For a Better Self

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For a Better Self Beyond Here
Characters
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Female Villager
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Mischievous Kid (Antonio)
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Skinny Kid (José)
Backgrounds
Forest
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Village
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Utage, Myrrh, and Beanstalk chat about the strange rumors and stories surrounding Iberia while out on their operation. But the real Iberia may be quite different from the urban legends.
<Background 1>
[In a forest, Myrrh is gathering herbs with help from Beanstalk and Utage.]
Myrrh Thank you very much for helping me out with gathering herbs, Ms. Utage, Ms. Beanstalk.
There is no way I could've found nearly this many without the two of you...
Utage Oh, it's no biggie. I don't go on field ops much. It's a great change of pace.
And, geez. Just call me Utage. We're a buncha girls on a trip! Let's make this a fun little get-together!
I mean, we're friends, aren't we? Don't be so stiff.
Myrrh Oh, i-is that so?! Friends...? But I...
I... I don't know much about fashion, and I'm not very good at talking... Can I really be friends with you?
Utage What're you talking about? Of course you can! You're on my contact list, and I can call you any time and go shopping with you. That makes us friends!
Look, your name is right here, Myrrh.
Myrrh Whoa! Ms. Utage... I mean, Utage, you know a lot of people!
Huh? What's this list here?
Utage Oh, "Afternoon Nails Club?" Probably the list I added the most people to.
Myrrh Uh...
What about this?
Utage That's the "Group Buy Coupon Club" list.
Myrrh Um, how about this...?
Utage The "Peeps That Don't Do Events But Pay Up" list! Haha, all of them are like my besties!
Myrrh ......
(If she adds me to this list... I might end up... crying...)
(She wouldn't do that, right?)
??? Hey, that sounds like a great group. You gotta introduce me to some of those besties of yours!
Myrrh Oh, Ms. Beanstalk! You're back!
[Beanstalk returns along with her Metal Crabs.]
Beanstalk Kept ya waiting, huh~?
I got caught up in the road up ahead. It's a little hard to get through.
By the way, Utage, which list did you add Myrrh and me to? It can't be that besties club, right?
Utage Oh, relax. You wouldn't make it in even if you wanted to.
You're on the "Gonna Treat Lunch Some Time" list. She's on "Medical Department."
Beanstalk Huh? Hold on, what's this supposed to mean? I've treated you to lunch more than a handful of times!
Besides, why is Myrrh on such a normal-sounding list?
Myrrh Ahaha... I don't really mind...
Utage She takes care of me when I'm sick or hurt. Gotta give respect where it's due.
(Quietly) Besides, am I gonna get on a doctor's bad side? How stupid do you think I am?
Ugh, can we not talk about this, please? You went up ahead to scout the area, right? How is it? Any more herbs around?
I think we already got plenty, so if there aren't more up ahead, maybe we can call it a day here and go home?
Beanstalk Hmph, I'm getting there! I'll get to the end of this contact list thing...
Ahem.
Anyway, let me get straight to the point — I did find something.
I had Trey look all around, and he found a spot a little further north that we haven't been to yet.
Utage Oh, you mean those little pets you got with you? Way to go.
Beanstalk Of course! Hehe, this is nothing more than a walk in the park for my little buddies!
Myrrh It's north of here... Going by the humidity, the amount of sunlight, and the terrain, it should be a perfect place for herbs to grow!
That sounds great! Let's head over there!
Beanstalk Hey, wait up! Let me finish!
Hm... Where's my map for this area...? Let's see... There we go! Take a look here.
I marked where we are in red, and that patch of grassland is over here.
Myrrh Huh? This place...
Utage Hm? Let's see.
Oh, are we really that far away from the ship? And what's this say over here...? Ibe... Ugh, it's way too small to read. Iberia?
Beanstalk Iberia, huh...?
I heard the nomadic cities there change color, and every place they cruise over turns to barren land where absolutely nothing can grow. Not sure if it's true, though.
Utage Huh? No kidding?
Myrrh It could be that there are technical problems with their Originium energy source, and that might have polluted all the places they drove through.
But absolutely nothing can grow there...? That sounds like a bit of an exaggeration.
Beanstalk Oh, that's hardly an exaggeration. There's more. I heard Iberia's cities can even change shape!
The city plates can all fly away and put themselves back together again! They can even turn into giant, limbless monsters that swallow everything whole!
Myrrh T-They can turn into monsters?!
Um, that's not exactly how I heard it...
Utage Why are we talking about this now? Shouldn't we figure out if we want to keep going?
Or what? Is it Iberia gossip time? Hm... Actually, why don't we do just that?
I mean, none of us dare say we know that much about Iberia, right? Let's talk about what we know, then. Maybe we'll figure out something helpful.
Beanstalk Well... I guess we can. We aren't in a rush anyway.
Well, I already told you what I know. Next up, Myrrh!
Myrrh Huh? I need to say something too?
Utage Of course~
Myrrh O-Okay... I don't really think this is going to be very helpful, though...
Well, I heard that Iberia has a lot of ghost towns...
Beanstalk (Quietly) Uhh—This doesn't sound all that different than what I said...
Utage (Quietly) Oh, hush, just let her talk.
Myrrh I heard that people sometimes wander into these ghost towns when they get lost... It's cold and scary inside. There are blue rocks spread all over the roads, and there isn't a single person in any of the churches.
But... if you take a closer look, even though the buildings are all empty, there are jewels built into everything, and the plaza has all these gold statues without even the tiniest blemish!
Beanstalk Jewels! Gold!
Eh, sounds kinda like the City of Gold. My dad used to always sing that song. When I was a kid, I really liked that story!
I wish that kinda town really existed. A road paved with jewels and gold! I really wanna see that with my own eyes.
Myrrh Ahaha... I don't think I'd be so thrilled to visit that place...
I heard that in those ghost towns, each and every night, there are things you can't see praying at the church, and sometimes you can even hear someone breathing into your ear!
On top of that, all the people who stray into those towns feel their bodies slowly turn harder and harder. They start to move slower, just like those old grandmoms and granddads. After that, they even start to talk slowly, and little by little, they lose their minds...
Utage Whoa, that's sounds terrible.
Myrrh In the end, they can't move, they can't talk, and they can't think... They freeze up like the golden statues on the streets. Those statues were people!
Beanstalk ...That's so scary!
Y-You're kidding, right? How is that even possible... That sounds even more out there than what I just said.
Utage It's gotta be fake. It's a good story, but think about it. How could anyone have spread the rumor in the first place if no one got out alive?
Myrrh You're right...
That's why I told you it wasn't going to be very helpful.
This is a story I heard when I was still going around exploring with Harmonia... It's hardly reliable information.
Beanstalk Exploring?
Myrrh Oh, actually... before I came to Rhodes Island, I used to be something of an explorer. I went to all kinds of places with my friends, and the more dangerous the place is, the rarer the herbs there are.
Utage Eh, no kidding? That's amazing, Myrrh! I thought you were totally the kind of girl who, like, shut herself up in her room all day, brewing potions and whatever.
Beanstalk You're kinda wimpy too.
Myrrh I'm not...
Utage So, it's my turn now, right?
I thought about it a little, and this rumor just came to mind...
Myrrh Ehh? We are still going with this?!
Beanstalk You seem really into it...
Utage It's just a story. What's the harm?
Well, you girls know how Iberia has this festival they call the carnival? Now, the carnival itself isn't the rumor; it actually exists, and I read about it in books before.
I heard it's one of those decked out festivals, and lots of tourists used to visit just for that, but there hasn't been a whole lot of news about the carnival anymore. Some people even say it was canceled.
But... well... here's what I heard...
Beanstalk What have you heard? S-Stop it with that tone. It freaks me out...
Myrrh Yeah, it's a little scary...
Utage Alright, fine. I'll lay off.
It's nothing that scary, really. I heard it wasn't actually canceled. It's just you don't get any normal people going to the carnival anymore.
Apparently, on the day of the carnival, bodies start climbing out of their graves, dancing all over the streets even though some of them are missing their arms and legs. During the carnival, all the people in town lock themselves in their houses. No one dares step outside.
Beanstalk And what if they come outside?
Utage No idea about that. I heard a few different versions.
Some people say that you'll be eaten alive if you go outside. Others say you get cursed and line up behind everyone else, head into to the woods to the east, and end up hanging yourself.
Whatever it is, it's not a fun way to go out.
Okay, the end.
So, wanna listen to more of these stories?
Beanstalk ......
Utage Eh, your face's all frozen. Are you... scared?
Beanstalk O-Of course not! I don't get scared—
Utage Alright, you don't get scared. So, let's keep going!
Beanstalk Ugh...
Myrrh Haha...
(Utage looks like she's really enjoying this.)
(*Sigh*...)
Um, aren't we getting a little off topic...?
Beanstalk That's right!
Myrrh Let's not get too off track...
These rumors all sound pretty farfetched. I don't think they're really that useful.
It's just...
Utage It's pretty creepy, right? Is that what you were going to say?
I mean, the rumors are probably so unrealistic because the whole area's on lockdown. If you think about it, it's pretty much what you'd expect.
So, are we still going north?
Beanstalk Ahem.
We have plenty of the herbs we need already, don't we? Why don't we, uh...
Why don't we just call it a day?
Myrrh Yeah...
Utage Hm? Myrrh, what's the matter? Why are you all spaced out?
Myrrh Oh, it's nothing. I'm okay.
I'm just a little curious...
Since there are so many scary rumors... What is Iberia actually like?
<Background 2>
[On a remote Iberian village, a skinny child is being chased by another child.]
Mischievous Kid Stop right there, asshole! You're not getting away!
Skinny Kid ......
Mischievous Kid José, you shithead! Stop running away already!
[The skinny child trips.]
José Ahhh!
*Sobs*...
Mischievous Kid Why are you crying? You fell down on your own! I didn't even touch you!
Stand up! This is all your fault... You were badmouthing me to the teachers at school, weren't you? You got me in trouble!
José I didn't lie!
I saw it, Antonio! You were the one who stole the change Aunt Mirissa left on the table—
Antonio You still going on about that?! You little rata![note 1]
José I... I'm not! I'm not a rata![note 1]
[A man dressed in priestly garb came to the children and calms them down.]
??? Oh, my dear children, don't do that.
Our tantrums, however brief, can lead to mistakes. Don't let your emotions get the better of you. Come, my child, stand up.
Antonio Who the hell are you?!
Uhh...!
No way... Um, you..
José Um, thank you very much, sir... It's okay, I can stand up by myself.
There's mud all over me. I wouldn't want to get your hands dirty.
??? That is very considerate of you, my child. You have my thanks.
But you needn't worry. How is mud dirty? Everything we eat and wear is grown from the earth.
Here, take my hand. Stand up. That's right.
Antonio Um, sir, you're from the city, aren't you?
??? Do you know who I am?
Antonio There are rumors all over town that there's going to be an old gentleman visiting us from the city to give a... uh... what is it again...?
A sermon! That's right! A sermon!
You're here to give a sermon, aren't you?
??? Yes, very perceptive, my child.
I've been asked to come here to share the gospel with all of you here...
José You're a priest from the church?
Priest Yes, my child. I am.
Antonio You'll teach us about the laws in the church's book and tell us stories about Laterano?
Priest I will, my dear child, but that is not all I will be teaching you.
The book teaches us that our noble laws are indestructible, and that we must believe it, follow it, and worship it. That is the righteous and correct thing to do... Correct, but perhaps a little off the mark.
I am merely human. In reality, I am no more holy than anyone else. That is why I also have many worthy stories of the people and things around us to share with you. I am here to close the distance between us and the law.
Antonio Father, what do you mean...? I'm not sure I understand.
Uh, Father, where are you headed? Is it the village headman's house? I'll take you there!
Priest Thank you, my child.
What I say is not important. What is truly important is what you've heard. You don't have to force yourself to understand.
Which way is it? Oh, watch out. Don't step on these flowers here. Give them the chance to grow.
José W-Wait...
Father!
Priest Hm?
Yes, my child?
José ......
I'm just wondering... Did you... see all that just now...?
Antonio
José What did you see?
Did you catch everything... that I said?
Priest —I'm afraid I can't deny I did.
I heard everything loud and clear from the moment you fell.
Antonio Father, sir, I, I—
José Father, please! That's not how it is! I made it all up!
I made all of that up! Please!
Antonio ......
Priest You think everything you said is nonsense, but is that really the case?
José I...
Antonio isn't a bad person. It's just, he...
......
That's right! I-I lied! I was just seeing things... That's right! Antonio didn't steal anything, Father! I imagined all that! Please don't take him away!
Antonio José!
José, stop... stop it!
Priest ......
José I-I know it's wrong to lie, but I'm jealous of Antonio. My grades are better than his, but I never get enough to eat. Soon, I won't even have enough money to go to school! I'm jealous of him!
I know those who steal get taken away. I know that. Hugo next door was taken away and never came back because he stole something from the stores in the city...
That's why I ratted him out to the teachers! I was trying to frame him! It's all my fault!
I know what I did was wrong. Please, if you're here to take anyone away, take me! Please don't take him...
Priest "We must not deceive others, for the deception deceives even ourselves."
Antonio What are you talking about?! No one told you to say that!
It's me, Father! You heard him! I stole that money...!
José Antonio!
Antonio Stop it, José. Stop... Stop lying for me.
You aren't like that! When Old Man Pedro broke your leg last time, you didn't lie about that!
José ...I...
Priest Ah, lies.
Lies can ruin us if we don't follow through with them. This is a most vile thing to do, yet... lies made with goodwill are what make us human.
Go on, my child.
Antonio There isn't any more to say!
I stole Aunt Mirissa's money, but I'll pay her back! I found a job in town that pays really well!
It's my fault for stealing. I'll go apologize. I ask for your forgiveness and just a little bit of time. I'll return the money when I have it.
José But why? Why did you do that?
Antonio ......
...tuition...
José What?
Antonio Don't you want to keep going to school?! You're much better at studying than any of us! I know you're a little tight on money—
Uh...
José ......
Antonio Tsk, that didn't count! It's none of your business!
Anyway, that's how it is. I took the money because I wanted to. I said I'll pay it back. You caught me red-handed! I'll accept any punishment that comes my way!
Father, you're here to take me away, aren't you? Do it already!
José Antonio...
Priest Calm down, my child.
You think what you've done is wrong. In that case, would you like to confess your sins?
José Y-Yeah! Let's confess!
If you admit what you've done is wrong, you'll be forgiven, and you won't be punished...
Father, please. Please forgive him. Have mercy on Antonio! He'll be better!
Antonio The law says we mustn't steal or lie. I did both of those.
But I don't regret it. I couldn't think of any other way. I don't regret doing this even if you're going to punish me.
Father, am I allowed to confess if I don't feel regret for my actions?
Priest That depends on what you think.
All of us have our weaknesses, and who doesn't make mistakes?
But when we make mistakes, are we forgiven simply because we repent our sins? Who has the right to forgive another, anyway?
Antonio I don't understand...
Isn't what I did wrong? I did something wrong, and I don't feel bad about it. That makes me a bad person...
Priest Does making a mistake once make you a bad person forever?
If someone commits a crime with malice and then receives the proper punishment, does that really erase that malice and make her a sinner no longer?
José Well... no...
Priest Antonio stole money. He has sinned. As for you, José, you lied to me in order to protect him. You have sinned.
Do you think he's a bad person?
Lying goes against our teachings. Do you think you are a bad person?
José I...
I'm not... but I've done something wrong! Antonio did something wrong too, but if he doesn't repent his sins, what can we do to receive forgiveness?
Can we condone doing evil?
Priest No, José, of course not.
Our laws and decrees are the things that set the norms of our society. They are what punishes our wrongdoings and leads us down a path of virtue. In our Code of Law, wrongdoings are never tolerated.
The law disciplines. It has power, and it will punish those who have truly sinned.
It may lead us down a path of virtue, but it doesn't always do so with punishment.
Antonio What else, then?
My dad always says a big stick and a broom does the trick.
José The books say... repentance. We need to repent first, then acknowledge our mistakes, and then become a better person...
Priest Exactly, my children.
You know what you've done is wrong. You understand friendship, and you think for others. That is a good thing.
However... "Whensoever you point out a mistake, you must first set an example."
Antonio, you must first ask yourself this question.
Ask yourself what had gone wrong in the string of events that led us to commit this crime?
Antonio, why did you steal?
Antonio Because... I'm not as strong as the adults. No one wants to hire me, so I couldn't put together enough money.
José No! Antonio was trying to help me... It's all because I'm so useless...
Antonio I already told you! I'm the one who's wrong! S-Stop crying!
I understand now, Father. If I were just a little stronger, if I could find work sooner, I would have money, and I wouldn't have to do that.
José Me too... I could've worked if I were tougher, and I wouldn't have dragged anyone into my mess.
Priest I am glad to see both of you have already found where the problem lies.
Our bodies are fragile, and so even though our intentions are sincere, we sometimes turn to the wrong solutions to accomplish our goals. Many of our brothers and sisters make that mistake, and it's very regrettable.
However — We can triumph over these predicaments. This place where we stand is shining so very radiantly because our forebears spread the scriptures of Laterano all across the land.
Its teachings will help us overcome the darkness that the disaster a hundred years ago brought down on us, and it will help us triumph over poverty and weakness.
My hope is for our followers not to think our teachings a restraint, but to be able to see its most refined form.
Antonio This is too hard to understand... Father, what should we do?
Priest Just keep your faith, and you are doing very well.
We unite, we strive to be benevolent, and we do good all because these teachings have cleansed our souls. They let us clearly see the benevolence inherent in our hearts.
This is what I want to tell you—
You must believe. You must believe there is strength in your hearts.
Be pious, be friendly, and love others. "Assist those who need assistance, and treat them well as you would your own hands and feet." Antonio, you committed a crime to help José. José, you lied to protect your friend.
It's wrong to steal or lie, but both of you have admitted your mistakes. This small misstep can be corrected in no time.
I won't chastise you for your mistakes. On the contrary, I must tell you. We must treat each other like brothers. We must let our friendship drive our actions. As individuals, we are perhaps small and insignificant, but our friendship and unity empower us to become something greater.
As long as we follow the teachings of the Code of Law and uncover its encouragement and calls for us to be benevolent, we'll find ourselves ever closer to each other, just like close siblings.
This is how we'll awaken our souls and the benevolence and power within...
And with this, we'll find ourselves able to overcome every challenge we may face.
Antonio Uhh, I'm not sure I understand, Father.
José I don't understand either...
Father, this sounds really hard.
Priest Don't be afraid of hardship or difficulty.
It's okay. Even if you do not understand right now, what's inside your heart isn't going to fall apart.
[A female villager rushes to the priest and the children.]
Female Villager Reverend Bishop! You are here! The stage is set, and everyone is waiting to hear your sermon!
W-What's going on? Did these two brats do anything to offend you?
Iberian Bishop No, no. They are very good boys.
Come, we mustn't keep the others waiting. Antonio, please lead the way.
Antonio R-Right!
Iberian Bishop And José... Come, come with me.
We'll stand in the plaza and recognize our mistakes before everyone there. We'll make ourselves stronger, kinder, and more glorious.
No matter what you do in the future, you must first understand how you truly feel. Question your heart as to how you think, whether your impulses truly come from your heart.
The power that will make Iberia a better place and make us better men is right here, deep in our hearts.
<Background black>
Iberian Bishop Remember, children.
You need only believe in yourselves.

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Rat" in Spanish