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Greatest Genius of a Magician
On their way back from a supply run, the crew rescues a young man from a band of highwaymen and is invited to his favorite restaurant. When the man learns how capable the crew is, he whips out a card that transports them into a memory of the War. Because he is injured, he asks them to fight in his stead to save the world.
Highwayman 1: Graaah!
???: Everyone has the right to be happy.
???: But you have a marked lack of class. Why not play more délicat (delicately)...
???: As if you were going to perform an hymne funéraire for a friend gone cold.
Highwayman 2: Huh? Are you messed in the head? Hurry up and show us the gold.
Highwayman 2: I'm gonna kill you dead! Graaah!
???: Heh-ahaha! Très-bien! Wonderful! What a sound!
Highwayman 1: Wh-what's your problem, damn sicko...
Highwayman 2: Hurry up and finish 'im off! You can filch the gold after that!
Lyria: O-oh no! (Captain)!
On the way back from a supply run, (Captain)'s party sees a young man being accosted by a pair of brigands.
(Captain) swiftly draws a weapon and rushes in front of the young man.
Vyrn: Hey, you jerks! Get away from that guy!
Highwayman 1: Huh? Shut your beak or I'll clean the bunch of you out too!
Vyrn does not comply, and so the highwaymen slash at (Captain) and company.
Parrying their attacks with ease, (Captain) agilely lands the butt of a sword on the solar plexus of one robber after another.
The highwaymen let out comical cries and then fall to the ground with eyes rolled back in their heads.
Lyria: You didn't get hurt, did you? Are you okay?
???: Hm... No, I'm not injured. But I failed to get that happy sound.
Lyria: Huh? Get that sound?
Lyria repeats his cryptic expression, and the young man quickly snaps his fingers.
The following moment, a conch shell appears in the young man's hand. The party members' eyes open wide.
Conch: Get that sound?
Vyrn: Wowie! That shell talked in Lyria's voice!
???: Non! I simply recorded mademoiselle's voice with the conque.
Lyria: Huh... huh?
Lyria: That's amazing! How'd you do that?
???: How, you ask? Explaining is no mean feat.
???: Er, yes... Well, you simply catch the sound in the conque and voila!
???: Hm... Anyhow, once it's in there, you can listen to it as much as you'd like.
???: See, like with these.
Whistling with his fingers, the mysterious young man makes a number of tiny conches materialize on his hand.
Vyrn: Whoooah! Is that the sound of the waves?
Lyria: Oooh! I can hear the sound of birds chirping from those shells. Ehehe, they're so cute!
Vyrn: I still don't have a clue what you're doing, but I can tell one thing—you're really special!
???: Heh! Well, I'm pleased that you can recognize my magnificence.
Vyrn: But you sure stink at explaining stuff. I didn't understand till after you were already done...
Lyria: Ah-ahaha! You're right about that, Vyrn...
???: Heh... In no more than an instant you perceived my one and only fault. I do rather like you for that...
???: Sigh... That's why it's such a pity...
???: If you'd only left me alone, I'd have been able to play you a more marvelous, mirthful sound.
Lyria: U-um... I'm sorry. Did we get in your way?
???: Non, thanks to you, I've gotten away with just a little shake to the skeleton.
???: Good thing too—I won't have to violate the dress code at my favorite restaurant.
???: Speaking of which, I could go for a little refreshment. What about you all?
Lyria: Um, what would should we do, (Captain)?
After a momentary hesitation, the party accepts the young man's invitation.
The young man gently takes (Captain) and Lyria by the hand.
???: Heh! You won't regret this. Come now! It's a done deal!
Vyrn: Hey, settle down! You're sure pushy!
In the end the young man guides the party to the restaurant.
He orders black tea and cake for everyone in the party, then shoots the group an affable smile.
Lobelia: Allow me to thank you again. I am Lobelia, the greatest genius of a magician to ever grace the skies.
Vyrn: Wow, you don't beat around the bush! Are you really so impressive?
Lobelia: Oui! No other in the skies can use audiomancy.
Lyria: You're talking about those seashells...
Lobelia: Ahem, conques! I hope you'll not repeat the mistake, mademoiselle.
Lyria: Oh no! S-sorry!
Lyria: So you mean the conques.
Lobelia: Heh, very good. None of us are immune from mistakes, and, besides, your induction is correct.
Lobelia: Audiomancy is an original spell that uses conques as a medium to control sound.
Lobelia: Registre is just one of the many things it can do. It has other abilities... such as this.
Lobelia grins and passes a tiny conch to (Captain).
Lobelia: Hold it to one ear.
(Captain) does as Lobelia says.
Lobelia: Can you hear me?
(Captain) is stunned upon hearing Lobelia's voice from inside the shell.
Lobelia: This is message, a technique which works though the conques to transmit one's voice to even distant listeners.
Lobelia: It can relay one's voice not simply from one island to another but even across skydoms.
Vyrn: A-across skydoms? That's nuts!
Lobelia: Well, I've never actually tried, but all the same...
Vyrn: What! I had a feelin' to begin with, but... you really are a weirdo.
Lobelia: Heh-ahaha! But my charm makes it worthwhile.
Vyrn: I dunno if that's for you to decide.
Vyrn: But I'll hand it to you—ya really are funny, Conchy.
Lobelia: What a great nickname! Hahaha, it's an honor to receive it.
Lobelia: I'm sure you'd be delighted to hear me tell more of what a genius I am...
Lobelia: But if you don't mind, please share a bit about yourselves.
Vyrn: About ourselves?
Lobelia: (Captain), you said your name was? You seem very capable for someone your age...
Lobelia: Tell me of the trials you've faced and goals you're working toward.
Feeling it safe to lower their guard around the softly smiling Lobelia, the party members share tales of their journey and their purpose.
Lobelia: I see, I see. So you're seasoned skyfarers.
Lobelia: For me to meet such sure-footed trekkers—this must be... fate.
As Lobelia is whispering, he removes a soiled card from his pocket.
Lyria: Is that... a card?
Lobelia responds with a nod and snaps his fingers. The resulting sound rings throughout the eatery.
Lyria: Wh-where are we? We were in the restaurant just a minute ago...
Lobelia: We're several hundred years in the past... In the midst of the War.
Vyrn & Lyria: The War!
Lobelia: Inside this card sleeps a memory of that tremendous conflict. I've invited you here to that very memory.
Vyrn: Is this that audiomancy thing of yours again?
Lobelia: Non! This is the power of justice—a power to battle the great evil that would annihilate the world.
Vyrn: G-great evil that'd annihilate the world? What're ya talkin' about!
Lobelia: This world of memory was created by a primal beast bent on destroying the Sky Realm. It hopes to find a certain something here.
Lobelia: Once it uncovers its desideratum, it will have the ability to obliterate the world and replace it with a new one.
Lobelia: That's why it's frenetically repeating this memory of the War.
Vyrn: What's the primal beast want so bad then?
Lobelia: A scenario where the Astrals secure victory over the skydwellers.
Lobelia: As soon as it discovers one, the primal beast will enact it and blot out the entire Sky Realm in the blink of an eye.
Lyria: That's horrible! We have to stop it!
Lobelia: Oui! Indeed, we must.
Lobelia: That's why I've sneaked into the world of memory and secured victory again and again: to stop the primal beast's scheme from coming to fruition.
Lobelia: But I am, nowadays, a wounded man. Winning in the War may be no mean feat for me.
Lobelia: And it's for that reason I'd love for you to serve as my substitutes.
Vyrn: Substitutes... You mean you want us to fight a war for ya, Conchy?
Lobelia nods wordlessly in response and then snaps his fingers again.
At that moment, a flash of light envelops (Captain) and the others.
When it recedes, (Captain) and the others find themselves once more in the private booth of the restaurant.
Lobelia: I can pay you in any way you see fit. What do you say? Won't you lend your assistance? There's no one else on whom I can rely.
Lobelia: Ah, that's it! I could use this magical genius of mine for your sakes!
Vyrn: You're just fulla confidence, huh, Conchy?
Choose: Couldn't leave you high and dry. We're in.
- Couldn't leave you high and dry. We're in.
- Will you teach me audiomancy?
Vyrn: You got a point! We just can't let the world get wiped out!
Lyria: That's right! It wouldn't be right to let the bad primal beast get its way.Choose: Will you teach me audiomancy?
Vyrn: Ah, yeah! That'd be great! You gotta show me too!
Lobelia: That should pose no issue, but... I doubt you could use it proficiently.
Vyrn: Grrr! What's that supposed to mean?
Lobelia: Now, now, there's no need to be so cross. In no way am I belittling you.
Lobelia: It's through intuition that I control audiomancy.
Lobelia: To explain it using language would be a true challenge.
Lobelia: Heh! Once you agree to help, I'll use the ability for you as much as you'd like. So do we have an understanding?
(Captain) nods.Continue 1
Lobelia: Très-bien! In that case, hold onto this card.
Lobelia: It will permit you entry into the world of memory. Consider it a concert ticket of sorts.
Lobelia: And this conque will allow you to converse with me at any time. Take it—you never know what might happen.
Vyrn: Okay, we got 'em all right!
Lobelia: Haha, I'm counting on you! (Captain), Vyrn, Lyria!
The crew members thereby come to take part in the War as substitutes for Lobelia.
(Captain) and the others set their teeth in anticipation of the hostilities in a repeating memory.
A Virtuoso's Motives
Weeks after the crew meets with Lobelia, he watches their battle inside the memory unfold while he speaks to someone in private quarters. (Captain) and company feel an awful sense of dread as their battle concludes.
Several weeks pass since the encounter with Lobelia.
(Captain) and the others are battling in the War as his substitutes.
While (Captain) is in the midst of overpowering one foe after another, the conch from Lobelia begins to vibrate.
The captain takes it out and listens to the voice emanating from within.
Lobelia: Très-bien! All is proceeding smoothly, isn't it, (Captain)!
Vyrn: Hehehe, this is a walk in the park!
Lobelia: Heh-ahaha! I'd expect nothing less from such intrepid old skyfarers. Please keep at it!
Lobelia's voice tapers off, and Vyrn stares at the conch in fascination.
Vyrn: Gee... That magic sure is wild, huh!
Lyria: You can really hear his voice here in this world. Lobelia's so amazing!
Vyrn: But don't you think we should've heard of him before if he can cast crazy spells like that?
Lyria: You're right. But we'd never heard about him or audiomancy before.
Vyrn: I wonder why... Hm...
While the party members are pondering, a beastly roar rumbles through the air.
Vyrn: Ooh, a new baddie! Let's do this, (Captain)!
(Captain) unsheathes a blade and rushes in the direction of the foe's cry.
Meanwhile, Lobelia sits in the booth with his eyes closed.
It is not darkness that he sees inside his eyelids but rather (Captain)'s vivid form.
Lobelia: Heh-ahaha! You're more skilled than I dared imagine, (Captain).
Lobelia: Your proof is right there! We're two of a kind, are we not, (Captain)?
Isolated in his private booth, Lobelia speaks as if the others were standing before him.
But, naturally, there is no response.
He carries on with his giddy soliloquy all the same.
Lobelia: Très-bien! No matter what foes come, you crush them spectacularly.
Lobelia: What a happy sound you're raising! Aah, hrrrng! How delightfully I ache!
Lobelia: Heh! And are you the same?
Lobelia takes the red stone brooch from his chest in one hand and gazes at it with a satisfied smirk on his face.
It begins to vibrate and release a strange, soot-black gas that spreads steamlike through the air.
Lobelia: Comport yourself with élégance. You're being a bit vulgar.
When Lobelia finishes talking, the brooch becomes still and the vapor dissipates.
Lobelia: That will be enough. It's still too early...
Lobelia: Heh! Patience...
The party members, having cleared away most of the opponents, are resting when Lyria suddenly cries out.
Vyrn: What is it, Lyria?
Lyria: N-nothing... It's just that for a second... I felt something... really horrible.
Vyrn: Awful? Was it that new baddie or somethin'?
Lyria: No... I don't think it was...
Lyria: It's a lot more frightening... than any foe we were just fighting... It was such an awful feeling...
Lyria's voice trembles, and she clutches her shoulders.
(Captain) attempts to comfort her but feels an obscure sense of dread all the way.
The victorious crew find themselves back in the restaurant. Lobelia whips out two conches he introduces as his parents. The crew is taken aback by the terrifying screams the conches give off, but Lobelia orders them to sit down and he begins to recount his past.
After a lengthy engagement, (Captain) and company return from the memory of the War to the private booth in the restaurant.
Lobelia greets them with a genial grin and a luxurious feast.
Lyria: Wow! That's so much food!
Lobelia: Merci, merci! Thank you, (Captain)! You've been of enormous assistance.
Lobelia: All that needs handling has been handled! The primal beast is sure to surrender now.
Vyrn: So you're sayin' the world's saved!
Lobelia: Oui!And it's all thanks to your labors! I'm sincerely grateful!
Lobelia: Allow me to treat you all today! It may not be much in light of your accomplishments, but please feast and imbibe to your heart's content!
Lyria: We really appreciate it, Lobelia!
Lobelia: Come, let us raise a toast! To the heroes who saved the world! Again, you have my appreciation!
Lyria: Ehehe, cheee—
Vyrn: Sant... Eh?
Lobelia: It's the way we say cheers in my homeland.
Lyria: Oh, neat... Are très-bien and conque other things you say there?
Lobelia: Oui! All were taught to me by Papa and Maman.
Vyrn: Huh, so you got that weird way of talking from your folks then.
Lobelia: Heh! They gave me many treasures above and beyond words.
Lobelia: For example, "Everyone has the right to be happy."
Lobelia: It's a notion taught to me by Papa and Maman, and it's become my credo.
Lyria: Hehehe, you really have a wonderful mother and father. I'd love to meet them.
Lobelia: They can't, unfortunately, be met. But you could listen to them instead.
Vyrn: Oh! Y'mean with that spell of yours? The one that lets ya talk with people far away... Message, was it?
Lobelia: Non, non! This is registre... Message would be meaningless here.
Lobelia: There's no way to connect with my parents.
Lobelia: Come, listen. These are Papa and Maman!
Mirthfully, Lobelia snaps his fingers, and two small conches appear before the party in an instant.
Lyria: W-what are those noises?
Vyrn: They sure sound gross... Those shells, er... conques didn't mess up, did they?
Lobelia: How could they! Those are Papa!
Lyria: Huh? You mean those sounds just now?
Lobelia: Yes! They're music to my ears! Flesh and bone bursting out and being blown away—I consider them lifelights of sorts.
Lobelia: Papa sang out an ephemeral tune of life with his very body... Hrnnng! Très-bien!
Lobelia: It satisfies me no matter how many times I listen. This, yes, this... is happiness!
Lobelia: Heh-ahaha! Ahahaha!
Lobelia: Oh, apologies. I should comport myself with élégance.
Lobelia: And we're going to eat soon, aren't we? I should allow you to listen to Maman first then.
Conch: No, noo... ogh... Ghaaaaah!
Lyria: Eeek! Noooo!
Lyria's face turns pale in reaction to the detestable noise. She covers her ears with her hands and slumps over.
(Captain) gently places a second pair of hands over Lyria's ears and looks daggers at Lobelia.
Lobelia, in contrast, wears an ecstatic grin on his flushed face.
Lobelia: The sound of flesh and bone turning to mincemeat blends with Maman's voice in an exquisite harmonie!
Lobelia is no longer paying attention to (Captain) and the others but rather stuffing his smile with pasta from the table.
Lobelia: Gulp... Nomnom... Mmm! Bouillabaisse pasta and the sounds of Maman are a match made in heaven!
Lobelia: Heh-ahaha! It's the taste of home, as they say! Mmm... C'est bon!
Vyrn: Uuurph! He's goin' cuckoo...
Lobelia: Oh dear, is something wrong? Why such dreary faces when a noise this happy is ringing out?
Lobelia: Ah, I see. You don't seem to enjoy it. That's a shame...
Lobelia: Perhaps you'd prefer something more like "Boy Playing on the Beaches of Auguste" or "Girl Living in the Woods."
Lobelia: My archives are vast. Make as many requests as you like, and—
Vyrn: No way! We don't wanna listen to that junk!
Vyrn: How'd you get those sounds anyw—
Vyrn: You didn't kill 'em and... record the sound, did ya?
By way of an answer, Lobelia turns his grinning face and whistles with his fingers.
A sound pierces the booth. In the following moment the food disappears from the table and is replaced with a host of conches.
Vyrn: Wh-what're all these...
Lobelia: My beloved archive of conques, each one of which contains a recording of someone being destroyed.
Vyrn: You gotta be kiddin'! There are hundreds of 'em!
Lobelia: Heh! These are but a handful! I'd love to show you the entire archive at once, but this restaurant is wanting for space.
Lobelia: If I were to take them out all at once, this booth would overflow with memories.
Vyrn: Wh-who are you? And what are ya tryin' to do anyway?
Lobelia: Trying to be happy, nothing more. Anyone and everyone has the right to be happy.
Lobelia: I've simply tried to abide by my credo. You all—you'd do anything to be happy, wouldn't you?
The vast chasm between Lobelia's pure, boyish smile and grisly deeds sends a chill down the spine of (Captain).
The captain half-reflexively removes the hands that were on Lyria's ears and reaches waistward for a weapon.
But Lobelia, perhaps noticing, quickly snaps his fingers...
After which the interior begins to faintly tremble, and the glasses on the table shatter.
Lobelia: (Captain)! Comport yourself with élégance. You're acting a bit vulgar.
Lobelia: Surely it wouldn't please you to see mademoiselle become a stain on the floor?
Seeing that (Captain) has let go of the weapon, Lobelia smiles mildly and sits.
Lobelia: Come—don't be shy. You must be seated, everyone.
Lobelia: Don't concern yourself with what's happening outside. I've been controlling all the sound to ensure none leaks out.
Lobelia: Ah, yes! And none will leak out either, I suppose. Heh-ahahaha!
Lyria: Mmph... Sob, sob... What are you planning to do...
Lobelia: Heh! I'd just like you to listen to a bit of an old tale. What's the matter? Come—have a seat!
Believing that any resistance could bring harm on Lyria or Vyrn, (Captain) obeys Lobelia's command.
Once he sees that the party members are again seated, Lobelia begins reminiscing.
Lobelia was born to an utterly unexceptional family of magicians on an island remarkable for its inland sea.
Not long had passed before the boy's abilities began to manifest and astonish his parents.
Consumed by love for their son, his mother and father shared a certain lesson with him at every opportunity.
Lobelia's Mother: Everyone has the right to be happy—everyone and anyone. That means you too, Lobelia...
Lobelia's Father: Use that talent of yours, and you're guaranteed to be happy!
Lobelia's Father: You're a genius, son, and you're certain to succeed! Live a life of bliss, Lobelia!
Never doubting the words of his beloved parents, the boy became positive he was a genius who would be happy.
The youthful Lobelia, however, was unable to understand quite what happiness was.
Reflecting on happiness day after day, he eventually reached a turning point.
Lobelia and his parents are walking along the shore.
The boy loses his footing and plants his heel on a conch, crushing it.
Lobelia's Father: Lobelia! Is everything all right? Are you bleeding?
Lobelia's Mother: You're not hurt, are you? What happened, Lobelia?
Both parents embrace the boy, but their words fail to register with him...
Because the loud crush of the conch is sounding endlessly in his head.
Young Lobelia: (This sensation... This sound! Aaah, this feeling... It fills my heart...)
Young Lobelia: (Ah, yes! It's the noise of something breaking!)
Young Lobelia: (This sound is happiness! If a lifeless scrap on the beach can do all this for me, then how much more—)
Lobelia's Father: Lobelia? Did you hurt yourself?
Young Lobelia: I'm fine. I'm fine, Papa.
Young Lobelia: I'm fine now. I'll be happy.
Lobelia's Father: What!
A friendly smile on his face, Lobelia laughs and snaps his fingers.
It only takes an instant. Lobelia uses audiomancy to make his father's body burst open.
The son magically records the resulting sound.
Young Lobelia: (Ah, Papa, Papa! What a happy sound you make! Très-bien!)
Lobelia's Mother: D-dear? Wha—huh? Lobe... lia?
Lobelia's Mother: Noooooooo!
Unable to comprehend the sight before her eyes, Lobelia's mother screams excruciatingly. Lobelia, meanwhile, flashes a smile.
Young Lobelia: (Maman... What sort of sound would you make?)
Lobelia feels profound gratitude when in the sound of destruction he discovers happiness—an emotion his parents had long taught to value.
After some deliberation, the boy decides that the best way to repay his parents is to embody their lesson.
Lobelia's Mother: No, nooo... Gaaaaah!
Lobelia destroyed his father instantaneously but not his mother.
Starting at the tips and proceeding inward, he crushes the flesh and bones of her four limbs little by little.
Lobelia grins ecstatically and carefully records the sound.
Young Lobelia: Ah, aaaagh!
With the two mutilated corpses before him, the gleeful Lobelia plays the sounds on a loop.
Young Lobelia: Très-bien! I feel alive from the bottom of my heart!
Young Lobelia: Merci! Je t'aime! Papa, Maman! I—heh-ahahaha—I'm happy!
Young Lobelia: Heh! Ahahahaha!
That was the first of many days on which Lobelia would destroy other people...
It made him—he said—happy.
An ecstatic Lobelia murders his parents and records their agonizing death throes. As he grows into a young man and continues his murder spree, he realizes there is no perfect sound of slaughter that will ever fully satisfy him. By the time he's recorded around 200 screams of death, the card of The Tower appears before him.
The parricide, Lobelia, continues traveling and killing, recording the sound each time.
He commits every killing to memory and carries his archive of conches to keep the spectacle fresh in his mind.
Lobelia continues living this way until he becomes a young man. One day something occurs to him.
Lobelia: (Humph... I'm a genius. Anyone should be able to see that.)
Lobelia: (But if word of my magical genius were to spread through the world... I probably couldn't be happy for long.)
Lobelia: (Then I must live plainly... out of the public eye. I'll be obscure but happy...)
Having made up his mind, Lobelia works to hide his abilities from acquaintances and live in anonymity.
He minimizes interactions with others, adapting to society in a way that is both unassuming and cunning. All the while he continues to mete out carnage.
But in the process of committing uncountable murders, Lobelia has a realization.
Lobelia: (The sounds I heard today were far from happy.)
Lobelia: (I want to hear a happy sound that makes for more harmonie!)
Lobelia: (I'm not fulfilled yet... No matter whose sounds I listen to, I'm not fulfilled at all.)
Lobelia: (The only two who could make me happy... were Papa and Maman.)
Lobelia listens to the pair's destruction on loop day after unfulfilled day, sighing on occasion.
He had been destroying other people from sheer force of habit, but after a long stretch of days Lobelia reaches a turning point.
It happens precisely when he archives the sound of the two-hundredth person's destruction.
An object suddenly appears before Lobelia's eyes in a flash.
Lobelia: Is that... a card? It's difficult to make out in the murk, but... it seems to have a picture of a tower on it.
Without too much thought, the puzzled Lobelia extends his hand.
His fingertip makes contact with the card, and in the next moment...
Lobelia: Ack, what!
Lobelia turns his face away from the burst of blinding light, and at the same time a rumble sounds out.
Lobelia lets out an unspeakable scream that intermingles with the rumble.
The sudden disturbance has him awash in pleasure.
Lobelia: (That thunderous noise! It's sounding out! It's sounding out!)
Lobelia: (The cacophony of collapsing buildings! The bevy of beings being cut down by explosions! A symphony of screams!)
Lobelia: (Such exquisite harmonie!)
When Lobelia cries out, the burst of light grows diffuse and vanishes.
Lobelia: This town's been... Nothing's left standing... My goodness!
Lobelia: Heh-ahahaha! This destruction is wholly parfait (perfect)!
Lobelia: The one who did this must have been... you.
Lobelia, quaking with delight, begins to speak to the towerlike being that rises up over him in an instant.
But the towerlike presence remains mum. With a childlike glimmer still in his eyes, Lobelia continues speaking.
Lobelia: Ah, how long it's been since I've felt this satisfied.
Lobelia: Are you... a monster? Or perhaps a primal beast? No, no, never mind. What does it matter!
Lobelia: To you I give my respect! And my gratitude for such utterly parfait (perfect) destruction!
Lobelia: You've helped me realize what an insignificant and foolish creature I am!
Lobelia: Hiding behind excuses of wanting to be happy and obscure, I've only let off tiny pops of harm.
Lobelia: But all that resulted for me was unhappiness...
Lobelia: What I want is to be able to lay down destruction as parfait (perfect) as yours!
Lobelia: Take me under your wing so that I might live happily! Surely you approve!
Lobelia speaks passionately, but the towerlike being displays no reaction.
He begins, however, to feel a strange link between his heart and the tremendous being standing there.
Thus begins the relationship between the natural genius and the natural disaster.
Natural Genius & Disaster
The Tower was born for the sole purpose of destruction. However, it remained unable to fulfill its role for it lacked an Evoker to bond with. Lobelia fortunately proves to be a perfect match, and the two form a pact.
The World, originator of the Arcarum.
Referring to himself as the Inchoate World, he plots to annihilate the existing world and be the genesis of a new one.
The World has utilized the core of a decaying primal beast slain in the War to produce a slew of new primals.
Each beast so made has received a role in the creation of the new world.
One had a particularly important position, that of eliminating any trace of the existing world.
It was given, in other words, the role of destroyer. Its name was...
For long after its creation, The Tower was unable to carry out its role.
It lacked an essential component, an Evoker with which it could forge a pact.
And the ages came and went without a pactbearer.
The Tower: ...
The Tower was therefore unable to fulfill its role. It simply abided in emptiness, passing the days in vain.
The Tower: ...
The Tower: ...!
The Tower finally discovered a natural-born destroyer, someone fit to be a pactbearer.
The Tower: ...
And it brings itself before that natural-born destroyer.
Back at the scene of The Tower and Lobelia's first encounter...
The moment he touches one of The Tower's colossal legs, Lobelia falls silent.
After a while he silently raises his head.
Lobelia: The Tower. You are The Tower.
Lobelia: What a sad and unfortunate specimen you are.
The Tower: ...
Lobelia: You were incomplete far, far longer than I was!
Lobelia: But all is well now! I will be the one to satisfy you!
Lobelia: Make your pact with me! There's no question I can help you carry out your role.
Lobelia: And surely you are capable of fulfilling me!
The Tower: ...
Lobelia: Then I'll—I'll be happy!
The Tower: ...
The Tower gives no hint of a response to the frenetic Lobelia.
But in a single instant, The Tower returns to the card, which drifts into Lobelia's hand.
Lobelia: You—The Tower—you finally accepted me!
Lobelia: What an honor! Let's go become happy! Heh-ahahaha!
In this fashion Lobelia becomes The Tower's pactbearer.
Lobelia repeatedly uses the overwhelming might of The Tower to inflict great ruination.
His power is so great as to open fissures in the ground, call forth thunderstorms, and otherwise disrupt the weather.
Whole towns, whole lands were unable to resist his staggering might, and they were destroyed.
The destruction—all too great and far too merciless—was never suspected for a moment to be the work of any person; instead it was classified as a natural disaster.
The people never cast doubt on Lobelia, and so he wreaks colossal destruction continually.
Lobelia: Tower, your power is truly delightful!
Lobelia: Come, listen! It's the sound of falling rubble crushing skulls and splattering brains all about!
Lobelia: It's not just one brain, mind you! They are more than you could ever count—it's like a mouthful of roe being bitten and bursting!
Lobelia: Heh-ahahaha! How wonderful this feels. Très-bien!
The Tower: ...
Lobelia: Oui... Yes...
Lobelia: But this... it isn't enough.
Lobelia: I am happy. I do feel well.
Lobelia: But I feel somehow unsatisfied.
Lobelia: Surely you do too, Tower!
The Tower: ...
Lobelia: What in the world could be missing? What... should I break?
Lobelia: Tower... Do you know?
The Tower still gives no hint of a response to Lobelia.
On account of The Tower, Lobelia is able to obtain fleeting pleasure and happiness, but true satisfaction proves elusive.
Now aware of Lobelia's connection with the Arcarum, Lyria stands up to him for taking the lives of so many innocents. Lobelia finds their difference in opinion unfortunate and summons the Tower to battle the crew after transporting them to another battlefield of the War, fully intent on hearing their flesh torn and bones crushed.
When Lobelia is through recalling days past, he grins amiably.
Lyria: S-so, Lobelia... you're with the Arcarums who are trying to destroy the world?
Vyrn: Hold up! That makes it sounds like wreckin' stuff is your goal.
Vyrn: So then what were ya talking about in the first place?
Vyrn: Weren't we fighting against the primals beasts that were trying to destroy the world?
Lobelia: Heh! Ah, yes, that.
Lobelia: I just came up with that story on the spot. It certainly was something, wasn't it?
Lyria: So... you mean you were lying?
Lobelia: The truth was in fact the opposite, yes. Your kind contribution allowed me to collect a wealth of data though.
Lobelia: The World and The Tower should now be able to destroy this world efficiently.
Lobelia: Merci, (Captain), Vyrn, and Lyria!
Lobelia: This will satisfy me, and at last I'll be happy.
Sensing a concentrated malice behind the young man's innocent face, the party members shudder instinctively.
Vyrn: Be happy? Do you have any idea what you're sayin'?
Lyria: You're stealing other people's happiness so that only you can be happy. That's so wrong!
Lobelia: Non, non! It isn't wrong in the least!
Lobelia: Everyone has the right to be happy. I do everything I can to exercise that right.
Lyria: But everyone you killed—they had a right to be happy too!
Lobelia: Come now, come now! What's the matter? Don't start raging over something so basic.
Lobelia: I suppose I'm just not enough of a pushover to tend to others' needs.
Vyrn: You jerk! I knew you were loony!
Lobelia: Sigh... Now I feel bad about myself. Do you have to treat me like a madman?
Lobelia: And here I was thinking you'd understand me, (Captain), given how alike we are.
Vyrn: (Captain) ain't nothing like you!
Lobelia: Non! We are one and the same!
Lobelia: Surely you all know it to be true. (Captain) dealt out destruction countless times during the War, or at least a memory of it.
Lobelia: No matter what enemies appeared, you laid them low effortlessly without a moment's hesitation.
Vyrn: That's 'cause you fooled us! (Captain) wasn't just destroyin' stuff for kicks!
Lobelia: But you did have fun, didn't you? Your heart raced, and you trembled with anticipation.
Lobelia: Testing strategies on each powerful foe until—in the end—you could destroy it... That was fun for you, wasn't it?
Lobelia: You can be honest. That's what happiness is after all!
Lobelia: What do you say then? Try to remember! Wasn't the sound of destruction delightful?
Vyrn: Zip it already! Didn't ya hear when I said (Captain)'s not like you!
Lobelia: Sigh... I suppose we can't reach any kind of understanding then. It's a shame...
Lobelia: It truly is...
Letting out an exaggerated sigh, Lobelia raises his left arm high and snaps a finger.
Concurrent with the sharp sound, a blinding flash consumes the party.
When the party members open their eyes, their surroundings have changed completely.
Vyrn: This is... a battlefield from the War, huh?
Lobelia: And I've eliminated anyone who could interfere.
Lobelia: There's no one here but us now. Don't think you'll be able to escape.
Vyrn: Are you trying to sh-shut us up?
Lobelia: Non! I wish to destroy you—there's no more to it!
Lobelia: It's that we—we're birds of a feather. I simply want to make a mess of you!
Lobelia: I wish to hear the supreme harmonie of your screams as your raw flesh is torn apart and your bones mix with organs!
Lobelia: My wish is to preserve you forever. To preserve the sound of happiness you will give rise to.
Lobelia: I know that you—that you'll be able to satisfy me!
The agitated Lobelia whistles with his fingers once again.
When the subsequent burst of light fades, The Tower is standing before the party's eyes.
Fear and awe fill the party as they stand in his colossal, overpowering shadow.
The Tower: ...
Lobelia: Heh-ahahaha! Now then, make us happy, (Captain)!
As if in response to Lobelia's voice, The Tower advances—shaking the very atmosphere with each step.
The Tower: ...!
Vyrn: L-looks like we don't have a choice. C'mon, (Captain)!
Un-Malicious Intentions: Scene 2
Lobelia's body suddenly bursts open during deadly combat with the crew. As the price for his pact with The Tower, he is to repeatedly die a most excruciating death in the same manner as everyone he's ever killed. His body constantly regenerating by The Tower's abilities, Lobelia screams in ecstasy with each death. The crew is transported back to the restaurant again, this time with the card of The Tower and a conch in their possession.
(Captain) and Lobelia engage in a battle both lethal and brutal, almost reminiscent of the War at times.
It shatters bedrock and opens sinkholes until the landscape is ultimately unrecognizable. The victor is—
Lobelia: Heh-ahahahaha! Très-bien!
Lyria: Huff, huff... His strength was... unbelievable...
Vyrn: It's a miracle we won, given how powerful Conchy is!
Vyrn: But now it's over, isn't it?
Lobelia: Cough, ahahaha!
Vyrn: Wha! Y-you can still stand?
Lobelia: Non! This is the finale. I failed.
The Tower: ...
Lobelia: There's no power as expedient as the power I wished for.
Lobelia: I understand now... Tower... why no pactbearers appeared to you for so long...
Lobelia: Heh... Or no... Why they no sooner appeared than disappeared...
The Tower: ...
Vyrn: What are you mumblin' about?
Lobelia: You'll see soon enough. After all, the overture will play momentarily.
The party suspiciously watches Lobelia who—despite his extensive injuries—speaks as if singing.
But in the following moment—
Lobelia's body bursts open.
Confronted with this overwhelming sight, the party members' faces blanch.
Vyrn: What just happened?
The Tower: ...
While the party members struggle to gain their bearings, The Tower makes a gigantic fist.
A dazzling light then consumes the surroundings.
Once it draws back, Lobelia is lying before the party intact.
Lobelia: Huff, huff... Augh... Gulp!
Vyrn: Huh? Conchy? How come—what's going on!
Lobelia: It's just as you saw! Heh-ahaha!
Lobelia: This is my repayment to The Tower.
Lobelia: If The Tower's pactbearer tries to destroy something and fails even once....
Lobelia: All destruction he previously wrought will be meted out on him.
Lobelia: Hah-ahaha! If the pactbearer dies partway through, he'll be brought back to life and punished.
Vyrn: What are you sayin'! So you're gonna—
Lobelia: I'll be destroyed once for each conque in my archive!
Lobelia: That was Papa's destruction... And next is Maman's—
Lobelia: G-gwaah! Eghhhaa!
Before he can finish his sentence, Lobelia lets out an excruciated scream that horrifies the listeners.
A glance reveals that his four limbs are being crushed little by little, starting at the tips.
Lobelia: Gggeh! Aaaaaaah!
Unable to fully bear the pain, Lobelia wrings out a scream so great that it rends his throat.
Lobelia: Gweh, cough!
Blood gushes forth as he writhes in agony.
He then stops moving entirely.
The Tower: ...
The Tower then makes another colossal fist like the one moments ago.
Lobelia: Cough! Huff.... huff.... huff...
Lobelia: Giiigh! Gaaaaah!
Lobelia has just returned to life, but the destruction of his body begins once again. He emits a tormented scream.
Lyria: No... This is...
Vyrn: I can't bear this! We gotta help him, (Captain)!
Lobelia: Gulp... M-mind your own business!
As Lobelia squirms around, he shrieks ghastfully; the group members then stop in their tracks.
Lobelia: Right now I'm sooo... geh, gggh... very happy... and satisfied...
Vyrn: How can you say that at a time like this!
Lobelia: Heh-aha! Ahahahahaha!
While laughing maniacally, Lobelia clutches a disintegrating hand and snaps a finger.
But instead of emitting the usual sound, his fingers merely rub against each other.
In the following moment, (Captain) and the others vanish.
Lobelia: Now... no... one will get in the wa...
The Tower: ...
Lobelia: Huh! Huff... huff...
Time after time, Lobelia comes to life and is then blotted out with every conceivable method.
In this wretched hell, Lobelia gives a heartfelt smile.
Lobelia: (This noise!)
Lobelia: (It's the sound of my destruction—the sound of me crossing over into death!)
Lobelia: (This is true happiness!)
Lobelia: (Ah, I'm satisfied! Tower, you must feel this way too!)
Lobelia: Agh! Cough! Heh-ahahahahaha!
Lobelia: I finally—I became happy!
Lobelia: Happy! My life is complete!
The Tower shows no reaction whatsoever toward the laughing Lobelia.
He simply destroys the failed pactbearer with mechanical precision another time.
The party, meanwhile, has returned to the restaurant.
They are quiet for a time, doubtlessly speechless from the loathsome sight of Lobelia's final moments.
During the long silence, (Captain) finds The Tower's card in a pocket together with a conch.
Vyrn: That's the card of The Tower, isn't it.
Vyrn: Does that mean the pactbearer after Conchy is... you, (Captain)?
(Captain) can find no words to reply to Vyrn, who is clearly unnerved.
For a while, (Captain) stares at the conch and card of annihilation that led Lobelia to his ruin.
The Tower Reversed
The crew runs into Lobelia, who is still in the midst of serving his sentence. In recording the sound of each of his ongoing deaths, he realizes the crew has given him eternal happiness and so he no longer feels the need to kill for pleasure. The crew allow him to join their ranks so that they may keep an eye on him and ensure that his murderous tendencies do not crop up again.
Several months have passed since (Captain)`s crew met Lobelia.
On the way back from an assignment, the members are walking along the beaches of Auguste.
Noticing a conch in the sand, the stop to remember Lobelia.
Vyrn: He was a crazy guy, bet the way he went outー it was just awful.
Choose: He got his just deserts.
- He got his just deserts.
- It was merciless...
Vyrn: You might be right about that.
Vyrn: He murdered more people than you'd ever believe.
Lyria: Still... I feel so bad about the way he died.Choose: It was merciless...
Lyria: Nobody deserves that sort of end, no matter how bad they are...
Vyrn: Yeah, you said it...Continue 1
While taking a moment to mourn Lobelia, (Captain) senses a strange object inside a sleeve.
Reaching inside, the captain discovers a conch shell there, a memento of Lobelia. It's vibrating.
As (Captain) takes out the conche, it begins emitting a muffled noise. The party members' eyes open wide.
Vyrn: W-was that just my imagination?
Conch: Salut! How does the day find you?
Lyria: Lobelia? Uh, um... Are you using audiomancy?
Vyrn: Uh... is this a recording? Registre, was it?
???: Non! This is a message!
The party members shudder when they suddenly hear a voice from behind.
Reluctantly turning around, they see Lobelia standing there with a genial grin on his face.
Vyrn: I-it's you! How come you're here? You mean ya survived all that?
Lyria: I-I thought you were being destroyed again and again...
Lobelia: Oui! I am still swimming in the ocean of the sound of happiness.
Lobelia: Heh-hehehe! See! Just now my ribs were pulverized, and my internal organs turned to mincemeat.
Lobelia: Aah, aaah! Très-bien! Wholly parfait (perfect)! Hrrng! It's pure happiness!
Vyrn: Wh-what? Then who's standin' in front of us!
Lobelia: Why me, of course. Do I look like anything other than Lobelia, the greatest genius of a magician to ever grace the skies?
Lobelia: I exist right here in front of you while I'm being destroyed.
Vyrn: I don't get it! What are you sayin'!
Lobelia: You ask rather difficult questions.
Lobelia: Uh... That version of me was thrown together by audiomancy, and as a result...
Lobelia: Aaah, yes, I didn't want to waste the chance to directly feel the sound of my destruction, so I remain connected to my nerves.
Lobelia: I therefore just popped myself out for a moment, and now I'm here with you.
Vyrn: An explanation that bad could only come from the real Lobelia!
The group members seem ready to let down their guard in the face of the languorous Lobelia.
Lyria: What did you come to do then?
Lobelia: Now, now, you're making me sad. There's no need to be so on edge. I don't intend to act hostilely.
Lobelia: I just wanted to give you my heartfelt thanks.
Unable to pin down the intention behind his words, (Captain) and the others eye Lobelia suspiciously.
Lobelia: Merci, (Captain), Vyrn, Lyria!
Lobelia: In the whole of my body I can feel the sound of happinessーthe sound of my repeated destruction.
Lobelia: If I can continue to listen to it, I have no need to go on destroying. That I truly believe.
Lobelia: Accordingly I'd like to give my thanks! The whole of my power is yours for the taking.
Vyrn: Wh-what are you sayin'! That sure came out of left field!
Vyrn: I still don't know if I trust you.
Lobelia: As I just stated, you have my word that I'll never destroy again. It isn't necessary!
Lobelia: We're satisfied deep in our hearts.
Lyria: We? Are you talking for The Tower too?
Lobelia: Oui! He is supremely satisfied by destroying me so many times over...
Lobelia: We don't, therefore, have a smidgeon of interest in laying waste to the world.
Lobelia: For that reason I'm begging you, (Captain). allow me to serve you! I'm genuinely grateful!
Vyrn: H-hmmm... What do you say, (Captain)?
Choose: Keep working to atone to the world.
- Keep working to atone to the world.
- Then stay near us.
(Captain) words drip with anger.
Lyria: Lobelia, there's no way I could ever accept what you did.
Lyria: But if you really want to give us power...
Lobelia: Then use your power and The Tower's for the whole world. That's what we want.
Lobelia: Oui. If that's is your wish, then I shall obey you.
Lobelia: To atone, I offer the whole of my beingーboth to you and to the world.
Lobelia: From now on I serve the world under your guidance.
Vyrn: Are you really gonna let us lead you!
Lobelia: Oui. Surely you'd breathe easier that way.
Lobelia: You're right... It's probably better if we keep an eye on you.Choose: Then stay near us.
Vyrn: Huh! Are you serious, (Captain)?
Lyria: I agree with the captain
Vyrn: You too, Lyria? But he's a killer!
Lyria: That's why (Captain) should keep a close watch on him.
Lyria: He could be lying after all...
Lobelia: I'll tell no more lies! You are my benefactors, and I owe everything to you.
Lobelia: So long as you'll allow me to serve you, my power is yours.Continue 2
Lobelia: As I said, I owe everything to you
Lobelia: There's nothing The Tower and I wouldn't do for your sake.
Lobelia: Please keep that in mind: nothing.
The young man speaks with decisiveness and then smiles innocently.
In this most unimaginable manner, the killer comes to accompany (Captain) and crew on their journey.