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    FAQ/Walkthrough by MNeidengard

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 05/14/06 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Super Robot War Gaiden: Lord of Elemental Walkthrough
    Mark Neidengard (mneideng at ugcs dot caltech dot edu)
    Version 1.0
    
    This is a plot walkthrough for Super Robot War Gaiden: Lord of Elemental.  Only
    released for the Super Famicom, this game was Winky Soft's opportunity to tell
    the backstory and continuing story of the original character Andou Masaki,
    pilot of the Psybuster.  Surprisingly racy dialog and numerous character
    portraits enliven this Turn-Based Strategy game, which not only features
    isometric battle maps, but also Final Fantasy Tactics-style element alignment
    and directional damage.  Did I mention it does all this on the Super Famicom,
    with virtually instant in-battle saving to that cartridge?  Much of the game's
    charm comes from the nuances of the dialog, and this walkthrough, one (and a
    half?) steps removed from a true line-by-line translation, may or may not do it
    justice.
    
    Those looking for a scenario flow chart should check out Pistol's walkthrough
    on GameFAQs.  I've only gone through one complete path as of version 1.0 of
    this FAQ, and many stages have yet to be visited.
    
    As always, all comments are appreciated.
    
    
    
    INTRO
    
    There exists within the earth another world, "Ra Gias", a land of alchemy and
    sorcery.  Within the kingdom of Langran, a prophecy had emerged from the
    Academy of Alchemists - the advent of an immense god of destruction, and
    calamity for all the peoples of Ra Gias.  To combat this threat, Langran
    focused all its alchemy into the creation of all-purpose, humanoid weapons.
    Those with the strongest spiritual prowess were known as the "Elemental
    God-Machines", though their immense power concealed a terrible flaw.  Only
    those of strong, primal Plana (spiritual force) could pilot them, and few such
    pilots were found among the sober inhabitants of Ra Gias.  After a four year
    search, the rulers of Langran made a fateful choice: their pilots would be
    summoned from other worlds...
    
    
    Scenario 1. Ra Gias
    
    A very confused Andou Masaki wakes up to find himself in Langran, where Tutti
    Norback attempts to explain slowly to him what's happened (somehow mistaking
    him for Chinese at first, to his annoyance).  Masaki isn't buying that he's in
    another world inside the hollow Earth, so Tutti brings him to somewhere he can
    check with his own eyes.  The world is indeed laid out like the inside of a
    ball, and Masaki sarcastically asks if he's been summoned to some land of
    swords and sorcery to be some kind of legendary hero.  Hearing that he's right
    on the money doesn't ease his mind any; nor does Tutti's explanation that all
    this got started because of a prophecy.  According to that prophecy...
    
    Well, before she can explain, she gets some kind of call and agrees to hurry
    off to attend to whatever it is.  She tells Masaki to sit tight, which proves
    to be a bit tough as a full-blown war seems to be going on outside.  Should he
    take a peek outside?  If so, 1a, if not, 1b.
    
    1a.
    
    Masaki rapidly gets lost, ending up in some kind of hangar.  A staffer hanging
    out there quickly figures out that Masaki is one of the Pilots from afar.
    Despite Masaki's protests, he hustles Masaki towards the Jaorm, a big-ass
    humanoid robot.  Figuring he's got no other choice, Masaki gets into the
    cockpit.  The machine starts by itself, and somehow the knowledge of how to
    pilot it appears directly in Masaki's mind.
    
    Out on the battlefield, Yang Long is startled to see someone piloting the
    Jaorm.  Tutti and Masaki wouldn't have figured each other for mecha pilots
    either, but Masaki quickly offers to help out anyway.  Tutti thinks it's too
    dangerous, but Yang Long and Simone tell her to give him a shot.  Especially
    since the longer they argue, the more entrenched the terrorists get.  Yang
    tells Masaki to watch his back, and not to turn tail to the enemy lest he
    suffer bigtime damage.
    
      The terrorist leader Gasba shows up on 1.5, figuring that four B-class
      Elemental Machines make for interesting opponents.  But given that
      their pilots seem to be amateurs, he's sure he can trick them into his
      pace and get the upper hand.  It seems he's getting paid some 300k credits
      just for toying with your people and gathering combat data: what a laugh!
    
      On turn 2, Masaki learns that his companions are from France and China.
      Looks like this isn't some comic where he alone is the hero from far-flung
      worlds after all.  He asks Tutti if there are actually people aboard the
      enemy robots, adding that he'd prefer not to kill anyone if he can avoid it.
      She assures him that as long as he doesn't aim for the cockpit, ejection
      systems will save his foes.  Simone adds an admonition not to get carried
      away, and to count on her mech for healing.
    
    Yang Long is taking a wait-and-see attitude towards Masaki, though if you make
    Level 2 he's considerably more positive.  Tutti is positive regardless, and
    explains that the Elemental Machines differ from ordinary robots because they
    operate off their pilot's Plana, otherwise known as "ki" or "aura" or whatnot.
    
      I was level 2.
    
    After the battle, Feir thanks the pilots for their hard work.  Tutti hastily
    fills in Masaki that Feirrode Gran Bilseia is the crown prince of this country,
    but Masaki sniffs that he, no citizen of this land, couldn't care less about
    this guy's rank.  Tutti then points out that he's also their _commander_,
    though Feir says lightly that he's never been one to stand on ceremony.  He
    thanks Masaki for weathering such a tough first battle, and Masaki ruefully
    admits that he wasn't much help.  He then asks Masaki to run a certain errand
    for him.
    
      I refused.
    
    Feir graciously says that he won't force Masaki, and Masaki says that he
    doesn't plan to fight someone he knows jack about.  He'd like Feir to at least
    tell him the reason for fighting, and Tutti informs Feir that she hadn't had a
    chance to finish explaining.  He asks her to do so, and requests that Masaki
    consider further after he's heard the whole tale of woe.  Like, whoa.
    
    Tutti finishes explaining to Masaki why they've all been summoned, and adds
    that no one is forcing them to help.  Masaki asks her for a couple days to
    think it over, and Tutti suggests he contact his family and talk it over.
    Masaki looks uncharacteristically downcast, slowly telling her that all his
    family are dead.  Tutti is in fact in the same boat, though Masaki quickly
    tells her he doesn't plan to pry.  She makes arrangements for Masaki to sleep
    at Zeoroot's place: he's a martial arts instructor to the Court, and Tutti
    figures Masaki will become his student if he stays.
    
    
    Scenario 2. Akai Akuma ("Red Devil")
    
    Tutti introduces Masaki to Zeoroot, who is happy to take him in.  She'll be
    back tomorrow, and asks Masaki to consider well.  As Masaki is about to enter,
    a little girl named Presia greets him.  Zeoroot introduces her as his daughter,
    and she seems extremely happy to see her new "older brother".  She's made
    dinner, including lots of red peppers that Zeoroot will merrily give Masaki
    once it comes out that he doesn't have any foods he hates.  Not that Presia
    will let her father get away with that...
    
    Masaki's heard a lot from Zeoroot, but still hasn't made up his mind the
    following morning.  He asks Tutti if this demon god of legend is really
    supposed to destroy this world, and she offers that that probability certainly
    hasn't decreased.  No one knows what that demon god even is, and Masaki seems
    none too thrilled that the Ra Gians have summoned everyone to combat a menace
    they can't define.  That seems to have made his mind up for him to leave, so
    Tutti says that she'll take him to the person who can send him home.  Presia
    wants to come along too, but Tutti doesn't have room for three in her mech.
    This starts Presia crying, and Masaki sighs and offers to give her a ride in
    his mech instead.
    
    Tutti isn't _happy_ that Masaki is leaving, in part because of his intuitive
    mastery of his mech.  He huffs that it's his decision, but before much else can
    be said a group of enemies appear.  Their leader is Saphiine Volkrus, who
    sounds amused to see two Elemental Machines out for a stroll.  Tutti quickly
    tells Masaki that this woman, also known as the "Red Lotus", is a follower of
    the evil god Volkrus.  Saphiine observes that Tutti has some guts to call her
    god "evil" to her face, and figures that any chance they had of her letting
    them go has just gone poof.  When Masaki muses that this little quarrel doesn't
    concern him, Saphiine tells him that he's pretty unmanly to let the woman do
    all the fighting - that's about as low as one's guts can get.  Questioning his
    manhood seems to get Masaki's goat, and he yells that he'll be more than happy
    to take her on.  Or maybe he's too into this?
    
      Saphiine tells Masaki that he'd better grow up before taking her on - unless
      he wants her to _make_ him a man.  To Tutti's accusation of siding with the
      terrorists, Saphiine sniffs that she's no "ally" of theirs - she's merely
      lending them a hand.
    
    After the battle, Masaki seems to be having second thoughts about leaving.
    Tutti doesn't want him to say something just to placate Presia, and the three
    eventually reach the Soratis Shrine, a giant pyramid near the coast, without
    settling anything.  Tutti asks to speak to the high priest Ibun about returning
    a recently summoned person, and Ibun comes out in person to examine Masaki's
    face.  The tough old bird sees in him potential that would be a shame to lose.
    Shaking that off, Ibun invites them to stay overnight and perform the ceremony
    in the morning, which Masaki shrugs and agrees to.
    
    
    Scenario 3. Juureiki Nagtsart ("Cursed Spirit-Machine Nagtsart")
    
    Presia wakes Masaki up bright and early in the morning, offering him one heck
    of a breakfast.  She claims her skill comes from making breakfast every day at
    home, and Ibun sighs that Zeoroot shouldn't be surprised if Pia walks out on
    him one day over his laziness.  Presia, still smiling, says that her mother has
    her own set of things to worry about.  Ibun won't hear of Tutti trying to hasten
    breakfast; instead, Tutti contents herself with seasoning her breakfast the way
    some people salt their driveway.
    
    This also gives some bad guys time to approach the shrine.  Masaki hesitates to
    go out and investigate, and Tutti tells him that she'll go out with him.  They
    see no one at first, and Masaki wonders if the alarm is busted or something.
    Tutti at least can sense their adversary: it's Ruozoul Zolan Roiel, who has
    heard of the recently summoned Masaki and who compliments Tutti on her usual
    sharp powers of perception.  Tutti recognizes the evil priest, also known as
    the Dark Noble.  Ruozoul makes sure to tell them that his mech isn't an
    Elemental God Machine, but rather a "Cursed Spirit-Machine", and almost
    apologizes for the fact that both of them have to die before they can become a
    threat.
    
    Tutti starts to protest that Masaki is about to return to Earth, but Masaki
    stops her and says that he's changed his mind.  For all that this place is a
    chaotic mess, it's just not in his nature to turn his back on those in trouble.
    Presia is delighted, and even Ruozoul seems pleased at Masaki's spirit.  He
    sends forth some Demon Golems for your people to fight: weapons powered by the
    spiritual force of the dead.  Outwardly impassive, they are powered by hatred,
    and make for tough adversaries.  Ruozoul waits with anticipation to see how
    you handle this threat.
    
    Ibun figures your people to be outnumbered, and figures that this is an
    emergency big enough to launch an "Armored Warrior", an inferior sort of mech
    made to guard the shrine.  You can accept the help, or refuse.
    
      I told her not to bother.
    
      As the battle wears on, Masaki begins to worry that it's futile.  But a
      couple of newcomers help turn the tide: Ricardo and Yang Long, who is
      actually piloting the Granveil.  Yang tells Tutti that the Granveil seems to
      have taken a liking to him, and accepted him as its rightful pilot.
      Ricardo is more interested in sweet-talking Tutti, but takes time out to
      introduce himself to Masaki.  On Earth, he was a Mirage pilot for Brazil:
      fine preparation for his new role as the Zamjeed's pilot.  Ruozoul realizes
      that he's at a disadvantage against two Elemental God-Machines, and elects to
      pull out.  Ricardo has plenty of bravado with which to face the remaining
      Demon Golems, but is no fool either.
    
      After a quick count of the remaining foes, he asks Yang Long to use "it", the
      Megiddo Flame.  He'll kick in his Resonance Quake, and tells Yang Long not to
      worry about never having used Megiddo Flame in combat before.  All he has to
      do is aim at the enemies and pull the trigger, making sure no friendlies are
      in the way.  Tutti sniffs that Ricardo once caught Ahamed and Madock in his
      attack in precisely that way.  When Ricardo says that it was their fault for
      not dodging, Tutti cautions Masaki to stay out of Ricardo's map weapon's
      range, not believing Ricardo's vow to not catch them in the blast too.
    
    Masaki is happy to report his decision to stay, as Tutti suspects Ibun figured
    he would.  Yang Long explains to Masaki that the Elemental God-Machines are
    mecha that surpass the normal Elemental Machines like the one he's been
    piloting: they are Elemental Machines with their own personality.  Those
    personalities come from the spirits with whom they are contract-bound, and only
    four machines worthy of the title Elemental God-Machine exist.  They are the
    Zamjeed, the Granveil, the Goddess, and the Psybuster.  In theory, these
    machines all should have infinite power, but someone without suitable spiritual
    credentials has no hope of piloting one.  In fact, Tutti is about to be tested
    to see if she has such aptitude, and Ricardo figures that Tutti's personality
    seems to best suit Goddess, of the two remaining options.  Tutti is more
    guarded, noting that passing the test will be meaningless if neither machine
    wants her.  Ricardo's assurances do not seem to help.
    
    A better question is what Ruozoul was doing lurking around here, and whether
    his stated rationale for attacking you two was in fact true.  Ibun is sure it's
    some part of his fiendish plan to resurrect Volkrus, the Destroyer spoken of in
    myth and legend around these parts.  Ibun growls in her grandmotherly voice
    that Volkrus is no mere legend... or at least, so Ruozoul believes.  It's clear
    why Ruozoul needed your people out of the way: Volkrus can only be resurrected
    amidst great upheaval.  The sort that would be a lot harder to cause with the
    Elemental God-Machines on the job, wouldn't it? Tutti heads off to fill Feir in
    on these latest developments, and to formally induct Masaki into the ranks of
    the Elemental Machine pilots.
    
    
    Scenario 4. Masou Kishin ("Elemental God-Machine")
    
    Feir is dismayed to hear that Ruozoul is on the move.  In the interest of
    keeping the peace, he dispatches Ricardo to the Drent River to keep an eye on
    the border with Shutedonias.  He's heard reports of people spotting Elemental
    Machines resembling the Nagtsart, and he'd like Ricardo to help the local
    Demgusas maintain their vigil.  Ricardo apologizes to Tutti for not being able
    to be with her during her test, but Tutti sniffs that it's not like his
    presence would make her any more likely to pass.  He professes that the power
    of his love would assure her victory, earning nothing more than a "don't let
    the door hit you where the dog bit you" on the way out.
    
    Masaki certainly isn't planning on going back on his word once he's made a
    decision, despite Feir's hints at how rough the job can be.  A bit later, Senia
    goes over and introduces herself to Masaki, who doesn't immediately know why
    she's there.  She explains that she's a member of both the design bureau for
    the Elemental Machines _and_ the Intelligence bureau.  Feir seems mildly
    surprised to see her on the scene, and when she greets her _brother_ Masaki
    belatedly realizes that he's been blowing off a _princess_.  Or... not.  She
    explains that she lacks the right to ascend to the throne, and has no way to
    argue the point.  According to her, everyone among the royalty are tested for
    magical aptitude at age 15 - and only those who pass receive the right to
    ascend to the throne.  She is, in her own words, a dropout - incapable of
    carrying on the royal duty of maintaining the Kekkai around the land.  The fact
    that even the royal family are a meritocracy comes as news to Masaki, but Feir
    reminds them that Tutti's test is about to start.  He advises Masaki to watch
    too, and Senia idly observes that Masaki might just get chosen by the Psybuster
    for all anyone knows [What were the chances?]
    
    Masaki's first impression of the Goddess is that it's pretty puny looking.
    Senia rather likes its looks: elegant, beautiful lines that make it worthy of
    the name of Elemental God-Machine.  Simone is among the spectators too, a bit
    sad that she's not cut out to be the Goddess's pilot.  She contents herself
    with her Zein, freely admitting that Tutti is the better pilot anyway.  The
    ceremony begins with King Alzarl asking Tutti if she can consent without
    reservations to living and dying with the Goddess.  She can.  And can she
    unconditionally vow to the spirits of heaven and earth to fulfill her duty as
    the Goddess' pilot?  Yes.  Etc.  As Masaki notes, this is very much like a
    wedding (Senia tells him to keep the kibitzing down).  Alzarl finally tells
    Tutti to look into the face of the water spirit "God" that dwells within the
    Goddess.  Tutti calls upon the spirit, pledging to walk side by side as long as
    their journey runs.  There is a very long pause, long enough to make Tutti's
    candidacy seem in doubt and give Masaki an opening for a bit of trash talk.
    But Senia yells at him to shut up and look: in a burst of power, the Goddess
    answers Tutti's call!  All seems well until Tutti and Masaki both begin to
    sense something wrong.
    
    It's Ruozoul again, crashing the ceremony and offering his own congratulations.
    Feir is astounded to see the Nagtsart able to enter the powerful kekkai, but
    Ruozoul scoffs at Feir's concept of "power".  His Nagtsart is easily
    powerful enough to pass through the kekkai, if not break it outright - and to
    bring a bunch of Demon Golems with it.  He hopes that Tutti will fight his
    servants, and after seeing to it that the king escapes safely, Tutti does
    exactly that.  On the way out, the king has the royal guard evacuate the
    civilians, and Feir yells to all the Elemental Machine pilots to board their
    mecha.  Simone doesn't need to tell Masaki twice to get with it: he's aready
    got a score to settle.
    
      The two of them show up on turn 2.  Feir yells to Tutti to be careful when
      using the Kelvin Blizzard, lest she catch her friends in the blast.  Tutti
      is surprised to see Feir and Senia still around, but Feir says he's not one
      to evacuate when the common people themselves aren't all out yet.
    
      Simone demands to know why Ruozoul enjoys this kind of thing.  He retorts
      that he's doing it not because he enjoys it, but because it's necessary.
    
    Once again, Ruozoul flees after getting a taste of your power.  Simone rather
    doubts that it's because your people are that kick-ass...  In any case, the
    king congratulates Tutti on becoming Goddess' pilot.  Feir is happy too, but
    also worried that plans for defending the capitol will have to be rewritten now
    that the kekkai has been proven so easily ignored.  The king responds with a
    parable of a swordsmith and armorer, each of whom devoted their life to
    polishing their craft.  The swordsmith devoted his life to cleaving the
    armorer's shields, and the armorer devoted his life in turn to blocking the
    swordsmith's blades.  Though initially friends, their rivalry escalated with
    time and their friendship was replaced with hate.  One day, a trivial matter
    sparked a quarrel, and the two masters bore their craft into battle.  Though
    the swordsmith's blade clove the armorer's shield, it broke in the same
    instant, and the shards ended the lives of both men.
    
    Alzarl looks downcast at the memory of this parable, one of many written in
    "Graf's Famous Parables".  Feir testily tells his father that he's heard it
    many times, but his father smirks and says that it's worth hearing again.  Feir
    knows what his father is getting at, but says that under these unusual times
    their only choice for now is to strengthen the kekkai.  The king, surprisingly
    mild-mannered, notes that as things stand Shutedonias and Bagonia will just
    have their suspicions further aroused.  Feir would like to leave that in
    foreign minister Gram's capable hands, and formally recommends strengthening
    the kekkai as the minister of homeland security.  The king will bring it before
    the cabinet, but also wishes Feir to think more seriously about preparing to
    assume the throne himself.  Before he can finish asking, Feir says that he has
    no plans to step down from his post, which he takes pride in.  The king gently
    says that the royal family is usually best suited to governing the people, but
    Feir notes that can best be done when one has a thorough understanding of what
    the people are facing.  Masaki can only watch this exchange in silence, and
    breaking free of the reverie the king urges them all to rest after the battle.
    
    
    Scenario 5. Shi no Kyoufu ("Fear of Death")
    
    Masaki can't help but be impressed by the Elemental God-Machines, and Presia
    assures him that he'll get to pilot one himself one day, at least from what her
    father told her.  Tutti shows up to tell Masaki a bit more about what being an
    Elemental Machine pilot entails.  Basically, it means being subject to the
    defense bureau, whose head is Feirrode.  However, pilots have the authority to
    refuse orders thought incorrect - so long as they don't do so too often.
    Masaki seems a bit mollified that he'll have some amount of freedom, but Tutti
    tells him that if it's freedom he wants he'd better become an Elemental
    God-Machine pilot instead.  She won't say more on the subject, other than to
    observe that he'll have it explained to him if he's chosen.
    
    She's also got his first assignment: guarding a public referendum starting
    tomorrow in the city of Emille, Zaborl.  She and Ricardo will join Masaki for
    the latter two days of the conference, and with a shrug Masaki agrees to the
    drudgery of spending the first day alone.  Thanks to his onboard navigation
    system, Masaki manages to reach Emille without getting lost this time.  As it
    turns out, drudgery is the least of his worries...
    
    The terrorists have chosen the day before the council to attack, hoping to sow
    as much chaos as possible.  The terrorist leader is quite pleased to see
    Masaki, looking forward to much mayhem as payback for his previous defeat.  The
    remaining Langran soldier on the scene gratefully turns the battlefield over
    to Masaki before withdrawing to care for his wounded.
    
      Masaki shouts that there are no worthwhile people in the terror business,
      and isn't worried in the least that he doesn't "understand their ideals".
      After all, such "ideals" are what killed his parents.
    
      Interestingly enough, something is wrong with the terrorist's ejection
      system.  He has just enough time before his mech explodes to scream that
      he doesn't want to die.  Is Masaki happy about killing his fellow man?  Hell
      no, we won't glow.  Even less happy are the the terrorist's friends, whose
      fury mounts even as Masaki quails.
    
      The new leader Gasba notices Masaki's shaking, realizing that he's never
      killed anyone before.  He tells Masaki he should just die so he'll never have
      to kill anyone else again [bad advice!], and insists on having his revenge
      even when you overcome the shakes and kick his ass.
    
      That's Saphiine's cue.  She points out to Masaki that he's pretty naive if he
      thinks war can actually be waged without killing people.  Adding that he'll
      never be a threat to her people if he quails at something this minor, she
      elaborately announces that she'll leave him alone this time, and departs.
    
    Tutti and Ricardo then show up, and with a very long face Masaki explains that
    he _thought_ he was prepared for the possibility of killing people, but...
    Ricardo is [for whatever reason] not surprised at Masaki's queasiness given
    that he's Japanese, but he says bluntly that Masaki'll be of no use to him or
    anyone else if the death of each and every enemy affects him this badly.  After
    a moment's thought, he asks Masaki if he stayed in this world to protect
    something or someone.  Ricardo, no pacifist himself, tells Masaki that he shows
    no mercy to those who threaten to destroy what he loves.  Masaki agrees with
    Ricardo's viewpoint, saying that although he had no wish to see his enemies
    die, he'd be even more upset to see his _friends_ die by him failing to protect
    them.  Tutti concurs and notes that his Elemental Machine gives him the power
    to protect others.  But, she warns, he must never become drunk with that power,
    lest he himself die.
    
    
    Scenario 6. Hokori to Teki'i (Pride and Animosity)
    
    Masaki's new resolve is visible to Zeoroot, but he doesn't have long to chat
    before another summons comes in from Tutti.  She tells Masaki that she is to
    have Familiars made for her.  Much like the black cats that accompanied the
    witches of old, every Elemental God-Machine pilot needs Familiars, and
    acquiring them requires visiting the Soratis Shrine.  She was wondering if
    Masaki wanted to go, but he seems somewhat less than thrilled at seeing Ibun
    again.  Given that, Tutti will ask one of the other pilots to escort her -
    letting Presia invite Masaki along on a picnic with her and her father.  Think
    Presia will take no for an answer?
    
    Going on this picnic, by the way, requires flying in Masaki's mech.  Zeoroot
    likes how the Elemental Machines are convenient in so many ways, and muses that
    it would be handier yet should, say, Ruozoul decide to strike.  Since he seems
    to be targeting Elemental Machine pilots in particular, one can't be too
    careful.  Indeed, if not for Zeoroot's influence, Masaki probably never would
    have gotten permission for this little personal trip.
    
    The party quickly get down to eating Presia's boxed lunches - including the
    asparagus, to Zeoroot's vast sorrow.  Masaki, curious despite himself, begins
    to ask about Familiars.  Zeoroot explains that Familiars _look_ like ordinary
    animals, like the monkey that Ricardo keeps with him.  In fact, they are fully
    intelligent, autonomous beings (technically known as "Personas") created from
    their master's subconscious.  Their job is to protect and assist their master
    in various ways, including one special function for the Elemental God-Machines.
    They actually become the guidance system for its weapons, a little-known fact
    that Zeoroot supposes Masaki would have found out anyway upon being chosen as
    one of the Elemental God-Machine pilots.  Zeoroot reiterates that Masaki is
    quite likely cut out for the job, and invites him for a bit of martial arts
    practice after lunch is done.  Masaki, always happiest when he's doing
    something active, doesn't need to be told twice.
    
      Masaki's skills have improved considerably, and Zeoroot says that if Masaki
      keeps going he himself will be out of a job.  That would of course be the
      time Ruozoul chooses to attack, politely but firmly telling them that he's
      here for Masaki's life.  He figures he's got enough goons that even
      Zeoroot couldn't keep Masaki safe.
    
      Fang shows up on turn 3, a member of the royal guard and a former student
      of Zeoroot's.  Masaki gets a bit taken aback when Fang doesn't answer
      his greeting, but Zeoroot explains that Fang is a bit bashful around other
      people...
    
    Zeoroot compliments Fang on his mastery of his Galgard, then explains that he's
    one of the few Ra Gians with naturally high Plana.  That lets him work as an
    Elemental Machine test pilot, far more talented, Zeoroot gushes, than his
    master.  One thing Fang seems adamant on is that the Ra Gians should protect
    their own world, not count on people from the Surface.  He cites someone named
    "Rubikka" as an example of why the Surface dwellers can't be trusted, but
    Zeoroot silences him.  Such words are not befitting for those sincerely
    fighting for Ra Gias' sake, regardless of their place of origin.  Fang does not
    heed Zeoroot's directive to apologize, instead saying that his mission is over
    and excusing himself.  Zeoroot then sighs and tells Masaki that Fang has a bit
    too much pride, which Masaki ruefully says he doesn't _not_ understand.  He
    asks Masaki to remember that although Fang is not alone in his beliefs, his
    beliefs are not universally held.
    
      You've got a bit of time left, so you can either stick around or return.  I
      did the latter.
    
    Presia pouts a bit, but Masaki says he's got some kind of bad feeling about
    doings at the Capitol.  He sure hopes he's wrong...
    
    
    Scenario 7. Monica Yuukai (Monica Kidnapped)
    
    Tutti tells Feir that Senia has taken Masaki to the Academy's number two
    hangar.  Feir seems mildly irritated that Senia would use Masaki as an excuse
    to go look at the Elemental Machines, but figures that Wendy's presence should
    keep everything under control.  At the hangar, Senia explains that seven of the
    sixteen "proper" Elemental Machines are currently stowed at this huge facility.
     "Proper" as distinguished from the "ordinary" Elemental Machines that are
    being mass-produced based on the "proper" machines' specs.  When Wendy comes
    over, Senia asks her to let her and Masaki have a look at the Elemental
    Machines.  Wendy agrees, happily adding that Senia mustn't fiddle with them
    like she did last time.  Senia, quite embarassed, makes introductions for Wendy
    Rasm Iknart, the chief architect and mechanic for the Elemental Machines.
    
    Masaki greets Wendy with a highly uncharacteristic degree of deference, which
    does not escape Senia's notice.  Wendy smiles and says that Masaki appears
    quite nervous - does she appear that frightening?  Masaki stammers that that's
    not it, and after complimenting him on being a good person and thanking him
    for his efforts in battle, Wendy returns to work.  Senia then smirks and asks
    him if he goes for older women.  Masaki irritably claims that that's not it,
    but allows that something about Wendy just overwhelmed him.  Senia waxes
    philosophical about how it's only rational given how beautiful Wendy is, but
    then notices when Masaki startles at something unrelated.  Masaki struggles to
    put into words what he felt: it was like someone was calling him, and wonders
    if it was just his imagination.  Senia brushes it off in the interest of
    admiring all the wonderful Elemental Machines.
    
    Among them is the Galgard, the newest and most powerful, almost the equal of an
    Elemental God-Machine.  However, her favorite is the Psybuster, with powers far
    above and beyond even the other Elemental God-Machines and coolness points to
    boot.  Unfortunately, it's not here - Wendy, its designer, is running final
    checks as they speak.  But further mecha fangirling is cut short by the air
    raid sirens: another enemy attack, and before the kekkai fortification has even
    finished.
    
    Masaki rushes to the scene, finding that persistent bastard Ruozoul at it
    again.  Tutti's mech will take some time to launch, so she asks him to hold the
    fort in the interim.  Senia also heads out in another Elemental Machine,
    brushing aside Feir's objections and yelling that she's got to help Masaki out
    (she rises in his estimation).  For his part, Ruozoul is sure Saphiine is doing
    well, since even he himself is helping provide camouflage for her.
    
      His terrorists have a new mech they think will make this battle a piece
      of cake.  They are sorely mistaken.  As in their ass, when your dudes are
      finished kicking it.
    
      Masaki is not having any cake though, since his first attack against Ruozoul
      is totally ineffective.  This must be what Ruozoul meant about getting
      serious today.  As Masaki tries to figure out how to repel the Nagtsart,
      Tutti rides to the rescue.  She figures that her Familiars can at least
      scratch Ruozoul's machine, if not defeat it altogether.  This is because
      Ruozoul is half on the Astral plane - to combat that, she had Wendy apply a
      coating of ectoplasm to her Familiars.  Masaki [who has not watched
      Ghostbusters] has no idea what this ecto-stuff is, but is happy to let Tutti
      take a whack at his troublesome foe.  She is, in fact, able to at least graze
      him.
    
      Saphiine eventually shows up, having actually failed in the mission that
      Ruozoul was providing camouflage for.  But she's got a souvenir
      anyway: princess Monica!  Ruozoul, realizing the utility of their hostage,
      decides to pull out for now.  He does, however, ask Saphiine to tone down
      her dominatrix act and ditch the gag she's put in Monica's mouth.
      Saphiine smiles slyly and replies that everyone's got to have a hobby.
    
      Masaki, peeved as all get out, yells at them to quit their jibber jabber and
      fight him face to face.  Saphiine would love to, but she's got other
      priorities - like Senia's twin sister.  Not only does she want your people
      to keep their hands off, she also wants the Psybuster handed over.  Feir
      shouts that there's no way he can do that, at which Saphiine threatens to
      take Monica home with her to be her pet.  And lest your people object, she
      points out that Monica's gag has an explosive charm placed on it.
    
      Quite a conundrum for Feir, but Wendy takes matters (and the Psybuster)
      into her own hands.  Feir doesn't want the Psybuster handed over for the
      sake of one person (even the princess), but Wendy says that the Psybuster
      can possibly be recovered later... unlike Monica.  She'll be happy to be
      scolded later, but tells him to recover Monica for now.  Saphiine is glad
      someone around here understands what time it is, and happily snags the
      Psybuster.  Ruozoul is actually a bit ruffled that things didn't go according
      to his original plan, but contents himself with the results and pulls out
      too.  Releasing Monica is almost an afterthought, and Saphiine promises
      Monica that the next time they meet she'll take _much_ better "care" of
      her...
    
    Feir's joy upon his sister's safe return is almost unseemly.  When the
    jubilation dies down, the question becomes what the bad guys plan to do with
    Psybuster given that they don't have anyone to be Chosen as its pilot and
    therefore can't actually operate it.  Monica, who is refusing rest on the
    theory that this is all her fault, has an idea: Saphiine mumbled something
    about how "Psyfis of the Wind" might be especially suitable.  Despite Monica's
    muddled grammar, the idea is clear: the bad guys must somehow know about
    Psybuster's guardian spirit.  ...Which could actually mean that the bad guys
    _do_ have a suitable pilot, unlikely though that seems.
    
    That means you've got to recover Psybuster posthaste, which is hard given that
    you don't know how to pursue the evildoers.  But Wendy has a plan, tenuous
    though it may be: _Masaki_ should try to locate it.  She intuits that he and it
    are being pulled together, and given that she's effectively the Psybuster's
    mother, she probably ought to know.  Masaki's not at all sure about this, but
    he's willing to give it his best shot.
    
    
    Scenario 8. Psybuster
    
    Ruozoul and the others have been spotted heading north, and Masaki is to form
    the core of the pursuit team.  While he heads due north, Tutti is to head
    North-Northeast, Ricardo to head North-Northwest, and Simone is to head due
    Northeast.  Feir warns the pilots to contact their fellows instead of fighting
    alone.  Tutti tells Masaki that he's the only one they can rely on, and after
    he and the others leave, Tutti asks Feir if it isn't dangerous leaving Ricardo
    alone.  She somehow figures that Ricardo is rushing toward his own death, and
    hopes that Feir is right and that she's simply overthinking things...
    
    Masaki meanwhile isn't sure how to go about his assigment.  He does however
    like the thought of being able to stick it to Yang Long if he really is the
    Psybuster's chosen pilot.  He begins to get drowsy as he searches, until a
    sudden sound rouses him.  It's Senia, who seems a bit cross that Masaki doesn't
    seem to have a clue where he's going.  Lucky for both of them she anticipated
    Masaki's terrible sense of direction and snuck aboard - or so she claims at the
    time.  Anyway, once he gets properly oriented, he begins to sense a voice
    calling to him - which might have something to do with a sudden response on
    radar...
    
    Saphiine is genuinely aghast that someone figured out her location, and Senia
    gushes that Masaki's miserable directional sense seems to have come in handy
    after all.  It definitely seems that Psybuster is calling Masaki, and Saphiine
    isn't about to simply let him get aboard.
    
    After defeating Saphiine, Masaki climbs toward the Psybuster's cockpit, as the
    mech seems to cry out in synchrony.  Suddenly, Masaki is teleported to within
    the Psybuster's cockpit, just in time for Yang Long to show up and be
    astonished.  Yang is skeptical to say the least that Masaki is suitable to
    pilot what is supposedly the greatest of the Elemental God-Machines.  From the
    verbal barbs, it seems clear that the sober Yang Long and Masaki aren't
    destined to get along well, despite the fact that their mission is a success.
    
    With the Psybuster back at the capitol, Feir acknowledges that Wendy's insight
    was right on the money.  Both Feir and Wendy are overjoyed that Masaki managed
    to pull this off so smoothly, especially since it was Wendy's insistence that
    put Masaki in this position in the first place.  Masaki tells her that he
    didn't go because she told him, but because he thought it was the right thing
    to do.  He assures her that there's no need for her to feel guilty, especially
    since all's well that ended well.  Wendy thanks him, but cautions him that now
    that he's the Psybuster's pilot, he's sure to get tangled up in all kinds of
    unlooked-for messes.  Should the weight of all that potential misery become too
    much for him, she wants him to tell her: she'll do everything in her power to
    lighten his burdens.  Masaki doesn't seem too worried, being very much of the
    "go with the flow" school of thought.
    
      Masaki wiped Saphiine out before Yang Long had a chance to intervene.
    
    
    Scenario 9. RANDAARU no Na (The Name of Randall)
    
    Masaki gets woken up by Presia and Zeoroot, with news that the king is about to
    confer an honorific name on Masaki as the Psybuster's new pilot.  Masaki
    largely shrugs at this, saying he's already got one name given him by his
    parents, and doesn't really need another.  Masaki wants to have Zeoroot refuse
    on his behalf, but Zeoroot muses that the name in question happens to be one of
    his own ancestors.  He had even been planning on adopting Masaki, making him
    Presia's older brother in actuality, which would in turn lighten the
    household's financial situation.  Grumbling briefly, Masaki gives in and
    journeys to the palace under Presia's direction.
    
    The king gives Masaki the name of Randall Zan Xenosakis, and Feir hastily walks
    Masaki through the ritual words.  Masaki mostly gets the wording right, and
    then has to sit through around thirty minutes of cool-sounding frou frou
    benediction.  Masaki is ready to nod off when a conveniently-timed enemy attack
    jolts the entire ceremony.
    
    Ruozoul is at it again, having easily penetrated even the strengthened kekkai.
    He advises Feir to stop wasting his effort, to which Masaki replies that
    Ruozoul's efforts are also wasted as long as he and the others are on the job.
    This time around, _all_ his weapons are coated with that ecto-whatchacallit
    stuff, so Ruozoul's attack cancellation from before won't work.  Ruozoul is
    looking forward to seeing just how powerful the Elemental God-Machine is, and
    Rasetsu is figuring that his country's newly developed Baform should at least
    be able to put up something of a fight.
    
      Ruozoul is interested to hear that Masaki just inherited the name of
      Randall, someone who once caused his god a great deal of discomfort.  He
      considers it an honor to fight the inheritor of that name.
    
      When Rasetsu is defeated, he marvels at how quickly his mech fell to your
      forces.  He figures that he's got to put "that plan" into motion.
    
    Ruozoul pulls out after collecting all the data he wants, but Senia has
    gathered some of her own.  She's now convinced that Shutedonias has allied
    itself with Bagonia, and Wendy agrees that something about the heretofore
    unseen enemy mecha's movements has strong Shutedonian earmarks.
    
    The king wonders if he should continue the ceremony, but Feir tells him that it
    was clear from the battle that Masaki is more than worthy of his inherited
    name.  This comes as a major relief to the king, who was beginning to get
    worried when he heard Masaki snoring during the ceremony.  Senia was sure her
    "father" was in a major sweat over that, but he implores her to call him "papa"
    instead, as she did when she was little.  He pouts so much that Senia has no
    choice but to give in, and Masaki can only shake his head at this most
    eccentric of kings.
    
    Ricardo finds Masaki after the ceremony disbands, seemingly thinking higher of
    the newly christened "Randall".  Masaki tells him to keep calling him by his
    regular name to avoid any awkwardness.  What Ricardo wanted to show him are
    some demonstrations in Shutedonias that were on the news.  These doings in
    another country would seem unconnected to Masaki and friends, but Ricardo says
    that Shutedonias is busily blaming Langran for all the uproar: the
    demonstrations were over the Elemental God-Machines.  Masaki is understandably
    confused as to why machines supposed to save the world would cause people to
    take to the streets in protest, but Ricardo explains that the Shutedonians see
    them as a strategic threat to the region.  Especially with all their dispatches
    to fight the recent wave of terrorism, the public at large has gotten quite an
    eyeful of their fearful powers.  Masaki tells him not to sweat it, which is
    just what Ricardo figured he'd say - he tells Masaki to keep his cool no matter
    what comes out of all of the unrest.
    
    
    Scenario 10. Masaki to Tsukaima to (Masaki and his Familiars)
    
    Presia wants to go along when Masaki has his Familiars made.  Masaki doesn't
    mind, but wonders if he shouldn't wake her father to get his permission too.
    She tells him not to bother, since her father has been sent to Shutedonias.
    When they get to the shrine Ibun amusedly chides Masaki for not respecting his
    elders before preparing to make the Familiars.  Ibun has another guest, Becky
    Turner, the pilot of the Elemental Machine La Wentar.  Masaki predictably tells
    her not to bother calling him by his formal name, which Ibun smirks is too great
    a name for her impudent charge anyway.  Masaki's vision for his Familiars (two
    of them) is a bit ad hoc, but the results delight Presia: a black and a white
    cat!  Masaki ponders a moment, then names them Kuro (black) and Shiro (white).
    They protest that Masaki should be able to do better than that, letting Presia
    know that they're a boy/girl set.  She happily gives Shiro a cute little bell
    and Kuro a ribbon, making the cats beam with pride [and making them forget about
    their incredibly banal names ^^;;]
    
    The terrorists choose that moment to strike again, making Masaki wonder what
    the hell is wrong with this country's self defense forces.  Ibun asks Masaki
    and Becky to go check it out.  These bad guys include some mecha Masaki's never
    seen before, and Ibun growls that these are no terrorists - they're more likely
    to be the Bagonian army.  Of course, there's been no official declaration of
    war, and of course these dudes are unlikely to admit their origins, but Ibun
    seems the sort of person whose hunches are seldom wrong.  That said, she wishes
    Senia or someone was on the scene to judge the way the enemy move and sound.
    Becky figures this to be some sort of test run for an actual war against
    Langran, and in fact the enemy commander Gino has been sent here specifically
    to ascertain the Psybuster's power.  He cautions his men that there's no call
    for them to risk their lives this time out.
    
    He is indeed quick to withdraw his forces, leading Becky to figure that your
    dudes are just that scary.  Ibun cautions that something is still lurking
    nearby though: it's Saphiine, who's impressed with Ibun's powers of perception.
    She says that she _had_ been just planning to watch from the sidelines, but
    something about watching your people fight gives her body an "itch" she needs
    to scratch.  Becky isn't having any of Saphiine's nymphomaniac talk...
    
      Half a turn later, Madock shows up to try to put a stop to the Red Lotus'
      machinations, after a good century of trying.  Saphiine purrs that she's
      not so bored as to consider dallying with this old man, and with a foolish
      grin Madock squeals that he's got a thing for younger girls and asks her to
      reconsider.  If _she_ can berate him for being a dirty old man, he must be
      pretty bad...  He introduces himself to Masaki as the Diablo's pilot, and
      Ibun sighs and tells him not to push too hard.  Ahamed and his Solgady
      are also on the scene, taciturn as always.
    
      Saphiine figures that Masaki has gotten a bit more manly, which makes Masaki
      grin and reply that that must mean she's gotten a bit closer to grandmother
      status herself.  _That_ definitely gets her goat.
    
    When she gets smacked around enough, she muses that her urges have been
    satisfied enough to let her sleep tonight, and withdraws.  Becky is quick to
    propose a victory toast, and Ahamed as a devout Muslim is quick to take his
    leave.  Becky opines that not drinking saps half the fun in life, and when
    Masaki asks she says that the other half is sleeping with good-looking guys.
    Madock is quick to agree, though of course in his case he prefers women.  The
    cats sigh at how strange the Elemental pilots all are, including their own
    master - Masaki says not to lump him in with the others, and Ibun observes that
    it's pretty rare to find someone who can disagree with his own Familiars.
    That's not to say that Familiar personalities always accord with said master:
    that's part of what it means to be independent Personas.
    
    At length, Becky has had a _bottle_ or two (or more??) of bourbon, claiming
    quite erroneously that it'll take more than that to get her drunk.  Presia
    isn't fooled, and as Becky comments on how hot the room is getting Masaki
    points out that he's under age and shouldn't very well be drinking.  Becky
    insists that he's quite manly enough, and starts taking off all that annoying
    hot clothing she's wearing.  Masaki alternates between shock, and annoyance
    that Madock is partially blocking his view.  Now topless, Becky figures that
    it'd be unfair if she didn't take off her bottoms too, and Masaki isn't
    precisely in a hurry to stop her.  It takes Ibun to intervene and point out
    that they are all in a _holy_shrine_.
    
    The next morning, Becky apologizes for getting a bit too frisky.  Masaki tells
    her not to sweat it, especially since Madock seemed to be enjoying himself.
    Presia gives Masaki a "look" and points out that he was too.  Becky then has a
    favor to ask Masaki: since his Psybuster can freely commute between this world
    and the Surface, she wants him to buy her some more bourbon sometime, which is
    better than the merely passable stuff available here.  He hadn't realized that
    the Psybuster had such capabilities, and while telling him not to talk about
    her little request, she hands him some money and a paper describing the brand
    she wants.  It seems this is to be a secret just for the two of them.  Presia
    and the cats can't believe he'd take her up on it, but Masaki points out that
    she said he could take his time, and figures that surely he'll have a chance to
    make good sooner or later.
    
    
    Scenario 11. Chijou De (On the Surface)
    
    Tutti is quite taken with Masaki's familiars, but _her_ familiars, the wolves
    Freki and Geri, seem rather dubious that the cats can actually protect their
    master worth a damn.  Tutti realizes that Masaki may have stolen a march on her
    in the cuteness department, and has to point out to her canine servants that
    there's no such thing as a "higher" or "lower" animal where Familiars are
    concerned.
    
    Feir then sends for Masaki, with some important thoughts regarding his rights
    and responsibilities as an Elemental God-Machine pilot.  Masaki suspects
    another long speech is in the works, but Feir tells him that the _explanation_
    is quite straightforward.  It is the right of every Elemental God-Machine pilot
    not to follow orders from _anyone_, including Feir himself.  He notes that
    about the only thing that could stop an Elemental God-Machine is another
    Elemental God-Machine anyway, and when Masaki worries that such a setup seems
    to be an invitation to crime, Feir says that that isn't possible.  Only the
    righteous of heart can be chosen as Elemental God-Machine pilots in the first
    place, Feir says, and Masaki pauses before saying he doubts he's that righteous
    a guy.  Feir says that the spirit bound to the Psybuster is of the utmost
    purity: _it_ would refuse to heed commands from a pilot whose heart turns to
    evil.  In other words, Psybuster has the ability to abandon Masaki, which is
    connected to the one and only duty of the Elemental God-Machine pilots: to
    confront any danger that could destroy the world, at the cost of anything and
    everything else.  Masaki notes in some puzzlement that almost seems like common
    sense, but Feir assures him that this is a far crueler duty than it might at
    first seem...
    
    Masaki then gets aboard Psybuster for more practice, leaving Tutti wondering
    where he got to.  In fact, Masaki has somehow gotten all the way back to
    _Japan_ without even understanding how.  What's more, a JSDF fighter makes
    contact with him, ordering him to leave Japan airspace at once.  Masaki replies
    that he's _Japanese_; there should be no problem with him flying in his own
    airspace.  Of course, he has no flight clearance or anything, and when the
    fighter threatens to shoot him down he simply accelerates away and leaves the
    pilot scanning the skies in vain.
    
    Shiro has helpfully put up a spiritual shield to keep Masaki off radar, but
    that doesn't stop all the citizens of the town he's landed in from being in
    blind panic.  Masaki insists that he's not clumsy enough to accidentally step
    on cars or whatnot, but he's got much bigger problems thanks to a new mech
    approaching at high speed.  Aboard it is Shirakawa Shuu, who recognizes the
    Psybuster and seems amazed to actually meet it here on the Surface.  What's
    more, Shuu knows both of Masaki's names, being from Langran himself.  He tells
    Masaki that the robot he's piloting isn't an Elemental Machine, but something
    he developed himself: the Granzon.  Masaki tells Shuu that he has no idea where
    his fellow Elemental God-Machine pilots are, and that he prefers to be alone
    anyway.  That's fine with Shuu, but he would like Masaki to stop causing a fuss
    here given that the JSDF are about to arrive.  Masaki is angrily forced to
    admit that he didn't exactly come here to pick a fight with the _army_, and
    leaves in a huff.  Shuu meanwhile muses on the fact that, evidently, he wasn't
    fit to pilot the Psybuster himself, and that Ra Gias just got a lot more
    interesting.
    
    Masaki can't shake the feeling that he's met Shuu somewhere before.  Although
    he stoutly maintains that he's just familiarizing himself with his mech's
    controls, the cats figure he's just goofing off.  When he finally returns to Ra
    Gias, he does _not_ find himself at Langran's capitol where he tried to go.
    You can head either East or West [I went East], as Feir stews over Masaki's
    disappearance.  He promises to give Masaki a good talking-to when he gets back,
    and instead gets to preside over his brother Telius skipping class to look for
    Monica.  Telius has little interest in his studies, and is more interested in
    talking to Monica about what he calls her "good friend" Christof.  He's been
    missing for two years, but Telius overheard some of the army intelligence
    officers discussing how Christof has been spotted on the Surface.  She's
    overjoyed that Christof is all right, but what's bothering Telius is why the
    _army_ would be talking about that - he suspects that Christof must be on some
    kind of mission.  Monica figures that couldn't be, since Langran has a policy
    of not setting foot on the Surface, but Telius says that one never knows what's
    going on behind the scenes.  Anyway, Christof seems to be in good health, and
    Telius wanted to ease his sister's mind on that score at least.
    
    Scenario 12. Rival
    
    Inertial nav on the Psybuster is busted and taking forever to fix, and Masaki
    is smart enough to know that if he tried to help the cats he'd just do more
    harm than good.  He's quite impressed at how the cats managed to rewire the
    computer using only their mouths - but hey, what are Familiars for?  With the
    nav system finally back online, it turns out that Masaki ended up somewhere
    very near the Bagonian border: _very_ far from the capital.  Worse, they
    actually passed through Bagonian airspace just to get here.  Thank god they
    weren't found, huh?
    
    More amazing yet is that _Zeoroot_ is here, and quite surprised to see Masaki.
    Seems Zeoroot was running an "errand" in Bagonia, and is on the way back home.
    He finds Masaki's presence here a bit suspicious, but is willing to let it
    slide.  He does caution Masaki not to cross the border, since he has no visa,
    and hurries over to Masaki before he can commit any more border violations.
    He then merrily stows his luggage aboard the Psybuster.  It seems he was in
    Bagonia for a martial arts tourney, where he met his old rival Shemel Hell,
    winner of three consecutive world championships.  Zeoroot modestly says that
    his rival was by far the stronger of the two, though he's now retired.  Masaki
    is a bit reluctant to head home and face the music from Tutti and the others,
    and Zeoroot is in the middle of telling him that he'll try to calm the waters,
    when something appears on radar...
    
    It's the terrorists again, and Zeoroot is having a hard time figuring out what
    they'd be targeting all the way out here.  The terrorist leader for his part is
    eager to try out a certain item he just received: several mecha of the same
    type used during the theft of the Psybuster.  These guys are certainly up to no
    good, and Masaki and Zeoroot agree that they need to go down.  They have an
    ally: it's Fang, who on a hunch came back to his master Zeoroot.  He wants to
    show off the results of all the training he's been doing.  Masaki for his part
    figures he doesn't need the assistance, but Zeoroot short circuits their
    argument by proposing a contest to see who can take down more terrorists.  The
    loser gets to buy the winner lunch.  The two reluctantly agree even as the
    terrorists are listening in rage.
    
    Masaki wins [in my case], and Fang agrees to his master's instructions to buy
    Masaki lunch and not hold any sort of grudge.  Masaki for his part was
    favorably impressed by Fang's prowess, upgrading him in his estimation.
    Fang's glad Masaki recognizes his talents, and the two hotheads seem like
    they'll be able to get along after all.
    
    Before Feir can get two sentences in with Masaki, Tutti starts giving Masaki
    the verbal what-for.  Masaki's apologies appear to fall on deaf ears, and he
    trudges off with Tutti still berating him.  However, Feir knows that Masaki
    actually feels a strong sense of responsibility beneath his exterior, and
    believes that Tutti knows this too and is actually treading with care.  Monica
    remains unconvinced, but their banter is quieted when the time for Feir to
    take his medicine arrives.  Feir has his doctor's assurances that he'll be
    fine, but Monica is understandably still worried.  Feir inwardly hopes that
    he'll be fully healed... soon...
    
    
    Scenario 13. Hakkaizou TIAN (Fallen Monk Tian)
    
    Masaki thinks he's gone far enough afield that Tutti will give up, and figures
    that this little trip isn't as bad as his previous unauthorized visit to the
    Surface.  The cats observe that for all the friction, Masaki doesn't actually
    dislike Tutti, the older sister he never had.  For that matter, Masaki seems to
    have a soft spot for Presia too, not to mention Wendy...  Does that mean that
    he's just weak regarding women in general?  Masaki grouses at them to just keep
    their eyes on the radar, and tries to figure out what to do next.
    
      [I went East.]
    
    Masaki stops short of heading to the next country over, finding a nice quiet
    spot to take a nap.  He falls asleep almost instantly, his peaceful face making
    his Familiars sleepy too.  They drift off, only to be awakened by the
    boisterous shouts of someone in monk's robes.  Apparently Masaki is sleeping in
    this man's favorite spot, and the monk recognizes Masaki and his mech almost
    at once.  Masaki rather irreverently tells the monk that the early bird
    catches the worm, and dismisses the monk's claim that he needs this
    _particular_ spot for his spirituality.  The monk threatens Masaki with
    Buddha's punishment, then adds that if Masaki would try elevating his spirit
    sometime, his combat prowess would improve too.  Masaki is still not persuaded,
    and the monk Tian is about to shout again when some terrorists appear and
    notice the Psybuster.  Their plan is to grab it and sell it, but Masaki is of
    course not about to let that happen.  Tian tells Masaki to leave this to him,
    and says that he'll counter the bad guy's Elemental Machines with his own: the
    Disforce!  He is indeed a qualified pilot, having taken over the Disforce after
    Yang Long graduated to his Elemental God-Machine.  He says that he'll give
    Masaki plenty of time to nap and rest his spirit - PROVIDED he does so
    somewhere other than his favorite spot.  While Masaki appreciates the thought,
    he has no plans to sit this fight out, and Tian finally harumphs and tells him
    to do as he pleases.
    
    After the battle, Tian asks Masaki why he didn't use Psyflash, the Psybuster's
    Map Weapon.  Masaki didn't hear about any such weapon, and Tian advises him to
    check with Wendy for the details.  Masaki thanks him for the advice, and asks
    him to stop calling him "Randall", a name he still hasn't gotten used to.  Tian
    agrees, but chides that Masaki is still too mundane if he's hung up on names.
    
    He then perceives that Masaki is having some kind of trouble with women.  He
    cajoles him in the interest of cosmic harmony to unburden his soul: he'll be
    glad to help him out, though not precisely for free.  Masaki sighs, and figures
    he'd best go back home to the capitol.  Great timing, grins Tian, since he
    happens to have business there too.  This time, Tutti is in tears when she sees
    Masaki, worried sick about him.  Masaki never expected Tutti to be crying, and
    tells Tian to make good on his offer and help out already.  Tian notes that
    Masaki hadn't told him that it was _Tutti_ he's having trouble with, and states
    that Christians are outside his spiritual province.  Ricardo tells Masaki to
    leave Tutti to him, and indeed he manages to get her to smile.  But Tutti then
    figures that Ricardo put Masaki up to something weird.  Her smile and the
    dangerous note in her voice make Ricardo justifiably scared, and before he can
    utter a protest Tutti starts industriously strangling him.  Masaki,
    slack-jawed, trembles at this display of violence, and even Feir stammers as he
    suggests that Tutti give Ricardo a break.  Tutti blinks, releases Ricardo, and
    like a natural blonde muses that she doesn't know what came over her...
    
    
    Scenario 14. Chitei de no Souguu (Encounter Underground)
    
    Wendy wants a bit more study before she enables the Psyflash.  The other Map
    Weapons in your arsenal don't distinguish between friend and foe, and she's
    trying to perfect a way to overcome that limitation.  Masaki figures it can't
    be helped, and thanks her for her efforts.  She looks downcast, apologizing
    that she can't have it ready for him right away, and he blushes and tells her
    it's nothing she need apologize to him for.  That makes her smile, satisfied
    that she was right in figuring Masaki for a good guy, even if he's a bit
    awkward at times.
    
    Masaki's returned to the palace at a good time: there have been sightings of
    what's believed to be the Nagtsart on Reg Island.  Feir is especially worried
    becaue Reg is in a remote spot in the North, with nothing of known value
    nearby.  He asks you to go take a look [and I accepted].  Masaki does ask why
    Feir, his former commander, is asking him instead of telling him, and Feir
    reminds him that _nobody_ can order him around anymore.  This seems somewhat
    humbling to Masaki, and shaking it off he heads off on the mission.
    
    Wendy hears of the dispatch, and fusses that she's got to get the Psyflash
    perfected.  It _works_ now, but it takes a huge amount of Plana, enough that
    Masaki's life might be endangered with more than one shot.  She makes him
    promise not to fire it more than once, and wants to do a "finger promise" the
    way she's heard the Japanese do - someone from Japan once told her about the
    custom.  Masaki is surprised to hear of another Japanese in Langran, and asks
    where he is now.  Deceased, three years ago, but Wendy doesn't dwell on the
    past and makes the finger promise with Masaki, which if he breaks will result
    in him eating a thousand needles according to the ancient rhyme.
    
    Masaki is quiet on the flight, explaining when Shiro asks that he's realized
    something about being free of others' orders.  It means that the
    responsibility for all his actions falls on his shoulders alone.  Heavy stuff,
    though Masaki brashly denies that he's quailing now.  Just then, an ally shows
    up: it's Simone.  Masaki doesn't think he needs the help for mere recon, but
    she reminds him that Ruozoul may be involved and adds that two is always safer
    than one.  Masaki won't stop her, but warns her that he's got his own way of
    investigating.  She likes the sound of that, but given that Masaki is about to
    head in the wrong direction _twice_ she sighs and figures that he really does
    need her along.
    
    They reach the island, and Kuro detects a huge cave near the sighting using the
    Psybuster's Dowser.  Off to investigate!  The cave is _huge_, and Simone can't
    say whether it's natural or man-made.  Her sharp senses catch someone nearby,
    and who should appear...but Shuu!  Masaki demands to know what Shuu is doing
    here, and Shuu says levelly that that's his line.  _He_ merely came here to
    investigate the ruins of a temple that lie deep within this cave.  Said ruins
    are of a culture that vanished long before written record, at least fifty
    thousand years ago.  Simone is trying to remember where she's seen Shuu before,
    and Masaki asks if Shuu is an archaeologist or something.  Shuu claims it's
    merely a hobby of his, and is far more interested in why some _non_ archaeology
    buffs would be in this cave.  Simone tells him of the Nagtsart sightings, which
    makes sense to Shuu given the evil aura this place has.
    
    And, speaking of the Devil, out come a host of Demon Golems.  Shuu observes
    that some magic user appears to have created and then left them behind, and
    asks what your people intend to do.  He's not worried about the fact that he's
    trapped too, shrugging that he can easily vanquish this puny an enemy, and
    suggests that Simone worry more about her own safety than his.  Masaki angrily
    says that he alone is more than a match for these guys, but Simone tells him to
    think calmly about just how many there are.  Shuu agrees, and offers to help
    out.  I took him up on the offer, and when Simone hears the name "Shuu" she
    figures she must have been mistaken.
    
    After the battle is over, Shuu excuses himself to go investigate the ruins.
    Simone asks if Masaki has some kind of grudge against Shuu, and Masaki shrugs
    and says it's nothing specific.  He just has trouble trusting smooth-talking
    folk like Shuu - uneasy for reasons he can't name.
    
      At this point, you can investigate the ruins too, or go elsewhere.  I
      investigated.
    
    
    Scenario 15. Jashin no Shinden (Shrine of the Evil God)
    
    It's an interesting question why someone would build a shrine so far
    underground.  Simone begins to suspect that it might be sacred to the evil god
    Volkrus, spoken of in legend.  That would certainly explain what Ruozoul would
    be doing here...  Your people find Shuu, who tells them there's nothing that
    would interest them here.  What, Masaki asks, if this should prove to be a
    shrine to Volkrus?  Shuu is impressed at your knowledge - confirming Simone's
    suspicion.  Shuu is a tad miffed when he realizes she was testing the waters,
    and sniffs that he'd have told you outright had you but asked.  Shuu reiterates
    that he's here for archeological reasons, though there's little of academic
    value left here now.
    
    Masaki doesn't believe Shuu one bit, and is in the process of heading over to
    say so to his face when Shuu advises him not to proceed any farther forward.
    Masaki angrily ignores the warning and triggers a trap.  Shuu chides Masaki for
    not heeding people's warnings, and tells Masaki to do his best to clean up this
    mess he made.  Shuu himself plans to watch from the sidelines.  Simone wishes
    Masaki wouldn't be quite so foolish, and the cats fill Masaki in that Psyflash
    isn't available right now.  He'll have to have Wendy look at it when they get
    back.
    
    While the battle was raging, Shuu rechecked the area, and still found nothing
    of interest.  Masaki isn't inclined to listen to Shuu, but Simone points out
    that Masaki got burned by that attitude just moments ago.  Shuu has little
    interest in things with no academic value, and is more than happy to let Simone
    have some of the beautiful (and valuable!) jewels lying around.  This puts
    Simone on fairly good terms with Shuu, who takes his leave.  Masaki vows to
    expose whatever nefarious secret Shuu has one day...
    
    Masaki is still blaming Shuu for all the trouble they had, but Simone asks if
    he's ever heard the term "mis-grudge" before.  Masaki accuses her of being
    bought off by Shuu, and she articulately says that she plans to sell the jewels
    - she's certainly not planning to _keep_ them.  In any case, it really does
    seem that there was nothing going on at this shrine, and the two head back to
    report to Feir.  Senia notes that there's at least some value to confirming
    that your information about Ruozoul had been false.  Meanwhile, Wendy has
    figured out how to fix Psyflash, letting Masaki use it as often as he wants.
    
    
    Scenario 16. Yureru Kororo (Wavering Heart)
    
    Tutti asks Monica to do a bit of fortune telling, though Monica cautions her
    that her precognitive powers aren't good for that much.  Apparently Tutti
    wants to cure Masaki of his disbelief in prophecy and so on, and Masaki allows
    that given all he's seen since coming to Ra Gias he's willing to believe just
    about anything.  Still, she bets he's never seen one come true, and Monica, in
    her broken-grammatical fashion, is quite happy to help.  As Monica begins,
    Tutti tells Masaki that there's no telling what kind of vision she'll get until
    she tries.  He very reasonably asks if such an uncontrollable craft is of any
    use, and she allows that the majority of visions are, in fact, largely
    useless: like the weather on a specific day 500 years in the future, or what
    will be on the menu for tomorrow's breakfast.  That said, the foresight _is_
    very accurate, and the lack of directedness in the vision is made up for by the
    number of people who can use the craft at once.
    
    Monica interrupts the explanation to point out that she's already done.  She
    begins by telling Masaki that soon, perhaps today, he'll get a request to
    dispatch.  And when he gets there, he'll receive a major shock.  She doesn't
    know _what_ kind of shock it will be, but that's the vision she saw.  She also
    has news for Tutti - _she_ will very soon meet the last person she would wish
    to meet.  This meeting may well spell misfortune, and Monica asks Tutti to be
    extra careful.  Tutti doesn't know who that could be, but she thanks Monica for
    the warning anyway.  Monica notes that there were great fluctuations in her
    vision, so perhaps the future may yet be changed.  Not the best news, to be
    sure, but Masaki is taking the positive view that your hard work can fix
    whatever problems are in store.
    
    Senia then rushes over with word that the Nagtsart has been spotted in the
    province of Valentine.  Masaki is ready to charge off to settle Ruozoul's hash,
    but Tutti has elected to sit this mission out thanks to the fortune.  The call
    goes out to Ricardo instead, who meets up with Masaki and immediately asks
    about his lack of directional sense.  Masaki's a bit dismayed that everyone's
    heard about it, but Ricardo tells him not to sweat it - _everyone_ has their
    weaknesses.  Except, of course for him - a claim that lasts about as long as it
    takes for Masaki to have his Familiars visit Ricardo in his cockpit.  Becky
    filled him in about Ricardo's little fear of cats, started by getting scratched
    long ago in a certain sensitive spot.  Masaki then asks what Ricardo would do
    if Tutti follows up on her love of cats and gets one of her own.  Ricardo
    replies that he'll cross that bridge when he comes to it, and storms off in a
    huff just _before_ Masaki catches up with Ruozoul.
    
    Ruozoul had in fact just finished telling a certain someone to take Masaki's
    head: it's that old terrorist Gaspa, still in the mood for revenge for the
    death of his comrade.  He reattles off a long list of grievances, such as how
    one of his fallen comrades was a boy, and another had a woman he had gone out
    with for fifteen years he was supposed to marry next week.  Masaki isn't to be
    swayed by someone who uses fear to control others, but the terrorist leader
    screams at this know-nothing brat not to act like he's all got justice on his
    side.  Masaki, too, is just some murderer in his book!
    
    Masaki, in fact, doesn't like what all he's heard, and although his Familiars
    tell him not to sweat it, Ruozoul finds the whole spectacle quite amusing.  He
    tells Masaki that the line separating comedy from tragedy is paper-thin, and in
    the hands of a second-rate actor tragedy can easily turn out comedic.  Ruozoul
    acknowledges that people die in war as a matter of course, but tells Masaki
    that he has no right to be the agent of that death.  Death is the great
    Equalizer, and Masaki's overactive emotions have lead to Death being casually
    scattered around.  To the followers of Volkrus, whose ultimate goal is death,
    Masaki's "thoughtless" actions are indeed the ultimate in unforgivable sin.
    
    The plan is to punish Masaki in Volkrus' name, but first Ruozoul tries to
    figure out why Masaki can fight so hard when he has no cause worthy of the name
    to fight _for_.  Can Masaki actually say that his actions are just? Ricardo
    then shows up, noticing right away that something seems wrong with Masaki.
    Ruozoul sends out reinforcements of his own, and takes off after finishing his
    "sightseeing" for the day.
    
    After the battle, Ricardo figures that nothing big was going on here after all,
    which should be a good thing.  An even better thing is that things should quiet
    down for a bit with the terrorist bosses gone.  But Masaki is in very ill
    spirits and not willing to discuss why.  Senia sighs and figures that her newly
    developed computer "Dekakis" won't be needed for a while: a machine capable of
    leaps of logic, or "intuition" in layman's terms.
    
    Back in his room, Masaki is still fretting over why he's fighting.  The cats'
    pointing out that he's fighting to save the world isn't working much, and it
    seems something more concrete is needed.  As if on cue [*nudge nudge*] Wendy
    knocks on the door, and Shiro quickly tells Wendy what Masaki is worrying over.
    Wendy reminds Masaki of what she told him earlier: that if his burden as an
    Elemental God-Machine pilot gets heavy, to tell her.  Masaki slowly asks if
    he's really doing the right thing, and she allows that that's a difficult
    question.  She asks if Masaki knows why a high-ranking spirit dwells within
    each Elemental God-Machine, and explains that what the public has been told
    about the spirits controlling the mech's movements is a bit incomplete.  The
    spirits, which have their own will, choose their own pilot: which means that
    the spirits, at least, believe Masaki is in the right given they've chosen him
    as pilot.  Wendy is sure that Masaki's heart is in the right place, but Masaki
    asks if she isn't so much believing in him as in the spirits themselves.  She
    replies that the spirits themselves only exist because the hearts of man
    believe in them first.  Masaki finally looks up at that, saying that he half
    doubts the existence of spirits himself.  The natives of Ra Gias are quite
    different, believing in spirits from childhood and even being able to see them
    - not _that_ different from the small number of genuine spiritualists on the
    Surface.
    
    The short form is that the spirits are the reflection of the hearts of all
    people: a manifestation, if you will, of the collective unconscious.  Their
    decisions are tantamount to the decisions of all the people of Ra Gias, and
    Wendy tells Masaki that even if that doesn't make sense just yet, he should go
    on doing what he believes is right.  And whatever anyone else may say, _she_
    will always believe in him.  He thanks her with a thoughtful look in his eyes,
    and she tells him to cheer up: it's not like him to be down in the dumps.
    
    
    Scenario 17. Wendy no Himitsu (Wendy's Secret)
    
    Becky has a present for Masaki: a pendant made out of Orichalcum.  She found an
    uncut stone while taking out Demon Golems, and had the pendant made for Masaki
    to give to Wendy.  Masaki's not sure he wants to accept, but Becky says that
    it's the least he can do for Wendy given all she's done for him.  Orichalcum is
    a magical metal used in the armaments of the Elemental Machines, found almost
    never on the Surface.  Masaki plans to go see Wendy before deciding whether to
    hand over the pendant [I handed it over].  Wendy is very impressed with the
    gift, explaining that Orichalcum is a metal that reacts to emotions.  It's
    popular for lovers to exchange gifts of Orichalcum, so that no matter how far
    apart they are they'll be able to sense each others' hearts.  She playfully
    asks if she should take this as a "proposal", and as Masaki stammers that he
    didn't know, she says that although she was joking, she _will_ treasure his
    gift.
    
    Masaki later berates Becky for not telling him the significance of the gift,
    though he's glad that Wendy seemed to understand anyway.  Becky's impressed
    that Masaki's relationship is progressing so fast, then reminds herself with
    some wistfulness that it's his first.  That gets a rise out of Masaki, and she
    smiles and says that he's so much fun to tease.  Yes, Masaki is her plaything.
    
    Feir asks Masaki to go with Ahamed for more Demon Golem hunting.  Masaki notes
    that those are a pretty annoying opponent - he's not trying to refuse the job,
    just saying that the Demon Golems are, in fact, a pain in the ass.  Ahamed asks
    if Masaki has gotten used to piloting yet, and when Masaki starts tooting his
    own horn, Ahamed figures he's still got a long ways to go.  The ultimate proof
    of that is how irritated Masaki gets when Ahamed merely implies that he's
    immature, and Masaki is at least smart enough to relent when this is pointed
    out to him.  Ahamed hopes that Masaki can become a good enough pilot to not
    dishonor the mech that chose him, and then notices that they're being followed.
    It's Senia, who wants to get in some Demon Golem bashing of her own and who
    bristles at the suggestion that she might not be able to pull her own weight.
    Your people actually reach their destination before the argument is settled,
    and Masaki asks Senia to at least not to get underfoot.
    
    Ahamed figures that the Demon Golems look freshly summoned, meaning that their
    summoner may still be nearby.  He and Masaki agree that it doesn't matter who
    did the summoning: you've got to fight regardless.  After you wipe out all the
    Demon Golems, it turns out that it was in fact Saphiine who summoned them.  She
    pouts momentarily when she sees it's Masaki again, but says that since she's in
    a good mood today she'll let it slide.  And hey, Senia's Norse Ray didn't even
    get wrecked!
    
    It's time to head back, though Ahamed complains that he feels a certain lack
    of mayhem.  Wendy is glad to see Masaki back so soon, and knows Senia is
    hiding somewhere too.  She sternly asks what Senia was up to, and Senia pouts
    that she was bored.  Wendy tells her to have some consideration for Masaki and
    Ahamed, who had to strive to keep her safe, and Senia implores her to not tell
    Feir about her little trip.  Wendy will agree, on the condition that
    Senia not do something so selfish again.  And as for how Wendy knew, Monica
    told her out of concern.  Wendy explains to Masaki that Senia and Monica,
    being twins, are very very close.  She says so with such conviction that Masaki
    asks her if she's got a twin too.  Had, Wendy says sadly - said twin died
    shortly after they were born.  Masaki says he's sorry he asked, but Wendy tells
    him it's okay: she believes her sister lives on within her.
    
    
    Scenario 18. "Mashou Kishin" no Na ni Kakete (In the Name of the Elemental
      God-Machines)
    
    Feir gathers all the Elemental Machine pilots together to explain that their
    mission has changed.  The public will know nothing about it, but they've
    become freer.  The Elemental Machines are of course not just for defending
    Langran, but Ra Gias as a whole: thus, the Langran government can ask their
    pilots for help, but not command it.  And that goes double for the Elemental
    God-Machines.  It seems that the pilots are being given fuller responsibility
    for their actions, though Langran is still more than happy to back them up.
    Masaki has already been acting pretty independently, as Madock once did
    himself (though he claims gamely his memory has gotten bad lately).  The pilots
    are in effect the heroes that will save Ra Gias, opposing anything that
    threatens Ra Gias.  A little less than a year remains until "the" prophecied
    day, and Feir looks forward to everyone giving it their best shot until then.
    
    Becky notes afterward that almost never do all twelve Elemental Machine pilots
    gather at once.  Even she can't remember everyone's name: in particular a
    Russian guy standing over to the side.  Masaki actually knows him: he's the
    person who took over the Jaorm after Masaki graduated, Gennajy I Kozilev.
    Demekusa then introduces himself to Masaki, as the inheritor of Tutti's old
    mech.
    
    Impressively, this is the moment that the remnants of the terrorists choose to
    strike the city of Banan, using a type of ancient, forbidden weapon of mass
    destruction called a "Descending Demon Bomb".  These are even worse than nukes
    in that they destroy spirits as well as living beings, and aren't supposed to
    even exist anymore.  The damage report won't be ready for another three hours,
    and your people hurry to the scene first.
    
    In fact, _all_ the Elemental God-Machines are here.  The terrorists are still
    here too, apparently using this whole attack to lure you out.  The leader
    presses the switch to start a timer on another Descending Demon Bomb, intending
    to take all of you out with him.  The timer is set for ten turns, and even if
    you ran away now you'd never make it to safety.  However, Senia sends you data
    showing that it takes a large amount of magic to ignite the bomb: if you can
    stop that, there will be no explosion.  The bad guys' mecha are that magical
    source, but you can't just wreck them piecemeal or a chain reaction will occur
    and detonate the bomb anyway.
    
    There is another way however: Map Weapons!  You've got to destroy the central
    three (yellow) bad guys simultaneously.  This is tricky but not impossible, and
    when you pull it off Becky can scarcely wait to get back to the capitol before
    celebrating with some booze.  Masaki gets to be the voice of reason for once,
    which is immensely gratifying to Tutti.
    
    Presia has a meal of sukiyaki waiting for everyone when they get back.
    Hilarity ensues almost immediately as everyone proceeds to misprepare the
    sukiyaki.  Tian in particular has an interesting reason for eating all the
    meat: he's a vegetarian, and so he claims to want to keep everyone else from
    eating meat by devouring it all himself.  Becky has brought the booze after
    all, and the strip tease begins again in earnest.  A very chaotic gathering,
    but good for blowing off stress at least.  Wendy is even on the scene, and
    she's been on the sauce too.  Masaki is hesitant to heed her slurred words, but
    between hiccups she tells him that he's got to learn how to read girls'
    emotions better.  I mean, he's all bad-ass outside, but inside he's all gentle
    and stuff.  She manages to thank him again for the pendant before passing out.
    
    
    Scenario 19. Gozen Shiai (Tournament Before the Throne)
    
    Despite not having paid Tutti's 20k credits back, Ricardo wants to borrow more
    from her.  He thinks he can pay her back double tomorrow, but doing so seems to
    involve some gambling - on the morning before an important match before the
    royal throne.  He flees before Tutti can berate him at too much length, and
    runs smack into Masaki.  He asks Masaki to hide him for a while, and when Tutti
    comes calling Masaki can either give him up or not.  If you give him up, Tutti
    berates him some more until Masaki tells them to take their lovers' quarrel
    elsewhere.  Tutti leaves in a huff, and it falls to Ricardo to explain that
    this tournament happens once a year - and Masaki's entered!  The odds on him
    are even good, though Ricardo is sure that he'll win the million-credit prize
    (a credit is worth about 10 yen/cents).  Masaki has other ideas.
    
    First up is Madock, who thinks that the wisdom of years will be his best
    defense and is looking forward to partying _hard_ with the young ladies with
    the prize money.  Becky is up next, vowing to take the prize money and adding
    that the pride of the Iroquois won't let her tell a lie.  Ahamed says that
    everything is according to the will of Allah, which Simone rephrases by saying
    that she hopes she's more lucky than good today.  Tian figures it's the will of
    Buddha that he win, then starts chuckling and adds that his stature as former
    Muy Thai champ should make him a shoo-in.  He reluctantly agrees not to dance,
    leaving the stage for Demegusa, whose only wish is that nobody get mad at him
    if he loses.  Gennajy is very much the strong, silent type, leaving the
    announcer to wonder how the heck he got stuck with this job.  Next up are the
    big shots, starting with Fang, who is determined to show how
    well he can pilot his mech despite being a Ra Gian.  Masaki simply smiles and
    says that today he'll show everyone what the Psybuster's real power is like.
    Next is what the announcer calls the "beautiful nereid", Tutti.  Tutti thanks
    everyone for their support as the announcer looks on in admiration.  Yang Long
    states something a tad cryptic about how the true warrior will first win here
    before seeking the true battlefield.  Ricardo thinks he's got the whole thing
    sewn up, and tells everyone else to try anyway.
    
    The battles are to be single-elimination, untimed bouts that continue until one
    opponent is defeated.  To handicap the Elemental God-Machines, they are
    forbidden from using their Familiars or Map Weapons.  Things will start with
    Masaki versus Becky, and she brightly warns him not to treat her as mere
    pre-game stretching lest it come back to hurt him.  Becky will [presumably] go
    down fighting, which Masaki commends her for, and Becky good naturedly figures
    she's got to root for Masaki to win now.
    
    Ahamed is up next, and sounds rather affronted that the still-immature Masaki
    has been chosen as his opponent.  Masaki tells him to see just how much this
    past year of piloting has been worth, and when Yang Long asks Ricardo for his
    assessment, he's sure that Masaki is far superior to the stout Ahamed - both of
    whom use Wind spirits.  Ricardo cheers Masaki's victory, and Yang Long tells
    him to cool his jets.  Ricardo wonders what Yang's problem is; is it something
    to do with losing to Fang?  Yang says that while he did get a bit careless,
    it's amazing just how strong Fang has grown.  He figures that even Ricardo
    might be in danger from Fang, but before that Fang will have to get through
    Masaki first.
    
    Neither fighter will hold back in this contest, and Masaki is a bit puzzled at
    precisely how frustrated Fang is at losing.  Ricardo figures that this avenges
    Yang Long in some sense, as well as cashing in some of his bets.  Tutti shows
    up to call him on that, but he has the convenient excuse of heading out to wage
    the title bout.  Tutti vows to give him a good talking-to later.  Ricardo
    commends Masaki on making it this far, and says that all that remains before
    his victory is taking Masaki down.  Masaki asks whether Ricardo hasn't yet
    learned that things in life seldom go according to plan.  Ricardo smirks and
    replies that he attended some pretty crummy schools, then cuts the trash-talk
    short.  Ricardo is a good loser, glad to see how strong Masaki's become.  Both
    guys enjoyed their duel, as did the king.  He commends all participants,
    looking forward to their wonderful abilities keeping Ra Gias safe.  He then
    tells Masaki that his skill and passion are truly worthy of the reward, and of
    the Psybuster's choice.  He asks Masaki to strive to protect not only Ra Gias,
    but the Surface too.
    
    Tutti's tinkered with Masaki's winnings a bit.  Of the half that wasn't eaten
    by taxes, she gave a good 90% to charity, saying brightly that surely Masaki
    would have wanted that done - right?  Yang half-sarcastically praises Masaki's
    "charity", and Becky laments that that would have bought her a lot of booze.
    Masaki doesn't much fret the charitable donation, and gives the remaining dough
    to Presia for use on living expenses.  Presia, humbled, plans to put it into
    Masaki's retirement fund.
    
    
    Scenario 20. Haikyousha (Heretic)
    
    General Kirkus seems a bit evasive about why plans for defending the capitol
    are taking longer than they should.  Instead, he is very interested in not
    missing his lunch date elsewhere.  Feir tells a dubious Senia that this is
    just Kirkus' way, and that he comes through when the chips are down.  In
    principle, Kirkus is part of the kekkai strengthening, which might be why there
    have been no recent terrorist attacks or incursions by Ruozoul.  Masaki for one
    is finding the lack of action stressful, when Kirkus' son Zashford comes over
    seeking his dad.  It seems his father forgot his lunch, but given Kirkus'
    recent proclamation of eating out, it seems Zash is too late.  Masaki smirks at
    Kirkus' spaced-out ways, figuring that he's the stereotypical "night owl".  He
    wonders aloud if such a man can really make a good general, then quickly
    apologizes when Yang points out that said man's son is right there.  Zash
    meanwhile is astounded to realize that these are two real-life Elemental
    God-Machine pilots, his idols.  Masaki, puzzled, gives this would-be Elemental
    Machine pilot his autograph and a kind word.  Yang likes the kid's honesty, and
    says that he figures Masaki is better suited to dealing with such people than
    he is.
    
    The peace is broken soon enough though, by Shuu (a.k.a. Christof).  He's not
    seen the residents of the capitol (except for Masaki) in a long time, and says
    that if Feir insists on calling him Christof, his full name would now be
    Christof Zeo Volkrus.  He's coy about whether he's actually become a follower
    of the profane god, but says that in any case he likes the name Shirakawa Shuu
    better.  He's here on two errands: to tell your people goodbye, and to declare
    war.  As of now, he relinquishes his right to inherit the throne, and proclaims
    Langran his enemy.
    
    This is what he lightly calls the will of the God of Destruction, and adds that
    the toylike kekkai will not avail your people.  Saying that today was just a
    greeting, he voices hope that next time will be a bit more flashy.  Masaki
    wants to go out in the Psybuster, but Wendy cries that it's being readjusted
    right now: should he go forth, something terrible would happen.  If you heed
    her warning, Zeoroot sorties in his stead.  Shuu tells the swordsmaster not to
    do something so futile as oppose him, but Zeoroot says that Shuu's aura is too
    evil.  He's not sure what happened to him, but he can't afford to leave him on
    the loose.
    
    Unfortunately, and as Zeoroot feared, the power behind Shuu is more than he can
    handle.  Shuu claims that his completed Granzon is impervious to all attacks.
    Zeoroot has to be sacrificed, and since his ejection system doesn't fire he
    buys the farm.  Shuu sighs that all deaths are unsatisfying, and that everyone
    is equal in death.  Masaki finally hurries out, only to find that he, too,
    can't scratch the Granzon.  As Shuu gloats a bit, Masaki demands to know why
    Shuu killed his mentor.  Shuu says that Zeoroot must have wished for it: after
    all, it's only natural for people to die in battle.  Masaki becomes crazed with
    rage, but Shuu says that the same thing will happen to him if he fights him
    here.  Well, he _had_ intended this to be just a greeting skirmish, but if
    Masaki insists...  But then, Shuu senses something strange, and his familiar
    Chika notices their rejection field faltering.  It seems that Zeoroot did a bit
    more to Shuu than Shuu suspected.  As Masaki prepares to mount his attack, Shuu
    announces that he's now at a bit of a disadvantage and pulls out: no need to
    push things with the Granzon only lately completed.
    
    Masaki is ready to run off in pursuit, but Wendy begs him to wait lest both he
    and the Psybuster collapse in ruins.  Gritting his teeth, Masaki complies.
    Presia is consumed with grief, and screams at Masaki that he's not her brother
    anymore, and to get away from her.  The shock has hit Masaki very hard too, and
    he more or less stops eating.  His Familiars try to cheer him up, or at least
    get him to eat, but all he wants them to do is shut up, lest he turn them into
    a shamisen! [I doubt he's serious, but...]  When Ricardo and Tutti get back,
    Tutti wants to go and try to get Masaki to come out of his room, but Ricardo
    stops her and says that that would just have the opposite effect.  Feir
    believes that Masaki will stand up again of his own accord - his confidence in
    him equals his confidence in his other Elemental God-Machine pilots.
    
    
    Scenario 21. Zetsubou no Fuchi (The Abyss of Despair)
    
    Wendy doesn't heed Masaki's claim that nobody's in his room, and finds him with
    his arms around his elbows in a classical depressive pose.  She asks what he'd
    do if she told him she was here to make him smile.  Whether you deliver a
    Masaki-like angry comeback or a depressive "yeah whatever", she tells him that
    he shouldn't be down on himself so much.  After all, nobody expected so much of
    him that he should berate himself this badly.  Everyone else simply believes in
    him.  She mentions in passing that the Psybuster's repairs are complete, and
    that she'll leave it ready for him to depart at any time.  As she leaves, Shiro
    opines that this chilly speech of hers was very unlike her.  But Masaki's
    smarter than that - he realizes the warmth in her words.  That "nobody is
    expecting anything of him" is her way of telling him to do as he sees fit.
    Gathering his Familiars, he heads off to give Shuu a _firm_ piece of his mind.
    
    Simone realizes what Wendy was up to, even though Wendy blushes and refuses to
    admit it.  Wendy excuses herself to get in some more maintenance on the
    Psybuster, but what she really does is sneak aboard.  Masaki doesn't realize
    this for a good while as he flies around, acting on instinct alone.  It isn't
    until he feels his stomach growling that Wendy pops out with a picnic lunch for
    him.  Her sheepish apology is like that of a little girl, despite her being all
    of 27.  It does relieve her greatly to see Masaki back to his old self, and he
    credits her with opening his eyes.
    
    Shuu had felt Masaki's vivid, fierce Plana from afar, and saves Masaki the
    trouble of searching for him.  Masaki shouts that he's better have his life
    insurance paid up if he's brave enough to face him of his own accord, though
    Shuu has no idea where the heck Masaki's confidence comes from.  Chika reminds
    Shuu that repairs aren't complete yet, though Shuu figures he has utterly no
    reason to be afraid of the Psybuster regardless.
    
    Wendy meanwhile demands to know why Christof became a believer in Volkrus,
    forsaking even his right to the throne.  He says that the only way to save the
    world is to destroy and remake it, but Wendy doubts that that's Shuu's own
    desire.  Shuu gets some strange gleam in his eyes, saying that there's no point
    in continuing the war of words with one inimical to him.  Only coming to blows
    will settle this.
    
    Shuu informs Masaki that he's got less than a one-in-ten-thousand chance of
    beating him, so why throw his life away?  Masaki acknowledges that the odds are
    bad, but is determined to fight until he's satisfied.  Shuu laments such pride,
    and Masaki even admits that he's at a disadvantage.  But he's determined to
    take revenge for Zeoroot, and Shuu tells him that as long as he's bent on
    "revenge" he'll never mature.  This brings Masaki up short, and he begins
    laughing heartily.  Wendy is alarmed, but Masaki says that Shuu is absolutely,
    positively right.  He assures his cats that he hasn't lost his marbles, and
    then tells Shuu that the real problem is that he doesn't like Shuu personally.
    What started as mild annoyance blossomed to full-fledged hatred in the
    engagement in the capitol.  Something within him insists that Shuu get his
    clock cleaned - which Zeoroot must have felt too to charge in so recklessly.
    
    So it's not out of revenge that he seeks Shuu, it's because of his proud
    mission as an Elemental God-Machine pilot.  Both he and the Psybuster could
    care less what Shuu is actually up to: as long as Shuu wears the mantle of
    evil, his ass is theirs.  The Psybuster apparently agrees, as its power begins
    to mount explosively.  Wendy is dumbfounded to see Possession occuring: even
    though it's theoretically possible, the fact that Masaki is actually doing it
    is stunning.  Shuu is also having trouble believing that Masaki can fuse with
    the spirits, and despite Chika's warning says that the Psybuster with its true
    power brought forth is worth fighting.
    
    Shuu recognizes that Masaki is effectively invincible right now, and after
    complimenting him on his valor decides to pull out.  It appears that Shuu has
    been destroyed, but Masaki himself collapses as the power of the spirits ebbs
    away.  Wendy scolds him, saying that at his current power level he shouldn't
    try reckless stuff like Possession - he won't be able to control it at all.
    She tells him to sit still while she gives him an infusion of Plana -
    mouth-to-mouth of course.  Now she herself is feeling a bit faint, telling the
    worried cats that it's just like anemia and will pass soon.
    
    They hurry back to the capitol, where Wendy seems to require nothing more than
    a little bed rest.  Masaki assures Senia that he's back to normal - he doesn't
    have _time_ to be all depressed and whatnot.  Presia then comes over, and
    timidly apologizes for the selfish, terrible things she said.  She meekly asks
    if she can call him her brother again, and after Masaki chides her and says
    that "bro" will do great, he in turn apologizes for not being able to do more
    to save her father.  She no longer blames him, and gives him something Zeoroot
    left behind.
    
    It's a holo-letter, and Zeoroot starts by saying that he must be brief.
    Should Presia be reading it, it means he's already dead.  He says that he plans
    on challenging Christof to a duel, one he doubts he'll survive.  Well, if
    she's reading this it's a bit beyond doubt... anyways, he assures her that he
    is doing this entirely of his own volition.  Of course, his action is in part
    to help keep her and Masaki safe.  But also in part, he senses too much danger
    in the aura Christof has donned: left unchecked, it will surely bring calamity
    to the world - like the demon-god of the prophecy.  Therefore, even if the
    odds are slim to defeat Christof, he'll take them over doing nothing at all.
    Though again, if she's reading this it means he failed anyway.  Le sigh.  In
    any case, he tells Presia not to give into her grief and blame Masaki, who will
    no doubt be as sad as she is.  And he himself is.  And as for Masaki, he
    mustn't think of revenge, as such thoughts are unbecoming of an Elemental
    God-Machine pilot.  What he is to do is clearly perceive who his enemies are,
    and live at peace with Presia.  He bids them farewell, and both his "children"
    can't stop their tears.  Senia, too, laments Zeoroot's loss above most others.
    
    
    Scenario 22. Sangeki no Kioku (Memory of a Tragedy)
    
    Kirkus is being made to retire, and Feir can't keep protecting him any longer.
    Kirkus says that the scenery in Calatamify Provice is wonderful anyway, and
    supposes that Feir may think that he's been "retired" for a long time already.
    He says that being a general is too heavy a burden for him, and looks forward
    to some leisure time.  His only regret is the Ultra- Elemental Machine Project,
    which is now back to square one.  The results would have been a means to combat
    the demon god even more dependably than the Elemental God-Machines.  At the
    last, Kirkus bids his lord farewell, and tells him to look after his health.
    
    With the night owl (or was he, Feir wonders) gone, Wendy notices that it's a
    bit odd that Ruozoul and Christof's incursions into the capitol didn't result
    in much damage being done.  Their raids almost seemed more as a mockery of the
    kekkai fortification process itself, and their ultimate goal seemed to be to
    wipe the kekkai out.  Feir resolves to keep strict guard on the device that
    helps generate it.
    
    Tutti and Masaki are on a rare joint patrol, one important enough to get Tutti
    to come in on her day off.  Masaki asks if she was planning a date with Ricardo
    or something, but she says that it's almost the two-year anniversary of her
    family's death.  Masaki's expression sobers up at that, but Tutti quickly tells
    him not to worry: all that's in the past now.  Just then, the Familiars catch
    an Elemental Machine coming their way, and it's not a friendly.  Is it Ruozoul,
    or Saphiine, or...?
    
    It's Rasetsu, and a number of troops belonging to Rubikka.  Rasetsu has paid
    handsomely for Rubikka's services, and Rubikka doesn't plan to let him down.
    Rasetsu has some special troops here of his own, specifically for taking on the
    Elemental God-Machines.  Tutti recognizes these strange mechs as either
    Shutedonian or Bagonian in origin, and has some kind of bad feeling about the
    impending combat.  Her fears are confirmed upon hearing Rubikka's voice: a man
    she can't believe is still alive.  He'd rather she not put it that way, saying
    that it's thanks to her that he became masterless for a time - but happily, the
    Shutedonian army took him in.  Rasetsu is furious that Rubikka would mention
    his country by name after warnings to the contrary, but Rubikka smirks that
    their enemies have figured it out long ago anyway.  What's more, why would the
    people of Langran believe the word of someone they kicked out long ago?
    
    Tutti is in a rage such as Masaki has never seen before, and the Plana coming
    from her is fearsome indeed.  The bad guys fall in short order, but Rasetsu is
    happy to at least have gotten some data on your people.  Tutti explains
    afterward to Masaki that Rubikka is a murderer, as well as being an Elemental
    Machine pilot summoned to Langran around the same time she was.  Tutti found
    out about his murdering ways some time after the summoning, and when she
    informed the king it was decided that he was to be forcibly sent back to the
    Surface.  However, he managed to kill two of the guards and escape to
    Shutedonias, where he apparently became a mercenary.  As to _how_ Tutti knew of
    his murderous past, it seems that _he_ was the one who killed her parents and
    brother, right in front of her no less.  He's the one man Tutti can't allow
    herself to forgive, and Masaki laments that Tutti is filled with this much
    hate.  Not that it's any surprise.  Tutti has a very bad feeling about this
    whole business, and every time Rubikka looks at her, her flesh crawls.  Tutti
    knows well that sooner or later she's got to settle the score, or it'll haunt
    her forever.
    
    News of Rubikka's continued existence and aiding of Shutedonias is not
    pleasant for Feir.  What's worse, a bunch of the old geezers have come up and
    recently begun to protest the Elemental Machine project.  They'd prefer that
    budget spent on defending the capitol and so on.  These objections, along with
    Kirkus' forced retirement, are the net result of Ruozoul's repeated attacks:
    Rubikka's resurgence gave the old fogeys just the opening they need.  That, and
    part of the royal guard still resents the dependence on the Surface dwellers.
    Now would _not_ seem to be a good time for internecine strife...
    
    
    Scenario 23. Chouwa no Kekkai (Barrier of Harmony)
    
    Saphiine asks permission to enter Shuu's room, which he grants.  She is greeted
    by the delicious sight of him stripped to the waist, but something on his chest
    catches her attention: a very old scar that a certain person gave him.  The
    person responsible is now imprisoned for their affront, says Shuu with with a
    low chuckle that seems to shake even Saphiine's composure.  She asks him if
    anything is wrong, since she heard him crying out in his sleep, and he asks her
    if she's ever felt like her mind and body were not her own.  Of course, she
    says: her heart and body belong to her lord Shuu at all times.  Shuu's narrowed
    eyes might suggest that that's not what he meant, and he summarily asks her if
    "that project" is ready to get underway.  That certainly wasn't what she
    expected, but she quickly tells him that things are almost ready to go.  He's
    decided to move up the schedule a bit, and tells her that the plan will go into
    motion tomorrow.  He has her inform Ruozoul too, and she hastily says that
    she'll have everyone redouble their efforts to be done in time.  As she hurries
    off to do her lord's bidding, Shuu continues to feel some kind of strange
    unease, and figures he's got to hurry.
    
    Feir has asked Senia to put Dekakis into action, though it's not fully finished
    yet.  The goal would be to predict Ruozoul's next place of attack, and
    fortunately all the Elemental God-Machines are around to act on its advice.
    The result is that there's a 78 +/- 6% chance that Ruozoul will strike the Ira
    Harbor sometime in the next few days.  That makes sense, since it hosts the
    largest kekkai maintenance device.  This seems doubly effective given that
    Ruozoul has drawn your attention to the capitol with all those attacks, and
    Masaki resolves to go and not let Ruozoul escape this time.  Tutti offers to go
    with him, and Ricardo in turn offers to go with her, his "other half".  She
    huffily asks when they became two halves, and he tells her that it was just
    yesterday!  Flustered rather than angry, she hustles Masaki out the door, and
    Yang Long says levelly that he won't be coming too; after all, the capitol
    still needs defending.
    
    The kekkai device is actually underwater, supposedly for safekeeping.  But you
    rapidly learn that Ruozoul has already beaten you to it...  Your people
    confront him, and he agrees to fight you rather than wreck the kekkai device
    out of hand.  It is a bit odd that Ruozoul isn't simply destroying the device,
    which would be a lot easier than this fight...
    
    When taken down the first time, Ruozoul figures it's too early to end this, and
    reappears with more bad guys in tow.  This goes on for a little while, then he
    pulls back, leading you to believe that he really wasn't here for the generator
    at all.  Then, what were they really after?  Clearly they want to take down the
    kekkai, but it wouldn't make sense to target any of the other generators, since
    all are smaller than this one.  Except for... the capitol!  Tutti realizes that
    Ruozoul's "diversionary" attacks on the capitol were in fact not a diversion at
    all.  And right now, the full government of Langran is meeting: the perfect
    chance to strike.
    
    Back at the capitol, Feir is having a very hard time persuading the elders, and
    he's got another month's worth of meetings to go.  This is thanks to the
    business with Rubikka: they want to completely reexamine the plan to summon
    Surface dwellers from top to bottom.  Everyone is being run ragged, despite the
    fact that the Spirit Festival is fast approaching.  The king is among those
    tired... and Feir realizes something very important he was overlooking.  The
    kekkai needn't be _destroyed_: the magic that maintains it can be halted, and
    the kekkai, which everyone has taken for granted, will vanish.  Feir orders all
    the Elemental Machine pilots gathered together to defend his father, and Senia
    hurries off to tell Masaki.
    
    
    Scenario 24. Houkai no Yokyoku (Prelude to the Fall)
    
    As Masaki and the others race back to the capitol, they detect a very powerful
    Elemental Machine in their path: probably, the Wizoul - meaning Saphiine has
    been sent to stand in your way.  Tutti's bad feeling is getting worse, but
    she's forced to admit to her wolves and to everyone else that it's too
    dangerous to turn her back on Saphiine.  Saphiine wants your people to hang out
    with her for a while, but Roberto urges Masaski, whose mech is fastest, to
    hurry ahead.
    
    Saphiine supposes that letting one mech through isn't so bad, but she's got
    some Demon Golems for the remaining folks to play with - as well as someone
    Tutti knows well: Rubikka.  He's here as a part-time job from his posting with
    the Shutedonian army, and has already guaranteed his bosses success.  Tutti
    yells out that she won't forgive him, but he dares her to even try taking him
    on.  She, he says with an evil chuckle, is far better suited to cowering in the
    shadows crying - just like back then.  Tutti spasms, and apparently loses
    consciousness, but when her eyes open, they only contain the desire to kill
    Ricardo.  Rubikka smirks, amused at how easily Tutti fell under his hypnosis -
    must have been the shock back then.  Ricardo is faced with fighting his own
    beloved, and the supposedly wicked Saphiine isn't sounding so wicked when she
    objects to this way of doing things.
    
    Ricardo must defeat Rubikka, then Persuade Tutti to bring her back to her
    senses.  She apologizes for being controlled, but Ricardo tells her to save her
    apologies for after the battle, when he'll hear them in full.  For now, the
    greatest pair in the universe is back (or so Ricardo says), and Saphiine sniffs
    and says she figured it would end up this way from the start.
    
    After the battle, Tutti is still feeling dizzy.  Ricardo is about to give her
    something to clear her head, mouth-to-mouth if need be, when a gunshot rings
    out.  Rubikka is furious that Ricardo got in the way, and tells Tutti to come
    over to him herself unless she wants Ricardo to get another bullet or two in
    his head.  Tutti is about to comply when Ricardo yells at her not to go, and
    gets shot again for his pains.  Tutti sics her wolves on Rubikka, but they
    can't kill him before he runs off, figuring that he's going to stain her
    beautiful face with blood soon enough.  Unfortunately, that last shot hit
    Ricardo squarely in the heart, and he begs Tutti not to leave him alone even
    long enough to grab a medical kit.  He worries how everyone in the capitol are
    doing, and his last thoughts are that her presence by his side is like an
    angel...
    
    Masaki for his part has the pedal to the metal, telling the Familiars to keep
    the overheating mech flying just long enough to reach the capitol.  He can
    somehow sense that something bad happened to his comrades, but doesn't dare
    slacken his pace to find out what.  Meanwhile, the king is in the midst of more
    talks when a bunch of bad guys appear in the capitol, apparently using a
    massively improbable _teleportation_ no less.  And then they fire a magical
    bomb directly at the conference hall...
    
    
    Scenario 25. Sangeki (Catastrophe)
    
    Masaki arrives to find that he is, apparently, too late.  He spies Shuu and
    demands to know if Shuu did this, and Shuu observes that even if he claimed
    otherwise, he doubts Masaki would believe him.  After all, Masaki cares less
    about facts than about the "truth".  As Masaki's fury rises, Shuu smiles and
    says that he couldn't hold out against Masaki, and that he's got to go about a
    certain errand on the Surface.  Or...perhaps it's fair to say he's not bored
    enough to take Masaki on.  He then teleports away.
    
    As Masaki is about to follow Shuu's teleportation, Wendy's cries halt him.
    She's badly injured, but in stable condition thanks to her own healing craft.
    She has no idea how any of this could have happened, saying a large army of
    unidentified Elemental Machines appeared out of nowhere.  In short, Shuu and
    his Granzon didn't appear until the end, as though to simply confirm the
    result.  Wendy doesn't know where anyone else is, except that the hall where
    the king was in conference took a direct hit.
    
    Masaki then demands to know what of Yang Long, and Wendy says that he, Simone
    and Becky did a splendid job... but couldn't protect everywhere at once.  Yang
    Long then appears, seemingly expecting Masaki's hatred.  Which Masaki quickly
    reins in, bitterly saying that he's every bit as guilty as Yang is for this
    calamity.
    
    A number of enemy mechs then appear, startled to see any survivors.  One of the
    soldiers is worried that they're facing two Elemental God-Machines, but his
    comrade figures that this last battle proved such mecha to be no major problem.
    Masaki informs his adversaries that he's in an _extremely_ bad mood right now,
    and advises them to piss off if they don't want to die.  The soldier figures
    he's all talk, which is about to prove a most costly mistake.  Yang is of the
    same mind as Masaki.
    
    When Masaki makes mincemeat out of the troops, their commander comes out,
    aghast at their carelessness.  He prepares to take revenge, but Rasetsu also
    shows up and chides his underling that his army's mission is complete.
    Besides, he's still got a different job to accomplish, and it wouldn't do to
    have him defeated untimely-like.  That mission, which the soldier had heard
    nothing about, is to die like a traitor as a sacrifice to Volkrus.  That the
    commander didn't realize what Rasetsu was up to until now is just all the more
    reason for him to die, and Rasetsu activates the commander's self-destruct
    switch.  Rasetsu isn't willing to tell Masaki who he is, but he will say that
    Shutedonias is about to declare war on Langran - not that there's many people
    left to receive that declaration.  He mockingly tells Yang that all this
    _seems_ to have been the work of traitors, so it wasn't any war crime on the
    official record.  Masaki tells him he won't get away with this, but Rasetsu
    assures Masaki that as long as appearances are kept up, a good politician can
    explain anway any  number of things.
    
    Tutti then arrives and gets to survey the carnage too.  Masaki laughs bitterly
    at the futility of being an Elemental God-Machine pilot, but both he and Yang
    get more embittered yet at the news of Ricardo's death.  Tutti herself doesn't
    want to believe that Ricardo could die, but he's getting colder and colder in
    her arms, and refusing to answer her calls.
    
    In any case, the capitol is in ruins, the king and the rest of the royal
    family are missing, and Shutedonias is about to declare war.  Yang tells the
    others they've got to pull themselves together and defend Ra Gias, but Masaki
    announces that he's going to head off in pursuit of Shuu.  Yang thinks this is
    actually the correct course of action, saying that this assault is only the
    beginning of something bigger.  Masaki flies off, leaving his remaining friends
    behind in the rubble.
    
    HERE ENDS PART ONE.  THE RISE OF FEIR AND KIRKUS' ARMIES IS CHRONICLED IN SRW4
    (OR F/FF), AND HAS NOW PASSED.
    
    
    Scenario 26. Memorial Day
    
    Ryuune asks Masaki to come with her for a bit, since she wants to ask him about
    his past.  He's a bit reticent, but since Ryuune is planning on staying in Ra
    Gias for the forseeable future, he relents.  If Ryuune asks, he'll tell her
    about the "chance"(?) meeting with Shuu at the South Pole, as he followed him
    in the wake of the destruction of the capitol.
    
    Masaki found Shuu amidst the ruins of Federation armed forces.  When Masaki
    asked, Shuu said that he certainly wasn't here on a mission to destroy the
    Federation as such.  He just put some people trying to use him in their place.
    Masaki was now sure that Shuu was too dangerous to be left on the loose, and
    Shuu for his part was pretty sick of Masaki's desire to settle the score.  In
    fact, Shuu had a date with one Professor Vian, whose name the cats had never
    heard before.
    
    That set Masaki off on the path of investigating the Divine Crusaders, which
    Ryuune's father Vian Zoldark founded.  This was right before the DC began their
    campaign of world conquest, also known as the "Second Super Robot War".  Ryuune
    laments how her father was an idealist whose feet never touched the ground:
    there was no way his plan would work.  She's thankful to Masaki and the others
    for stopping her father's rampage, though some of what Vian was saying did
    indeed come true after all: it took less than half a year for the aliens to
    invade after Vian's downfall, in the "Inspector War" also known as the Third
    Super Robot War.
    
    Ryuune then reminds Masaki that tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of
    their meeting.  It's a bit hard to tell that in Ra Gias, whose lunar cycles
    don't match those on Earth, and it's been a very _eventful_ year too.  Both
    Feir and Kirkus are dead, and lots of combat has gone down with the Inspectors
    and DC.  And Shuu himself, who declared war right after the Inspector boss
    Wendolo was defeated.
    
    It seems Shuu was waiting all that time for your people to become strong enough
    to take him on, lest he bring shame on the name of the Granzon for bullying
    those weaker than himself.  Masaki didn't hold back either upon hearing that.
    To be sure, it seemed Shuu was probably being controlled by Volkrus most of the
    time, and upon reflection Masaki recalls several times where Shuu's words even
    made him doubt that Shuu was acting by choice.
    
    The fight against the Neo Granzon was especially bad.  Masaki demanded to know
    what profit any of this had for Shuu, and Shuu said that it wasn't about profit
    or loss: he was merely doing as his heart commanded.  When Masaki struck Shuu
    down, Shuu said that he's fought as hard as he could, and had no regrets.
    Everything meets its end, and now was simply his time.  At long last, all the
    chains binding him were undone, and stuff.  Masaki couldn't exactly be happy
    upon hearing that.  Shuu was, in fact, stone cold dead, but was brought back to
    life by Ruozoul, moving the battlefield here to Ra Gias.
    
    Mio then comes over, asking if Masaki and Ryuune are on a date or something.
    She then fills them in on how she came to Ra Gias herself: Gated out of her bed
    while asleep and more or less tossed on the ground for Masaki to find.  She
    figured she'd been kidnapped, and when Masaki tried to explain about Ra Gias to
    her, she informed him that kidnapping wasn't a crime as long as he married
    her.
    
    Apparently Mio looked younger than her fifteen years, but she was surely
    capable enough as the Zamjeed's pilot.  Mio recounts how a geas was used to
    force the Zamjeed to turn against your people.  Its guardian spirit would have
    been in incredible pain, forced to combat your forces, and Mio could sense its
    tears.  Given how easily she was able to pilot the Diablo, Masaki was sure
    even then that she was the Zamjeed's rightful pilot, though Tutti didn't want
    to let Mio do it so young.
    
    As for Feir himself, he was a man with a very strong sense of duty.  He
    summoned many Surface dwellers to help repulse the Shutedonian attack, but due
    to an accident he summoned too many, destroying his constitution and giving him
    a mere six months to live.  He did manage to unify Ra Gias...  briefly.  It was
    afterwards that the evil consumed him, and the Elemental God-Machine pilots had
    no choice but to strike him down.  Feir didn't expect Senia and Monica to
    understand, but he did ask their forgiveness anyway.
    
    Lest we forget, it was he who taught Masaki his duty as an Elemental
    God-Machine pilot... and it was under Masaki's hand he fell.  Mio starts
    sniffling over Feir's fate, but with a mighty blow of her nose pulls herself
    together.  Then it becomes Ryuune's turn to explain why Kirkus the night owl
    took his drastic action.
    
    Ryuune and Yang Long were met by Kirkus' son Zash, who had entered the army
    and been sent to tell them that Kirkus would be a bit late due to talks with
    Feir.  Neither Yang nor Zash knew what these talks might pertain to, but it
    almost seemed more important what sparks were flying between the 18-year old
    Zash and the 17-year old Ryuune.  Ryuune seemed mistrusting of Zash's sudden
    interest, and warned him that flattery would get him nowhere... but her demeanor
    changed the moment he called her and her matching robot "cute".  Kirkus finally
    showed up, instructing his son to hit on this girl in a more manly fashion if he
    planned to hit on her at all.
    
    Kirkus then announced that he'd signed a peace treaty with Feir, on the
    condition that Prince Telius receive the throne.  This astounded all present,
    but Kirkus said that while even he knew it was an absurd condition, he found
    that he could not fully cast off his long-cherished dream to unite Langran and
    the rest of Ra Gias.  Yang shouted that this totally ignored the question of the
    people's will, and doubted even the ailing Feir would so thoroughly ignore the
    proper channels for ratifying such a treaty.  Kirkus countered that recovery
    for Langran was a more immediate concern than the will of the people.  It was
    Langran's reconstituted power which should guarantee peace throughout all Ra
    Gias, and Kirkus wanted Yang Long to help.
    
    Ryuune knew all too well that despite Kirkus' pretty words, his plans amounted
    to "world domination", a concept she was all too intimately familiar with.  She
    observed that Kirkus' eyes were just like her father's, whose overreliance on
    power led to his downfall when faced with an even greater power.  She knew that
    there ought to be a better way than force - and possessing force tends to blind
    one to that very fact.  She then made a HORRIBLE, BRILLIANT pun, to Yang's
    discomfort.  Kirkus had no plans to alter this painfully-chosen course, and was
    sure that history would vindicate him.  Ryuune noted that that's only for the
    victors - and there are far fewer victors than losers in the history books.
    Yang announced that as an Elemental God-Machine pilot, it was his duty to take
    Kirkus down, but Kirkus didn't want to fight his old comrades and lay down his
    life just then.  He said that he planned to join forces with Feir and fight
    Shutedonias, and would hear Yang's judgement afterwards.
    
    Evicting Telius is what led Kirkus to go to war with Feir, taste defeat and
    eventually side with Ruozoul.  Finally, Kirkus himself faced your people in the
    Euleed, the "Ultra-Elemental Machine" whose whole project was supposedly halted
    years before.  Of course, Kirkus continued it in secret, and of course he
    figured that its power would defend him from all evil while he put his plans
    into action.  He conceded to Yang that the revolution he had planned would
    likely be bloody: no one can get anything accomplished by simply fearing the
    spilling of blood.  Ryuune noted that that's simply a sign of how incompetent
    he was, and the battle was on.  The mighty Euleed showed what the Elemental
    God-Machines could have been, had people relied on their power instead of their
    innate goodness.  Kirkus' final refusal to admit the error of his ways, and his
    refusal to eject, caused Yang to finish him off.
    
    After that, Ra Gias has been _mostly_ peaceful.  The biggest problem right now
    is the ascension to the Langran throne, since Telius and Monica have both gone
    off with Shuu.  The new prince is some cousin of Senia's or something, and
    Masaki can't recall his name.  Just then Senia shows up, another obstacle to
    Ryuune getting in some quality time with Masaki.  Ahamed has appeared too,
    drifting in on the wind as his nature would demand.  He bears tales of
    Christof's personality changing, which fits what Shuu told Masaki about being
    free from Volkrus.
    
    Senia recalls the ceremony for resurrecting the god.  With some awkwardness,
    Monica assumed her place, followed by Shuu.  Shuu read from a scripture
    describing the equality and universality of death and destruction.  Ruozoul
    then commanded Shuu to plunge his blade into Monica, who in turn asked Shuu
    with doe eyes and trembling lips to not make it hurt.  Saphiine grinned and
    said she likes a bit of pain, and added that it'll only hurt at first, but
    after that...  As Ruozoul fumed at the interjection, Shuu told Monica that
    Volkrus' resurrection required the despair and death of someone whose hopes
    have been betrayed, the stronger the better.  Monica didn't seem to mind, but
    Shuu had actually picked a far better target: Ruozoul himself.  As Ruozoul
    writhed in pain and astonishment, Shuu told him that he ought to look happier
    at being sacrificed for his beloved god.  Moreover, Shuu referred to Volkrus
    without honorifics: some flaws in Ruozoul's resurrection had allowed Shuu to
    elude his contract with Volkrus.  Shuu _would_ bring Volkrus back, so he could
    kill it once and for all - surely Ruozoul remmebered how much Shuu hates being
    controlled?
    
    As the resurrection began in earnest, Shuu told Saphiine to withdraw, lest its
    power overwhelm her and bend her to its will.  She realized that she faced that
    fate at least once before, on the verge of becoming like Ruozoul: a slave.  She
    told Shuu that she'll stay and fight by his side, and would happily let him kill
    her if her resolve faltered.  Volkrus was in fact unable to turn Saphiine
    against Shuu, and Shuu and the others prevailed at the end.
    
    Mio seems very smug about Saphiine's proclivities, and Masaki wants to know how
    Shuu could be freed from the contract simply by being able to forget about it.
    Senia cautions him that the contract may have been hypnotic, and hypnosis is
    never to be underestimated.  In any case, Shuu put paid to it all with his
    usual aplomb, and the evil seems to have receded from him, but Masaki still
    distrusts what's going on deep in his heart.
    
    Ryuune is looking forward to more one-on-one time with Masaki, but Senia then
    tells Masaki that Wendy has come back.  Ryuune realizes that she's got a rival
    for Masaki's affections, one who's known Masaki longer than she has.  But
    there's more important news: the prophets have foretold a new calamity
    overshadowing Ra Gias.  It's not clear _what_ that calamity will be, but it is
    clear that Masaki will face it.  He will, of course, have help in the battle,
    but the fragdown is expected between six months and a year from now.
    
    
    Scenario 27. Sasurai no Presia (Wandering Presia)
    
    Your people do a headcount, trying to figure out how to protect the world.
    Gennajy is among those present, but as usual he gets overlooked until he
    actually speaks up.  There are six pilots, plus a very eager Presia.  If you
    tell her it's too early for her, she runs off in a rage.  Masaki's excuses
    about it being too soon seem lame even to him, and in a huff he agrees to go
    and try to win her back.  Mio figures that Masaki is just clueless about
    women, but Ryuune realizes that Masaki said what he did out of concern for
    Presia.  If only he'd be even a tenth that concerned about her herself...  A
    message then comes in: it seems that Presia has gone off on her own in the
    Diablo.  She's every bit as impetuous as her "brother" Masaki, even if she's
    no blood relation of his.
    
    Presia's indignation at Masaki's admonition quickly cools as she realizes that
    she's being pretty reckless herself, and has nowhere in particular to go in the
    Diablo.  She quickly runs into some Bagonian troops, led by Gino.  When the
    troops realize that a little girl is at the controls, some want to capture the
    Langran machine, but Gino is more inclined to speed Presia on her way.  He
    seems quite taken with her in fact, and one of the soldiers professes open
    puzzlement that his captain, the Demon Valencia, has a thing for little girls.
    Presia hesitates to go back, and Gino determines quickly that she must have run
    away from home.  He guarantees her a place to rest at his house, and instructs
    his troops to say nothing more of it.  It's when he starts composing a poem to
    Presia that his troops know he's got it bad.
    
    Your people arrive just after Gino leads her away.  You can try to beat
    Presia's whereabouts out of them, but if you don't, your people withdraw so as
    to not disturb the recently signed peace treaty with Bagonia.  Masaki is of
    course impatient to get Presia back, but Tutti tells him to be patient until
    Senia finds out her whereabouts.  The cats recall an old acquaintance of
    Zeoroot's in Bagonia: Shemel Hell, the Sword-Saint.  He's as good an excuse as
    any to get into Bagonia...
    
    
    Scenario 28. Densetsu no Kensei (The Legendary Sword-Saint)
    
    Tutti gets visas to enter Bagonia, but you'll have to tread lightly.  Should
    you break the seals the Bagonians will place on your weapons, you'll have to
    pay a heavy fine.  The border crossing is quite painless, but you find Shemel
    quite inhospitable at his house - apparently he's in the middle of making
    something.  As your people wonder what's up, Shemel's student Rosa Lee appears.
    She convinces her master to stop his lousy painting and greet the guests, just
    in time for a Demon Golem to appear out of nowhere.  She doesn't heed her
    master's call to trade places with her in the mech, determined to take it down
    herself.  Rosa Lee seemingly sees it as a matter of pride for her as the first
    pupil of Fueki Kuon Style to smite these guys down, but more golems quickly pop
    out to overwhelm her.  Masaki, in no mood to watch this girl get thrashed, says
    that he'll pay any amount of fines if need be, and even without Shemel asking
    springs into action.
    
      As the battle wears on, Masaki shouts to Rosa Lee that there's no way he can
      protect her if she keeps lollygagging around.  He tells her to do exactly as
      he says, which she takes as some kind of sexual dominance ploy at first.
      Tee hee.
    
    Shemel has at least one good way of thanking your people for their help:
    serving as witness that you broke the seals on your weapons in self-defense.
    He's also very happy to see that Zeoroot found so worthy a successor as Masaki,
    and asks how Presia is doing.  When he hears of her abduction, he considers it
    his duty as Zeoroot's brother in arms to help you out.  Gino's name comes up
    quickly as someone to check with, and Rosa Lee makes to contact him right
    away.
    
    
    Scenario 29. Bagonia no Yami (Darkness of Bagonia)
    
    Shemel isn't inclined to rest on his old laurels as "Sword Saint", saying that
    the "Sword Emperor" Zeoroot was far better than he was.  That he won those
    tournaments versus Zeoroot back when was more due to luck than anything.  Rosa
    Lee, for her part, more or less forced her way into Shemel's household to
    become his student, and perhaps self-proclaimed fiancee.
    
    If you elected not to fight the Bagonian troops, you can recover Presia right
    away from the trusty Gino.  She'll be headed to Shemel's house forthwith.  In
    the meantime, Shemel offers to paint everyone's portrait, though Rosa Lee makes
    him sound like the world's worst artist.  Finally, he agrees instead to come to
    your people's aid should you need him later.
    
    Gino then shows up with Presia, thanking Masaki for avoiding combat with his
    border guards, which would have surely meant their destruction.  Presia can't
    believe that Masaki actually controlled his temper for once, and Masaki smiles
    and says that he's got to grow up some time.  Presia, in tears, apologizes and
    rushes back to him.  They exchange apologies and praise, and Gino has another
    poem to commemorate the beautiful sibling love he sees.  Presia corrects his
    poem, but that's not what has Gino suddenly peeved - _that_ would be a certain
    mad scientist lurking behind the scenes.  It's Zetsu, mad with glee over being
    able to trash the products of the hated Academy.  This crazy coot has authority
    over all Bagonia's defenses, and isn't one to take shit from Gino.  Gino, with
    many apologies, has no choice but to withdraw and let Masaki and the others
    fight Zetsu.  Presia wants to fight too, and this time Masaki relents and
    allows her to try out a few tricks that Gino showed her.
    
    Zetsu has some reinforcements hidden away too, and Rosa Lee can't believe that
    a dirty old man like him is in charge of the national defense.  He goes down
    fairly easily, and heads off in fury to develop a stronger Elemental Machine to
    kick your ass later.  Gino apologizes again for not being able to use his
    position to stop Zetsu, embarassed at that fact in part as a former student of
    Shemel's.  He advises you all to leave quickly, since Zetsu is a very vengeful
    guy and will surely be back soon.  Masaki and Presia thank Gino for everything
    he's done, and your people head back.
    
    Once more Presia and Masaki apologize, and Presia assures Masaki that she'll be
    an adult soon too.  Ryuune wonders if she's got yet another rival for Masaki's
    affections.  Shemel gives you his sworn deposition to help with the weapon
    seals, and thanks you for bringing some actual civilization into his isolated
    mountain life.  He tells Presia that he'll welcome her any time.
    
    
    Scenario 30. Uragiri no Daishou (The Reward for Treachery)
    
    The seal of the famous Sword Saint is enough to get your people back across the
    border with no uproar.  The uproar actually starts after you get back to
    Langran: it's Zetsu, still out for revenge.  Among his posse is an American
    with a WAY stereotypical American affectation to his Japanese, Thomas Platt.
    [Why he should be like this when people from numerous other Earth nations speak
    perfectly good Japanese is beyond me.]  It so happens this guy was in the DC
    long ago, and recognizes Ryuune on sight.  Now a mercenary, he readily accepts
    the order to wipe your people out.  But more troubling is that _Fang_ is on the
    bad guys' side.  He claims to be there because he loves Langran, though he
    won't explain himself except to say that your people are somehow to blame.
    
    The old geezer just isn't giving things a rest, and at this rate it seems
    you'll have to face more assaults from Bagonia.  Masaki figures that this guy's
    hatred of Langranian Elemental Machines must have something to do with the
    Alchemists, and makes a note to ask Wendy.  Plus, there's Fang's treachery to
    consider...
    
    
    Scenario 31. Triangle Love
    
    Ryuune goes to Tutti for information about what her romantic rival is like: how
    old is she, and is she good looking?  Tutti ponders this, and says that if the
    29-year old Wendy _isn't_ beautiful, neither are a good eighth of the
    supposedly beautiful women on Earth.  Ryuune blanches at this assessment of how
    beautiful Wendy is, but figures she's still got youth on her side.  Her
    conviction begins to waver when she actually sees Wendy, who certainly doesn't
    _look_ 29.  No sooner does Ryuune try to butt in on Masaki's reunion with Wendy
    than Wendy's maturity (even complimenting Ryuune on being "cute") becomes
    evident.  Masaki gruffly refutes Ryuune's claim to be his lover, and Wendy
    smiles and says she's jealous of how well the squabbling pair seem to be
    getting along.
    
    As for Wendy herself, she's still on medication but well enough to travel with
    the rest of the crew.  Masaki's obviously concerned for her welfare, but her
    calm determination to do whatever she can to help in the trials to come carries
    the day.  That night, Ryuune comes and wakes Masaki up, asking if he'd chat
    with her given she can't sleep.  Masaki tells her to come back tomorrow...
    
    The next morning, Wendy announces that she's fixed Cosmo Nova, commenting that
    Masaki is, as usual, pretty rough on his mech: even the Psybuster's self-
    healing can't keep up.  Masaki promises her that he'll take better care, and
    Mio figures that with Masaki's openness to Wendy, Ryuune's really behind the
    eight ball.  The romance stuff gets preempted by a report of suspicious
    Shutedonian activity near the border in Troia.
    
    It's Rasetsu, who has his men searching for someone who is hiding in the
    vicinity.  Though he knows he's violating the border and realizes how fearsome
    his adversaries are, Rasetsu isn't one to back down.  His henchman Jog is glad
    to hear that, looking for some payback for the beatings he suffered during the
    last war.  Whatever or whoever the Shutedonians were looking for, it's surely
    not good news for your people.
    
    The fugitives are Rodney and Radius, whose absence Rasetsu isn't inclined to
    lose too much sleep over.  Jog politely points out that of those two, at least
    General Jes'ha (Rodney) is a pretty sharp guy, and Rasetsu figures that maybe
    he'd best put some of his plans into action, just to be on the safe side.  And
    that will take some time...
    
      [Battle ensues.]
    
    After things settle down, Ryuune goes over to Wendy, announcing that she can't
    manage to talk around things and that she'll come straight to the point: what
    does Wendy think about Masaki?  Wendy gets quite flustered, but Ryuune tells
    her straight up that she loves Masaki and pretty much forces Wendy to say that
    she does too.  Wendy wants to know why Ryuune asked, and Ryuune notes how girls
    often get into all kinds of drama over their crushes.  Ryuune knows she's bad
    at all such machinations, and figured it'd be easier to let Wendy know where
    she stands up front.  Wendy rather adores Ryuune's honesty, and promises her
    she won't do anything to earn her ire.  It's to be a womens' contract, far more
    binding than those between men if Wendy is to be believed.  Masaki of course
    has no clue what's going on.
    
    
    Scenario 32. Yang Long no Shuugyou (Yang Long's Training)
    
    You finally get in touch with Yang Long, who tells you that he's almost done
    with his training and will be back soon.  This "polishing his mind and body"
    business is supposed to result in some new killer move.  That move would be
    when Yang can fuse with the fire spirit Granva, and now that Yang has finally
    sighted the beginning of the process, the results should show themselves very
    soon.  Yang tells his Familiar that he'll make sure he's got the hang of it
    before rejoining the rest of your people, who he's confident can mind the store
    in his absence.  Though Yang still sees much in Masaki that could stand
    improvement, he's already improved enough on so many fronts that he's very
    nearly the worthy pilot of the Psybuster in Yang's eyes, and he suspects it's
    thanks to Masaki's runins with Shuu and the other menaces on the Surface.
    Heck, Masaki's honesty and openness with his emotions even make him jealous
    sometimes...
    
    Yang easily takes out one of the practice drones, grimacing and figuring that
    he can't advance his training any more by just fighting with them.  Lucky for
    him, Saphiine shows up, maintaining that she came to play with him today.  It
    seems that Shuu, absorbed with his research, isn't paying enough attention to
    her.  Yang doesn't intend to attack her, given she hasn't done anything wrong,
    but tells her sternly that given all the stuff in the past, she's not
    precisely entitled to just "come and play".  It's a strange relationship that's
    neither friend nor foe, and in any case Yang wishes she wouldn't interrupt his
    training.
    
    However, a pack of Demon Golems shows up.  Saphiine is quick to say that their
    arrival isn't her doing, and while she doesn't like Yang ordering her to help
    him eliminate them, she decides to help of her own accord to blow off a little
    stress.  As Yang fights them, he realizes that this is in fact good for his
    training, and wonders how Demon Golems could prove such formidable allies.
    Saphiine thinks that this might mean that "it" is the real thing, and coyly
    tells Yang that what she means is a secret.
    
    Just then Masaki and the crew show up, and Saphiine excuses herself without
    much protestation.  More Demon Golems show up instead, and it's up to your
    people to eliminate them.  In the process, Yang finishes his realization about
    his new attack.  With all four Elemental God-Machines now gathered, and no
    immediate threat from Shutedonias, Yang suggests that the others try some
    training too.  Masaki seems a bit dubious, noting that if you get too hung up
    on trying to acquire new deathblows, you may miss something more important.
    Wendy assures him it's alright...
    
    
    Scenario 33. Reiseikai no Shuugyou (Training in the Spirit Realm)
    
    Masaki figures that the fastest way to "train" would be to go ask Ibun to help
    you unlock your hidden potential.  Ibun has the same worry that Masaki did
    about getting carried away with power, but Wendy assures her too that it'll be
    okay.  Ibun can only help three people at a time, and since Yang has just
    finished his own training he offers to step aside.  Including Ryuune, there's
    still four people to whittle down to three, and Ibun decides that the training
    will take place in the Spirit Realm, also known as the Astral Plane.  This
    place, which mortals can't normally enter, is a realm where spiritual force
    avails more than force of arms.
    
    You really only reach the entrance to the Spirit Realm - even Ibun can't take
    you entirely inside.  After you select the three people, she tells you that
    you'll be fighting... yourselves.  It'll be hard, but if you can live through
    it you should find something nice awaiting you.
    
    Your opponents seem like versions of yourself but drunk on power, and fighting
    them is no picnic.  Ibun is sure you all learned something, saying that the
    difficulty level was unavoidable given the short amount of time available to
    her.  Your people then head back to the capitol, leaving Wendy to consult with
    Ibun alone.  Wendy is still suffering some kind of symptoms that Ibun sadly
    says may be supressed, but never erased.  Wendy is fully aware of that, but
    wants to stay by "his" side even one day longer.  Ibun growls, not unkindly,
    that "he" isn't worth falling that deeply in love with, and then begins the
    treatment.
    
    
    Scenario 34. Presia Tokkun (Presia's Special Training)
    
    Presia complains to Gennajy that it'd be nice if they could learn some new
    deathblows too - that would at least make them able to help out a bit.  Gennajy
    is at first skeptical, but after remembering that Presia is the daughter of
    the fabled swordsman Zeoroot finally agrees.  The spot for their training was
    where they previously held a picnic.  Gennajy insists over her objections that
    she's got to start by building her stamina, and adopting a sort of gym
    teacher-like persona has her run ten laps.  She's not very speedy, and luckily
    the appearance of some Demon Golems causes PE to get interrupted.
    
    Becky shows up on round two, apparently looking for treasure but professing to
    be on "training" when Gennajy asks.  This training is indeed good for learning
    some new moves, as well as raking in the money from the golden golems... which
    of course was part of Becky's reason for being on the scene.
    
    Masaki is about to chew Presia out for going off on her own when he's
    surprised to see Becky back.  Becky, finding Masaki much more manly than
    before, is about to give him a reunion kiss when Ryuune objects.  Masaki makes
    introductions, then storms off as the girls start teasing him about having more
    than one lover.  Becky hits it off with Mio, a fellow "Earth"-type pilot.
    
    
    Scenario 35. Shishi, Iki ni Toozu (A Noble's Pride)
    
    Masaki is busy losing at arm-wrestling to Gennajy (five times running).
    Neither Becky nor Yang want to fight that losing battle, and it's looking like
    Gennajy will reign unchallenged until Ryuune asks Masaki to let her cut in.
    Despite warnings from all around, Ryuune pulls off a stunning display of
    bravado and manages to somehow overpower Gennajy, who confirms in shock that he
    wasn't holding back at all.  Ryuune says that it's less about how strong she is
    and more about how she conditioned herself - at her father's insistence, given
    his foresight that she was destined to be a mecha pilot.  Part of the training
    was the special wristbands he made her wear, each of which weighs a good five
    kilograms.  Her father was certainly an oddball, but she doesn't resent the
    things he taught her: they've come in handy for, among other things, letting
    her get close to Masaki.  Mio whispers that Masaki had better watch out the
    next time he and Ryuune quarrel...
    
    ...but then Senia runs in with some real news: Bagonia has declared war.  That
    the avowed neutrals would do this is surprising, and Ryuune wonders idly if
    that old geezer Zetsu is still after you.  Wendy is astounded to hear that
    name, so famous as an "outcast" of the Academy of Alchemy.  It turns out that
    this man, known as the "Merciless Alchemist", has broken the Council's sternest
    strictures and dabbled in many forbidden arts, caring nothing for the outcome
    of whatever new technique he could perfect.  She explains that all alchemic
    academics must consider carefully the consequences of any new discovery, how to
    take responsibility for them and whether or not to make that discovery public.
    But Zetsu, purely for his own enjoyment, made countless instruments of death,
    and was exiled from the Council a good 30 years ago.
    
    Well, it seems he still harbors designs on revenge, and apparently he has the
    ear of Bagonia to boot.  Masaki vows that something must be done about Zetsu
    before things get any worse, and Presia wonders if Gino and Shemel could be of
    some help.  Probably, and the only way to find out is to sneak across the
    border now that a war is on.
    
    Shemel's assistance is being enlisted by Zetsu, who suggests that the penalty
    for refusal would be Shemel's precious apprentice being fed to wild beasts.
    Shemel realizes that his country won't last long with this lunatic calling the
    shots, and consents to be led back to the capitol.  Zetsu is mad with joy that
    he's now got all the ingredients to construct the Gattsoul, and orders one of
    the remaining soldiers to obliterate Shemel's house, without leaving any
    evidence.
    
    Before the deed can be completed, Gino appears and demands to know Shemel's
    whereabouts.  The soldier can't answer that, nor can he confirm whether Zetsu
    ordered the act.  That tells Gino all he needs to hear, and he orders the
    soldier to return to Zetsu at once and inform him that Gino's resigning his
    commission, effective immediately.  And that the next time Gino sees Zetsu is
    the time he'll chop off his head.  The soldier, sympathetic to Gino's
    standpoint, wishes he could help Gino - but Gino tells him not to overstrain
    himself; if Gino recalls correctly, the soldier is a newlywed.  The soldier, in
    awe, withdraws with a prayer that he never need face Gino on the field of
    battle.
    
    Gino then takes stock, uncertain how to act on his impulsive speech.  A poem
    comes to him suddenly: "Lingering twilight / Departs with the dawn, leaving /
    One shadow behind".  That proves especially true since Thomas and his men show
    up, sent by Zetsu to see that Gino doesn't make it out of here.  And should
    Thomas succeed, he's been promised an extra-special bonus.  Gino's lucky too,
    since Masaki and the crew show up.  Gino tells your people to flee, insisting
    that he can take care of this himself until Thomas brings out his reserve
    units.  After some suasion on your people's part, Gino shakes his head,
    thinking that he should have brought the Ginshas Plus instead.  He then agrees
    to accept Masaki and the others' help.
    
      [Battle, again ensues.]
    
    Thomas is astounded that his "lucky day" turned out this way, with him getting
    his ass beaten in.  After the dust settles, Gino tells you that Shemel was
    opposed to the declaration of war, which is probably why Zetsu hauled him away.
     This shouldn't have been possible except for Rosa Lee being held hostage, and
    Gino at least has some idea where she might be.  Shemel himself, however, could
    be anywhere.  Masaki asks Gino to lead you all to where Rosa Lee is - he's not
    doing this for Langran, but for all of Ra Gias in accordance with his duty as
    Elemental God-Machine pilot.  Gino protests that that was just a cover story
    cooked up by the Langran government, but Masaki shouts that that "cover story"
    was more than good enough to make him fight and kill Langran's highest
    official, Feir himself!  Gino realizes the truth in this at once and
    apologizes, adding that he's envious of your ability to live so freely
    according to your ideals.  Your people advise him to cast off his Bagonian
    citizenship as such and become one of you - it's Presia's plea that seals the
    deal.  Thus, he needs to be chosen by one of the Elemental Machines, but all
    that's handy are the Lastoll and Jayfar.  Until the test can occur, Masaki
    tells him to keep using his current machine.
    
    
    Scenario 36. Shemel to Rosa Lee (Shemel and Rosa Lee)
    
    Clues are proving elusive, and the only thing left in Shemel's house is a large
    collection of strange paintings (which Gennajy likes).  With no other choice,
    Gino leads you off towards Rosa Lee.  Gino explains to Ryuune that Rosa Lee,
    entranced with Shemel's swordsmanship, elbowed her way in as his pupil.  The
    bit about her being his fiancee is entirely her own invention, which reminds
    Mio a bit of Ryuune's situation with Masaki.  Ryuune contains her temper and
    doesn't pound Mio, but before she can quiz Gino any more your party arrives.
    
    There are no guards at your destination, and Masaki suspects that the bad guys
    are using some of their fiendish plans against you.  And the fiend himself then
    shows up.  He's got a special surprise waiting for you: it's Rosa Lee, whose
    mind he's fiddled with and who now sees you as nothing other than the ones who
    killed Shemel.  This is going to make it much harder to save her, though Wendy
    thinks there's a way if you can somehow deliver a shock to her.
    
      To rescue Rosa Lee, you've got to get rid of Zetsu first, then reduce her
      HP to below 50%.  Zetsu has rigged her mech to explode if she regains her
      senses, but she manages to eject just before it explodes.
    
    Zetsu is beginning to realize that he's not good enough to defeat you, and
    leaves in a huff.  As for how your activities are being anticipated so well, it
    turns out that Gino's mech is made out of a particular metal, whose radiation
    patterns can be tracked quite easily.  The offending radiation source can't be
    removed without totally dismantling the thing, and Masaki thinks that it'd be
    worth Gino trying an improv piloting of the Lastool.  Gino apologizes for all
    the trouble he's causing, but Masaki says he needn't apologize to the rest of
    his comrades.
    
    Rosa Lee meanwhile has no recollection of her ordeal, but does recall that her
    teacher is missing.  She's about to be seriously angsty when she realizes Zetsu
    could only haul him away because of her, but the news that your people are
    planning to rescue Shemel cheers her immensely.  Part of what's so great about
    your people (Gino included) is the ability to set aside personal hatreds for
    the greater good.  Also, she happened to spy a large pile of supplies when she
    was brought here, and hopes you can put them to good use.
    
    
    Scenario 37. Fang no Shin'i (Fang's True Intent)
    
    Ryuune wants to know if Rosa Lee really loves Shemel.  Rosa Lee blusters and
    says of course she does, as his wife and his student, but Ryuune thinks that
    her gaze when looking at Shemel is more the way one looks at someone they hate.
    Apparently Rosa Lee starts babbling when she gets excited, and Ryuune tells
    her that she won't press - it was just something she wondered about.  Rosa Lee
    assures her it's just her imagination...
    
    As for where Shemel is being kept, Gino can think of no better way than
    starting from the largest known Zetsu base and working down from there.  The
    chances for success are low, but you've got little other choice.  The first
    base is very heavily guarded, and a frontal assault is the order of the day.
    
    Who should be waiting for you but Fang!  Does he really want to kill you? Well,
    he blames the Surface folk for... something or other bad happening.  Meanwhlie,
    Zash shows up, claiming to be a changed man after all the training he's had
    (Ryuune sure hopes so, for his sake).
    
      Masaki can Persuade Fang, and it turns out that Fang is still bitter over
      the fact that your people killed Feir.  He thinks you all are criminals who
      led Langran to its present sorry state, but at that Masaki questions how
      Fang can even call himself an Elemental Machine pilot.  He forcibly reminds
      Fang what the duties and obligations of such a pilot are, spitting the words
      out between tears.  Finally, Fang comes to understand why Feir fought you:
      because he left everything in your hands.  Howling in anguish, Fang
      realizes that not only had he misunderstood his lord's heart, but also
      tarnished his good name.  Making matters even worse, he realizes he
      allowed his own unfulfilled rivalry with Masaki to further cloud his
      judgement.  He tries to apologize for his irreversible bad deeds, but
      Masaki yells that there is no such thing.  Should Fang want to make
      amends, Masaki will welcome him with open arms - and in the spirit of
      "better late than never", he joins your team.
    
      However, the fun's not over - Thomas shows up for a rematch.  He claims
      that Shemel is either in heaven or hell, but no longer here or anywhere
      else on this world.  Saying that Zetsu killed him as part of some kind of
      experiment, he tells the increasingly furious Masaki that he's got to go
      through him first before he can even think about Zetsu.
    
    So Fang is back on the scene, and Masaki tells him he needn't be all penitent
    about it.  Meanwhile, his machine has the same radiating metal that Gino's did,
    and Senia will happily dismantle it.  Fang's sure he can pilot whatever is
    left, since his old machine is now taken, and Masaki tells him to try the
    Jayfar on for size.
    
    All of which is very well and good, but Shemel still appears to be dead.  Rosa
    Lee can't believe it, insisting that her teacher, the man who killed her
    father, couldn't die from something this trivial.  She explains that her real
    name is Rosa Lee Gimnas, and her father was Harry Gimnas, a swordsman of some
    repute who died from a wound suffered in a match with Shemel.  Rosa Lee had
    wanted to steal the techniques of her father's killer, and eventually extract
    revenge.  But as Ryuune preceives, that killing wish had turned into genuine
    love with time.  Ryuune has a similar tale to tell of how Masaki killed her
    father, but she says she's too simpleminded for some kind of "revenge served
    cold" business.  Plus, she knows that both her father and Masaki did the best
    they could under their circumstances - and figures that her father's little
    world domination scheme was going a bit too far.  She's even grateful to Masaki
    in a way, and while she doesn't like the word "fate" she figures that her
    father's end was somehow inevitable.  Rosa Lee knows as well as Ryuune does
    that revenge only breeds more revenge, and she had indeed started seeing in
    Shemel a new father figure.  Ryuune councils her to rest for now, and let time
    warm but not erase the wounds.
    
    Obviously Zetsu is the real bad guy here, and you've got to kick his ass fast
    before any more bad stuff occurs...
    
    
    Scenario 38. Wendy no Kushin (Wendy's Worry)
    
    Though your people would love to wipe out Zetsu, there's only so much you can
    do given that he's a Bagonian official and all.  Gino has the idea of rounding
    up proof of Zetsu's misdeeds and using the network to circulate it as a
    broadside, though he dislikes the taint of underhandedness such tactics exude.
    This requires returning to the capitol to gather all the paperwork, and will
    give Senia a chance to use her nifty computers for a bit of illegal hacking.
    
    However, you are met at the capitol by some soldiers, with orders from the
    Alchemists' Council for Wendy to show herself at once.  There are similar
    orders for the Elemental Machine pilots, and the soldier tells you to find out
    why at the council itself.  Tutti agrees to go as your representative, at which
    the soldier orders the rest of your people to wait in Langran.  Masaki heatedly
    points out to this punk that nobody has the authority to order him around, and
    the soldier replies that if his demands are not met he's authorized to use
    force.  It's not clear what's happened in your absence, but it seems to involve
    Shutedonias and Bagonia, and has made things a lot more awkward.
    
    Masaki muses that Langran seems a bit less inclined to work for the best
    interests of all Ra Gias than when Feir was at the helm.  Wendy and Tutti are
    sure taking a long time at whatever this meeting is, and an emergency message
    comes in that Langran is about to be...  but Wendy's long-staved off condition
    is coming back to haunt her, and cuts her off.  It's not clear what Wendy was
    trying to say, but at least Tutti makes it back.  Shaking her head, she tells
    you that you've been requested to take out some Demon Golems nearby.  The
    stupidity of the Langran government has her aggravated, but the tale will have
    to wait.  It's more than a bit odd that Demon Golems would appear in the middle
    of town, but...
    
      Assuming Becky makes it through the battle, you'll see a bunch of golden
      golems come out.  Given that the government hasn't been giving you much
      of an allowance, maybe this is pennies from heaven?
    
    Tutti tells you what the council was up to: pondering making the Elemental
    Machines part of Langran's regular army by ignoring their fundamental mission.
    Fortunately that was only coming from part of the council, but a part with
    influence.  Masaki wants to run right over and give them a piece of his mind,
    but Tutti tells him to leave the negotiating to her.  Instead, Ryuune suggests
    he go check in on Wendy, given that the Academy is nearby.
    
    Wendy had in fact lost consciousness, and is being tended to by one of the
    guards.  He seems evasive when he denies that she said anything strange, and
    Wendy has a vague memory of something regarding her sister.  But why?
    
    
    Scenario 39. 17-ban-me no Masouki (the Seventeenth Elemental Machine)
    
    Ryuune takes the lead, lest Masaki's infamous sense of direction or hot
    headedness cause trouble.  She finds them a secluded spot to park their mecha,
    and they sneak in through an air duct.  Since Ryuune's in the lead, this gives
    Masaki a good look at her large, shapely ass, and she fiercely tells him not to
    stare.  Hilarity aside, the two of them manage to catch sight of something
    shocking on the way to Wendy's room: a newly developed Elemental Machine!  The
    fact that Langran made it without telling the other Elemental pilots is a bad
    sign.  Masaki has his cats search for Wendy's plana, the work of but a few
    moments.  But what Masaki finds upon entering her door...
    
    ...Is someone _resembling_ Wendy but with flaming red hair.  And with Wendy's
    clothes and perfume.  Masaki and Ryuune are taken aback, but whoever they're
    talking to thinks it's time to give "it" a little test.  Before starting the
    experiment, the woman says her name is Teldy Rasm Ignart - and informs Masaki
    and Ryuune that they're going to help her.  But before she can throw a certain
    switch, she collapses, morphing back into the familiar Wendy right before their
    eyes.
    
    Wendy explains that what they just saw is her twin sister Teldy, but a giant
    explosion cuts her off.  In panic, she realizes that the Ishmael's autopilot
    has been engaged, and pleads with Masaki to reign it in.  The Ishmael is in
    the hangar, and it's pretty clear that only Masaki and Ryuune are in any
    position to stop it.
    
    Further explanation from Wendy will have to wait, but for now Masaki vows to
    take this "Ishmael" thing down in no time flat.  When he does, he notes how
    tough it is - almost like an Elemental God-Machine.  The debris is even trying
    to regenerate as they speak, and Masaki makes sure to keep the pieces
    separate.
    
    Wendy explains that her twin's heart dwells within her - something she never
    even realized until she was badly wounded during the assault on the capitol.
    Ever since that day, she's been plagued by hallucinations and headaches - and
    as her constitution has worsened and her plana lessened, her sister has come to
    show her face more and more.  She and her sister share thoughts and memories,
    so she knows precisely how her sister feels.  Indeed, the fact that she can
    lead an even remotely normal life is thanks to her sister being sacrificed, for
    which Wendy can find no words of gratitude or apology good enough.
    
    At first her sister was cooperative, but Teldy's heart is filled with nothing
    but an all-encompassing blackness.  Her hatred of this world that allowed her
    to live yet denied her the right to be born rules her heart - and Wendy can no
    longer contain her sister's spirit.  Wendy fears that her sister will replace
    her at this rate, and even as they speak feels a swoon coming over her.
    
    Masaki and Ryuune get her to pull herself together, and demand to know more
    about this Ishmael thing she seems mixed up in.  She explains that the Ishmael
    was born out of the Langran government's fear of the Elemental Machines moving
    out of their control, and made possible by restarting the abandoned project for
    a seventeenth Elemental Machine.  Wendy herself refused to help, but Teldy was
    more than happy to - and now Ishmael is something far more powerful and far
    more malevolent than what Wendy had originally designed.  She tells them that
    this forbidden number 17th machine must not be allowed to exist [think the
    unlucky number 13].  Masaki tells Wendy to come with you, vowing to see to her
    well-being on his authority as a pilot, and says he'll have Tutti try to do
    something about Ishmael...
    
    
    Scenario 40. Ishmael Goudatsu (Theft of the Ishmael)
    
    Wendy has calmed down, but it seems clear that some serious therapy is needed.
    Given the spiritual nature of the problem, Ibun would be the best bet, and
    Ryuune is especially enthusiastic about seeing that her
    friend/comrade/who-knows-what is cared for.  Ibun of course knows about Wendy's
    condition already, and says it would be a lie to say that there's no way to
    _cure_ it... but the method is rather rough - possibly too rough for Wendy in
    her weakened state.  Wendy, who managed to wake up without the others noticing,
    is willing to give it a shot: it wouldn't be fair for her to be the only person
    not risking their life around here.  While she feels badly for her sister,
    she'd rather have that sister driven from her than allow Teldy to fully possess
    her and bring great evil to Ra Gias.  She agrees with Ryuune that their little
    "contest" is to resume once she's better, though Masaki has no idea what this
    contest entails.
    
    The angst is broken up by word of a raid on the Academy.  Rasetsu is
    definitely not heeding the guards' commands to stop, and tells Jog to help the
    money-minded Rubikka mop up things around here.  Your people show up in time
    for the guard to tell Masaki that the Ishmael has been stolen by Shutedonias.
    Masaki blames Langran for making the monster in the first place, but realizes
    quickly that the only thing to do is go steal it back.  But before you can do
    that, you've got to frag down with Rasetsu's lackeys.
    
    It seems Rasetsu is a rising star in the Shutedonias power elite.  It's very
    fishy that he managed to infiltrate the Academy and all, and Senia finds some
    disturbing info when she checks up on him.  Shutedonias is in fact split into
    two factions: Rasetsu's, and _Jes'ha's_ - the old guy was temporarily exiled
    for opposing Rasetsu's ideas, but he's recently come back into favor.  Enough
    favor that he might well replace the current president, the disfavored
    Zoraushald.  This seems to be forcing Rasetsu's hand, and on the heels of the
    mess with Bagonia it appears certain that Rasetsu plans a full-on offensive
    with Langran.  After all, proof of defeating the Elemental God-Machines would
    give the Shutedonian hawks ample encouragement for war.
    
    
    Scenario 41. Kishi Kaisei (Death and Ressurection)
    
    Ryuune is pondering one of the larger questions in life: is it possible for one
    person to become happy without another becoming unhappy?  She's thinking of
    Wendy and her sister, but Masaki tells her it's wrong to think of happiness in
    ways others define.  It's up to each person to define happiness for himself:
    obsessing about unhappiness will surely be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  He's
    sure that Wendy understands that, and Ryuune tells him that she's just found a
    new reason to love him.  She snuggles up close to him, but says she won't go
    any farther, because of a little "promise" she made.
    
    Rasetsu doesn't wait long to launch his offensive.  He's not happy about having
    to pull something this grandiose to solidify his power base, and figures that
    the usefulness of allying himself to Zoraushald may be at an end.  He and his
    troops are waiting for your people to show up, and Masaki for one is furious
    with anyone who would use war as a means to advancing their career.
    
    Rasetsu is forced to retreat without much of a fight, but everybody knows that
    the Ishmael can be far more dangerous.  Both sides are sure that when Rasetsu
    comes again, one side or the other is going to go home in body bags.  On a
    lighter note, word comes in that Wendy's treatment has been a success.  Masaki
    hurries to see her, but Ryuune recommends he swing by the capitol first to buy
    her some kind of get-well present.  The entire crew comes along, quickly
    squabbling (nicely, for the most part) about suitable presents.
    
    
    Scenario 42. Yabou no Owari (The End of Ambition)
    
    With Mio's Familiars doing the Three Stooges act, Masaki and Ryuune head to the
    Soratis Shrine first, leaving the others to follow later.  What they find is
    pretty astounding: Wendy, fresh from her bath, is happily humming to herself in
    her room - sans clothing.  Ryuune is incredibly fast to shield Masaki's eyes,
    and the two of them end up in a heap on the ground.  It's hard for them to even
    get out so Wendy can get dressed.  Masaki maintains that he saw nothing, but
    lets it slip that Wendy is awfully well proportioned for someone her age.
    Further hilarity is cut short when Ibun passes on a report from Tutti - Rasetsu
    has struck again.
    
    Rasetsu, seeing that the Psybuster isn't here yet, stays in reserve and
    performs some final adjustments while his subordinates take on the rest of your
    people.  Once you defeat the first wave of bad guys, Rasetsu shows up, ready
    for the final battle.  If Rodney is so inclined, he shows up here too, to help
    your people overthrow Rasetsu's plans of coup d'etat.  He taunts Rasetsu with
    the knowledge that his plans are finished, and says that the Elemental
    God-Machines will get the honor of ending his miserable life.  Now it's really
    the case that Rasetsu and his stooges are done unless they can eliminate the
    Elemental God-Machines.
    
    When you put paid to Rasetsu, he realizes that he simply wasn't strong enough -
    he probably deserves to go down fighting like this.  Rodney thanks you for
    taking out the trash, quick to point out that he isn't planning to fight you
    today.  He did want to tell you that he's planning on entering the Shutedonian
    presidential contest, saying that if he wins he might just be able to make
    Shutedonias a slightly saner place.  In any case, it appears Shutedonias has
    been taken care of - leaving only Zetsu.  The plan is to return to the capitol,
    check in on Wendy, and gather information on doings in Bagonia.
    
    
    Scenario 43. Gattso no Ikaku (The Menace of the Gattso)
    
    Wendy actually comes to greet you as you head for the capitol.  She explains
    that Ibun has separated Teldy from her, keeping her soul with the spirits at
    the Soratis Shrine to placate it.  She's come to terms with her decision to act
    for the greater good, and has vowed never to forget her sister.  As long as
    Teldy has someone to remember her, perhaps her soul will be saved after all -
    and Ryuune vows to remember Teldy too.
    
    Senia then runs in with some good news: Bagonia has chosen to expel Zetsu! This
    will lead to a peace treaty with Langran, and the only thing that remains is to
    capture Zetsu himself, now a fugitive from the law.  There's only one place he
    could be trying to attack: the Academy.  Senia's put all her computing
    expertise to use and figures the defenses are perfect, and in fact your people
    get very early warning of Zetsu's attack.
    
    Thomas is getting a bit tired of going along with Zetsu's revenge jag, but
    it's a bit late to back out now.  Zetsu's crazed talk of vengeance is
    interrupted by your people's appearance - it seems he's so far gone he no
    longer recognizes your crew.  Thomas contents himself with trying to settle his
    score, and offhandedly admonishes Zetsu not to hit him too.
    
    In time, Zetsu discovers a strange red substance coming out of his belly.
    Something about it tickles his addled mind, and he begins giggling, interupted
    by increasingly severe coughs.  The explosion of his machine takes him with it.
    Thus ends the last sliver of darkness threating Bagonia, who along with
    Shutedonias will _not_ be engaging in a pointless war with Langran after all.
    Shemel may also be able to rest in peace now: a reminder that much was
    sacrificed to get to this point.  Yang grimaces and notes that even you all, no
    gods, have limits to what you can accomplish.  Masaki just hopes that this is
    really the end...
    
    With peace seemingly guaranteed, Ryuune asks Wendy if she wants to get the
    competition for Masaki actively underway.  Wendy stammers a bit at this until
    Ryuune says she was joking, and both women agree it's a good thing Masaki
    doesn't have more of a clue about women, or they'd have even more rivals...
    
    Scenario 44. Saikai, Shuu (Reunion with Shuu)
    
    Ryuune manages to pester Masaki to take some time off from the war recovery
    work long enough to go swimming with her and Wendy, though she has to resort to
    telling him that Wendy's bought some "daring" swimwear and _then_ badger him on
    top of it.  Ryuune is miffed that Wendy's name did the trick, and more miffed
    that it's turned into a group outing.  We find out that Tutti, although
    protected by the water spirits, can't swim; though she does point out that
    Masaki can't exactly fly either.  Mio, meanwhile, IS practicing tunneling
    underground, hoping to get in a good eight hours of yoga on her next dig.
    Lucky for Tutti there's a very suitable coach around: Gennajy, former Gold
    medalist in swimming.
    
    The sight of Ryuune in her very skimpy bathing suit doesn't stir Masaki, but
    Zash is practically falling over himself to praise her.  She is about to
    delicately point out to him that she's out for Masaki, but he tells her he
    knows all about that.  He's still free to fall in love with whomever he
    chooses, even if he can't do anything about it - indeed, Ryuune is in much the
    same boat.  As your people approach the beach, they spot some very unwelcome
    visitors: some Demon Golems!  What's more, Shuu and Saphiine are here as well.
    Shuu efficiently calms Masaki down and assures him that the Golems aren't his
    doing.  He tells Masaki to help wipe the bad guys out if he wants to hear whose
    fault they _are_, and Saphiine adds that girls hate people who do nothing but
    harangue them all day.
    
    After the battle, Saphiine explains that she and Shuu had come to enjoy the
    swimming - in the nude, in her case.  Shuu has to keep her from squabbling with
    Masaki, and explains that this came about due to that Ruozoul guy getting
    resurrected.  Of course, Shuu is more than a match for the Wizoul...  at least,
    the normal one.  After taking down Volkrus, Ruozoul has been hounding Shuu even
    more fiercely than Masaki once did, and Chika adds that she suspects Ruozoul
    must be in love with her master or something, not that that's anything but
    creepy given the guy's ugly face.
    
    Masaki has to threaten Chika with his cats to get a word in edgewise, and Shuu
    agrees that this sounds like a good plan for Chika to learn to hold her tongue.
    In any case, Masaki realizes that Volkrus and Ruozoul are a major threat to Ra
    Gias, especially combined.  He happily offers to help Shuu, and Shuu is duly
    impressed with how much Masaki has matured.  However, he warns Masaki that if
    he's to become a true pilot, he's still got a lot to learn: and he'll see that
    shortly.
    
    
    Scenario 45. Jashin Kourin (Advent of the Evil God)
    
    Shuu and Masaki are both taking a walk through the capitol: Shuu's first visit
    in a long time.  Shuu's women are squabbling over him somewhat more
    aggressively than Masaki's, and when sparks fly between Saphiine and Masaki,
    she gets back at him by baring her ample bosom right in the middle of the
    street.  Shuu sighs and asks Masaki to join him inside the palace where they
    can actually talk like civilized human beings.
    
    Shuu tells Masaki that he's pretty certain where Ruozoul is, but isn't quite
    ready to go yet.  He's got Senia working on a way to defeat Ruozoul's old
    "invincible mode" trick.  In fact, Senia finishes very fast with Wendy helping
    out: she suggests that Masaki be the one to thank Wendy for her part.  Shuu
    explains how the battle will unfold: he's got to attack first, which will
    disrupt the Nagtsart's Astral Shift and let everyone else take a whack at it.
    Masaki is content to let Shuu get the first strike in, and everyone heads off
    to battle.
    
    Ruozoul seems almost happy to see his two tormenters here in person.  As for
    Shuu, he's determined to see Ruozoul destroyed so utterly he'll never be able
    to come back.  Unfortunately, Shuu's recovered memory makes him susceptible to
    Volkrus trying to control him.  Ruozoul does indeed suceed, and tells Shuu to
    return to Volkrus' service.  There's only one chance: for Masaki's words to
    pierce Shuu's hypnosis and return him to sanity.
    
      You must Persuade Shuu twice with Masaki, while dodging bad guys left and
      right.  Masaki demands to know how Shuu can talk down to him so damn much
      if he's one to let himself be controlled by such a loser as Volkrus.
      Masaki's verbal abuse, plus Shuu's will, prove stronger than Volkrus' curse.
      Shuu is grateful to Masaki, and more than ready to make the already-dead
      Ruozoul pay for this humiliation.  Ruozoul can't believe that a mere mortal
      could refuse a god, and Shuu reminds him that anyone who stands in his way,
      be they man or god, will be shown no mercy.  If Saphiine fights him, she
      says that although her tastes are _broad_, they don't extend to
      necrophilia.
    
    Ruozoul is disbelieving that man could topple God to the end, but Masaki yells
    that your living people are far more important than some "God" anyway.
    
    Gino is heading back to Bagonia temporarily to help settle the political
    situation there.  Presia is looking forward to his return, and Rosa Lee tells
    him not to forget her luggage when he comes back.  He in turn reminds her not
    to slack off her practice, since she's now an official Elemental Machine pilot.
    Gino figures Presia is in good hands with Masaki as her "older brother" and
    departs, just soon enough for Becky to miss giving him a farewell toast.  Becky
    likes the fact that he's the only other guy, besides Ricardo, who can stand as
    much alcohol as she can.  She feels a bit sad that her drinking partner is
    gone, but figures she can still drink alone and heads off to do so.
    
    Gennajy and Mio were also late, apparently because Mio took too long changing
    into some _very_ girly pink getup for Gino's benefit.  Apparently she and
    Gennajy have formed a comedy duo, though Gennajy seemingly doesn't have his
    heart in memorizing the material.  His protests do sound a bit weak though as
    he and Mio leave.  Fang, also late, then shows up, wishing to say "farewells"
    to Gino.  It seems he wants to go on a long trip, to iron out something he
    still feels itching him at the bottom of his heart.  Masaki understands fully,
    and to Fang's surprise Masaki tells him to take his mech with him.  This is
    supposed to help him recall his decision as an Elemental Machine pilot, and
    Fang gratefully accepts.  He tells Masaki, with a smile, that they'll have to
    settle their score later.
    
    Next up are Yang and Tutti, who said their temporary goodbyes to Gino last
    night.  They actually have tidings that Shuu, for once, is looking for Masaki.
    Masaki realizes that Shuu can't well hang around here, and that he's planning
    to leave.  Masaki plans to go see him off, and Tutti announces that she's
    getting ready to do her turn at making dinner.  Presia is aghast, offering to
    help becasue of Tutti's very... "individual" style of flavoring.  Yang and
    Masaki both urge Tutti to accept Presia's help, which she sighs and complies
    with.
    
    Zash then shows up, noting that neither Saphiine nor Wendy are here.  He goes
    off to look more, and the cats realize that Zash is very much interested in the
    opposite sex - unlike a certain someone they know.  Shuu then appears,
    confirming that he's about to leave.  Masaki comments on how much Shuu has
    changed, though he still doesn't 100% trust him since he's never really heard
    Shuu talk in terms of doing things for the good of the world and the people in
    it.  Shuu smiles and supposes that Masaki's got that right, and marvels again
    at how Masaki was the one to save him.  Masaki never would have guessed that
    either, and asks Shuu what he plans to do now.  That's Shuu's question: is
    Masaki thinking about his future?  Masaki...  has no idea, and Shuu says that
    he's in the same boat: given that both of them are mere mortals, neither can
    really see the future that well.
    
    With that, Shuu takes his leave, asking Masaki not to do anything to upset the
    two ladies by his side.  Masaki smirks and says that that goes for him too, and
    with a smirk of his own Shuu sets off.  Just then Monica and Saphiine show up,
    wondering where their Shuu has gone off to.  Masaki has no clue, and the women
    squabble over whose fault it is Shuu is so upset with them.  Gathering
    herself, Saphiine prepares to head off after Shuu, pointing out to Shuu's
    reconciled acquaintance Masaki that Shuu is _not_ gay.  Masaki doesn't get this
    at all, and she flies off, leaving "see you again" as her farewell.
    
    Ryuune then shows up - not to say goodbye to Shuu, but possibly to tell Shuu
    not to lay a finger on "her" Masaki.  Wendy is shocked, surprised at the
    thought that Shuu might swing that way, and Ryuune says it certainly seems like
    that to her.  Wendy is now quite flustered, wondering what to do with that
    information, and Masaki asks why the heck women are so obsessed with that kind
    of logic.  It's nothing but disgusting to him.  As the women continue pondering
    the topic, Masaki figures that he knows a bit of the troubles Shuu must be
    going through...
    
    THE END!