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Charming Curio Collector
An antique urn picked up by (Captain) and company lead to a chance meeting with the appraiser Theresa. She reveals her circumstances, explaining that a primal beast needs the crew's help for gathering battle data in a memory of the War.
Lyria: Hm, I wonder if we have a good place to display this urn...
Lyria: Problem is it's really tall, so I'm a bit worried it might fall over when the ship's in flight...
With another successful mission under their belts, (Captain) and company come away with an urn they're not quite sure what to do with.
Vyrn: The old lady who gave it to us made it sound super valuable.
Vyrn: Not like we'd have a good use for it anyway. Let's just take her advice and trade it for rupies galore!
Lyria: Yeah, let's do that.
Hoping for an abundance of rupies, the crew brings the urn to an appraiser at an antique market.
Antique Appraiser: What a curious object...
The appraiser grows wide-eyed at the sight of the urn clutched in (Captain)'s arms.
He puts on gloves and very cautiously examines the curio.
Antique Appraiser: Hm...
Lyria: What do you think?
Antique Appraiser: It looks like the real thing, but this is an imitation.
Vyrn: Whaddya mean?
Antique Appraiser: You see this mark here? At a glance, it could pass for the insignia of the Loman Empire.
Antique Appraiser: Engraving an emblem like this is a common trick used in replicas of all kinds.
Antique Appraiser: To the untrained eye, it's much too easy to mistake one of these for a genuine article.
Vyrn: Aw, shucks. I guess a cheap knockoff isn't gonna net us many rupies.
Antique Appraiser: Well, seeing as you've come all the way out here, the best I can do is ten rupies.
Vyrn: Eww! That's it?
Vyrn: Meh, not much point in selling it, is there?
Lyria: Agreed... We might still have some use for it, so let's take it back for now.
Antique Appraiser: Hey... Wait...
Antique Appraiser: What if I gave you a thousand rupies?
Vyrn: Hey, make up your mind, mister. Why would you want this useless ol' dud anyway?
Antique Appraiser: Ack... E-erm... I just thought I'd help you dispose of it...
???: Any chance you can wait on that appraisal?
Antique Appraiser: You!
???: I overheard your conversation and thought I'd drop in to say hello.
Vyrn: Heya, miss, do we know you?
Appraiser Theresa: I too am an appraiser in this town. You can call me Theresa.
Appraiser Theresa: If you don't mind, I'd like to take a look at that urn.
Lyria: Oh, another appraiser. Let's see what she has to say about the urn, (Captain).
Appraiser Theresa: Allow me.
Theresa gives the urn her full attention.
Appraiser Theresa: As expected!
Appraiser Theresa: No signs of cracks or restorations... Impressive...
Antique Appraiser: ...
Appraiser Theresa: Thank you.
Vyrn: Well? How about it?
Appraiser Theresa: It's rarer than a gold brick! If you were to put a price tag on it...
Appraiser Theresa: Actually, you can't! It's so rare you'd want to throw away your life's possessions for it!
Vyrn: Whoa! You're not kidding?
Antique Appraiser: Wh-what makes you so sure that—
Appraiser Theresa: You see how the Loman Empire's emblem so beautifully melds with the rest of the pattern work? That alone says it all.
Appraiser Theresa: The highly adhesive Loman clay used to create this urn allows the design work to pop out.
Appraiser Theresa: Loman sand is an extremely precious material that can only be harvested with express permission in special territories.
Appraiser Theresa: Ah, to see it in person is truly—
Vyrn: Hehe, who woulda thought? Explains why Lady Assessment's all tickled pink.
Appraiser Theresa: I'm sorry. I was taken in by its beauty.
Appraiser Theresa: Lady Luck must truly favor you for you to come upon such a marvelous urn.
Theresa flashes a smile at the crew before setting her sights on the antique appraiser.
Appraiser Theresa: Imitations of Loman antiques don't exist because of how incredibly rare they are. Any appraiser worth their salt should know that.
Antique Appraiser: Urgh... Nonsense... Now you're just getting in the way of my business!
Appraiser Theresa: Are you saying cheating your customers out of their valuable goods is how you do business?
Antique Appraiser: Don't push it...
Appraiser Theresa: You must have had a deep love for the arts to want to become an appraiser in the first place.
Appraiser Theresa: But from the way you do things, I can tell you no longer have that passion. How sad.
Antique Appraiser: Tch... Mind your own damn business and get outta my store already! You chumps too!
Vyrn: Geez, that guy really lost it.
Appraiser Theresa: Sorry for spoiling the mood. Perhaps I went too far...
Vyrn: Hey, it wasn't your fault. Actually, we ought to thank you for helping us out back there.
Vyrn: We'd never have figured out for ourselves that the guy was a scammer.
Appraiser Theresa: I'm just glad to see such a beautiful piece of art be free of taint.
Appraiser Theresa: Though there's just one misconception you might have that I was hoping to clear up...
Appraiser Theresa: We appraisers take pride in knowing that our work helps keep wonderful pieces of art alive for future generations.
Appraiser Theresa: Of course, there are those blinded by greed, as you just witnessed...
Appraiser Theresa: But I'd like you all to understand that for the vast majority of us, our love for the arts extends to every facet of our lives.
Vyrn: Yeah, it's pretty obvious just looking at you.
Appraiser Theresa: Thank you.
Vyrn: So what do we do with this urn? It being super rare doesn't actually make it useful for us.
Appraiser Theresa: I think I can help with that... If you'll accompany me to a certain place.
Theresa brings the crew to an art gallery.
From antique craftwork to lavish pieces of art, there is much for all to see.
Appraiser Theresa: Curator! I brought some visitors with me today.
Curator: Ah... It's you. How rare it is for you to bring others.
Curator: Pleasure to meet you. I run this gallery.
The crew exchanges greetings with the curator.
Curator: Vyrn, Lyria, and (Captain), right? So what is it you wanted to show me?
Vyrn: Check out this urn!
Curator: Ooh... Let's see here...
Curator: Oh my! Wh-wh-where did you get this!
Lyria: We received it as a reward for completing an assignment.
Curator: H-how can it be? I must be dreaming!
Curator: Wait, wait, wait! This is too good to be true! No, this can't be happening!
Curator: You know, I'd give up everything in my gallery for this one piece alone!
Vyrn: Whoa, I don't think I've ever seen anyone so deliriously happy...
Curator: So you've come today to sell me this urn?
Lyria: Yes. If that'd be possible.
Curator: Ooof course it's possible! Heck, if you didn't ask, I'd be begging you on all fours!
Curator: Ah, right... I almost forgot to ask you to name your price in my excitement.
Though overwhelmed by the curator's sheer intensity, (Captain) calmly presents the amount of rupies it cost to complete the mission.
Curator: You're kidding!
Curator: I... I need to get my eyes checked. Surely there must be an extra digit I'm not seeing. Let's see... ones, tens, hundreds...
Curator: Oh. My. Gosh. You do understand how valuable this urn is, right?
Curator: There's no way I'd be comfortable with myself purchasing it for so few rupies! How about you use common sense for goodness sake!
Vyrn: Ack! What's he flipping out on us for?
Lyria: To be honest, we don't really understand its worth... We just wanted what we thought would be a fair price for it...
Appraiser Theresa: ...
Curator: Very well. I have another solution.
The curator places fifty times the asking amount in (Captain)'s hand.
Lyria: Yikes! We couldn't possibly accept this much money!
Curator: Yes you can!
Curator: Who knows what sort of calamity might befall me if I were to accept this marvelous piece of history for such a paltry sum!
Curator: Consider this your way of saving me, won't you?
Appraiser Theresa: If we must put a price tag on things, my appraisal would definitely be worth that much.
(Captain) succumbs to the curator's tireless onslaught and accepts the rupies in full.
Vyrn: Heheh! I wasn't too sure about this at first, but I'm glad we'll have all this extra moolah to spend even after ship repairs!
Lyria: Yeah! Rackam'll be so happy to hear about it!
Appraiser Theresa: In that case, it's a good thing I introduced you to the curator. Glad I could help.
Vyrn: You helped us big time, Lady Assessment! Thanks a bunch!
Appraiser Theresa: Oh, no worries. By the by, you're all skyfarers, right?
Appraiser Theresa: I mean, you did mention that you received the urn for defending a village from a pack of vicious monsters.
Vyrn: Mm-hm, that's right. We're on our way to go pick up another assignment.
Appraiser Theresa: So you do this regularly, huh...
Lyria: Is everything okay?
Appraiser Theresa: Um... Would you hear me out for a bit?
Appraiser Theresa: There is something I'd like to discuss in earnest.
Because the subject Theresa wishes to broach is not meant for public consumption, she brings the crew to her secret garden.
Appraiser Theresa: I hope this won't come across as too startling.
Theresa takes a card out of her breast pocket.
The picture on the front of the card is impossible to make out.
Lyria: I can feel a very strong power coming from that card...
Appraiser Theresa: You can feel it, Lyria?
Vyrn: Ditto. You could say it's got my Vyrn-sense tingling too...
Appraiser Theresa: I thought there was something special about you all, but now I'm certain... You're the first I've met that's been able to sense the energy.
Appraiser Theresa: That power you are feeling belongs to a primal beast dwelling in the card.
Lyria: The power of a primal beast...
Appraiser Theresa: There's a war in which this card is being used. And I'd like you all to participate in that war.
Vyrn: Which war is that?
Appraiser Theresa: The War.
Lyria: You mean the great war between Astrals and skydwellers?
Vyrn: You're kidding, right? You expect us to just hop back in time and—
Appraiser Theresa: That is where the card comes into play.
Appraiser Theresa: The War is ever ongoing within the primal beast's memories.
Appraiser Theresa: She simulates this monumental turning point in history to gather data.
Vyrn: Erm... What for?
Appraiser Theresa: All I know is that she requires the data to construct a world in which to live.
Lyria: A world to live in?
Vyrn: My mind's just exploding with questions...
Vyrn: How do you even know all this stuff, Lady Assessment?
Appraiser Theresa: I entered into a pact with the primal beast in order to fulfill a goal of mine.
Appraiser Theresa: In return for the primal's power, I must give her something she desires.
Appraiser Theresa: Until the pact ends or until I fulfill my designated goal...
Appraiser Theresa: Any actions I take that do not lend to the fulfillment of said goal are restricted.
Appraiser Theresa: Were I to act outside the scope of the pact, I would suffer punishment from the card.
Appraiser Theresa: Thus ending any chance I have of accomplishing my objective.
Appraiser Theresa: That's why I'm searching for others who can help the card in my stead.
Vyrn: Sounds like you're in pretty deep...
Choose: What exactly is your goal?
- What exactly is your goal?
- Tell us what you can.
Appraiser Theresa: ...Choose: Tell us what you can.
Appraiser Theresa: Very well. I suppose that's only fair.Continue 1
Theresa answers in earnest.
Appraiser Theresa: My full name is... Maria Theresa von Osterreich.
Vyrn: Hm... Where have I heard that name before?
Appraiser Theresa: My goal is to recover my true self which was ripped away from me.
(Captain) and company are speechless at Theresa's revelation.
Lyria: I can't believe it...
Vyrn: I know we're the ones who asked you to spill the beans, but... Are you sure it was okay to let us in on all that?
Vyrn: Lady Assessment... Okay, maybe that's not the best nickname.
Vyrn: But you do realize we haven't officially accepted your request yet, right?
Maria Theresa: I realize I am asking the impossible. If you feel the same, that is all fine and well.
Maria Theresa: To ask anyone to charge headfirst into a war is simply outrageous of me. But yet I must.
Maria Theresa: That's why it pains my heart to do so. Otherwise my goal may never be met.
Maria Theresa: After seeing how kind, honest, and true of heart you all are, I knew I could speak the whole, unvarnished truth.
Maria Theresa: To be honest, I sought to use you the moment I noticed what a decent, upstanding lot you are.
Maria Theresa: With all of that in mind, I leave the decision entirely in your hands.
Faced with her blunt straightforwardness, (Captain) and the others trade glances.
The crew pulls off a remarkable job against the onslaught of primal beasts and monsters in the memory of the War. Theresa prays for their safety as she watches from an elevated platform.
Clouds of dust and the scent of gunpowder fill the air.
Thunderous roars echo as countless primal beasts clash, intersecting and colliding with each other every which way.
The all-out war between Astrals and skydwellers of days past unfolds in real-time...
With three new participants.
Vyrn: Lyria! This way!
Lyria: I'll use a summon!
Maria Theresa: You skyfarers are truly awe-inspiring... Although this is only a memory of the War...
(Captain) and company stand bravely on the front lines, fending off all manner of monster and primal beast.
Maria Theresa: What a peculiar bunch... The average person would most certainly not think to help in such a situation...
Maria Theresa: So honest... So sincere...
She places a hand on her red earring and speaks into it.
Maria Theresa: Do you think we'll be able to gather data this way? I'm glad we found these people.
Maria Theresa: Perhaps there is hope for me yet...
Maria Theresa: I've always had the reputation of a worthless empress who serves as nothing more than a figurehead...
Maria Theresa: But the council, with its lies and deceit, continues to control things from behind the scenes...
Maria Theresa: No, I refuse to falter a moment longer. I will carry out my duty.
Theresa watches the crew from an elevated platform with a prayer in her heart.
Maria Theresa: I'm so sorry for dragging you into this... I can only pray that you do not get hurt...
Maria Theresa: If I am able to gain my freedom and take back my rightful place...
Maria Theresa: I will most certainly repay your kindness... That's a promise.
When Maria Theresa was empress of the Loman Empire, the imperial council had locked her away in the underground prison for her refusal of all suggested suitors. They replace her with a woman who is her spitting image to wed the one man Theresa has strong feelings for. As she falls into despair, a maid who shares the same cell reaches out.
At the Loman Empire...
My name is Maria Theresa von Osterreich.
I am empress of the almighty Loma... Or rather I was.
Traditionally a male heir takes the reins, but things changed when my father, then emperor, passed away three years ago.
Without a male successor, it became my duty at the age of fourteen to lead the many nations under the empire's rule.
My mother had already passed away by the time I reached the age of discretion. And my father was too focused on teaching me the ways of a ruler to shower me with love.
I came into contact with arts and crafts, books, theater, and much more at a young age, fostering my keen eye as an appraiser.
"Always know the truth, and never become a fake," that's what my father would always say.
Unrest spreads across every nation in the empire at word of Loma's first empress.
But by employing the techniques instilled into Theresa by her father, she very quickly earns the trust of the people and solidifies her rule.
And thus Empress Maria Theresa comes to be known by all.
But whether she will truly live up to that role becomes a constant concern for the masses.
Theresa fails to see how precarious her position is—of the damage that a single costly mistake may do to her.
Count Eugene: You'll soon come of age, Lady Theresa. Should you not start thinking of a suitable partner soon?
Envoy: What a wonderful suggestion.
Maria Theresa: Partner?
Count Eugene: It has become clear in our discussion earlier with potential suitors that their reigning prince has fallen to sickness.
Count Eugene: But their second prince is very much—
Maria Theresa: No, Count Eugene.
Maria Theresa: I will choose my own partner in life. I wish to marry for love rather than politics. Just as Mother did...
It was love at first sight for Theresa's parents.
The image I have of my mother is one of perpetual happiness, perhaps from being wedded to such a wonderful, loving husband.
I've always admired my mother for seeking true love. And I wish the same for myself.
Little did I know that such a mindset would set in motion a catastrophic turn of events...
Marrying for love was nearly unheard of among the ruling class. The previous emperor's case was a very special one.
Aristocrat Youth: Out to play again? You can be such a tomboyish princess.
Young M. Theresa: You're pretty gutsy yourself. Do you have any idea what the guards would do if they spotted you?
Aristocrat Youth: So you say... But there's someone I absolutely must meet.
Young M. Theresa: Hm?
Aristocrat Youth: That look on your face... Did you think I meant you?
Young M. Theresa: I-I didn't even say anything...
Aristocrat Youth: Haha... Oh, you're so cute when you're embarrassed... I must say I'm really glad I got to see you again today.
Young M. Theresa: Ah...
Theresa comes to have feelings for the young man after a few chance meetings at the secret garden.
She would dream of him in her sleep and talk to the handmaidens all about him.
Though Theresa never learns the boy's name, the time they spend together provides solace for the often overworked empress.
But those days do not last.
Worried that outside nations may look down upon an empire ruled by a mere girl, a few confidants take action.
Although impressed with Theresa's command of political matters, they grow restless with her incessant refusal to engage in marriage talks.
The confidants prepare a girl who is the spitting image of Theresa to take her place as empress. Theresa is confined in the underground prison.
Maria Theresa: ...
They trampled my pride and dignity as empress... Deprived me of my life up until that point... And stole away my love from me...
Trapped in that cell, I was consumed with hate.
I vowed to take revenge on those traitors someday. It became my sole purpose in life.
And then the fated day arrives. The girl who had taken over Theresa's place as empress is to be wed.
From the cracks in the stone wall, Theresa catches glimpses of the extravagant wedding ceremony—glimpses of a shocking reality.
Aristocrat Youth: ...
Maria Theresa: Huh...
The distant silhouette seems all too familiar.
False Empress: ...
Aristocrat Youth: ...
The young man she had kept in her thoughts each and every day—in every waking moment and even in her dreams—now stands beside the impostor.
Maria Theresa: No...
The partner for this political marriage happens to be the very youth that Theresa had such a strong affection for.
Maria Theresa: No... No...
Alas... It is already too late.
Maria Theresa: Noooo!
This should be the happiest moment in her life. But her sweetheart, the support of her people, her country, and her status... are no more.
Theresa is struck with the reality that her very self—everything she had ever been—was essentially taken from right under her.
Maria Theresa: Aaaagh!
The rigid stone walls that isolate her from the rest of the world close off the future that should be hers.
Revenge is but an impossible dream... Is it her destiny to live out the rest of her days and die within these cold, harsh chambers?
Amid the utter rage and anguish that consume Theresa in her hopeless despair...
A hand reaches out.
Servant: Lady Theresa...
A maid, locked up in the same cell, gently embraces Theresa as if to console her.
The maid places the card of Justice in Theresa's hand before sacrificing herself. Justice helps Theresa break out of the prison. She learns that the new empress is actually her long-lost twin sister who was cast out as a baby. Theresa discovers that her mother is alive and pays her a visit, only to be scorned by hateful words; this causes her to reflect on her role in life.
Maria Theresa: Noooo!
Servant: Lady Theresa... Please calm yourself!
Maria Theresa: Charlotte... Please... Just let me die! I don't want to live anymore!
Servant: Lady Theresa! This world deserves you.
The servant forces a card onto Theresa's palm.
Maria Theresa: ...?
Servant: You cannot let it end like this.
Maria Theresa: What... is this?
Servant: Ngh... Know that it has been my greatest joy to serve you.
Servant: I could not have asked for a better life...
The servant turns to Theresa with an apt readiness, a prayer in her breath.
Maria Theresa: Char... lotte?
Charlotte puts on a gentle smile for Theresa.
Servant: My dearest Theresa... Stay happy...
Maria Theresa: ...
Charlotte turns away from Theresa and bites her own tongue off.
Maria Theresa: Aaaagh!
The servant's body collapses with a thud, blood flowing out of her mouth.
Maria Theresa: Don't leave me all alone! Please! Come back to me!
With no way to stop the stream of blood, the servant's complexion slowly turns pale.
Servant: Hack... Urgh...
Even in her final moments, Charlotte keeps on her best smile for Theresa.
Maria Theresa: No... Why...
As if to signal the moment of the servant's passing, a mysterious figure appears before Theresa.
Maria Theresa: Wh-who are you!
Justice: My name is Justice. I govern all that is righteous.
Maria Theresa: You... What did you do to Charlotte?
Justice: You saw for yourself that she chose death of her own volition.
Maria Theresa: Wh-what exactly are you? And what's your relation to Charlotte!
Justice: Duchess Charlotte Fuchs was my pactbearer—one of the many who swear devotion to justice.
Maria Theresa: Pactbearer... Wait... What are you even talking about?
Maria Theresa: Oh... Charlotte! Is she really... dead?
Justice: The pactbearer has died. I must seek a new pillar who will side with justice.
Maria Theresa: Wh-what do you mean?
Justice: Justice must come from within. Show me your resolve to forge a path of righteousness.
Justice: No matter how arduous the road becomes, I will lend you my strength and see you through your destiny until the very end.
Justice: But first you must tell me... Do you swear fealty to justice?
Maria Theresa: ...
Maria Theresa: (Charlotte's dead... My status, my sweetheart, my home, my country, my people...)
Maria Theresa: (There's nothing left for me...)
Maria Theresa: Sob... Waaaah...
Servant: Lady Theresa! This world deserves you.
Servant: You cannot let it end like this.
Maria Theresa: Char... lotte...
Maria Theresa: (Charlotte ended her pact with Justice so that I could become its new partner...)
Maria Theresa: (Perhaps as a means of escaping these confines...)
Maria Theresa: (She did this for me... In exchange for her own life...)
Maria Theresa: (Why...)
Theresa embraces the cold body of the servant lying on the ground.
Maria Theresa: How... How could you leave me all alone when things are so desperate! You're too cruel!
Maria Theresa: I won't forget this, Charlotte... Dying before my very eyes... is a grave sin...
Maria Theresa: Sniff... You'd better... be thinking... of how you're going to make it up to me... when I come to you... on the other side... Sob...
With the servant still clutched in her arms, Theresa turns to Justice.
Maria Theresa: Very well. I swear fealty to justice. And you're going to lend me your power in return!
Justice's scales shift into equilibrium.
Justice: Our pact is complete. May you tread a most righteous path.
With her newfound power, Theresa manages to slip out of the underground prison along with the servant's body.
Theresa has been laying low ever since. She gathers info wherever she can, waiting for the opportunity to exact revenge and recover her spot on the imperial throne.
But it is during those days that Theresa comes to learn of another shocking truth.
Maria Theresa: Wha...
The girl who had taken her place was her long-lost twin sister.
Deemed an inauspicious child by the court magicians, she was to be cast away.
Before that could happen, Theresa's mother placed the younger sister in the custody of a trustworthy church without the court's knowledge.
Despite lavishing Theresa with attention in the castle, her mother would sneak off to the church with the help of an accomplice.
Her mother couldn't bear to leave the sister on her own. Within a few years, she left the palace to live with the young girl.
Both were proclaimed dead for all official purposes, but the girl and her mother survived as nuns.
To confirm the veracity of this news, Theresa visits the church that her mother is said to reside in.
There stood my mother, alive and well.
I trembled in surprise and joy, but my emotions were quickly crushed.
M. Theresa's Mom: It's you!
M. Theresa's Mom: Nooo! Don't come any closer!
Upon realizing that I wasn't my sister, she broke into a panic.
Then she proceeded to spout every hateful thing she could about me, my father, and the empire.
M. Theresa's Mom: It was pure bliss in the imperial court when you were born!
M. Theresa's Mom: But when it became clear that another child lay in my womb, everything changed! The look in their eyes changed to one of utter disgust!
Perhaps it was the old superstition that twins are bad luck. The court magicians deemed my little sister a child of calamity and separated her from our mother.
As far as I can tell, my father never tried to save my sister. He prioritized matters of state above all else, and the birth of twin girls was only an impediment to that.
My mother, who tried to protect my sister, had little choice but to leave the palace and ended up moving into the church.
It was easier for everyone to tell me that my mother had passed away.
M. Theresa's Mom: The two of us were poor, but we did our best to live a good life! And most importantly we were happy!
M. Theresa's Mom: But that happiness was shattered the moment an imperial messenger showed up one day!
My sister was dragged away before my mother's very eyes, and she was forbidden from ever going after them.
That incident pushed my mother to the brink of insanity. She directed all her anger toward my father and me.
M. Theresa's Mom: If not for you, she never would have had to know such suffering!
M. Theresa's Mom: You came into this life without a care in the world, adored by everyone, blessed by your people... I despise you...
M. Theresa's Mom: It's all your fault!
If only I had never given birth to you...
Maria Theresa: ...!
Justice: Everyone is given a role at birth.
Justice: Yours is a great one. As one of the larger cogs in the wheel, one misstep on your part could lead all the smaller cogs astray.
Justice: Only you can rectify any mishaps that may have happened along the way. Take this chance to consider what your role in life is.
Justice: I will follow your brand of justice, whatever it may be.
Maria Theresa: ...
Justice's words weighed heavy upon me.
I was born to protect the Loman Empire. That is the role I was given.
I was despised by my mother and drove my sister to the shadows. All for the glory of the empire. What was my purpose in it all?
To meet everyone's expectations? To accept my father's teachings? To uphold tradition?
To hell with it all.
If I could have said those words back then, perhaps I might have found redemption.
Vyrn: Careful! It's easy to lose your footing over here!
Lyria: This feeling... A primal beast is coming, (Captain)!
Although the crew members would almost certainly sympathize with Theresa's past, they're too preoccupied with the battle before them.
The Many Forms of Justice
Justice tells Theresa how much the servant Charlotte cared for her, which strengthens her resolve to take back her rightful place as empress. When Justice suggests that the death of (Captain) may also be necessary data, Theresa rushes to stop the primal.
Justice's first pactbearer is Charles VI—Theresa's father.
Justice: Let us talk of the past.
Not long after leaving the church, Justice grows nostalgic and reminisces about bygone times.
Charles VI took over as emperor of Loma shortly after his older brother passed away.
The emperor was an honest and hearty man.
He was possessed of a candor fitting for someone at the top...
Although he never formally swore fealty to justice, his dedication to the prosperity of the empire was unwavering.
Unfortunately he was never blessed with a male heir.
His only recourse was to teach you, his eldest daughter, the ways of an emperor.
You distinguished yourself from a young age. Although the emperor was proud of your progress, he came down with an incurable sickness.
In his rush to get the other nations in the empire to acknowledge your succession, your father succumbed to illness.
That was when my pact with him ended.
Former Emperor: I ask that you devote your entirety to my dearest Theresa.
Those were Charles VI's last words to your personal servant, Charlotte, before passing away.
Oddly enough the council's approval of your ascension to the throne came immediately after that.
Charlotte swore the oath and forged a pact with me.
Of course, the pactbearer must hold fealty within their heart for it to work.
In Charlotte's case, ever since being assigned to be your caretaker...
She stuck with you through thick and thin, tending to your every need with the unconditional love of a mother.
My pact with her afforded me the opportunity to watch you grow into the wonderful woman you are today.
That is why I know all too well her intentions in taking her own life.
Justice: She came to terms with never being able to bear her own child and lived a happy life serving you.
Justice: No child could grow to be as purehearted as you without a love so nurturing.
Justice: It speaks to how crucial she was to your upbringing.
Justice: I was there to witness every moment of it. That should be proof enough.
Maria Theresa: Are you telling me this because of how my mother just treated me?
Maria Theresa: No need to worry...
Maria Theresa: I know full well how much Charlotte cared for me, and that she was on my side every step of the way.
Maria Theresa: We may not have been related by blood, but I always thought of her as my mother.
Maria Theresa: Anyhow...
Maria Theresa: The blame doesn't lie with any one person or party really. We're all just living our lives as best as we see fit.
Maria Theresa: I simply lacked resolve. If I have a role in life, then I must carry it through to the end.
Maria Theresa: That is why I must take my rightful place as empress. I won't stray from my calling anymore.
Maria Theresa: Then my life will really open up.
Maria Theresa: (I hope you're watching, Charlotte...)
Maria Theresa: I don't think I could have come this far had you not extended me those words of encouragement.
Maria Theresa: You're like Charlotte in a lot of ways. Being with her for so long, she must have rubbed off on you.
Maria Theresa: You're nothing like my father though.
Maria Theresa: Regardless of how things turned out this way, I'm glad to have you around, Justice.
Maria Theresa: And with (Captain)'s crew coming into our lives, it looks like a favorable wind's begun to blow in our direction.
Maria Theresa: Yes?
Justice: In the time of my pact with your father, I had already gathered most of the data required on the great divide in history.
Maria Theresa: Oh, really? Does that mean there's no need for (Captain)'s crew to participate in the War?
Maria Theresa: But why are you only telling me this now?
Justice: There's just one last piece of data I need.
Maria Theresa: What's that?
Justice: A case study of what might happen when a powerful force perishes.
Maria Theresa: What's that supposed to mean?
Justice: There is a lack of data on how history might be affected...
Justice: If a force powerful enough to change history were to shuffle off this mortal coil...
Maria Theresa: You mean...
Maria Theresa: You're expecting (Captain) and the others to die?
Maria Theresa: Absolutely not! I won't let that happen!
Maria Theresa: Take me to them!
Theresa screams out to Justice, her hand touching her earring.
In the next moment, Justice's scales shift entirely to one side.
In the Name of Justice
Theresa jumps into the memory of the War and urges (Captain) and company to flee. Justice follows after them and pierces Theresa in the chest with a broadsword, causing the crew members to draw their own weapons on Justice.
Vyrn: Holy smokes!
Vyrn: What's with all those meteors in the skies showing up outta nowhere?
Lyria: Watch out! (Captain)!
As if fighting the most savage of monsters and primal beasts wasn't enough...
Masses of molten rock suddenly come tearing through the sky.
Maria Theresa: These meteors...
Maria Theresa: Everyone, pull back!
Vyrn: Hey, it's you again!
Vyrn: Whatcha doin' out in the front lines? I know this is only a memory, but that doesn't make it any less dangerous!
Maria Theresa: Listen to me... I want you to run!
Run as fast as you can away from the meteors!
Lyria: Hm? Did something happen?
Maria Theresa: Hurry—
Maria Theresa: ...!
Vyrn: Crud! Now it's raining swords?
Lyria: Theresa! Are you okay?
Maria Theresa: No! Don't come any closer! You need to go—
Vyrn: What the...
Justice: The scales of justice have tipped... Oh pitiful child, I must now pass judgment upon you for straying from the path of righteousness.
A distant voice sounds, almost serving as an ignition for the explosions rippling around Theresa.
Maria Theresa: Aaah!
Justice grips the broadsword planted in the ground and casts a sorrowful gaze at the collapsed Theresa.
Justice: Your execution is at hand.
Justice thrusts her broadsword following her verdict, piercing Theresa's chest.
Vyrn: Stop! What are you doing!
Vyrn: Get her, (Captain)!
In the Name of Justice: Scene 2
After routing Justice, the crew return to their world and are unsettled to find that both Justice and Theresa are nowhere to be seen, but the former makes an appearance shortly after. (Captain) and company ask Justice about Theresa's whereabouts, but the response they get only leads to greater confusion.
Vyrn: Huff... Did we do it?
Lyria: Huh? We're back in our world!
Vyrn: What happened to Theresa? I don't see that Justice bully anywhere either!
Vyrn: Does this mean we were pushed out of that memory?
The sight of Justice piercing Theresa's bosom remains fresh in their minds.
Justice: One's justice must come from within, yet she failed to follow through with her oath. Thus I purged her of her sin—
Justice: Sentencing must be swift.
Vyrn: You must be Justice! Where'd our lady friend go?
Justice: I see the virtues you uphold within your hearts to be true, brave and benevolent skyfarers...
Justice: Never lose sight of them.
Theresa reunites with the crew, who help her sneak into the Loman Empire for a chance to speak with her sister. Theresa is now more determined than ever to reclaim the throne but decides to join the crew for the time being.
Some months after the incident with Theresa and Justice...
An assignment calling specifically for (Captain) and company comes in one day. The crew pays the client a visit.
Curator: Hey, great to see you! I've been waiting!
Vyrn: Nice to see you too, Mr. Curator! It's pretty rare that we get an assignment directed right at us!
Curator: Of course! This is something that I can ask only of skyfarers I trust.
Vyrn: Hm? Whaddya need us to do?
Curator: This will be a convoy escort mission. The goods are to be delivered to the imperial palace.
The curator busily places items into a wooden box as he continues to speak.
Vyrn: You were so crazy about this item back then. You sure you wanna just give it away to some empire?
Curator: Mm, not quite. I'm simply returning it along with a bunch of other curios to their rightful place.
Lyria: So, Mr. Curator, who will we be escorting?
Curator: That's, well, she should be here soon enough—
Maria Theresa: Long time no see, everyone!
Maria Theresa: It's been much too long! You have no idea how hard I've been looking for you!
Vyrn: Took the words right outta my mouth! I'm so glad you're okay!
Maria Theresa: I'm so sorry for making you all worry. After that incident, I lost the power of Justice and had to live on my own strength.
Maria Theresa: Which made it difficult to look for you all openly.
Maria Theresa: It wasn't until recently that I was able to contact the curator to help me set up this meeting!
Vyrn: So that's what happened. Anyhoo, Justice's card is in (Captain)'s bag right now.
Vyrn: We were pretty creeped out when we just found it in there all of a sudden one day.
Vyrn: We were hoping it'd help us find you, but no dice.
Maria Theresa: So you hadn't forgotten me either... Thank you.
Maria Theresa: I'll need your help again for today's assignment...
The details of the assignment turn out to be rather startling.
They are to deliver works of art to the empress of Loma—who happens to be Theresa's sister.
The crew will jump to the empress's protection in case "something" happens, creating a chance for Theresa to get close enough to speak with her sister.
Vyrn: You make it sound like a cakewalk! What kinda empress is gonna let us just waltz in there to say hello?
Curator: Truth is my family has a long history with the imperial court. We've had the occasional opportunity to present our pieces in the palace.
Curator: And I've procured an official invitation from the empress herself just for the occasion. We'll be able to march right in just fine.
Vyrn: March right in, he says...
Maria Theresa: Sorry if this assignment might be a bit of a burden.
Maria Theresa: But I need to speak to her... To see how she truly feels... Even if it's only this once...
Maria Theresa: If the throne is too much of a burden for her, I'll need a plan that will allow us to smoothly slip into each other's roles.
Maria Theresa: But if she refuses to give up the throne, then I will have to stand against her.
Maria Theresa: Either way this is a problem that she and I can only solve face-to-face.
Maria Theresa: So please... I know this is asking a lot.
Choose: If there's no other way...
- If there's no other way...
- We're going in full-bore.
Vyrn: Yeah. It's sure to be a toughie, but there's no way we're gonna turn you down on this one!Choose: We're going in full-bore.
Lyria: Absolutely! We know how hard things have been for you, so we'll do everything we can to help!Continue 1
Maria Theresa: Thank you so much, everyone!
Maria Theresa: Justice...
Justice: On the day that you broke your vow to uphold justice, I was forced to perform an execution rite to sever our pact.
Justice: Afterward I found a new pillar in (Captain), and I bided for the chance to form a new pact.
Justice: But it seems I am unable to forge another one just yet.
Justice: Because when a new pillar is unneeded, a new pact also need not be brokered.
Justice: The most logical conclusion would be that my bond with Theresa still stands.
Vyrn: You finally show your face, and all you can talk about is yourself?
Vyrn: Heh, Justice my foot!
Vyrn: I still haven't forgiven you for how you tried to kill us for your data!
Lyria: That's right—we deserve an explanation! If we can understand what your goal is in all this, we just might be able to forgive you!
Maria Theresa: I was wondering the same. How about you fill us in on that before going on about pacts and all?
Maria Theresa: Tell us everything you know about what you and the other Arcarum are after.
Justice makes up her mind to explain everything.
Justice: The Arcarum, including myself, were all created by The World.
Justice: We originally lived as different primal beasts before perishing in the War.
Justice: It was The World who took the cores from our corpses and reconstructed us into our current forms.
Justice: We are programmed in such a way so as to never oppose The World.
Justice: We collect data only because The World orders it.
Vyrn: Whaddya use the data for? Theresa mentioned some world for you Arcarum guys and girls to live in.
Justice: The World's goal is to create a new realm in which only we Arcarum exist.
Justice: So that the next time a great battle on the scale of the War should occur...
Justice: We will have all the data necessary to come out victorious.
Lyria: It scares me to think we were helping such a frightening cause!
Maria Theresa: Um... I'm not trying to defend Justice or anything, but...
Maria Theresa: I doubt she really wishes for such a world.
Maria Theresa: You'll probably find this hard to believe...
Maria Theresa: But she could have finished me off for good to free herself of the pact, yet she chose not to.
Maria Theresa: Do you recall how she tried to void my pledge of loyalty when she pierced my heart?
Maria Theresa: Within the manifestation of Justice's psyche, she could have terminated me anytime she wanted if she had truly wished it—perhaps even by way of meteor.
Maria Theresa: But she didn't.
Maria Theresa: I've been around Justice long enough to know. She resembles Charlotte so much.
Maria Theresa: In fact I bet Justice isn't even following The World's orders to begin with.
Maria Theresa: The fact that she never returned to The World despite already having gathered most of the necessary data during my father's generation proves it.
Maria Theresa: If she couldn't bring herself to kill (Captain) or me, I can't possibly imagine her participating in a worldwide purge for the creation of a new realm.
Maria Theresa: And last but not least, Justice thrives by the righteousness we pillars hold in our hearts.
Vyrn: That so? I kinda took her for the cold and heartless type.
Lyria: Me too...
Justice: As my namesake suggests, I live for justice, and justice lives by me—nothing more, nothing less.
Vyrn: Looks like you two have quite the strange relationship going on.
Maria Theresa: I command you, Justice.
Maria Theresa: Promise me that you will accept me as your pillar and lend me your strength so that we may mete out justice together.
Justice: I swear it upon my blade. May our pact be a long-lasting one.
On the fated day...
The curator and Theresa guide the crew to the imperial palace.
Current Empress: ...
Maria Theresa: ...
Current Empress: How gracious of you...
Just as the audience with the empress is about to come to a close...
Count Eugene: What's happening!
Guard 1: We're under attack! Prepare to evacuate!
Current Empress: ...
Vyrn: We'll watch over the empress! That's what we're here for!
Lyria: Over here!
Maria Theresa: ...
Theresa takes advantage of the confusion to approach the empress.
Maria Theresa: I'll protect you. This way, please...
Current Empress: Thank... you...
Maria Theresa: Marianna...
Maria Theresa: I need to know your true feelings. If I may, I'd like to ask you to create a chance for the two of us to speak our hearts.
Maria Theresa: ...
Vyrn: Guards! The empress is over here!
Lyria: Please take her somewhere secure!
Guard 1: Thank you for keeping her safe! We'll take it from here!
Guard 2: This way, Your Grace...
Maria Theresa: We should head out too.
Vyrn: Phew, this is tougher than taking out monsters. Must be what they call mental fatigue?
Lyria: Yeah, I'm bushed too...
Vyrn: So did you get to talk to your little sis?
Maria Theresa: Yeah, thanks for your help, everyone! This turned out well!
Lyria: Did she say anything in particular?
Maria Theresa: There wasn't enough time to discuss everything that mattered, but I told her what the next step would be.
Maria Theresa: She'll have to make the next contact, so all I can do is take a wait-and-see approach for now.
Maria Theresa: Whatever happens, I have no intention of leaving the throne to her. The same goes for the man she wed.
Maria Theresa: After all, I was born to lead that empire.
Vyrn: Right! That's what we braved these dangers for! You'd better be empress by the time this is all said and done!
Maria Theresa: Hehe, you can count on it!
Lyria: Ah, that's the first time I've ever seen you smile!
Lyria: I always thought it was a shame I couldn't see your smile given how kind and gentle you are.
Maria Theresa: Thank you, Lyria. You too, Vyrn, (Captain).
Maria Theresa: Meeting you has allowed destiny to make strides.
Maria Theresa: And well, actually, I have one more request to make.
Lyria: What might that be?
Vyrn: Again? The next one better not be this risky!
Maria Theresa: I was hoping you'd let me join in on your adventures across the skies.
Maria Theresa: There's no telling what might happen from now until the time I complete my objective. Who knows—an assassin might even pop up.
Maria Theresa: As shameful as it is to admit, I wouldn't be able to protect myself in such a situation because I've never been trained for battle.
Maria Theresa: That's why I'd like to go with you all... What do you think?
Choose: Sure, welcome to the crew.
- Sure, welcome to the crew.
- We'd love to have you.
Maria Theresa: Haha, thank you. I guess I'm one of you now.Choose: We'd love to have you.
Maria Theresa: I'm so happy... I thought I would have to live alone for the rest of my life, but you've proven me wrong!Continue 2
Maria Theresa: To repay your kindness, I'll do everything I can to make myself useful.
Maria Theresa: I'll likely make lots of mistakes at first...
Maria Theresa: But I'm sure I'll be useful to you one day.
Vyrn: With your appraiser's eye, I'm sure you'll be able to be help us find lots of rare goodies!
Maria Theresa: Leave that to me! I'll dig up what I can.
Lyria: Haha, we're counting on it, Theresa!
Vyrn: What she said!
Destined to one day reclaim her place as empress and become known throughout all the skies, Theresa sticks with (Captain) and company for now.
It will be some time before she can finally fulfill her true role in life.