Part 38: I wouldn't be a good big sister if I didn't look out for my little sis, now, would I?
-A Still World-
They were still green when Estelle and I were here. It's like a whole different forest now.
It certainly is pretty...but don't you think it's odd? The leaves of coniferous trees don't usually turn orange like this, do they?
Most don't, but there are some varieties that lose their leaves in the fall, for sure.
Can't remember their names, though. Ries would know better than me, but, well...
I see. Don't mind me, then.
Actually, wait. The trees near the lodge are the same variety as these, aren't they?
Hmm... Those were still green, too.
A sudden shout of 'BEHOLD MY POWER KEVIN GRAHAM' echoes over the distant hills, too faint for our heroes to hear.
Yeah... So your first guess might've been wrong, but there's definitely SOMETHING off here.
We'd better be careful.
Before crossing the river, you should head due south from the forest's entrance. There's a little side area with a Moon Door to tag for later.
Blue Moooooooom ♪
You saw me landing a stooooooone ♪
Now here's a surprise.
In the previous two games Shining Poms were very hard to hit, but easy to defeat with S-Crafts or attack foods.
They don't bother dodging in The 3rd, because they'll laugh off any attack unless your STR is as high as you can possibly push it.
Yes, but you won't fit in a belt pouch. This isn't Ultima.
Young Man's Voice: Please, don't come any closer!
That sounds like...
Yeah. It does.
-I've Forgotten You-
I-I didn't mean any harm! I swear! I'll never do anything like that ever ever eeever again, so please! Please spare my pitiful life!
My saviors! Please, help me!
...Do we even have a choice?
I don't want his death on my conscience any more than you do, so...no. Not really.
-Fighting Right On-
-A Still World-
*pant*...*pant*... Th-That was terrifying...
*sigh* Aren't you supposed to be a part of Ouroboros?
How do you keep getting yourself into these messes?
You are so rude! I didn't end up in this situation because of my own error! It was the result of a tale so tragic, anyone who heard it would be moved to tears!
I think there's a more pressing issue here, to be honest.
How did you even get here ahead of us?
That's a good question. Did you get through the second and third plane's warp circles before us somehow?
Heh. After parting ways with you at the castle, I found myself surrounded by armored knights.
Naturally, I fought back with all the skill and grace I'm known for, but during the fight, I was engulfed in some kind of strange vortex. Next thing I knew, I was in front of a building near a cliff.
What a miracle! Clearly I have been chosen by Aidios Herself to be the hero of a new story!
(Kevin, you think...?)
(Yeah. Sounds like he just ended up getting drawn into one of those vortexes that pop up in battle every so often and make things vanish.)
(Damn, though. Ending up all the way here on the fourth plane just because of that is some luck.)
Lost for words, I see.
Not that I can blame you for being in awe of my good fortune.
Oh, we're in awe, all right...
Anyway, you said you ended up in front of the lodge... So how'd you end up all the way out here? Did you decide to start looking around?
And this time, you're the one with the good question. You were saying things like, 'I didn't mean any harm,' and, 'I'll never do anything like that ever again!' earlier... What was that about?
Haha... Haha... Whatever do you mean? I have absolutely no ideee--
W-Will one of you SAY something?! That was merely the result of me being so relieved to finally be out of mortal danger!
I think I know what happened now...
You were so hungry that you went and tried to grab those beastmen's food, huh?
You have no reason to feel ashamed, my man.
Everyone needs food in order to live.
You want a cookie? I've got a few of them on me to snack on as it is...
They've got a mouth-watering aromatic hickory flavor, too!
Do you want to come back to our base with us?
That might be an idea. We've got plenty of food and water back there.
S-Save your pity!
I was able to steal at least a month's worth of food from them already! I'm not going to need any more for quite a while!
I won't give any of you so much as a crumb!
Hahaha! So long, losers!
*sigh* He's incapable of listening, isn't he?
Is he planning on staying here for over a month?
Who knows...? But all we can do is leave him to his own devices for now if he doesn't want our help.
I wouldn't be surprised if he changed his mind.
Heh. That does sound likely.
Haha. We'll just have to be ready to give him a warm welcome when he does, then.
The problem is that I haven't looted everything yet.
And now for a brief intermission.
Gilbert's Voice: Why would I...*munch*...ever want to be helped by THOSE losers? *munch* Guh! Graaaaaah! *sound of banging on chest* Aaaaaaah! ...I-I thought I was gonna die... Huh? What's this? Sweat's coming from my eyes... I'm not crying! I'm not... *sniffle* *munch* *sniffle* *munch*
-Till the Night of Glory-
So she's our lady this time, huh?
Makes sense that we'd find nothin' but bracers on one of their training grounds.
We'll have to defeat her so we can get her sealing stone. Here's hoping we can have the real thing by our side.
Save her? Crazy hard.
okay no not really
The Birdmen's twitching is unsettling enough to inflict Confuse.
-A Still World-
Now we should be able to set Schera free, too.
Heh. I can hardly wait to feel her in my arms again at long last.
To the garden, my friends!
Heehee. I can hardly wait to see her again.
I'm sure she's going to be a big help to us!
-The Hermit's Garden-
That's not Schera...is it?
She cut her hair, huh?
Yep. About a month or so ago.
She got herself some new duds to match, too.
Ugh... This isn't like me at all... I haven't had anywhere near enough to drink to start feeling this out of whack...
...No! There's no stopping me now!
Nice to see you, Schera.
How long have you been back for? What happened to Estelle?
And is it just me, or did you put on some muscle while you were away? You look stronger.
Haha... Thanks. I'm happy to hear that.
Be that as it may, I can't believe you still haven't commented on my presence.
How could you disregard your dear Olivier Lenheim, your loyal servant, and the man who forever holds the key to your heart?
Wait... You're not the only familiar faces here...
Th-This whole place is kind of...bizarre, too...
Can someone explain what's going on here?!
We will, we will. So calm down, okay?
Heehee... I can hardly blame you for being surprised.
Yeah. Your reaction's par for the course for this place.
Still, under ordinary circumstances, I'd have a hard time believing all of what you said was even possible. It's easier to chalk this up as just an alcohol-induced dream or another of Luci's illusions.
Haha... No doubt.
Oh, woe is me!
How could you look upon my fair countenance and beautiful locks and not believe that I am the one, the ONLY true Olivier?
I said, 'Under ordinary circumstances,' Olivier. There's no need for the dramatics.
First, what would be the point of showing me an illusion this bizarre to begin with? As for the dream explanation...there's a bit too much internal consistency here for me to lean on that theory.
Haha. True enough.
Thanks for believing us.
So I take it you'll be up for helping us, then? We could sure use you.
I'd be happy to.
When I think about how Estelle's most likely been dragged into this place, too, how could I think to say no?
I wouldn't be a good big sister if I didn't look out for my little sis, now, would I?
You are a true model of a woman.
Cheers. We appreciate it.
Anyway, we've given you a rough outline of the situation we're in. Currently, we're in the middle of exploring what's apparently called the fourth plane, so that's where we'll be resuming from.
All right. I've used the facilities at Le Locle before as a trainee back in the day.
Since you've found both me and Anelace there so far, perhaps the other sealing stones you find there will contain people who trained there, too?
Sounds plausible enough.
That means the chance we'll find Estelle there is high... Or, I dunno. Maybe we'll find Kurt, Grant, or Carna?
Place your bets.
It's not impossible.
They've certainly been to Le Locle, but they went more as instructors. I don't think they've ever been purely as trainees the way you, Estelle, and I have.
Hey, Schera... Has, erm... Do you know if Agate has ever trained there before?
Now that you mention it, yes. He has.
Cassius supposedly tricked him into going, and he was...not a fan of the experience. That was about four years ago, I think?
So that means both him and Estelle might be trapped there...
It's possible, yeah...
...They're both fine.
I'm certain of it.
At any rate, we now have only one of the three ordeals remaining.
So we'll find who else is trapped inside the training ground soon enough--and then all that remains is for us to rescue them.
Yup. So as soon as we're ready, let's move.
Luciola vanished in uncertain circumstances during the battle for Liber Ark. Schera has taken up the 'improbably-cut black dress' mantle in her missing friend's honor.
She has a new steal craft like Josette, but as always Schera will be most useful for Heaven's Kiss.
Sieg is happily eating food from Kloe's hand.
Should you not rest, Your Highness?
Oh, I'm just feeding Sieg. He said he was hungry.
Heehee. It won't take long. Promise.
Still, I'm truly glad that we were able to find plenty of food and water here. We probably owe that to that ghost, too.
I've got no idea what the Lord of Phantasma is planning... But whatever. I'm tired of putting up with their ridiculous games at this point. Let's keep pressing on.
But it looks like I'll have no choice but to miss it.
Or is the meeting today, now?
Being in this place truly distorts your sense of time's passing... It's even possible the meeting could've been days ago, thinking about it...
As far as I'm aware, she's been growing her hair out since her troupe days.
Still, she did go through a lot during her time with us.
Did she ever.
I think we all know she'll be just fine, though. She's a tough cookie, both in body and mind.
Yeah. I agree.
Still, with the fragrance of the trees and the sound of the waterfall gently falling, this place really takes me back to my training days. It's kind of nice.
If only this fountain were full of booze instead of water. Then I'd at least have something to keep me company.
...I wonder how many bottles Aina's gone through now?
...You're kidding me, right?
Yes, yes. I know.
I'm pretty familiar with Le Locle since I've been there myself. Take me along if that's where you're planning on going. I'm sure I could show you around.
And I want to rescue Estelle as much as you guys do.
Schera! Let's go over to the library! There's a weird sister hanging out over there.
She's real cute, though. I think you'll like her!
Heeey... Are you listening, Schera?
This beverage I acquired from that great tree has quite the fragrance--and a taste to match.
...Unfortunately, however, I haven't a clue of the maker or year.
You do know inviting her to drink with you is going to end with you vomiting in the fountain, right?
Haha...haha... Dearest Joshua, your concern moves me, but so long as Aina isn't here, I will persevere!
Why are you looking at me like that? I-I WILL be fine, won't I? ...Won't I?
Have you spoken to Ries yet?
She's kind of unusual, but she seems like a really interesting person.
Ries is a little strange, I'll admit...
...but she's also a CUUU-TEE PIE. And that's all that matters!
He's selfish, he's arrogant, he's self-centered...
He also needs to act like he can handle everything by himself at all times. He's just a sorry excuse for a human being.
...And since you're so rudely eavesdropping, I don't want to talk to you. Go away.
Whoa... That's just awful.
I had no idea he was THAT bad as a kid.
(She's exaggerating every detail just so they'll take her side...)
I didn't know Kevin was like that when he was growing up... I-I thought he was a really nice person...
That must have been really tough for you, Ries...
(Crap. Sweet Tita's actually buying it all.)
S-Still, I wouldn't worry about it too much.
Maybe it's all a big misunderstanding?
So this is the famous sister, huh?
She seems kind of...
...mad at you, though, Kevin?
(Oh, boy... I think I'd better make my exit.)