Dark Clouds Looming
Farrah comes to (Captain) and company one day, hoping to find a way to reenergize a tired Katalina. Yodarha suggests they try to catch a rare fish rumored to be extraordinarily nutritious, but when he brings them to a river, the crew fish up Rhens—Yodarha's former disciple—and his lackeys instead. Together they reel in the elusive fish, but their joy is interrupted when a scream tears through the serene forest. The group rushes to the scene to find the remains of a person atrociously cut open. Yodarha recognizes it as the work of one of his disciples and vows to stop the killer.
Vyrn: Yaaawn... Nothing's bitin', huh?
Lyria: Nothing at all... Yawn...
Farrah: Yaaawn... The only things I'm catching are yawns from you two...
Farrah: Maaaster, are you sure there are fish here?
Yodarha: Hyuk-hyuk! Have a little more patience and keep your rods still. You'll scare 'em away otherwise.
The cheerful old man named Yodarha is actually a master swordsman as well as a renowned fisherman.
Farrah: Ughhh... This is for Katalina! I'm definitely gonna catch something for her, just you wait!
The young girl who calls the old man "master" is Farrah, a knight from the Erste Empire who once served under Katalina.
The two are currently fishing together so that Farrah can make nourishing food for her beloved Katalina.
Farrah wants nothing more than to support and energize Katalina, who has been busy lately with many missions.
In order to procure the best ingredients possible, the young girl has come to (Captain) and Yodarha for help.
Yodarha: Hrmm... Something nutritious to eat, you say? A few things come to mind.
Yodarha: Have you ever heard of a seema before? It's a fish caught in a river near here, and it's famous for curing illness and exhaustion.
Farrah: That sounds perfect! I'll go buy some right away!
Yodarha: Now hold your horses. There's no point heading to town to wait in line when they're going to sell out before you get there.
Farrah: Does that mean I've gotta catch them myself?
Yodarha: A-hyuk-hyuk! You've got the right idea. These fellas are elusive, but catching 'em isn't impossible. Are you up for the challenge?
Farrah: Of course! There's nothing I wouldn't do when it's Katalina's health on the line!
Yodarha: That's the spirit! Come on, then! I'll show you to a special fishing spot!
Vyrn: I know you said this spot was special, but we haven't caught a nibble since we got here.
Yodarha: Even a skilled angler has trouble catching anything in this area, you know.
Yodarha: Since there's a lot of grub available for the fish, they're usually full and bite less often. On the other hand, that means that they're filled with nutrition.
Yodarha: Hyuk-hyuk-hyuk... Looks like we're in for the long haul, eh? But this'll make for some good training in patience.
(Captain) and company quiet down and immerse themselves in silence once again.
For a while, only the sound of rustling trees accompanies the calm stream of water.
Farrah: Ah! Something's tugging on the line! We got one! We really got one!
Out of the blue, Farrah's rod curves wildly downward, and a large shape breaks the surface of the water.
Farrah: No way... This one's huge!
Vyrn: We'll help you reel it in!
(Captain) and everyone else grab onto the rod in Farrah's trembling hands.
Farrah: Guess a rare fish wouldn't go down without a fight, huh? But I won't lose when I'm fighting for Katalina!
Farrah: Let's all pull on three!
Vyrn: Let's do this!
Farrah: Here we go! One, two... three!
At the end of the countdown, each of them yank with all their might. A torrent of water soars into the air as they finally lift their prize out of the water.
Farrah: All right! We reeled in a big—
To everyone's great surprise, it isn't a fish that comes splashing out.
Vyrn: Wh-what? Last I checked, fish didn't look like people!
Lyria: Oh no, we have to help them!
(Captain) and company quickly scramble to grab the three men floating lifelessly in the water.
Yodarha: Good grief... I was wondering where you went, but I never expected to find you submerged in a river!
Slightly flabbergasted, Yodarha moves in front of one man and slaps his cheek.
Yodarha: Rhens! Wake up, lad!
Rhens: Agh... Is that you, old geezer?
Rhens: Heheh... I guess a screwup like me is doomed to keep screwing up...
Yodarha: Don't you die on me! Where'd all your ambition go!
Rhens: I'm so hungry I could die...
After Rhens's weak groan, a stunned silence falls over the crew.
Rhens: Munch, crunch, gobble... Whew, I thought for sure I'd kick the bucket back there! Munch, munch...
Thug 1: Munch, crunch... We're sure lucky we ran into you, Master!
Thug 2: Rhens's bad luck ended up in our favor, eh? He'll get us into all sorts of messes, but never fatal ones! Munch, crunch...
Having collapsed from hunger, Rhens and his thugs vigorously tear into the food that (Captain) and company cooked up for them.
They are completely revived after stuffing themselves full.
Yodarha: Why were you lads floating down the river in the first place?
Rhens: Munch, munch... Well, if you really wanna know, you better settle down for a long story.
He begins to detail the events that led up to his dangerous dip in the water.
(Captain) and company first met Rhens and his thugs on Fehrtyl Island during an incident involving the rare greatshrooms that grow there.
Rhens was previously a disciple of Yodarha's, but had since turned to darker ways.
Dominating all the skies was his dream, and nabbing a golden greatshroom would have helped him fund it.
However, losing to (Captain) and the crew was the wake-up call he needed. Yodarha pointed out that Rhens was also pretty bad at being bad.
Rhens took the words to heart and turned back to the light, starting a new life alongside his comrades.
Rhens: So first we met some folks who came from a pretty poor island, and they wanted to borrow some money to send to their families. Before we knew it, we were outta rupies.
Rhens: Since we only had the clothes on our backs and our blades, we took to doing security for people. Not that it paid much though!
Rhens: Nobody was offering a decent reward. But then again, you've already gotta be pretty desperate to hire a master swordsman in the making like me.
Rhens: The last guy who hired us couldn't even pay a single rupie. Turned out his family suddenly got sick.
Rhens: Figured there was no point houndin' a guy for something he doesn't have, so we put it on credit for now. A nice solution, right? Hahaha!
Thug 1: Before we realized it, we were in just as much financial trouble too... We couldn't even afford food.
Thug 2: That's why we went looking for something to eat out here. But we didn't find anything for days, and then the starvation kicked in...
Yodarha: And here I was wondering what could've caused all three of you to tumble into the river together...
Yodarha: Well, I suppose it's good that none of you lads would make good criminals. If you want to find your own food, come grab a rod and fish with us.
Farrah lets out a sudden gasp as she hears Yodarha mention fishing.
Farrah: Ahhh! I totally forgot!
Farrah: We've gotta catch a seema in time for dinner tonight!
Rhens: A seema? The heck is that?
At Rhens's confused expression, (Captain) explains what they've come for.
Rhens: Uh-huh... That's a mighty interesting catch you're goin' after. How about I help you out too?
Farrah: You sure? Fishing here isn't as easy as you might think. You could even collapse again while waiting for a bite.
Rhens: Heh! Don't worry about me. No matter how many times I get knocked down, I'll always get up again.
Yodarha: I won't say no to an extra helping hand. Just don't expect me to come running if you get swept into the river again.
Soon enough, (Captain) and company are facing the water again with their rods out, this time joined by Rhens and his lackeys.
The skill of their new companions comes as a surprise.
Vyrn: Whoa! You're pretty good at this! How did ya even snag so many?
Vyrn peeks into Rhens's fish basket, stunned at the number of flopping fins inside.
Rhens: Heh, this is just a taste of what I can do. I've caught tons more when competing against my master before.
Yodarha: You always were leagues ahead of any other disciples when it came to fishing... and only fishing.
Rhens: Hey, that last part's not true. They called me the master swordsman in the making for a reason.
Rhens: Besides, I've been working on my weak points lately, so don't doubt the sword skills I've got up my sleeves.
Yodarha: Hyuk-hyuk-hyuk! Brave words for the scrawniest brat of all my senior disciples!
Rhens: Do I look scrawny to you? I'm ain't a kid no more!
Farrah: Huh... That sounds like a pretty different Rhens from the one we know.
Yodarha: Sure was. He used to be a shy little thing, and every time the senior disciples made him cry, he'd join me for some fishing.
Rhens: What! I did not cry! And you were the one who dragged me along to fish!
Yodarha: Hm? Is that how it was? Either way, you sure were a fighter, surviving in that rowdy crowd.
Rhens: You really think I woulda become your disciple in the first place if I wasn't prepared to stick it through to the end? You were famous back then, so I wasn't gonna waste the chance.
Farrah: He used to be famous? Was it for his wild quirks?
Rhens: That was probably part of the reason, but mostly any time he was rumored to show up in town, all the ruffians beat it. Never knew how many of his disciples were wandering around, so they ran.
Rhens: And then people heard he had a technique for splitting a battleship in half by himself, you know? Groveling on the road to have a chance at becoming one of his disciples became a thing after that.
Farrah: Master, is Rhens telling the truth? Were you really some crazy awesome person in the past?
Yodarha: What do you think? Rumors, those are. People sure do enjoy making mountains out of fish piles.
Rhens: Huh? Okay, so what about that time you stayed up for three days straight fighting monks and ninjas or whatever? That actually happened, yeah?
Rhens: A fight so vicious that nobody came out the victor, and the entire mountainside that hosted the clash became a wasteland where no grass or trees grow anymore.
Yodarha: You're adding on to the fish pile, lad. The reason nothing's there is because those fools made a desperate decision to cause a landslide and destroyed the area.
Vyrn: You say that like the truth isn't just as alarmin' as the rumors... What kinda fighting style did you use anyway?
Rhens: Of course he used phantasmagoric moves. He was so good at them that he even beat the heck outta some legendary skyfarers while still fishing.
Lyria: Wow, you really were something else, Yodarha!
As Rhens shares these fantastical tales, (Captain) and crew turn to stare at Yodarha with awe in their eyes.
Yodarha: Don't give me those looks. I'm only an ordinary fisherman these days.
Yodarha, despite the wry smile on his face, makes no move to stop Rhens from continuing to speak of his past.
Pretty soon everyone has completely forgotten about fishing, instead becoming absorbed in listening.
Rhens: So as you've probably guessed, his number one disciple was freakishly strong.
Rhens: With a face that always looked sleepy, no one ever expected the kind of strength that could shatter a boulder into tiny pebbles within the span of a yawn.
Rhens: Even a hundred people couldn't take on that kinda strength, right? But the old geezer here was an even match.
Yodarha's expression hardens at the new topic.
Farrah: It's kinda hard to believe a person like that exists...
Vyrn: We'd probably know a person that strong, right? Do you got a name or anything?
Rhens: If I recall correctly, it's—
Yodarha: Rhens! Your rod's hooked something!
Yodarha's sharp shout cuts into Rhens's words, almost as if to prevent him from sharing the name.
But sure enough, one look at the shaking rod in Rhens's hands shows that his line has snagged something.
Rhens: Whoa there!
Rhens pulls hard, gritting his teeth, and realizes that whatever is on the line is huge.
After one more tug, an enormously plump fish splashes out of the water and lands at their feet.
Yodarha: Oh-ho? This is it! This is the fabled seema!
Farrah: So this is what it looks like! Wow, you actually did it! I might hafta change my opinion of you now!
Rhens: Heh! Easy-peasy for a guy like me!
Lyria: Now we can make a nutritious, healthy meal for Katalina!
Everyone gathered at the riverside cheers as their long struggle for the elusive fish finally comes to an end.
But another voice filled with shrill panic immediately cuts into their cheers.
Vyrn: Was that screaming? That sounded pretty close by...
Yodarha: A scream like that means trouble. We need to find out what's happening, (Captain)!
(Captain) gives a nod, and the group rushes toward the source of the commotion.
Yodarha: Sniff... Hmm...
Rhens: Old man, this smell...
Yodarha: I know. You youngsters should wait over there. It's better that you don't see this.
They push past a thicket of trees and find a woman quivering on the ground.
Yodarha: Are you all right, lass? What happened?
Woman: Ah... That!
With a shaking finger, the woman points to something on the ground. (Captain)'s breath hitches at what lays there.
Yodarha: How atrocious... This person was filleted like a fish...
Rhens: This has gotta be the work of that crazy punk... No one else coulda done this!
Yodarha: Perhaps. Was this an act of spite toward me?
Sparing a quick glance at Rhens's pale visage, Yodarha approaches the body's remains to better inspect the damage.
Yodarha: No. We guessed incorrectly.
(Captain), Yodarha, and Rhens bring the traumatized woman with them and rejoin the other members of the crew. Together they descend the mountain.
Yodarha: This was too strenuous of an act to be who we suspect. The perpetrator was also right-handed.
Rhens listens, puzzled for a moment, before understanding dawns on him.
Yodarha: Since I made sure that scoundrel's dominant hand could never swing a sword again, this crime has to be the work of someone else.
Lyria: When you say "scoundrel," are you talking about the person who used to be your top disciple?
Yodarha: That's right. This type of crime is exactly my top disciple's style, but perhaps another disciple was told to do the dirty work...
Rhens: You really think the others would do something like this?
Yodarha: Who knows? I certainly don't, or else I could've prevented it.
Yodarha: As for what I do know, there'll be more victims still.
Yodarha: And I have a bad feeling that the perpetrator might go after (Captain) and the crew as well.
Yodarha: (Captain). Sorry to drag you into another mess, but would you mind helping me out?
Choose: Of course not!
- Of course not!
- We'll fish out who's responsible!
Farrah: As if we could stand by and watch someone get away with such a horrible crime! I'll help out too!
Vyrn: Yeah! We gotta find the perp and fast!Choose: We'll fish out who's responsible!
Lyria: We'll definitely stop them!
Farrah: We better hurry before anybody else gets attacked!Continue 1
Rhens: Say, ol' geezer... I'm in too. You need anything, I'm your man.
Rhens: I dunno if this is the senior disciple's doing, but... either way we should take care of it.
Yodarha: Very well.
Yodarha: (To think Rhens would change to the point of pledging me his assistance... (Captain)'s a greater influence than I thought.)
Yodarha: (Life's full of the unexpected, eh? I should be happy that one of my disciples returned to the light and is willing to stand against the dark, but...)
Yodarha: (It's painful to see one of my techniques used on an innocent. I have to end this quickly.)
In a cruel turn of events, a mystery begins to unfold.
(Captain) and company vow to stop the killer before more people are made victims.
Foreboding White Light
Yodarha leads the investigation into town, where the crew's search for the killer leads to a series of further murders. Deducing that more than one perpetrator is involved, the group splits up to cover more ground. When they meet up again later, Rhens is mysteriously late and claims to know where the killers are hiding out.
While enjoying a fishing trip in the forest the day before, (Captain) and company stumbled upon a gruesome murder scene.
The day after now finds them hunting for information, as Yodarha suspects the killer might be one of his former disciples.
Yodarha: Sorry to get you involved in this trouble, Katalina.
Katalina: There's no need to apologize. This is the least I could do after the delectable fish you all served me last night.
Katalina: Besides, this incident is related to you, isn't it?
Yodarha: It is, though the perpetrator might not directly be one of my disciples.
Yodarha: That being said, I suspect my old head disciple at least had a hand in this. Hopefully it's just paranoia and our guilty party is a bandit, but in case it isn't, having you here will be a great help.
Katalina: To hear you talking about someone else so cautiously... Very well, I'll take care to tread with caution.
The group proceeds to ask around about the previous day's incident, but their questioning is soon interrupted.
???: Eeeek! Somebody! Anyone! Help!
Farrah: Wh-what's going on?
A man's panic-stricken scream rings throughout the town.
The group rushes to find the source of the disturbance and comes across a man cowering before an ocean of blood.
Yodarha: Another victim cut up in the same fashion.
Katalina: This is... extremely gruesome.
Yodarha: It is. I suppose this means our killer isn't stopping.
Rhens: Hey, you there! Tell us what happened!
Terrified Man: I-I dunno! I was just passing by and then I saw the body...
The man explains that the ocean of blood had already formed by the time he'd arrived, and that he hadn't seen what caused it.
Katalina: Judging by these wounds, the crime happened immediately before the body was discovered... Did you see anybody suspicious nearby?
Terrified Man: Th-there wasn't a soul around! Didn't pass nobody either on my way here...
Farrah: This road leads out of town, right? I'll go check for any shady characters!
Katalina: Wait, Farrah! Don't run off by yourself!
Farrah, believing the perpetrator to have fled, charges headfirst down the road with Katalina hot on her heels.
But after a short while, they both return empty-handed.
Katalina: I talked with an officer while we were out there, and it turns out there were quite a few attacks of a similar nature all over town today.
Yodarha: Hmm... (Captain), can you hand me the town map?
Pondering silently to himself, Yodarha watches as Katalina marks down different spots where bodies were discovered.
Yodarha: One killer couldn't have done all this...
Katalina: Considering the spread of and distance between locations, as well as the frequency of attacks, you do have a point.
Yodarha: The slices across the bodies were also similar, but not exactly the same. No matter how much someone tries to hide it, their quirks come out in their swordsmanship.
Yodarha: You can see it clearly in these wounds. It seems to me that these swordsmen are letting us get to know them by striking down innocents.
Yodarha inspects the corpse as he explains, then fixes his gaze on the rest of the group.
Yodarha: Now how should we catch these slippery fish? They committed these acts in broad daylight, so there must be an eyewitness or two.
Rhens: I say we spread out and find 'em before more people get diced.
Yodarha: Good idea. While we're asking around, we should keep an eye out on our surroundings too, and maybe we'll figure out how many perps we're dealing with.
Katalina: A solid plan. Let's reconvene at the tavern after sunset.
The group splits up and combs through town searching for any clue of a suspect.
Townsperson: Yeah, I saw 'em! I saw the killer with my own two eyes!
Lyria: You did? Do you remember what they looked like?
After questioning many residents, (Captain), Vyrn, and Lyria finally come across an eyewitness.
Townsperson: They had a cloak on so I didn't get a good look at their face.
Townsperson: But other than that, well, it'd be harder to forget the crimson color of their cloak and clothes... Their sword was smeared in a bloody red too.
Vyrn: Yikes... That's not a pretty picture.
Townsperson: They stared right back at me, you know. Thought I was gonna get done in next, but then they just hightailed it outta town.
Lyria: Outside? I guess that means you don't know where they went after that...
Townsperson: Yep. They went straight into the forest, probably to keep anybody from following after.
Townsperson: Honestly, I thought I was gonna wet my pants back there! Makes me wonder what in the skies they're doing such horrible things for...
(Captain) and company thank the quivering townsperson for the help and continue on their way to search for more information.
The sun sets over the horizon, and the crew gathers at the appointed tavern.
However, Rhens and his goons remain missing well past sunset.
Farrah: Rhens and his friends are really late. Do you think they got lost?
Lyria: What if they got caught up in something bad? Maybe we should go look for them...
Katalina: It is quite strange for questioning to take this long, even if they've found a lead. I'll go track them down.
Farrah: Oh, I'll come with you, Katalina!
Katalina and Farrah both stand, ready to leave, but the door to the tavern opens and reveals a familiar figure.
Vyrn: Hey, speak of the devil! Where've you been, Rhens?
Rhens appears before (Captain) and company, his eyes soulless and empty.
Lyria: Umm... Rhens? Is something wrong?
Rhens: What? Oh, uh... Nah, nothing's wrong! Just walked a little too far so I'm a bit tired, that's all.
Katalina: We were starting to get worried since you were so late, but I'm glad you're all right.
Right as everyone begins to relax at seeing Rhens safe and sound, they notice the distinct absence of the familiar companions normally at his side.
Vyrn: Say, where'd your buds go?
Rhens: Oh, them... They...
Rhens: That's not important! We should be talking about what I just found!
Farrah: Okay? What'd you find then?
Rhens: The killers' tracks, duh! I figured out where their hideout is!
Katalina: Truly? Fantastic job, Rhens!
Rhens: Y-yeah, well, it was just some cake so don't mention it!
Farrah: I'm pretty sure the phrase is "a piece of cake," but... Now we're one step closer to solving the case!
Excitement builds as everyone takes in this new development.
Only Yodarha seems to be wrapped in thought, frowning as he scrutinizes Rhens.
Rhens notices Yodarha's gaze and stiffens in surprise for a split second.
Rhens: Th-the heck are you staring at, geezer? You tryin' to pick a fight?
Yodarha: Now why would you think that? I was just contemplating an idea, but maybe I was reading too much into nothing at all...
Rhens: If you've got something to say, then say it.
Yodarha: Hyuk-hyuk-hyuk! Don't worry about me! This old man has a bad habit of getting caught up in his musings!
Rhens: Tch... Well don't stare at me when you do it!
Yodarha: Sorry, sorry. Let's get back on topic and hear the details of your information.
Yodarha gives an easygoing smile.
Yodarha: (I don't know what you're planning... but I suppose I'll observe for now.)
As if to ascertain Rhens's suspicious behavior, he keeps a careful, narrowed eye on his disciple.
Foreboding White Light: Scene 2
Acting strange all the while, Rhens shows the way to the killers' hideout. Yodarha watches him carefully, but decides not to interfere and instead imparts words of advice. Rhens then shocks the crew when he traps them inside the mining tunnel at the mercy of falling boulders.
Yodarha: Let's get back on topic and hear the details of your information.
Rhens: Uh-huh. According to the old lady I talked to...
Mindful of the bustling tavern around them, (Captain) and company huddle together in a corner to listen to Rhens's report.
Rhens: There's an old mining tunnel in the forest we were fishing in. Turns out a bunch of bandits fixed the place up and made it into their hideout.
Rhens: The bandits got caught so the hideout should be empty now, but the old lady said lately there've been people going in and out of the place.
Katalina: Hmm... It's possible that those newcomers aren't our killers though.
Rhens: Sure. But the old lady specifically said she'd seen men covered in blood going in and outta the hideout.
Yodarha: Given the way those poor people were killed, I'd be surprised if our killers weren't dripping red.
Lyria: The townspeople we talked to mentioned something similar too.
Vyrn: Yeah, we were told about a shady character running into the forest with a blood-covered sword.
Rhens: It's gotta be them, right? Smells super fishy to me, at least, so why don't we check it out?
Yodarha: We've got no other leads... Which is why I'm willing to believe in you and give your idea a chance.
Yodarha: Oh-ho? That's a curious face you're making. Something have you worried?
Rhens: Huh? No, 'course not!
Rhens: Why would I have anything to worry about?
After a little more discussion, (Captain) and company decide to head for the tunnel hideout in the forest the next day.
The next morning arrives.
Rhens leads the way into the forest, one hand clutching a map he'd received from the old woman.
Yodarha: Hm-hm... You've gotten pretty good at walking on your own without getting lost.
Rhens: B-buzz off, old man! Why do you keep watchin' me?
Yodarha: What? Is it a crime to take in how wonderfully my disciple has grown?
Yodarha: Not only did you manage to pull yourself out from your darker ways, but you're also actively helping others. As your former mentor, I couldn't be more proud.
Rhens: O-oh, well, I mean...
Yodarha: But you know what? Sometimes a person can regret doing the right thing as much as the wrong. Not that we can blame them or call them evil for it.
Yodarha: Listen, Rhens. By the time you come to regret a choice, it's already too late to take your actions back. That's how the world works.
Yodarha: Only you can make your own choices and live with the consequences, just like how you have been since quitting the villain act. Don't forget that.
Having said his piece, Yodarha finally pulls his scrutinizing gaze away from Rhens and moves to join the others in the group.
Rhens remains off by himself, clenching his fists unconsciously as he mulls over Yodarha's words.
(Captain) and company reach the location of the hideout.
True to what they've heard about the place being a mining tunnel, a heavy metal door adorns the entrance.
Katalina: It would make sense for the tunnel to be closed off if it was abandoned at one point.
The door is slightly ajar, a series of chains lying on the ground nearby. Katalina cautiously peers through it.
Katalina: I don't sense anybody around. I'm opening it up.
She slowly pulls the door open.
As soon as she does, a black shape from inside rushes at the group without warning.
Reacting on instinct, Rhens yanks (Captain) out of the way by the collar.
A monster flies past (Captain)'s nose, its stinger whipping dangerously close, and disappears into the forest.
Vyrn: Holy smokes... That thing was fast.
Lyria: I didn't even see it...
Katalina: I'm so sorry! Are you hurt, (Captain)?
(Captain) reassures Katalina that not a hair is out of place, and instead turns to Rhens with the same question.
Choose: Thank you, Rhens.
- Thank you, Rhens.
Nah, I'm totally good...
Rhens keeps his eyes lowered as (Captain) thanks him.
Rhens: (Now why did I go and do that? I could've just... not done anything and then...)
Yodarha's words surface in his mind again.
Yodarha: Listen, Rhens. By the time you come to regret a choice, it's already too late to take your actions back. That's how the world works.
Yodarha: Only you can make your own choices and live with the consequences, just like how you have been since quitting the villain act. Don't forget that.
Vyrn: Hey, you're pale as a ghost. Something wrong?
Rhens: Huh? N-nah, I'm only pale 'cause I had some white bread this morning! You are what you eat, right?
Farrah: I'm pretty sure that's not what that phrase means... Are you really okay?
Rhens: Uh... Well...
Rhens goes silent for a moment.
Rhens: (Captain). Truth is...
But he comes to a stop again as a different memory surfaces.
???: Hey, Rhenny...
Choose: Something wrong?
- Something wrong?
Rhens: I just... Sorry for... grabbing you by the collar. It hurt, right?
Avoiding (Captain)'s confused gaze, Rhens nervously fixes up the collar he'd grabbed.
The group notices Rhens's strange behavior, but decides to focus on exploring the hideout in lieu of pressing him further.
Farrah: This place is way bigger than I thought it'd be...
Katalina: Mining tunnels do tend to be massive endeavors. We can probably expect a surprise attack in this space, so stick close, everyone.
Immediately after going through the entrance, the group comes across a tunnel displaying traces of recent activity.
A sudden darkness washes over them, the natural light from outside vanishing as a loud noise echoes from the entrance.
Farrah: Huh? Hey, where'd Rhens go?
Farrah surveys her surroundings, hoping to figure out what just happened, and notices that one of their companions is gone.
Dread fills her stomach as she runs back to the entrance and finds it locked.
Farrah: Rhens! This isn't funny!
Rhens: It's hilarious if you ask me! Never expected you to get caught so easily!
Vyrn: Say what! You're tryin' to trap us?
Lyria: But why? Why would you do this? Please open up the door, Rhens!
Rhens: Sorry, no can do. Afraid these tunnels are gonna be your home from now on, 'cause you ain't comin' back after those rocks crush you!
Rhens barely finishes speaking before an explosion sounds above (Captain) and company's heads, causing the tunnels to violently quake.
Yodarha: We're gonna be fish paste if we don't head deeper inside! Move!
Everyone dashes further inside the darkness and does their best to avoid the rocks coming down upon them.
They continue to run while the sounds of large, falling boulders thunder behind them.
Foreboding White Light: Scene 3
Trapped in the tunnel, (Captain) and company discover a note that Rhens stealthily attached to the captain's collar. The note reveals itself to be a map pointing the way toward a jail and an exit. Though the crew initially hesitate to trust the map, they follow it and eventually learn the true reason for Rhens's betrayal at the end of the tunnel. Before the group can head back to town, they're surrounded by several of Yodarha's former disciples.
(Captain) and company fall for Rhens's trap and barely avoid being buried underneath a mountain of stone.
As a hail of pebbles bounces off their heads, they push deeper into the tunnels and eventually arrive in an open cavern.
Yodarha: Phew... I almost thought we'd be entombed back there.
Farrah: I can't hear anything falling anymore. We should be safe here.
Lyria: But now we're trapped...
The tunnel they've come from contains no exits.
However, the cavern splits into three other tunnels, leaving the possibility of an exit still open.
Katalina: So he planned on baiting us here and killing us from the beginning...
Yodarha: Perhaps. Now's not a good time to be racking our heads for an answer though.
Yodarha: We should find a way out of here first and ask him for his reasons then.
Following Yodarha's advice, everyone peeks into the three tunnels.
Vyrn: Wait, you've got something stuck to your clothes, (Captain).
Vyrn swoops in close and plucks what seems to be a note attached to (Captain)'s collar.
Slightly wary, (Captain) takes the note from Vyrn and unfolds it.
Inscribed inside are what appears to be a rough map of the area and messily scrawled words.
Katalina: I believe this red symbol marks the path which leads outside.
Farrah: There's another mark here in the middle of the path... It says "jail"?
Yodarha: Hmm... Rhens must've stuck this note on (Captain) when that monster jumped out at the entrance.
Vyrn: So does that mean this is another trap?
Yodarha: (Captain). I'll leave the decision up to you.
Yodarha: Do you want to believe in the map and follow it, or do you want to take another path?
Choose: Let's go with it.
- Let's go with it.
- Not like we have a choice.
Lyria: There has to be a reason Rhens gave us this map.
Lyria: I want to trust that he's trying to help us.Choose: Not like we have a choice.
Katalina: I suppose not. Besides, he wouldn't have bothered leaving this map without a reason.
Katalina: So let's take the plunge and follow it.Continue 1
Yodarha: All right. But if it gets dangerous, we're trying a different route.
Cautiously, the crew decides to travel deeper into the tunnels, following the map into a cave system.
After a bit of walking, the crew get close to their destination.
Katalina: If the note was correct, the jail should be right around...
Hey, is someone out there?
A person reacts to Katalina's voice and calls out from the darkness.
(Captain) and company follow the shout and find themselves in front of a jail cell.
Thug 2: Whoa, Master! You came to save us!
Yodarha: You're the lads that're always hanging off Rhens, aren't you?
Thug 1: Wait, speaking of! Is Rhens okay? Because of us, he...
Yodarha: Okay, let's take a deep breath and calm down for a second. I'll get that cell opened.
In one swift strike of his sword, Yodarha breaks the lock off and frees the two.
Yodarha: And let's get those wounds looked at too. Sorry, everyone, but could you help me treat 'em?
Fortunately the thugs' wounds are minor, and a quick bit of medical care later, they start explaining how they'd gotten locked up.
Thug 1: We came here looking for the killers, but instead we got snatched by Rhens's old disciple buddies...
Thug 2: We were too weak to fight back, so we just got beat up...
Disciple 1: Hey, Rhenny... All we're askin' for is a teensy favor.
Rhens: Ha! Do you think I'm stupid or something?
Rhens: You can't bully me around anymore, so piss off!
Disciple 2: Hehehe! Looks like the crybaby's got some bark now!
Rhens: Listen up, punks... This time I'm gonna be the one to make you cry!
Thug 1: Our boy Rhens won't lose! He's got hard-core training under his belt! But, uh, those punks ain't fighting fair...
Thug 2: Yeah, the heck? Having your buddies hit Rhens from behind during a one-on-one fight is super dirty...
Rhens: Wheeze... Pant... Face me head-on, you cowards!
Disciple 2: Hahaha! You hear that, guys? He wants a fair fight!
Disciple 3: You really are a moron, you know that? A real fight means doing whatever you gotta to win! Just like this!
Disciple 1: Let's get his lackeys in on the fun too.
Disciple 2: Come here!
Rhens: Don't... No!
Thug 2: When Rhens saw us gettin' beat up, he...
Disciple 2: He threw in the towel and said he'd listen to what they wanted! So they told him if he didn't kill Master and (Captain), then we'd get killed instead!
Yodarha: This explains what he was hiding earlier.
Lyria: Forcing him to hurt others by holding his friends hostage...
Katalina: How cowardly, having someone else dirty their hands while you sit back and watch.
Yodarha: These cowards were once my disciples too, and it's about time their master dealt out a bit of punishment.
With the true culprits behind Rhens's cruel betrayal discovered, (Captain) and company set their sights on capturing the crooks.
They set out for the exit together with Rhens's thugs in tow.
Farrah: Whew... We finally made it outside!
Everyone takes a deep breath of fresh air as they finally exit the dark caverns.
Rhens: Ah... Ah! Y-you guys... really a-are okay!
To their surprise, a wide-eyed Rhens stands waiting as they step out.
Yodarha: Did you really think you could get rid of us that easily? Just who do you think we are?
Rhens: Thank... goobness... I'm... I'm so... sowwy...
Rhens immediately bursts into tears once he sees that everyone is all right and bows his head in apology.
Yodarha: We heard about everything that happened with the senior disciples and you. You were forced to drop those rocks, weren't you?
Rhens: Dat wuhs...
Incomprehensible words fall from Rhens's lips as he continues to cry. He takes a little while to calm down before trying again.
Rhens: Master, I wasn't tryin' to ignore your advice, you know? I really shoulda told you guys everything from the start.
Rhens: In the end, I only got my buds captured and almost got you guys killed. It's all my fault...
Yodarha: Hyuk-hyuk-hyuk! I saw through your half-hearted attempt on our lives from the get-go!
Rhens: Hngh... So you did notice.
Yodarha: But I wanted to see what'd you do without my interference.
Yodarha: Which reminds me. Was saving (Captain) at the entrance a part of the plan too?
Rhens: Nope! My body just moved on its own...
Rhens: I honestly was gonna spit everything out after that.
Rhens: But I wasn't sure where those punks were watching, and if I backed out, they were gonna kill my pals.
Yodarha: So the goodness in your heart didn't want to let anybody die, eh?
Yodarha: I guess you really aren't suited to be a villain. Makes me feel relieved to see more proof.
Rhens: Old man...
Rhens's expression relaxes for a brief moment, before it hardens again. His eyes dart around their surroundings.
Rhens: Anyways, we should really get goin'. We're still in enemy territory, and they could have traps everywhere.
Rhens: Besides, my injured pals really need to head back to town and get some—
Disciple 2: What's this? The old coot and his freak circus are still alive and kickin'. Tsk, tsk, Rhenny.
Several men emerge from the shadows and surround (Captain) and company on all sides.
Rhens: How the heck did you guys find us?
Disciple 1: Man, you're still just as dumb as always! Were you really plannin' on running away without keeping your word?
Disciple 3: We knew from the start you'd double-cross us!
Katalina: You were lying in wait for us this whole time then.
Farrah: Have you no honor! If you're going to fight, then face us fair and square!
Yodarha: My goodness... You all have fallen into the darkest depths possible, I see.
Disciple 2: What'd you just say, geezer? You better shut that high-and-mighty mouth of yours before I do it for you! Heard it enough for one lifetime!
Yodarha: I'm not giving you attitude. Truly, there is only sorrow in my heart.
Yodarha: I do have one question though: are you the ones responsible for the killings on this island?
Disciple 2: Tch! You think we'd tell you?
Yodarha: I see. I suppose I'll have to fish the answer out of you once we've beat some sense into that empty noggin.
Disciple 3: Hah! Big words for an old man and some little kids!
Disciple 1: Shut up! Stop blabberin' and kill these idiots!
The former disciples and their surrounding lackeys obey the order and get ready to charge.
Yodarha: (Captain)! Don't hold back, and show 'em what you can do!
Foreboding White Light: Scene 4
Yodarha's former disciples stand no chance against (Captain) and company. The men realize the error of their ways, but before they can atone, a new menace strikes them down. Yodarha chases after the assailant and discovers decisive clues that point to his former top disciple, Grace, being the true culprit of the murders. Feeling responsible because he spared Grace long ago, Yodarha puts on his white robes and vows to finally strike her down, even at the cost of his own life.
Despite a difference in numbers, (Captain) and company fend off the disciples and their men with relative ease and turn the tables around.
Disciple 3: Ugh... How are these brats this strong?
Disciple 1: There's no way we'd lose to little snots like them... Something's gotta be off.
Yodarha heaves a big sigh after listening to his senior disciples refuse to admit defeat.
Yodarha: You stupid kids!
Yodarha: Get it through your thick skulls—you don't stand a chance against us!
Yodarha: Even if there were a hundred of you, you'd never beat us!
Disciple 1: Shaddup! Like we would ever lose! We were the strongest disciples you had—besides, y'know, one person...
Yodarha: But how many years ago was that! Did you never learn that being the toughest fish in the pond doesn't mean a thing when the ocean is filled with tougher creatures?
Yodarha: These kids here are a hundred times stronger than any of you were when you studied under me!
Yodarha: Age, gender—none of that matters when it comes to true strength. The same goes for being weak. That's how the world works.
Disciple 1: Tch...
Yodarha: Now answer me: was it you who went around killing people on the island?
Disciple 1: So what if it was? Do you know how much money you can make by cutting people down? There ain't no other job that pays this well.
Yodarha: So that's how little you think of other people's lives.
Yodarha: Tell me then. Did you all study the blade because you wanted to kill others?
Disciple 2: ...
Disciple 3: ...
Yodarha: I still remember when you three first came to me. Always together, you were.
Yodarha: Told me you wanted to become the strongest in all the skies.
Yodarha: You were plenty strong already, and you almost never lost to the other disciples.
Yodarha speaks of days long gone, his expression grim as he looks at his old disciples.
Yodarha: But strength isn't just about swinging a sword. If you don't got a goal, then you won't grow.
Yodarha: You must've seen it for yourself with Rhens, eh? You used to always beat him in the past, but now he's far more skilled than any of you.
Yodarha: Because he's got a dream worth chasing after. The same goes for (Captain) here too.
Yodarha: These "little snots" are all strong, and dreamless, wavering fools like you could never hope to beat 'em.
Disciple 1: I see your lecturin' ain't got much better over the years.
Disciple 1: But you ain't wrong, I guess. We just figured being stronger would make life easier.
Disciple 2: If you're strong, you can take what you want and kill who you want.
Yodarha: Now where's the meaning in living a life like that?
Yodarha: Or are you telling me there's something other than emptiness waiting at the end of that path?
Disciple 3: Just shaddup! It's too late to take anything back now, so what's the point of talking about it!
Disciple 3: Ever since your star disciple put us on this path... you think we haven't wondered what the heck we're doin'?
Yodarha: So you do have regrets.
Disciple 1: Yeah...
Yodarha: Be that as it may, there's no way to take back the things you've done. At the very least, you should accept due punishment.
Disciple 1: ...
Yodarha: No matter what happens or what others say, think of it as purifying yourself. This is the only way you'll be able to make up for what's been lost.
Disciple 2: ...
Yodarha: I'll tie you up. Once we get there... If the judge calls for execution, then I'll be the one to do it.
Yodarha: That's as much as I can do for you. Now let's head back to town, and you can turn yourselves in.
Disciple 3: If that'll atone for even a bit of what we've done...
Yodarha: A drop of water in a sea of poison doesn't mean much, but it's better than doing nothing at all.
Disciple 3: You're right...
The disciples put out their hands, ready for their master to tie them up. But someone else has different plans for the repentant men.
Disciple 3: Huh? What...
One of the disciples' faces freezes in shock.
Then his body splits clean into half, and the two pieces fall to the ground, the revolting sound of its impact muted by horrified screaming.
Disciple 1: Y-you're kiddin' me... Why...
Disciple 2: Aaahhh! Run! We've got to run away—
The rest of the repentant disciples are sliced open by an unseen force.
Lyria: No! Why... Why is this happening?
Vyrn: What the heck... The heck is goin' on!
Katalina: (Captain), stand vigilant! I can't tell where the attacks are coming from!
Confusion and uncertainty fall over the group.
Rhens: Old man, this has gotta be...
Yodarha: You're right. No one else would be capable of it!
Yodarha and Rhens peer carefully into their surroundings, seeming to know who lies in wait in the shadows.
(Captain) instantly detects a faint rush of wind nearby and dashes to protect Lyria and Vyrn.
But Rhens arrives first and covers them with his body.
Rhens: Ugh... I'm fine! Geezer, go after that punk!
Yodarha spares Rhens a quick nod and darts into the thicket where he'd sensed a presence.
Yodarha: Got away, did you?
Not a soul is in sight. The empty clearing he runs into is an unnatural sprawl of trees cut clean from their stumps.
Keeping his eyes peeled, he searches for any trace of the killer and eventually stumbles upon a startling clue—
A series of footprints moving leisurely away from a shattered boulder.
Yodarha: So this whole ordeal really was your doing. Just what are you plotting?
He speaks to empty air as he scrutinizes the scene.
A quiet fury burns in his gaze.
Vyrn: Gramps, where'd you go? You gotta get back here stat!
Vyrn's shout startles Yodarha out of his brooding. He quickly returns to the group.
Yodarha: What's wrong?
Farrah: Ah, Master! This guy says he's got something to tell you...
Farrah gestures to a disciple still clinging onto life.
Disciple 1: I... I ain't got much longer... but the least I can do now is let you know...
Yodarha: It was her who made you kill those people, wasn't it? My previous top disciple, Grace.
Disciple 1: Yeah... Sure was. That woman's always been a nutjob...
The disciple slowly shares what he knows about Grace.
Despite having been Yodarha's top disciple, she was always elusive and shrouded in mystery.
If she wants to kill, she kills. She turns people against one another and creates conflict.
She doesn't understand that killing and committing crimes is wrong. She'll do it when necessary and force others to do the same.
Disciple 1: We were just pawns... And the killings were only for drawing you out, old man.
Disciple 1: She knew about you being in a crew. Knew that if you got involved, the crew would too.
Disciple 1: I dunno what she planned on doin' with you all... But you better get out while you still can.
Disciple 1: She's evil, I tell you... Evil incarnate!
The disciple's last words sap his remaining strength, and he falls silent.
Farrah: So your old star disciple is coming after you, Master...
Yodarha: It seems that way. I believe so, at least.
Not another word is spoken as Yodarha silently takes in the corpses at their feet.
A new day arrives.
(Captain), Lyria, and Vyrn visit Rhens in the hospital where they'd dropped him off after coming back to town.
Vyrn: What? You can't move your arm?
Rhens: Yep. The wound ran a little too deep, y'see. The docs told me that I won't ever be able to move it the same way again.
Rhens explains that after a bit of rehabilitation he'll be able to use his arm for everyday tasks, but swinging a sword is forever out of the question.
Upon hearing this, guilt floods (Captain).
Lyria: It's all our fault. Because you had to protect us, you...
Rhens: Don't say that! I'm the one who jumped in front of you, so don't you go blamin' yourself!
Rhens: Besides, I don't need to use a hand to hold my sword when I got my mouth, right? And it's not like I can't make a livin' doing something else either!
Rhens: I'm just glad that my arm will eventually move again! Swords schmords!
Rhens's cheery disposition does nothing to wipe the gloom from everyone else's faces.
Rhens: Well... I was also thinkin' it wouldn't be so bad to become a fisherman.
Vyrn: Oh... I guess the old man was sayin' something about that, huh?
Lyria: Yeah... He said you were really talented at fishing.
Rhens: Heck yeah. I'll catch a fish nobody's ever seen before, and then every single person in the skies will know my name!
Rhens: Guess it was the right call to let that ol' geezer teach me something besides the blade! Hehe...
The moment Rhens stops talking, tears begin to fall from his eyes.
Thug 1: Rhens, you...
Thug 2: It must feel awful no matter how you spin it, huh...
Rhens: N-no, you've got the wrong idea! I ain't crying! Got that?
Even as he furiously wipes at his eyes, Rhens is unable to hide his dejected countenance.
Yodarha: Is this a bad time?
Rhens: Old man! This is, um...
Rhens wipes his eyes even more frantically than before, but pauses upon a more careful look at the newly arrived Yodarha.
Rhens: Okay, you better explain yourself right now.
Yodarha: Explain what?
Rhens: Don't mess with me! I'm askin' about those clothes you're wearing!
(Captain) and the others in the room blink in surprise at both Rhens's outburst and the new outfit Yodarha is sporting.
Vyrn: Wh-whoa, what are you wearin'?
Yodarha: Hyuk-hyuk-hyuk! A change of pace every now and then isn't bad, right?
Yodarha proudly displays the white outfit covering him from head to toe.
Rhens: A change of pace? Are you screwin' with me?
Rhens: I know exactly what those clothes are! Those are your suicide robes from way back when!
Thug 1: Suicide... robes?
Thug 2: The heck are those?
The rest of the room is completely lost at the anger Rhens is displaying toward a set of clothes. In response to their questioning gazes, Yodarha gives a wry smile.
Yodarha: I suppose I'll have to elaborate. Hope this old story won't bore you then.
Yodarha spends a moment gathering his thoughts before opening his mouth once more.
Yodarha: A long, long time ago, on an island far, far away, there lived a young swordsman clad always in white garb.
Yodarha: The swordsman was unafraid of death, especially his own, but at the very least he wished to die in the midst of battle.
Yodarha: Consequently, he continued to wear his white robes... his suicide robes... as a symbol of his readiness to die.
Yodarha: In this way, he spent his days killing others, felling countless opponents until finally he disappeared without a trace.
A heavy silence falls over the room once Yodarha finishes speaking.
Though the story was seemingly told about a fictional stranger, everyone understood that Yodarha had shared his own past.
Lyria: Um... Why are you wearing these clothes now then?
Vyrn: Don't tell me you're off to die? 'Cause we for sure ain't letting that happen!
Yodarha: You're all such worrywarts! I promise I'm not planning anything of the sort.
Yodarha: This is simply a physical representation of my vow to you, Rhens.
Rhens: A vow to me?
Yodarha: Of course. I'm the one responsible for your arm's current state after all.
Lyria: But you're not! He only got hurt because he was protecting us!
Yodarha: No. I'm the one who originally failed to eliminate Grace when I had the chance to a long time ago.
Yodarha: I was too soft. As her master, I couldn't stop seeing her as one of my disciples.
Yodarha: I may have taken away her ability to wield the sword, but the number of her victims has only grown since then. This burden's mine to bear.
Rhens: So what, you're gonna kill her or die trying? Is that it?
Yodarha: Rhens, if you paid attention, you might've noticed I haven't said a single thing about me dying.
Even as Yodarha gives a grin, most of his expression is hidden by the brim of his hat.
Yodarha: This time I'll make sure to send her to the other side—not as her master, but as a simple swordsman. There won't be any sentiment to get in the way.
Yodarha: Hence why I chose this outfit. I've got to get back in the mood for banishing evil, eh?
Yodarha: I'll put an end to her before anyone else gets hurt.
No one is sure what to say in the face of Yodarha's conviction.
But Yodarha easily reads the concern on the group's faces and smiles cheerfully in reassurance.
Yodarha: Really, I'm mostly doing it to clear up my own feelings on the matter.
Yodarha: And dressing like I did in my youth will make me feel youthful again! Full of sprightly energy, eh?
Vyrn: Old man, you're actin' a little too energetic...
Yodarha: You think so? Maybe you guys are worrying too much!
Despite the unease in their hearts, (Captain) and the others can only trust in Yodarha's confident words and easy smile.
However, Rhens alone remains suspicious of his master, his eyes never leaving Yodarha's face.
Vyrn: Guess it's about time for us to head out then. See ya later, Rhens.
Lyria: Let's go fishing together once you're better.
The time to leave arrives, and Lyria and Vyrn exit the hospital room.
Rhens: (Captain), come 'ere for a sec.
Prepared to follow Lyria and Vyrn, (Captain) is suddenly called to a stop.
Slightly perplexed, (Captain) approaches Rhens.
Rhens: The old man said what he did, but I know the guy. He's definitely planning on killing that punk even if he dies in the process.
Rhens: That's why I'm beggin' you to look out for him. Do whatever you need to in order to stop him.
Rhens: He's still my master, you know? Despite all the crap that's happened.
Choose: I'll stop him or I'm not the captain!
- I'll stop him or I'm not the captain!
- We won't let him die!
Rhens: Sorry to have to ask you this, but I'm countin' on you, (Captain).Choose: We won't let him die!
Rhens: I probably shouldn't be relyin' on you, but...
Rhens: Well, you're gonna have to do what I can't now.Continue 1
(Captain) solemnly agrees to the vehement request.
After hearing about Yodarha's past and seeing his resolve, Rhens's concern is well warranted.
(Captain) feels that it won't be long until Yodarha finds his former star disciple and challenges her to a final duel.
When that day comes, (Captain) swears to be ready.