Part 22: That was a truly delightful spectacle.-The Castle At Dusk-
oh man that's such a deal!!
This monument also has some new tier-2 quartz and assorted ailments.
I've heard the eighth is around here somewhere.
All I know is, you have to check your chests before you wriggity wreck your chests.
Well what made you drop the ball so hard in this one then???
That's a lot of ADFs.
I didn't steal its home! It's got the whole chest to itself now! That's like, remodeling or something!
Could I get a Bloody Mary?
Young Man's Voice: Stay away! Stay away!
That was a human's voice, wasn't it?
So there's someone still safe here?!
We should hurry and find them right away.
-I've Forgotten You-
...What is this curious spectacle?
Crap... I'd forgotten all about him.
So had I...
I suppose it's no surprise he ended up here, however.
Sucks to admit, but you're right.
And it sucks even more 'cause I've got a whole lot of questions I want to ask him, and the only way I'm getting 'em is to bail him out!
Get away from him!
If you're unable to leave behind your attachment to this world, allow us to help you.
Wh-What are you gu--? I mean, what are you wonderful, angelic, model human beings doing here?!
Save the sweet talking for later! First, we need to take these things out!
Just stay there, and don't get in our way.
-Fighting Right On-
-The Castle At Dusk-
Thank you so much! You saved--
Now it's time for you to answer some questions for us.
Is there anything you'd like to ask him, Captain?
A-As it so happens, yes.
How exactly did you come to be here...Gilbert, I believe? Do you know anything regarding how the capital came to be this way?
N-N-No, I don't... I just woke up and found m-myself in the port here. I don't know why or how. I went into town, but there was no one there. Just a bunch of weird, armored knights... I started running away from them and next thing I knew, I f-found myself in this castle...
Hmm... So you were sent to a different place than us, huh?
Too bad the city had already gone weird by the time you woke up.
I was kinda banking on you witnessing whatever happened here.
Hmph. Well, boo hoo for you.
I've got something I want to ask you, too.
Is Ouroboros involved in this?
So you're here, too, Joshua?
B-Bah... Of course not!
If they were, I obviously would've been the first to know!
(More like the last.)
What should we do with him, Kevin? Disarm him and tie him up?
It's fine. He's not worth the trouble. He doesn't seem to know anything worthwhile, and he'd just get in our way, to be honest.
...I suppose that's true.
Well, that's all the business we have with you. Kindly remove yourself from our sight.
Think you c-can make me out to be some kind of useless fop, do you?
W-Well, you'll regret this! When I find a way out of this place, you're gonna be begging me to share it with you--but I WON'T! You can wander here lost for eternity for all I care!
I can't help but feel a little concerned.
I hope he doesn't end up causing any trouble after being left on his own...
Eh, I'm sure it'll be fine. He seems like the type who could worm his way out of any situation you hand him.
I believe we've wasted enough of our time on him.
We should resume exploring the castle.
Make sure you check Kloe's room while you're here.
Thank you for...coming this far...
I entrust this...to you...
...Who, or what, was that?
Perhaps not. There was something...familiar about it.
At the very least, it didn't seem like any ordinary ghost.
Yes. It connects the castle and a ruin 500 arge below it, but...
...this doesn't make any sense...
You're tellin' me. What's going on here?
I'm not following.
Well, when I first came to Liberl, Julia led me through this room and into the area below... but this isn't how this room was. It was way tidier.
Indeed. To my knowledge, the room was put in order and then locked, and I was under the impression it was to remain that way.
I have seen it this way once before, though...
Yeah. So have I.
It's exactly how I remember it being when we came here during the coup d'etat.
That's what I was thinking of as well.
Are you trying to suggest that we may have gone back in time?
I find it impossible to believe that may have been the case...but how else could I explain this? Of course, I could be mistaken. And yet...
Well, if we're going to follow what that ghost seems to want us to do, then we'll keep it up and hope for more answers along the way.
Time to climb on board and see what's waiting for us.
Hmm... Might I suggest we return to base for now?
I think we should go a little farther inside and see what state the ruin itself is in first. Kinda hard to know what to prepare for if we don't know what fiends we're gonna be up against.
Let's advance a little farther before returning to the garden, then.
This can't be right...
Is something wrong?
Something's wrong, all right...
Has the entire layout of the area changed?
It has. Without a doubt.
This area should be a corridor that leads to the first three-way junction. How is this even possible?
I don't think you're mistaken.
Heh. Now it all makes sense.
You're probably on the right track, Kevin.
You noticed, too, huh? Well, if you're backing me up, I'm more than confident now.
What is it? Have you discovered something?
Maybe...but let's head down on the elevator first. I'm almost sure the answer's going to be waiting for us somewhere ahead.
Let's be sure we're ready for anything.
This just isn't possible... How are we on the lowest floor of the ruin already?
Don't complain. This place sucked.
Could the space we're in be distorted?
Nah. That alone wouldn't explain how the entire layout of the place has changed.
Let's just keep up the pace. I've got a feeling there's gonna be something--or someone--waiting for us not far ahead.
Let's just be sure we're ready.
This is the last monument on this plane. You know what that means.
Yeah. It's that smell again.
The same one that you smelled before that coffin-like devil appeared?
(...Where's it coming from?)
Hoarse Voice: So you noticed the smell, did you? The dogs of the church have good noses...if nothing else.
-The Lord of Phantasma-
Who are you?!
I was wondering when you'd finally show your face.
You're the 'lord' that knight spoke of, aren't you?
Haha. I suppose I am. I do, after all, rule this land of Phantasma... Such a name is only fitting. You may call me the Lord of Phantasma if you so wish.
The Lord of Phantasma...
Indeed. That's not a name ever mentioned in your beloved Testaments, is it, Ries Argent?
I know names and you don't, now are you TOTALLY SPOOKED OUT or what?!
So you know who I am, too?
Hmph. Someone's brushed up on their homework.
That's enough time spent on trivial greetings.
Listen to me, Lord of Phantasma, or whatever your name is. If all we've seen here is your doing...
...then return Grancel to the way it used to be at once! Should you refuse to comply, I shall cut you down here myself!
My, my. Your request is so meaningless, I scarcely know how to respond. There's no harm in devotion, but done in excess, it can only serve to cloud your eyes to the truth. Well? Do you understand now, Julia Schwarz?
I see my suspicions were right after all.
The Grancel we've been fighting our way through isn't even the real thing, is it? It's just an imitation of it. A replica of the city created here in Phantasma.
That can't be...
Could that really be true...?
If we assume it is, everything falls into place. Everything we thought was strange suddenly makes complete sense.
How that giant black gate appeared at the city's entrance, how it ended up completely devoid of people... Even how the room with the elevator went back to the way it used to be and the sealed area's structure completely changed.
Am I on the right track, Joshua?
Oh, dear... You're a little too capable for your own good. If only you could be more darling and naive. It would make things much more fun for me.
Do I look like I care about whether you're having fun or not?
All I care about is Estelle's safety.
Ahh. But of course. Still, much like Julia Schwarz's devotion to those she serves, love, too, can serve to keep the truth forever out of reach. Is that not so, Joshua Bright?
So all this time, Her Majesty and Princess Klaudia were safe...
Oh, Aidios... Thank you for your unwavering mercy.
Oh? Your relief strikes me as coming more than a little prematurely... Whoever said that those you care about are safe? It wasn't me.
No! D-Does that contain...?!
Haha... Think of this as the final reward placed for you to earn on this second plane. Of course, rewards aren't given for free. If you wish to earn it, you will have to overcome a trial first.
This is another of the seventy-seven devils mentioned in the Testaments... One of the two gatekeepers of Gehenna and leader of a vast army of minions...
...Rostrum the Savage!
Gah... Are you INSANE?! How do you think you can handle something that powerful after bringing it to life?!
I need not worry, for I have you to defeat it for me. Enjoy!
We got a big fella.
This fella's got very high STR, DEF, and SPD.
I will...run no more.
READY?! PHANTOM RAID!
Rostrum can boost its own STR at the cost of some DEF...
...and call in Rostrum Bugs to fling gak around.
But mostly it'll just bash those big devil maracas over everyone's heads.
chick chicky boom chick chicky boom
Time and Space arts are Rostrum's big weakness. A Dark Matter barrage will crumple it in no time flat.
Here... We're not done yet!
-The Lord of Phantasma-
I can't believe...we were able to defeat it.
Haha... That was a truly delightful spectacle. Well, take your reward. You've earned it.
I'm glad we got it for you, Julia.
Heh. Surprised you make good on your promises.
Now, you ready to cut down to the chase? What do you want from us?
What the hell is the point of all of this?!
Haha. Poor Kevin Graham. Poor, pitiful Kevin. Please try not to let me down more than you already have. I am a phantasm--a shadow. Much as a shadow only exists when there is something to cast it, I, too, only exist because of something within your numbers. Do you grasp my meaning?
...Hmph. How could I? You're just spouting nonsense.
If you think being all cryptic is gonna confuse us and lead us astray, you're very much mistaken, buddy.
True enough. Spouting cryptic nonsense is simply what I do. That IS what you believe, isn't it? Then it must be true.
Haha. Perhaps I ought to go by a different name after all. How do you think Lord of Nonsense sounds? More fitting, perhaps?
I said, SCREW YOU!
Wh-What's wrong with you...?
Nothing. Don't worry.
That's literally just a shadow.
So that was a body double...or an empty shell is more appropriate in this case.
They must have switched while we were fighting that devil.
I commend you for noticing.
Still, your role on this plane is now over.
Add the wings of white to your number and journey on deeper into the abyss you stand inside.
I shall be awaiting our next encounter... Hahaha...
Please. They take their overblown theatrics way too seriously. Our resident evildoer's going to have to work on their act if they want to sound like anything more than a walking cliche.
JUST WAIT UNTIL YOU BEHOLD MY FULL POWER, KEVIN MELISSA GRAHAM
Anyway, we're done here, and we've got ourselves another sealing stone to open up... so let's mosey on back to the base. I think we all know who's inside at this point.
Thank you. I appreciate it.