12. Manoria Cathedral - The First Battlefield - Part 1
(The following four Missions should be available at this time:
1. Iron Overload
2. Bloodfang Redeux
3. Wrath of Gonzalez
4. Freelancer Fracas
Once these Missions have been completed...)
Lark: Look, all I'm saying is that you need to watch your tells. You'd be up more than 500G if you did.
Schala: And what would these tells be, exactly?
Lark: Well, your breathing quickens a bit when you get a good hand. A true observer doesn't look just at their opponent's face.
Schala: What are you...?
(Schala turns beet-red.)
Schala: Y-you shameless bastard!
Lark: Doesn't make it any less true. Also, a flustered opponent is more prone to making bad calls.
Schala: Who asked you, anyway?!
Glenn: Well, it's nice that those two are getting on again. Relatively speaking, anyway.
Reika: I guess you don't need to put them both in the time-out corner now.
(A bird flies into the room, perching atop a pole.)
Lark: Jeez, I hate it when they do that!
Schala: Did we get a message?
(Reika removes the note from the carrier pigeon and lets it free.)
Reika: This is...
Glenn: What? What?
Reika: We've been summoned to the Governess' estate!
Lark: Are you serious?
Schala: Wait, this soon? I thought we'd end up waiting longer.
Glenn: Let me see that!
Glenn: Oh man... This is authentic! If this pans out...
Lark: Alright! We've finally hit the Big Time!
Schala: I don't know about this. Isn't the Governess originally from Porre?
Lark: Normally, I'd agree. But our dealings with the RD have proven that at the very least, she's a sympathizer.
Schala: That's true.
Reika: Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!
(At the front gates...)
Guard: State your business.
Lark: We are here at the request of Lady Vastor.
Guard: Let me see that...
Guard: I'm gonna need to confirm this. Wait here.
(After a short time...)
Laura: You made it. I will escort you to Lady Carmillia. Follow me.
Laura: I believe this goes without saying, but please mind yourselves in front of the Governess.
Lark: What? Why's everyone looking at me like that?
Schala: Why indeed?
Glenn: Just keep it under control, Lark.
Reika: This whole thing could be a bust if you start flirting again.
(The large doors open, letting the party into the large audience chamber. Sitting on the throne is Governess Carmillia Vastor. Gilbert and Schwann are in the room as well.)
Laura: The Zweibreicht Company, Milady.
Carmillia: So these are them? Hmmm... They certainly aren't what I expected at all.
Lark: What is it you wish of us, Milady? If it is within our power, we will do our best to assist you. *bows*
Carmillia: My, so formal. Your are just full of surprises, aren't you?
Schala: (Am.. Am I seeing the same Lark, here?)
Carmillia: Very well. As you can see, we have drawn up an alliance with the Viper Clan of El Nido. What I am about to speak of must not leave this room.
Carmillia: It is no secret amongst us that Emperor Dalton is a despot. Although there is no sure way to remove him from power yet, at the very least we should be able to stifle what might he already has. Off the coast of Manoria, there is an off-shore laboratory known as the Aquarius Labs. Although unconfirmed, sources indicate that a new weapon is being cultivated.
Schwann: Great. As if they didn't have enough of them already.
Carmillia: From what we have been able to gather, this weapon has the potential to dwarf all of Porre's current armaments.
Lark: And you want this weapon for yourself, I take it.
Carmillia: You catch on fast. The problem is that not only is the weapon still in its testing phases, we have no intel on the inner workings of the complex itself. Both of these will take quite some time to deal with.
Gilbert: So what will you have us do in the meantime?
Carmillia: Officially, the Dragoons are here to discuss terms for our alliance. Unofficially, they will aid in the Dreamer's insurgency against Porre. As will the Zweibreicht Company.
Glenn: So keep doing what we've been doing?
Carmillia: After what happened with Zenan Bridge, would it really be so strange that those wanted in the Homeland ended up fighting with the insurgency?
Glenn: Good point.
Carmillia: That's what I thought. Now, if there is nothing else...
Lark: I have a couple of questions, if you would.
Lark: You mentioned the Homeland. Is Guardia not your home?
Glenn: Hey, what are you doing?
Carmillia: An odd question... Although I suppose it has merit. I may rule Guardia, but it is still a state owned by my birth home of Porre. I realize this may not be easy to believe, but it is because I love my home that I hate what Dalton has done to it. It is for that reason that I hope to one day overthrow him. So is that all?
Lark: Just one more. Suppose you succeed in overthrowing Dalton. What kind of world would you create?
Lark: After all, there have been too many who have suffered under Dalton's regime.
Carmillia: .......Ah. I had not noticed it earlier. So you are...
Carmillia: Yes, of course that would be a concern to you. Do not worry. Your people will be taken care of when the time comes.
Lark: Very well. That is all I needed to know.
Carmillia: If that is all, then I ask that you all head to Manoria Cathedral to speak with Rupert and his men. Also, until we will be able to begin the operation, the Archives will be open to any who need them.
Laura: Milady! If I may interject...
Carmillia: Permission granted. Make it quick.
Laura: I know these are our allies, but is it really wise to allow them access to such sensitive information?
Carmillia: Your concern is noted, but unnecessary. We cannot afford to have suspicions now at this juncture. Am I understood?
Laura: Y-yes, Milady.
Carmillia: In that case, this meeting is adjourned. Please be off.
(The others bow and leave the chamber. Outside...)
Glenn: Geez, you might have screwed us over back there, Lark!
Lark: There were things I needed to confirm.
Gilbert: A shrewd move, but necessary. I underestimated you.
Glenn: What? What's going on?
Lark: We'll discuss it back at HQ.
Schwann: And that would be where?
Reika: Huh? You're coming with us?
Gilbert: We've been all but ordered to work together, so we may as well pool our information.
Schala: That's a good idea.
Gilbert: I will rejoin you all shortly. I would like to peruse the Archives before we leave.
(A soldier walks up to Laura...)
Guard: Captain, the Governess requires a word with you. She sounded terse.
Laura: ....Yes, of course.
(Laura heads back into the chamber as the group leaves. Schala notices the guard locking the door behind him and running.)
Schala: (What on earth...?)
Schala: Guys, I think I'll catch up with you later.
Lark: Huh? Why?
Reika: Lark. Don't be rude! She probably just has to use the latrine.
Glenn: Now who's being rude?
Lark: Oh... right. *cough*
Reika: Though you probably should have asked Laura where the bathroom was...
Lark: *dragging Reika away* Okay, that's enough. We'll see you outside.
(After they leave...)
Schala: *sigh* For crap's sake, Reika... Still probably as good an excuse as I could find...
(Schala heads towards the big door and listens in. Inside the audience chamber...)
Laura: What is it you wanted from me?
Carmillia: Tell me something. What exactly were you thinking with your outburst earlier?
Laura: My... outburst? You mean the Archives? I was only trying to-
Carmillia: Help? All you did was embarrass me. What gave you the idea to even think of questioning my decision?!
Carmillia: If you ever try to undermine my authority again, I will have you flayed and sent to the stockades. Do I make myself clear?
Laura: But sister-!
Carmillia: *stands up angrily* SILENCE!! YOU KNOW BETTER THAN TO EVER CALL ME THAT!!!
Carmillia: *huff* *huff*
Carmillia: How many times must I remind you of this? You. Are. A. Bastard. Child. You will always be a bastard child. The fact that we share the same blood at all disgusts me.
Carmillia: The only reason I even allow you to exist is that you are at least a halfway competent soldier. But do not misunderstand me. You can always be replaced. All I need is a good reason. Are you going to give me that excuse?
Laura: N-no. Forgive me, Milady.
Carmillia: Tch. Pathetic. *turns her back* Now get out of my sight.
(Back to Schala, she hears the door unlock and bolts.)
Laura: Who's there?!
(In the hallway, Laura corners Schala...)
Laura: What are you doing?!
Schala: !! Ummm... C-could you tell me where the facilities are...? I seem to have gotten lost...
Laura: ......You were listening, weren't you?
Schala: *sigh* That obvious, huh?
Laura: Hmph. I suppose you would have found out sooner or later from the gossipmongers anyway, so I'll let this slide.
Schala: ......Why would you take that kind of abuse?
Laura: Any issues between the Governess and I are between myself and her. It is not your place.
Laura: Your friends are waiting for you.
(Heading into the Archives...)
Schala: You're still here? I thought you might have finished by now.
Gilbert: There are a few more documents I need to look over. The last few hundred didn't offer as much as I'd hoped.
Schala: Wait, few hundred?! Since the meeting ended?!
Gilbert: Well, my colleagues say I've always been able to process information quickly.
Schala: I can't tell wether or not to be impressed or frightened...
Gilbert: (The body has matured, but the resemblance is still uncanny. With her name as well...)
Gilbert: (This can't be a coincidence...)
Schala: Are you feeling okay...?
Gilbert: My apologies. You just remind me of someone I met briefly a long time ago.
Gilbert: Go on. I'm sure the others are waiting for you.
Schala: All right.
(At the front gates...)
Lark: Took you long enough.
Schala: Sorry. There was something I needed to check out.
Schala: It's... about the Governess.
Lark: Ah... So you think something's off, too.
Lark: Come on. We'll discuss it back home.
(At this moment, Schala is jostled by a strange man.)
Masked Man: Ahh, my apologies miss. Did I startle you?
(The Masked Man looks Schala over.)
Schala: W-what? What do you want?
Masked Man: Truly an enigma, this one...
Lark: Hey, you bothering her?
Schala: Let's go. I don't think I want to be here any longer...
(Lark and Schala leave the Masked Man to his musings.)
Masked Man: It's just as he said... I supposed it's to be expected.
(The Masked Man then seems to disappear into the shadows.)
(Back in the Archives...)
Gilbert: I received your letter, but still... I never thought I'd ever see you again like this.
(The Masked Man emerges from the shadows.)
Gilbert: So, what do you call yourself these days?
Masked Man: I haven't quite decided yet.
Masked Man: .....I ran into her outside.
Gilbert: I see. Did she recognize you?
Masked Man: No. In fact, I wager she was rather put off... Though I supposed I could have made a better first impression.
Masked Man: I want a second opinion. I'd rather not trust the word of that old fart.
Gilbert: ...I believe it's her. Even though she has no memories of back then.
Masked Man: Heh. Sounds familiar.
Gilbert: Given how things ended, I think it's for the best.
Masked Man: It's amazing how two hundred years can change a person, isn't it?
Gilbert: Indeed. I suppose in your case, it's only been six. Everyone always wondered where you disappeared to.
Gilbert: You couldn't let it go, could you?
Masked Man: With the way things ended... No. No I couldn't.
(As the Masked Man prepares to leave...)
Masked Man: Humanity suits you, Grobyc.
Gilbert: It's Gilbert, now.
Masked Man: Your old name, I take it?
Masked Man: Must be nice to go back...
(With that, the Masked Man disappears back into the shadows...)