Part 8: You're a knight. Do your job.
It looks like that really was an 'entrance' of sorts.
We've got quite a long road ahead of us, don't we?
We sure do...
-Fighting Right On-
How did they just appear out of nowhere?
Those are singularly injurious aspersions, dear sir and miss. As recompense, you may now remit your flesh.
Notice anything new?
Ascension's going to get a real workout around here.
Whew... That worked up an appetite!
How can this be...?
I know exactly what you mean.
There are a whole lot of monster types in our world, but that's my first time seeing anything like THAT. This is like being in a totally different realm.
And the monsters weren't even the strangest part.
Tell me about it. The elements against them weren't your usual affair, either.
Exactly. The three elements of time, space, and mirage were in effect during that battle, too. Not just the traditional four elements.
Very observant, rookie. Didn't think you'd notice to that extent.
This points to yet another clue that we're a long ways from home. I mean, you'll find a boatload of monsters that're weak to fire in Zemuria, but you're not going to find any that are weak to mirage. You know how it is.
Indeed, I do. Spiritually, the world in which we live is in a relatively low plane of existence. To quote the Testaments:
'Our world and the world of the Goddess will forever be separate; She simply drops pebbles from above, known as miracles...'
Quoting word for word? Though, hey, I guess those ARE the basic principles.
We just keep running into surprises. Space, time, AND mirage? All here?
It should be impossible...
What about those monsters themselves?
Honestly, they were less 'monsters' and more 'fiends.'
Creatures that shouldn't even be allowed to exist in our world, and yet they somehow do without any problems here. And I doubt that those are the only ones.
Are we going to be all right in here?
Hopefully. They were tough, but not so tough we can't handle them if we're together.
It's not like there's anything else for us to do back in that base area. Let's keep walkin' and see what we find, I say. It might be worth going back briefly to check our orbment setups, though, seeing as we've got more elements to account for now.
Oh, Kevin. Let me give you this.
Ries handed Kevin the Monster Guide.
It's called a Monster Guide. It was designed to record data on monsters. Their habits, their weaknesses, and the like. I think it would be wise for us to note anything and everything we come across here.
Although, I suppose 'Fiend Guide' would be more appropriate here.
Haha. You're tellin' me.
You sure I can't just store all this info up in the ol' noggin, though? I'm already putting enough stuff in the Gralsritter notebook as it is! My hands're gonna go numb at this rate.
...You complain way too much, Kevin.
You're a knight. Do your job.
Ugh... Yes, ma'am.
No time like the present, I guess.
As Kevin and Ries have noted, ~the higher elements are in effect~ in Trails in the Sky the 3rd. Aside from the effects on Time, Space, and Mirage attacks, this also means new turn bonuses.
I've never seen the 50% HP Heal, EP Heal, or Str Up bonuses, though. I'm not even sure they're in this game.
Zane is Zin now, by the way. Or he was Zin, and then he was Zane, and now he's Zin again.
Enlightenment comes only when Zin and Zane are in harmony.
-Determination of Fight-
Sudorudos are stationary turrets with a charged attack.
They have very high DEF for their level but they can still be impeded...
...or Aqua Bleeded.
Heheh! Not bad!
But you are a chest.
It's really pretty... It looks kind of like a cube of septium, but I don't think that's what it is...
Yeah. Maybe we should touch it and see what happens.
Behold, the timeless lore of the Grail Knights.
Found Sealing Stone.
Does it seem harmful?
Nope. Seems safe to me.
Wish I knew what it was, though. The light coming off it's so...warm. The kind of slow, rhythmic glowing from it reminds me of a beating heart in a way.
There's our cube again.
Oh, sure. It's 'our' cube when it ruins our orbments or traps us in an otherworldly nether realm.
Visitor from afar...
You who possess the cube...
It's that voice from earlier...
Just who are you?! Where are you talking to us from?!
Raise that sealing stone before the monument in the garden...
...then the barrier...and the imprisoned...shall...
Argh... I can barely work out what it's trying to say...
All I could get is that we need to take this thing to the monument.
...I will unlock another power...cube...
...Make use of...it...
Beware the...malevolent one...
Gather strength...or you two will be forever...
Don't even ask... I feel like I'm in some kinda weird dream that just gets freakier by the minute.
I don't sense anything bad coming from the voice, at least. More like it's trying to guide us forward.
True. It does...
You don't think the cube has a will of its own and that it's the thing talking to us, do you?
I doubt it. It kept talking about the cube as if it were a separate object. My hunch is that the source of the voice is someone else.
And then there's that 'malevolent one' it was bringing up, too. I could see that being that man in black we saw when we were thrown in here, but it could very easily be someone else.
...All of this is starting to make my head hurt.
Join the club...
Well, let's try and take things one step at a time, okay? And on that note, the best place to start is probably giving the cube's new powers a shot.
Serious as can be.
There aren't many artifacts that have the power of teleportation, y'know. And in the situation we're stuck in, we need to use everything we've got at our disposal.
Be sure you're careful when using it.
We now have the power of teleportation.
I'd bet that the main reason this game was set in the negazone was so Falcom could throw in some proper fast travel without having to worry about its effects on the game world.
-The Hermit's Garden-
Looks like their waveforms weren't catastrophically merged into some sort of horrible Krivensbeast. I think we can call this a success.
All right. That actually worked. Now we've got a quick way to get back here to safety if we run into danger.
That does sound useful.
I still can't bring myself to put much trust in that cube, however.
Oh, I'm not planning to lower my guard around the thing, either. I'll keep using it with caution, so don't worry.
Anyway...next up's this little guy.
That 'sealing stone'? That voice made it sound like something would be released from it if we hold it up to the monument. Any guesses?
No, but I know how to find out the answer real quick.
I'll handle holding it up, but I want you to stand by prepared for a fight just in case. We've got no idea what we're dealing with here.
All right... Time for the moment of truth.
Remember this? The mystery voice mentioned a 'barrier.'
Every sealing stone is connected to a barrier like this one. You can't advance without cracking them open.
Now let's brace ourselves for whatever fathomless cosmic horror we've just unleashed.
H-Huuuh? Wh-What was that light...?
Isn't she the girl from the professor's photograph?
Shit. Erika's gonna kill us.
You ARE Kevin, aren't you? I'm not seeing things? What are you doing here?
Where do I even start...?
Haha. But yeah, it's the real deal. Good to see you again, Tita. Looks like you've grown a little taller!
You noticed? Heehee.
I'm happy to see you again, too! What brings you back to Liberl?
Is this girl a friend of yours? ...Waaait... I was in the house with Dad getting dinner ready because Agate was coming over... then all of a sudden, everything went white, and then... and then...
Wh-Where am I?! This looks nothing like our house! Am I d-dreaming?! Is this all a dream?! Oh, right! I should pinch myself to check!
Haha... Yep. This is the Tita everyone knows and loves, all right.
This is all because of that artifact Mom pulled out of the lake?
Honestly, we can't even be sure right now.
Especially as if we assume that's the case, how did you end up here when you were all the way over in Zeiss? It makes no sense.
Y-You're right... It sounds as though you two were fairly close to one another when you were sent here, but Grancel and Zeiss are really far apart...
Based on your account, however, we were all surrounded by that light at roughly the same time.
That's more than a coincidence in my eyes.
Yeah. I think so, too...
...Oh! Whoops. I haven't even introduced myself yet, have I?
My name's Tita Russell! I'm an apprentice at Zeiss Central Factory!
I'm Ries Argent, a sister of the Septian Church. I've heard a lot about you from Kevin and your mother.
Oh, you've met Mom?
I have. She showed me a photograph of you, too.
And now that I've met you in person, I can see why she boasts about you so much.
Was she doing that? Oh, Mom...
She... Umm... She didn't say or do anything inappropriate to you, did she? She tends to lose control of herself when it comes to people as cute as you...
...Lose control, how?
E-Erm, I-I'm sorry! I wasn't trying to be rude by calling you cute or anything!
It's just that you're kind of quiet and really pretty, but you've got this really unique aura about you...
Haha. You're every bit as sharp as your mother.
The Goddess doesn't make 'em more 'unique' than Ries.
What're the two of you planning on doing now? Are you going to keep looking for a way out of here?
That's the plan, yeah.
Not that we've made so much as a dent of progress on that front so far. We'd barely started exploring when we found you.
Oh, I see...
If you don't mind, then, please let me help you look! I won't get in the way. I promise!
Getting in the way wouldn't be the issue, here...
Hmm... That's a tough one.
My gut tells me you're better off staying here, to be honest. You've proven yourself to be made of sturdy stuff, but like I said earlier, this place is just one big and very dangerous mystery.
If that's true, then who's to say I'd be safe staying here on my own? If I'm going to be in danger, I'd rather go with you and at least try to help out!
Fair point, I guess.
Haha. You're every bit as spunky as Estelle, too, you know.
You can't be serious, Kevin...
Trust me. She's a lot tougher than she looks. She went on the Liber Ark and came back down in one piece, plus she's survived Aidios-knows-how-many sketchy fights beforehand. Don't be so quick to judge just because of her age.
Please! I really want to help! I'll do everything I can to make sure I don't cause you any problems. Really!
All right. If you're sure.
You mean it?!
You seem to understand the consequences of your actions and what it means to worry others. And as long as that's the case, I've got no reason to say no.
...Still, please do be careful.
Th-Thank you! I will!
Yeah. Seriously... If anything were to happen to you on my watch, I'm sure my death at Erika's hands would be a slow and painful one.
I swear, I won't let that happen!
Deal. All right, let's get back to work. Once Tita's equipment is set up, it's back to exploring we go.