaving a bit of myself behind. A magical signature on the ground, you could say.
My mind retains the location, and I can take myself and others there at will. However, I find I can never maintain more than about ten beacons without one getting lost by the wayside, so to speak. Only so much room in my head, I suppose.
Damn. That's out of this world.
The Hand's usual theme plays. Apocalyptica's Coma.
There was a lot of local interest. We hired numerous people from around the area to help construct it.
I suppose Cari probably saw it in Vec and/or Voyd's mind when they got here?
It is regrettable. Hopefully I can still be of assistance.
I'm sure of it. You've shown repeatedly that you are a very reliable fellow.
I do what I can... But I can not delay long.
Yes, of course. I shall get right to the point.
Several weeks ago, I enlisted the aid of a necromancer named Solik Darmanus to assist me with some dark magic research.
He fulfilled his duties quite well, and was rewarded with access to some of The Hand's archives. However, I am wary of what he will do now that he has completed our arrangement and gone on to further his own goals.
While he worked in our company, I went through his thoughts and found some ambitions that were a bit... disconcerting.
I imagine that would be the case for the mind of any necromancer.
Perhaps... But Solik is several steps ahead of his peers. I fear his scheming may eventually interfere with The Hand's mission.
How does Equipment King figure into any of this?
I am hoping to keep tabs on him. He has taken his apprentice to Nuntak Isle, home to all sorts of dark secrets. Normally, I would send my own agents to watch him, but we are at a crucial moment right now. The tower is nearly complete and I can't afford for my agents to be distracted.
I would like to enlist the aid of the one you call "Sparrow" to monitor Solik's activities.
I assure you, we are all still quite infuriated over what happened to Torin.
However, subordinates are not to blame in matters like these. Don is the one who gave the order... and he will be held responsible.
Master Ketsu asked me to lead a small investigation, and we found out a great deal about Sparrow in the process.
Yes... We now know this associate of yours has unique abilities which may prove useful in this situation. There will also be some supervision.
I was raised in Nuntak, so I have always left a beacon there. I will make brief visits to collect reports and make sure everything is going smoothly.
Sparrow is not required to actually confront Solik, so I suspect it will not be too difficult a task.
I am still surprised by this turn of events, but I believe it can be arranged.
Very good. One final warning before you return to Artagel. It has come to my attention that the document Shroud and Stoic stole from the Sacred River Monastery was a manuscript by Cole Marin.
This man spent some time with our group in the past. He was collecting evidence for a smear book against us, though none of us knew at the time.
He was in such a lowly position that he never met Cari here, so we never had a look into his mind. Thanks to him, we now give every potential employee a thorough mental examination.
I agree... and as I have learned, Marin is very skilled at staying underground. I suggest keeping your eyes and ears open.
Yes... indeed we shall.
Yep. Master Ketsu has instructed me to make sure nothing goes awry. You never know with these Equipment King agents.
Especially... that one.
Well, take care of yourself. We'll hold down the fort in the meantime.
Voyd's about to go when Danika very quickly rushes to shout at him.
Please don't go! I...
What's gotten into you?
What's bothering you, Danika? You can tell us... or you can show us if you want. You seem to like that more.
Come now. Out with it.
Danika showing Torin her lightning magic... His first attempt to copy it fails, but with some extra encouragement from Danika, he manages it on the second try.
Danika... I promise I'll come back.
Voyd pulls the Shadow Mage trick of turning transparent and walking THROUGH the door.
You know I hate that stupid nickname, and now that you're not my superior officer anymore, you don't get to use it!
Ha ha ha! I guess that's one bonus that comes with your promotion.
The telepathy sound plays.
Master Ketsu wishes to meet with you both.
Better not have anything to do with that lunatic he brought back. I can't deal with that right now. Too much stress.
*chuckle* You haven't lost it, mother.
????: Not completely, no. But the look on your face helped me this time.
It's this Ariel D'eleficent. I'm not sure if we can really work with her. As soon as she began to take in everything, I could sense treachery.
????: Not a surprise... Treachery is what she does best.
"Her skills with dark magic are almost unequaled, she has other areas of magic expertise that will prove useful and she hadn't been dead for very long.
Relatively speaking, of course."
????: I wish I could address those fears... but the future no longer appears clearly to me.
I actually have found comfort in that for these past few years. I have been able to rediscover feelings I could not indulge in before.
Things like hope... and confidence. And I have the utmost confidence in you, Cari. Both you and Ketsu.
????: But you are wise to be wary. Remember the damage she has already done to his family.
Stop! They are not his family! We are!
????: Yes... Of course, dear.
Oh. Perfect timing! The sounds of waves play on this screen too.... Soo... next time, which may be anywhere between one day to over a month from now depending on how I feel about updating again before and during my Christmas holiday, we'll be heading to Nuntak Isle and learning all about Dark Secrets and someone's backstory, which is very much the focus of this arc.