[SCN: having returned to the merchant’s quarters, the duo sets Janetta down on the bed]
So, Viola, you’ve been tasked by the dhampir to take on this castle?
That would be correct.
As this ought to be my responsibility, it’s only fair that I pay for help.
(…Could you actually pay me?)
(Don’t push your luck.)
(I mean, the way you talk about it,
a little financial assistance would go a long way—)
(Do you want me to tell her this was all your fault?)
(N-no thank you! Just didn’t hurt to ask, is all!)
Goodness, what a muttering duo you two are.
Are you certain she hasn’t been a bother?
…We work well enough to get the job done, I would say.
Why, that’s just lovely!
Viola, dear, I’m so proud of you. What a big job!
Well, it’s, eh, nothing, really.
I do have to wonder why you were here, though.
You are aware of the dangers within these walls, correct?
“Aware”? Good Lord, I had the very first contact with it!
I kid you not, when this castle suddenly plopped up from the ground,
I was only a few meters away, looking for more rabbits to make tea with!
The damned place nearly made me lose footing!
Oh, that’s right.
This place did show up right in the fields, didn’t they.
It’s infuriating, it is!
Why, I was so furious,
I just walked right in to settle whoever started this whole mess!
That’s bold of you to barge in alone, I must say.
You’re certain you came in here all by yourself?
You doubt my memory? How rude.
I may not be immortal, my dear dhampir, but I am not a geezer.
I simply find it strange how you didn’t see any other person until now,
especially when we’ve already ran into a few.
Are you certain you didn’t see a man wielding a whip here?
He’s quite loud. Particularly difficult to miss, in fact.
[noticeably wincing] I said I was on my own!
Nobody in sight! I waltzed in the moment I had a chance!
Uh, hey, “boss”, I think we should take it easy on her.
She’s still kinda woozy, you know?
And I still have things to tell you!
It’s rude to be so pushy.
I apologise for the rudeness.
I suppose you did save me and Viola back then.
Ah, very well. Water under the bridge, shall we say.
Okay, what’s going on with the dagger, anyways?
Ah, the Dagger of Exchange?
It’s quite the unique object.
Almost impossible to not recognize it when you see it.
Why, only a fool wouldn’t notice how strange its aura is!
[sweating profusely] Absolutely, yeah.
It’s quite the powerful little thing, you see.
One tiny droplet of blood,
and even the most novice alchemist can form anything they wish.
Even a castle, as it turns out.
Yes, even something in such a scale as Dracula’s Castle.
And with blood as powerful as a dhampir’s,
it’s only natural it can form so quickly.
But for it to become a castle with such monsters…
The man holding this dagger must have parts of Dracula himself.
Really!? How would you know that?
The Dagger of Exchange is not an uncommon knowledge,
as I am sure you would know.
E-ehehe. Right, right.
Indeed. Although, something strikes me as odd.
If this were truly Dracula’s Castle, why is everything so out of place?
Surely, a true castle from him wouldn’t house such modern architecture.
Not just modern, actually, some super-modern stuff.
Don’t think I’ve ever seen a saloon look that bright, for a place so underground.
Well, I suppose that’s a mystery to uncover.
Perhaps while I rest, I’ll look into this.
[off in the corner, viola and belmont can talk once again]
Sheesh, you’ve got a bit of a mean streak, Belmont.
Do I, now.
You kept staring holes into the shopkeep before,
and now you’re talking to Janetta like it’s an interrogation!
What the hell’s your problem with her, anyways?
I simply have doubt in her story.
I’m aware that you view that personally, given she was,
as best as I can tell, your former mentor.
She’s still my teach at heart!
And, yeah, it’s kind of weird, and she is kinda frail and all,
but she does weird stuff! I can see her barging in here out of rage.
She also reacted strongly when I mentioned the man with the whip.
Frankly, given all that I’ve witnessed so far in this castle,
I feel it’s reasonable to have my suspicions.
Bah, you just have trust issues.
Maybe we can talk this stuff out through some rabbit blood’s tea—
What!? C’mon, you’re a dhampir, you’d love it!
I-I’m not just some cat easily lured with fish, you realize!
Besides. Blood is… not ideal for me, regardless of my status.
It’s like when someone uses smelling salts on you.
They work, certainly, but it’s not pleasant to awake from.
It’s an acquired taste, obviously, but you should at least try it.
There’s just this nice earthy taste to it, it’s great!
Hmph. Quite some nerve on you,
trying to insult me as a dhampir with such horrid drinks as this.
[now, the shopkeeper has a new tea, presumably gotten with the help of janetta:]
ITEM: RABBIT BLOOD’S TEA
An herbal tea mixed with the bitter taste of rabbit’s blood.
Heals Viola exponentially… just don’t give it to Belmont.
[near the stadium hall, there’s a previously inaccessible area under a pool of water. after reaching the surface on the other side, the duo uncovers their most terrifying foe yet…]
[…a rabbit. he may seem impossible at first, being that the moment you approach him near a corner, he pulls out a stopwatch and suddenly turns back time, but as he’s still running around a small puddle, Ciliary’s new Canadensis forme can quickly grab onto him before he can do anything, and he only has one point of health.]
FORME OF: CHRONOMAGE
An unconventional forme that can turn back time.
Use it to repeatedly retry tricky one-off situations,
but pay close attention to your quickly draining health.
[moving past, the duo finds themselves at the highest seated area of a large arena, with bars blocking them from jumping below]
Hiyah! Take that!
Stay down, foul creatures!
Wait, is that the guy with the whip again?
[the camera fades to lower in the arena, where quincy can be seen battling an incredible amount of large bats on the arena ground]
Damn these things! It’s like they never end!
At this rate, I’ll…
[quincy huffs, wiping the sweat off his head]
No, I musn’t give up now! For the future of mankind!
[the camera fades back to the duo]
Wow, he has it rough right now.
I think we ought to aid him.
Wait, really? He’s just gonna try and fight us again!
Not if we have the leverage of having saved his life.
Besides, something isn’t adding up here.
We started running from the moment this castle appeared,
yet he had shown up before we did.
Does that not sound like something worth interrogating?
You know what, that’s not a bad point at all.
Let’s save his ass, and see if he knows something we don’t!
[going into the aesthetic of a strangely 20th century sports arena, the two fight past skeleton soldiers, minotaurs and gladiators, alongside some very confusing skeleton athletes looking to run by, while passing by multiple areas that are too far away from platforms to be reached, before finally finding the underground entrance, stairs finally leading up to the main attraction…]
Looks like we’re just in time.
Poor bastard’s not going to last much longer without us.
Let’s clean this mess up, then.
[a seemingly straightforward fight, the bats will try to swarm at the two, slowly decreasing in size the more they’re hit. when victory seems all but certain, however, the fight suddenly stops—]
BAAAAAH! Boring, boring, boring!
There’s no entertainment in this whatsoever!
Who the hell was that?
[the camera pans past the wounded bat company and back to the rafters, where Straussen is sitting cross-legged behind a bench, popcorn in hand]
Where was the drama? Where’s the tragedy?
If all that happens is the heroes saving the day,
well that’s just BORING, isn’t it!?
Predictable, is what it is! This is why I cannot stand stage shows!
Lord! Must I do everything myself?
Oh, pipe it, you fossil!
We’re already breaking your last toy here!
Is that so? Hmmmm.
[Straussen violently smacks down the bench in front of him… breaking them in half.]
IT ISN’T! Ah, I knew I forgot something!
We can’t have an arena duel without the main attraction!
Show yourself, Iron Gladiator!
[a large iron ball attached to an arm, big enough to outsize viola and belmont combined, smashes into the bat company, killing off the stragglers instantly, as a new fight begins:]
[a ginormous beast, it can shoot its large iron ball directly into the walls, requiring quick and nimble movement to dodge, but once done, it stays stuck for a good while, opening him up for attacks while all he can do is try and kick you away. after the gladiator finally falls:]
HAH! See that, old man!? That’s—
Viola, he disappeared a while ago.
Gah, he did!?
I was so busy fighting I wasn’t paying attention!
It seems he doesn’t view us as anything more than pests.
I’m not sure if it’s good because he’s underestimating us,
or bad because we’re underestimating him…
[sigh] Here’s hoping it’s not the latter, I guess.
Whatever. We should probably haul this guy back to Janetta.
She can patch him up out of this.
I suppose there’s not much better to do until he’s awake.
FORME OF: BAT COMPANY
Why have only one Ciliary when you can have many?
These bats may all be slow, but they can carry Viola,
plus they’ll attack anyone nearby at no health cost.
FORME OF: IRON GLADIATOR
Don’t be fooled by the size of this beast;
Ciliary’s new ball and chain is not only quick,
it can also knock enemies back with great ease.