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The Troublesome Stowaway
After a strange turn of events, our heroes ended up working with Metera, who was being pursued by thugs. The ruffians pursued their airship, but using her brilliant flight skills and magic bow, Metera fought them off.
(Captain) and company had just finished obtaining goods for a request at a trading hub.
With Rackam at the wheel, the airship was just about to take off.
Rackam: All right, guys! Everybody ready?
Vyrn: Of course! We even bought some apples, so we’re all set! You haven’t forgotten anything, have you, Lyria?
Lyria: Ummm... Munch, munch... Got my snacks... Sooo... Yup, I’m all set, Rackam!
Rackam: Oh, good grief. All you guys care about is food... Well, let’s get out of here!
Rackam’s shout rose with the roar of the engines, and the Aarship lifted off into the air. But just then, they heard someone shouting angrily.
Ruffian: Hey, you! Hold it! Stop that airship...!
Rackam: Hmm? Is he talking to us? He seems mad...
???: Seriously. He’s sooo worked up. Nobody likes a guy with a short temper, you know?
Rackam: Yeah. We’d better try to avoid him at all costs... Wait, what the?! When did you--?!
Rackam: How did you get aboard?! I’m sure I checked everywhere when we boarded... Did you stow away?!
???: Hahahaha! Let’s take off at the speed of light! C’mon, let me take the wheel.
Rackam: Hey! Wait! Don’t touch what isn’t yours! HEY! Are you listening?!
???: Oh, it’s fine. For me, nothing’s impossible! Bam! Full speed ahead!!!
Vyrn: EEEK! H-h-hey! Are you okay?!
Lyria: Whoa whoa whoa!!! We’re going so fast!!!
Rackam: That’s... That’s some damn fine piloting skills...! Who IS she?!
Ruffian: METERAAA!!! I WON’T LET YOU ESCAAAPE!!! CURSE YOUUU!!!
???: Nobody likes a guy who can’t take a hint! See ya later! Bye-bye!
Rackam: So... Exactly who ARE you? And why are those guys after you?
???: Hehe... You’re staring at me pretty intensely, you know... Do you like what you see?
Rackam: Sh-Shut up! You’re just... wearing really eye-catching clothes...
???: Aww, you’re blushing! How cuuute! And now that I get a good look at you... You’re not half bad yourself. Say... Are you doing anything later?
Rackam: H-hey! Stop screwing around and answer the question!
Metera: Heehee! I’m Metera. Don’t you forget it.
Metera: As for who I am... I’m just a girl who likes to enjoy her youth! ☆ Does that answer your question? Oh, what’s this?
Metera: Are you the leader around here? How cuuute!
Metera: Hehe... You have such pretty eyes. Honest eyes. I can sense your strong determination...
Metera: But look how quickly you get flustered! Oh my gosh! How cuuute! If you weren’t quite so young, I’d take you home with me!
Lyria: Grrrr! Please don’t hit on (Captain)!
Metera: Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to make you jealous... But that’s so cuuute!
Metera: And my, I see you’re dressed to kill... Maybe I should wear something see-through like that, too.
Vyrn: Good grief... This shameless lady’s got us all thrown off our game.
Metera: Oh my gosh! What’s this little talking thing? How cuuute!
Vyrn: Whoa! S-stop! Don’t touch me! Hey!
Metera: Wooow! Look at your little wings! You can fly with those? How does that work?
Vyrn: Don’t hug meee! L-Let gooo!
Metera: Teehee... You’re so squishy! I love it!
Vyrn: Mmggghhh... I... can’t... breathe...
And so Metera went around commenting on every single one of them. Before they knew it, night had fallen, and our heroes had completely lost control of the situation.
Lyria: Yawwwn... I’m so sleepy... I’m gonna lay down for a bit...
Rackam: Hey! What was that jolt just now...?!
Ruffian: AT LAST I’VE FOUND YOUUU! METERAAA!!!
Rackam: Tch! Those guys must have chased after us on an airship!
Metera: Oh, good grief... I told you to take a hint, mister... Well, not to worry. I’ll handle this!
Rackam: Wha?! By yourself?! What can you possibly hope to accomplish?! There’s too many of ‘em!
Metera: Oh, it’s fine. For me, nothing’s impossible!
Rackam: Don’t be ridiculous! They’re attacking the back of the ship... We need to get out of here!
Metera: Hehe! Worried about me, are you? Thanks, hon!
Rackam: Hey! Don’t stand there! It’s not safe!
Metera: Ooh! The wind feels great tonight!
Vyrn: D-Did she seriously fall off?! That’s not good!!!
Rackam: Damn it! DAMN IT!!!
Metera: Just kidding! So, did I scare you?
Lyria: Metera’s... flying?!
Rackam: What...?! Flight magic... It’s the most advanced magic of all, or so I’ve heard...
Ruffian: Hahahaaa! Blow that airship to bits!!!
Metera: Sheesh... You won’t get anywhere with the ladies with an attitude like that, you know!
Vyrn: H-hey! The hell are you doing?!
Metera: Just watch and learn! I could sit here and explain, but it’d be faster to just show you!
With those words, Metera drew a glowing bow and arrow, the likes of which our heroes had never seen, and flew toward the enemy airship.
The dim red flashes of light shimmered in the dark of night. Watching Metera fire off those shining arrows was reminiscent of a butterfly dancing on the wind. It was a truly beautiful sight.
Ruffian: CURSE YOU, METERAAAAA! I won’t forget this!!!
Scarlet arrows rained down upon the ruffians, who flew off at full speed.
Metera: Whew... All better. Sorry for getting you guys involved.
Vyrn: Th-That was amazing! You rained those red arrows down on them and sent them packing, all by yourself!
Vyrn: Say, what kind of weapon is that?
Metera: Teehee...! I’m glad you asked! This is a magic bow.
Metera: It takes form and operates entirely using my magic. As long as I have magic power left, it can keep firing thousands and thousands of arrows!
Rackam: Those look like quality arrows, too. You must have extraordinary magic power to create that bow and use flight magic all at the same time.
Rackam: And... when you took the helm back there, we saw that you’ve got amazing piloting skills, too. Who the hell are you...?
Lyria: Um... A genius, probably?! Wow... I’ve never met a real-life genius before!
Metera: Well, I’ve always had a knack for mastering anything I tried.
Metera: I just happen to really like this magic bow and the flight magic! It’s just... so freeing, you know? It suits me, I guess!
Metera: And, well, when you’ve got flight magic and a magic bow, you tend to butt heads with the more uptight “traditional” crowd... Like the ones in my hometown, for instance...
Metera: Well, there were plenty of other problems, but I was really getting sick of living in that village anyway! Hence I left!
Rackam: Aha! Now I’m starting to see the bigger picture. Good grief... Some genius you turned out to be... You’re just some runaway kid...
Metera: Hahaha!I’m not a kid anymore... But yes, I am a genius, thank you! Well, I’ll be in your care for a while, I guess. Thanks for having me!
Rackam: H-hey! You don’t get to decide that! Right, (Captain)?!
Metera: Now, now, don’t be so uptight. Or are you fine with leaving a fragile maiden all on her lonesome? Well? Well? Well? Well?
Metera: Actually, I’ve already decided. I think riding around on this ship with you weirdos will be a lot of fun. Sooo, yeah, I’m coming with!
- You’re not coming with us
- Fragile maiden? You?
Metera: Aww, come on! Think about it! I’m practically invincible! You’ve got nothing to fear when you’re with me! Well? Well? Well?Choose: You’re not coming with us
Metera: C’mon, it’ll be fun! Well? Well? Well? Well? Well? You’re okay with it, right? Just say yes!
Metera: What? Yes, me! Obviously! What are you trying to say? I’m BEGGING you! Are you really going to turn me down?Choose: Fragile maiden? You?
Metera: I know I act tough, but... the truth is, I feel so helpless... Nnnn... Nnnnnn...!
Metera: Nnnn... Sniff... Come on... Please... Let me on your airship, even just for a few days...
Metera was so overwhelmingly forceful about it that (Captain) ended up agreeing.Continue 1
Metera: Okay, great! It’s decided! Well, thanks for having me! Now then... I’m beat. I’m gonna rest up.
Rackam: Hey! HEY! Don’t just go inside without permission!
Lyria: Hahaha... Looks like Metera’s going to liven things up around here.
Vyrn: Good grief... This lady sure is going places... In more ways than one...
The party is requested to save a woman’s elder sister who has infiltrated the bandit’s airship. Metera tries to turn it down because it’s a pain. But she is forced to join by the skyfarers. In order to chase after the bandits, the party returns to their airship after exiting the forest.
The party stops by an Erune village and hear rumors of a group of bandits who ride an airship and are into human trafficking.
Metera: Rackam! I’m tired of walking! My legs are all stiff! Let’s go rest at that inn over there. What do you say?
Rackam: You float in the air, so you can’t be tired of walking. Oh, but you use a lot of mana that way, right?
Vyrn: I originally can fly, but not usually. No wonder it’s so tiring.
Rackam: If you’re tired, then don’t fly and just walk. If you keep complaining, we’ll leave you behind.
Metera: No no no no! You don’t understand a thing. This is such a pain. I wanna go back to the airship.
???: Excuse me! Skyfarers there!
Metera: Hmm? Skyfarer...? Ohh, you mean me? Haha! I guess I am one now.
El: My name is El and live in this village... Um...
Metera: What’s up? I got it! You’re a fan of mine!
Vyrn: Hey! You want something from us?
El: From the way you look, you are skyfarers, yes?
El: I know this is terrible of me to ask you this so suddenly... Would you please save my elder sister, Mel?
Rackam: Hm? Save her? What happened to your sister?
El: Well... She said that she would get to the bottom of where the human trafficking bandits are hiding around here...
El: I tried to stop her, but she snuck into the bandits’ airship by herself.
Lyria: I’d be worried sick, too...
El: Yes, but my sister is quite stubborn. Would you please save her?!
Metera: Sorry! We’re closed for today! Can you ask someone else? Ciao!
Rackam: Hey! Don’t just turn her down! She probably had nowhere to turn to but us skyfarers.
Rackam: Sneaking into an airship, huh? She sounds just like that Metera over there...
Metera: Hmph. She does have guts. Anyway, I’m going back to take a nap.
Rackam: Yeah, yeah, take care! Oh, no you don’t! You’re coming with us!
Metera: What?! Why do I have to work for a total stranger?!
Rackam: (Captain) is going, too. Being the boss of us, you have to listen, or you’ll get kicked off the airship.
Metera: Yeah yeah. Fine. I’ll go, but only because you told me to.
El: Um... I’m sorry for making you do this... It’s all my fault.
Metera: Seriously... Thanks to you, my me time is ruined. I hope you’ll reward us nicely!
Vyrn: Come on... You don’t need to say that...
Metera: Oh, a handsome man. Say! You there, mister! Wanna have some fun with me?
Rackam: Hey, I thought you were tired. If you have enough energy to do that, then you can go!
Metera: Aww, wait... I just managed to get close to him!
Vyrn: All right! Then let’s go back to the airship for now and head to the bandits’ hideout.
Moody Metera: Scene 2
The party trace the bandits’ footsteps and discover a suspicious airship. Rackam asks Metera to go scout, but she’s completely unmotivated. With all of that going on, the flying monsters attack the party in the airship.
After getting on the airship, (Captain) and company took to the skies to save Mel, who is in the bandits’ ship.
Rackam: So have you traced the bandits and their location?
El: According to Mel, their base is somewhere in this airspace. I think they should still be around here.
Metera: You got a reckless sister there, you know?
El: Yes... My sister has always been wild and freedom-loving. She never thinks about the consequences of anything she does and causes a lot of trouble for my family.
Metera: Oh? So why are you bothering to rescue someone like that?
El: It doesn't matter... She's the only sister I will ever have in this world...
Rackam: I see an airship ahead... But considering the exterior and the shape, it doesn’t look like a legitimate airship. Is that it?
El: It matches the description from Mel! It must be that ship!
Rackam: Metera. You can fly, so can’t you go up to the airship and check out what’s going on inside?
Metera: Eek! I don't want to do something so dangerous! Actually... It’s just a pain.
Rackam: Come on! You gotta learn to get into it!
Vyrn: Look! There’s a flock of monsters!
El: Will everything be all right...?
Metera: Oh, that’s insulting. You think I’ll lose to the likes of them?
Lyria: Not to worry! (Captain) and everyone else here is really strong!
Moody Metera: Scene 3
The party moved closer to the airship of the bandits. Metera enters the bandits’ airship by herself, and messes around as usual. She finally got serious after being attacked and sustaining an injury.
Mel: Hey, you! Let go of me, punk!
Bandit: So that’s where you were hiding. Who are you? You came here to get captured, too?
Mel: Shut up, pigface! I’m here to crush you filthy bandits!
Bandit: Hahaha! You’ve got some guts, little lady.
Bandit: Hm? What’s that? An unfamiliar airship is heading this way!
Rackam: Ugh... They noticed us. Metera, get on the ship. Your priority is saving the hostage!
Metera: I’d better get this over with or I’ll have trouble sleeping at night. Sigh... Here we go...
Metera mumbles to herself lazily as she uses the magic of flight to jump up onto the bandits’ airship.
Metera: Ooh! Hey, handsome! You’d better let go of the hostage right now!
Bandit: Huh? Who the hell are you?!
Metera: We can have some fun if you let go of the hostage.
Rackam: Hey, who told you that you could seduce the bandits?
Bandit: What? What’s with this woman? Shoot her down!
The bandit’s bullet grazes Metera’s cheek and cuts some of her hair.
Bandit: Whoops. Now that I look carefully, you’ve got a cute face. Men! Get her, too!
Metera: I can’t believe I was caught off guard. This is bad!
Bandit: What are you mumbling about? Now come over here! I’ll take good care of you!
Metera: Shut up... I’ll bash your face in until even your friends don't know who you are!
Metera: (Captain)! Rackam! Take care of the ship!
Rackam: Got it! You get the hostage! Took her long enough to get motivated.
El: Metera... Please save my sister!
Metera: Easy! As a girl, I’m good at cleaning up the trash.
Bandit: You think this is a joke? I’ll crush all of you!
Vyrn: Whoa! They sent off monsters at us! Watch out! Metera!
Moody Metera: Scene 4
Metera manages to defeat the bandits and complete the rescue. The sisters thank her profusely. The carefree elder sister, Mel, and the kind hearted little sister, El. Seeing the Erune sisters seem close, Metera gets sentimental.
The party managed to corner the bandits. But at the same time, Mel loses her balance and falls from the bandits’ airship.
Metera quickly jumps up into the air and catches Mel.
While the party is focusing their attention on Mel, the bandits run away.
El: Mel! Are you okay? You’re not hurt, are you?
Mel: Never mind me. I’m surprised at you! I didn’t think you’d come to save me! Thanks to you, I’m okay!
El: You’re always so reckless, Mel!
Mel: Sorry about that! And to everyone! Thanks for saving me!
El: Sniff... Mel! You almost died back there! How can you be so carefree?!
Vyrn: Phew. Glad it worked out well. Another case solved! You know, Mel is so different from El. I thought they were sisters.
Lyria: Hehe. It’s always nice to see sisters that are so close. Right, Metera?
Metera: Y-Yeah... Well, I’m glad you could be reunited.
Rackam: What’s the matter, Metera? You seem down.
Rackam: It’s thanks to you that Mel was saved. Why don’t you start boasting like how you always do?
Metera: N-No reason... I’m just tired because you guys forced me to do this.
El: Um... Metera! Thank you so much for saving my sister!
Metera: It’s fine. I only helped because I happened to feel like it at the time.
El: When you were fighting in the sky, you were like a shining butterfly! It was so beautiful!
Mel: Yeah!You were so cool! If it weren’t for my loving sister, I might not even be here anymore to tell the tale. Ahaha!
El: Oh, Mel! You should thank Metera more!
Mel: Hm? What was wrong about that? I was just complimenting my sister.
Metera: Haha... Well, I’m glad you’re all right. I hope you two sisters will always be close like that.
Rackam: Come on... Why are you getting all serious? You okay? You sure you don’t have a fever or something?
Metera: Oh? Why are you so worried about me, Rackam... A-A-Achoo!
Rackam: I told you so! You probably caught a cold because you always dress like that.
Metera: You’re right... I’m starting to feel the chills. I think I need someone to warm me up!
Rackam: Hey! That’s not what I meant!
Erune Man: ...
Metera: Oh my! Hello, handsome! It’s such a cool day today! Why don’t we warm eachother up?
Rackam: Geez... You’d better rest or you’ll never get better!
Vyrn: Oh, geez... Metera will never stop being so flirty...
Thanks to Metera’s efforts, the sisters are rescued from danger.
In this world, there are still many people who are waiting to meet her, in need of her special powers. Metera’s journey has only just begun.
A troubled Metera confides in (Captain) how she can't tell what her sister Sutera is thinking. Before the conversation can go any deeper, Aster delivers bad news that Sutera was severely injured protecting their village from crazed monsters, and Metera drops everything to return home immediately.
Metera stares forlornly into the sky, all alone, on the deck of the Grandcypher.
But as soon as she hears (Captain)'s voice calling, her familiar playful smile returns.
Metera: Ooh, how can I help you, (Captain)? Did you want to play with me?
Choose: Let's chat.
- Let's chat.
- I think I'm good this time...
Metera: Chat? Is that all?
Metera: C'mon, if it's fun you're looking for, I'll be your everything...Choose: I think I'm good this time...
Metera: Hm? What was that? Looking for a good time?
Metera: Don't be shy now. Come. Here.Continue 1
To Metera's chagrin, (Captain) expresses concern that she doesn't seem to be her usual cheerful self, and she drops the act.
Metera: Haha. Am I that easy to read? I must be losing my touch.
Metera: Well, since you're already here, why don't I spoil you a bit?
With a flick of her tongue and a wink of her eye, Metera engages (Captain) in conversation.
Metera: So you know how I'm a genius, right? Yeah, I'm used to people who don't get me because of that.
Metera: But these days I just can't figure out what's going on in Sutera's head.
Metera's sister, Sutera, is four years younger and her polar opposite in terms of personality. Whereas Metera is a free spirit, Sutera is prim and proper.
Metera: We're sisters, sure, but we might as well be total strangers. I'm not saying we need to be reading each other's minds or anything.
Metera: It's more like... if only she'd scooch over to the carefree side like I do, I think she'd have more fun.
Metera: Sigh... Why'd we have to be born with such different personalities?
Metera: Yeesh, I need to snap out it. Since when do I let this stuff drag me down?
Before (Captain) can respond, Metera brushes it all off as nothing serious.
At that moment a small figure darts onto the deck, huffing and puffing with worry.
Huff... Huff... Metera!
Metera: Aster? What's gotten into you?
Aster: It's Sutera! She... she... she suffered a really bad injury while taking care of guardian duties!
Huff... Huff... Metera!
Metera: Aster? What's gotten into you?
Aster is a guardian from the same village as Metera and Sutera. Though not blood-related, she's adored like a sister.
Aster: It's Sutera! She... she... she suffered a really bad injury while taking care of guardian duties!
Metera: What! That idiot!
A few days earlier, a letter was delivered to the Grandcypher addressed to Sutera and Aster.
For some unknown reason, monsters are running amok, and the villagers are at wit's end.
As some of the best guardians, Sutera and Aster are asked to return to their village to help.
Sutera: This is terrible! We have to hurry home.
Aster: Right! I'll come with you too, Sutera!
Metera: What, don't they have other guardians on the bench? You can probably just ignore them.
Sutera: Sister, you know I'm a guardian.
Sutera: If my home faces danger and needs me, then I must answer the call immediately.
Metera: Humph. You do you.
Sutera gives Metera a quick salute and springs into action.
Sutera: Aster, let's make preparations for our return.
Aster: Okay! I'll go find an airship we can use!
Sutera: Then if you'll excuse me, I need to inform (Captain) of our temporary absence.
Sutera: What are you going to do, Sister?
Metera: I'll take a pass. My choice, right?
And so Sutera and Aster parted from Metera for the time being.
Aster: So if we have you with us, Metera—
Metera: I got it. I'll go. Take me to her quickly.
Aster: Okay! Thank you for understanding!
Metera turns to (Captain) and bows with a forced smile.
Metera: Sorry, (Captain). I need to leave for a bit.
She immediately turns away without waiting for a goodbye, the smile replaced by sobriety as she and Aster depart for her homeland.
Forlorn Metera: Scene 2
Metera visits the injured Sutera in a treatment center and grows increasingly frustrated at how the guardians are forced to bear too much responsibility by the village, lashing out at complicit villagers. Metera storms away to defeat the monsters herself, cryptically remarking that she will "tear everything down."
Arriving at her village, Metera makes a beeline for where Sutera is being treated.
Aster: She's over there, Metera.
Metera rushes past a number of beds in the large room to where Sutera is peacefully sleeping.
Metera: Sutera... How did this happen to you?
Sutera's dominant arm is heavily bandaged and immobilized.
Sensing the presence of others around her, Sutera opens her eyes.
Sutera: Ngh... Aster?
Sutera: Sister! You came!
Metera: Mm, yeah. Glad to see you're still kicking.
Metera: But your arm... Is it gonna be okay?
Sutera: Oh, this... Well...
Sutera: It's not untreatable. Just a bone fracture...
Metera: Then you won't be using your bow for a while.
Sutera: Yeah... Not until these bandages come off.
She glances sullenly at the dressing restraining her arm.
Sutera: Ugh... When I think back to the pompous way I spoke to you...
Metera: I'm sorry for being such a worthless little sister...
Metera: Look, forget it. Just promise me you won't overdo things anymore.
Metera: Got it? Answer me if you do, Sutera.
Sutera nods in submission as a child would when scolded.
Metera: Okay. So what exactly happened to you?
Sutera: There were more monsters than we originally thought.
Sutera: We needed to rethink our strategy. I acted as a decoy while everyone retreated, and that's how I got into this miserable shape.
Metera: Those monsters must be something else if they did this to you.
Aster: Sutera got hurt shielding the other guardians...
Wounded guardians lie in the many beds around them.
Sutera: This is a disgrace. I'm fully aware of my own deficiencies.
Sutera: If it were you in that situation, Sister, you would've saved the day without fail, unlike me.
Metera: Sigh... C'mon, why are you apologizing?
Metera: It's obvious you're taking way too much responsibility as a guardian.
Sutera: No, that's just part of a guardian's duty.
Metera grows irritated over the fact that, injured as Sutera is, she keeps blaming herself.
Metera: Duty this, duty that. Who cares? Are you okay with dying for your duty?
Metera turns her anger toward the various villagers coming in and out of the room.
Metera: Hey. All of you know how to hold a bow at least, right?
Metera: Quit expecting the guardians to do everything for you! Fight with them!
Metera: This is your village too. Aren't you ashamed of freeloading?
The villagers hang their heads but continue to mill around in silence.
Sutera: Sister... The dangers of fighting monsters is nothing like hunting birds or beasts...
Metera: That goes without saying, Captain Obvious!
Metera: It's the fact that guardians are forced to do whatever just because it's a village custom that makes me sick.
Metera: Fine. I'm going to put an end to this.
Metera: Aster, I'm leaving you in charge of things here.
Aster: Huh? Oh, um, okay!
Metera: Guardians? Trials? Useless crap from the past. I'm gonna tear it all down!
Leaving Sutera in Aster's hands, Metera sets out to exterminate the monsters herself.
Forlorn Metera: Scene 3
Metera, still fuming over how she thinks the guardians are treated as lapdogs, exterminates monsters as she progresses toward the altar where primal beast Marduk is sealed. Marduk's power is seeping out of a weakened seal, and Metera prepares to battle this incomplete version of Marduk in order to free Sutera from the expectations of the village.
Still seething with anger, Metera handily dispatches the frenzied monsters.
Metera: What the hell. Those village bumpkins won't even lift an arrow, but they're happy throwing guardians into the meat grinder...
Metera: Bunch of lazy butts using guardians for their own gain...
Metera: It's not worth protecting this selfish village.
Metera: So why does Sutera put up with it?
Metera shoots down foe after foe while lost in her anguish.
She eventually discovers the origin of where the monsters went into a frenzy.
Metera: This place...
She stops in front of a cave entrance leading to an altar where the primal beast Marduk is sealed.
It was here that Marduk broke out during Aster's guardian trials but was eventually sealed again—or at least it should have been.
Metera: Let's have a little look...
Metera enters the cave and arrives at the altar containing the sealed primal beast.
There she finds the partial manifestation of Marduk's power seeping out of a weakening seal.
Metera: If it weren't for you, Sutera wouldn't have to be shackled to this island anymore!
Marduk senses Metera's hostility and prepares to fight.
Metera: Oooh... What do we have here? You itching to do me in?
Metera: Sure, hon. I'm feeling pretty pissy too, so I'm gonna pop you right now!
Forlorn Metera: Scene 4
Metera defeats Marduk and triumphantly returns to the village. However, the rage of the monsters in the forest continues to stir.
Metera: I don't give two hoots about "the Forbidding One" or whatever you're called...
Metera pours all of her amplified strength into her magic bow.
The overflowing magical power kicks up a storm that whips up her hair.
Metera: But you'll never ever take my precious things away from me! Not in a million years!
The mighty blow strikes the manifestation of Marduk's power square and true, shattering it to pieces.
Metera: Mmm! That hits the spot!
Metera: That oughta shut those villagers up about guardian duties and whatnot!
Having vanquished Marduk's power, Metera heads back to the village in unfettered triumph.
Monster 1: Grrr!
Monster 2: Rrrgh!
But the forest still abounds with more rage-induced monsters ready to go to battle.
A Guardian's Endless Trials
Having defeated Marduk, Metera informs the village chief, her father, that the guardian system is no longer needed. Instead of showing gratitude, the chief reprimands the guardians for not doing their duty. Metera, fed up with the village's ways, tries to forcibly drag Sutera and Aster away from the village but stops when she realizes how reluctant they are to leave.
Metera: Pfft. As if a half-baked primal beast would be a match for me.
Metera: Sigh... I hate doing cleanup duty. But at least it's done with. Time to head back.
Villager 1: By the gods...
Villager 2: That salacious woman defeated the Forbidding One our guardians have kept sealed for generations?
Metera walks proudly through the village, basking in the shock and stares of the villagers.
News of her return spreads like wildfire through the close-knit enclave.
Village Chief: Metera... Is what everyone is saying true?
Metera: Sure is. I took care of that moldy old beastie.
Metera: Now no one has to go through with this silly guardian stuff. Get my drift?
Village Chief: Understood. I must inform everyone of this.
Village Chief: Guardians! Assemble yourselves here at once!
Metera: What? Hey, wait! Some of them are hurt, y'know!
Village Chief: ...
The chief ignores Metera and waits for the guardians to gather.
First one, then another, and another—injured guardians hobble onto the scene.
Sutera: Ngh... Sutera reporting in.
Metera: Hey! You haven't fully recovered yet!
Village Chief: ...
Metera: What's the point of parading them in like this? You should be going to them!
Village Chief: Stay out of this. Remember, you're the one who deserted this village.
The chief turns away from Metera's piercing stare and gives the guardians a scowl of his own.
Village Chief: You all know why guardians exist, and yet not one of you did your duty this time.
Village Chief: Are you not embarrassed that a total outsider settled this matter for you?
Sutera: I have nothing to say in my defense. As a guardian, I am filled with disgrace.
Village Chief: Therefore—
Metera: Stop it! How dare you talk to your own daughter like that, especially when she's too hurt to be moving around!
Metera: And you! How can you just take his verbal abuse with your head down!
Village Chief: That is a guardian's duty. It doesn't matter what you say.
Metera: Guess not...
Metera: Even with all this crap, I came back to save my village because I was born here. I grew up here. But now I'm done playing nice!
Metera: Sutera! Aster! We're leaving!
Metera takes the hands of both girls and proceeds to pull them away from there.
Village Chief: ...
Sutera: Sister! Please! Let go of my hand!
Metera: I can't take it anymore! We're outta this village!
Aster: U-um... Metera?
Metera: You too, Aster!
Metera: Up until now you two have been preserving stuffy traditions and doing your best to get killed for it!
Metera: So what if you get cut to pieces protecting the village? What're they gonna say about you after that?
Metera: Some garbage about guardian pride? Gimme a freakin' break!
Metera: We're going back to the crew.
Metera: I swear this is the last time I say goodbye to this place.
Aster: Um, I...
Metera: Don't worry. I'll protect you. I'll never—
With both girls flanking her, a teary-eyed Metera looks to Sutera's bandages.
Metera: I'll never let you get hurt like this again!
Metera manages to squeeze those words through gritted teeth. She wipes the tears from her haggard face.
Village Chief: Metera.
Metera: What now!
Village Chief: I didn't come here to say goodbye. However, as your father, there's something I have to tell you.
Metera: Oh, really? As my father, huh?
Village Chief: I understand where you are coming from. But there is a method to this madness.
Metera: Uh-huh. Like duty and tradition or whatever? So what else is new!
Village Chief: You still don't get it.
Metera: I don't need to.
Village Chief: Then take a look at Sutera's and Aster's faces.
Ever since leaving the village, the girls' faces have been wracked with guilt.
Village Chief: You are no longer to be criticized for leaving the village behind.
Village Chief: But there are others who can't leave for a reason. I ask that you accept that.
Metera: Sutera... Aster...
The Forbidding One is gone now. So why do they still need to stay?
Village Chief: There's something you're not seeing. If you stay in the village a while longer, perhaps you will figure it out.
Village Chief: Don't get the idea that I wish to see my daughters get hurt...
A Guardian's Endless Trials: Scene 2
While Metera tries to figure out why her sisters insist on staying with the village, Metera is confronted by two Suteras—one real, one fake—but she's unable to tell which is which. A villager points out the fake Sutera, who turns out to be an illusion created by Marduk.
Metera is filled with anxiety when she remembers the look on her sisters' faces.
Metera: Why do they bother staying in this village?
Metera: We've seen all kinds of things out in the world.
Metera: They know this tiny burg isn't everything...
Village Chief: If I tried to explain it to you in words, you would only find reasons to object.
Village Chief: That is meaningless. You must discover the answer for yourself.
Metera: Uuurgh! Get off your high horse and spit it out!
Sutera: Do you want to know what Father is trying to say?
Metera: Yeah. I don't get why everyone's fine with staying in this tiny bubble.
Metera: Just because you were born and raised here isn't reason enough, right?
Metera: If I can't understand that reasoning, then nothing you say is gonna convince me.
Sutera: I will tell you anyway, Sister.
Metera: Forget it, Sutera. Like I said, I have to find my own answer if I'm gonna come to an understanding.
Sutera: But I don't think you're capable of understanding.
Sutera: Do you even know me, Sister?
Metera: O-of course I do! I'm your big sister!
Sutera: Then you shouldn't have left our village... or me.
Sutera: Ever since I was little, I longed to be like my incredibly talented big sister.
Sutera: You were always my hero.
Sutera: To abandon the village meant you had no intention of getting to know me. That's the Metera I know.
Sutera: But you don't know me.
Sutera: You're too gifted to fail, so you don't even need to consider me or anyone else. You're a generational talent.
Sutera: That's why you can't sympathize with anyone, and no one with you. It will always be this way.
Sutera: I think it best you leave us here and get away from this village. That's what you want, isn't it?
Metera: Fine. I hear you loud and clear.
Her pace gradually quickens to a near sprint, as if she were being chased out of the village.
Metera: I don't care anymore. I'm heading back to the ship by myself!
The conclusion to cut ties with her family doesn't feel wrong in her eyes.
As she approaches the edge of the village, she is tormented by the bitter lack of understanding on both sides.
There, off to the side, an argument catches her attention.
Villager 1: The guardians didn't run away! Don't spout such nonsense!
Villager 2: Think about it. It was an outsider who cleaned up this mess. That means they ran away.
Villager 1: They've already had a talking to! And on top of that, the chief isn't about to strip them of their guardianship!
Villager 2: Yeah... Thanks to that, the honor of the guardians is in the gutter...
Villager 1: That's not how it is! What are you talking about?
Metera: (They're all the same, every single one of them!)
Metera: What is it? What are you doing here?
Sutera: Um, I... I just came to tell you that I don't care what Father and the villagers say.
Sutera: It does bother me that you've lost faith in us guardians, but...
Sutera: I just hope that one day when you can empathize with us, you'll call this village home again.
Metera: What do you want from me!
Metera: I really don't understand you at all!
Metera: Aren't you the one trying to push me away? And now you want me to stay? Why can't you make up your mind!
Sutera: Wh-what are you saying? I'm your family! I never want to lose you!
Sutera's Voice: Sister?
Metera & Sutera: ...!
Sutera: Who is she?
Metera: What in the... Why are there two of you!
Sutera: There's another me? This feels like...
Sutera: The guardian trials!
Metera: There's still power left over from the Forbidding One?
The guardian trials involves approaching the altar of the Forbidding One and facing its power.
Marduk creates illusions to incite violent outbursts from its opponents.
Only those who can keep their emotions in check are worthy of being guardians.
Metera: The Forbidding One's power has made it outside the altar...
Metera: You must've survived by spreading your power across the island!
Metera: So you got away from me, and here you are tricking people into fighting each other and growing your power...
Metera: Damn it! I was too careless!
Sutera: Sister! She's the imposter created by the Forbidding One!
Sutera: Sister! The imposter is the one next to you! Please step aside!
Metera is bewildered by the two indistinguishable Suteras.
Metera: No one move!
Metera: One of you is a fake!
Metera: So be it!
Sutera: I think it best you leave us here and get away from this village. That's what you want, isn't it?
Sutera: I just hope that one day when you can empathize with us, you'll call this village home again.
Metera: I don't know! Help me out, Sutera! Which of you is telling the truth?
One of the Suteras lowers her bow.
Sutera: I believe in you. It doesn't matter which of us you shoot.
Sutera: That is to say if you shoot the both of us, I will willingly sacrifice myself.
Sutera: I am a guardian. I have always been ready to give my life to protect the village.
Metera: I said don't move!
Metera: (The Forbidding One leads people toward destructive behaviors... Which means...)
Villager 1: Metera! The one who lowered her bow is the fake!
Villager 1: Would a guardian ever lower their weapon in front of the enemy?
Metera: You people!
Villager 1: We watch the guardians fight all the time! I assure you I'm not wrong!
Metera: Yeah. Hang back, Sutera. You're still hurt.
Metera: Damn, I'm pissed. You made me point my bow at my own sister!
A Guardian's Endless Trials: Scene 3
Metera and Sutera come to better understand each other after the fake-Sutera incident. A number of monsters infiltrate the village disguised as its residents, and Metera teams up with Sutera and Aster to stop them. She asks for their help to finish off Marduk for good.
Sutera: Oh, wow... You haven't lost your touch, Sister.
Metera: I'm sorry. I guess I don't know anything about you, Sutera...
Sutera: Actually I used to not know all that much about you either.
Sutera: I focused on how to match your bowmanship, your skill with magic, and just about everything else you can do.
Sutera: For the longest time I couldn't figure out why you'd turn down the honor of being a guardian despite all the skills you possess.
Sutera: But ever since I got the chance to talk to you again, I understood you a little better-
Sutera: Even though there are still things left unsaid.
Sutera: So I hope you will take the time to do the same and get to know me and the village.
The two sisters exchange smiles until interrupted by a breathless Aster.
Aster: Sutera! Monsters disguised themselves as people and slipped into the village!
Sutera's face hardens at the bad news.
Sutera: Understood. I'll handle it.
Metera: Guess I'll tag along with you mighty guardians.
Sutera: Have you finally decided to not keep me from fighting?
Metera: You've got a reason to push that injured body of yours, right? Not that it matters to me.
Aster: Are you going to fight with us, Metera?
Metera: I have to watch you complete your duty with my own eyes or it won't matter. Let's go, Sutera, Aster.
Sutera: Yes, Sister!
Aster: I'll do my best!
Villager 3: Found you! This person is a monster!
Villager 2: Tch!
Sutera: Got you!
An arrow pierces the forehead of a monster as soon as it drops its disguise.
Metera: Well, that makes number ten. Ugh, how many of them are there?
Aster: I have one in my sights...
Aster: Take that!
Metera: Good one. How're you holding up?
Aster: I can still fight!
Sutera: Me too. I have everyone's care to thank for that.
Metera: Okay. Stay focused.
Sutera: Of course, Sister.
The three locked-in hunters carefully pursue their prey. A lone villager comes running up to them.
Villager 1: Guardians! I brought quivers! Each of these arrows has been fitted for precision!
Aster: Thanks a lot! Now go find somewhere safe to hide!
Villager 1: Right! May you prevail in battle!
Villager 2: The chief's house is the evacuation point! Bring children and the wounded there!
Metera: I thought people here were hopelessly incompetent, but they're actually taking pretty big risks to help out.
Sutera: Yes. They're fighting in their own way to the best of their abilities.
Sutera: It's thanks to them that we guardians can continue to fight so tirelessly.
Metera: Hmm. Yeah, I think I get the idea. It's what you're good at.
Metera: Anyway, this is only going to get worse. It's about to get heavy, but whatever. Time to dive in.
Aster: Dive in? What does that mean?
Metera: I'm gonna smash the source of all this one more time. In other words the Forbidding One.
Sutera & Aster: ...!
Metera: One more rematch to decide it once and for all.
Metera: So I'm gonna need the help of both you and Aster.
This is the first time Sutera has seen a humbled and sheepish Metera ask for help.
Metera: I'm not worried about losing, but if it's not completely destroyed, this problem will keep repeating itself.
Metera: I'll probably need you guardians at my side.
Metera: So please.
Sutera: Understood. Guardian Sutera will fight with you.
Aster: Guardian Aster at your service!
Metera: All of its scattered power should be concentrated around here.
Sutera: Yes, I do feel the presence of... something. It's probably that of the Forbidding One.
Aster: Ah! Look over there!
Aster points to what appears to be a mass of dark particles.
Sutera: It's about to be revived after collecting all of the people's ill will and malice.
Metera: It's impossible to seal it again like this.
The Forbidding One: ...
The Forbidding One: ...!
Metera: Haha. You're doing well for yourself.
Sutera: So now we just do as Metera said to...
Metera: Yep. We whale on it before it can revive itself.
Aster: It's so off-putting! Are you sure we'll be able to do any damage?
Metera: Eh, it'll be fine. We've got the three strongest people on the island right here.
Aster: Huh? D-does that include me too?
Metera: I wouldn't have brought you here otherwise. Don't worry. Have faith in your genius sister, the strongest one there is.
Sutera & Aster: Okay!
The Forbidding One: ...!
A Guardian's Endless Trials: Scene 4
Metera, Sutera, and Aster work together to put down Marduk for what should be many, many years. Now that the threat of Marduk has been mitigated, the village chief permits any villager to go explore the outside world. Metera ends up being responsible for these villagers, but she doesn't seem to mind as much one would think.
The Forbidding One: ...!
Metera: Aster! Now!
Aster: Yes, Sister!
Aster aims her crossbow on Metera's signal and fires an arrow.
The Forbidding One: ...!
The arrow lodges into the Forbidding One, a small crack appearing at the entry point.
The Forbidding One: ...!
Metera: So. You ready for this?
Sutera: Yes, Sister.
Metera: Then let's put on a show. Who can dish the most hits?
Sutera: I'll show you the results of my training!
Metera: Ahaha! Now you've got me all frisky!
Metera & Sutera: Haaaaah!
Countless shafts of light from two magic bows rain down on the scattered pieces of the Forbidding One.
And to be extra thorough, the shots keep coming, slamming into every single piece of the enemy like shooting fish in a barrel.
Metera: Last one!
Aster: Is it over?
Sutera: You're amazing as ever. That was brilliant shooting.
Metera: Aw, you're too kind.
Every single trace of the Forbidding One is methodically destroyed one by one.
Without this collection of people's ill will and aggression, it will be difficult for Marduk to resurrect itself once more.
Metera: So from the look of things, it's probably okay to say this won't happen again.
Village Chief: You defeated the Forbidding One not once but twice...
Metera: Couldn't have done it without my sisters.
Village Chief: And what of the Forbidding One?
Metera: It's a primal beast, so I mean, you can't exactly kill it for good.
Metera: After this round of sealing, it should be in a really deep sleep.
Metera: It won't wake up for decades, maybe even centuries.
Metera: This village is finally free of the Forbidding One's curse.
Guardian 1: What are we supposed to do about our duty then?
Village Chief: ...
Village Chief: We proceed to gather knowledge for what comes after when those decades and centuries pass.
Village Chief: You may remain in the village to hone your skills, but you are also free to roam the outward skies as you deem fit.
Guardian 1: What? Can we really go beyond the village?
Village Chief: You all stayed here to safeguard the seal, but that is no longer necessary.
Village Chief: Everyone in the village trusted the strength of the guardians to fell the Forbidding One.
Village Chief: And let us not forget it was Sutera, Aster, and Metera—their strength fostered in the outside world—that drove the final blow.
Village Chief: Those of you with an interest in studying the outside world step forward. You shall not be castigated as was once the case.
A stir spreads through the villagers at words never thought possible to come from the chief.
The enticement of a world yet unseen is beginning to take hold.
Guardian 1: To refine ourselves acting as skyfarers like Sutera, Metera, and Aster have done...
Villager 1: I'd love to visit the sea that I've read about in books.
Village Chief: Your reasons for leaving are your own. All that we ask is that you return safely from whatever endeavor you choose.
Guardian 1: Okay!
Metera: Let me just add that it's not all peaches and cream out there.
Metera: Yeah, there's a lot of things to see, but there's a lot of dangerous stuff too.
Guardian 1: Got it! We guardians will definitely protect everyone!
Metera: You dummy. Fraudsters, pickpockets, robbers, whatever. Lots of bad guys and gals prey on the good. You can't stop 'em all.
Metera: Leading the charge isn't new for you guardians, but the villagers need to step up and give their support.
Metera: You did see through the enemy fakes though, which puts you up there with a guardian, so I guess you'll be fine.
Villager 2: Y-yeah!
The chief steals a glance at the excited people ready to venture off into the world and softly addresses Metera.
Village Chief: I'm glad you see the merits of the guardian system. Sorry for all the trouble, Metera.
Metera: Ugh, do you know how annoying it was putting out fires here and there?
Metera: Anyway, I think I understand now. It's like you said back then.
Metera: In order to live in a boring, monster-infested forest you need people to protect the ones weaker than them.
Metera: The unwavering resolve of the guardians has to continue or else everything the village stands for will go down the drain.
Village Chief: Yes. That is why they exert themselves to the brink. It is unfortunate.
Village Chief: By the way, Metera, don't tell me you are still ruminating about the incident in which you couldn't uncover the fake Sutera?
Metera: Shut up!
Villager 2: S-say, Metera! Why don't you tell us about the outside world?
Village Chief: Yes, you should take this opportunity to showcase the places you've been to.
Metera: Huh? Why do I gotta do that!
Metera: Sure, fine. Whatever. I'm the one who told you all to support the guardians or some such.
Aster: Um, Sutera?
Sutera: Hehe. I know.
Sutera: It's been a long time since Metera had a good talk with the villagers about herself.
The aberration that afflicted Cizierma Island is resolved with everyone's cooperation.
Inhabitants of Metera's village, freed from the chains of the past, prepare to go off into the vast sky.
Metera: We've got a big group here... Eh, should be fine after I explain it.
Sutera: Ahaha... I have a feeling they'll tell us it's not possible to transport everyone in one go.
Metera: Should I make multiple trips back to the village then? We're gonna need to fly a ship back and forth.
Metera: Sigh... Which means I gotta figure out who's riding with who and where and...
Sutera: Hehe. I'll help you out, Sister.
Aster: Me too! Because I'm a guardian!
Metera: Yeah? So guardian duty includes learning how to make airship seating charts now?
Metera: How many trips is this gonna take...
Metera: (Oh well...)
Metera: (I suppose I can use this as an excuse to show my face in the village every once in a while...)
Metera is tasked with guiding these once isolated villagers into a new world.
In an unexpected turn of events, Metera takes on guardian duties like her sisters before her.
In a place where insiders and outsiders refused to see eye to eye, Metera receives a new outlook that will lead to new possibilities.
Stella and the others had joined Metera on one of her spur-of-the-moment shopping trips. Ever restless, Metera flitted from shop to shop, painting her plain little sister with makeup and satisfying any whim that came to mind. Completely exhausted by the crush of people, Sutera needed a break. She said as much before taking her leave. She came back with a pastry for her big sister, bought at some bakery or another. Despite her little sister’s interest in food over romance, Metera couldn’t help but smile will something like approval. It would seem two birds of different feathers could get along, after all.
It was late into the night before (Captain) and company finished the mission they’d picked up in town.
The client couldn’t have been more pleased. They’d prepared a room in the inn for our heroes to relax and put their feet up.
Lyria: Munch munch... gulp. Thank you so much! That was delicious!
Vyrn: Hehe! We even get food! Now that’s what I call service!
Metera: Whew... well look who’s back.
Vyrn: Wait... it’s almost noon, right? How the hell do you call that early?!
Lyria: Huh? Now that you mention it, I haven’t seen Sutera around today. Did she go out?
Metera: Nah, she’s still holed up in her room. Probably still knocked out. She never was much of a morning person.
Lyria: What?! Sutera... really?! I had no idea...
The party shared a pleasant conversation while they waited for Sutera to wake up.
Sutera: Sorry for being so late! You must have been waiting for so long... I don’t know what to say...
Vyrn: Haha! You’re always so dramatic, Sutera. You work your butt off all the time! You’re allowed to slip up once in a while.
Metera: You have GOT to be kidding me! You’d never let me slide if I did something like that!
Metera: Oh! Hey, Sutera! You got a bad case of bedhead. I can’t believe you let yourself go out like that...
Sutera: S-sorry, Metere... you’re right. A guard should take better care with their appearance...
Metera: That’s totally not what I... oh, forget it! Hey, (Captain). I’d love to do some shopping.
Metera: How about we go on a little date? It’ll be F-U-N, fun, fun, fun!
Metera: And you. We gotta do something about those clothes. Why don’t you come with?
Metera: Alright, then! I’m gonna go and get ready! You’d better be ready to go too, Sutera!
Sutera: Wha?! No thanks, Metera... I don’t know all that much about fashion. I think I’ll just stay and do some training...
Metera: Let’s go, go, go!
And so the party found themselves half-dragged into the town market on an impromptu shopping spree.
Metera: What?! Oh, wow! You don’t see a color like this every day!
Metera: Tell me, (Captain). Does it make me look wowzers or uggo?
Metera: Oh. But, tsk. This design... Nope! Let’s put it in the no pile!
Metera: Oh! Check out that makeup shop. C’mon, Sutera!
Sutera: Metera! You don’t need to be in such a rush! The market’s not going anywhere!
Metera: How could you say that?! Shops do sell out of stuff, you know!
Metera: Oh, that is just toooo cute! Close your eyes, Sutera! Excuse me! Attendant? I’d like to try this one!
Metera: ... hm... you know, you think you’d worry more about getting sunburned with how pale you are...
Metera: Nope. No good! Get rid of the lipstick! We’ll try this one!
Sutera: Metera... please. I’m not a big fan of makeup...
Metera: Well now’s the time to fix that! And a little foundation! Now what to do with those eyebrows...
Vyrn: Wow... shameless, ain’t she? She treats her sister like a damn toy.
Lyria: Hm... well Metera seems to be enjoying herself. Though I can’t say the same for Sutera...
But Metera hadn’t even begun to shop. She flittle from shop to shop like a hummingbird after nectar.
Metera: This shop is no good! Onto the next one! You hear me, Sutera... Sutera?
Sutera: Ah... I’m sorry, Metera. I’m just a little tired. I need to get away from the crowd and rest for a bit...
Metera: Wait... Sutera?!
Sutera disappeared into the crowd, wobbling on unsteady legs. Metera could only stand there, dumbfounded.
Metera: Oh... tired, eh?
Vyrn: Jeez... what kinda sister are you?! She could barely walk!
Metera: ...I guess we’ve never seen eye to eye... different personalities, different hobbies...
Lyria: Oh... Metera...
Metera: But she’s not a kid anymore. She’ll be fine on her own, right? We’ve still got some shopping to do!
Metera: And I think I know someone who’d make a great canvas... oh, Lyria? I bet you looove to play dress up!
With Sutera gone, Metera set her sights on Lyria. The shopping trip went on unimpeded.
After a short while, Sutera rejoined the company.
Sutera: Sorry to keep you waiting! It was hard finding you guys with so many people around.
Metera: Wait. Did you go back to the ship?
Sutera: ...? I did. I just needed a little break! I’m okay now!
Sutera: Hehe... hey, Metera! Hold out your hand.
Metera: Huh? What’s this...
Metera obediently held out her hand. In it, Sutera placed a small and rather charming box.
Sutera: Hehe... I saw it in a bakery while we were shopping and I thought there was no way I wasn’t getting it for you.
Metera: Wait. For me? Fine... I’ll go ahead and take it since you went through all the trouble, but...
Still half mumbling, Metera opened the box to reveal a beautifully decorated pastry.
Lyria: Wow! It looks like treasure! I don’t think I could ever eat something that looks that good!
Metera: Haha! A pastry. Jeez, you’re always so... practical!
Sutera: Oh... well that is true! But just look at it, Metera! Look at how nicely it’s decorated!
Sutera: And they probably did it all with sugar! It’s not just food, it’s art!
Metera: ... you’re really reaching. But it’s not bad.
Metera: Nope, not bad at all.
There couldn’t be two sisters more unlike one another than Sutera and Metera. And Sutera was completely at the mercy of her older sister.
But only they knew the special bond they shared. A bond that made their relationship that much stronger.