Part 84: Very well, then--do as you will! Defeat me, and break this mask!-The Hermit's Garden-
fuck I just noticed I had Ingenuity 2 on both Kevin and Renne. run invalidated, lp ruined
I'm ready to go whenever you are. Just let me know when you want to leave.
(Running into her again should have been more strange than it actually was...)
(...but then again, she's always been right here with me in my heart.)
...Haha. I have no intention of trying to find Luci.
We'll meet again if it's meant to be. If it isn't, we won't. That's all there is to it. Right now, I'm a bracer, and that comes first.
He should be in a position where he can hear what's going on in Kilika's life, at least...
*sigh* If he's got something he wants to tell her, he should just go and tell her himself instead of asking me, though.
Anyway, next up is the fourth and final guardian.
Good luck out there, Joshua.
-Stairway to Gehenna-
Where are we...?
Looks like our friend's prepped an arena to have our final battle in.
It seems that way.
I can sense someone waiting for us right at the top of the staircase--someone really powerful. Let's go.
Man's Voice: Greetings also to you, one who seeks atonement for his past transgressions, a Stigma forever at his back.
Sorry for the wait!
Congratulations on moving your pieces this far across the game board. Should you defeat me, the final guardian, the end of this plane will finally be in sight.
Heh. Of course, that is a very big 'if.'
Can I ask you one thing before we begin?
Why do you wear that mask and hide your face from us?
Haha... What a foolish question. Because that is the will of my lord. What other reason could there possibly be?
The real one!
Your reason for being here is that the Lord of Phantasma wanted you to be, I don't doubt that...
...but you hiding your face from us isn't their will at all! Enough with the lies!
You all knew, huh?
Sorry... My own inability to face reality has only made things harder for everyone.
Hey! Don't try and shoulder all the blame for this yourself.
I think we all had our doubts. I know I did.
Yeah. Kevin's right.
I figured it out from the moment we met.
I just...couldn't bring myself to say it.
You seem to think you've worked something out, but I haven't got the faintest idea as to what.
If you're so sure you're right, why not go ahead and say it? That is, if you feel you honestly have the resolve to do so.
Why state the obvious when I'll see for myself after cracking that mask to bits, anyway? What matters most right now is that if we can't defeat you, there's no future for any of us.
So right now, I'm just going to leave who you really are out of the equation. Not because I'm afraid to face up to the truth or because I don't know what to do in the face of it...
...but because I must--and will--defeat you and overcome this trial before me!
...You're a hell of a standup guy, Joshua.
I'm so proud of you...
Heck yeah! I'm in!
Heehee. I suppose I don't mind playing backup.
I didn't think that was all it took to get your fighting spirit back!
Very well, then--do as you will! Defeat me, and break this mask!
-Silver Will (Zanmai)-
Here we go!
My name is Schwarzritter, rider of the black Dragion and guardian of the abyss. ...And in accordance to my pact with the Lord of Phantasma, I shall act as your next trial!
Let the battle begin!
You got it!
Rend your flesh...with the screams of this frozen sword!
Cassius didn't need any giant robot backup.
Tear 'em up!
Stat drops will work against D-Phantom, but the Schwarzritter is immune.
O dragon of the darkest black...
Spread thy wings and trample the earth below!!
Attacking instead of Earth Walling again was probably a mistake.
I can cure Renne to let her finish casting, at least.
The Splitzritters are dangerous, but focus on the real one if you can.
Sword of Abaddon's got a much smaller area than I thought.
Schwarzritter's clones will go down when he does.
-This Is Our Real Power!-
We were right, then...
It really is you...
Not that I can imagine this reunion has much meaning for you at this point.
Haha... You have no idea...
... I was...scared, I think.
I might have been given the chance to meet you again, but I knew from the start it was going to be short lived. I knew I'd have to go through the pain of losing you a second time...so I tried to pretend I had no idea who you were to avoid it. That's why you ended up with that mask--it was my own weakness and inability to face up to the truth.
I was summoned within this world to act as the final, strongest guardian. That much you already know. It was the Lord of Phantasma who called me.
But they weren't the one who decided I should wear this thing. That was likely all of you. This world changes as a result of one's thoughts and desires; it's not at all impossible for that to be the case.
I thought so...
Now, thanks to your efforts, my job here is finally done.
Heh. To tell you the truth, with that Dragion to support me, I didn't actually expect you to win.
Haha... I barely did.
With everyone here by my side, at that.
Well, working with others to achieve a goal isn't a sign of weakness.
You've become a lot stronger, too, Estelle Bright. I'm impressed. You've still got some way to go before you can equal your father, though.
Ahaha... No doubt. I won't get there by rushing things.
Just gotta keep at it one step at a time. And as long as I have Joshua, I'm sure I'll get there eventually.
Haha... I hope you will.
Joshua remarked on this back in Chapter 5, but no matter what metric you use--people who aided Kevin in his hunt for Weissmann, people who were close at hand when the Aureole disappeared, whatever else--Richard and Renne don't fit. It doesn't make any sense for the Lord of Phantasma to have brought those two here...unless the decision was left to Loewe.
The Gospel Plan devastated Richard's life, and while Loewe did help rescue Renne from a horrific existence, he also set her on the path to Enforcerdom. Maybe he'd take this chance to give a little back, as best he might.
As for you, Renne...I never even had the chance to say goodbye to you the first time, did I?
I'm sorry. I wouldn't have chosen to leave you that way.
It's not your fault.
Besides, if you and Joshua hadn't stepped in and saved me, I'd still be alone today.
So I'm not mad. I'll always be grateful to you.
Heehee. Under any other circumstances, I'd ask for you to pat my head one last time...
...but those claws of yours look like they'd kinda hurt, so maybe it's better if you don't.
Haha. I'm sorry there, too.
So, Kevin Graham. Can you finally have complete confidence in your theory?
Yep. Every last shred of doubt in my mind is gone.
I'll make sure everyone you care about gets home safe and sound. You can count on it, Loewe.
...In that case, count on you I shall.
I think this goes without saying, but the Lord of Phantasma is no ordinary foe. This won't be easy for you...but don't mistake what you need to do.
Thanks. I'll take the warning to heart.
...I guess this is it, huh?
Haha... I'm afraid so.
I can finally return to where I belong.
I delivered your sword to Karin, by the way.
Thank you... Don't worry about us. We'll be resting in peace together.
Was that someone standing next to him for a second there?
I'm fine. This was always how this was going to end.
Besides, the last time I lost him, all I did was act like a child who couldn't let go and worry him in his final moments... This time, I was actually able to properly say goodbye.
I'm really glad.
I'll leave everything to you now, Kevin.
Now that we've defeated the final guardian, that path along the scenic route should now be open. Let's head on over.
The one leading to the royal villa, right? Got it.