Part 27: It seems our enemies have quite literally opened the gates of Gehenna.
-Fighting Right On-
Here we go again...
-Golden Road, Silver Road-
Just what WERE they?
They weren't ordinary monsters, at least.
They reminded me of the prank-loving gremlins that appear in folklore. Perhaps that's what they actually were?
They didn't start wailing and pleading 'IT'S JUST A PRANK BRO' in the face of their imminent ass beating, so we can't tell for sure.
First skeletons, then armored knights, then ghosts, and now gremlins... This place sure is all about that folklore.
*sigh* Well, I sure wish it was the fun kind...
Josette's holding out for a satyr.
The Golden Road has most of the same monsters as the Silver Road--just no Vargems or Veludo Fiends.
Ghastly Djinns are more common on this side.
Come and get me.
Rules are rules. We'll have to leave the chest behind.
A depressant that's a stimulant. Sure okay.
I kind of miss that little animation of Estelle cooking with a chef's hat.
what if we're all just like...ACTORS on a STAGE man
But I still don't know who the mother is!
(What's this doing here...?)
What's wrong, Kevin?
Oh, no. I was just impressed at how nice this bowgun is.
I'm gonna get some good use out of this baby.
well I've got like 12 of them by now so
Anyone who holds up the canteen line gets an almighty smiting from Ries...with her spoon.
Could that be the exit, then?
Sure looks that way.
Whew... I hope everything's going well for Ries' group, too.
Heh. Looks like they're not gonna let us reach it without a fight.
This fight's a cakewalk.
For one thing, you've got Grail Sphere and ℟ℹ℮₷ doesn't. I didn't even see her use her regular crafts.
On top of that, these mirrors are a joke compared to the Death Sluggers. They'll only get dangerous if they bunch up together so you can't safely use AoEs.
-Golden Road, Silver Road-
Sure came as a surprise to find out that Ries was just a fiend in disguise, though.
I thought she was being mind controlled or something.
I've known her for a long time, and if I was fooled, it's no surprise you guys would be.
The mirrors with it were so deadly, too.
I think it's safe to say that whole battle was a trap set for us by our enemies.
That being the case, I'm concerned for how the other group is faring.
We should hurry on ahead.
Yeah. Let's get ourselves over to that gate.
Whew... Yep. You're the real deal, all right.
Thank Aidios... I was worried as hell about you, y'know?
I could say the same to you.
Still, it looks like those really must have been grimoires, then.
Is that the name of those fiends we encountered?
You got it. It's a type of fiend mentioned in the Testaments.
Although, maybe 'fiend' isn't the best word... They're said to be what souls eventually turn into after being thrown into Gehenna.
People's souls turn into...those?
That's not a very pleasant thought...
As I'm sure you know, the church teaches that the souls of sinners end up in the fiery depths of Gehenna.
There, they are tormented by the ceaseless flames, slowly losing their own sense of self over time...
...till finally, they're said to end up as nothing more than a chaotic lump of spirit known as a grimoire.
I-I'm getting goosebumps just picturing it...
And that's what those shapeshifting creatures we encountered were?
Yes. The mirrors and cannons that appeared with them are all cursed items that have the same origin.
How they did it, I don't know...but it seems our enemies have quite literally opened the gates of Gehenna.
Man's Voice: ...Haha. That's quite a fitting metaphor.
That sounds like...!
-The Lord of Phantasma-
Well, look who decided to show their ugly mug.
Did that lord of yours send you to come check up on us?
That is one of the roles I have been assigned, albeit not the only one. I am impressed by how quickly you've progressed, even if it was with a significant amount of the hermit's guidance.
Who's that? The ghost we keep running into? I can't think of anyone else. She's been helping us in various ways since we arrived here, and yet we still have no idea who she is.
Indeed, I speak of her. She is a spirit that was left behind in Phantasma, as well as the master of the hollow garden.
Hah. Of course, thanks to my lord taking most of her power, she can do little other than struggle as your guide.
Hmph. As usual, your cryptic nonsense just goes right over my head.
But hey. If she's your enemy, that makes her our ally, right?
I'll leave that for you to find out. Her position is hardly your concern at this time. I have a message for you from my lord.
'Your next destination is the path of beasts. Devour the new offering presented to you, and display your seal once more. Then shall the flames of Gehenna burn ever fiercer, and my kingdom draw closer to its true completion.'
What is that supposed to mean?
My lord says that you may choose to interpret the message however you see fit. My task was simply to relay it to you.
Ahaha... Sorry. I couldn't help but laugh. Tell me: what sad classes did you and that joke of a boss you got take to get your certifications in how to be a big bad?
Nice touch trying to confuse us by spewing that cryptic bullshit, too. Bet you thought we'd keep ourselves up all night trying to figure that gem out.
I mean, the overblown theatrics make it a bit TOO obvious that it's fake, don't you think?
...Well? You about done with us? If you are, how about you get lost? We've got better things to do with our time than listen to nonsensical riddles from a guy who can't even bother to show his face.
Haha... I see you're quite fond of the gift granted to you by my lord. Does it bring back memories?
If Kevin doesn't have the Aion Bow equipped, Schwarzritter will say this:
Hmm... I see you weren't all that fond of the gift granted to you by my lord.
How disappointing... Was the thought of using it that painful to you?
Y-You think you can get away?!
Fear not. We will encounter one another again before long. I am, after all, Phantasma's foremost guardian. Haha... And with that, I bid you farewell.
So that's the Schwarzritter you mentioned?
Heh. He's the picture of his lord, right down to taunting us as he leaves.
Too bad for him that it doesn't take a genius to work out that they're bluffing.
'Your next destination is the path of beasts. Devour the new offering presented to you, and display your seal once more.'
'Then shall the flames of Gehenna burn ever fiercer, and my kingdom draw closer to its true completion.'
His words sound as though they have some specific meaning to me, but they could be taken in any number of ways at face value.
We could try to unravel said meaning, but that may hinder our progress more than help in the long run.
My thoughts exactly.
Anyway...what's definitely NOT going to hinder us is going back to base and seeing who's in the two sealing stones we picked up. If we activate that monument over there, we'll be able to come right back here to continue exploring later, too.
Thank goodness it's right there, huh?
I wonder who's going to be inside these?