Part 29: CH23: Fate Doesn't Have Your BackCH23: Fate Doesn't Have Your Back
: Jude and his companions found a structure in front of them as they trudged up the mountain valley.
: That's Kanbalar's castle.
: You're okay!
: Am I glad to see you!
: I'm so glad you're all safe.
It's good to see you again.
: I wholeheartedly agree.
: Oh? Do I know you? I've never seen you before.
: Why, I am your elder sister.
: Sister? I don't have a sister.
: What's going on, Muzét?
: This may be our first time speaking, true.
Yet we are both spirits born into this world at nearly the same time.
: Well, you definitely are a spirit. That much I can believe.
: Hehe. No need to be so suspicious.
What could a spirit gain from impersonating your sister?
You are Maxwell, after all.
: That's true, it wouldn't gain her anything.
: Why did you appear before Jude?
: Hehe. Because you summoned me before him. Or, rather, your powerful feelings for him summoned me.
: Really? Could that even be possible?
: I don't know. I'll admit I've been hearing a voice in my dreams.
: Hold that thought.
So the information was correct.
: Please understand that subjugation is not our goal!
Such extreme measures were only necessary to prevent an apocalyptic war between two superpowers.
You have my word that we at Exodus will do all in our power to preserve your safety and your livelihoods.
We desire the same thing you do: eternal peace for Rieze Maxia!
: I despise that man Gilland. He promotes peace even as he uses spyrix to hurt humans and spirit kind alike!
: We may have no choice but to eliminate him and his group.
: I agree.
: How will we do that?
: Those people have armored soldiers and flying ships and big cannons and... and... and...
: Alvin, it's time you came clean. You should tell us everything you know.
: I assume Gaius won't stand for this.
: He is inviting us in. Frankly, I'm surprised he even revealed himself to us.
: It's not a trap, is it?
: What are we waiting for? Let's go.
: What happened?
: I'm on the straight and narrow now. I promise.
: And why would we believe you this time?
: I have a score to settle with Gilland. Let me be the one to finish him off.
If I betray you again, you have my permission to run me through with that sword of yours.
So let me come with you.
: And if I refuse?
: Then I'll kill him on my own.
: Very well.
: Thanks, I appreciate it.
: We have to find out what Gaius is planning.
Skit Video: Milla's Sister
: I am. Although it differs from the way you humans conceive of sisterhood.
: In what way?
: I couldn't say. I know little about the human version of the concept.
: But you brought it up!
: So, elementally, what kind of spirit are you?
: Oh my! What temerity to ask such a personal question!
: Wait, what?
: You're committing sexual harassment!
: Wait, hold on! I didn't mean anything!
: Oh? Okay then.
: Sheesh. Every bit the pain her sister is, but in a completely different way.
Skit Video: Jude's Indiscretion
: Not at all. Jude was quite a help to me.
: Thanks to his direct-tethering with me, I was able to recharge much of my lost mana.
: Jude! You direct-tethered with her?!
: Uh, yeah. Muzét asked me to.
: Was that bad?
: "Bad"? It's, uh... Direct-tethering is something a spirit and a human do when, um...
: Since we were together constantly, he was able to fill me with loads of mana.
: I I had no idea that you were that kind of man.
: Milla, wait!
: Why is she so angry?
: My. I can't believe you'd ask me to explain that to you.
Do you just want to hear me say it? Is that what you're into?
: Someone tell me what is going on with these spirits.
: Why'd you bother to describe the altar behind Gaius?
: It looked really cool.
: You've come.
: So in the end you've chosen to trust that man. You're more naïve than I thought, Maxwell.
: Tell us what your purpose is for bringing us here.
: We will stand and fight against those invaders.
If you intend to challenge them yourselves, we won't attempt to stop you.
: But first, there's something you need to tell us.
I want you to tell us what you know about the schism.
: What's that?
: Two millennia ago, I cast the spirit arte schism.
It created a new world and sealed it away. That world is yours. It is known as Rieze Maxia.
: Did Milla just say that she created the entire world?
: Wow! She's like a goddess or something!
: It was for protecting spirits and humans.
: Rieze Maxia is sealed.
That implies the existence of another world outside the schism, does it not?
: Yes, and that world is called Elympios.
I was gravely mistaken about the Lance of Kresnik's true purpose.
Exodus convinced Nachtigal that it was a weapon, but all along they were plotting to create a device that would dispel the schism.
: Dispel the schism? To what end?
: I do not know.
I wonder if perhaps they were looking for a means to siphon mana back to Elympios.
All Exodus ever wanted was to go home.
Back home to Elympios.
It's all we've wanted for more than twenty years, since we became trapped in Rieze Maxia.
We needed to find a way to either break through the schism or dispel it completely.
: But in order to dispel the schism, they would have to find a way to eliminate its creator.
: I see. So that's why Exodus kept trying to kill you.
: It doesn't add up. What is Gilland's master plan?
: I'm confused. I still don't understand.
: Gilland's actions are not going to get Exodus home any faster.
: He didn't need to bring the whole Elympion army.
And unifying Rieze Maxia? That was never our original intention.
: Gilland must intend to make use of Rieze Maxia with the schism intact. But for what purpose?
: That's it. The Otherworld Reactor Plan.
: Huh? The hell's that?
; Most folks know it as the Spirit-fuel Plan.
: That sounds bad.
: I remember my cousin telling me about it when I was still a kid, back on the other side.
Something about capturing spirits and using them as fuel for spyrixes.
: So you're saying Gilland's ultimate goal is to corral all the spirits?
: But that doesn't make sense either.
If all he wants is spirits, then why bother with the lies? Unless...
He's planning on trapping us in Rieze Maxia for our mana lobes!
: He seeks to use the people of Rieze Maxia as a power source?
The man is insane.
: Gilland most likely returned to Exodus HQ on the ocean.
The Elympion army is with him, so getting there by boat won't be easy.
: Well then, perhaps we could commandeer one of the flying ships they have docked at Kanbalar.
: Oh, yeah right, because that sounds easy!
: It may indeed be our only option.
: Very well. We attack tomorrow.
: Wait a minute, Gaius! Aren't we going to team up on this?
I mean, we both want the same thing, so--
: It's not a social gathering.
: Just how stupid are you, anyway?
: It was Maxwell who created the schism and trapped us all inside of it in the first place.
Imprisonment is not so easily forgiven. It's entirely possible we may end up fighting each other again.
: I'm sure you can understand why we're not ready to get all buddy-buddy with you.
: Like I said, do what you want. Just make sure to stay out of our way.
: Can you believe it?! The nerve of those guys!
: They must be shorthanded. Why else would they share that kind of information with us?
: Despite what they said, I still believe that they are counting on all of us.
: For now, at least.
Skit Video: (A Chat With Wingul)
I could talk to Wingul here, but there's an extra skit for doing it later. And apparently he will still be here later for quite some time.
Skit Video: Footprints
: Did you sleep on it wrong?
: No, it's been this way since I was swept into the Fezebel marsh flow.
: I have a poultice you can use. Although it was intended for lower-back pain.
: Jude, it's pretty faint, but I think there's a footprint on your face.
: Huh. I did have a dream that Agria was repeatedly stomping my head.
: From the size and shape of that footprint, it would seem that dream was no dream at all.
: What is wrong with her?! Why would she do that?
: Maybe she was trying to apologize? Saying we got off on the wrong foot?
: Oh dear. I'm going to chalk this one up to a concussion.
: You don't know how close you just came to getting another boot in your face.
Skit Video: Looking Out for Little Sis
: Not at all. I welcome the opportunity.
As a spirit, I can never forgive those who use spyrix.
: It is good to have your strength on our side. You have my gratitude.
: Your gratitude? As a big sister, what choice do I have but to keep my little sister out of trouble?
: A bit condescending, aren't we?
: Ah. Isn't it wonderful to have a family?
: Is that what we are?
: It would seem so.
: Jude and Elize went to try to get some answers about Jiao.
: Um... It's about Jiao.
: He's dead. Did you think he somehow survived that?
: Know what I heard? I heard he died protecting a spoiled little brat and her stuffed dolly.
A fitting end for a foolish old man.
: How could you?!
: Don't you talk that way about him!
: You got a problem with me saying the truth?
: That's enough, Agria.
: It's not even close to enough! The lives of the Chimeriad belong to His Highness!
But that old fool threw his away for some sniveling brat!
: That's true. But his sacrifice did give His Highness a chance to escape.
: Hmph. He was an idiot right until the end.
Always giving me candy when he saw me, like I was some sort of little kid.
He just needs to die already!
: He did.
: With Jiao gone, the offensive might of the Chimeriad has diminished sharply.
: Bah! I'm all the offensive we need!
That goes for you too, grandma! No one'll miss you when you kick off.
: I'm relieved to hear that.
: Just you watch! I'll protect His Highness all by myself! Ah ha ha ha ha!
: I'm getting a headache.
How am I supposed to relieve this stress when there's no one left to talk to or have a drink with?
: So, that's it?
: We're never going to see Jiao again.
System: Rest? Yes
"Milla Side posted:
Didn't we agree that I would kill you for this sort of thing?
Good luck killing me when you're dead.
You got a message earlier today. What did it say?
What's it matter?
At first I thought you were just in shock over Gilland's betrayal, but the timing wasn't quite right.
My mother is dead.
It happens. All humans die.
That your idea of sympathy?
Hmph. First Gilland betrays me, then my mother dies.
Life sure is peachy.
Do you still want to return to Elympios?
What other choice do I have?!
But I'm not going to die.
What's that got to do with anything?
Would you consider staying in Rieze Maxia?
Would that be so terrible? You'd be with Jude, and me, and everyone else.
You're the first person to offer me something like that after finding out who I really am.
You're out of your mind.
: You wander off again?
: Sorry to wake you, kid.
: You didn't. I can't sleep.
So what happened with you today?
: What's with the sudden interrogation?
: You just have me worried, is all.
Do you still want to go back home to Elympios?
: Worry about your own problems, kid.
: You want to protect Milla, right?
No, she can protect herself.
I just want to make sure she wins.
I think that's the kind of help she needs most.
: Huh. So you want to stay with her forever, then.
: What? Alv-- What are you talking about?
: You won't have any reason to stay with her once this is all over, you know.
: I know.
: If you don't tell her how you really feel, someone else will beat you to the punch.
You can't just count on destiny to work everything out for you. Fate doesn't have your back.
: Yeah, I know. I just-- Maybe I need more time.
: You really do listen to everything I say, don't you?
: Nighty-night, kid.
: Isn't it always the way it goes with these things? Kid can't sleep, wanders off to find the girl of his dreams can't sleep either.
: Hehe, me neither.
: You don't want to ask me anything about what I revealed earlier today?
: No, no. You did the right thing, the just thing.
: At least I hope so.
Justice is a complicated concept. It means different things to different people.
: And what is justice to you?
: Heh. I thought this wasn't a social gathering.
: Answer me, Maxwell.
: It is the power of will that resides within one's heart.
: Hmph. In this we are both in agreement.
Those with this willpower bear a responsibility to this world.
The strong must protect and guide the weak.
: Gaius, weakness isn't an affliction of the body, but of the heart.
The world will always have weak-willed people, but that in itself isn't a bad thing.
: Then we must protect the weak until they can become strong. That is our duty.
: Yes. All who are strong must look after the weak.
It is the only way to ensure that future generations will have sufficient strength, as well.
: So that's your solution to the problem I posed in Fezebel Marsh.
: As I told you then, I can chart a new future for mankind if I just have enough power.
But if a man like Gilland takes the stage, a man who can only use power for his own gain, then mankind will be doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
: I see. But I'm afraid it's not up to me to approve your answer.
Your concept of justice is your own. It's not my place to interfere.
: Heh, as you say.
: The two of you sure are alike.
: How so?
: No matter how extreme her words are, I think there's always truth to them.
I get the same sense from you.
: Do you want to be like Maxwell?
: I wouldn't mind it, although I know that's impossible.
: I see.
: We should probably get some rest.
: Yes. The showdown's tomorrow.
: Not quite the day of decision, but the beginning of the end.
: How do you intend to hijack a ship that's docked in the sky?
: We'll use the wyverns in the castle.
: You have to get there first.
: I have no intention of sneaking into my own castle.
: We shall march up the main road and reclaim it.
: What? You can't be serious!
: Indeed. At the very least, you should split into two groups. Create a diversion.
: Keep your tactics to yourself, you old fart.
: Jude, do you know what you have to do?
: Of course. I have to help Milla win. It's that simple.
: Then let's go.
: There's a path leading into the city off the side of the temple.
: Hmph! Why can't we all stick together?!
: Hehehe, what shall we do?
: Let's see.
: We can take that side path from the temple into the city, then move along the roofs to the castle.
From there, we can both capture the flying battleship and retake the castle and its soldiers.
Meanwhile, Gaius and the others will create their diversion.
: Sure would be nice if they let us in on their plan for once.
: Anyway, let's go.
: You got it.
Skit Video: Muzét's Duty
: However long I must.
: It is my duty to serve Lord Maxwell in the eradication of this "Exodus" group of spyrix users.
: I don't recall ordering that.
: Your memories are your own, but it is the truth.
: Regardless, it sure is good to have a great spirit on our side!
: Yes. And I would be most grateful if you would continue to direct-tether with me.
: I knew it! You really are in that kind of relationship!
: But... I... Why won't anyone explain this to me?!
Skit Video: Runs in the Family
: Don't... Don't stare at me like that!
: What exactly is this strange object that is speaking to me?
: Strange? Strange?! Maybe you should take a peek in a mirror, weirdo!
: Oh my. Rude as well as strange. I cannot say that I am fond of it.
: The mean spirit lady is calling me rude!
: Teepo, are you okay?!
: Wow, she can even frazzle Teepo. I bet she really is stronger than Milla!
: It's her natural obliviousness that makes her so formidable.
: Unless that's just an act. Although that would be even scarier.
: That's no act. She is Milla's sister, after all.
: And you just say that in front of me? Who's the oblivious one now?
: So you've lost the Four and gathered these strange humans in their place. What a peculiar choice.
: And my band of strange companions keeps growing.
Skit Video: The Tao of Jiao
: What is it?
: It's... It's about Jiao.
: Do you know why he saved Elize?
: A difficult question. I could speculate, but we'd have no way of knowing if I was right.
: It looked to me like he sacrificed himself to honor a vow he had made.
: But what sort of vow, and to whom? I couldn't begin to guess.
: So nobody knows.
: Why not ask the other members of the Chimeriad? They would know Jiao better than we do.
: But, they're so scary.
: You guys do it!
: That could certainly be arranged. However...
: Would you be satisfied with an answer that you didn't find for yourself?
: That's true.