Part 86: I knew it.-The Black Ark-
Where did the warp circle go?
Well, that's foreboding.
Actually, thinking about it...
It's possible it was this door that was here first, and the warp appeared later and took its place.
Hmm... That would make sense.
-The Hermit's Garden-
The Bladelord's Emblem is more offensively-focused than the Divine Blade's, granting 100 STR, 20 DEF, 100 ATS, 100 ADF, 10 SPD, 50 DEX, 10 AGL, and 2 MOV.
It's a shame we can't see the moon from here, but the stars are pretty enough to make up for that.
...Don't say anything, Joshua. I knew everything from the very beginning.
I've got a really neat idea, actually. It's not often you have this many strange people in one place...
...so how about we all go and play hide-and-seek in that really black Glorious? Doesn't that sound exciting?
Y-Yeah, let's not do that...
Okay, I think it's about time we got moving.
Next up is the seventh plane, right? The first place the Lord of Phantasma made when they came in here or whatever. We're gonna need to be on guard while we're there, no doubt.
Heh. Sitting here, I can't help but think about the ancients who lived in the Liber Ark during its heyday.
I can't pretend to be an expert on why this paradise caused ruin by granting people's wishes...
...but I still believe people have the right to wish for their dreams to come true.
...Is that an empty glass I spy, Olivier? This won't do at all.
Should I pour you another one?
P-Please, no! Any more and my consciousness will escape me!
Joshua really has gotten a lot tougher and more dependable since he started his journey, by the looks of it.
I'm sure he still has plenty of room for improvement...
...but the same applies to all of us. I'm certainly no exception.
Both Joshua and Estelle really seem to have grown stronger and more dependable since they left on their journey.
And I'm looking forward to seeing just how much more they can grow by the end of it.
Heh. I still believe that people have the right to wish for their dreams to come true, even if the Aureole is no longer there to grant them.
I-I also believe I have the right to refuse libations in the face of danger. So please! No more!
I come to cheer you up, and you've already picked yourself up and dusted yourself off. You can lean on me ONCE in a while, you know? Having a big sister has its perks.
Haha... Well, I appreciate the sentiment. I really am fine, though.
If anything, right now, I'm actually grateful to the Lord of Phantasma. Thanks to them, I was actually able to say what I couldn't back on the Liber Ark.
Heh... Kind of like how I felt when I was able to meet Mom again through Luciola's illusion, then.
I hope Loewe's up there with Karin feeling just as peaceful as we do now.
Looking at this water kinda reminds me of the pond behind our house, actually.
You'd always sulk back there when we were kids.
...It sure would be nice if the three of us could sit by that lake together one day, huh? You, me, and Renne...
It's been a while since I felt so at ease.
However, I'm afraid I'm unable to ascertain anything about the area beyond it... I couldn't tell you why... Perhaps it, too, needs some sort of key in order to step inside.
Now we just need to keep walking towards it. For the sake of everyone we know, including those no longer with us because of the Aureole.
Let's see what this seventh plane has in store for us, shall we?
Be careful, Olivier.
Heh. But of course, my love!
And who, exactly, is your love?
...I can't help but feel that 2nd Lieutenant Lorence may have admired the colonel on a personal level, too.
While there's no doubt that 2nd Lieutenant Lorence used the Intelligence Division, I don't think that was the only reason he served in it.
While I don't have any hard evidence to back up my belief, I feel as though he felt a genuine sense of loyalty to the organization, too.
Not when I have work to be doing. The time to take on the Lord of Phantasma and bring all of this to an end seems to be almost upon us, too. We're almost there. Now that we've defeated the Schwarzritter, we should have taken all of the enemy's pieces.
All that remains is to settle the score with the Lord of Phantasma.
Come on! Have a drink of this and take a load off.
A-Ahaha... Sorry, Josette. I've always had this habit of getting really engrossed in things when I'm doing them.
I swear, this princess...
I don't know why she won't just rely on us some instead of trying to investigate by herself.
Thanks for worrying about me, Josette.
...you got to say farewell, Joshua?
I'm impressed you worked that out without me saying anything, Kloe. Heh. You're too sharp for your own good.
You just look like a huge burden's been lifted from your shoulders, that's all. Kind of gave it away to me.
Orbal guns are pretty delicate things, so you need to take them apart and give them a good clean once in a while to keep it in top working condition.
Heehee. I'm just taking a break for now.
I got a little too engrossed in reading the books over in the library area, you see.
This place is incredibly calming somehow, isn't it? I might've been more surprised than anything when I first found myself here, but now I'm actually quite comfortable.
If the Lord of Phantasma is the reason all of this is happening...what are they trying to achieve?
They have control of a world that can grant humanity's every wish... What else could they want from it?
*sigh* Heavy thinking like this isn't my strong point, I've gotta admit.
I wish Kilika was here to take on this job.
I only know part of the story... but I think Loewe must've always wanted a chance to properly say goodbye to Joshua, too.
And to Renne, too.
I'm happy he was finally given that chance. And that Joshua was able to say a proper goodbye to him, too.
I'm sure Joshua's just as happy in his own way.
Yeah. Me, too.
I'm glad Renne was able to say goodbye to him as well.
A shame, huh? I never expected to hear something like that from you.
Nevertheless, I appreciate the sentiment. Perhaps now that you have, you could read him a story from the Testaments?
...It would be my pleasure.
I am a sister of the church, after all.
Hmm... Okay, so...I'm not really sure on the details of what happened...
...but I know one thing for sure.
You're looking a lot brighter and more positive now, Joshua. I'm so happy for you!
That goes for you, too, Estelle!
And by that spring, seven bells gathered... May the two of them rest in peace.
And may all those who live have courage and be blessed.
Well, once again, we're in for some fun times up ahead.
No telling what it could be, but we'll have to walk through here eventually. Just take a deep breath and step inside, I guess.
*THREE DAYS LATER*
...It looks like there's some kind of condition for advancing into the next area in this case, too.
I think we might actually need to have Ries with us.
Do we, now?
How come her?
If my other theory is right--and I think it is--this is a fairly safe deduction to make.
Still, the fastest way to be sure is to give this a whirl. Let's get Ries and have her come with us.
-The Hermit's Garden-
Yes? What is it?
Could you come with me for a bit?
I'll explain why later. Although I probably won't need to.
Okay. I'll come.
This would be the perfect time to make sure Kevin and Ries have all the equipment and quartz you might possibly want, either on them or at least freely available--those two big shiny Emblems, a full set of gems, Divine Eye, Swiftness or Covert, the Time Gem, Falcon Eye and Detection perhaps, up-to-date weapons and armor, and a decent food stock. A quick stop at the CP pond wouldn't hurt, either...you know, just for luck.
...I knew it.
Oh? It's like we've ended up somewhere different entirely.
Oh, you're right.
-Cradle Where Feelings Rest-
Wait... Isn't that the church's emblem?!
Welcome to Aster House.
The place where Ries, Rufina, and I grew up together.