The Let's Play Archive

Trails in the Sky the 3rd

by Really Pants

Part 40: Moon Door 2: Client - Part 2

-Sophisticated Fight (Zanmai)-

The best part of all this is that Schera was bugging Kurt about going into the sewers before, so he's probably not going to believe her story now.

You've got no Eagle Eye so you'll want to go carefully.

If you're trying for 300 fights without fleeing, you can't run from any fights inside Memory Doors either. It'll count against Kevin. The Congregation for the Sacraments are real hardasses that way.

Very few of these monsters are any danger to Schera and Aina, at least on Normal, but other characters might have problems later on.

That firm chest, those luscious locks...I can believe it.

duuuuuude you have no idea

The sewers of five years ago are bursting with Tear Balms. You'll probably need to use some on Aina if you slip up and let any monsters get a surprise attack.

Yeah, that's worth a bump.

There's no shame in being satisfied with a job well done.

This is the most dangerous fight down here.

A secret sheep! Those darn dirty, calculating...

I wonder if this is the bounty monster Schera wanted to take care of.

As long as you don't screw up too badly, level-ups should be enough to keep Schera healthy.

Chests, jugs, cans, racks...I appreciate all types of storage. Each has its uses.

-Steel Floor Blocking The Way-

Stay quiet for a minute. I'll handle this.

Scherazard removed a rock from the bottom of the device and placed her hand inside.

You might be wondering why they don't just hop that five-foot gap there. If you want to risk slipping on those damp stones and falling face-first into sewer water, be my guest.

Heehee. You really are amazing!
But not for this. This isn't all that different from breaking into a safe, to be honest.
...Really, though. You shouldn't be impressed by these kinds of things. Or getting used to them.
There are some things in life you're just better off not knowing...

...and some things you're better off not being able to do.

-Town Where The Lights Went Out-

The entire town smelled like a rotting open drain and was reviled even for a slum.

The people who ended up there were largely those who couldn't be accommodated in a prison, those who had been driven from the cities...

...or children who had been abandoned there like yesterday's garbage.

I did whatever I had to in order to survive and to live to see another day.

Picking pockets at every opportunity was a habit I picked up from a very young age; anything that caught my eye, I took.

But even then, I didn't end up with enough to live on. There were always men there who made their living by taking from people like me.

The surest way to make money was stealing from the safes of the rich when they were out of their mansions.

The residential area full of wealthy people on the other side of the river, accessible through an underground sewer, was a perfect target for this.

Every time I felt hungry, I snuck inside one of the mansions and made use of the skills I felt like I'd known since the day I was born.

The most important thing to remember when doing this was not to take everything in one go.

Instead, the key was to take only a small amount each time--enough to get by, but not enough for the mansion's owner to notice anything was gone.

With a simple piece of wire, I had access to enough mira to live for a couple more weeks.

Before I knew it, I was doing it every day, building up a stockpile of money instead of simply taking what I needed in the short term.

...And boy, I paid the price for it. I had it all taken from me by the men of the slums and ended up being kicked and stomped on until I coughed up blood.

Everyone did what they did--or they said they did as much, anyway--so that they could keep living on.

Always pretending to be desperate as an excuse to live by any means, but always taking the easiest road they could find.

The town I lived in was devoid of energy, but full of filthy people like them...and like me.

Again and again, I thought about giving it up. Again and again, I said to myself that I wanted to stop...but I couldn't do it.

I hated myself for what I was doing. I hated the fact that I couldn't stop.

It was because I didn't want to return to that life that I ended up becoming a bracer.

...Because if I didn't, I was scared I would end up right back where I was.

The troupe had saved me from that place and had made me into a respectable human being...

...but when I lost them, I was afraid. One thought stood out above all the rest.

No matter how much I tried to forget, no matter how used I became to my new life, no matter how much I tried to deny it...

...I was yesterday's garbage from the slums, and nothing I could do would change that.

And that's it, really.

One day, I'm sure I'll end up returning there.

That's why I need to be strong. To STAY strong.

What job I do doesn't even matter. Anything I can pour my heart into that'll let me live an honest life is fine.

Anything that keeps my mind off the past...Anything that lets me keep the ugliness in my heart at bay...

If it makes me strong without relying on others, then it's fine. It's fine...

I need to be strong. Stronger than anyone. Stronger than anyone!

...But am I?

Am I really doing all right in my new life? Am I really getting stronger?

...Am I, Luci?


Miss Scherazard...? Are you all right? You're looking very gloomy all of a sudden...
...It's nothing. I'm fine.
(As soon as I finish this job, Kurt will give me the last recommendation I need. I can finally become a real bracer. Then no one will be able to tell me I'm not strong. I won't let them! I WILL be strong!)
Anyway, we're leaving.

W-Wait a second! Miss Scherazard!

As soon as I finish this job...

-Steel Floor Blocking The Way-

The western sewers are monster-free. Enemies in the east will respawn eventually if you feel the need to grind. Try to leave the sewers as close to full health and 200 CP as you can.

I asked the Goddess for some Tear Balm, but I know She doesn't work that way. So I'll steal it and ask Her for forgiveness instead.


...I know it is.
Just shut up. You'll break my concentration.
Oh, my bad.

Scherazard took out a wire and inserted it into the keyhole.

*tak CLICK*

-Royal Capital of Grancel-

It's evening, too. That took longer than I thought it would.
And it only felt like, what, half an hour? So weird.
We should hurry.
Of course... Are you all right, though?
You look kind of pale...
Are you feeling tired? Maybe we should rest a little before moving on.
I-I'm fine! I've had enough training to handle this level of physical activity, thank you very much!
Don't underestimate the stamina of a bracer!
I-I suppose you're right... I'm sorry.
...Wait. What the hell? (She was never more than a few steps behind me at any given moment...)
(How is SHE still fine?)
(She never seemed out of breath even when we were being chased by those guys, come to think of it...)
(I feel like there were a few times when she was even ahead of me...)
(What is UP with this girl? Is this, like, nothing to her?!)
Are you absolutely sure you don't need to rest?
I do have a few snacks on me. Would you like me to share some?
Got any more of those laughing mushrooms?
It's okay. I-I'm definitely fine. Right now, we need to focus on getting to the guild so we can hide out there. Food breaks can wait. (We might've run into a lot of trouble on the way, but the request was to show her around the capital. I've done that.)
(Now all I need to do is get back to the guild, and this request is done. I win!)
...Come on! Get a move on!
I still feel like it would be a good idea to rest at least a little, though... Are you certain you're all right?
How many times do I need to repeat myself before you get the message?
Angry Voice: To hell with it all!

Who the hell does Noticia think she is?! 'The better the scoop, the hotter it needs to be caught'?!
Does she think I don't KNOW that?! Arrrgh!

(I've got no more idea than you do... Maybe he's using some kind of code like those men from earlier?)
(...He couldn't be one of them, could he?!)
(D-Do you think he could be?)
Angry Voice: Damn it all! *barrel*
(I can't be sure... Just look at his eyes, though. He doesn't look like a man who makes an honest living to me.)
(I see what you mean...)
(We've come this far. There's no way I'm letting us get caught now. We need to proceed carefully and deliberately.)
(Let's see if we can find another route...)

(Ah! If I remember correctly, that house over there is empty!)
(This way! Follow me!)

Wait. He works at the villa now, doesn't he?
Just my luck. That's ages away!

I can't believe I had to shell out 3,000 mira for more photo-quartz 'cause of that brat...

-Under the Moonlight-

Come ON... Why're there still so many of them going around?
How can we get to the guild like this?!
I think we're going to have to spend the rest of the night here, unfortunately.
It won't need to come to that. I think if I can find a good opening, we can force our way through. It's just a case of finding one...
I don't think that's a good idea. We need to be careful and rest while we can.
(...As logical as that sounds, I'm not buying it's her real reason.)
(Get a grip, Schera! I can't let my emotions get the better of me!) There's no guarantee we're even safe here, you know.
I still think the safest option in the long run is to get to the guild--no matter what we have to do to get there.

H-Hey! Where do you think you're going?!

We'll find it easier to escape from here than we would from below. This should be a good spot.
Wait one damn minute. This is your safety we're talking about, here! You could stand to listen to me.
Those men will be patrolling carefully for the rest of the night. They aren't going to give you the opening you want...or at least I don't believe they will.
We've made it this far, so I think it would be best for us to rest tonight and resume trying tomorrow. Don't you?
Trying to do what?
You're still hiding something, aren't you? For one thing, you're awfully familiar with this city for someone who claims it's their first time here. You also seem to know a lot about those men and what they will and won't do, too...
What exactly are you really after?

It's plain as day at this point that you want more than just not to be caught by them. If that wasn't the case, you wouldn't have asked to be shown around the capital. Not that I think that's what you want, either.
What's your real goal?

...Well? No answers?
The work we do is based around trust. We can't accept requests from people who won't tell us what they're up to, or who knows what kind of crimes we could be abetting?
Go on. The whole thing about that inheritance was all a big, fat lie, wasn't it? Something about you'd been setting off alarms since we started running around together. Strike that--since you first came to the guild.
Why did you lie to me?


U-Umm... The story about the inheritance is true. I swear it.
I... I want to go to Grancel Castle.

-Cradle Where Feelings Rest-

I really am the one to whom my grandfather gave his fortune. But I haven't finished the necessary procedures to truly inherit it yet.
Until I complete the required paperwork in Grancel Castle's administrative room, I'm not legally allowed anything. And that's why there are so many of those men in black around that area.
All of my relatives know exactly what I need to do, you see. So they're...trying to make sure I can't do it...
Still, if I don't keep trying to move forward, I'll...
What a mess... Well, okay. For argument's sake, let's assume that I believe all of what you just said.
Why am I only hearing about it now?
Th-That is...
You thought I'd want in on that money, didn't you? If I did and I knew everything, I'd have all the opportunities a greedy girl could dream of to take it when together with you.
That's what you thought I'd do, isn't it? I'd play along and then steal it all for myself the second a chance presented itself.
Do I look like THAT much of a scumbag to you?!
N-No! You don't!
That's not it at all. After I lost Grandfather, I lived all on my own.
But the second his will became public, I had crowds of people descending upon me.
People who, like you said, were interested only in claiming his fortune for themselves.

Aina: They all started to live in mine and my grandfather's house...and before I knew it, my once peaceful life was shattered.
One day, someone would push me down the stairs; another, I'd taste something funny in my food...
These kinds of things began happening on a regular basis.
Legally, they were my relatives while I was a minor, so there was very little I could do...
I tried reasoning with them at first, but in the end, I had no choice but to leave home myself.
I wandered the highways alone, going from place to place and trying not to be discovered...
But I knew that while I could hopefully avoid being caught that way, I'd eventually just be declared as missing and presumed dead.
...Besides, after I'd left once, even if I did go back home, I knew I'd promptly be locked up somewhere and reported as still missing regardless.
Grandfather's will would be declared as invalid in time, and my relatives would blissfully share their newly bequeathed wealth between them.

Aina: ...I hated the thought of that happening.
That was why I decided to return here to the capital.
Even if it's the last thing I do, I will formally inherit what he wanted me to.

That was why I decided to try and get an escort from someone I COULD trust. So it's not that I don't think I can trust you. Not at all.
A-And, erm...
...I will admit that wanting to explore the capital was a lie. I'm sorry for deceiving you.
*sigh* You're a grade-A moron...
...I'm sorry...
You could've said all of this from the beginning and saved us a lot of headache. If I'd known what you were trying to do, I would have been able to formally escort you where you want to go. And the guild would've been the safest place for you to hide out, too. We wouldn't have ended up in this dump instead.
I...suppose you're right...
I... I was just...scared. I'll never be able to forget what I saw that day. What I saw in the eyes of everyone who gathered to hear that will read.

The horror I felt when I saw it. Madness. Insanity. Cold, murderous light... Emotions that no one can explain. That no one can put into words... It wasn't visible for long before they managed to push it back below the surface and out of sight... but it was still there.
Because now, I believe that's something that all of us possess naturally. Human beings are capable of limitless cruelty. Every one of us.
And that realization's left me terrified of us all. It's not that I don't trust bracers...
It's just that... I've been so scared...
I-I'm so sorry!
I know I shouldn't have wasted your time with any of this...
Umm... I...
I should never have gotten you caught up in all of this when you were busy enough already... Just forget that I--
It's my policy to give 100% to all work I undertake. Don't underestimate me.

I'm the one who should be apologizing to you.

I've wanted to be strong and to live with my head held high.

I still believe I was right to feel that way, and yes, I've lived my hardest until now...

...but you've made me notice that there's something wrong with my attitude. I'm not going about it the right way.

And it's made me realize anew that I want to be able to keep living with pride in my every step.

So no more saying sorry, okay? I want to see this job through to the very end.

-Royal Capital of Grancel-

The administrative room. The deadline for submitting the paperwork is noon.
N-Noon?! Noon TODAY?!
That barely leaves any time at all! Why are you only telling me this now?!
It has to be filed within a month of the deceased passing away.
That's the law here in Liberl, apparently.
Oh, right... I never was much good at this legal stuff. I bet Kurt knows it all by heart, though.
H-He did seem like the type who might...
...Let's get going. We don't have any time to waste. As long as we do as we discussed earlier, we should be able to handle this. We're getting inside the castle, and they're not going to stop us!
...Miss Scherazard. I really am glad that you were the one who undertook my request. The more time I spend with you, the more I realize you're really someone dependable--who relies on their own strength to live.
You're blowing my merits out of proportion, I think.
Also, can we stop with the 'Miss Scherazard' now? The way you say it, it just makes my name sound ridiculously long.
And misspelled.
D-Does it?
It does. It feels like our conversations take twice as long as they should because of it.
Well, if you insist.
And now you know all there is to know about what I want to do. So I would like to formally request again that you escort me to Grancel Castle.
You got it.
You'll get there. I promise you that.
Thank you.

Baral: We're best known for our curry and our coffee! I wholeheartedly recommend them both. On a completely unrelated note, I heard a strange loud noise yesterday evening, and I'm still not sure what it was... I wonder what it could have been. I can't say I feel quite as safe in this area these days as I once did, and that's not helping...

Sariah: This is reception, while the second floor is the home of our editorial department. Nial still isn't back, I see... I'm guessing he spent the whole night drinking. AGAIN.

Noticia: There's no way we could have printed an article like that as it stands. He's just so goodnatured that he seems to have a habit of getting far too wrapped up in a single opinion or piece of information. I'm sure he'll come to understand eventually, but for now... To write a good article, you need to do more than gather a dumpload of information and analyze it. You need to always try to provide a fresh take on what you're working with.
You media lap dogs can't suppress the truth forever! BAT BOY LIVES

Faults: I can understand how frustrated Nial must feel, though--he finds some incredible stories, but they never end up getting printed. Both Noticia and the editor-in-chief are really strict with him, too. I-I just handle the culture section of the paper, so I've never really had that many run-ins with them... Poor Nial seems to end up in an argument with them every time he brings a story, though.

Editor-in-Chief: Not just anyone, either! A famous reporter who once received the Fulitzer Prize. It's been a long time since we last met, too. I can't wait to see the guy. We'll continue the editorial meeting after Nial gets back. He'll probably wander back some time in the afternoon, I think.

No. We don't have time for that. I doubt Kurt would be there even if we were to call there, either, given the time of day.
Let's just get ourselves over to Grancel Castle.

Katrina: My husband should be coming over from Haken Gate any day now. Heehee! I can hardly wait to see my grandchild. At times like these, the worst thing you can do is go to pieces and lose your composure. It's no real surprise why young people do, of course. I can certainly understand.
Dalia: Wh-What should I do, though?
Katrina: First, you need to try and calm down. How about starting by giving some thought on what to call the baby?
Dalia: Wh-What to call it? Umm... Umm... I-I can't think of anything at all! I'm so useless...and at a time when my help's needed the most, too!
Eight months in, and you're only now considering names? Well, just name the baby after me! If 'Really Pants' is too cumbersome, I suppose you could shorten it a little.

Irving: I'm right here with you. My wife's currently pregnant, and the baby is due relatively soon. So right now, I just want to be by her side as much as possible.
Rachel: Yes... Yes... I understand. I'm sure everything will be fine. Oh, Goddess... Please bestow your blessings upon my child...

Nielsen: The sound of your footsteps is unfamiliar to me... I presume this must be the first time we've met?
Y-Yes. It certainly is...
Am I correct in assuming that you must be visually impaired, sir?
Nielsen: Yes, I am. If you'll forgive me for saying so, you're a rather unusual pair, aren't you? One of you is a bracer, I believe? Haha. There's no need to be so surprised. The air you have about you reminds me of other bracers I know, that's all. I may have lost my vision, but that has allowed me to see things in a way I couldn't before.
That's incredible...
Nielsen: I'm due to meet someone here. I'm just waiting for them to arrive. I'm planning on doing some research on Liberl while I'm here, too. After all, this is the nation now known for repelling the mighty Erebonian Empire. I'm eager to see if I can find exactly where that strength came from. Haha. This should prove to be some very interesting research! So this is Grancel Cathedral... It has a truly solemn air to it that even I can sense.
So who the hell is this guy supposed to be? Someone from the Crossbell games? His whole deal seems awfully capital-S Significant for a random NPC, but I don't remember him from this series or Trails of Cold Steel.

Father Reval: That's no surprise, of course. To the people of the time, Grancel, protected by the Ahnenburg Wall, was their final hope. It's been five years now since the war came to an end... Oh, Aidios, please grant peace to all those who lost their lives during that terrible conflict...

Archbishop Currant: What is truly terrifying is not noticing that it has happened, or realizing and willingly turning one's eyes from that truth. It may be necessary at times to pluck up the courage to look back at the path we've tread. Still, there is nothing to be afraid of in doing so. Aidios will always show us the way if we look to Her.

That's right. I did actually consider the possibility of using a boat to reach Grancel Castle, but...
I'm not sure that'd be such a good idea. The last thing you want is to get shot by the soldiers guarding it.
Th-That's a good point...

They're really cute.
Man in Black Slovo: Who-Who the hell are you?
Man in Black Tvrido: You're in our way. Get lost! Shoo! Shoo!
You're both dressed the same, too! Is that your uniform?

I feel like I'm forgetting somethin' important, too...
...Nope. Can't remember. I guess it can't have been anything too important...

Man in Black Slovo: Like hell you can! Get out of our sight!
Man in Black Tvrido: We can't leave our posts! Consider yourself lucky, kiddo. We'll let you leave this time. So go play somewhere else!


Man in Black Fritu: Today's her last chance, after all.
Meowing Voice: Nya~n.

Man in Black Uku: You're kiddin' me. A cat?
Man in Black Fritu: ...No, no. Wait a sec. There might be something else inside.

Man in Black Xeru: Don't let your guard down.
Man in Black Uku: I know.

-Fight With Assailant-

Too late!

-Creeping Crisis-

Now's our chance, Aina!
All right!


Man's Voice: Nice of you to finally show yourselves.

Leader: What's the hold up? Why haven't you made an example out of them yet? Our client's waiting. Get a move on.

Man in Black Uku: I hope you don't expect to just be able to walk away after showing yourselves.

Man in Black Uku: First, I'm gonna kill you. The other young lady can live a while longer. She's still useful. As long as we can get her to write her own will, it'll save us having to forge one later.
You really think this will be that simple?
Man in Black Uku: Hmph. If you think saying that is going to unnerve us, you've got another thing coming.
(...Aina. You can still run, right?)
(I'll take all of these guys on myself. While I'm doing that, you run!)
(Y-You can't take this many opponents on yourself and have any chance of winning! You'll...)
Man in Black Uku: Heh. Not going to beg for mercy, I take it?
You've got something you need to do--and so do I! So let's just do them!
Don't worry about me. As if I have any intention of dying here.
Man in Black Uku: What are you even talking abo--

Man in Black Crivi: D-Damn you!

Go, Aina!
But there are still at least three men with guns right in her way.
I said, GO!


Young Man's Voice: You seem to be having a little trouble over there, Scherazard.

Man in Black Esu: Who the hell are you?!
K-Kurt...? What are you doing here?!

W-Well, I know, but...
I'm happy that you seem to have realized exactly what it is that you must do.
But I can't say I'm as pleased about how willing you appear to be to throw away your life without first exploring other options.
I-I'm sorry.
I can't entirely fault your decision from the perspective of a bracer, but I would like you to give a little more attention to your surroundings. I'm well aware that you seem staunchly opposed to relying on others...
...but take a good look at the situation you're currently in, and tell me exactly what it is that you should really be doing.
Can you take care of things here for me?!

-The Fate of the Fairies-

*calm yelling*
Rise, storm, from the space between sky and sea!


Man in Black Ja: They're getting away! Half of us should be enough to take care of this guy. Everyone else--


Man's Voice: Sorry for the delay, Kurt.

Let it be known that on this day, one of the portraitless bracers was useful.

Not at all. I've largely taken care of them as it is.
Gundolf: Heh. You sure do fast work. Though I'm more surprised to see that obstinate young lady finally came to her senses. When she was with the Zeiss branch, she was more like a wild boar, always charging forward without stopping to take a look around her.
Haha... I've always known she has what it takes to be an excellent bracer.
She'd merely lost sight of something important and needed to be put back on track. Given the opportunity, she was always perfectly capable of doing so. She'll be able to get much stronger than she is now that she's righted herself. I'm sure of that.
Gundolf: Ahhh, to be young again.
Man in Black Ksi: Qu-Quit acting like we're not even here! Kill them both!
Yeaaah, they'll be fine.

Leader: They're sure taking their time... The hell are they even doing?
Gentleman: Now, now. There's no need to be so hasty. Capturing her isn't even necessary to the plan as far as I'm concerned. As soon as the noon bell chimes...
Leader: T-True as that may be... Sure, that would invalidate the will and ensure she doesn't get all of the money, but it'd also mean you have to share it with everyone else. Which means our share will end up going down... I'd kinda like to avoid that if we can.
Gentleman: Don't you worry. We've got plenty of options. Remember: you're only dealing with a single young girl.
Voice: ...What?

Gentleman: Oh, dear! What are you doing here, Aina? I keep telling you how dangerous it is to go venturing outside. And alone, at that.
You blind, old man? She isn't here alone!
Gentleman: ... Oh, I can see you. Getting in my WAY.

(Ugh... It's like they don't even care if they kill Aina in the process!)
Gentleman: Tsk, tsk. That wasn't a very good shot. I take it marksmanship isn't exactly your forte?
Man in Black Kopa: S-Sorry, sir.
What is it?
Let's just force our way through here.
We don't have time to mess around.

Got it!
Gentleman: It's time to come along home, Aina... Everyone's waiting for you, you know.

-The Fate of the Fairies (Zanmai)-

Bad luck today, boys.

Your opponent has spent a solid decade nurturing the urge to beat the shit out of people just. like. you.

Ahaha! Someone's been naughty...
*careful and deliberate yelling*

Aina's dirtbag uncle is a non-combatant who buffs all the jaegers on the field...or tries to, at least. At this low level, his STR buff can run out after a single turn, or even on the same turn he uses it. You don't need to take him out to win the battle.

Now let's see that again.

-Royal Capital of Grancel-

Gentleman: Wh-What is the meaning of this? I paid good mira to hire them, and THIS is the quality of service I receive? This has to be a breach of contract, surely. This isn't acceptable at all!
did not gun my niece down in the street, 0 stars
...I can barely bring myself to watch.
I think it's time you took a little nap yourself.

Gentleman: Wh-What are you doing?! Is that all you're capable of? Reckless violence?! What a poor upbringing you must have had!

I've got no interest in inheriting Grandfather's land or his money. That's not why I've been running away from you or doing any of what I've done.
But much as I don't need it...
...I know that I don't want you to have a single mira of it, either!

Damn. That's gonna hurt in the morning... I sometimes really find myself doubting you're actually from a rich family like you say you are.
How awful of you to say such a thing. I'd like to believe I act the part more than you, at least.
Voice: What are you doing?!

Soldier: Wh-What in Aidios' name happened out here?!
Company Commander: Y-You there! Throw down your weapon at once!
This man knows a loaded suitcase when he sees one.
I'm from the Bracer Guild.
Company Commander: What?! The guild?!

Scherazard showed the soldiers her junior bracer badge.

Company Commander: S-So you are... Still, what's a bracer doing here?! Her Majesty may recognize the guild, but that doesn't make it all right for you to cause a commotion right outside the castle!
I had reason to believe that these people were responsible for numerous criminal acts within the capital. I knocked them out for the sake of peace and order in Grancel, and the safety of its people.
...So could you do me a favor and arrest them? I haven't covered that part yet.
Company Commander: W-Well... Very well. Ordinarily, we'd be taking you away with us as well, but I'll let you off this time. You know what to do!
Soldiers: Right!

Company Commander: Still, while you may have gotten away without punishment this time... don't expect to be so lucky next time you try and overreach your authority. Protecting the capital is OUR job, and we'll show no mercy to anyone who causes trouble...bracer or otherwise!
Oh, it is? Cool, can I ask another favor, then? There're a bunch of their friends still in the city. You couldn't take care of those, could you?
Of course, last I saw, Kurt was with them, so you probably won't have to lift a finger there, either.
Company Commander: U-Urgh...

Oh, I was just impressed by how much authority the bracer badge wields. You were...kind of cool.
Th-That was the first time I've tried using my badge like that, I'll have you know!
But never mind my badge. We're running out of time! We need to hurry!

-Royal Castle-

*pant*...*pant*... I can't believe a girl like you could actually keep up with me running full throttle...
Anyway, get that paperwork done. Quickly. I'll be watching from here.
I'll be as quick as I can, then.

Aina put her signature on the necessary paperwork.

(I'm really happy for you, Aina. Congratulations.)
Umm... Scherazard? It looks like I need a witness to sign this...
A witness?
You wouldn't be willing, would you?
S-Sure... If you're okay with me doing it...
...Of course I am, silly.
In fact, I want it to be you.
Then I'd be happy to.

I never thought the day would come when I would be called as a witness for something like this.

Or that the day would come when I'd be able to proudly say I was a senior bracer.

Or that I would be able to feel overwhelmed with pride over something in the first place...

Thank you, Scherazard.

That's this request wrapped up, right?
Actually, no. There's one more thing I need to do.
We're still not done?!

Umm... Could you possibly bring me an application form? I'd like to make a donation to Her Majesty's welfare foundation.

-A Cat Relaxing in the Sun-

*gulp* *gulp*
I still can't believe you gave ALL of that money away. Okay, maybe you don't need all of it...but you'll still need some to live, right?
I suppose you're right. What I did was a little strange.
But I made up my mind to do this from the very beginning as a matter of principle. When I said I didn't do any of this for the money, I meant it.
Still, congratulations on becoming a senior bracer. I'm not sure what the difference between a senior and junior bracer is, but it's clear this is something you really worked for.
It means I have a lot more authority, but I've got a lot more responsibility to go with it. It also means I get a nice new badge, but I wasn't ever interested in that, personally.
Oh, really?
Young Man's Voice: ...I'm relieved to hear that.

Crap... It's Kurt.
Umm... This... This might LOOK like alcohol to you, but it's actually...water...?
As today is admittedly a cause for celebration, I will turn a blind eye to your drinking tonight. Just don't go drinking so much that it interferes with your ability to do your job.
Wh-What is it?
As you're aware, Scherazard, you are now a senior bracer, which means you must behave with more responsibility. That means I expect to see an end to you drinking in every free moment between jobs, day or night, and sneaking out at night for it, too. I also expect to no longer discover that you've been taking advantage of the busiest times in my schedule to behave like a drunken lunatic.
I... Uhhh...
Is that really what you usually do, Scherazard? You sound like a tried and true troublemaker...
Don't say anything...
Are we clear?
Y-Yes, sir!
Haha. There's no need for the sir, of course. We're both senior bracers now, which means we're both on equal standing.
Why, I'm hardly even a veteran. I'm still very much a rookie.
Are you, now?
Says who?
Regardless, this isn't what I'm here to discuss.
The matter I came for concerns your uncle, Aina. I came to make you aware of the fact that the Bracer Guild is capable of asking for leniency in his punishment.
Hiring a jaeger corps for personal use carries a very grave punishment, you see...
A-A jaeger corps?!
Are you referring to those men dressed in black?
Yes. They're one of many corps that are known to be active here in Liberl. Recently, there have been many such corps making their way into the country...and they've been successful in finding work, too. Hiring them is, of course, very illegal, but with the army as slow to act as they currently are...
I've taken this chance to take care of them, though, so we shouldn't see any sign of any in the near future.
T-Take care of them? All of them?
(Now it makes sense. So it wasn't a coincidence that he showed up when he did... He's been investigating all the jaeger corps in Liberl so that he could start an operation to wipe them all out?)
(No wonder he's seemed so swamped...)
The jaegers in the country have been targeting wealthy individuals in hopes of getting them to sign contracts.
There have been countless cases like this all around the country of late, with civilians getting caught up in it at a worrying frequency.
I believe the case we're dealing with here was no exception, in that it was the jaegers who came to your uncle rather than the other way round. It's hard to feel too much sympathy under these circumstances, but in a sense, your uncle was a victim in all of this as well.
Wh-What are you trying to pull?!
Just because the jaegers approached him and not the other way around, he's a victim? That he deserves to get off with a slap on the wrist? And Aina's supposed to be OKAY with that?!
He tried to kill her!
Schera, please calm down.
There's no need to shout.
I-I'm sorry. But still!
No one is saying he doesn't deserve to be punished for his actions.
All I'm here to say is that if--and only if--Aina wishes, the guild is able to request leniency for his sentencing. That is all.
Wh-Whew... You scared me for a minute...
You needn't make your decision immediately. Questioning him will take roughly a week as it is, based on what I've heard.
You bear no responsibility to even make any choice at all, so please don't feel as though you have to think long and hard about this. Just please be aware that the possibility to forgive him exists. That is all.
All right.
Incidentally, should you ever find yourself in need of assistance with anything in the future, the Bracer Guild is always available to aid you. We're certainly not omnipotent or infallible, but we'll at least strive to do what we can to aid those who want our help.
Thank you. I'm really sorry for not telling you the whole story from the start, too...
Please, don't be. With the situation you were in, your reluctance is quite understandable. Furthermore... who is worthy of being a full-fledged bracer should be able to tell roughly what a client wants just from looking at them. They should also not, under any circumstances, try to chase away a potential client in genuine need.
I've still got a long way to go, then, huh?
Certainly, but don't we all?
All right. I've said what I came to say, so I'll be excusing myself now.
Aww. Really? You could stand to join us for one drink!
I'm afraid not. I still have my duties as guild receptionist remaining, after all.
As for you, careful you don't have too much 'water.'

Oh! Actually! How 'bout you, Aina? Can you handle your liquor? If you can, you should join me for a few drinks. ♪
W-Well...all right, then.
U-Umm... You're sure? Really, really sure?
Of course! You've done so much for me, so how could I refuse?
Joining you for a few drinks is the least I can do. ❤
Heehee! Then let's get to boozin'! Tonight's gonna be fuuun...
(I can't wait to see what a prim and proper girl like her looks like when she's drunk out of her mind... This is going to be AWESOME!) Well, cheeeeers!

I'd seen girls just like her on the other side of that river.

Silky blonde hair, beautiful blue eyes, smooth skin...

The blessed, blissful children on the other side dressed like royalty and smiling like angels.

Seeing them, I asked myself the same question over and over again...

'Why aren't I on that side?'

I envied them. I hated them. I both longed to be one of them and rejected their very existence.

I knew the answer to my question from the very beginning.

I despaired in myself. I always tried to avoid others getting too close, believing that to be what I needed to do in order to live...

...but I could never completely get rid of the tiny, lingering hope deep within my heart.

That eventually, no matter how long it took, the day would finally come when I could smile from the heart.

That the day would come when I would finally be able to accept and forgive myself for how I was.

The next day, Aina visited the Bracer Guild and registered her desire for her uncle to be shown leniency in his sentencing.

...Unfortunately, I wasn't able to accompany her, having been drunk under the table by her the night before.

Side Story [Client] finished!
Received Heaven's Eye.
Received 4,000 mira.

Schera and Aina's buddy-cop adventure has some more spare art.

It seems like this was originally a much shorter story, perhaps told as a simple flashback over Olivier's pained gurgling in the Abend Bar.

I'm glad this door got extended, because it kicks ass.

Good old Heaven's Eye. The addition of new utility quartz like Detection, Falcon Eye, and Fortune makes the ability to double-up on other benefits even more useful...but it's not quite enough. We'll need to take it even further.