BI-ST-1: When in Kjerag...

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BI-ST-1
When in Kjerag...
Break the Ice: The Grand Ceremony
Previous BI-1 (Story)

You find it difficult to turn down such hospitality, so why not have some fun for the time being?
Characters
Kjerag Warrior A icon.png
Kjerag Warrior A
Kjerag Warrior B icon.png
Kjerag Warrior B
Salaryman B icon.png
Mid-level Manager
Backgrounds
Karlan Hall
1
Mount Karlan Path Snowing
2
Kjerag Guestroom
3
Kjerag Manor
4
Kjerag Manor Room
5
Karlan Bedroom
6
RI Room
7
The Doctor is taken into captivity at the Paleroches'. Enciodes and Gnosis break off relations. Undercurrents rush through all sides, and the situation turns and turns.
<Background 1>
Enciodes Now that this is settled, the three clans must start liaising frequently with one another.
We must further discuss the specific of the transfer of powers to the Saintess and what powers each family is allowed to keep.
However, aside from this, the preparations the three of us must make for the ritual are equally important.
Therefore, with the upcoming ceremony, I propose we seize the occasion and transfer our powers to the Saintess at the same time.
The ceremony and the transfer of powers are managed by different individuals. As such, both can be conducted at the same time. What's more, the ceremony also calls for the participation of the clan leaders. What do you think of the idea, if I may so ask?
Arctosz The decision has been made. It will happen in due course.
Ratatos *Sigh*...
This year's ceremony will also be a ceremony for the transfer of powers to the Saintess, huh? Guess we have something to look forward to.
Great Elder In that case, I will have my men draft the relevant documents and distribute them across Kjerag.
I am sure the masses will be rejoiced to learn of this.
Arctosz Wait.
Enciodes Is something the matter?
Arctosz You can't hoodwink your way out of this, Enciodes. Who will manage the valleys and the mines the next few days? Gnosis was in charge, but you had him fired. Who will take care of all that?
Enciodes You needn't worry, Arctosz.
I hired an expert from outside Kjerag.
This expert will conduct a field investigation on the valley and the mine from a disease prevention perspective and construct a medical facility within Silverash territory.
I will put this person in complete control of the two areas.
Look at the time. The train should be arriving in Karlan right about now. If you two would like to meet the expert, you need only wait a short moment longer.
Arctosz Enough of this nonsense! I have no idea who you hired and what you are planning with this medical charade. However...!
This so called "expert" of yours will stay within my sight at all times!
Enciodes This is my guest you're talking about, Arctosz.
Arctosz That's exactly why, Enciodes.
You said the overmining was Gnosis's doing, and I couldn't care less whether that's the case or not.
The way I see it, anyone you hire might as well be another Gnosis. We may be rid of one, but there will always be more.
You want to leave your men in charge of the place? Fine, but you will have to show me what this expert is capable of.
If your expert does well, then not only will they be your guest, Enciodes, I vow to welcome them with my warmest hospitality as my own guest.
Enciodes ......
Arctosz What's the matter? You were talking so big. Do you really need so much time to think?
If everything is as you said, what is there to hesitate about? Or do you mean to tell us this person you hired is indeed another Gnosis, here to do your dirty work again?
Enciodes The Paleroches have always been in charge of the Vine-Bear Court's security. Now that I've agreed to turn these lands over to the Court, I cannot be more reassured with the Paleroches looking after them.
That said...
A word of advice, Arctosz. You'd best be careful. Entertaining this guest of ours will be no walk in the park.
Arctosz Hah, not a problem. There are no guests we Paleroches cannot "entertain."
—Let's find out whether this guest is as stiff-necked as you.
<Background 2>
Ratatos Sciurus, I need you to look into this guest.
Sciurus Having me run your errands again?
Ratatos I'm not in the mood for your sharp tongue.
Sciurus Grr.
Monch, Monch!
Monch Monch here.
Sciurus Get me a car!
Monch Of course.
Sciurus Yucatan, go!
Yucatan Please watch your step, Madame.
<Background fades out and in>
Arctosz Valais... What's your view on all this?
Valais I'm afraid I'm not capable enough to see Enciodes's intent.
Arctosz I don't blame you, but I certainly didn't expect that crafty woman Ratatos to agree to it. I don't get it.
Valais It's Matriarch Ratatos. I'm sure she has her ideas.
Arctosz Hmph, all I know is that Silverash brat has to be planning something.
And he may sound like he has a point, but I will never believe anything he says so easily!
Tell Gulo to "invite" Enciodes's guest over. We'll figure out what to do later.
Valais Yessir.
<Background 3>
Ensia Man, I didn't expect it to start snowing the moment we got off the train.
Doctor, let's wait till it stops before we head up the mountain.
<Dialogue branch starts here>
Doctor Okay. / That's some heavy snow.
Ensia This actually isn't so bad. We get snowstorms like this in Kjerag all the time.
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor Snowball fight! Who's in?
Ensia Hm?
Actually, that sounds like fun...
But we still have a long way to go. We should save our strength.
<Dialogue branch ends here>
Ensia Eh... It's kind of a pain to get to Karlan right now.
I hope the train will take us all the way to the foot of the mountain one day.
We may call this the Karlan Railway, but there's actually a stretch of distance from the station to the foot of the mountain where we aren't allowed to build anything.
Doctor They still aren't allowed to build anything there? / Sounds like it's going to be difficult, then.
Ensia There is a lot of resistance to the idea... I'm not too sure about this stuff, but I don't think it's going to be easy.
A lot of the people here insist on walking every single step up Mount Karlan, thinking to do otherwise would be unfaithful, but I don't think Kjeragandr would mind.
We Kjerag folk always keep faith in our hearts. How would taking a train straight to the mountain change any of that?
Weiss ......
Sir Enciodes has always wanted to have the railway go straight to Karlan.
Alas, the lands up ahead belong to the Paleroches.
Sir Arctosz would never let him build any tracks there.
Half a year ago, there was even a bit of a tussle between General Gulo of the Paleroches and Gnosis.
Ensia With Gnosis?
Oh, right, I haven't heard anything about him for a while. Is he doing okay?
Weiss He... He was fired because of that scuffle.
One of the reasons Sir Enciodes invited the Doctor here is because he wanted the Doctor to fill his role.
Ensia Huh? How come no one told me that?
Doctor, did anyone...
[Several Kjeragian warriors can be heard moving into the room, surrounding the Doctor and co....]
Ensia ......
What's the matter...? Who are you people?!
[...as more warriors enter...]
Weiss Lady Ensia...! Get behind me!
[...and Gulo, a general of the Paleroche clan mentioned by Weiss earlier, walks in.]
Gulo On Sir Arctosz's orders, I'm here to extend the Silverashes' guest, {nickname}, an invitation to the Arctosz estate.
Ensia You're bringing all these soldiers along to invite OUR guest to your place? What kind of sick joke is this?!
This place belongs to my family, the Silverashes! General Gulo, you may work for the Paleroches, but I suggest you don't do anything out of line.
Gulo I see you're here as well, Lady Ensia. You'll have to pardon me for my intrusion.
Ensia I'll cut to the chase. Dr. {nickname} is the Silverashes' guest, and you aren't bringing anyone along on your way home. Not on my watch.
Weiss ......
Gulo Relax, Lady Ensia. Sir Arctosz only wanted to invite the esteemed guest to pay our humble abode a visit.
Ensia As if my brother would agree to something that unreasonable!
Gulo Not to worry, Lady Ensia. Your brother... Sir Enciodes has already given us his approval.
Ensia No way!
Gulo It's true.
Also, Lady Ensia, mentioned the ownership of the land here...
—This isn't Silverash territory anymore.
From now on, the land belongs to the Vine-Bear Court.
Ensia Come again?!
Weiss, what's the meaning of this? First, it's the reason the Doctor was invited here. Then, it's the ownership of the lands. What else are you keeping from me?!
Weiss Sorry, Lady Ensia...
Ensia Weiss, come on... what's happening?
Gulo Which one of you is {nickname}?
<Dialogue branch starts here>
Doctor It's me.
Gulo The one in the hood... Right, it's you.
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor It's him.
[Sharp tries to pose as the Doctor...]
Sharp ......
It's me.
[...but Gulo isn't convinced.]
Gulo Hm? I'm pretty sure I'm looking for someone in a hood...
No way, it's gotta be you!
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor Definitely ain't me.
[Gulo shouts at the Doctor.]
Gulo If it's not you, then keep your mouth shut!
Wait, hold on! With that hood... It's gotta be you!
<Dialogue branch ends here>
Sharp ...(Breathes a long sigh)
[The Doctor surrenders themself.]
Doctor (Easy now.) / (Wait.) / (Don't make trouble here.)
Sharp If you say so...
[More Paleroche warriors enter the room.]
Kjerag Warrior A Don't move! Hands off your weapons!
Kjerag Warrior B Last warning. No funny moves...
Gulo You don't seem very happy about our arrangement?
Know your place, outsider. Sir Arctosz gave you an "invitation." Most people are never so lucky.
[Suddenly a tall, imposing Caprinae barges in...]
??? You dare act so impudent, knowing that's an esteemed guest who stands before you?
[...and easily disarmed the Paleroche warriors by knocking their weapons off their hand.]
Gulo –––?!
You hear footsteps accompanied by dull, metallic clanking sounds. An impressively tall woman walks toward you.
Immediately, everything falls silent. The Kjerag soldiers surrounding you put away their weapons and step aside with timid looks on their faces.
She takes a quick glance at all of you, briefly pausing as her gaze lands on the elite operator standing next to you.
Sharp ......
The moment their eyes meet, they put their hands on their weapons by pure instinct.
Degenbrecher I assume you will do whatever it takes to get this "Doctor" to pay your visit today?
Gulo We have our orders, and Sir Enciodes gave us his approval... You shouldn't have a problem with that?
Degenbrecher Relax. I'm not here for you.
Gulo ......
[The Caprinae, who turned out to be Degenbrecher a.k.a. the "Black Knight" – the famous MVP of three consecutive Kazimierz Major seasons, walks to Ensia.]
Degenbrecher Lady Ensia, Enciodes asked me to escort you home.
Ensia Degenbrecher, did my brother really...?
Degenbrecher Correct.
I'm here to receive our guest for Enciodes, and I've done that now.
Doctor And you'll hand me over to these guys right straight away?
Degenbrecher That's right.
Sharp ......
Degenbrecher ......
Please, go on.
Sharp Looks like Sir Enciodes is so busy that he doesn't have the time to come fetch the Doctor himself?
Degenbrecher Correct.
Put your weapon down. I would rather not offend our guest's bodyguard in any way.
Sharp It's part of my job to carry a weapon at all times, and you're not my boss.
Doctor Enough, Sharp. No bloodshed here.
Sharp I'm the Doctor's bodyguard. Wherever the Doctor goes, I go.
Gulo My instructions are to invite the Doctor, and the Doctor alone.
Doctor It's okay, Sharp. You go stand by somewhere else.
Sharp If you say so...
Ensia Doctor, are you seriously going?
<Dialogue branch starts here>
Doctor Don't worry.
Ensia Don't worry? How am I supposed to not worry? And why are you even going along with what they're saying, Doctor?
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor This isn't your fault.
Ensia But if it wasn't for us inviting you in the first place, this wouldn't have happened... Why are you going along with this so easily? I still haven't been told a thing...
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor Hell yeah. This sounds like fun.
Ensia Doctor, stop grinning. You're reminding me of my brother... And why are you going along with this? I don't get it...
<Dialogue branch ends here>
Degenbrecher Gulo.
Gulo ......
Degenbrecher You'd do well to treat our guest better than that.
Say "please."
Gulo ......
Doctor of Rhodes Island... "Please" follow us to the Paleroche estate.
Doctor The Black Knight is so well-mannered.
Degenbrecher Oh...?
Doctor Three-time champion of the Kazimierz Major. / The Leithanian warrior who needs not use Arts. / Your name still has legs in Kazimierz.
Degenbrecher Hmph.
I'm just Enciodes's bodyguard.
Doctor Give him my regards.
Degenbrecher I will.
Doctor Lead the way.
Sharp ......
Looks like I'm working overtime again.
<Background black>
"Turicum Daily"
Extra Edition - Breaking News!
At the Tri-Clan Council that just concluded, the Vine-Bear Court and the clans have come to a shocking understanding regarding the Karlan mining question.
To resolve the differences between the families and to better drive Kjerag's development, the clans have all agreed to turn portions of their authority over to the Saintess, in accordance with the teachings of Kjeragandr.
Moreover, the clans have all agreed to fully assist the Saintess in her role as the leader in service of leading Kjerag toward a better tomorrow.
......
<Background 4>
[Ensia runs to her brother Enciodes.]
Ensia Enciodes!
Enciodes You're home, Ensia.
You've traveled far, my dear sister.
Ensia Enciodes, why?)]
Enciodes Slow down.
Ensia Why did you hand the Doctor over to the Paleroches?!
Enciodes I need the Doctor to carry some of Gnosis's responsibilities for me, and as you know, the relationship between Karlan Trade and the Paleroches has been tense.
Arctosz demanded that the Doctor operate under his supervision, and it's a reasonable ask.
Ensia Then why didn't you tell the Doctor?! Not even I knew about this arrangement!
Enciodes It happened after I had the invitation sent out.
Ensia But still...!
Enciodes I know Rhodes Island saved you, and I know you think very highly of the Doctor.
Trust me, Ensia, I think of the Doctor no less highly than you do.
If the Doctor comes to harm there, the Paleroches will pay the price.
Ensia No, Enciodes... I'm not just a Silverash. I'm an employee of Rhodes Island. I have a responsibility to ensure the Doctor's safety.
Leave that to me.
Enciodes You've grown up, Ensia.
Let's do this, then. Matterhorn.
Matterhorn Sir.
Enciodes Have someone keep an eye on what's going happening over there.
As soon as the Doctor begins work in the valleys and mines, you may take Ensia to see the Doctor.
Matterhorn Very good, Sir.
Ensia Enciodes!
Enciodes Go, Ensia. Rest well.
Ensia Alright!
[Ensia walks to her room for a rest.]
Matterhorn Master, about the Doctor...
Enciodes Matterhorn, make sure Ensia is safe.
Matterhorn I... I will.
[Matterhorn leaves as Degenbrecher walks to Enciodes.]
Degenbrecher It's useless, you know.
Enciodes She isn't the kind of girl we can keep inside the house.
Degenbrecher I'll keep an eye on her.
Enciodes I need you on standby.
Degenbrecher So be it, then.
Speaking of which, how much do you know about this Doctor of Rhodes Island?
Enciodes An excellent scholar of outstanding professionalism who understands the profits that Rhodes Island will see from working with me.
That the Doctor so quickly got the grasp of the situation and accepted the arrangement shows that I was correct in my assessment. Why do you ask?
Degenbrecher I don't think this Doctor is merely a "scholar." Great at sniffing things out, no doubt, and much more so than you expected, too.
And besides, this Doctor sends you regards.
Enciodes ......
You think the Doctor foresaw all this?
Degenbrecher I sensed not a bit of surprise under that hood. Not only did this scholar of yours understand the situation completely, there was never even a hint of astonishment, and I must emphasize that.
What's more, apparently my reputation precedes me.
Enciodes Looks like our friend came prepared.
Degenbrecher Trust my intuition, Enciodes. I have an eye for people.
You might've made yourself an enemy with this move of yours.
Enciodes An enemy?
No, if the intel I gathered and your description are correct, then the Doctor will become my dearest friend... or should I say, I will become the Doctor's dearest friend?
Chester Sir Enciodes, it's time for your meeting.
Enciodes Let's go.
<Background fades out and in>
Tsk, what's Gnosis doing here? He never showed his face at meetings like this.
Hmph, I heard the one they hired to clean up his mess is finally here. I bet he couldn't bear with the shame any longer and came to beg the boss for mercy.
Haven't you heard? Gnosis's replacement was taken away by the Paleroches. The way I see it, he's here to try his luck, thinking he's still got a chance.
Impossible. There's no chance at all.
Gnosis sits quietly in the conference room.
Everyone sits far away from him, but their gossip echoes through the room, clear as day.
[Enciodes walks to Gnosis.]
Enciodes Gnosis, it's been a while. You've lost weight.
Gnosis Thanks to you, Mr. President.
Enciodes We spent four years in Victoria together. It pains me to see things turn out this way.
Gnosis Enciodes, you've thrown me under the bus already. Let's skip the pleasantries.
Mid-level Manager Gnosis, you prick, don't you know who you're talking to?!
If it wasn't for your friendship with the president, you wouldn't even be allowed to stand here now that you're sacked!
Gnosis I don't remember needing anyone's permission to stand here.
Mid-level Manager How dare you!
Enciodes Gnosis, there is no doubt that Karlan Trade owes much to you for its establishment and growth.
However, whether you have a right to be here or not... that is not for you to say.
Uncle Chester, please.
Chester Very well.
First, regarding the sentencing of Karlan Trade's former chief technical officer Gnosis Edelweiss.
There is no doubt that the expansion of the valleys and mines under Gnosis Edelweiss's management has brought the company tremendous profit.
But, on the other hand, the rapid expansion strategy and the secret mining of Karlan has brought the company under the repeated scrutiny of the Tri-Clan Council.
In particular, when the other clans asked to participate in the valley's investigation, Gnosis planned to ambush the two clans' inspection team.
This has severely damaged Karlan Trade's image and the Silverashes' standing in the Tri-Clan Council.
Therefore, President Enciodes has decided that, effective today, Gnosis Edelweiss will be formally terminated as a Karlan Trade employee.
Gnosis So that's why you had me come. You wanted to read all these criticisms you have for me out loud in front of everyone.
Enciodes Your actions have brought harm to Karlan Trade's profits. This is how I answer our stakeholders. I hope you can understand.
Gnosis Very well... Enciodes.
I would never have imagined all those years ago when I came to Kjerag to build this place up with you that this is how it would all end.
Enciodes I am sure both you and I agree that it's far more important to do what's reasonable and beneficial than look back on old times.
That said, I will leave you your lab. You are free to keep using it as soon as any sensitive Karlan Trade data has been removed.
I could also arrange for you to join a caravan heading for Victoria, if that's what you prefer.
I have to answer to all the stakeholders here. Likewise, I have to give you an answer.
Gnosis If you think what you are doing is reasonable, then I feel nothing but disappointment in you.
Karlan Trade yet needs my technology, and Kjerag's industrial sector has not come so far that it can progress without importing core technologies from the outside world.
You promised me a suitably large stage and backed my research, so that we can break new ground in these promising snowlands for the welfare of the people of Kjerag.
In the end, this is where my stage is, and I am being thrown under the bus for this company.
Enciodes I still approve of your achievements in academic research, Gnosis.
That is why, more so than anyone, I'm hoping that you could reflect on what you have done.
You should never have let things out of my control.
Gnosis Hmph, are you so weak now that you're scared of letting anything out of your iron grip?
If that doesn't open my eyes!
A loud bang reverberates throughout the room. Gnosis slams the conference room's door shut with enough force that the gust of wind sends paper flying through the air.
Shocked by the sudden thunderclap, the spectators all instinctively look toward the source of the sound before casting their heads down under the invisible pressure.
No one knows just what expression Enciodes holds at this moment.
Enciodes Let's continue, Chester.
Chester As requested by Sir Arctosz, the leader of Rhodes Island, Dr. {nickname}, will be in charge of the transfer of the valleys and mines under the protection of the Paleroches.
We will formally introduce the Doctor to everyone at the company once all the tasks at hand are complete.
Onto our next topic, the meat of our meeting today.
The preliminary discussions on how to partition the company's power and hand it over to the Saintess.
First off, on the matter of tariffs...
<Background 5>
[Arctosz sits with the Doctor, accompanied by the Paleroche generals Gulo and Valais.]
Arctosz What do I call you, outsider?
<Dialogue branch starts here>
Doctor {nickname}.
Arctosz Funny name.
Valais told me Enciodes's people call you the Doctor. That's what I'll call you.
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor Call me Doctor.
Arctosz Doctor? Sounds just like the scholars over at the academy.
<Dialogue branch ends here>
Arctosz Doctor, do you know why you're here?
Doctor I don't.
Arctosz Hmph, Enciodes wants you to take Gnosis's place, but I don't trust his people. That's why I'm keeping my eye on you.
<Dialogue branch starts here>
Doctor I didn't know that was part of my job description.
Gulo Sir, I'm pretty sure we got a smartass playing dumb here.
Arctosz Hmph, you're Enciodes's "guest." Even if you really don't know a thing, you're still Enciodes's people.
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor Enciodes didn't fill me in on the details...
Arctosz Hmph, I invited you here because I didn't want him to fill you in on anything.
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor I'm just here on vacation. You got the wrong person, I'm telling you.
Valais Please stop playing dumb.
Considering Sir Enciodes invited you now, of all times, no one will believe that you came to Kjerag for mere sightseeing.
<Dialogue branch ends here>
Arctosz Valais, tell our guest the deal.
Valais Sir Enciodes has decided to transfer the valley and the mines to the Vine-Bear Court. The man who was in charge of the mines and the factory was his subordinate, Gnosis.
And ever since Gnosis was dismissed, the coordinator position has been left vacant.
According to Sir Enciodes, you are his replacement.
Doctor I see. / ......
Arctosz Looks like you have a clear understanding of the situation now.
Until I am sure that Enciodes isn't making any funny moves in the mines and the valleys, you aren't leaving this place.
Don't you even think about pulling any tricks yourself. My men don't care about etiquette nearly as much as Enciodes's people.
If they want your head, there's nothing I can do to stop them.
Gulo Hah, boss, look at this squirt. I wouldn't know where to chop if I were to try my blade on this midget.
Kjerag Warriors Hahahahaha!
Arctosz Hmph, shut up, all of you. I'm not going to make things too hard for you, outsider.
In the end, you're Enciodes's guest. As long as you play along, we won't do anything to you.
Am I making myself clear?
Doctor I'm not worried. All of you look like reasonable people to me.
Gulo ......
Arctosz Enough, Valais. Show our guest to the bedroom.
Valais Very good, Sir.
<Background 6>
[Someone knocks the door...]
Kjarr Enya, I'm coming in.
[...and Kjarr (Kjeragandr) enters.]
Kjarr I knew it... You're still sleeping.
Enya. Enya, rise and shine.
Sleepyhead Enya Uhh.... Huh?
Morn.
After a brief fuss, Enya gets dressed and sits in front of her dressing table. Kjarr naturally stands behind her and combs her hair.
Enya *Sigh*...
Kjarr What's the matter now?
Enya You know.
Kjarr Isn't it a good thing to become leader of all three clans?
You always say that, in the Vine-Bear Court, your role is simply to keep the masses calm, and most of the time, it's actually the Great Elder who calls the shots.
This is an opportunity.
Enya I wouldn't be so worried if it had been Arctosz or even Ratatos who brought up the idea.
But it was Enciodes who made that proposal.
Kjarr Perhaps the guilt's suddenly gotten to him?
Enya I sure hope so.
Kjarr But if you're so worried about this, couldn't you have turned it down?
Didn't you agree to it without thinking twice?
Enya That's because there wasn't a point to dragging it out.
No one had any grounds to object.
It doesn't matter whether he really wants me to be Kjerag's leader. There wasn't anyone who could reject the proposal then and there.
And if we had set the issue aside, more people would've found out.
Kjarr You told me that the masses have gotten used to peace, just like they've gotten used to the endless snow on the mountains.
The people of Kjerag wish for peace first and foremost, and they gravitate toward those who can bring them peace.
Enya Right, peace. Whether it's the peace that Enciodes brought them or the peace that the Vine-Bear Court brought.
That's why, even if I turned down the offer, the people would've asked me to accept.
So I might as well take the initiative myself before the Great Elder makes all the arrangements.
Kjarr You think Enciodes foresaw that?
Enya He made a proposal that no one could refuse. Under normal circumstances, he would've been the last person to suggest this.
I am sure both Arctosz and Ratatos thought the same thing.
I can see why Arctosz went along with it, but Ratatos... She was never the kind of person to give up easily.
What a headache. I really hope Kjeragandr will hear my prayers and teach the Great Elder and the three clan leaders a good lesson.
Kjarr Perhaps She has already heard your prayers, and it just isn't time yet.
Do you want Her to take care of Enciodes too?
Enya For him, as cruel as possible.
Kjarr Pff.
Now let's put this necklace on you... and we're done!
Enya Mmhmm.
Right, would you give this letter and scarf to Ensia? Also...
Kjarr Ask her to come pay the mountain a visit, right?
Enya You know me well.
Kjarr Hehe.
Enya Also, send the word out that I'll be analyzing scriptures today, and I don't want to be disturbed.
I... I need some time to think.
Kjarr Of course.
[Kjarr leaves.]
Enya ......
After Kjarr leaves the room, Enya opens her drawer to see an exquisitely decorated base, holding an eye-catching, elegant rock.
The Rock ......
Enya O Kjeragandr, please guide me. What should I do?
<Background black>
We no longer live in times where isolation is enough to keep ourselves out of the affairs around us.
In the past hundred years, there have been countless exchanges and conflicts between nations. Columbia rose quickly in a conflict, while Gaul, a powerful country, was also wiped out in a conflict.
All the world's nations are slowly changing in these times separated by Catastrophes. Refusing relations with others is no longer an option.
Kjerag cannot continue to lock itself away on these snowy mounts. Kjeragandr's protection—if Kjeragandr really exists in the first place—can bring the Snow Realm this far.
If we are to go any further, Kjerag must grow stronger than ever before.
The millennium of peace and quiet has reached its end, and we cannot wait for others to open the door for us.
Kjerag needs to make contact with the outside world. We must take that step forward while we still have control. That's the Silverash tradition.
Kjerag must remain Kjerag. We still have a chance, but time grows short for the snowy mountains.
I have seen our world... I have to make a difference. Everything I've witnessed needs to have meaning.
<Background 6>
Sciurus So you are Gnosis.
Gnosis That's right.
Sciurus Do you know who I am?
Gnosis Sciurus Browntail, sister of the Browntail clan matriarch, Ratatos Browntail.
Sciurus You know that, and you have the balls to forgo a salute?
Gnosis Why must I salute someone whom I have nothing to do with?
Sciurus You! Don't you know your manners?!
Gnosis If we must talk manners, you should work on yours first, Sciurus Browntail.
I heard all your commotion outside the door. What's more, when nobles meet, they must each first curtsey to each other with a Karlan bow.
If you show up here without affording me any courtesy, why should I show you any?
Sciurus J-Just how outdated is your idea of etiquette?!
Gnosis Etiquette never dies. It's only slowly forgotten. As a noble, you should feel sorrow in that.
Yucatan The Edelweisses have long been in charge of the management of Kjerag's texts and records. I admire your knowledge of Kjerag etiquette, Mr. Gnosis.
Still though, I'm afraid Madame Sciurus isn't here to discuss Kjerag etiquette. Could we please move on to the main topic?
Gnosis Very well. I'm curious. Considering Ratatos refused my capitulation, why is she now reaching out to me?
Sciurus Hmph, do you have to ask?! It's because your master proposed handing his powers over to the Saintess at the Tri-Clan Council!
Gnosis I see. In that case...
Go home and tell Ratatos. Now that things have come to this, I am likely not the only one who will cooperate, given the right amount of sincerity.
<Background 3>
[Valais took the Doctor to a room in the Paleroches' manor.]
Valais Per Sir Arctosz's orders, please stay here while you are not attending to your duties.
If you need to head outside, we will serve as your bodyguards. Kjerag may be a safe place, but we cannot guarantee no one will take the chance to cause trouble.
You will be served the finest delicacies that Kjerag has to offer. You may also use anything here as you see fit. All your daily needs will be met during your stay with us.
If you require anything, please let the servants know. You may also have them relay anything to me.
Doctor Very well. I look forward to dinner.
[Valais leaves.]
Doctor (Keeping an eye on me whenever I head out, huh...?)
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 7>
Ensia Oripathy consultation... and the Grand Ceremony... Are those the only reasons my brother is inviting you to the Snow Realm?
Oh, the Grand Ceremony takes place annually in Kjerag. It's the biggest ecent, and the most important thing to the Kjerag people.
On that day, everyone in Kjerag stops what they're doing and offers Kjeragandr, the goddess of our mountains, our most sincere prayers.
We pray for a happy, peaceful year under our mountain goddess's protection.
As for the Oripathy problem, Kjerag didn't have many Infected in the past, so most of us don't know much about Oripathy. In the Snow Realms, Oripathy is far from the greatest threat we face.
But ever since my brother got the mountains connected by railway, we've been getting more and more visitors, and life has also gotten much better. Thanks to that, everyone's starting to learn more about the Infected and Oripathy.
I guess Oripathy's stepping into the limelight since there are no other pressing issues.
Kjerag still doesn't have any professional means to test for Oripathy, let alone helping the Infected get settled and get treatment.
Given the situation, you might be the best consultant they can get.
Doctor, are you going to accept the invitation?
<Dialogue branch starts here>
Doctor That's not something I can decide all by myself.
Ensia Right, you have a lot on your plate right now, but still...
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor ......
Ensia I know it's not easy to make a decision when this invitation came out of nowhere, but still...
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor Do you want me to?
Ensia Huh?
......
<Dialogue branch ends here>
Ensia Personally, I really want you to go.
My parents died in an accident when I was still a kid...
And after they died, my brother, Enciodes, took over their business to support the family.
He kept us afloat all by himself until I came of age. Then, to ensure our family's future, he left Kjerag to study in Victoria.
Our family was already on pretty shaky ground before he left Kjerag, and that was around when he started getting more and more headstrong...
But at least we all still got along well as siblings.
But things changed ever since he came back and started Karlan Trade.
Both my brother and sister treated me very well, but, for some reason, the two of them started talking less, and their relationship soured.
Five years ago, when the last Saintess passed away, my sister joined the trials and became the new Kjerag Saintess.
She's rarely left Mount Karlan since, and I haven't had a lot of chances to see her. We only write to each other now.
And ever since she became the Saintess, it feels like my brother's often at odds with her...
I may be very good at mountain climbing, but I wouldn't know where to start to mend relationships.
But you're really amazing, Doctor. You get along with everyone, and you've solved a lot of problems for people.
That's why I was thinking that... if we ever had the chance, maybe you could help me come up with ideas...
But...
Doctor But?
Ensia Doctor, I guess this might seem weird coming from me...
But I know my brother better than anyone else. He's amazing, but he's the kind of person who doesn't mind doing whatever it takes to achieve his goals.
I'm actually a little worried that you'll end up becoming a pawn in his game, if you go.
So that's why it's okay if you don't want to!
<Dialogue branch ends here>
<Background 3>
Doctor I'll bear with it for the now.
??? That's why I told you you should've gotten out while you still could.
Look at you now. You're caught.
<Dialogue branch starts here>
Doctor Are you the one who talked to me at the market?
??? Exactly.
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor ......
??? Huh? You can hear me, right?
Hey, listen!
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor You knew this would happen?
??? I could ask you the same, calm outsider.
The entire time you've been here, you haven't even showed the tiniest bit of worry. Did you know this was going to happen?
<Dialogue branch ends here>
Doctor What should I call you?
Kjera Call me Kjera.
I changed my mind. I want to be friends with you.
Would you like to be friends with me?
<Dialogue branch starts here>
Doctor I don't make friends with shady people.
Kjera Don't you think it's better for me to maintain a mysterious aura?
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor Maybe show yourself first.
Kjera Sorry, I'm writing a letter to somebody else right now, so I can't go anywhere. Perhaps another time.
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor Why don't you tell me what this talking rock is all about first?
Kjera Hmm... That's classified information!
<Dialogue branch ends here>
Kjera Well, I don't really have so much time to keep bothering you, if you really don't want to talk.
But it's not so bad to have somebody to talk to, don't you think?
Doctor ......

Trivia

  • The interlude's title is taken from the proverb, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."