Part 60: ARC VI Part 4: And into the Sun and the Wind both.ARC VI Part 4: And into the Sun and the Wind both.
Apparently, the strange sign in the firespinner area was a reference to a toy commercial I have vague memories of.
Now, our heroes have been joined by Sparrow on their mission to rescue 'The Meltdown Mistral' (too bad he's not a musician or he could be Meltdown Mistral Minstrel.... Or the Mistral Minstrel of Meltdowns?).
But is Cade as helpless as believed? Nope! But he definitely can't win a straight fight against certain people on his own. But he can do other things!
Cade suggests this might be the guards talking. The other guy says he ain't hungry and the other mentions a commotion at the front gates that no one has informed Ketsu about because he's 'resting and not to be disturbed.'
Also the guard that's staying down here is teased for dancing on his shifts when he thinks no one is watching.
Cade suggests this will be a perfect time to grab that guys keys with wind magic.
If you look at the hall, you see the guard walking up and down the hallway. Then he stops.
The guard's walking up and down the hallway again when...
"There! Now I can do sprints!"
He takes off down the hall. Not all that fast really.
Anyway, the thing here is each attempt he randomly picks to dance or sprint. They have different timing for getting the wind spell right. You just hit Use when you think he'll be directly in front of Cade. SO yeah.
Cade slams him into the wall. Then uses the wind to take his keys.
I told you we would have an opportunity eventually.
Yes, yes... Now let's get out of here.
Not so fast, pal. I'm not so sure you'll be coming along.
You know damn well what I'm talking about. You're a menace to society. I'm not sure you belong anywhere but here.
Stop this nonsense! We can't waste time like this! Someone else could come down here!
You're right. Let's go, Gabriella.
You... You self-righteous blowhard! Who appointed you as Arcadius? How dare you pass judgment on me!
Cade, if he doesn't come then I don't come either!
While Andau does seem somewhat fond of Gabriella now... Gabriella's seen a way to get through to Andau via his elderly sister so I doubt she intends to give up on him so easily.
... Are you serious?
Yes! Now let's all go!
... *Sigh* Alright, then. Come on, Andau. But don't think you're out of trouble.
Ha ha ha! My thanks, Gabriella. Lead the way, hero.
So the two vampires join us. But neither count as partymembers.
That guard I knocked out is gone. We had better get going fast.
You should have killed that cretin. Your precious "society" will not miss any of these lunatics.
Just shut up.
Is it ethical to kill guys actively planning on a worldwide purge while they're harmless? Ehhhhh
Could've locked him in the cell at least, so I guess it probably wouldn't be.
Anyway, in the next room, Cade automatically walks to a chest.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X130NPh92HM 'Defined By A Mask' aka Mask of Kemosabe - Bubba Ho-Tep
You know it. Now I'm ready for round two.
Round two, you say? Against whom?
Against that winged maniac responsible for all of this.
What?! Are you out of your mind? We're supposed to be escaping!
We've already been through this, but yes, he is out of his mind and locked into Meltdown Mistral Mode.
I know. I'm going to make sure you are safe... And then I'm taking another shot at Ketsu.
Ha! You are a never -ending source of comedy, fool. Last time, you could not even get past his subordinates!
Well... When you're right, you're right. That woman's power is insane. But I can't just give up.
But let's wait until you're back with your usual group!
I don't want them involved in this. It's too personal now. We don't have time for me to explain any more than that.
But if you fight him alone, you'll die!
... Or I'll win and the world will be safer. Truth is, I'm fine with either outcome.
This is a waste of time! Let's be off before we're back in the cell! I've just started to recall my techniques, I don't feel like losing them again.
He's right. We'll talk about this later. Go scout ahead while I gather the rest of my things that they took.
Andau goes, but Gabriella hesitates.
... Nothing. Forget it.
She leaves and as Shroud rummages through the chest, he's surprised by a clanging sound.
Defined by a Mask stops playing too.
*Gasp* We've got to get it open again!
Well... Not necessarily. That masked clown got us out of prison, perhaps we can leave him behind.
We're not doing that and you know it!
We have to find a way to get that door open. There has to be a switch around here somewhere.
Hmm... This whole area looks somewhat precarious. Thankfully, I have recalled how to assume my bat form.
Yeah... You're right! I remember how to do my new transformation too!
Ah yes... The Golden Wolf, I believe you called it? Pity your friend is not here to see it. It appears the abilities of a true vampire are not set in stone.
If only more of my victims had been as resourceful as you... who knows what we might have learned?
That's a helluva thing to say, Andau.
Okay, let's do this.
I bet you can see where this is going. Puzzle dungeon. The wolf form has a dash. The fairy tells us to make it to the switches at the other end of the room to escape alive.
The first obstacle is simple.
This is a pressure plate and not a toggle switch so Andau has to stay here for the time being.
However, for the second onstacle... Neither of the two vampires are fast enough to get by the arrows... normally. Andau's bat form wont cut it either, but...
The dash works kind of funny. It's a bar that takes like two seconds to drain, and it starts draining all the way as soon as you press D once. It refills after only like another second though.
Anyway, that gold switch lets Andau pass by the arrows.
... This looks trickier than it is, since the arrow trap switch is the middle one, and not always golden.
This switch makes it very clear that the gold switch turns off all traps in the room.
Third room... Hm. A way blocking off Gabby and a way only Gabby can go...?
Our vampiric duo are divided between two areas by necessity.
So here's a bit of a timing puzzle. There's a long hall of three sets of arrow traps shooting exactly at the same time. This is very bad. So you have to have Andau adjust the timing of the traps shooting, and you can't cheat it by having Andau stay on one somewhere, since he has to be standing on this spike trap switch so Gabby can even start.
Not too tricky. I do it on my first shot. Easiest way is just to get the middle one out of whack, which I did not do. I did something foolishly convoluted which wound up having the same effect of the top and bottom ones shooting at same time.
Back together again.
Those crates at the bottom-left are blocking arrows too.
We can move crates around.
Andaus move speed is sufficient to move three tiles between arrow shots. I think Volrath only intended for two tiles maybe? Or he was just a bit generous with crates.
We still have a problem though.
So that switch turns off the arrow trap so we cna push that crate around to the other side...
And now that this also turns off this arrow trap, Gabby can turn into a bat and fly-- Wait I did this the wrong way around.
The hell is this?
It changes the trap protecting the golden switch to be fired horizontally. So... I can just have Andau quickly fly and transform on it.
I try that a couple times and fail because Andau's transformation takes too long. Huh.
Oh. The right traps firing inwards now, and not outwards, is the thing. Gabby just needs to dash past one last trap and stand on the right switch again.
Eeeeeh?? Now the arrows are just going the other way?? But... Oh. OHHH. We're meant to push the damn crate onto one of the switches. I'm a dumbass.
Yeah... Now Cade should be able to just walk right through.
These aren't trainees, either. It's a short fight though. I guess the fighters seem to make two physical attacks?
A bridge withdraws after the party crosses it.
The screen pans up a VERY long way to show:
Why don't you come down here and find out which one we are, cretin!
The name's Master and I wouldn't want to leave my spot. It's the best view for watching my new trap in action.
You see this opening below me? There are three charged cannons in there aimed at you right now and the only way to turn them off are the switches below.
Seems pretty stupid to leave the off switch to your trap where we can reach it, don't you think?
A small design flaw. That's why I took the extra measure to lay the ground with extra sticky web from Harrol's native spiders.
Not only will it slow you down to a crawl, but it is also flame resistant, so don't even both trying to burn it up!
Now, let the games begin!
"than when they just fire once. Might be useful to keep that in mind."
Useful? It's obviously key to getting across the webs!
Duly noted, Bud. And remember, it's not gonna tickle if we get hit by those cannons. It would be best to mend our wounds if that happens.
I begin making my way up the stairs. The amount of shots and whether they're in bursts or a single shot is either a lengthy pattern or is completely random, so you just have to listen to the cannon firing sound.
That holy effect is just a save fairy appearing.
Can't you just kill a guy without the corny lines?
Eager to die, are we? Fine then. Activate all the spikes and give them their wish!
GUARD: Sir! There seems to be a bug in the system! We can't activate all the spikes at once! There will always be one opening!
What does it matter? It's not like they have a psychic with them. They'll never know where the opening will be.
She makes some spike holes glow. They just turn white really.
After you dodge spikes like 5 times...
Be careful, guys. They are going to activate the spikes twice in a row. I'll flash the spots that will be safe in the order that they come up.
Now memory is coming into this. You just have to do it a few times...
GUARD: They must really have a psychic on board after all!
Shut up and increase the output!
GUARD: We can't, sir! The controls have overheated. The spike well won't function at all anymore.
No matter! We'll get them with the next one!
You can't just copy it! It takes years of honing your mental skills to use psychic magic. If you tried to use it without the proper training, all the psychic energy around you would drive you insane!
Damn. I guess men will continue to remain a mystery to me now.
I have the powers and I still don't get what's going on in there.
Well, if it makes you feel any better, a thousand years of life haven't helped me with women either. Now let's go.
You have this much space to work with and you just repeat yourself? We've already dealt with these cannons. You could even say we...
... mastered... them?
Such a despicable pun and you have the nerve to imply that I am unoriginal? What you don't know is that these cannons are even faster!
Well, we know now.
And knowing is only half the battle! Now deal with the other half!
Being faster doesn't make much difference since the first time was so easy.
Looks like you still didn't manage to fix that malfunctioning spike, though.
You should spend less time reading my mind, psychic, and more time saying your prayers.
I'm done reading it anyway. There wasn't much there.
Enough! Activate the spike well at three times the normal output!
Thankfully you only have to do the four times output twice.
GUARD: But sir. The spike well can't take it. Four is the maximum.
Just do it! I order you!
Thankfully this winds up being mostly an easy to remember cluster.
GUARD: That's impossible! The spike well is already fried!
You fool! How dare you disobey me!
There's a sword slash sound.
Fall back to the tower!
Three healers? But why...?
Too bad I can't say the same about you, pal. Do you always hide behind these cheap tricks?
Only the most elite opponents face me in true combat! Instead, you shall be crushed by my ultimate cannon!
There's a lot more webbing this time.
"*Sigh* I know, I know... Let's just go."
"teleports in or you may be find (SIC) yourself overwhelmed."
Always nice to know whether or not you're meant to worry about the mooks or not.
A deep desire to punch you in the face for starters.
And to help a friend.
Ah! Now it makes sense! You're here to save that caped crusader. Well, I'm sorry to inform you that your rescue mission ends here.
The two mooks begin pulling a very lengthy sequence of switches.
It's more than that, fool!
Man, I'm really sick of people calling me that.
This is the final defense. Anyone who wants access to the tower's interior must know the exact sequence of switches necessary to open the door!
That's why you're going to tell us or else I'll be stuffing your heads into those cannons!
Ha! Do your worst, skeleton! Kill us and you are sealed in here forever!
So we gotta fight this dope and his two caster minions now.
And he's not really much stronger than the mooks so he goes down easy.
No, we're not.
You must have a really good memory if you're serious.
*Chuckle* I copied the exact movements of the thug on the right.
Any time I want, I can repeat the exact series of movements he made. Problem is... we need someone on the left side as well.
So one of you is going to have to watch me pull the switches and pull the corresponding one on that side. And you have to be quick about it.
You wait too long after I pull one and the sequence gets ruined.
I'll handle it. Just lead the way.
Hee hee... I have an idea.
Laurel makes some kind of fog effect on the Master.
What technique is that?
As soon as he wakes up, he's going to have a strange but uncontrollable urge to go jump in the river!
How about one of those spike wells?
Stoic! That's brutal, man! Have a heart.
I wish I did... but no matter. That will be fine, Laurel. Good work, everyone. Let's head inside.
We're ready for it, guy!
So where are they keeping Shroud?
Do you sense him, Laurel? He can't be far.
Faintly... But there's something... Something in the way... what?
Ugh... Wow, what a power. But it's gonna take more than that!
Laurel dispels the image of Cari.
There's another psychic here, isn't there?
Yeah... A really good one. We're totally busted now. She got through my mental defenses. We have to move quickly before she calls for reinforcements.
Don't worry, we still have time to-
I was afraid of this.
I'm amazed you were able to navigate our defenses, but the fun's over.
We're here for Shroud. Return him or you become part of the wall.
Cari mentioned you were here for that other intruder... But I'm afraid we can't afford to let him go at the moment. Do try to understand.
... Sparrow? What business do you have cavorting with this group?
That's none of your concern.
Hey, you know this guy?
This is Voyd. One of The Hand's three lieutenants. He's a shadow mage, so be on guard.
That name... You were the one we encountered very briefly in Nuntak.
There's a pause...
By Arcadius, you're right! I thought you looked familiar.
But enough discussion. You are not permitted to be here. Leave at once or I'll be forced to take you all down.
Ha! By yourself? I'd like to see that, buddy!
Too soon to tell if I can do it on my own... I will adjust as need be.
I gave you a fair warning. Now defend yourselves!
After a turn of buffing, two hits on the second turn make Voyd interject. He disappears and reappears...
And then the remaining to hits get him and...
Then he turns invisible. Laurel can still hit him with holy spells which do incredible damage to him as shadow magic is just a branch of dark magic.
He gets two more guys,
I dispel his invis and 4 out of the 6, including Voyd, go down all at once. Didn't take very long at all.
He didn't do it this time, but he can also teleport away partymembers.
Underestimating us was a fatal mistake, fool. Ready to turn over Shroud?
*Pant* No... I do not lose... I never lose!
Yeah well... You just did! So there goes that theory!
Arrrgh!! Do you even know who you're dealing with?! I'm the most powerful shadow mage in all of Solest!
I can't be beaten by the likes of you! Now die!
He charges Stoic and... Baron shoots him.
You don't charge a guy with a gun head-on, man. That's just dumb.
Got to... find the others... You're really in for it now.
He teleports away.
Some people just don't lose gracefully. It's a very unflattering quality.
Laurel, are there any more shadow mages hanging around here?
Not that I can sense... But we're in trouble if we wind up having to deal with all three of those officers.
We've only got a brief window here... let's use it.
MEANWHILE - WE HAVE ANOTHER IMPORTANT CUTSCENE IN VIDEO FORMAT
Stoic starts to say something about searching for Shroud when he walks in.
... What are you guys doing here?
Rescuing you, dum dum!
Auburn... You came too?
Sparrow turns away from Shroud, though. And Stoic steps forward and hits Shroud, who starts to retaliate with a spell, BUT-
"Honestly! I've never seen the two of you fight about anything, what in the name of Arcadius is going on here?
The Baron saves the day.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X130NPh92HM 'Defined By A Mask' aka Mask of Kemosabe - Bubba Ho-Tep
My problem? My problem is you! Rushing off with no regard for your own life while we almost get ourselves killed trying to find you!
Whose fault is that?! I didn't want to be found! This is something I need to do myself!
Why?! After all the dangers we've faced as a team, why does this one need to be done by yourself?!
No need to answer. Laurel read your mind before you left, she told me The Hand was responsible for what you went through as a child.
Huh? You guys didn't tell me that!
If you know what happened then you know why this is so personal!
No! I don't buy it! You have this habit of spitting out fake reasoning when you don't want to talk about your real feelings!
You're brash, but you've never been stupid! You know you can't defeat Ketsu and the other officers on your own. You've always known that.
So tell the truth.
Sure, you would try your best in a fight against them... but you wanted to die.
You wanted to die so that perhaps the world would suddenly feel ashamed for what it's done to you.
But... Why are you giving me a hard time? You should know better than anyone how I feel!
It's true. I have been there many times.
But something like this won't punish those who have dragged Solest so far down.
If anything, it does them a favor.
The people who really pay... are the good people who need our help.
You have been able to save quite a few lives in your time, despite being so young. If you're gone, all those you might save in the future... They die.
People like you don't come along often... Those who are willing to give for the greater good. So for you to think about throwing your life away...
It's completely irresponsible.
... Give. Why should I give anything?
It's just... infuriating me. These last few years I've done everything I could to help people who needed it... Just because I felt it was "right."
But for what? What have I gotten in return? I lost my family... I lost my job... I lost...
... I just don't see the point. Not anymore. Give me one good reason why I should keep it up.
Give me one good reason why I should keep trying to make the world better when all I get in return is my life taken apart.
Cade... You're the only one who can answer that.
I sense that at some point in your life you were able to.
Gabriella hugs Shroud.
Just because we're getting you out of here now doesn't mean we're not going to get these bastards for what they've done to you and everyone else.
When we come up with an ideal strategy, we will end this insanity. That I promise.
... Sounds good.
Sheesh. You don't know how insane it all is. This "Great Awakening" plan--
Defined by a Mask stops playing here.
A crow flies in, cawing.
I have been conducting regular aerial surveys of the area, and I am here to alert you that some of The Hand's upper echelon are approaching as we speak.
Ketsu himself has not been sighted recently by either myself or my fellow Toutens.
That's because he's doing that weird sleep technique that apparently is associated with the wings. Originally, I thought this would be a good time to take him out, but now that this Ariel woman has cleaned my clock twice now, we probably should regroup.
I guess that means we should get going.
Yeah... Though it's still daytime. We have to figure out some way to get Gabriella out of here.
Yeah, wouldn't want her to end up some burnt pile of dust.
Uh... Baron... Let's use some less vivid language.
I have the solution to this quandary. I shall asume my large dragon form, and you can use my wings to shield yourself until we can get back to our camp.
Then you can take refuge in the caravan we have been using for storage.
So the Toutens are willing to look after her?
It seems a natural solution. You won't bite any of us now, will you?
Oh... Oh no. No, I only bite little animals.
I shall be more prudent about some of my transformations then! Ha ha ha! Just joshing, of course.
You're pretty trusting!
I have always been of the opinion that vampires should be assisted rather than scorned, though many find this view somewhat progressive for their tastes.
However, any of us would be remiss to leave our non-human brethren at the mercy of these fanatics.
I often consider it a badge of honor. No offense intended to anyone here.
It may be best for now. But don't worry. Now that I finally found you, I don't intend to lose track of you again.
I get the feeling we're not getting the whole story here. You better fill us in late, man.
Alright Pilc... Get her outta here.
Okay, let's go.
That's right! Better get lost before you get the same!
I was going to start my new book today... Now I have to deal with you. I don't appreciate that.
I... I recognize you. You're... Cleon.
You know this one?
Yeah... I do. This is the son of a bitch who killed my father.
... By Arcadius.
Watch your language, twerp.
Wha... That's it! In a minute you're going to have more holes than The Hand's moral arguments!
Hmm... They did beat Voyd. That's probably smart.
Oh brother. She was tough enough by herself.
Sparrow! You murdering slime! I'll make sure you spend an eternity inside an illusion full of torment!
Danika's still pissed about Torin's assassination.
Imagine that. You calling me a murderer. I suppose it's only murder when humans die. You all really make me sick.
At least... Hey, wait a minute.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXzkm_2EBzc 'Hidden' by Daniel Licht
Huh? Who did that? Was it you?
... No. Wasn't me.
Oh, not you again.
Rayne blows away Danika and then has twisters remove Cleon from the scene too.
Wha... What the hell just happened? Are you really Cade's brother? How did that Cleon guy manage to stay still when he got hit by that first wind gust?
He didn't stay still. We just were too slow to see him move out of the way.
Hahaha, love it.
I designed that two-part spell specifically with his skills in mind.
Is that... really you?
... Yeah. There will be time to talk later. They won't be out of commission for long. Let's go.
He leads the party away.
And we're treated to Galdar's Theme again.
Well... I really wasn't doing well at all. It's tough to be in weapon sales these days. Most of the money I did make went towards rent on my apartment.
I was considering giving up the apartment and just living out of the shop's back room... but all that changed when Equipment King came along.
You guys saved me. No doubt about it.
Part of the reason we're here is because of the efforts of the costumed vigilantes known as Shroud and Stoic. They first became known in Port Arianna.
In your opinion, why did the two of them target Equipment King?
At the time, I couldn't figure that out. But now with all the new information that has come forward, I would say it was just a case of misplaced anger.
They were trying to pin The Hand's crimes on Equipment King without even realizing their mistake.
But you guys had no clue that The Hand was involved with the kind of horrible crimes we saw in Port Arianna. You just thought they were investors!
Yeah, but it wasn't long before Mr. Kovak realized that this would not work in Port Arianna. It would have been terrible for business in a diverse community.
The policy was then changed. Now Equipment King would only hire humans, though anyone was welcome to shop there. Slightly less bigoted... still reprehensible.
Yet for whatever other faults he may have, I do not believe Don Kovak is a bigoted man. He certainly has enough business savvy to understand the risks.
So why have the policy at all?
That seems like a question you should ask Mr. Kovak.
You are the one currently on the stand, Mr. Feron.
My understanding is that the policy was one of the conditions set by The Hand before they invested in the company.
They have very strict Gallian beliefs.
We, of course, know The Hand were actually the ones recieving funding from EK in exchange for doing dirty work.
... Indeed they do. Makes one wonder why doing business with them was ever considered at all. Perhaps the funding was deemed more important than ethical concerns... certainly not uncommon in matters of commerce.
Yet I find it very curious that a compromise was ultimately reached in this matter. This surely means that the two groups communicated regularly.
Would you say that is an accurate assumption?
... Yes. They did communicate often.
And yet they are making the case that they had no knowledge of the criminal activites The Hand conducted in Port Arianna and elsewhere.
People can keep secrets even if they talk all the time.
One final question. Did your branch of Equipment King benefit from the kidnappings in Port Arianna taking place so close to opening day?
What kind of question is that?! The kidnappings were horrible!
I am not asking your opinion of the incident... I am merely asking if it was beneficial from a strictly business point of view.
So many scared residents... Afraid for their children's safety. It's an opportune time to offer them weapons. How were sales that day?
JUDGE: The witness will answer the question.
Sales were... very good.
"attacked by two vampires, and both of them were in the local hospital. It was the talk of the town!"
Oh look who it is, Marin's lady friend and smith. Wonder where Galdar has hidden Marin for the moment.
How close was this first incident to the Artagel Equipment King's opening day?
I believe the opening was two days after that.
Given your association with Mr. Mari, who has researched these issues extensively, I'm sure you are aware of the pattern these circumstances take.
You bet I am! And I'll tell you something else! The Hand wouldn't have that sort of business know-how just on their own!
Maybe those hoodlums are carrying out the plans, but that sort of timing had to come from Equipment King!
The... final one?
The vampires abruptly left Artagel about one day after the first attack. I am referring to the final incident which occurred in town before they vanished.
The last one I remember hearing about was at the bazaar. Is that the one you are referring to?
Indeed. Do you remember who the lead vampire's primary target was?
I can't give you a name. I don't think it was someone I knew.
Her name is Auburn Iliaca. She is Mr. Kovak's bodyguard.
Do you think that if Equipment King was orchestrating these attacks, we would target our own people?
If we're talking about patterns, perhaps another we've seen over the past few months is people jumping to conclusions before having all the facts.
"But the second... was our realization that these incidents were very good news for Equipment King's business.
The final report made it very clear that this was not an accident."
Hmm... So you say.
What was your initial reaction to the news that Equipment King was going to open a branch in Rellenia? Before any crimes were reported.
Honestly? I found it unbelievably distasteful. Any Gallian business making money off elven shoppers sounded abhorrent to me.
Did you find that others in the city shared that viewpoint?
Yes. I heard complaints from people every day.
With that in mind, why do you think Equipment King was ultimately approved to open a branch there?
The members of that board have been trying to attract business to the city. They felt the added tax revenue would help move the reconstruction along.
I could understand their point of view, despite my moral objections.
Do you think researchers with strong opinions on a situation should be assigned to a project intended to produce a balanced view of that situation?
There's a long pause here.
... Are you suggesting that the commission's report is somehow tainted by the fact that I have an opinion on the matter?
Every person with any knowledge of current events has an opinion on them. To claim otherwise is outlandish.
Sometimes facts are just facts, and a researched doesn't become biased just because he or she uncovers facts you may not like.
No we all know everyone has to have no opinion on anything to be perfectly truthful and trustworthy and logical and
All of the evidence we found, combined with the testimony of many witnesses, indicated that agents from The Hand committed about half of the crimes.
Only half, you say?
Yes... The interesting thing about the whole affair was that the effort was clearly designed to convince the populace of a major crime wave.
However, we came to realize that the bulk of the crimes were being committed by two individuals.
The first was an agent from The Hand... we never learned this person's name, but his specialty seemed to be stealth attacks.
Voyd. Glad we just kicked his ass.
I would say almost all of the incidents where a citizen of Rellenia was robbed were committed by him. Most victims barely saw him.
However, the arson was committed by a costumed figure seen several times by witnesses. Based on the descriptions, the costume was intended to evoke the image of The Sparrow, better known as Evander Till. Till has been dead for years, so it was clear someone else had adapted the persona.
This new Sparrow has only been referenced in incidents directly related to Equipment King. He has no apparenty connection to The Hand.
In my view, it was an even partnership between the two groups.
With that in mind, what do you make of the current argument that The Hand committed all of these crimes right under Equipment King's nose?
If I may speak bluntly, I think that claim is beyond the realm of absurd. It's clear that the two groups have had some sort of recent falling out.
Now that the partnership is over, the Equipment King administrators are simple trying to throw The Hand under the carriage.
There he is.
Oh, certainly. Equipment King's current defense is that they thought The Hand were merely investors, not dangerous criminals.
However, it's clear from the financial records I saw that it was the other way around. Equipment King invested in The Hand.
In return, The Hand used their highly skilled agents to create a climate in which Equipment King would prosper in the towns where it opened.
The year-end financial report I saw in The Hand's files indicated that a percentage of Equipment King's revenue was given to The Hand.
These "donations" were instrumental to the group.
... I see. About how much of Equipment King's revenue was being used in this way?
I would need access to Equipment King's financial documents before I could give you an exact percentage.
I'm guessing it was not a major portion of their income... Yet with this sort of business, even a small portion of their earnings is substantial.
To a group like The Hand, who have controversial beliefs that could alienate potential donors, these payments had a huge impact.
No agent of The Hand was permitted to take documents out of the reference rooms except the highest-ranked officers, which I was not.
I could review them and take notes, but there was no way I was going to be able to get it out of there. It would have surely blown my cover.
So readers of your book are supposed to simply take your word for it?
Oh, I see where this is going. You treated Ambassador Wyre the same way. It's pathetic.
Instead of trying to cast dispersion on all the evidence against you, why don't you present some evidence that you're innocent?
I have not yet heard an answer.
JUDGE: The witness will answer the question.
I did not take the actual document out of The Hand's offices. I copied all of the data to my own notes.
And during the time you were disguised as a member of The Hand, did you actually see anyone from Equipment King interacting with their leaders?
No, they would only meet with the leaders of the group in private. They would not wander the premises and interact with low-ranking members.
And yet you're so sure that Equipment King was complicit in the crimes The Hand committed.
Mr. Marin, your book has been the single most influential document in regards to these claims that Equipment King and The Hand collaborated and broke the law.
Yet you're telling us that you were never privy to any meetings between the two groups. How can you accurately judge Equipment King's involvement?
Summaries of those meetings are also kept on file. Everything I claim in the book can be supported by documents and transcripts.
Which you can not reproduce, assuming they ever existed at all!
A man's freedom is on the line here, Mr. Marin. We can't simply just take your word for it. We need more than simple assurance.
Your lack of integrity is nothing short of breathtaking.
Insults will not help you.
And now we come up on another important cutscene, a very memorable one for me, honestly. It's one I think about a lot when it comes to showing... ah... well I can't spoil it. But suffice to say, I love it.
The long meltdown is over...
Cade's found himself again, but... Laurel's still...
Well, she's bad enough that she's walked off, and I guess Finley just followed her.
Anyway. Wow. Very dramatic update. Though I do think Andau's arc could have been handled a bit better. I think we should have seen a bit more of him and Gabriella bonding, personally. But I've always been the type that likes slow, character focused stuff. Not that I don't like brisk pacing or anything. Either can be done well. I just feel like... Andau was fumbled a little bit.