The Let's Play Archive

Trails in the Sky the 3rd

by Really Pants

Part 93: Star Door 15: Paradise

This sidestory contains references to sexual abuse.

If you have any reason to want to avoid such a subject, consider skipping this update.

-Primal Grounds-

Hell is for children.


I wander indifferently in a place that exists beyond good and evil; beyond life and death.

There is no fortune or misfortune. No happiness. No sadness.

White and black tear into me, heaven and earth torment me... I've been defiled.

Where does it begin, and where does it end?

I don't belong anywhere. I'm not going anywhere.

But the world just keeps on turning around me...

1. Paradise

-Stairway to Gehenna-

Voices: Which number would you like today?
You've been nominated, Renne. Be sure to treat our customer with care.

The place was simply known as 'Paradise.'

No doubt the building itself had a proper name, but none of us were ever told it.

Nor were we ever told exactly where in the land we were, or what we were doing here...

Or, indeed, how we ended up there to begin with.

Voice: Morning.
???: ...
Voice: Morning, Renne.
Renne: ...?

Boy: Oh, you've finally woken up.
Renne: Hi, Cross.

Cross: Heehee... Welcome to Paradise, Renne.

Welcome to Paradise.

Cross: I'm going to have to go, Renne. I've got to go and work.
Renne: Again?
Cross: Yeah. It's fine, though. I'll be back before long. Be a good girl and wait here in the meantime, okay?

Cross was always busy with work, and today was no different.

What exactly he did and where he did it, I didn't know, but whatever it was, it was clearly horrible.

He wasn't the only one, either.

The other children were always going out to work, too.

But for some reason, no one ever called me.

The other children became weaker and more emaciated by the day, and yet I spent my time eating delicious food and playing with dolls.

I, and only I, was somehow special.

Cross always referred to me as a princess.

Girl: Morning, Renne! It sure is beautiful out today, huh? Kinda stuffy in here, though. Let's open a window, okay?

This girl's name is Etta.

She was always smiling and brimming with curiosity, poking her nose into anything and everything in the room and earning a scolding from Cross for it.

Etta: Hey, you wanna play with me? I wanna play with dolls, too!
Renne: I don't mind, but do you even have the time? Don't you have work later? Or do you not have to go and wear any weird clothes today?
Etta: Cross is working at the moment, so I've got some free time. Heehee. He's sure been getting nominated a lot lately. Maybe that's just what people are into these days?

Etta was a somewhat precocious girl. She loved making stupid jokes and giggling away at them.

Adje, meanwhile, was more polite and mature. Perhaps that was why she was nominated by so many older men.

Another thing that stood out about her was the way she never once acted like she hated her work; no matter the day, she always performed with skill and care.

Renne: How come you never seem to hate your work, Adje? I thought it really hurt?
Adje: ...I'm fine. It's nothing you need to worry about, Renne. There's a few tricks that make it really simple to manage once you know them. So don't worry about me. You just focus on being happy like you always are.
Renne: ...Okay.
Adje: That's a good girl. If you're happy, I'm happy.

Then there was Quatre, whose small, delicate stature always ended with him being battered and played with roughly like he were some sort of doll.

Renne: Did you seriously end up getting beaten again?
Quatre: Y-Yeah... I don't know why, either. They said it's some kind of new game, but I don't get it...
Renne: ...
Quatre: Don't worry about me, Renne. I'm fine! Honest. I'm used to it. It doesn't even hurt me anymore. As long as I can come back and find you here, I can deal with anything.

Quatre was always bleeding out of our sight.

Maybe that was part of his charm.

I'm sure beautiful people must shed beautiful blood.

Then, finally, there was Cross. He was basically our leader.

Cross, Etta, Adje, Quatre, and me...

Each of them were so dear to me, and we spent all the time we could together in this one room.

To my understanding, there were other children in the building, but they didn't matter to me.

The only ones who did were the four friends I spent my days with--the four who lived in Paradise alongside me.

2. Princess

-Primal Grounds-

Renne: Hey, Cross? What happened to the others? How come it's just me and you in here now?

Cross: Ahaha. What are you talking about, Renne? What others? It's always been just you and me in here.
Renne: Really? Are you sure? I feel like there were more...
Cross: Nope, there weren't. It's always been just you and me.

It was only later when I realized it was Cross who had hidden the others from me.

Whether that was so I didn't have to worry about them or because things had gotten so bad he didn't even think I should see them, I don't know.

But he always tried to keep my eyes covered from the harsh reality of what was going on around me, so I could keep living in blissful ignorance.

Etta: Let me give you a useful tip, Renne: always be sure to say, 'It would be my pleasure.' Saying that makes everyone smile! No matter what you have to do or what people do to you, always respond with, 'It would be my pleasure.' Heehee. Funny how that works, right? After all, it's the customers you're pleasing, not you!

Adje: Let me give you one, too, then. I use this all the time. The best thing to do is try to imagine how your customer is feeling. Like, this must feel really good for them, they seem to love me doing this, or... It's not enough to make you stop feeling pain, but it does stop you needing to worry about doing unpleasant things. Always try to think about what you can do to make the customer happy. That's key.

Quatre: W-Well, I suppose I should say something, too... Umm... You should never cry and say you're sorry to a customer. Saying sorry just makes them want to hurt you more. No matter how much it hurts, no matter how sad you feel, don't ever cry. Don't ever say sorry, because no one forgives you even if you do.

Renne: Thanks, everyone. But I can't see myself needing any of these tips. I never have to do any work. All I have to do is sit in here and hug my dolls. I never have to leave this room.
Cross: And that's how it should be. You're our princess, and you're really, really important to us.

We're all here to protect you, and that's why we make it so you don't need to see a thing.


3. Game


Cross: What are you doing, Renne?
Renne: I'm drawing. Look! This is a monster. The monster that's got us locked up in here. It's got golden eyes and black scales, and its mouth's stained red with the blood of all the people it ate.
Cross: The color of sin, huh? How lovely.
Renne: Its stomach's got to be white, though. Otherwise you wouldn't know which side was the front.
Cross: Ahaha. That's very true.
Renne: ...? Where is everyone? Are they all out working?
Cross: ...Renne. There are no 'others.' There's only me and you here.

Renne: Really? Are you sure? I don't know...
Cross: I'm sure. From the very start, it's just been me and you. No others. Now let's draw together, shall we? Maybe we could draw a princess next? That'd be nice.

Cross was doing a good job at covering my eyes from the truth, but there was one thing he couldn't completely keep from me:

He was getting tired.

After the others disappeared, he started taking on all of the work himself. And because of that, slowly, he began to vanish, too.

Cross: Let's clean you up, Renne. You're really dirty today.
Renne: Thanks. You're always so kind.
Cross: ...I'm sorry, Renne. If I wasn't so hopeless... I swore I'd protect you, and yet...

Renne: What's wrong, Cross? You're not looking too good...
Cross: It's nothing. I'm fine.
Renne: ...Cross?
Cross: ... I just told you that I'm fine! ...This is all your fault.

Renne: ...Mine?
Cross: Yours. Everything is YOUR fault. You wasted no time in killing all the others. Why are you letting me live for so long?

It's all your fault. Why haven't you killed me?
It's all your fault. Why haven't you killed me?
It's all your fault. Why haven't you killed me?


I'm already dead as it is... Why won't you kill me?

4. Renne

Eventually, my first job came.

There was no one else to take it. There was no one else to go out in my place.

That's why I had to do it myself. I had to step outside that room for the first time.

-Stairway to Gehenna-

Owner: You've been nominated, Renne. Be sure to treat our customer with care.
Renne: ...
Owner: What are you doing, Renne? Just do what you usually do.
Renne: ...
Customer: What's going on here? I was led to believe number fifteen was special.
Owner: She's not normally like this, I can assure you. She's usually a good girl... I don't know what's gotten into her. She's our little angel, capable of meeting all of our customers' needs no matter what they may be. Come on, Renne. Say hello. You've done this enough times, now. What are you going to be today? A sweet doll? A cool boy?
Renne: ...That wasn't me.
Owner: ...What?
Renne: That wasn't me. That wasn't me.

Renne: That wasn't me! That wasn't me! That wasn't me! That wasn't me!

Someone says something. I close my ears like always.
Someone does something. I close my eyes like always.
I do just as I always do.

I do just as I always do.
I do just as I always do.

I do just as I always do and go out to work.

Ah, the water of life.

Cross once said that even those near to death could be full of energy again if they drank this.

He said he was made to drink it all the time, and that its taste was sweet and syrupy.

Owner: Drink up, Renne. I mixed quite a lot of syrup in today. Drink up, nicely and slowly. That's it... That's it... Make sure not to spill any, now. Drink up every last drop. ...Well, please take your time.

As the owner went to leave, his head seemed to distort slightly. Maybe he's getting old, or maybe he's just wearing a disguise of some kind...

...Oh, the medicine's started kicking in.

Customer: Well, Renne. Why don't we sit and have a little chat together?
Renne: It would be my pleasure.
Customer: You're always such a good girl.

It would be my pleasure.

It would be my pleasure.

It would be my pleasure. It would be my pleasure.
It would be my pleasure. It would be my pleasure.
It would be my pleasure. It would be my pleasure.

Renne: All of them have gone.

Silver-Haired Youth: What in...? Those subhuman monsters...
Black-Haired Boy: ... Can people even keep on living like this? Can you even call someone in this state alive?
Silver-Haired Youth: ... I'm guessing she inflicted all these cross-like marks on herself. Probably in order to maintain her own sanity.
Black-Haired Boy: ... She wanted to keep living that much...? (This is a living human...)

I want to see what she's alike when she's really alive, Loewe. Can we take her in to the society?

5. The Dream Goes On

-Cradle Where Feelings Rest-

'You're strong, Renne.' That was what Joshua told me one day.

...It wasn't something I'd heard before, either.

As an Enforcer candidate, 'Renne' proved to be exceptionally capable.

Then one day, Joshua disappeared.

And the world just kept on turning.

Renne: *sigh* Just where has Joshua gone, anyway? All he said was that he was going away to do a job and it was going to take a while... I wanted him to know that I've become a proper Enforcer now. I wanted to introduce him to my real Papa and Mama, too... ... Heehee. But I suppose all of that can wait. He'll come back eventually. I know he will. Then he can tell me all about what he did while he was away. But he'll definitely be back... He will...

Baby: ...*gurgle* *gurgle* *gurgle*
Renne: A baby? Heehee. How sweet.

Renne: He's so cute.

A brand new life, clean and pure, untainted by anything.

He's probably a good child. He'll be raised well, and grow up to be a fine, respectable adult.

Unlike me.

That path was closed to me long ago.

I hope you'll find happiness, nameless child.

Renne: ... ...Wh...y...?

Familiar Man: He really is cute, isn't he? He looks just like his mother. There, there... That's a good boy...
Familiar Woman: Heehee. I still regret what happened to our last child... but it looks like the Goddess didn't abandon us after all.
Familiar Man: Now, now. I thought we weren't going to talk about that anymore? We need to leave the past in the past.
Familiar Woman: I suppose you're right... It's sad, but it's probably what she would want, too.
Baby: *gurgle* *gurgle*
Familiar Woman: There we go... Who's a good little baby?

Renne. Impure children.

The past. 'What happened to our last child.'


That was what I was? From the very beginning?


I was... I... From the day I was born, I was...

Young Man's Voice: ...Renne.

Renne: ...Oh... ...Loewe...
Loewe: ... As Enforcers, we have the freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want. It's up to you what you want to do. I won't make that choice for you. I can't help but wonder whether they're even worth the effort of cutting down, but that is your choice to make.

I wander indifferently in a place that exists beyond good and evil; beyond life and death.

There is no fortune or misfortune. No happiness. No sadness.

White and black tear into me, heaven and earth torment me... I've been defiled.

Where does it begin, and where does it end?

I don't belong anywhere. I'm not going anywhere.

But the world just keeps on turning around me...

Unbeknownst to me, the world just kept on turning...

But that's fine.

The world is always turning for my sake.

That's why...I've got nothing to feel sad about.

Renne: Heehee...

Renne: I don't care about some silly impostors. They're not my real Papa and Mama. I have Pater-Mater now.


...It's so cold...

Thanks, Pater-Mater.
That's right. I'm in the right. I'm in the right.
I'm always happy. I'm always having fun.
Because I'm...

The world doesn't revolve just around you.
And it won't always change just because you demand it.

It should be obvious. Because I really care about you, Renne.

I won't lecture any more.
Renne, you answer how your heart tells you.


It's almost dawn.
Let's go.

We're going to Crossbell. Once we're high enough up, switch off your boosters and switch to your regular flight engines.

This Star Door has a whole different version that's dummied out in the game files. It's narrated in the same clinically dry style as the Salt Pale, Pater-Mater, and other report doors, which frankly does not work at all for such a heavy subject as this. I'm...not exactly glad for the change, but I'm glad that a lot of thought was obviously put into this Star Door's presentation. It's an undeniably horrifying story, but it doesn't feel pointless or cheap.

Side Story [Paradise] finished!
Received Nothingness.

'Without fail' just means a base 100% chance. It won't pierce enemy resistances.

Nothingness is probably best on Olivier or Ries. They've got Mirage slots, good ATS for that grab bag of elements, and wide-area craft attacks to spread ailments everywhere.