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De La Fille presses the crew for an admission of guilt, convinced that they research dark essence for the Empire. After the misunderstanding is cleared up, she demands that they allow her to join, so the crew is blessed with a new companion.
One day (Captain) and company are toasting their successful defeat of a cave-dwelling primal beast.
De La Fille: That will be enough of that. How about you speak the truth? Just admit that you're researching dark essence for the Empire.
De La Fille: My gems can see all! I hope you're ready for your day of judgment is at hand, scoundrels!
Rackam: How many times do we have to tell you? The Empire wants to destroy us!
Vyrn: Yeah! And you're gonna have to quit it with all that scoundrel stuff! (Captain)! Help me out here!
De La Fille: Eek! It's flying! What in blue blazes is a flying lizard doing here? You just... you stay right there...
De La Fille: Come no further! And put away that tail! Eek!
Katalina: What was that? Don't say that about his tail! That's part of the whole cuddly package!
Lyria: Exactly! It's all squishy! Give it a pat!
Vyrn: I've had it up to here with you! I'm not a lizard! Or a reptile! Or a scoundrel or whatever!
De La Fille: Still your tongue!
De La Fille: That staff you wield... is it not Kerykeion? The very tool used to swell the rotten banks of knowledge of the Empire?
De La Fille: We have a name for those who would lay hands on such a thing. Imperials! I'll have a confession or so help me, I'll... I'll...
Rackam: Whoa, whoa. She went from zero to a hundred real quick. I think we've gone as far as we can with words, (Captain)!
De La Fille: Heh... and so the wolf sheds its wool. Prepare yourselves, villains! No judgment rings more true than that of lithomanc—Eep?
Rackam: Well, I'm not about to start fighting women now! You leave us no choice... Run for it, (Captain)!
De La Fille: Hey! Heeey! Stop, you scoundrels! Retreat is for cowards!
The crew gives up on running. They hastily explain themselves, somehow managing to cool De La Fille off and clear up the misunderstanding.
De La Fille: So what you're saying is I might have put the cart ahead of the horse?
Rackam: Exactly. Righteousness is like a good sword... Just keep it pointed in the right direction.
De La Fille: Ah... fine words to live by!
De La Fille: So, like me, you're working to stem the flow of dark essence into this world. That's about the gist of it?
Rackam: Well, that's one of the things we're trying to do.
De La Fille: You said your name was... (Captain), yes? I presume you to be the leader of this crew, though your methods concerning dark essence leave much to be desired.
Vyrn: Tell us something we don't know! And get to the point already!
De La Fille: Eegh! Settle down now...
De La Fille: To put it simply, (Captain) doesn't inspire much confidence. Nor do the rest of you...
De La Fille: Perhaps I could condescend to join you... a fine prospect, yes?
Vyrn: Um... We don't inspire confidence? Have you even looked in a mirror lately?
Katalina: Ha ha ha! Indeed. Don't judge a book by its cover. I'll have you know (Captain) is perfectly reliable.
Rackam: That's right! And you're gonna have a rough time if you're scared of a little reptile...
De La Fille: Oh my! Have you no shame? Cast those pitying eyes elsewhere!
De La Fille: But I can see now. A hands-on lesson in lithomancy should be more than enough to convince you!
Rackam: Whoa! Slow your roll there, lady!
Katalina: Oh, wow! Lithomancy... That's really something!
De La Fille: It seems you've finally opened your eyes!
De La Fille: Isn't that so, (Captain)? Say you'll have me!
Vyrn: Why don't you just ask if you can come with us?
De La Fille: Nngh...
Katalina: He he... stubborn as a mule. But I'm pretty sure (Captain)'s mind is already made up. You're in.
Choose: Think of what would happen if I said no...
- Think of what would happen if I said no...
- Know dark essence and you are welcome!
De La Fille: How absurd! I'm doing this as a favor to you, so watch your mouth!
Rackam: Okay, okay, we get it! (Captain) wants you to come with us! Right?Choose: Know dark essence and you are welcome!
De La Fille: Well, why didn't you just say so earlier? Gracious me... Some people just can't help themselves.
Vyrn: Guess that's what we're working with. We're gonna have to be a little unconventional!
De La Fille: And how long do we plan on just standing around chatting? The enemy isn't simply going to wait!
Rackam: Ha ha ha! Looks like (Captain)'s been struck dumb!
Rackam: Alrighty! So, er... we're buddies now, right? Looking forward to it, miss.
Vyrn: We've got a lot of fun to look forward to! Make sure you go easy on us, Miss Gem!
De La Fille: Someone get this lizard away! Get it away!
Shared aims make strange bedfellows. And so De La Fille and the crew set out on a new adventure.
Though it does take some time for her to stop screaming at the sight of Vyrn.
The Cursed Stone
(Captain)'s crew and the new member De La Fille go to the ruins of a church said to house a magic stone. The noisy crew is discovered by monsters outside the church and battle ensues.
Rackam: Aw, man... you gotta be kidding me! Princess, didn't you say "Church of the Ancient City"?
Vyrn: This feels more like a haunted house...
De La Fille: Calling the church housing a legendary cursed magic stone a haunted house simply shows you have no sense of culture.
De La Fille: But I suppose such refined emotions are too much to expect of some reptile.
Vyrn: It's bad enough you called me a reptile, but I feel like you're denying my status as a living thing...
Rackam: Um... Princess. Why do you even want the cursed magic stone?
De La Fille: I simply can't allow an innocent gem to be given the disgraceful title of "cursed magic stone".
De La Fille: If it is indeed cursed, then I shall restore it to its original luster.
Vyrn: Uh-huh... I thought you were just doing this on a whim, but apparently you've thought this out.
De La Fille: Of course... Wait, what?
De La Fille: Nooo! H-hey! Wait! You reptile! Would you please stay away from me?
Vyrn: What's your problem? And I was just starting to like you!
Katalina: Ugh... You two really are friends, aren't you?
De La Fille: Me? Friends with this lizard? How very ridiculous!
Vyrn: My sentiments exactly! This uptight princess is the last kind of friend I need!
Katalina: Heh... Looks like you even think alike. Your bond is almost airtight...
Rackam: Okay! Just cut it out, people. (Captain) is looking confused here! Besides, take a look at that...
Rackam: Thanks to your little lovers' quarrel, some monsters've found us.
De La Fille: I do not fear the likes of those monsters. Let's go, (Captain)!
The Cursed Stone: Scene 2
The crew fights off some monsters and asks De La Fille about the cursed stone again. During her story the crew is attacked by more monsters.
Katalina: Wait a second... Where's Lyria gone to? I can't see her.
Vyrn: What's that, Lyria? You're afraid because I called this place a haunted house earlier?
Katalina: Lyria, there's nothing to be afraid of! I'm with you. Come on out.
Lyria: (Captain)... You sure there won't be any ghosts?
De La Fille: What a spoilt little child! Ghosts aren't nearly as scary as reptiles.
Lyria: Ugh... I-I'm not scared! I'm a big girl!
De La Fille: Very well then. As long as I'm with you, there's nothing to fear.
Vyrn: That princess sure talks big. She should just give Lyria some normal reassurance!
De La Fille: Mind your own business, you... What? Nooo!
De La Fille: I told you I don't like reptiles! And I also told you earlier to stay away from me!
Rackam: Okay, you two. That's enough.
Rackam: By the way, Princess... What kind of curse is on that magic stone?
De La Fille: If you're so interested, then I suppose I can tell you...
De La Fille: The cursed magic stone is said to bring misfortune to its bearer. A certain lord of a kingdom lost his wife and daughter...
De La Fille: A famous adventurer was beheaded for a crime he did not commit... And a scientist invented something that brought about a colossal war.
De La Fille: There are far too many sad tales involving the stone to count... Do you want to hear more?
Vyrn: I think that's enough! But what if (Captain) gets cursed by that infernal thing?
Katalina: Hey! Don't scare us like that. Can't you see that Lyria is afraid? Lyria, don't worry. I'll be by your side.
De La Fille: They're nothing but rumors. There's no way of knowing the truth behind the stories of a faraway land long in the past.
De La Fille: Anyway, there's no time to worry about these rumors! We've got company!
Vyrn: Okay! Let's beat them down! C'mon, (Captain)!
The Cursed Stone: Scene 3
The crew reaches the far end of the church. When they open the doors to a prayer room, they run into the dark aura of the magic stone. Monsters attracted to it surround (Captain) and the crew.
De La Fille: It's close. The cursed magic stone must be hidden in the prayer room up ahead.
Vyrn: Hey, maybe the church fell into ruin because of the magic stone.
Rackam: If that's true, then the dark aura of all the people it cursed could lie behind this door...
Katalina: Stop it! You're scaring Lyria!
De La Fille: Are you ready? If you want to turn back, now would be the time.
De La Fille: I'll see the truth behind the cursed magic stone with my own eyes!
Katalina: The malignancy of this aura is almost palpable! This is the power of the curse?
Rackam: This wasn't a rumor! I didn't really believe it, but this is the real thing!
Vyrn: Uh-oh. Looks like the stone's aura has attracted some monsters!
De La Fille: A sad gem haunted by evil. Unfortunately it is true...
De La Fille: Then there's only one thing left to do! As the royal representative of the Gem Domain, I shall bring back this stone's light!
Vyrn: (Captain) seems to agree with you, Princess! Leave the monsters to us!
De La Fille: I'm counting on you, (Captain)!
The Cursed Stone: Scene 4
De La Fille restores the magic stone's true light and then entrusts it to the just (Captain) so it will never be cursed again. The gem embarks on a new journey with (Captain).
Vyrn: Well, so much for those monsters! Princess, what happened to the cursed magic stone?
De La Fille: It's as if the magic stone is absorbing the power of my gems...
De La Fille: But take a look! This beauty is indeed the magic stone's true shine! Its true form!
Lyria: Wow... It's so pretty!
Katalina: It really is beautiful... I think I understand how people were charmed by this luster...
De La Fille: The beauty of the gem made people fight over it... and it absorbed their negative emotions over time.
Vyrn: And that negative energy tainted everything around it, right? Jewels are so mysterious!
De La Fille: Now that the gem has regained its original shine, it's my duty as a lithomancer to shape its future so it never loses it again.
Vyrn: What does it mean to shape the future of the gem?
De La Fille: It's simple. This gem has been reborn thanks to me.
De La Fille: And I shall be the one to determine who receives the protection of its luster.
De La Fille: One with a just heart... Yes. (Captain)! I entrust the gem to you.
Rackam: Hm? I thought you came all the way here because you wanted it for yourself.
De La Fille: You understand nothing. I only wanted to see this gem returned to its original beauty.
Vyrn: No, but... Are you sure it's going to be all right? (Captain), if you don't want the gem, just say so...
De La Fille: Silence, reptile! (Captain), I believe that it will be fine with you.
De La Fille: (Captain), may you be blessed by this gem...
For many long years, the cursed magic stone slept fitfully in a ruined church, abandoned by all.
But one day the sad stone was reborn at the hands of the jewel-loving princess De La Fille.
To ensure that it never again loses its restored shine, the gem now follows a new path in the hands of (Captain).
(Captain) and the others come across some bad news in town about the Gem Domain's products and how they bring misfortune to their buyers. Upon hearing that De La Fille's father, the king, had been attacked as a result of recent events, the crew hurry to pay him a visit.
The crew undertook an assignment to gather gems said to exist only in a particular coal mine.
Having successfully obtained the gems with De La Fille's aid, the crew has come to town to make the handoff.
Vyrn: Phew... Thanks a ton, Miss Gem! Your help made this assignment a real breeze!
De La Fille: No, no, just doing my part. The magnificent view there was worth it anyhow.
Lyria: Yeah, it really was beautiful in that mine, wasn't it! I can still picture the wispy light of those gems.
De La Fille: They're commonly known as fluorite, named after the same kind of fluorescent glow you might find on fireflies.
De La Fille: The way fluorite glows in the darkness is a view as picturesque as the Gem Domain itself.
De La Fille flushes as she happily recalls the many wondrous sights they found in the mine.
???: You remember that guy who traded with the Gem Domain? Apparently he's been left without a rupie to his name ever since his warehouse caught on fire.
De La Fille: ...?
De La Fille stops in her tracks upon hearing the name of her home from a merchant passing by.
Gossipy Merchant 2: Again? Feels like it's every other day that we hear about someone doing business with the Gem Domain, only to be struck by some sort of disaster later.
Gossipy Merchant 1: Well, they do have quite possibly the finest stock you can find anywhere. But with all these rumors going around, merchants have been staying far, far away lately.
De La Fille: The Gem Domain's goods bringing misfortune?
De La Fille: Why, that's impossible!
Vyrn: Hey! Wait up, Miss Gem!
Furious at the idea that her domain sells products which sow misfortune, the gem princess confronts the merchants.
De La Fille: You there! Could you tell me about that in greater detail?
Gossipy Merchant 1: You sure popped up outta nowhere... Don't tell me you had a stroke of bad luck too after buying from the Gem Domain?
De La Fille: No. The Gem Domain is my home. My name is De La Fille.
De La Fille: I find it hard to believe that items from my country are inviting misfortune. What other information do you have?
Gossipy Merchant 2: Just more cases of the same really. The rumors began spreading around two weeks ago.
Two weeks ago, terrible misfortune befell a jeweler who had cut a huge deal with the Gem Domain.
From having solid business transactions turning into huge losses, to having cargo shipments raided by bandits, to blackmail—he experienced it all.
Other merchants who had traded with the Gem Domain afterward experienced similar phenomena.
Gossipy Merchant 1: Wasn't just merchants either. Nobles who had purchased trinkets from the Gem Domain didn't have it any better—some suddenly lost their family fortune, and some even lost a loved one.
Gossipy Merchant 2: Word of it all spread like wildfire. It's now believed that dealing with the Gem Domain will have you cursed.
De La Fille: My goodness...
All this scandalous talk of her beloved country leaves De La Fille speechless.
Gossipy Merchant 2: Speaking of the Gem Domain, something big just went down there.
Gossipy Merchant 1: One of those suffering merchants attacked the domain's king in the name of vengeance.
De La Fille: No... Tell me that's not true!
Gossipy Merchant 1: Hate to break it to ya, but that's the hottest rumor going around for us peddlers right now.
The story goes that a prosperous merchant lost close to his entire life's savings soon after buying accessories from the Gem Domain.
As rumors of the alleged Gem Domain curse spread, the merchant sought revenge and attacked the nation's king.
Though he was quickly apprehended, the king suffered a severe injury.
Gossipy Merchant 2: What a fool. No matter how big your losses, attacking a king is just asking for disaster.
Gossipy Merchant 1: True... I guess losing everything pushed him over the edge.
De La Fille remains in a stupor as the merchants take their leave.
De La Fille: I... I can't believe all of this has been happening in my absence... Father...
Seeing the gem princess turn pale as a sheet, (Captain) tries to cheer her up.
Choose: Let's go to the Gem Domain.
- Let's go to the Gem Domain.
- Let's go see your father.
Lyria: Yeah, let's do that! We'll get to make sure your father's okay too!
De La Fille: H-hold it! The Gem Domain's problems don't concern any of you.
Lyria: That's not true! You're our friend, so your problems are our problems!
Lyria: That's what friends are for!Choose: Let's go see your father.
Vyrn: Yeah, it wouldn't hurt to check up on him.
Vyrn: Time to head back to the airship and set a course for the Gem Domain!
De La Fille: H-hold it! There's no need for any of you to get involved.
Vyrn: Are you hearin' yourself! There's no way we could leave you alone after hearing about everything that's gone down!Continue 1
De La Fille: But...
(Captain) explains that it would be unsafe for De La Fille to return home during such a precarious time.
As captain, (Captain) wouldn't feel right sending a crew member off to danger.
De La Fille: Very well. I'll take you up on the offer, (Captain).
De La Fille: Let us go to the Gem Domain together and uncover whatever nefarious plot is at work.
With a resolute nod, (Captain) and company make haste to the Gem Domain.
De La Fille: Father!
The crew has arrived at the Gem Domain's castle to check on the king's condition.
Making her hellos brief with the people she passed, De La Fille had headed straight for her father's private chambers.
Gem King: Fille... What are you doing here?
A look of disbelief crosses the king's visage as he rises to an upright posture on the bed.
De La Fille: I couldn't just sit still after hearing you were attacked... Are you feeling okay?
Gem King: Yes. I can't move freely yet, but fortunately the wound isn't too deep.
Gem King: I'm sorry for worrying you. Though I may be bedridden, I'm sure I'll recover in due time.
De La Fille: Oh, Father...
De La Fille: Sniff...
The dam finally breaks, and tears spill down De La Fille's cheeks.
Pained to see his daughter so upset, the king gently strokes her head.
Lyria: I wonder if her father's okay...
Vyrn: Judging from the king's voice, I'd say he's doing all right.
(Captain) and company wait in the hall while De La Fille speaks to her father.
De La Fille: My father calls for you all. Please come in and say hello.
Vyrn: You sure it'd be okay for us to enter the king's bedroom?
Gem King: My apologies, but I am immobile. I wish to see your faces. Won't you please grant me that favor?
De La Fille: Teehee. Well, you heard it yourself.
(Captain) and company timidly pass through the door.
Gem King: Well met, everyone. Thank you for going out of your way to pay me a visit.
Lyria: Um, I, er... I trust you're in good health, Your Majesty... Ahem...
Gem King: Hahaha, there is no need to stand on ceremony, young one. Seeing my beloved daughter has been most invigorating.
Gem King: Forgive my absence of manners as I remain in bed. But you have my utmost gratitude.
(Captain), making sure to stand upright, responds with a sincere nod.
Vyrn: So you know about us, Gem King?
Gem King: Indeed, I do. Fille's letters often mention you all in length.
Gem King: Thank you for taking such great care of my daughter. I am in your debt.
The king tries to get up to bow, but the crew stops him.
With introductions out of the way, (Captain) and company broach the subject of recent happenings in the Gem Domain.
Gem King: Hm... So I see that word spread far and wide.
De La Fille: Please fill us in on what is happening in the domain.
Gem King: Mm.
With a sigh, the king begins to tell his story.
Gem King: It all started roughly a month ago. A merchant whinged about defective gems in the supply we were exporting.
The gems in question were confirmed to be defective, and the merchant was immediately given new ones as a replacement.
The merchant was not seen for a while. Word got out that he was recovering from terrible misfortune.
At first, no one suspected that gems might have anything to do with it.
Gem King: But then all the merchants who had dealings with us fell to terrible afflictions one after another...
Gem King: Our trade gradually plummeted, and now potential buyers turn away as soon as they hear that the stone is of Gem Domain make.
The king launched an investigation on all the gems and accessories traded in the domain.
Vyrn: Do you have any leads yet?
The king shakes his head.
Gem King: I looked into the matter both publicly and privately but could find nothing wrong with our gems.
Gem King: However, it does not change the fact that defective product was still being passed around in the market. Something had to be going on.
Gem King: I decided to go into town to appraise the gems myself.
De La Fille: That must be when the bandit struck, I imagine.
Gem King: Indeed, I was caught unawares. I feared for the stability of the domain.
Vyrn: Is it that bad? I mean, a cutoff to trade would suck for the economy, but...
De La Fille: Actually, the current situation could even lead to war.
Lyria: Huh? How so?
De La Fille: It's been known since antiquity that the Gem Domain's stones, and lithomancy itself, are unique to our domain.
De La Fille: Our gemstones are so prized that they are often used as gifts among royalty.
De La Fille: If a royal were to suffer the type of misfortune we've been hearing of, the Gem Domain could be accused of placing a curse on them.
De La Fille: Worst-case scenario, they could declare war on us.
Gem King: Just like that merchant declared war on me in his own way.
Vyrn: Wow, who'da thought a problem with one little knickknack could totally blow up like this, huh...
De La Fille: Legends speak of a war that was fought over a necklace.
De La Fille: I did not envision the day that our gemstones, traditionally symbols of friendship, could potentially turn out to be the spark for war...
Taking in the weight of her words, (Captain) and company trade nervous glances.
Gem King: Rumors give way to more rumors, and now even the populace is growing suspicious.
Gem King: As pressing as the situation is, I remain confined to my bed... How pitiable for a king.
Seeing her father's fists clenched, De La Fille musters the resolve to take action.
De La Fille: Father. Please leave the matter to me.
De La Fille: We royalty must act, lest the people grow uneasy. I promise to bring this matter to a peaceful resolution in your stead, Father!
Gem King: Nay! I forbid it, Fille!
The gem king bolts upright, scrunching up his face in pain.
Gem King: Nhg! Urk... If anything were to happen to you...
De La Fille: Dearest father. Surely you understand how dependable my travel companions here are?
(Captain) gives them a reassuring thumbs-up as De La Fille looks over.
Lyria: That's right! We'll solve this together!
Vyrn: If anyone tries attacking us, we'll just have to beat them at their own game!
De La Fille: Well, you heard it yourself. Please be at ease and focus on your recovery, Father.
Gem King: Sigh... What can I say? You really are my daughter.
Gem King: (Captain)... I apologize for my poor display of hospitality, but I trust you'll keep Fille safe.
De La Fille: You can be sure of that! We'll be back with good news.
And so the crew heads out into town to investigate the matter plaguing the Gem Domain.
Sparkle of Hope
The crew meet a boy named Cyril. He tells them his sister, Coralie, is the one who made the necklace from stones she had picked up. When they go to see her, they witness Coralie working deliriously despite her battered hands. (Captain) and company quickly pull her away from the table and she loses consciousness.
"Buy from the Gem Domain, and your luck will run out."
Investigating this rumor led the crew to one particular necklace.
Adorning this necklace were gems created by synthesis—a practice expressly forbidden by the Gem Domain.
Suspecting that the piece of jewelry is directly tied to the recent scuttlebutt, they begin searching for its maker.
Gem Shop Clerk: Strange. I'm positive I heard his name, but I just can't remember it...
Lyria: I see...
Lyria: Well, thank you anyway!
Though many have come across the platinum necklace, none seem to remember the name of who made it.
De La Fille: (Captain)! How did things fare on your end?
Not too well? Hm...
Lyria: Did you have better luck, De La Fille?
De La Fille: Unfortunately, no. It just goes to show how powerful these synthetic gems are...
De La Fille: But lamenting over it won't do us any good. Let's try the next neighborhood.
Lyria: You're right. Maybe we'll have better luck—Huh?
Vyrn: Lyria, what's wrong?
Lyria: That boy was staring at us... But he's gone now.
(Captain) follows Lyria's line of sight but finds no one there.
Though curious, the crew decides to move on and continue gathering info.
The crew spends nearly an hour speaking with residents in another area.
Lyria: Ah... It's that child again.
Lyria's eyes wander down the alleyway.
Vyrn: The same one from before?
Lyria: Yeah. I only caught a glimpse of him, but I'm sure of it.
From the youth's evasive behavior, the crew hazards a guess that he may be spying on them.
De La Fille: So he followed us all the way here.
Vyrn: Ya think that little kid's got somethin' to do with the whole situation?
De La Fille: I couldn't say. Perhaps we should try talking to him.
Huddled together and speaking in hushed tones, the others nod in agreement.
De La Fille: You there, child. What is your business with us?
Mysterious Boy: ...!
Just as De La Fille tries to close the distance between them, the boy takes off in a panic.
Vyrn: Aw, not again! We just wanna talk!
De La Fille: He was eyeing this necklace the entire time.
De La Fille: He must be connected to all this somehow. Let's go after him, (Captain)!
The crew follows behind Vyrn, who is already in pursuit.
Mysterious Boy: Ah!
Vyrn: Heheh! There's no way outta this! Give it up already!
Reaching a dead end, the boy looks back toward the crew in desperation.
De La Fille: We just want to have a little chat. Why were you tailing us?
Mysterious Boy: I... I wasn't.
De La Fille: I don't want to push you too hard, but the Gem Domain is in a state of crisis.
De La Fille: If there are other items stirring mischief like this necklace, war may become a reality, you see.
Mysterious Boy: ...!
The boy turns pale and clenches his teeth at the gem princess's words.
De La Fille: I'm De La Fille. What's your name?
Mysterious Boy: Cyril.
De La Fille: Cyril, what can you tell me about this necklace?
After a moment of silence, the boy answers.
Cyril: It was probably Coralie who made the necklace. She's my sister and works as a lapidary.
De La Fille: Your sister, you say?
Cyril: Mm-hm... I'm pretty sure of it. She's good with platinum filigree and uses that kind of design a lot.
De La Fille: Why would your sister use stones that bring misfortune!
Cyril: No, that's not it! Sis wasn't trying to hurt anyone! But she has been acting strange...
Cyril: She fell into a creative slump that started to affect sales... So she went to the Gem Forest.
Cyril: It was there that Sis picked up a strange stone we'd never seen before... She hasn't been the same since then...
De La Fille: A slump... The Gem Forest and unfamiliar stones? Hm...
De La Fille: Cyril, I'd like to meet your sister.
Cyril: Huh? B-but...
De La Fille: I need to take the initiative. For the sake of your sister... and everyone else in the Gem Domain.
Cyril: Okay. Follow me—Sis's workshop is on the outskirts of town.
With Cyril leading the way, the crew arrives at Coralie's workshop. They glance around the premises.
Faint sounds can be heard from the other side of the workshop's door. De La Fille gives Cyril a quick nod.
Cyril: Hey, Sis. I brought Princess Fille with me. She'd love to see your work.
There is no response.
Lowering his brows in puzzlement, Cyril quietly opens the door and calls out once more.
Lyria: She seems really focused...
Cyril: I come to check on her sometimes, and she's always like this. Doesn't eat much either...
The fact that Coralie doesn't budge even as (Captain) and company enter is a testament to her level of concentration.
Vyrn: Hm, what's that smell?
Vyrn catches a whiff of something unusual and follows the scent.
Aghast at what he sees, the little dragon shrieks in surprise.
Vyrn: Holy smokes! Are your hands okay?
De La Fille: What is it?
The rest of the crew is equally taken aback when they see Coralie's hands stained bright red.
It is a grotesque sight. Fresh blood spills from her badly bruised, cut-up hands onto the beautiful platinum.
Lyria: Oh no! She's hurt bad!
De La Fille: We must stop her at once!
(Captain) nods and attempts to pry the lapidary away from the table.
But Coralie's hands do not stop.
Coralie: No! Do not get in my way!
De La Fille: ...!
What are you saying! Do you realize how battered up your hands are?
Coralie: I have to do this!
Coralie: More gems! More, more, more, more, more!
De La Fille: Rgh! How are you so strong!
As if possessed by a demon, Coralie's power almost seems supernatural as she shrugs off the crew's advance and continues chanting.
Cyril: Stop it, Sis!
As if on cue, Coralie collapses forward in a heap.
De La Fille: She's lost consciousness...
All have their eyes fixed on Coralie, still coming to terms with what they just witnessed.
De La Fille: Let's bring her to a doctor.
De La Fille: She's completely emaciated, and her hands need patching up.
Sharing equal concern for Coralie's condition, (Captain) gives a subtle nod.
As the mystery deepens, the crew rushes Coralie to a doctor.
Sparkle of Hope: Scene 2
After taking Coralie to the doctor, (Captain) and the others return to the young lapidary's workshop and find a number of black, synthetic stones. De La Fille explains that these rocks are not native to the Gem Domain, and suspects they were abandoned by an outsider. The crew heads to the Gem Forest to uncover more.
The crew has taken the collapsed lapidary, Coralie, to a doctor's office.
According to the doctor's diagnosis, Coralie suffers from excessive fatigue and nutritional deficiency but is expected to pull through.
Lyria: Thank goodness. Sounds like her hands will be okay too.
Sitting beside his unconscious, resting sister, Cyril clenches his fists as if to fight back his tears.
Cyril: Darn it... I'm so sorry, Sis. I don't know what I could've done to stop things from getting this far, but I should've done something...
De La Fille: Stop scolding yourself. None of this is your fault.
De La Fille: Your sister's also a victim of those wretched stones. They're the true cause of it all.
De La Fille looks to the slumbering Coralie with a stern expression.
De La Fille: So about those stones your sister brought back from the Gem Forest... Do you know where they are right now?
Cyril: They should be in the workshop... Sis hid them away when I tried getting rid of them.
Cyril: Those rocks have done us nothing but harm... They're probably the reason I feel sick the moment I enter the workshop.
De La Fille: Leave the matter to us.
With Cyril's approval to seek out the mysterious stones, the crew make their way to the workshop.
The Three: ...
The crew can't help but utter a gasp of surprise at the wondrous display of platinum handiwork lining the shelves.
Vyrn: Now that is one impressive collection...
Lyria: It's all so intricate and beautiful... I can tell this work means so much to her.
De La Fille: To lapidaries of the Gem Domain, their work is their life.
De La Fille: But these pieces have lost their luster... Taken by the accursed gems, no doubt.
The sight of so many dulled works of art pains her heart, but De La Fille feels her resolve strengthening.
They spend some time looking through the workshop.
Lyria: (Captain)! Look, over here!
The captain goes over to Lyria, who is looking around the workbench.
Lyria: There's a box underneath the table. Maybe what we're looking for is in there?
(Captain) turns to the steel box tucked away in the corner that Lyria points at.
(Captain) pulls it out and carefully opens the lid.
Vyrn: That's a lotta pitch-black rocks.
De La Fille: Yes...
De La Fille: There's no mistaking it. These stones are a prime source of bad luck.
Lyria: But the ones on the necklace weren't this dark.
De La Fille: Take a look at this.
De La Fille produces a small gem and places it on a magic circle etched on the desk.
Lyria: Ah... The sparkly gem melted away into the dark one...
De La Fille: That's how they consume the light. Repeat this process enough times and you end up with a beautiful synthetic gem.
De La Fille swings a hammer down on the black stone.
A rainbow sparkle glimmers from its cross-section.
Vyrn: The kid mentioned these came from the Gem Forest, right?
De La Fille: Yes. But these aren't stones you'd normally find in the Gem Domain. Someone must have discarded them there...
De La Fille: No one local would do such a thing. It can only be the work of an outsider!
Choose: Let's go nab ourselves a criminal!
- Let's go nab ourselves a criminal!
De La Fille: Right. We can start by digging up whatever proof we can of the person's identity!
Having found the source of the whole fiasco in the young lapidary's workshop...
The crew makes for the Gem Forest in hopes of uncovering more information about the true culprit.
Sparkle of Hope: Scene 3
The crew arrives at the Great Gem, a large stone responsible for keeping the Gem Forest alive, only to find it dark and clouded. Suddenly, they are surrounded by tormented voices, and a black mass formed from the people's negativity jumps out from the Great Gem to attack De La Fille.
The crew has come to the Gem Forest in hopes of finding the black stones' point of origin.
True to its name, the forest is brimming with the dreamlike resplendence of fantastical gems as far as the eye can see.
Vyrn: A real treat for the eyes... The trees down there look like they're made of gold and gems.
Lyria: Wow, I can't believe there are gem nuts growing! Flowers too!
De La Fille: The people of our domain take pride in the Gem Forest's beauty. After all, the peerless shine we send out to share with all the skies stems from this wonderful nature's bounty.
De La Fille: I was hoping to take you on a proper tour, but given the circumstances...
Lyria: I imagine people from other islands would want to pick this forest clean...
De La Fille: That's certainly one reason we don't usually allow outsiders here.
Vyrn: One reason? What are the others?
De La Fille: Nestled deep in the heart of this forest is the Great Gem. If any black stones were to make contact with that...
De La Fille: The rich, ephemeral beauty you see before us would become a thing of the past. The Gem Domain would no longer be the world's supplier of gems.
De La Fille: It'd be a national crisis.
While keeping an eye out for black stones and anything else that might be out of place, the crew proceeds deeper into the forest.
(Captain), scanning their surroundings, comes to a halt upon spotting black stains on some leaves.
De La Fille: What's wrong? Did you find something?
(Captain) points to the stains in response.
De La Fille: Oh my...
Her face turning grim, De La Fille carefully surveys the area pointed out by the captain.
De La Fille: It appears only the gems in this direction have begun to wither.
Choose: Gems can wither?
- Gems can wither?
- What are the black stains?
De La Fille: Yes. Or at least that's what we call it when stones of the Gem Forest lose their power and luster.
De La Fille: After all, the gems here take root in nature like trees and plants do, you see.Choose: What are the black stains?
De La Fille: They start to manifest when gems lose their power and luster, you see.
De La Fille: Since there's no way to reverse the change, we call it "withering."Continue 1
De La Fille: It seems the further we go down this path, the more withered the stones.
De La Fille: I believe we're on to something. Let us make haste!
The crew proceeds along the ominous, narrow path...
Until they come to a dead end.
De La Fille: Oh dear!
(Captain) and company find a large crystal nestled in a tangle of vines.
A dim though turbid cloudiness seems to have overtaken the Great Gem, which is largely responsible for the forest's lapidarian nature.
???: I have to do this... Have to keep going... Otherwise I'm nothing but a failure of a lapidary!
Lyria: That voice... Isn't it Coralie? Where's it coming from?
???: I'm fresh out of ideas... I could do that, but it'd be seen as a complete rip-off!
De La Fille: Could this be...
???: Nuh-uh... I couldn't possibly do that!
De La Fille: Are these the voices of the domain's lapidaries?
Sad, tormented voices intermingle and ring out.
These voices tell of the struggles faced by the domain's gem cutters.
Great Gem: ...
Vyrn: Guys! It started glowing!
With a shrill sound, their surroundings begin to light up.
Sad Lapidary: When the hell did platinum craftsmanship start going out of fashion! I've built my entire living on this stuff...
Sad Lapidary: But without a single buyer for this long, I might as well be the laughing stock of the entire neighborhood...
The people of the Gem Domain find meaning and joy in their lives by producing the finest product they possibly can as lapidaries.
In a way, public perception is shaped based on the quality of one's goods.
Put out enough irreputable products and merchants will begin speaking ill, leading to a damaged reputation.
Paying too much heed to the vox populi can be rather damaging to one's psyche and well-being.
Coralie: If I don't come up with something new by the next shipment, they're going to terminate my contract...
Coralie: Sniff... I'm a complete failure as a lapidary...
Lapidaries who fail to meet popular demand for months on end may lose their contract with a merchant.
Once word of such disrepute gets around, negotiations with other merchants becomes that much more difficult.
De La Fille: That must be what the Great Gem sees... I had no idea...
De La Fille is reeling from what she had just witnessed.
It is now evident that lapidaries who'd fallen into a slump, unable to confide in anyone, were coming to the Gem Forest to vent their innermost feelings.
All the lament and pain these people were feeling accumulated within the smaller gems, but the Great Gem was able to gradually cleanse the forest.
However, there came a point when even the Great Gem could no longer keep up the pace and began to have its own buildup of negativity.
Lyria: So that dark haze in the Great Gem represents the people's sadness?
De La Fille: I can't think of any other explanation. And what I thought were artificially created synthetic gems were actually...
De La Fille turns to the many black stones lying around the Great Gem.
Among them are ones giving off a luster identical to the ones found at Coralie's workshop.
De La Fille: The Great Gem's buildup of impurity prevented it from birthing healthy, new gemstones...
De La Fille: But I might be able to do something about it.
De La Fille slowly walks up to the Great Gem.
What happens next comes as a surprise to all.
Great Gem: ...!
Lyria: Watch out! De La Fille!
Great Gem's Taint: ...!
The black mass of taint takes on a physical form and attacks De La Fille.
De La Fille: (Captain)! It's up to us to wipe the forest of this taint and restore its natural beauty!
Sparkle of Hope: Scene 4
(Captain) and company successfully subdue the tainted mass and the large stone crumbles, leaving behind a gem sprout that will grow into a new Great Gem. They return to town to find Coralie awake and back to normal. Through this incident, De La Fille strengthens her resolve to be a strong leader for her people and decides to continue learning as much as she can from her journey with the crew.
Great Gem's Taint: ...
The crew fends off the corporeal mass of taint. A loud, cracking sound fills their ears.
Lyria: Ah! The Great Gem—
De La Fille: No... Were we too late?
(Captain) and company's shoulders droop at the sight of the Great Gem crumbling to pieces.
Looking carefully at the hollow in the tree which the Great Gem was embedded in, De La Fille spots something and comes to a realization.
Vyrn: What's that? Another gem?
De La Fille: It's a gem sprout! With enough time, it should grow back into the Great Gem.
De La Fille: Thank goodness... I thought it might be lost forever, but it's simply taken a different form.
Vyrn: So the forest is all good then?
De La Fille: We'll have to be extremely careful until the Great Gem's proper form is restored, but...
De La Fille: Yes, things should start settling down now.
De La Fille: Of course, we can't just leave the withered stones and trees like this.
De La Fille: I'll have to ask Father to thin the affected parts.
De La Fille: Before we head back, let's gather up all the black stones lying around.
The crew pick up all the tainted stones they can find.
With the mystery solved, they return to the clinic in town to check on Coralie.
Cyril: Ah... Princess Fille!
Coralie: Princess Fille! Wh-why are you here?
Coralie, now awake, widens her eyes at the sight of the crew.
Coralie: Um... What's been going on? My memory's a complete haze...
Having woken up only slightly earlier, Coralie listens intently as she is briefed on everything that's happened as of late.
Her face turns pale as she bows in apology.
Coralie: I'm so sorry! I can't believe I did such a terrible thing...
Coralie: It's all my fault what this has done to the domain's reputation! I'm willing to accept any punishment!
Coralie speaks with her head still lowered, her voice quivering. De La Fille shakes her head and responds.
De La Fille: Please raise your head. None of this is your fault.
De La Fille: You were swayed by the Great Gem's taint.
De La Fille: If anyone is to blame for the Great Gem's deterioration and for not tending to the spiritual needs of the domain's people, it is us royalty.
De La Fille: Coralie, will you tell me what exactly it was that made you feel so cornered?
De La Fille: As both a member of the royal family and a fellow lapidary, I wish to do everything within my power to help you feel at ease.
Tongue-tied at first, Coralie slowly musters the courage to speak of the problems that have been plaguing her recently.
Coralie: The truth is...
Coralie and Cyril's father was one of the most prominent lapidaries in the domain.
But after he was forced to retire due to a severe hand injury, it was up to Coralie to fill her father's shoes.
Coralie: Dad was always incredibly strict. I worked so hard just to meet his expectations.
Coralie: He wanted me surpass him, and people expected great things of me just because I was his daughter.
Under those circumstances, Coralie felt she had no choice but to give her all to lapidary training.
Without any room or time for friends, she felt isolated, without a soul to confide in.
De La Fille: It must have been so hard for you. I admire your courage.
Coralie: I didn't have anyone to talk to, and I didn't want to drag my little brother into it either. That's why I...
Seeing the tears pour out like water from a broken dam, De La Fille steps closer to Coralie and gently reassures her.
De La Fille: You've fought so hard as both a lapidary and an older sister.
De La Fille: But please don't think you're alone anymore.
De La Fille: If you ever need someone to talk to, write me a letter.
De La Fille: As your friend, no matter where I am, I'll always be ready and willing to listen to you.
Coralie shakes her head.
Coralie: I-I wouldn't dare to bother a princess with my personal problems...
De La Fille: You see, there was a time when I dealt with many of the same concerns that you now face.
De La Fille: That's why I'm confident I can help.
De La Fille: Moreover, it is the job of royalty to mingle with and guide the people—to be a friend to all.
De La Fille: Therefore I am simply fulfilling my duty as a princess when I lend an ear to my people.
After a brief silence, Coralie responds with a slight nod.
Coralie: Then if things ever get real bad again, I'll send a letter...
De La Fille: Trust me when I say that I'll do what I can to help. Please don't try to bear such a heavy burden by yourself ever again!
Having confirmed Coralie's well-being, the crew goes off to see the gem king.
Gem King: It was the Great Gem? I would never have imagined...
Gem King: (Captain), Fille. Thank you for all your hard work.
De La Fille: I was simply doing my job as royalty!
Lyria: I'm glad we solved the problem before things got too out of hand!
The king loosens his features and lowers his gaze in remorse.
Gem King: It was my grievous failure as king to understand my people which led to this predicament.
De La Fille: From now on, we must be sure to serve as role models not only in lapidary skill, but also as fellow citizens.
Gem King: Well said, my daughter. As royalty, we owe it to our people to do better.
Gem King: If the people are not of sound heart, they can not be expected to create products of sound quality. And it is a king's duty to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment for all.
The king looks to his daughter with a solemn gaze.
Gem King: Fille. Won't you consider returning to the domain?
Gem King: With everything you've learned in your travels, surely you're ready to take your rightful place beside me. It will be good practice for your eventual role as queen.
(Captain) and company are pop-eyed with surprise, curious as to how De La Fille will respond.
With everyone's gaze fixed on her, De La Fille takes a moment to gather her thoughts.
De La Fille: I must say, Father, that I was able to solve the problem of the Great Gem only with everyone's help.
De La Fille: Journeying with this crew has taught me so many invaluable lessons.
Lowering her eyes and placing both hands on her bosom, De La Fille carefully chooses her next words.
De La Fille: Something has become very clear to me over the course of this incident.
De La Fille: What can a country do to ensure peace of mind and prosperity for its people? What should it do?
De La Fille: As much as it pains me to say this, I do not yet have the answer.
De La Fille: That is why I would like to continue observing firsthand the governments of foreign nations and find what works best—not as a lapidary, but as a royal.
De La Fille: In order to better serve the Gem Domain, won't you allow me to travel for a while longer, Father?
The gem king looks warmly at his daughter, as if assessing her resolve.
Gem King: Very well. Take this chance to continue broadening your horizons and bettering yourself. As I said on the day you first departed, I only ask that you do the Gem Domain proud.
De La Fille: Why, of course, Father!
Gem King: (Captain), I hope this request does not come off as too blunt...
Gem King: But I ask that you please continue looking after my daughter.
(Captain) responds with a reassuring chest thump, putting the king's concerns at ease.
Gem King: Thank you. Knowing that a magnificent captain like you is in charge, I can entrust my daughter to your crew in good conscience.
Gem King: Fille. You've found yourself a wonderful group of friends.
De La Fille: I certainly have! Meeting (Captain) has definitely been one of the greatest blessings in my life!
De La Fille: (Captain). I'm lucky to have you for a friend.
Having successfully overcome the Gem Domain's crisis, De La Fille sets her sights on a new goal.
She vows to learn as much as she can about the world, in hopes that the knowledge will serve her well as eventual queen.
De La Fille looks forward to leading her people, her spirit shining bright like the gems of her precious homeland.
A Nostalgic Flavor
Therese tries to lead the crew to a favorite sweet shop of hers, but she gets them lost and they are attacked by monsters. Though Therese tends to dwell on her failures, with her friend De La Fille's support, she is gradually gaining confidence.
Therese: Oh! I know this town!
De La Fille: Is something wrong? You look like you saw a ghost!
The Grandcypher touches down on a certain island.
Seeing the town spread out before them, Therese's eyes are wide as dinner plates.
Therese: Er... W-would all of you happen to maybe be free today?
Therese: Ah, no, of course you aren't! I'm sure you have shopping and all sorts of other things to do. I'm so sorry!
Therese: Wait, wait. Um. What I mean to say is... Would... Would you all like to come eat dessert with me today?
Lyria: Dessert? Ooh, yes! Let's go, (Captain)!
Vyrn: Hang on a sec. What's goin' on here?
De La Fille: Hahaha... I'd forgotten what a formidable sweet tooth you've always had.
Therese: "For... Formidable" is going a little far, I think, but... Anyway, you like sweets too, Fille!
De La Fille: Well... yes! I do indeed! Would you expect anything less of royalty?
Lyria: It's all right—we all love sweets. Nothing wrong with that!
Vyrn: Does that have something to do with why you looked so surprised when we landed?
Therese: The thing is... I came here once before, aboard the casino liner...
Therese: And, um... There's a really good shop around here that I want to show you guys!
De La Fille: Ooh, then we should take her up on her offer, (Captain)! Therese has a very discerning palate.
Therese: Me? Do you really think so? I mean, I'm not...
Vyrn: Great! What are we waiting around for? Show us the way, Therese!
Therese: A-all right then! I'll do my best to get us there!
And so they all set out for the confectioner's shop of which Therese has spoken so highly. Alas, it doesn't prove so simple.
Therese: It's around here somewhere...
Vyrn: Er... Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure this is a forest.
Lyria: Oh, I... I bet we're almost there! Let's just keep walking!
De La Fille: Sigh... I don't see a single soul besides ourselves.
Therese: I-I'm so sorry! I thought I remembered the way, but... I guess it was a little hazy...
Therese: Sigh... I really am sorry. I just got so excited...
De La Fille: That will be enough of that. There is absolutely nothing you need to apologize for.
De La Fille: Even if your internal compass is a little off, you have a host of other marvelous qualities to—
Lyria: Watch out! Behind you!
De La Fille: !
Therese: Huff... Puff...
That was close. Is anybody hurt?
De La Fille: I'm perfectly fine. Thank you, Therese.
Therese: Sniff... I'm so sorry! Not only did I get you lost, but I put you in danger!
Therese: I-I... I'm the worst. I don't know how you all can stand me...
Vyrn: Aw, c'mon... We're all safe, aren't we? No harm, no foul!
Lyria: Exactly, and we can still find the shop if we look!
De La Fille: Oh, for heaven's sake! If you have time for that sort of talk, you have time to help me!
Therese: Oh! This tastes exactly like what I remember...
De La Fille: What do you all think? Therese described that shop's sweets so vividly, I thought I'd try recreating them.
Lyria: Amazing! And they're absolutely delicious!
Vyrn: Munch, munch... You're pretty handy with a whisk, De La Fille!
De La Fille: But of course. The royalty of the Gem Domain pride themselves on their dedication to the domestic arts!
De La Fille: Hehe... Besides, there's a dear friend whose slack I have to pick up in that department.
Therese: Sniff... This is pure, sugary heaven... I could never make anything that comes close...
Vyrn: Heh heh... So feeding that "friend" is how you got to be such a great chef?
De La Fille: Indeed. This friend of mine had an appalling diet for one whose body was their entire livelihood.
Therese: Sigh... I can't cook, I can't find my way down a straight hallway. I can't do anything right...
Vyrn: Oh, for Pete's sake, Therese, get a grip!
Therese: W-what? Oh... S-sorry! I, uh... I'm afraid I wasn't listening...
De La Fille: Haha... Now, now, Therese. So there are a few areas of life you haven't mastered. That's no problem at all.
De La Fille: I know you better than anyone. Yes, you certainly have your flaws.
De La Fille: But who was that dashing woman who leapt in to save me from mortal peril in the woods?
Vyrn: You've got a few flaws yourself, y'know, for all the lecturin' you're doin'.
De La Fille: Yeek! Wh-what do you want! Y-you stay back, you!
Therese: Hehe... Um, don't bully her too much, okay? Fille's pretty scared of reptiles...
Despite the day's mishaps, De La Fille's compliment has given Therese a much-needed shot in the arm.
With her friend's help, the shy duelist is always improving.