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Different Preluding Lights
Tatjana icon.png
Male Leithanian Villager icon.png
Noble Attendant
RI Operator icon.png
Rhodes Island Operator
Leithanien Caster
Mansion Room
Leithanian Square
Leithanian Back Alley
Leithanian Village
Village Outskirts
By chance, Carnelian witnesses an Infected girl being hunted as she leaves a noble's manor. When she learns of the runaway's predicament, she decides to give the girl a helping hand.
<Background 1>
Noble Attendant Please wait here for a moment. We'll have someone bring you the contract.
All the fine points of this collaboration are detailed in here. Please bring it back and have the Count read it over.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask... Miss Carnelian? Are you listening?
Carnelian Hmm?
Oh... Sorry, I spaced out a little.
Noble Attendant ......
So, as I was saying, do you have any questions about this collaboration?
Carnelian Not for the moment. I will bring this back to Count Hohenlohe so that he may make his decision.
Noble Attendant Wonderful. I look forward to the Count arriving at a decision that will benefit us both.
Are you leaving already? If you have no other plans, Sir Feuerbach told me to accompany...
Carnelian You needn't worry. Do let Sir Feuerbach know how thankful I am for his generosity.
Since I am here, I will take a stroll around the city to see the sights.
Noble Attendant Ah, would you like a guide, then? I can arrange for one right away.
Carnelian Please don't worry yourself. I will just be strolling about.
Oh, this reminds me... I visited before when I represented the Count on our last collaboration. I believe that was before the Empresses' last banquet?
Noble Attendant Precisely.
Carnelian If I remember correctly, this place was filled with the horns of other species as decorations. Are we trying out new style?
Hmm, take this ornament for example. You don't see its quality and lustrousness every day. If I have to guess, they must be made from Solidified Origincrystals.
Noble Attendant That is correct.
Miss Carnelian, I must say, you have a good eye, and far more so than before.
Carnelian You flatter me.
As far as I know, stable crystals such as these can only be mined in the deepest parts of Originium veins, and most of them are buried inside the Originium itself. That makes them extraordinarily rare.
And these crystals are far harder than stone. Normal carving processes cannot so much as make a dent on them.
Considering the difficulty of the process, I suppose it must have taken Sir Feuerbach some effort to amass such a massive collection of fine decorations?
Noble Attendant It's not actually that difficult. Master Feuerbach found this collection of Originium art pieces by coincidence when he diligently inspected his territory.
He thought that their black luster is full of appeal and mystique, making them prime for viewing, and so he had us place them here so that they may be appreciated by all our visitors.
Carnelian In that case, I guess we should raise a glass to his generosity.
Noble Attendant Miss Carnelian, you seem to be familiar with the subject.
Carnelian I can't say I'm familiar with them... Though... Hm... I've seen how these are produced before, so it does stir my emotions a little.
Take a look at this. For just a small chunk of Origincrystal like this, you must dig several hundreds, if not thousands of meters deep. If you lose your footing on your way down, you will most certainly die.
I heard the mining sites in this territory have had quite a few accidents of late? It's such a small trinket, but the amount of blood spilled for its mining could perhaps fill the knight's bathtub.
Noble Attendant ......
Miss Carnelian, I believe you are mistaken...
Carnelian Oh?
Noble Attendant For most, these items are indeed difficult to obtain, but they are merely seasonal decorations for Sir Feuerbach.
Such considerations simply do not matter to him.
Whatever his wish is, all he has to do is give the order. That is why we stand here.
Carnelian Heh...
Noble Attendant Do you perhaps see it differently?
Carnelian I'm afraid you wouldn't want to know how I see it.
Noble Attendant With all due respect, Miss Carnelian... You are indebted to the Count's kindness.
Carnelian Hm.
Noble Attendant The world was shocked when, two years ago, we found an outsider whom none of us have heard of serving the then-underage Count Hohenlohe as his attendant. This has never happened before.
You should be more careful and consider the Count's position and reputation before you act.
Carnelian It sounds like you're not very fond with the way I do things.
And before you deny it, I've actually met plenty of people who antagonize me as well as those who see the Count as an outsider among the nobles.
So, am I more or less on point?
Noble Attendant It is no simple task to have the entire Leithanien be so accepting of an outsider.
But you don't seem to mind those rumors at all. Certainly, you are no less talented than what the rumors suggest. You are bold as well. Anything I say can only hold you in high esteem.
Carnelian Hah, you certainly have a way with words, but I will take that as a compliment.
Noble Attendant As for the accident that occurred at the mines... You needn't worry. Our guards and Casters are already on the case.
You are right. We indeed need to be more careful given the situation. This accident will be dealt with accordingly. No one will be able to use it against the Count.
Carnelian Oh, you think that's what I'm worried about?
Okay, let's say that's how it is, then. Though, as far as I know, the way you deal with things accordingly isn't generally very peaceful.
Noble Attendant We're merely ridding our blankets of dust.
Carnelian Oh, so you're saying taking out everyone involved is a way of solving problems?
Noble Attendant ......
Carnelian It looks like I'm overstaying my welcome. Please excuse me.
Before I go, let me remind you that while Sir Feuerbach is free to ignore the sick in his territory, the Empresses are no gentle little lambs. Looking down on them will not serve you well.
Noble Attendant Oh, no no. You must be mistaken, Miss Carnelian, we have never looked down upon the Empresses.
The Empresses need authority. They need a stronger, authoritative rule. They want to be obeyed, not followed. They have already turned their attention toward us and made the time to deal with us.
Carnelian Understandable. All rulers eventually walk down this path.
Noble Attendant It's hardly a surprise. We are very familiar with how each other think.
Carnelian Looks like you are pretty confident.
Noble Attendant You are fearful because you haven't experienced Leithanien's past, Miss Carnelian.
The Empresses, whether the golden or the black, simply do not compare to the shadows that once shrouded Leithania.
And that is despite the fact it was them who overthrew those shadows.
Carnelian You are saying...?
Noble Attendant I lived through that era myself. The red crystals hung high above the towers became a symbol of terror that parents would use it to force their children to behave.
Carnelian The Witch King...
Noble Attendant We don't speak that name these days.
Carnelian Indeed, I seldom hear of anything on the subject, only some rumors here and there. I heard the legend that a red glow illuminating the entire night sky and how it could be seen all across Leithania.
The older generation seems to never have forgotten this, yet they are always mum on the subject.
Noble Attendant This is normal... Aside from trust, fear is also an effective way to silence men.
I witnessed that sea of red too... And on the second day, the townsmen found that the people of the next town over were all dead. There, dead fowlbeasts were scattered all across the ground, with their feet torn.
No one knows why. All they know is there were a red glow and the countless corpses it left behind.
Carnelian This sounds like a horror story.
Noble Attendant Alas, it is also nothing more than a story.
There exists no reason, no regularity, and no explanation. No one dared to discuss it. Leithanien used to be like that.
Of course, the Empresses' rule is hardly lax either, but we at least know what we are dealing with.
At the very least, we are not afraid to extend our greetings at balls and banquets unlike that era. We would cower underneath the throne's imposing presence and frightfully worry whether we would be so unfortunate to witness that unreasonableness firsthand.
Carnelian It's hard to imagine...
Noble Attendant It is indeed difficult if you haven't seen it with your own eyes.
We don't talk about the past anymore. Now... we have a bright future ahead of us all.
Carnelian A bright future, huh?
Perhaps you are right. There is much that we can do.
I wish we'll have a pleasant partnership.
Now please excuse me.
[Carnelian leaves.]
Noble Attendant ......
So this is the Hyacinth Count's exotic attendant.
The master is eccentric, and the servant is just as crude and bold as the rumors make her.
How insufferable...
<Background 2>
Carnelian Phew...
The air here is still as terrible. It reeks of smoke. Well, it's much better than before, at least.
The smell of "progress" and "advancement." I'm surprised that I got used to it over the last two years...
<Background fades out and in>
[Carnelian walks through the downtown.]
Carnelian There are men in trendy clothes and shops everywhere. This is no different from any other city center. I'm starting to get sick of seeing this.
What happened to the normal folks of this city? There's nothing to be appreciated in a song if the tone always stays the same.
<Background 3>
[Carnelian walks through the suburbs.]
Carnelian Hmm... I guess I've made it to the outskirts?
[A Caprinae girl is looking at Carnelian...]
Girl ......
[...with some anxiety.]
Carnelian Hmm?
(Hm, now that's a change of scenery.)
(If I'm not mistaken, that's...)
(What should I do...? Hm, I suppose I should contact the "specialists"–)
[Carnelian contacts someone from her phone...]
Carnelian (This should take care of it.)
[...before leaving.]
<Background 4>
Girl ......
(Is someone... following me?)
(Is it the guards again? No, I can't let them catch me...)
[The girl keeps running...]
<Background 5>
[...and passes through a village...]
<Background 6>
[...before reaching a meadow far away from the city.]
Girl Phew...
Looks like things have calmed down.
It should be okay now that I've come this far outside the city...
??? Oh? Is that right?
Girl Hm...
[The girl hides nearby alongside the mysterious person, as...]
<Background fades out>
Guard A ......
Did you find them?
Guard B No, they didn't come this way!
Guard A Keep looking! Those Infected runaways can't be far. Come, this way!
[The guardsmen leave.]
<Background fades in>
[The girl and the mysterious person comes out...]
Girl T-That was close...
I didn't expect them to actually catch up...
[...who is revealed to be Carnelian.]
Carnelian They are the nobles' guards. Hm, there are some traces of Arts too. Perhaps they have a Caster or two.
Girl Um, I'm not sure who you are, but...
Thank you.
Carnelian No need to thank me. It was nothing.
But it's still too early for you to lower your guard just yet. Those guys aren't that easy to shake. They will still be following you.
Going by your looks, I guess you're not from the city?
Girl ......
Carnelian Relax. Right, it's not a bad thing to be wary of others, especially given your circumstances.
I guess... they have been chasing after you for a while?
Girl ......
Carnelian How long have you been Infected?
Girl H-How did you know?!
N-No, I'm not infected. You're mistaken.
Carnelian I can see the crystals under your collar.
Carnelian Okay, fasten up. This will do it.
Be more careful next time.
Girl ......
Who are you, and what do you want?
Carnelian Don't worry, I'm not here to take you away or anything.
Look, if I actually wanted to do anything to you, I could get the job done with much less trouble than the men who are chasing you, and I certainly wouldn't need to stand here and talk to you.
Girl ......
(That's a good point...)
Pardon me...
Carnelian Oh, do you finally believe me? You're starting to sound so formal again.
Girl Uh, I-I'm sorry!
Carnelian No need to apologize. I'm not someone who you need to be so respectful toward, either.
I've never been a fan of how the Leithanien nobles do things.
Girl My lady, are you–
Carnelian Drop the "my lady" business.
Girl But–
Carnelian No buts.
Girl Uh... O-Okay.
Are you not from around here...?
Carnelian I'm from Sargon. Have you heard of Sargon?
Girl No...
What is it like?
Carnelian It's very, very far away. And it's a place of freedom.
There are deserts there, as well as rainforests. Lords ameer big and small lead their own territories, and everyone there gets to live a peaceful life as long as they can pay their tribute. There are also places so remote that you can't find them on maps.
In those places, we take care of ourselves.
Girl I've never heard of a place like that.
Carnelian That's to be expected.
When I first came to Leithania, I even doubted this country existed in the same world as my homeland.
Girl That sounds so mysterious...
Carnelian Do you find that hard to believe?
Girl No, it's just a little hard to imagine.
Carnelian Haha, I guess it'd be hard to visualize a place when you haven't seen a it with your own eyes.
(Come to think of it... I said something similar not too long ago.)
(I have to admit. The phony noble attendant might just be right.)
Girl ...?
Carnelian Hmm? Oh... I spaced out again.
No matter the case, this isn't a safe place to be. The guards will likely be back. We should go somewhere else before I tell you more about Sargon.
Girl Eh? O-Okay!
<Background 6>
Girl Eh?! Is everything you said actually real?
Are there really rivers that flow from the sky and trees larger than whole villages?!
Carnelian Of course. There's also a desert that's as tall as the mountains. Walk its golden sands, and you'll find a large hole with countless treasures buried inside...
Girl Wow!
Carnelian I'm pulling your leg.
Girl Eh?!
Carnelian Okay, okay, don't give me that face. I wasn't really pulling your leg. It's a story I heard once. No one knows whether there's any truth to it.
Perhaps they actually have a cave full of jewels and other treasures.
Girl I hope so...
Carnelian Ah, this makes me want to go home.
Girl Why don't you go home, then? Is it too far away?
Carnelian Hm, how should I put it? I hadn't planned on staying, but I ran into some problems, and I got myself tangled up with a troublesome fellow...
I could've run off, but he definitely wouldn't be able to take care of himself, so I stayed to help him out.
Girl I thought you said it was a troublesome person? Why are you taking care of him? Have you two become friends?
Carnelian Hm, I wonder if we're friends. It's a little more complicated than that.
Girl I'm not sure I get it...
Carnelian Okay, that's for another time. Looks like the guards didn't come this way. You should be safe here for the moment, but I suggest you leave soon, just to be sure.
Girl ......
Umm, is it okay if I ask you another question?
Carnelian Of course.
Girl Are there any Infected in Sargon?
Carnelian Yes.
Girl So they are there too...
Carnelian But they don't see the sick people as a scourge to be feared. At least not where I used to live.
They're just sick, that's all. The beasts in the rainforest kill humans as well, and if you're out gathering fruits and ends up falling from a tree, you could hit your head and die, if you're unlucky. So what makes diseases so terrible?
Girl That's wonderful...
Carnelian It's not all smiles and sugar cubes. Life there is tough in most places. It's because of how tough it is that we don't worry about it so much.
What about you? Does the lord here send guards after anyone who's infected?
Girl We didn't used to be like this...
My parents worked the mines, and we lived in the area closest to the mining district. A lot of people there have gotten sick.
All the older folks who work the mines get this disease in the end. Rocks begin to grow on their bodies, but they still have to keep working.
Anyone who has just a bit more money wouldn't ever set foot on our street. Anyone who's not sick yet tries to move out of the area...
Carnelian It sounds almost like a quarantine zone.
Girl A little, but I heard you have to pay to move into the better quarantine zones. They even hand out bread there. That's something that we can only dream of.
But at least we can live there.
Carnelian Live how? A mine worker, like your parents, would never step outside your district?
Girl That isn't so bad... We have a roof over our heads, and we make a small living. That's more than enough to me.
At least that's what I used to think.
But then the mines collapsed. My parents didn't come back. The guards sealed off the streets and started rounding up everyone they saw.
And then no one dared to go outside anymore. Everyone stayed inside, but the guards would also go door to door and force their way in... What have we done wrong?
Carnelian ......
(So this is them dealing with it "accordingly"...)
Girl A few kids and I sneaked out of a back alley behind an abandoned building while the guards were distracted. I know the men outside think that anyone who's sick has to die, but I don't want to die!
I... I'm scared...
Carnelian There, there... Don't cry. Where are the kids you escaped with?
Girl We made it to this area a couple days ago. There wasn't anywhere we could hide as a group, so we decided to split up.
That was the last time I saw them, and now I'm all alone...
I... I need to find them!
Carnelian Calm down, let me–

Shh, quiet down.
<Background fades out>
Leithanien Caster ......
This way!
Looks like someone has been here...
Girl (......!)
Carnelian (Calm down. Don't look at him. Breathe slowly...)
Girl (...Phew...)
Carnelian (Good girl.)
(Wait for me here.)
<Background fades in>
Leithanien Caster ......
Finally showing yourself, my lady?
[Carnelian meets the Leithanien caster, who appears to be the Witch King's loyalist, face-to-face.]
Carnelian I'm not one to keep my guests waiting when they come visit with such sincerity.
You're alone. Where are the guards?
Leithanien Caster They needn't be here.
Carnelian You sound very confident.
Leithanien Caster Lady of Sargon, why are you protecting an Infected?
Carnelian No special reason. I met her, and I thought I'd give her a helping hand.
And what are you after?
If the goal was simply to be rid of the Infected, they wouldn't need a Caster such as yourself to go through the trouble. You have been capturing the miners for the past two days. What exactly are your orders?
Leithanien Caster Are you investigating us?
Carnelian Nothing so serious. I'm only doing a cursory investigation before we actually sign the contract.
I wouldn't have figured this out, but I had a little enlightenment earlier today, so I have a good idea of how much Sir Feuerbach has covered up, using you and his guards. Should I perhaps share this with everyone here right now?
Leithanien Caster ......
Carnelian You're quiet. Why so shy? I saw the slaves you were leading away while you were casting. They are Infected, no?
Looks like the dark memories that the Witch King left behind are not merely a thing of the past. Those cruel Arts are still being studied...
Carnelian Is that what you're capturing the Infected for?
Leithanien Caster ......
Carnelian You're a quiet one. Looks like I found the wrong person to strike a conversation.
Leithanien Caster We needn't share a conversation.
I am merely greeting an Arts user, out of courtesy.
Carnelian Would you like to get down to business, then? Personally, I prefer to stay out of trouble, but who am I to refuse an opportunity to witness an esteemed Leithanien Caster's skills firsthand?
<Background fades out>
Girl –!
(What... are they talking about?!)
(Slaves... and research? Is that what they are doing with all the people they caught...?)
<Background fades in>
Leithanien Caster We have no intention of making an enemy of Count Hohenlohe...
Lady of Sargon, I've heard rumors about you. Your Originium Arts are formidable.
Carnelian I guess I should say thanks?
Leithanien Caster No need.
Carnelian I've never understood you people.
I see in Leithanien an expanding, overbearing authority. At the same time, I see everyone here worshipping that authority. I've never come to understand why in my two years here.
Leithanien Caster You haven't been breathing the air here.
Carnelian It's a bit too smoggy for my taste.
Leithanien Caster In that case, you will suffocate. It is the fate of all those who breathe foreign air.
Carnelian You make that sound like some kind of curse.
Leithanien Caster If you wish to die to strange witchcraft, I suggest you try a Sarkaz, of an ancient bloodline.
It's not part of our plan to fight you here... You may have the Infected hiding there.
Carnelian Oh, that's music to my ears. Here I was racking my brain thinking how to keep your screams down... I wouldn't want this to cause any problems in our partnership.
Leithanien Caster Hmph, arrogant foreigner. I can overlook this, but do not forget...
Leithania has its own rules, and the rules here do not bend to any one person.
[The caster leaves.]
Carnelian Phew...
He's gone. I'm so glad we didn't actually end up fighting. I wouldn't want to ruin anything and get my ears pinned back by the little Count.
It's okay. You can come out–
[The girl comes out of hiding.]
Girl ......
Carnelian Hm? Why are you so quiet? Did that scare you?
Look at what a crybaby you are... You are so much more timid than my little sister.
Girl I'm not scared...!
It's just... I heard what you two just said...
What will happen to everyone they took away?
Carnelian Do you want me to lie to make you feel better?
Girl ......
Carnelian Okay. If you want to hear the truth, I guess all I can tell you is things aren't looking great for them.
The nobles here want to make everything here "go away." That's both the accident in the mine and the workers there. Whether they were caught by the Casters or the guards, things don't bode well for them.
This is what you wanted to know.
Girl ....*Sobs*...
Carnelian Oh, don't cry. I'm not good around girls your age, crying their eyes out.
What will you do now? Are you going to look for your friends?
Girl !
R-Right! I shouldn't cry yet. I need to find the others...!
If... If the nobles here won't have us, we'll leave this place behind... and go somewhere else! I'm older than all of them. I'm the big sister. I need to protect them...
And... one day... I'll avenge the people in the neighborhood...
Carnelian You'll leave this place? Even if you have to leave your homeland?
Girl Even if I... have to leave everything behind.
I don't have much left anyway.
Carnelian You're right about that...
Okay, if that's how you feel, there's someone much better suited for the task than me.
Girl What do you mean?
Carnelian You can come on out too. Enough hiding, my "specialist."
[A Rhodes Island operator comes out of hiding, having witnessed the entire ordeal all the time.]
Rhodes Island Operator Sheesh... You make that sound like I meant to hide. Can't you let me make a decent entrance?
Carnelian My bad, but your footsteps were pretty loud. Asking me to pretend I didn't hear that just to give you a nice entrance is a pretty tall order.
Rhodes Island Operator Maybe that says something about what big ears you got, then.
Carnelian I'll take that as a compliment.
Rhodes Island Operator That's not a... Whatever.
Girl I-Is this person... a specialist?
Rhodes Island Operator Don't listen to her. My job is nothing that glamorous. I'm just a–
Carnelian Aren't you guys specialists that handle Infected problems? That's how you introduced yourselves, if I remember correctly.
Rhodes Island Operator Don't forget you are one of us.
Carnelian Ah... Yeah, I know.
Rhodes Island Operator (So half-hearted!)
Carnelian (Hey, now. Don't make a fuss about everything. Anyway, everything's as you can see. Can I leave the girl to you people?)
Rhodes Island Operator (Well, no problem with that.)
(Considering your standing... It's not a good idea to bring her with you.)
Carnelian (My, how dependable.)
Rhodes Island Operator (Stop playing with me already. That's another girl putting on the weeps because of you. How many times has it been?)
(I really don't get it. You keep saying you can't stir up any trouble, but you keep running into trouble head on every time.)
Carnelian (Haha, I wonder why. I'm not so sure.)
(I'm just doing things according to my principles...)
Girl Excuse me...
Carnelian Hmm?
Girl Will we... meet again?
Carnelian Well...
As long as you stay true to your beliefs now, I'm sure we will.
<Background black>
Those who are humble will always say, "This is where I belong."
Those who are egotistical will say, "This place belongs to me."
Life in Sargon is shaped by the shifting sands. Here stands a woman of Sargon who is certainly not an egotist, but definitely not humble either.
If you must change who you are to fit in, there is no need.
You needn't fit in.
Be yourself.