M8-4: Will, Phantom Wisps

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Will, Phantom Wisps
Episode 08
Previous R8-5 (Story)

All ideals, once transmitted, will eventually be corrupted or altered. Only through practice can an ideal be proven, and as we know, once something happens, it cannot be undone.
RI Operator icon.png
Rhodes Island Operator
Guerrilla Shieldguard icon.png
Academy Messenger
Rosmontis Squadmember
Chernobog Control Tower Outside
Village Outskirts
The Shieldguards make a deal with Rhodes Island, but Rosmontis's squad is ambushed in the sealing layer's superstructure. It is unknown if they survived. In desperation, Rosmontis uses her Arts to destroy the sealing layer.
<Background 1>
Rhodes Island Operator What does all of that... mean?
Shieldguard "Rhodes Island, we invite you to fight with us."
That's what I said.
I only speak Ursine. You also asked me in Ursine, so you should have understood.
You know these Chernobog industrial machines much better than us, yes? You must have had a lot more training in such things than we have. We're better fighters.
If you want into the tower, you must have a plan to shut down this thing too. You can't let it close the way.
We need to split our guerrilla forces, sending at least three quarters of our men to protect the Infected around the city, or they're doomed.
Reunion under Talulah is out of control. We've seen enough revenge killings in Chernobog.
Even with just a fourth of our full strength, we have what it takes to beat Talulah's stupid guards. But...
We could use some help right now. We'd be able to better capitalize on our victories if we had it.
Our Originium Altars are down. The devils are handy in a fight, but they've got nothing on the Captain's legendary strength.
We need more firepower.
Who calls the shots for you? Is it the Cautus? Or the Feline? You're both plenty strong, you could handle it.
Rosmontis You'll have to ask Amiya. I'm just an operator.
Shieldguard Cautus, what do you say?
Amiya Sir, what matters is if your Reunion is still dedicated to helping the Infected.
As long as it's not some Infected Ursus political project... we'll proudly agree.
But... I'm worried...
Shieldguard About what?
Amiya There are still a lot of open wounds from our conflicts with Reunion. We can't overlook them.
We could say we're willing to forgive, or beg forgiveness, but we have to think about those we lost, or who suffered.
Rosmontis Reunion killed my friend. And we just killed someone you looked up to.
Shieldguard Hrm.
Rosmontis I get it... I killed your family, didn't I?
You can't forgive that.
Shieldguard But you're Infected!
If we don't let you in, we're disobeying orders.
Our current orders are to crush Talulah and her minions. And anyone who disobeys that order is to be killed.
Rosmontis So you're letting it go? Can you... let it go?
Shieldguard Yes, you killed our family. You killed our commander, our leader, our Captain.
But we're not going to come to blows over it.
Rosmontis You don't want revenge?
Shieldguard Of course we do. I'm not done yet, let me finish, Feline!
But whatever we've got between us personally doesn't matter in the face of the mission.
There's a more important place to direct our hate.
Amiya Hate...
Shieldguard You get it, don't you, Feline? That Cautus with you is a kid with her head in the clouds, just like the Captain said.
Amiya ——
Rosmontis Don't talk about Amiya like that.
Shieldguard If you really buy into her dreams of reforming everybody, then by all means, go along with her.
You'll get stabbed in the back, and you won't know until it's too late. You won't be able to save your friends. It all sounds good in theory, but you can't really put it into practice.
And us, we believe in the Captain. All this way, he's shown us a different way, beyond the endless wars of Ursus.
He showed us a noble path of revenge and ruin.
Amiya A path of ruin?!
Shieldguard To ruin our enemies.
How to pick out your enemies and then ruin them.
Amiya But who is your enemy? Can you really act like it's a good thing to spread hate, hurt people, start wars, and generally cause misery?
Haven't you lost enough friends? Didn't Ursus...?
Shieldguard The last emperor promised us an end to this war! We believed in that vision.
But I don't see an end in you. Should we reason with them? They don't listen. Some people are asses, and some are just evil and need to die.
Listen to me, Feline!
Rosmontis Hm?
Shieldguard You won't get the satisfaction you want from killing your enemies. For the simple reason that that's not where it ends.
If you're committed to that path, then take it all the way, kill everything, cleanse the country of its filth and when at last you look over the silent white field of snow... then you can finally know happiness!
Think about it. And then we start killing.
Kill the monster in the tower who sent our people to die, kill the tyrants who lord over the cities, kill the useless eaters, and the traitors in the army!
And at last, kill the miserable Ursus ministers who poison the Emperor with their lies. Kill them all!
Then you look back and see what you've done! See those who deserved to live on, their peaceful lives, free from the fear of starvation being forced upon them.
I mean, that's what you're doing here, right?
Rosmontis ......
Shieldguard You kill those who kill your friends!
Amiya You want to kill Talulah.
Shieldguard Obviously!
What else would we want? Will the Captain ever be able to rest in peace as long as she lives? What about Yelena and her Yetis? Or the countless Reunion brothers who she used as cannon fodder?!
We've been waiting for a savior, a good emperor, a hero... and we're sick of waiting.
What did all that waiting get us?
Our great Emperor is fallen, with no one to carry on his legacy, with greedy, self-interested men fighting over the scraps, ripping our country in two and milking the people dry!
Our savior was buried alive, and our hero died right in front of us!
Not that you would understand.
But maybe you'll understand something else. Feline, have you ever lost a loved one?
Rosmontis ......
Shieldguard I can see it in your eyes.
Rosmontis I'm done talking to you.
Shieldguard But you'll listen, Feline. You have the eyes of a warrior.
<Background fades out and in>
Phantom Crossbowman The sealing layer is still rising...
Shieldguard It hasn't stopped at all.
Amiya It'll take some time to adjust the Originium drive.
Shieldguard It better not take too long. If this thing seals up, then all the hope of a trial goes with it for at least a few hundred years.
Amiya So you guerrillas don't just fight for the Infected.
Shieldguard Obviously!
The Infected are just one reason to fight. You can have as many as you want!
The one and only reason we took to the tundra was the injustice and disorder of Ursus. The Captain told us the Infected didn't have to live like this, it's Ursus that tortures the Infected to achieve their ends!
Picture it, our great march... the Captain brought us all here, could that really just be for the Infected?
We crossed from border to border, passing by all the hardened cities, taking control of the lifeblood of the Empire, uniting to strike at the heart of the rotten country...!
Don't tell me you've never considered it, Cautus? You're not like this just because you're Infected.
If they treated everyone right, equally, maybe you wouldn't have even gotten infected.
Think about it, how many city dwellers, nobles, merchants, and performers get infected?
And then how many out in the wilderness, the outskirts, and the mines?
That's why we need to get revenge!
Amiya On who?
Shieldguard Everyone who gets in our way!
Amiya That's not right!
Rosmontis Amiya...
Amiya Hm?
Rosmontis ......
Don't you hate the people who made us what we are?
Amiya I'm not talking about righting the wrongs of the Infected! I mean it's wrong to turn this into like, a way to blow off steam, that's what's wrong...
Rosmontis They did this to us, for their own sakes!
They turned us into monsters! And... and I hate them.
Shieldguard Preach, Feline.
Amiya No...
...That's not right......
<Background fades out>
I'm sorry.
This is going to hurt.
I'm sorry... Amiya. This shouldn't have happened to you.
<Background fades in>
Amiya It's not right.
Rosmontis But... Amiya, why do you say that?
Don't you think we should hate them? You can't say they didn't steal our lives from us.
I don't want to forget... I don't want to forget my friends and family!
I could have worn clothes I liked, and gone to the school I wanted. I could have gotten to know my mom and dad and everyone, I could have...
I could have... my brothers... *whimper*...
Amiya Rosmontis, calm... calm down!
Rosmontis I can't...
I can't.
I won't let this go, Amiya... I can't!
If I have to get hurt to protect them, if I have to suffer to keep them from suffering...
Then I'll take it all!
If killing the people who ruined our lives would make you all feel even a little better, and if you're not willing to do it, then let me do it for you!
[Someone is calling through the radio, which is picked up by an R.I. operator.]
Rhodes Island Operator Rosmontis, Amiya, we've got a transmission from the engineer team!
Rosmontis Squadmember Something weird's happening, the drive system isn't moving!
...Is it the enemy? Captain, if you can hear me, this is...
No! They must be...
Captain! Look out for Ur—
Woman's Voice Get back! Jump! Hurry!
[Suddenly an explosion is heard over the radio before it goes static.]
Rosmontis ......
What happened? Come in...
...Do you copy?! Lavaca! Bluishsilver!
No, no no no...
Shieldguard The sealing layer is still rising!
Amiya (Did the engineer team... get ambushed?)
Rosmontis No, it can't be. Bluishsilver, she... I'll can't reach her, I can't feel her anymore!
Shieldguard ...Prepare the explosives. Let's blow the whole joint.
Amiya If we destroy the sealing layer, it will take a few blocks with it. And there are still some Infected who didn't want to join Reunion hiding in the area!
Shieldguard There's no time. If we keep waiting only more people will die!
Rhodes Island Operator We've lost comms!
Shieldguard If you don't like my plan then give us a better one!
<Background fades out>
Absolutely not.
<Background fades in>
Rosmontis No.
I get where you're coming from... I dunno. It's just...
My team... my squad... I...
They did everything right! How could this happen to them?!
If you need strength, if you need to destroy, I can do it! I can do it better!
Amiya Rosmontis!
Rosmontis Unleashed.png
Rosmontis Ah... ahhh!
[Rosmontis uses her powers...]
Amiya Rosmontis! Curl your fingers!
Rosmontis I just... tear... destroy...
[...to stop the walls from sealing...]
Shieldguard Wha... the sealing layer's stopping?
Rosmontis I CAN DO IT!!!
[...and blow open a hole through it...]
<Background 1>
[...creating a passage.]
Phantom Crossbowman An explosion?! No way. The Feline, she... how is she tearing that thing apart?
...What... how...?
It's almost like...
Rhodes Island Guard? Shh!
(Shakes his head)
It's just like the first time you saw FrostNova and Talulah, isn't it?
Just wait until our infections get worse... maybe you'll see some more.
Rosmontis *Pant*, *pant*... I...
Amiya... I... I'm cold... My head...
Amiya Rosmontis! I've got you! Hold on tight, don't let go!
Shieldguard She shredded the sealing layer all by herself?
Not for long, but it should be enough to get us through the sector.
Amiya I need a medic!
Rosmontis Hnnngh... Aaugh! It's scratching me, scratching at me!
Amiya These are negative emotions and side effects of direct Arts... They all have to do with Bluishsilver's memories.
Rosmontis... Look at me. Look at my eyes!
Shieldguard (The black lines flow from the finger of the Lord of Fiends right into the Feline's eyes...)
(She really is...)
Rosmontis Nnnngh... I know... Amiya... I know...
Amiya Don't ever do that again! B-But, even if I tell you, you'll...
Rosmontis Uh huh... S-Sorry... I won't change. Heh.
Shieldguard Well done, Feline! You really did it!
Brothers, let's move out! Through the fire and the hail of bolts, we go!
You should rest here for a while, Rhodes Islanders.
Amiya Just give me a minute, guerrilla fighter?
We don't have a way to stay in communication. Even the operator with you there doesn't have the comms we need to carry out this operation.
If the Shieldguards really need our help... Then you have to know what we're going to do, at least.
Shieldguard ——
Good thinking. Couldn't hurt to give you a minute.
Especially with all this little Feline did for us.
Rosmontis (Breathes weakly)
Amiya Rosmontis...
Rosmontis I'll be fine. I have to... keep... fighting.
I have to... find... my team.
Amiya ...Okay. I know.
[Amiya felt something on her mind.]
Amiya It's Madame Ch'en again...
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 2>
Bagpipe So you're really going back?
Ch'en Definitely.
Bagpipe But you told me you don't know if your friend in Ursus is alive or dead. What's the point in going back to Lungmen? Why not go right to Ursus after graduation, then?
Ch'en Ursus wouldn't give someone like me an entry permit.
Bagpipe No way... Oh, it's really so sad to see you go right after you finish. You're such a clever girl, Chenchen. You'd make senior lecturer in no time!
Give it two years and can go anywhere in the world you want, eh?
Ch'en Don't ever call me that again, please.
And what about you?
Bagpipe Me? You know me. I'm not stupid, but compared to you, well... I only eked out passing grades in those joint operations.
Ch'en You just finished your military strategy course?
Bagpipe Almost failed that one a bunch of times.
Ch'en You've got a better head on your shoulders than 98% of Victoria. At least on paper.
Bagpipe But I don't see myself becoming a lecturer. I think I'm better off going looking for a fight than setting myself up as a command or logistics officer.
Ch'en You really don't fear death. A Victorian soldier can end up running into all sorts of things on the battlefield.
Bagpipe But I know our enemies sure as hell don't wanna run into any Victorians soldiers on the battlefield.
What I really worry about is sitting in front of a strategic map messing up my head till I can only see human lives as numbers. That's the scariest thing. A soldier on the front lines needs somebody to tell her what to do, and what not to do.
Only when you're in the thick of it do you see how cruel a war is, and how important it is to stop.
Ch'en You really want to change Victoria? I thought... that was just a drunken ramble.
Bagpipe Nah, not at all. Is it that weird? I just... want to do some good.
Ch'en ——
Doing good isn't easy.
But it's the reason I'm going back to Lungmen. Lungmen's had enough of the bad. I'll stay there, fix up the bad things, stop it from getting worse.
Bagpipe So you're going back to become a cop?
Ch'en A cop?
Bagpipe Wow. I always thought you had the look of a girl who could give a good beating to a hooligan. I've got a gift!
Ch'en You're getting ahead of yourself. But the police...
That's not a bad idea.
It'd probably be a great place to pick up clues about what happened back then, and what's happening now... I wouldn't have to rely on my old schemer of an uncle.
Bagpipe Honestly I was worried you'd head to military intelligence. My little Chenchen is scary enough, I can't imagine how scary she'd be as a spook.
Ch'en And I'll have your bloody head off.
Bagpipe Hey! No need to get angry. *Sigh* Alright, I can take it!
Ch'en Hah. We'll see how much you can take.
[Someone knocks at the door.]
Bagpipe Oh, someone's at the door. Just a sec! Coming!
Academy Messenger Message for Miss Ch'en Hui-chieh, post-transcribed. Check your terminal. I have to confirm in person that you've read it yourself.
Ch'en Why all the trouble? I'll take a look.
...What? What... is this?
Academy Messenger I'd say that counts as you having received the message. The academy doesn't review highly classified material, so if you have any further inquiries about the content, I'll advise you to reply to the sender.
Anything else I can do for you? If that's all, I'll be on my way. Have a good afternoon.
Bagpipe There we go.
Why do they walk so funny?
I don't like the look of your face there. Did that message sock you in the jaw?
Ch'en I don't even know what I'm feeling.
They picked up my friend's trail.
Bagpipe Well isn't that good?!
Ch'en No.
It just led to her disappearing again. She...
She... killed the one who took her. And then... we lost her again.
Bagpipe Erm.
But at least... she's still alive?
Ch'en That's true.
I'm going right back to Lungmen after graduation.
Bagpipe Huh? But... well, isn't your friend in Ursus? I really thought you'd be heading that way. I was thinking of knitting you a few scarves as a goodbye gift.
Ch'en I wouldn't be able to do much in Ursus. But back in Lungmen, I'll have a chance to spread my influence. The city of Lungmen is a lot stronger than me alone.
...I am going to find her.
<Background black>
"As move at teardrop's point, once known be deft."
<Flashback ends here>