Part 40: Shauna IV
Chapter 26- Shauna IV
Well, we knew carrying around all this incredibly valuable medicine would attract attention. And it sure did, and all of the wrong sort. The very worst sort, in fact. Bandits attacked us near the Raide shores. And of course they were led by our favorite person in the whole world.
Y-y-yeah! What do you have to w-worry about?
hah. You should talk. Boy, something sure does smell. I think everyone should check their pants.
A familiar voice rang out in the distance. Who the hell else would it have been, honestly?
Good to see everyone! Looks like you're all doing well.
In fact, you're doing so well, I don't see why you need all that medicine. Maybe you should just hand it over.
How'd you know it was medicine?
Hehe. We're bandits! It's our job to know what's inside of boxes.
Everyone! Go relieve them of their burden!
There was no way we could let Shauna take this medicine. It was utterly irreplaceable.
But after we defeated about half of their force, the strangest thing happened. They began to turn on each other like rabid dogs!
Wha-! What the hell? They're... killing each other!
They're like rabid animals...
Grr... hey! The enemy's over there!
Hmm... you notice those red spots on them? I think that's... Scarlet Iago!
But I've never seen that kind of symptom before...
Shauna's bandits wiped each other out, leaving only her.
Hey, you don't look well.
She's got those spots...
You may refuse it, but I want to give you my dose of the medicine.
I want you to live... So you can tell me what happened.
Trish, this may be a new form of the disease... that medicine might not work.
But Shauna attacked us for a reason. They must've had their own supply of medicine at first.
Hmph. Pretty smart, for a spoiled brat.
Fine, let me lay it out for you...
Not too long ago, we were paid a surprise visit. They wanted us to steal a certain... something.
So... what was it?
The Crimson Tear.
Normally, we don't do work-for-hire. But this client was... Uniquely persuasive.
So persuasive that we didn't ask any questions. We stole it from a church and handed it over.
But our guest left behind a nasty memento.
I quickly noticed a change... a change just like the one from 15 years ago.
The last time Scarlet Iago rampaged across the land.
I'm one of the few survivors from that time.
Eventually, I managed to find out who caused it. It would be a shame for me to die now.
That's right. It was a woman, if I remember right.
Woman? That preacher?!
Could be. I think she was a Dracon. At least, she managed to use some really strong magic.
You're probably wondering why I'm telling you this...
Well, let's just say I don't care how she gets what she deserves.
Well then... Guess I'll be going.
The Thurists? Releasing Scarlet Iago as some kind of... weapon? The thought of madmen like them being able to wipe out entire cities with the Iago is beyond terrifying. I knew Thuris would be back, but I never dreamed it would be like this. We should have expected this. Thuris is too much of a damn coward to want to fight people directly while they're strong. And what's worse, he wants more Crimson Tears! I'm not sure I even want to know why. We stopped for a minute to compare notes on the Thurists.
It was those damn Thurists followers who ruined Pulkina 10 years ago.
I always heard it was some big religious war. But maybe the Thurists had something else in mind...
The Crimson Tear, maybe?
Whoa! Hey, stupid cow! I can't believe you actually remembered what something was called. You just blew my mind!
That emblem... I've seen it before.
From before you lost your memory?
Hey! Can we talk about it after we drop this off? The Nereids are waiting for us, remember?
Uh huh. Somehow, I don't think it's the Nereids you're worried about.
We're resting for a moment. I'll write more after we get to their palace.
What the shit was that shit? How did I not see that before? I don't know. I don't know about anything any more. It's all too much. I don't see how I'm supposed to fix this if that's the problem. We got into the palace and delivered the medicine. Afterwards, we discussed what was going on with the Queen.
Feinne on Soul Nomad:
Watch this video. This video has some of the absolute best voice acting in a video game towards the end. I am 100% dead serious.
Oh, and that guest you spoke of... She visited us, as well.
It's the same as the one Shauna gave us.
That 'guest' left it behind.
They came asking for our healing power. We said we'd need payment or trade, and they just got up and left.
Soon after that, the Scarlet Iago appeared.
Amid the confusion and chaos of the spreading disease, they snuck in and raided our treasure vaults.
Don't tell me...
The Crimson Tear. It belonged to the former queen.
Dammit, Thuris... What the hell are you doing?
Another familiar voice rang out behind us. But it turned out perhaps she wasn't as familiar as we thought. Lying old hag.
Ah, are you fresh from your slumber, Madame Virtuous?
Ah, I mean Lady Layna. I'm sorry.
No, it's okay. The time has come to tell everyone my story.
Do you know my name?
O-of course! Lady Layna! I may not remember anyone else's name, but yours I've never forgotten!
Haha. That's true. You are right to call me Layna.
But that is not my true name.
Layna is the name of this body's original owner.
Think about that. I found myself in a situation exactly like that of you and Gig.
My true name is Virtuous. I am the Master of Life, the arbiter of all living things in this world.
If that's true, some might call you... a god.
Virtuous, huh? So you're in charge of all this pathetic life on Haephnes. No wonder I had such a problem with you.
So, old hag, what's your scheme?
Haha. I have no scheme. I simply want to turn this world back to its former glory.
Another earthquake hit.
We can feel the decline and decay of this world in our very skin.
Few new souls are joining this world, and death comes ever quicker to the living.
Yes, that's true. It's become much harder for us to have children.
Madame Virtuous, can you tell us the source of this scourge?
And the number of souls that thrive here has steadily declined.
A decline? Like, they're disappearing?
That's correct. To be more specific, they're being stolen.
It is the duty of the Master of Death to return the souls of the dead to the heavens.
Without the reaper to guide them, souls of the dead wander the world, easy prey for more sinister forces.
And the Master of Death for this world, Vigilance... his soul has been stolen.
Did you say Vigilance?!
That's the name from your dream...
Butt out! It's got nothing to do with you!
Just go, tell your damn story.
But... who would do such a thing?
There is another world, the world of Drazil. It is the polar opposite of this world.
Normally, these two worlds would never come into contact with one another.
Even the gods must expend great energy to travel between the two.
But then, the world of Drazil gave birth to the World Eaters, which were sent here.
Along with you... Gig.
Th-then... that guy in there is our enemy!
*gasp* Shock and horror! And I tried so hard to pretend I wasn't!
And here I thought you were getting mildly smarter.
What should we do?
To retrieve the lost souls, we must make contact with Gamma and Joules, the Masters of Life and Death in Drazil.
But, knowing them, it's doubtful they'll be willing to put an end to this unnatural cycle.
The only way to stop them, and right the woes of this world, is to cast them from their thrones.
But... how will we get to them?
I will explain that when the time comes.
There are others in this world who understand what's happening.
Most likely, these are the ones collecting the Crimson Tears in an attempt to connect to Drazil.
Hrm. So that's what those Thurists are after?
That I cannot say. Even those you might call gods would have trouble with such a task, let alone normal humans.
Though, if there were a Dracon with particularly adept magical powers... then perhaps...
Yeah, you're right. No way.
Yup. Totally impossible.
Oh Mr. Odie, please cheer up.
Here, wipe away your tears.
*sniff* Thank you, young lady.
Regardless, all should be well once you slay the remaining two World Eaters.
I must return to my slumber. I look forward to a brighter world when I awaken.
She left. We decided to check in on Endorph and Euphoria.
But thanks for coming. I was starting to think we'd be stuck here forever.
Euphoria, how do you feel?
Oh, I'm completely healed now, thank you!
Now I can go wherever I please! Maybe I'll finally get to see the edge of the world!
Levin, thank you so much. I heard you took out a phenomenal salary advance to pay for the medicine.
Just how many years' worth of wages did it cost you, again?
I'd rather not say...
Ah, don't worry. I'll float ya a loan. Fair interest, no annual fees. We got a deal?
I don't want your dirty money!
Then... I'll make sure to have a hot meal waiting for you when you return.
...Is that right? I'll, uh... be looking forward to it.
What the hell? Why are they right next to each other? Hey, make some space! Move it!
Hey, don't you think those two are cute together? Huh, Vitali?
Um... Trish? Not to be rude, but do you have to get so close? I think Levin might...
What? I might what?
I have a lot to think about. We learned so much today. I'm no longer sure what we're fighting for, or if this world can even be saved. Even if we kill the World Eaters, that will at best stop things getting worse. What's the damn point?
I've made up my mind. I'm going to fight until the end, until the World Eaters are dead, and until the sons of bitches that sent them join them. But not for me, and not for Layna. Tricia ran in and woke us just after midnight.
We ran out, and...
I'm sorry. I'm still in shock.
We ran out and Euphoria lay silent. If she was still alive, it was by the barest of threads. No, I'm certain she was already dead by the time we got out.
What's going on? What's wrong with her? What happened?! Someone, tell me!
Vitali! Help her!
Judging by these symptoms... I'd say it's Scarlet Iago.
But... I've never seen the disease progress this quickly before.
I don't care what it is!
Just tell me she'll be okay!
Levin... I'm sorry. Euphoria's no longer-
Shut up shut up shut up!!!
She'd never leave me behind like this!
Sis, why are your hands so cold? Here, let me warm them up. You gotta wake up, okay Sis?
Sis... you can't sleep forever. Sis... get up.
No, no, no... Why!!!
Look at her hands. There's so many cuts.
She must've gotten them making our food. She said she'd have a hot meal waiting for us...
Sis, c'mon. I'll eat your food. I promise never to complain again...
Levin took his sister's still form in his arms and began to solemnly march from the palace.
I'm going by myself. Don't come after me.
Master Endorph, you don't seem too well. Maybe you should rest a while.
I'm not doing this for me. I'm not doing this for Layna. I'm doing this because it's the right thing to do. These goddamn World Eaters think they can just do whatever they want. They think they can kill whoever they want. They think they can kill random, innocent people and that nobody can stop them.
Well they're wrong. We can stop them. And we will. And when they're dead, when those monsters are ground into the dirt at last, then we'll go track down the bastards that created them. And in that moment, they'll learn the consequences of their actions. I don't care how hard it will be. I don't care what the odds are. I won't let one more innocent suffer because of them.
We left the palace. If the Thurists were in the area, Thuris must be nearby as well. It's only fitting that he be first on the chopping block. That monster might have gotten away from us once, but this time will be different. This time I'll slice that animal in half and see every one of his cronies dead for what they've done to this world. As we left, we got some useful information as to where they were camped.
Screw that! I don't need a break!
I can't let those Thurist sons of bitches get away with this! I'll kill every last one of them!
Juno told me you guys were here!
Hey, I saw some really strange creeps hanging around!
They were in the forest where Endorph used to hang out! Just a little while ago!
The Hidden Tree Forest?
Yeah, that's it!
I was out exploring, when I saw some weird flat-chested lady.
And... she sorta looked like that weird guy right there.
You mean... she was a Dracon?
Oh, you're gonna go talk to 'em? Okay, good luck!
Oh, and one other thing!
When I was there before, I saw some big-boobed lady named Shari.
If you see her, tell her to bring more snacks next time!
We know where they are. We know what needs to be done. The Thurists will pay for their crimes. Hopefully attacking them will draw Thuris out of hiding. He may think he has a cunning trap set for us. He's wrong. He's already dead. He just doesn't know it yet.