Part 61: CH58: Putting the Band Back TogetherCH58: Putting the Band Back Together
: They arrived at the highroad, to find Nova monsters still hanging around.
This fight is a little hard with two guys on Chaos.
Mostly due to how fast this casts.
Fortunately there's an easy solution.
: Are you hurt?
Young Man: No, I'm fine. But the soldiers...
: Bailey, can your men take him back to Lhant?
: Right away, sir.
These monsters have become more active of late.
: I know. Each week seems to bring more of them.
: I was hoping they'd died down for good.
: Increase security on the highroads. We can't afford for anyone else to be hurt.
: Yes, my lord. I'll send more guards right away.
: I hope this is the last of it...
Come on, Sophie, let's go back.
: *Shakes head*
: Okay then.
: The trip back to the mansion was uneventful, aside from a few Nova monsters perishing under their blades.
: Are you going to die too?
: Am I...what?
: Will you go away forever, like your father did? If I protect you, will that keep you alive?
: Oh, that's... Thanks, Sophie, but dying is something you can't do much about. I could catch some disease, or trip and fall down the stairs, or anything. You know?
Even if I live a long life, my time's still going to end eventually. But you don't have to worry. That's probably decades away!
: But that's nothing! Not when time passes so quickly.
It wasn't so long ago that you used to be shorter than me. And you were a much slower runner than you are now.
But I'm still the same. I haven't changed in years.
Is it because I'm different from everyone?
Will I be left behind because I'm not human?
: I'm sorry, Asbel. I'll see you at home.
: She fled straight to her room the moment she came home.
: Oh, and this arrived while you were out. It's from King Richard.
: Could you get Bailey for me, Frederic?
: Right away, sir.
: What did it say?
: It's about the recent increase in monster attacks. Apparently, the same thing is happening in Windor, Strahta, and Fendel.
: Then it's worse than we thought.
: Looks like it.
: Do you have a plan, sir?
: Richard thinks he's found one of the monsters' nests. He's convinced all three countries to join forces and destroy it.
: So, the letter was a request for your assistance?
: Yes. Which means I'll be leaving Lhant for a while.
: Then I wish you safe travels, Lord Asbel. I will watch over things in your absence.
: Thank you, Bailey. I'll head for the capital tomorrow.
: Will you be taking Sophie with you, Master Asbel?
: I'd like to, but...I'm not sure how she's feeling.
: The next morning...
Are you hiding? Come on!
Maid: Lord Asbel? If you're looking for Sophie, she left some time ago.
: What? Did she say where she was going?
Maid: No, I'm afraid not, my lord.
: Isn't it a little early in the morning for all this racket?
: Sophie's gone.
: Well, don't panic. She probably decided to visit a flower meadow or something of that nature. Leave finding Sophie to us. Right now, you should head to the capital.
: Sir, daylight is wasting. I promise to devote all our efforts to finding her.
: I just...
: It would not be good to keep King Richard waiting, my lord.
: ...You're right, of course. Okay, I'm counting on you.
: Yes, sir.
Do think about meeting with at least one young bridal prospect when you return. Mmm?
: Mom, I told you-
: Unless, of course, your resistance is because you have someone in mind already?
: N-No, that's not... I mean, maybe I do, but maybe I... I don't know.
: Ugh, so indecisive! This is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.
So if you have your eye on someone already, I'll burn those other proposals myself!
: Can we please talk about this later? I need to go.
Skit: Flying Solo
: I can't remember the last time I walked out here without someone by my side.
No funny stories from Pascal... No tall tales from the Captain...
No snappy retorts from Cheria or Hubert...
It just doesn't feel right being here without them.
Wait a minute. Do I always talk to myself like this?!
: Someone was waiting for him in Barona.
Incidentally you should watch at least this part of the scene because it's hilarious.
: Ah! Cheria!
: Wait a minute. What's the matter with you?
: King Richard has asked our relief organization for assistance.
: Is that so? Well, I'm sure you'll be a huge help!
: Why are you acting so weird?
So, uh... How's the relief work going, anyway?
: We've been running ragged lately; people need our help more than ever.
I've lost count of how many times I've visited Strahta and Fendel.
: That busy, huh? So does that mean that the monster attacks continue to keep on increasing?
: We're at our busiest when times are bad. It's been pretty difficult.
Honestly, I'd happily lose my job if it meant things were peaceful again.
So where's Sophie? Why isn't she here?
: Well she...
: Tell me the truth. She's not sick, is she?
: No. She's fine, but she...
: Lord Asbel! Miss Cheria. Thank you both so much for coming.
: It's good to see you again, Duke Dalen.
: His Highness is waiting in the throne room. Right this way please.
The Relief Organization is one of the big missed opportunities here. It's basically Cheria's opportunity for a story arc other than "Asbel's girlfriend". Unfortunately it doesn't, you know, exist outside of Cheria.
Richard also has a new outfit.
: Asbel. Cheria. Thank you for coming.
: What is it, Richard?
: Nothing. Don't worry about it.
I'm sorry, Asbel.
You came here despite all that's going on right now.
: It's no trouble at all. I'm always ready to help you.
: Always ready to help out... You haven't changed at all.
All of this was, in no small way...all my fault.
However, getting rid of these monsters is the best way I can think of to make amends.
And yet, it seems that I can't even do that without your assistance.
: It's all right.
: It's good to see you again, Captain. And you as well, Hubert.
Now we just need Pascal and our merry gang will be complete once again.
: Wasn't Pascal supposed to accompany you, Captain?
: Yes. I waited for her at the harbor, but she never showed up.
: That girl never changes. I swear. What's she doing now?
: Well, most of us have gathered, so let's go ahead and begin.
: In the last month, monster attacks have been occurring in Strahta with greater frequency.
: It's the same in Fendel. We have fewer monsters, but each seems to do more damage than the last.
: A familiar story. We in Windor share the same problem.
: Do we know what's causing this?
: We've been looking into it, but so far have learned nothing. However, we also know that King Richard has located one of their nests.
: Recently, some of my knights stumbled onto an ancient underground ruin in the area near Gloandi. The place was crawling with creatures spawned from Lambda.
: I knew the foul beasts had to be hiding somewhere.
: An underground nest? It's worth investigating, at least.
: And if we can destroy it altogether, it should help cut down on the number of monster attacks.
: Shouldn't Nova monsters no longer be capable of planning stuff like this with Lambda dormant.
: You'd think that.
: The ruins appear to be of Amarcian origin.
: So that's why you wanted Pascal. It's indeed unfortunate that she didn't make it.
: Unfortunate, but not critical. We'll just have to investigate without her.
: I suppose so.
By the way, Asbel. Where's Sophie?
: Um, she's... Actually, let's talk about that later. Right now we should focus on the ruins.
: Very well. With your permission, Highness, we shall strike out immediately.
: The entrance to the ruins is in the catacombs beneath Barona. Let's get going.
So now we have enough party members to have a real party. I'm going to use Hubert/Asbel/Richard/Cheria, since I want to use Richard some and we don't have Sophie.
Incidentally Richard is missing a lot of titles due to him not getting used as much as everyone else.
Skit: The Odd Man Out
: I know. It's been a while. It's good to see all of you guys again.
: It's good to see you as well.
: Likewise. It seems I've seen these two more than my own brother lately.
: Wait, you have?
: Hubert is in charge of Strahta's Nova Monster Eradication Force. I've seen him at the tri-nation conferences.
: My responsibilities have also taken me to Fendel, where Captain Malik has been of great assistance.
: As the chancellor's envoy, I've had chances to meet with King Richard on many occasions.
: Hold on, seriously? And you guys never invited me?
: Come now, Asbel! These are hardly social calls!
Skit: Brother from Another Mother
: Oh yeah, I remember that.
: I pretended to be your older brother- "Tiger Festival."
: Ha ha... Yeah, my naming sense back then was kind of, uh, pathetic.
: But I could come up with a much better name for you now!
: I fear I must decline. Richard seems to suit me.
: Asbel, do you still wish you had an older brother?
: That's right. I used to think about that when I was a kid, didn't I? Oh well.
: Then you can call me your brother!
: Huh? Like...out loud? Well, if you really want me to...
: Yes, Asbel?
: It's...kind of embarrassing!
Maybe I just need to say "Brother" the way Hubert does.
: Yes, that's more like it. Try it again!
: They've lost their minds...
: They dropped back to Lhant to pick up something. I've forgotten what, but something happened.
: Oh, cruel fate! How you mock me!
: Yeah, trying to feed her to monsters isn't the way to a woman's heart.
: You need to get over her, Lord Raymond. It's starting to seem...pathetic.
: Oh, and I suppose you're just going to forget her and move on?!
: It can't be helped... Her life is hers to do with as she pleases. And besides, it's not like we could compete with him.
: Damn him...
If I knew this was coming, I would have killed him when I had the chance! Hmm... Perhaps it's not too late...
: Fortunately the situation was defused.
: Grown men sharing a moment to discuss old loves...
If that's not a sign that peace has returned to this town, I don't know what is.
: Leave us! An uncouth boor such as yourself couldn't possibly understand such matters.
: You wound me, Raymond. This uncouth boor has forgotten more about lost love than you will ever know. Perhaps you would allow me to join your discussion?
: I never expected a man like you would have such a past! I'd love to hear all about it!
: Ha! I have lost NOTHING, Malik! There is still hope she might come around!
: Now, now. Nothing cures the sting of a lost love like good companionship and fine drink.
: ...Very well.
: Wow. Love sure is complicated, huh?
: Yes... It is...
Skit: Wise Words
So I somehow left this out of the skit video. I'll fix it saturday.
: Yes, but it's also quite rewarding.
: And after all the hard work, it got me thinking about the past.
It's a little late, but I finally understand how you felt when you decided to become a knight seven years ago.
: You do?
: You wanted to get stronger so you could protect your friends.
: Yeah, you're right.
: So will you...support me?
: Of course! Give it your best!
: I will.
: The phrase, "Men surrender their ideals in adolescence; women pursue them in maturity" comes to mind.
: Wise words. Who spoke them?
: The one and only M. Caesar.
: I've heard that name before...
Wait, that's your name!
: They reached the ruin site.
: It's the first I've known about it.
: We found a similar-looking ruin beneath Wallbridge, remember?
: That's true. They do seem quite similar.
: I imagine the Amarcians built them around the same time.
: I wonder what they're for?
: I'm sure Pascal would be full of theories.
: Perhaps. At any rate, let's press on and see what we can learn.
: I sense powerful monsters down here. Keep your wits about you.
Skit: Fame Sans Fortune
: In Strahta, King Richard is more popular than even our own president.
You can actually buy trading cards with his picture on them!
: In Fendel, his popularity rivals that of the chancellor. I'm not sure who is more famous.
: Please believe me: I don't lead these monster hunts out of some mad desire for fame.
My earlier actions dealt a considerable amount of economic damage to both Fendel and Strahta.
To make restitution for those deeds, Windor has taken on massive amounts of debt.
But I'm no fool-confidence in leadership is something that no amount of money can buy.
: Your popularity is manifest proof of the trust the people of this world hold for you. In truth, you're the envy of leaders everywhere.
: Thank you, Malik. And yet, does that justify what's happening?
: Justify what?
: They make dolls in my image, and even King Richard fruit snacks! ...All to pay down the debt.
: How shameless...
: They really should have looked up more often.
: Your highness!
They give you a moment to fix your party here, since they just took away 40% of it.
So uh back in CH54 we fought TWO of those at once. Like, literally exactly the same. We had one more person in our party but still, 3:1 is more favorable than 4:2.
: Fortunately a lower-level platform had stopped Asbel and Richard's fall. Unfortunately it was made of solid stone. Fortunately some people just don't give a shit.
: You okay, Richard?
: Y-Yes, I'm fine.
: I don't think we can get back up that way.
: Doesn't look like it.
: Asbel! Richard! Are you okay?!
: We're fine! Keep going! We'll meet you up ahead.
: Okay! Be careful down there!
: Kind of takes you back to when we were kids, huh?
: Except Sophie was with us as well.
: Yeah. She was.
: What is it?
: How is...Lambda doing? Has he been speaking with you, or trying to manipulate you in any way?
: No, he hasn't tried anything like that.
: I almost killed Sophie because I carried that thing inside me. If that ever happened to you...
: Don't worry, Richard. Sophie and I are just fine. It's true that neither of us knows what Lambda will do going forward. But living with Lambda was my decision. Whatever problems come up, I'll find a way to deal with them.
: Will I be left behind because I'm not human?
: Oh hello there.
: What's wrong?
: Nothing. I probably just hurt myself when we fell.
: Are you sure you're okay?
: Yeah, I'm fine. Come on, let's go.
So this dungeon is like the Wallbridge Ruins moving-block dungeon, but with two parties we switch between. It's not very obnoxious, by the standards of Future Arc dungeons. You should be worried about that previous sentence.
Skit: Gentlemanly Behavior
: That wound must be more serious than you thought.
: Yeah, maybe. I sure wish Cheria was here.
: Ah, of course. You finally reunite with Cheria after a half year, only to be torn asunder once more.
: Actually, that's not what I-
: I understand.
And yet, why so long? Cheria has been busy with her work, but I know she's had many occasions to return to Lhant.
: She's been back twice. And both times I was in important meetings with my people.
: Fool! What am I going to do with you, Asbel?!
: Who is more important? The woman who comes all the way to see you, or some inconsequential vassal?
: sH-Hey! My vassals aren't inconsequential!
: Clearly I need to educate you on the many great facets of gentlemanly behavior!
: Thanks, but I'll pass.
: Hubert and Captain Malik are there. I'm sure they're fine.
Anyway, this place seems safe. Why don't we rest for a bit?
: Hey, Richard?
: Do you ever think about the future? I mean, decades from now?
: Where'd that come from?
: Sophie was talking about how I'm going to leave her behind when I die. I told her it was decades away and she shouldn't worry about it.
I mean, I hadn't even really thought about it myself.
But that just made her more upset. She said the years would pass in no time at all.
: Is that why she isn't here?
: It made me realize how differently she experiences time.
: She seems so human. Sometimes I forget she won't grow old and die like the rest of us.
: I've always treated her like a normal person, and I don't regret that at all. But at the same time, I haven't given the future a whole lot of thought.
: Perhaps these are thoughts you should share with her instead of keeping them to yourself. If she mentioned it to you, it's likely a concern she's had for some time.
: That's true...
: You were able to accept Lambda's loneliness. If anyone can help Sophie with hers, it's you.
: You're right. Thanks for talking to me.
: Happy to help.
Come on. I'm sure the others are getting worried.
: Then let's go.
: Meanwhile, back with the others...
: Asbel! Richard! Are you okay?!
: We're fine! Keep going! We'll meet you up ahead.
: Okay! Be careful down there!
: That's my brother. Tough as a rock, if nothing else.
: We should move before more monsters show up.
: I just hope what we're doing helps to lessen the attacks on our people.
: Your relief organization must have been heavily taxed recently. Are you getting enough rest?
: Oh. I'm fine. I'm just glad I can help somehow. I was so sick as a child, I never thought I'd be able to do anything.
I guess I'm trying to make up for it now.
: That's good for the people, but what about you? ...What about you and Asbel? My mother says he's been swamped with marriage proposals.
: Guys like him may be slow on the uptake, but once they make a choice things tend to move quickly.
: Well, I wish he'd hurry up so our mother can stop worrying about it.
: Why don't you get married first? That might help ease her mind a little.
: Wh-Why are we talking about me now?
: Don't play dumb. We've all heard about your possible engagement to the president's daughter.
: What, really?!
: How do you know about that?!
: People talk. I listen. At this rate, you'll be the new president of Strahta in no time.
: Hubert, when did this happen?!
: It's nothing to do with me. The president brought up the idea of his own accord. And even if I did marry her, that doesn't mean I'd take over Strahta!
: The presidency is not passed down through a bloodline. I thought you knew that.
: Hey, wait up!
: Kids these days...
Skit: The Marrying Type
: That's strange talk coming from a lifelong bachelor.
: They say that when life breaks your spirit, a wife can help to mend it.
And when you find yourselves apart, you need only shut your eyes to see her again.
: Until she seizes control of your life one piece at a time and you find your own hopes and dreams put on hold!
You can't even spend your own salary! You have to beg permission for every little thing you want to buy...
Precious belongings you've labored to collect are tossed like so much junk...
And yet she thinks nothing of taking your purse and blowing all your coin on some fancy hat!
: That's very...specific. Have you been married before?
: Even a cursory examination of the topic proves that this is the only outcome!
: Instead of selecting a wife who intends to live solely through her husband's station, one should seek an independent-minded woman that...
...Yes, well. I think I've said enough.
: And if you're so eager to endorse the institution of marriage, perhaps you should get married yourself!
: I'm guessing I know why Oswald needed to adopt.
: In any case, marriage is a wonderful thing. Don't you agree, Cheria?
(Ha ha ha ha ha!)
(Hee hee hee hee!)
: Huh? Oh, right. Marriage. Yeah, sure, you should marry someone if you want. I can't imagine doing it myself....
: Waiting until you've completed all the things you want to do would be pretty selfish, wouldn't it...?
Skit: Renewing the Pact
: It was in the ruins beneath Wallbridge.
: Yeah, that's right. Where we saw the illusion of Sophie.
: Asbel, I need to ask you a question. Can you... Can you ever forgive me for Sophie?
: Huh, what's this all of a sudden? Did you do something to upset her?
: When Lambda had taken control of me, I tried to kill her.
If I'd possessed the strength to resist Lambda, to free myself from his bonds, there wouldn't have been a battle at all.
: Oh, that? Yeah, Sophie was never even angry about that.
: Look, Richard. She fought you because it was her duty as Protos Heis.
But even so, she kept reminding herself that you were her friend, and she held back when you fought.
: I...I never knew she was struggling with such emotion.
: If it makes you feel better, we can go back to the tree and renew our friendship pact with Sophie.
: It might be a nice way for us to relive those days.
: It just might be.
: Eventually they linked up again.
: Glad to see you're all okay.
: Are the two of you all right?
: Yeah, we're fine.
: Sorry to make you worry.
: I don't know what we'd do if something happened to you, King Richard.
: Your concern for my well-being is touching.
: That's okay, Asbel. If anything happens, I'll protect you.
: Your words are wasted on me, Your Highness.
: I'm only doing what you would do for me.
: Hey, come on...
: This reminds me of when we were kids.
: Yes. It does.
: I hate to break up the happy reunion, but we need to keep moving.
Skit: The Necessary Motivation
: Well, Cheria talked about her efforts with the relief organization. And then Hubert said he wanted Asbel to get married soon.
: I see. ...It's hard to imagine Asbel getting married, isn't it?
: Not necessarily. I can't help but think he already has a fine prospect by his side.
: You speak of Cheria, I assume? But those two seem so awkward together. I fear it isn't going well.
: I hear you. I think they share the same feelings, but they just keep...missing each other.
: You know, if a rival for their love entered in the picture, it might provide the necessary motivation...
: Of course! Haha, that's it!
: What's it?
: I'll step in to play the part of the rival!
: Interesting! Show me what you would say.
: Cheria! Let's make out!