Part 68: CH64: Sometimes?!?CH64: Sometimes?!?
: I hadn't bothered to pursue them back to Telos Astute.
: There's probably a machine around here that can play it back.
: Are you thinking about what that girl said?
: Don't be fooled by her words, Sophie. They were designed to lower your defenses.
: Hey, why don't you come rest with me?
: It's okay. I'm fine.
: Okay. But if you need anything, just ask.
: But we'll be hard-pressed if any more of those monsters show up.
: Yes. And it's only a matter of time until they do.
: I'm concerned. If left unchecked, these creatures could wipe out all of Ephinea too.
: Y'okay! That should do it!
: The recording wasn't anything good.
Scientist: They brought these samples back with their lives. We cannot let them go to waste.
: I agree. ...Very well. Proceed with the research.
Scientist: The core's current structure is similar to that of an immune system.
So it's as if Fodra is trying to rid itself of a virus.
Scientist: And in this scenario, the virus is...
: Yes, I'm afraid so.
The Little Queen's target is none other than...humanity itself.
Scientist: Why?! Why has Fodra forsaken us?!
How could this have happened?
: Get out now, while you still can.
Scientist: No, sir! We are going to stay with you until the end!
: Then I assure you, you won't be here much longer.
Scientist: Sir, I'm afraid we have no choice but to shut down Fodra's core...
Scientist: But that will set the entire planet on a path to ruin.
Scientist: Sir, if we don't, there won't be any humans left on the planet!
Scientist: Sir, there's still hope! We still have Ephinea! We can survive this!
: ...Very well. Shut down the core.
: We are here. We have heard your decision.
: L-Little Queen!
: Die, human.
: We must destroy humanity. That is the reason for which we exist.
: Was that all real?
: As far as I can tell, that all happened about a thousand years ago.
: Why did Fodra turn on them?
: Good question, but one that can wait. We have more pressing concerns right now.
: Right. We need to find a way to stop the Little Queens.
: Is that even possible?
: Well, I mean, we could try shutting down the core or whatever.
: That's what those scientists said in the video.
: But did they succeed? It seems that they were killed before they could act.
: Well, Fodra's core was shut down for almost a thousand years. They must have found a way.
: What exactly did happen? You'd know.
: I'll explain it later, it gets kind of technical. Especially the relationship between the Lastalia and the Core.
: Hmm... Well, I kinda sorta have an idea...
But it involves Lambda.
: Interesting. If we have Lambda absorb the core's eleth...
: But...what would happen to Asbel?
: If I absorb the core's eleth, it will pass through both your mind and your body.
The strain would be too much for a fragile human to withstand.
If anything were to go wrong, your body and mind would be completely obliterated.
: Why didn't that happen to Richard?
: Richard's body-and his mind- were almost completely under my control.
: So a normal human can't handle the eleth.
...But you can. Is that right?
: What are you planning?
: Lambda? I need a favor.
: You are not hearing me, human. This procedure will utterly destroy you.
: No. It won't.
: It's too dangerous to rely on Lambda!
And even if we did, Asbel could be torn apart in the process!
: It's okay. I can do this.
: You mustn't!
: Don't be a fool! Think about what you're saying.
: I have. I'm going to let Lambda take over temporarily.
: You're going to voluntarily let Lambda take control? That's madness!
: It's not madness, Captain.
: Don't do this! Lambda will absorb you just as he did to me.
: If that happens, you won't be Asbel anymore...
: Guys, I'm just lending it to him. It's not permanent. And after I give up control, Lambda can absorb the eleth and seal it inside himself.
: ...Because eleth is only dangerous during the period where it's flowing. So Asbel's going to offer himself to Lambda for just that little bit of time. That would minimize the strain for sure, but...
: Won't absorbing all that eleth allow Lambda to become active again?
: That's...a good point.
: Do you really believe Lambda will just hand your body back once he's done?
: Yes, I do.
Lambda went out of his way to save us. We all saw it.
: Emphasis on the us there - shielding one person uses a lot less energy.
: If he was willing to do that, I'm willing to put my trust in him.
Besides, we don't really have a choice. We have to shut down Fodra's core.
: ...There's no doubt that eleth from the core is responsible for the new monsters around here.
: And I bet it's responsible for the monsters on Ephinea, too.
: Asbel is correct. One way or another, we have to shut it down.
: So that's why Lambda and I have to try.
: What if it doesn't work?
What if it fails and you're... not you anymore?
: I'll be fine.
: How can you be so sure?!
: I told you I wanted to give Lambda a chance. I have to do this, Cheria. For a lot of reasons. So please. Let me try.
: Look, this may not be a good plan, but it's all we've got. Are you with me?
: All right. I'll leave this one to you.
Besides, it's not like we could talk him out of it.
: No, probably not.
: He's been living with Lambda for like a year now, right? I honestly think he'll be fine.
What about you, Richard?
: Asbel. Are you absolutely sure about this?
: I am.
: All right. The decision is made. We rest tonight and head out first thing in the morning.
I can't really capture it in pictures, but Cheria is crying and Richard walked out.
: You need to find a way to set their minds at ease. Once we board the shuttle, we can't afford any last-minute regrets. Understand?
: That's not going to happen. He's different from before. I know it's hard, but you just have to trust him.
: And then Asbel went and spoke to each of them in turn.
: That sort of thing is actually really common.
: Yeah, I'm working on a socio-historical analysis of world-ending crises. I believe it might be used in the future to help with this sort of thing.
: Once I take over, that which you call Asbel will cease to exist.
Do you think you can return whole from such an ordeal?
: Yes, because I believe in you.
: On what basis?
: You don't need a basis to believe in someone. But if I had to give reasons...
It's because you went out of your way to protect us.
Also, you could have taken me over a dozen times by now... Right?
But you haven't.
: How foolish.
: Besides, I'm only lending you my body.
And things that are borrowed must always be returned.
: Pah! Do not lecture me like some mewling human child!
: It's got nothing to do with being human. It's about doing the right thing.
And besides, you and I are sharing this body. Remember?
We need to watch each others' backs in order to keep things running smoothly.
: The word "fool" fits no one better than the likes of you.
A man who trusts anyone based on nothing more than his own flawed reason.
You humans continue to amaze.
But I also see now that foolishness is a deeper trait than I once believed.
: Thanks, Lambda. ...I think?
: I accept your proposal. I will borrow your body and absorb the core's eleth.
But be warned: notable strain will still remain on your body afterwards.
You had best prepare yourself.
: Got it. Thanks for all the help, Lambda.
: I was just going to visit the others. Wanna come?
: All right, then. Let's go.
: What are you doing, Pascal?
: Okay! So I was thinking how unfair it was that Asbel had to absorb the core.
So I've got a new plan! Say hello to...Mecha-Asbel!
: ...That's not Asbel.
: What? Aw, come on! It looks totally like him!
: No it doesn't. ...But what are you planning to do with that, exactly?
: See, I was thinking we could just have Lambda zap himself into Mecha-Asbel here before he absorbs all the eleth.
: ...How about it, Lambda?
: He says no.
: Come on, Lambda! This plan is awesome! Fiiine. I guess it really doesn't look like you after all.
: You think that's the problem?
: Well, Lambda's only helping because he likes you, yeah?
: I think it's more complicated.
: So if he doesn't like my robot, it must be because he doesn't look like you!
Uh, don't mind me.
: Too much knowledge will not save a civilization. It can bring only ruin.
And yet, you persist in believing your knowledge can aid others.
: Hey! Stop saying things!
: Hm? I didn't say anything.
: Your technology is too primitive to stand a chance of containing me.
And yet, I am curious to see what your determination can accomplish
Give your all to the effort, child of Amarcia.
: Okay, okay! I'll stop trying to get you out of Asbel.
: I'm surprised you'd give up so easily.
: Oh, I'm not giving up. I just think it's time for me to sit back and see what Lambda's all about.
: Hmm... Maybe I can turn Mecha-Asbel here into a weapon for tomorrow...
: Pascal, don't forget to take a bath.
: Yeah, yeah, I know. G'night!
: You know, it's the rest of us who suffer the most for your damn hero complex.
: Technically isn't this a messiah complex?
: I'm sorry, Hubert. I don't want you to worry.
: Oh, I'm not worried. I'll be fine. But if something happens, I don't think Sophie will ever recover.
Isn't that right, Sophie?
: You're not just the lord of Lhant now, Asbel. You're also Sophie's father. So I hope you're strong enough to stay alive and face your new responsibilities.
Hear me well, Lambda. If you refuse to release my brother, I will not be held responsible for the consequences.
: It's okay, Hubert. You can trust him.
: Perhaps it is you who are the fool, to risk your life.
Still, reckless courage has its own kind of charm. I would like to see more of your idiocy.
Depending on your actions, I might just have to show you my thanks.
: What is this voice? This isn't Asbel... Is this...Lambda?
: See you tomorrow, Hubert.
: Um...yes. S-See you tomorrow...
: Still busy, I see?
: Yeah, just tinkering with stuff for tomorrow. What are you doing up, Little Bro?
You all worried about your big brother?
: In a way...
: Aw, he's gonna be fine. I don't think Lambda's gonna try anything funny.
: But even so...
: I getcha. You never know what's gonna happen until it does, yeah?
But gosh, Little Bro, you sure do worry about Asbel a lot.
: Stop calling me that! I'm a grown man!
: Why, even now I'm considering an offer of marriage...
: You're getting married, Little Bro? Aw, congratulations!♪
: C-Congrat... No! That's not... I'm not going to accept!
: Wha? How come?
: Because I... Because...
: Because my every waking thought is consumed by you.
: Um...yeah. I guess I kinda figured that.
: Y-You did? I mean... Well, that's not a bad thing, is it?
: Don't you worry, Little Bro.
I promise to take a bath before the ceremony!
: Hey, I totally understand! You don't want some smelly friend stinkin' up your fancy wedding!
: Okay! Now let's see what you can do, Mecha-Asbel!
: Huh?! It blew up! And I'm usually so good at this kind of thing.
: That was still only a few people talked to.
: Can't sleep, Richard?
: I keep trying, but I fear it's a lost cause.
I can't stop thinking about tomorrow. About what I would do if you ended up like...me.
: I told you, that's not going to happen. Remember when we were young? It made me happy to know that you trusted me.
When I grew up, I made one terrible mistake after another, but it helped me to know I could support you. Without that trust, I wouldn't be the man I am now.
It's the same with Lambda. I need to trust him. I need to believe in whatever made him protect us.
: When Lambda was inside me, I...I was enslaved by him. I wasn't able to face him the way you can.
: We used to feed off resentment, and it allowed our hatred to grow strong.
We believed we could save the other from loneliness.
But I don't need to tell you how that turned out.
You and I are both indebted to this man.
I will repay my debt.
The path you choose is up to you.
Asbel, I just heard Lambda's voice.
Sophie, I think Asbel and Lambda are actually getting along. You won't have to fight him again.
I've decided to place my trust in Lambda as well.
: Thanks, Richard.
: (Can you hear me, Lambda? I know that I failed you, and so you may not care what I have to say...
But...please. Keep Asbel safe.)
For some reason in the video Richard doesn't actually say the last part.
: Captain, I can't sleep... Will you just...talk to me?
: ...All right.
You said you were scared of losing the ones you love. Right?
I know how you feel. ...I know it better than most. But you must not let yourself be ruled by fear.
Let me ask you a question: What's the best way to be with those you love?
: ...To protect them?
: Correct. But to do that, you must transform your fear into strength.
: ...Fear into strength?
: However, strength alone is not enough. You must also believe in those you love, and honor their feelings. The better you know a person, the easier it is to keep them safe.
You are an ancient creature, Sophie, but in many ways you are still a child. Life has lessons yet to teach you. Some will be enjoyable, and some will come with pain.
You must face the painful lessons and learn from them. It's the only way to grow stronger. When we have finished this business with Fodra, you will be stronger for it.
: And then I can protect you all?
: I have no doubt.
: Thank you, Captain.
: Same to you. Good luck tomorrow, Asbel.
: It is a fear honed sharp against a stone of countless pains.
By showing these children the true path, you show it also to yourself.
May your devotion to the path be a shining example to those around you.
: ...It's true. Perhaps they teach me more than I know.
: Captain Malik?
: Enough chatter. Get yourselves to bed, and that's an order.
: Yes, sir.
: Hey, Cheria.
Are you still mad?
: I'm worried, Asbel. ...I'm not mad.
: Oh. ...Sorry.
: Look, can't you find a way to trust Lambda?
: I want to, I do. But I just...
: Listen, let's make a promise.
: A promise?
: I've learned something from all this.
When I was young, I used to think my family was holding me back. But now I know they acted that way because they cared for me. So I've been wondering if it's possible for me to care about someone in the same way.
And I can think of only two people who might fit the bill.
: Two? Please don't tell me you're planning to adopt another Sophie.
: No, Cheria. What I need is someone to look after Sophie with me.
: This person has always been close to me, but I've been too stupid to see it. So when we get back, I plan to tell her.
But right now, I need you to trust me, and trust Lambda, and wait for us both. Will you do that, Cheria?
: Asbel, if you make a promise, you have to use your pinky.
: I suppose so. ...Okay, Cheria. It's a promise.
: The man before you is a fool.
But beneath his idiocy hides a layer of steel.
I owe him much, and shall repay that debt to the best of my abilities.
However, this fool dared to challenge even me. Who knows what he might do in the future?
He's already shown that he'll throw his own life away for the sake of others.
Let him know you understand this. And hold him to his promise.
: That voice...
: Sorry, what?
: Ah, n-nothing...
Listen to me, Asbel. If you don't keep your promise, I will never forgive you.
: Don't you say something for a promise?
: Cross your heart, hope to die, stick a needle in your eye!
: Okay. I'll look for a needle.
: Wow, you guys are serious. I guess I have to keep my promise, huh?
: You'd better believe it. Hee hee.
: Now Sophie, make sure to take a bath and change your clothes before you sleep, okay?
: All right, I'll see you both tomorrow.
: When I first brought you home, he told me I'd never be able to take care of you. I wonder what he'd say now...
Heh. I bet he'd still say I couldn't do it.
: I often wish I could see Dad again. Just once. He was a good man, you know? He wanted the best for his people's future, and for ours.
I want to carry his hopes and dreams into the future.
: Into the future...
: I want to help the people of Lhant live happier lives, even if just a little. And I want the same happiness for their children, and their grandchildren, and onward.
But I've only got one life, you know? There's only so much I can do. I guess it will be up to my descendants to carry on the legacy.
I hope they're up for it. I hope they think this dream is as important as I do. Too bad I can't stick around and see how it turns out, huh?
: I'll stick around. I'll stick around as long as it takes. I can tell your children and grandchildren.
I can tell everyone about your dream.
Will you trust me with your dream, Asbel?
: It's hard to believe I was so worried for all this time. You'll never be gone, even after you die.
Because your dream will live on. I have a purpose now, Asbel.
I will see your dream fulfilled.
: You're really something, Sophie. You know that?
: I have something important to tell you, Lambda.
: Have you come to threaten me?
If you destroy me, this man will be destroyed in turn.
: No. In fact, it's the opposite.
: What do you mean?
: I'm not going to fight you anymore. I've decided to trust you. I know that Asbel can be reckless sometimes. So take good care of him, okay?
: This ends today. We must shut down the core, no matter what.
Skit: Of Mice and Mechs
: Let me see.
: Y'okay. But do you even know what you're looking at?
: Oh, there's a mouse caught in here.
: Kyaah! Sophie, take it outside!
: That scared me.
: Little fella must have been attracted to these biscuit crumbs.
: Will you please stop eating while you're fiddling with your machines?!
: Okay, okay. Anyway, now that it's all cleaned up, I think it should work.
: There we go! Now let's see...
: Nope! Still missing some parts!
: Are they at your house?
: Probably. It's a big ol' hassle, but I suppose we could hoof it back there. Um...
: What now?
: Just wondering if mice chomp on parts like these.
: That's not funny, Pascal.
: Guess I won't know until I get back home to check. Let's go!
: Don't tell me Pascal's house is full of... Eeeew!
: So they fixed the thing up.
: Hey, so do you think it looks like Asbel?
: Aw, boo. I thought I was getting close.
: Oh, hey! That's it!
Oh, bananas, where did I leave that thing?! Not here... Not here either...
Oh, Pascal, who lived in the past! Give me a sign or whatever and stuff...
Time to kick this thing and see what comes out...
Bang bang bang! Ka-chunk smack pow! Diggin' all around for that thing I can't remember...
: Oh, hey, Fourier!
: Stop singing! You're making my ears bleed!
...And what the heck are you doing back here, anyway? I thought you were on Fodra.
: I wanted to make this look like him. But I guess it doesn't look like him at all, so now Sophie's all totally disappointed.
: Who's it supposed to be?
: *Shakes head*
: Oh. I...see.
: It's a secret weapon! Isn't it cool?!
: If it's a weapon, does it really have to look like someone?
: Of course it does, silly! That'll make Asbel happy, and Sophie happy, and maybe even Little Bro happy!
: That grumpy kid with glasses? Why would he care?
: Cause he loves his big brother! ...Duh. When he sees Mecha-Asbel here, he's gonna cry big sloppy tears!
: You seem quite familiar with...Little Bro.
: Yeah, well, we've been traveling around the world.
: You've been traveling with Asbel, too, and yet this looks nothing like him.
: Oh, come on! It's perfect! Wait, what does Asbel look like again?
: ...Never mind.
: Oh, look! There it is!
: What are you planning to do with that?
: Come on, Fourier! Lend me a hand!
: You're hopele-
Do it yourself!
: Aw, my sister's mean!
: Fine! I don't need you! I'm gonna make this look just like Asbel, and then Little Bro's gonna be moved to tears!
: Okay, here we go!
Oh, I love hittin' things with my big hammer...
: Will you please just be quiet?!
: She's having fun...
: Aaand...presto! It's perfect!
: You just colored it.
: It's Asbel.
: It's Asbel!
: Well, if it makes Sophie happy...
: Sophie still has it, if you were wondering.
: I swear, Pascal. Will you ever grow up?
And now we have Pascal's Accel Mystic Arte. I'll show it off next time, it's pretty nuts.