A Resonant Crowd
Baal runs into the crew and comments on Lyria's ability to resonate with primals. Particularly interested in the resonance that (Captain), Lyria, and Vyrn share, Baal expresses his wish to see them again soon before walking off.
Lyria: Phew... It sure is packed.
Vyrn: Careful, Lyria. Wouldn't want us to get lost in this crowd.
(Captain) and company walk along a busy street in a large town.
???: Hey, (Captain).
Lyria: That voice...
Baal: It's been a while.
Lyria: Wow, what a coincidence! Sure had me startled!
Baal is an old primal acquaintance of Medusa.
The crew ran into him when searching for Medusa's older sisters.
Vyrn: Sure wasn't expecting to see you here. Color me surprised.
Baal: What do you mean?
Lyria: Haha, I think I understand.
Lyria: Considering where we first met you, it does feel a bit strange to bump into you in the middle of a bustling town.
Baal: Well, it's never been my intention to live the life of a hermit wandering the wilderness.
Baal: Actually, between me and the other three primals, I'd say I'm the one most accustomed to the lifestyle of mortals.
Vyrn: Whoa, you? Color me even more surprised!
Baal: Would you stop being taken aback by everything I say... What do you take me for?
Lyria: Um... I thought you liked it nice and quiet...
Vyrn: Same here. I got the impression you couldn't stand noisy racket.
Baal: I'm not sure what sort of situation you're imagining when you say that...
Baal: But I'm not exactly against noisy places.
Vyrn: Oh yeah?
Baal: Even a disorderly cacophony may contain fresh new chords if you're willing to perk up your ears and listen to the melody...
Baal: It's something I rather enjoy doing.
Baal: I suppose it's beyond you two.
Lyria: I think I get it...
Lyria closes her eyes and covers her ears.
Lyria: I hear multiple running footsteps... Children... and their parents...
Lyria: A shopkeep is drawing in customers by shouting "Bargain sale!"...
There's the sound of carriage wheels...
Lyria: And the sound of a frying pan... I think those are... pancakes!
Lyria: Mm, they smell so good! Coming from the other side is the smell of grilled meat... Skewers maybe?
Vyrn: Whoa... How did we go from sounds of stuff to the scents of foods?
Lyria: Ah, good point! Ehehe...
Baal: It's not all that strange really.
Baal: The hustle and bustle we have here resonates to create a melody.
Baal shifts his gaze to Lyria once again.
Baal: Lyria, you were able to feel the resonance of the elements on that island as well.
Lyria: Is that...
Lyria: A primal beast? No... This is a strange feeling.
Satyr: Lyria, you can sense it too?
Medusa: She sure can! Useful, isn't she?
Satyr: Wow! That's great!
Lyria: But this time is different...
Lyria: This feels... weaker? Maybe wider? Like a wave, rippling out to shore...
Medusa: Not half bad!
Medusa: What you're feeling is an amplified elemental resonance reaction.
Lyria: Elemental resonance?
Nezha: Baal, Medusa, Medusa's sisters—they're all primal beasts of earth. And that prime earth crystal shares their nature.
Nezha: The very essence of earth that resides inside all of them begins to react when they draw close to one another.
Nezha: Well, that's in layman's terms of course.
Nezha: I understand the concept, but I can't quite reproduce the effect in the same fashion as Baal.
Baal: You obviously have sharp senses.
Baal looks intently at Lyria, a smile spreading across his face.
Lyria: Huh... You really think so?
Choose: Lyria's the best.
- Lyria's the best.
- That's close enough, Baal.
Lyria: Ehehe... I wouldn't go that far, but thanks.
Baal: I wasn't too sure about you guys when I heard you were friendly with that loudmouth, Medusa.Choose: That's close enough, Baal.
(Captain) gently tugs on Lyria's arm, getting in between her and Baal.
Vyrn: Ooh. Feeling jealous, (Captain)?
Baal: I wasn't too sure about you guys when I heard you were friendly with that loudmouth, Medusa.Continue 1
Baal: But at the very least, I think I can get along better with you than her.
Vyrn: Going back to what I said earlier, Baal... You don't mind noisy racket, right?
Baal: Mm-hm... What of it?
Vyrn: Yet you call Snake Girl a loudmouth. What is it that you've got against her?
Baal: Let's just say she and I have bad chemistry.
Lyria: Oh really?
Baal: That chatterbox has always dragged everyone and everything around her on her selfish whims.
Baal: Every time I gave her the time of day with an impromptu session, I only ended up getting tired out.
Vyrn: So you say you two have bad chemistry, but you still bother having that session thing with Snake Girl...
Baal: What are you trying to say?
Vyrn: You two are one-and-the-same. Especially in how you express your feelings.
Baal: How uncouth. Don't lump me in with her.
Vyrn: See, you just proved my point.
Baal turns on his heels without even trying to mask his chagrin.
Baal: See you around.
Lyria: Huh? You're going already?
After a few more steps, Baal turns back to gaze at the crew.
Baal: (They're sure to encounter many more primal beasts on their journey ahead.)
Baal: (Then perhaps my purpose should be...)
Lyria: Baal? Is everything okay?
Baal: I'm fine...
Baal: (The strange girl and dragon... and that capable skyfarer...)
Baal: (What connects the three of them...)
Baal: Is a cruel yet beautiful resonance.
Baal: We'll meet again.
His lips curved upward, Baal continues sauntering off.
The crew, in turn, waves goodbye as the primal disappears into the crowd.
New Musical Horizons
Although Baal has helped out various bands as a support member, he's never settled down in one band for the long term. However, Baal entertains the idea when he hears that an exceptionally unique musician named Aoidos has recently formed a band.
An outdoor music festival comes to an end.
Baal stands on the stage.
Bassist: Whew, you really carried us through that gig!
Having retired to a greenroom, Baal receives high praise from his bandmates.
Drummer: Nice work, Baally! Sure saved us back there!
Baal: The thanks is mine. I had a good time.
Bassist: Our guitarist suddenly quit... Who knows what would've happened if you weren't around.
Drummer: You're seriously the best support a band could ever ask for.
Baal: You guys aren't half bad yourselves.
Bassist: Coming from you, that means a lot!
Baal: (For mortals, that is...)
Bassist: Anyhoo, we were wondering...
Bassist: We've got another gig coming up soon. Any chance you can join us again?
Drummer: That'd be awesome—I'm totally for it! Actually you might as well become a regular member.
Baal: I appreciate the offer, but I'll pass.
Baal: I don't plan on settling down in any one place.
Bassist: Yeah, figures... Just had to ask though.
Drummer: Aw shucks. Guess the rumors about you being solely band support were true after all.
Baal: Rumors? People are talking about me?
Drummer: Sure are. You're known as the super-talented support guitarist who keeps to himself.
Drummer: "The number of invites Baally has turned down is untold... Will there ever be a band that catches his attention?" they say.
Baal: I see...
Baal: (I've hid my nature as a primal beast in my dealings with mortals these past five years...)
Baal: (There's always a group to kill time with, but I've yet to find a bunch I want to play music with for the long-term...)
Baal: (That's all it was really. Who would've guessed these rumors about me were brewing about...)
Bassist: There's been a lot more active bands in the scene lately.
Bassist: Even though you came on as just support, it was way cool to go up onstage with you.
Baal: You two make a mean ensemble.
Baal: I hope you'll find yourselves a decent guitarist.
Bassist: Thanks, man!
Drummer: Ah, that reminds me. I don't know if you guys have heard, but...
Bassist: What's up?
Drummer: The name Aoidos ring a bell?
Bassist: Oh, him? Word is he's formed a band.
Baal: Aoidos? Who's that?
Bassist: You never heard of the guy?
Baal: No... I take it he's a musician?
Drummer: Yep. He's a guitarist and singer with crazy charisma and skills. He's performed solo for the longest time.
Drummer: Was only recently that he formed a band.
Baal: Heh... So he's got what it takes, you say...
Drummer: I've been to one of his solo performances. He's the real deal.
Bassist: Sure does feel weird to know that he's actually in a band now.
Baal: Well, you two did mention that there are more bands around nowadays.
Baal: I wouldn't be too surprised if that affected Aoidos's judgement on the matter.
Bassist: I suppose you could say that...
Bassist: Then again, I'm not sure there are many folks out there who can keep up with him onstage.
Drummer: Good point. His style's really one of a kind, and the songs he writes are not easy to play.
Drummer: You've really gotta be up to snuff to team up with him.
Baal: Heh... Now I'm interested.
Bassist: You know, I think you'd be perfect for his band.
Drummer: Heck yeah! What I'd give to see you two performing live together!
Baal: He's a guitarist too?
Drummer: Ah, that's right...
Baal: The musical performances that are all the rage these days are put on by a guitarist, bassist, and drummer.
Baal: Only when this trio comes together can they be considered a band. At least that's what mortals have decided.
Drummer: Mortals? That's a strange way of putting it...
Bassist: You're right though. It's a real shame.
Baal: Either way, I'd still like to give his music a listen.
Drummer: Good call! Word is Aoidos's band is gonna be performing at some concert venue soon.
New Musical Horizons: Scene 2
On his way to see Aoidos's concert, Baal bumps into (Captain) and company. They take him to see Aoidos privately after the concert, and the two musicians enjoy an impromptu jam session. Aoidos is so impressed that he asks Baal to come on stage with him for his next gig.
Days later, Baal visits a certain town.
Baal: Now, where's that venue...
Baal—who's come to find the concert venue where Aoidos's band is scheduled to perform—stops in his tracks, his eyes fixated on the crowd ahead.
Baal: Isn't that...
Baal: Hey, you guys...
Lyria: Ah, it's Baal!
Baal: So we meet again.
Lyria: Mm-hm! What a coincidence that you're in this town too.
Vyrn: That's not your usual look... What's with the new getup?
Baal: I'm here today in the guise of a mortal. I wouldn't want any fellow primals to recognize me.
Lyria: Do you have some business here?
Baal: You could say that... Any chance you can tell me where the town's concert venue is?
Lyria: Ah! The concert venue?
Baal: You look awfully surprised...
Vyrn: Why would you be looking for that place anyway?
Baal: There's this guy called Aoidos who's going to be performing there.
Baal: Hm? What's with the smirk?
Lyria: Well, you see...
Vyrn: Me and Rackam are actually in his band.
Aoidos: Be in my band, Vermillios.
Rackam: Huh? Why would I do that? And who the hell is Vermillios?
Aoidos: Hey, what was that?
Vyrn: Huh? I just used my tail. Why?
Aoidos: How could I have overlooked this? A drum part no person can handle? Ha! Piece of cake for you!
Aoidos: Heh-heh! Our band is back in business!
Vyrn: I wasn't exactly in on it at first, but Aoidos isn't the type to listen.
Lyria: Ahaha... Before we knew it, Vyrn got dragged into today's performance.
Baal: So that's how it happened, huh... Looking forward to seeing you up there, Vyrn.
Baal arrives at the concert venue with (Captain) and Lyria.
Aoidos: The faint echo still ringing in my ears resembles the gentle winds of that day...
Aoidos: I stood on the deck of an airship and watched the boundless sky.
Aoidos: It failed to cover the gaping hole in my heart, but it accepted me for who I am.
Aoidos: Left behind in the passage of time... It was Vermillios's drowsy voice that pulled me back into this cruel reality.
Aoidos: "Whatcha doing in the middle of the night?" he whispered...
Baal: I have no idea what he just said.
Aoidos: You ready to rock, Vermillios?
Rackam: You bet.
Vyrn: Let's do this!
Aoidos: Okay! This'll be the night we seize our lost dreams...
Baal: This music...
Baal: (It seems complete, but that couldn't be farther from the truth...)
Baal: (The absence of a whole leads to hunger... And that's where he finds power.)
Baal: I guess those rumors about him were on the mark.
Baal: (Ever since I've begun mingling with mortals in the world of music...)
Baal: (This is the first time I've ever felt such intense passion well up inside me.)
Aoidos: Thank you! Till we meet again... I press my lips to the end of the world.
Spectator 1: Whooo!
Spectator 2: Heaven! Heaven!
Baal: (Nothing he says makes any sense though...)
After the performance, (Captain) and Lyria take Baal to see Aoidos.
Aoidos: Heya, (Captain), how'd you like the gig?
The two lock eyes.
Vyrn: What's with the sudden guitar plucking?
As if competing, or rather communicating with each other as fellow rock stars, they proceed to shred away on their guitars.
Their performances over, the two don't utter a word, but satisfaction is evident in their eyes.
Baal & Aoidos: Heh...
Lyria: Wow... That was amazing! Amazing and heavenly!
Aoidos: Superb... Absolutely superb!
Aoidos: Our session together heightened my pathos to new levels!
Baal: I wouldn't call the resonance between us pretty, but I definitely felt something light up within me.
Aoidos: Our colliding pathos will pave the way to new horizons and bring heaven upon this world!
Baal: Heaven? I've been wondering this whole time, but what exactly do you mean when—
Aoidos: Oh, don't be bashful! This wonderful encounter between the two of us was fate! A revelation of how cruel the world can be...
Aoidos: Hehe... Wouldn't you say so, little kitty?
Aoidos winks at the cat perched on Baal's shoulder.
Baal: His name's Hannibal. And he's no kitty.
Aoidos: Hahaha! He's a fashionable little kitty cat, just like you.
Did you hear a thing I just said?
Baal: (However, the concert and the impromptu session just now were extraordinary...)
Aoidos: Ah, yes! I'll need you to come onstage with us for tomorrow's gig!
Rackam: We've been called to perform at another venue in a nearby town tomorrow. They've got a few other bands lined up too.
Aoidos: Hahaha. Between the four of us, the world's gonna turn upside down and inside out...
Baal: I won't be going onstage.
Vyrn: Come to think of it... We don't really need two guitarists up there, do we?
Baal: What he said.
Aoidos: Hm? Whoever made a rule about restricting the number of guitars onstage?
Baal: You mortals did.
Aoidos: Well, one guitar is definitely the norm... Which means we'll just have to tear away at everyone's expectations!
Baal breathes a flustered sigh before shaking his head.
Baal: I'll find you later if I feel like it.
New Musical Horizons: Scene 3
The next day, when Baal drops by the concert venue and learns that there was a quarrel over the primal's possible participation, he decides to call it quits. The concert starts fine without him, but halfway through, one of Aoidos's guitar strings snaps off. Baal lends a helping hand by fixing the string and joining Aoidos on stage.
On the next day, an unsure Baal shows up in the town where the aforementioned gig is set to take place.
Baal: Letting him get into my head is the last thing I want, but...
Baal: (I try to respect the norms that mortals have in place. But a mortal like him doesn't give a second thought to breaking such norms...)
Baal: (Simply ignoring everything he said doesn't sit right with me either.)
By the time Baal arrives, a large crowd has already gathered in front of the venue.
Spectator 1: It's pretty rare for him to attend a battle of the bands.
Spectator 2: You talkin' about Aoidos? Man, I can't wait!
Baal: (Well, he's definitely a popular one.)
Sensing the people he seeks, Baal makes for the venue's back alley.
Aoidos: I don't get it... Tell me what's wrong with what I'm trying to do!
Host: You see, it's just—
Aoidos is in mid-altercation with someone who appears to be the host of the event.
Aoidos: All I want is another guitarist up there with me!
Host: Yeah, I don't know about that... It's never been done before, and it'd set a bad example for the other bands. Besides, we lack the equipment for—
Aoidos: Ahh, what a difficult and constricting world we live in!
Host: There's some leeway with your one-man shows, but for an event like this... Don't you think you're asking a bit much?
Host: Besides, where's your other guitarist anyway?
Aoidos: He's not here yet.
Host: At the very least, he needs to be on time for rehearsal, or you can just forget about it.
Host: If you keep fighting me on this, I might have to cancel your performance altogether.
Baal remains in the shadows and takes his leave.
Aoidos: And that's when I said...
Aoidos is onstage stirring up the crowd in his usual manner.
Vyrn: Hey, Rackam. We're real lucky that Aoidos has got it together.
Rackam: He might be keeping his cool right now, but he definitely wasn't okay...
Rackam: Yet he here he is nailing his job as MC... The mark of a real pro, I tell ya...
Aoidos: Let's go see it together—the end of a world colored by goodbyes!
Hannibal crawls in from a hole in the wall and watches the proceedings intently.
Aoidos: The merciless wail of time approaches its end... Alla breve!
Shortly before the performance comes to a proper close, a sharp snapping sound startles Aoidos.
His guitar string has snapped. Yet he does not let it deter him, and continues on with the show.
Spectator 1: Heaven!
Spectator 2: Eep! Aoidos, you're the greatest!
Aoidos: Sigh... What a cruel world. The jealousy of the gods rains down upon me...
Aoidos: But if you'll bear with me until the very end—
Hannibal drops down to the stage and approaches Aoidos.
Spectator 2: Hm? What's with the cat?
Vyrn: Isn't that Baal's kitty?
Hannibal reaches up and touches Aoidos's guitar.
A moment later, the broken string is back in its original working shape.
Aoidos: Heh... You rock, kitty cat.
Aoidos: Well then...
Aoidos: You ready to destroy the world with me?
Baal: I've no intention of destroying the world.
Spectator 1: What the!
Spectator 2: Who's that?
Rackam: So you decided to join us after all, eh?
Vyrn: Hahah! Just couldn't help yourself, huh?
Aoidos: Okay! A one, and a two...
Baal: Come on!
On this day, a new legend that will go on to shake the very foundations of the music world is born in the concert venue of this small town.
A new type of band that utilizes twin guitars is given life.
In time this innovation will surely send shockwaves across the skies and leave a significant mark on the history of music.
New Musical Horizons: Scene 4
After the concert, Aoidos asks Baal to join his band officially. Baal turns down the offer because of his nature as a primal beast. However, he would gladly consider joining the fiery musician onstage again someday.
With the performance over, (Captain) and company are now behind the concert venue.
Aoidos: That might've been my best gig ever! No, "best" is too cheap of a word for what that was!
Aoidos: What would it take for me to convey my feelings to you, Shados!
Baal: Wha? Shados? Is that supposed to be me?
Aoidos: This is where your legend begins, Shados. Join us as our newest member, and go down in history as one of the greats!
Vyrn: Sounds like a great idea. Especially considering how the audience ate up our performance!
Rackam: The guy running the event wasn't too keen on us having two guitarists at first, but I guess he changed his tune when he saw what a blast everyone was having.
Baal: I have no intentions of joining.
Aoidos: But why... Did you not feel the surging pathos in that precious time we shared?
Baal: It's not that I have any gripes with you or your music.
Baal: What it comes down to is... I'm a primal beast.
Baal: Because of that, I naturally experience any time we share together differently from you.
Baal: And that's never going to change. Nor can anything make up for it.
Aoidos: I don't see how that's a problem.
Aoidos: Any distance you might feel would only add that much more spice to our tunes!
Aoidos: We've got the musical power to blast through any and all obstacles until our hearts crisscross!
Aoidos: Even without words, the deep pathos in each of us will lead to mutual understanding! Tell me you know it!
Baal: Except we do have words.
Rackam: Yeah, we sure do...
Vyrn: Now if only Aoidos's words made a little more sense...
Baal: You're a crappy listener, but I do like the resonance you and I share. Wouldn't mind indulging in it again.
Aoidos: So you'll—
Baal: (He went from solo to a three-man band... and now he pursues even a more free-form style.)
Baal: (Perhaps involving myself in the ever-evolving culture of music that mortals are so fascinated with could be interesting.)
Baal: I won't become a permanent member. But if it's a support member you need...
Baal: I wouldn't mind joining you onstage again.
Aoidos: Good to know. This promise to meet again and share breathtaking moments... will no doubt lead my, no, our music to soaring heights!
Baal simply shrugs at Aoidos's words, yet a hint of joy can be found on the corners of his mouth.