Part 41: I'm in. Let's get to work.Now we're ready to tackle the last of Le Locle's local locales.
But before that, I totally forgot a chest in Doppel Anelace's room at the end of Balstar Channel.
It's not the finding; it's the making.
It's crazy complicated inside, too. Estelle and I had a blast trying to get through it when we were here.
Especially the rooms where it's pitch black. Those were juuust aweeesome... Not.
I remember having my fair share of trouble with those, too.
Can't wait to see what kinda traps we bump into inside, then.
Anyway, as far as I can tell, this should be our final ordeal on this plane... Let's get this done!
-Beard The Lion In His Den-
This oughtta perk you up!
Heehee! Seems you came up short. ❤
'YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH' - wererats, probably
Flipping the switch at the end of this side corridor...
...unlocks the second switch near the start of the corridor...
...which opens this gate...
...so you can get a key...
...for the first gate.
Sch-Schera... Is it just me, or is this place's layout waaay different from the real version?
You thought the same, too, huh?
Completely different, how?
The placement of the rooms and the corridors... Everything.
I suppose it's possible that it was remodeled after Anelace used it.
Well, the sealed area's layout was completely different from the real one's, too. It wouldn't be the first time this has happened.
Probably something our foes did intentionally, too.
Exactly. We'll have to be very careful.
The second floor of Grimsel Fortress has two sets of energy rugs: red and green. You have to use those nearby switches to toggle which set is on.
To advance here, you need to keep the rugs set on green and follow the hallway due south (towards the lower-right).
Once you have that key (and you're all done cleaning), you can backtrack to this switch and toggle it to red.
Then go back out to the hallway and follow it around again. There's another door at the end.
The third floor of the fortress has dark rooms. If you're trying for 300 battles with no fleeing, you need to be careful in this first hallway.
See that blob on the right there?
If you touch that monster and trigger a combat without any means to see in the dark, you can't do anything against it. You'll have to flee.
As long as one of your party members has Night Goggles equipped, you can fight. Anyone not wearing Goggles will be blinded, but casters don't have to care about that.
What are you, a shop?
The fourth floor has damaging geysers on raised metal platforms, as you do.
-Till the Night of Glory-
Well, well. This looks like it's going to be a fight to remember.
This fight isn't gonna be the easiest, but it's not anything we can't handle.
You ready to take him down, Tita? Together, we're gonna rescue him!
Rage, no caster.
Doppel Agate is slow and susceptible to a lot of ailments. You can run rings around him pretty easily.
IS IN MY HANDS!
AHHH HA HA!
The Femael Beasts will get so mad, that they forget to hit you.
Then the freeze damage knocked Doppel Agate into his second form without him ever getting a turn.
When he does get to go, he hits like a truck.
But then the poison damage knocked Doppel Agate into his third form.
-Beard The Lion In His Den-
Whew... Well, that's that.
For the love of Aidios, though. He's a damn tank.
N-Now we can free him, right?
Let's hurry back to the garden, please! Quickly!
Okay, okay. We're going.
Haha... Well, it's not like we have any reason to stay here any longer. Let's go.
Just a second.
Okay, NOW we can go.
-The Hermit's Garden-
Haha. Looks like you got your wish.
You wouldn't find hair that red on anyone else.
Ugh... The hell's going on?
Hey, Dan! What just happened?!
What're you doing here, Tita? I thought you were busy fixing up dinner.
Wait a sec... Where IS Dan, anyway? I thought I just got off the airliner and bumped into him...but now you're here and he's not... What's going on here?
H-Hey! Hurry up and fill me in!
I'm so happy you're okay... I'm so, so happy...
Of course I'm okay... We only just saw each other.
Since shortstuff here's started turnin' on the waterworks, you up for filling me in on what's going on instead, Joshua?
Wait! Hold up! I didn't even know you were back in Liberl!
And why's the priest here?
Haha... It's a long story.
A REALLY long story.
Just in case you hadn't noticed, the rest of us are here, too, you know.
Good to see you again, my friend.
Heehee. It certainly is.
I still wish we could trade places, though. What I wouldn't give for Tita to be all over me like that...
He's truly the most fortunate man on the continent.
W-Will you shut your traps? There're some really big misunderstandings going on here, and I don't like it one bit!
Heehee. I'm sorry, Agate. I was just so happy that I couldn't help myself.
Now all we need to do is save Estelle, and the whole group's back together again!
Seriously, how many damn times do I gotta task before one of you coughs up an explanation? This isn't another one of Erika's murderous traps, is it?!
She must REALLY have it in for you if that's your first guess...
It sounds like quite a lot's happened since your parents came back, Tita.
You could say that...
I'll be honest: this whole thing still doesn't feel quite real, but I can't see anything you say changin' that. So I'm in. Let's get to work.
Haha. That was quick. You sure you don't want to ask anything? We'll try and answer as best we can if you've got any burning questions to ask.
Nah. I've got a good idea of what the situation is from your last explanation. As for the rest? I figure it's easier to just see things for myself. Anything I need after that, I'll ask someone.
'Sides, it just doesn't feel right having all these people gathered and no Estelle. So let's go find her and put that right, okay?
Thanks for helping us out.
What're you thanking me for? Lookin' after younger bracers is part of the job. That goes for you, too.
How's it been for you these days, anyway? Feel like you've gotten any stronger through that journey of yours?
I'd like to think so.
If you ask me, Estelle's changed more than I have, though. She's shaped up to be a real reliable bracer these days. Whatever guild we go to, they seem to end up needing her for this and that.
No shit? Taking after her old man, huh?
Haha. Still... I'm amazed how quickly you accepted that this was reality and not a dream or illusion of some kind.
Did you not consider those possibilities?
Agate has a rare condition that makes him never dream about anything but cats.
Well, sure, but...
Ah, I think we have our answer.
The warmth of Tita's embrace coupled with her unique juvenile scent were just too real to leave room for doubt in his heart. Not to worry! I understand completely.
um could we please not
Hmm... I see.
I kinda get what he means...
Whoa, there! You guys aren't buyin' HIS stock, are you?
Now, now. There's no need to get so flustered...or try and deny it. ❤
No one's judging you here. Couples come in all shapes and sizes. Your age gap's just a little bigger than the average one's, that's all.
In fact, the age gap's what makes it all so CUTE!
You're so close, and yet that's what separates you juuust enough to make your relationship that much more sweet yet thrilling to watch unfold!
When you put it like that, yeah. I can see the appeal.
So, show of hands--which of you assholes wants my sword in their face first?
(You wouldn't think we were in a perilous situation looking at them, would you?)
(Haha. This is just our way, really.)
Ahhh, forget it. Can we just get to work?
...Actually, wait. Didn't you say you have another companion? The sister. Where'd she go, anyway?
...Sorry. She's over in the library area at the moment, but she's, uh...not part of the group right now.
Her name's Ries, right?
I stopped to talk with her a while ago, and couldn't believe how adorable she was. I wish we could've talked more!
I stayed and spoke with her for a short while, too. She has such a unique aura about her. She didn't seem very cheerful, though, so it was mostly me doing the talking.
Are you sure you don't want to go and sit with her for a while? I can handle leading the group if you want...
Thanks for the offer, Joshua, but that's probably not the best idea. I seem to be the best at handling the cube, for one thing. Then there's a pretty good chance we'll run into more devils, and then you're gonna want my help...so I think I'm better staying in the field.
It's all right. She'll cheer up on her own eventually. She's not a kid anymore.
Anyway, I think we'd better get going. It's not like we have all the time in the world.
Well, if you're sure...
In that case, maybe I should stay behind and gently pry open the door to her heart.
I am sure my lute will be the perfect tool for the job!
You're never going to grow up, are you?
Sorry I blacked out for a second there, but hey, Agate's back! I'm glad nobody did anything completely bizarre like joking about him being a pederast. Who the fuck would even entertain such behavior???
Agate is the same as ever. The S-Craft rebalancing miiight have hurt Wild Rage a little, I'm not sure yet, but he still wastes everything in sight and he's still the only party member with both impede and delay crafts.
I was already worried about whether you were drawn here, but not knowing if you were okay was--
Okay, I get it! Stop hugging me!
...never mind me. You haven't been gettin' yourself hurt while I was away, have you?
N-No. I'm okay...
I had lots of people looking out for me.
Well, that's good. Now all that's left is to save the other guys who ended up trapped in stones and get the hell out of this weird place.
Next time you're heading out, take me with you. I don't feel like I'm gonna get what's going on unless I see it all for myself.
Haha. Daaamn. Someone's motivated.
...So, anyway... while the shadow towers were flat in structure, the dimensional space we're in is comprised of several floors, or 'planes.'
The farther we descend through the planes of this place, though, the more dangerous they're likely to become.
We're gonna have to keep our guard up. It's my first time seeing fiends up close and personal...although I suppose that's true of all of us. So the battles in here are one big learning experience with trying to work out how to handle them. But hey! All experience is good experience.
And yet as I search...it fades...into the sky...
Dancing with loneliness on the wind...
He was actually serious...
If this wish is doomed to fade...
without ever coming true...
Then may it leave at least a scar...
My first promise is one I cannot keep...
I keep your breath encased in amber...
Sealing within this eternal dream...
Is that REALLY the way you want to make your first impression on someone? And from the church, no less. At least play her a hymn or something!
I'm not sure his choice of song is the problem...
I don't think you want him attempting the Song of Solomon, either.
You're dealing with someone from the church, here. I'm not sure love songs are...appropriate.
He's a freakin' weirdo, but he does look cool when he's playing his lute...
Maybe he really is a prince?
Shockingly, that is the one thing about him that actually holds water.
Ries seems to have cheered up some now.
Heehee. I'm glad I decided to come over and talk to her.
...By the way, has Agate headed out already?
I was planning to make my move on Tita once he was out of the picture, but I don't want to try anything too soon and get caught in the act...
You do know I'm RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, right?
Wh-Where'd YOU come from?!
(I finally managed to get into the Gralsritter, I went through all that training... I was finally promoted to a squire...)
(...but after all that...)
-The Hermit's Garden-
Nothing in particular.
So you and Kevin grew up together, then?
Y-Yes, that's right...
This isn't the first time I've met a sister who's a bit...uh...unique.
But this one definitely fits the bill, all right.
So anyway, Estelle and I hurried there as fast as we could...
Oh! Estelle's the name of this bracer I know, by the way...
This was just when that floating city collapsed, so everyone was really busy...
You weren't on the floating city with Estelle, you little liar. Tell us about the time you two won the Martial Arts Competition.
Because of that, I couldn't go out shopping at aaaaaall...
(...How did she get on to shopping?)
Whew... Well, she seems to have calmed down a little, at least.
It's funny how the quieter ones are always the scariest once you piss them off, isn't it?
You better apologize to her later, you phony priest. You hear me?
I-I hear you...
I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't call me a phony priest, though... I am the real deal, you know.
I may loathe that masked jester, but at least they seem to always play by their own rules, if nothing else.
I just hope there's some way we can take advantage of that in order to defeat them.
I presume that means our next destination must be the fifth plane.
I wonder what kind of place that will be.
We have every reason to believe that there are still people sealed in stones in this land that we have yet to discover. Whether that is somewhere in Le Locle or on the next plane, I don't know...but we need to find them.
So let's keep going. Together.
Althooough, I'm also worried about Ries...
(Erk... Why do I get the feeling she knows more than she's letting on?)
(She's a sharp girl. She probably does.)