30 Apr 2023

Reed: Before anything else, make sure she's real.

...It looks like she might be real, considering how fiercely protective Ludwig is of her. And how fiercely protective she is of Boyfriend, too.

For one thing, the real deal would've never left them behind, nor have shown Five her weak side. But could a spirit fool those animals too? Really, is it going to be the same trick twice in a row?

You can't risk letting your guard down, but man... this is getting old.

  • Aria: Whew... ah.
  • Aria: Are you okay, Five...?
  • Reed: Hold it.
  • Reed: Don't get any closer.

End encounter.

  • Aria: Oh, wait, wait, umm... I'm real!
  • Aria: I can prove that to you, with the disguise...
  • Aria: See? I can control yours!
  • Five: Whoa... it's true...!
  • Reed: Oh. Well, I guess you've kind of already proved it.
  • Reed: I don't believe those two would follow and aid a fake around.
  • Reed: But you know. Just in case.
  • Aria: Oh...!
  • Ludwig: Bork.
  • Boyfriend: Meow...
  • Reed: What do you think, Five?
  • Five: Yes...! Aria, is real Aria!
  • Five: Spirit, not bring friends with it...
  • Five: But Aria never leaves friends alone!
  • Aria: ...Wow. I'm glad you can tell.
  • Aria: Somehow, that makes me really happy!
  • Aria: Boyfriend and Ludwig, they've helped me fight off a few bad spirits!
  • Ludwig: Bark!
  • Reed: Wait... even Boyfriend?
  • Aria: Yes! Even him!
  • Aria: He can be quite vicious for a little cat, apparently!

Aria: Comfort Five. This must've been shocking for her.

  • Aria: Are you alright, Five?
  • Five: Aria... Five is so glad Aria is here.
  • Five: It... it was scary...
  • Aria: There, there.
  • Five: First, Five thought spirit was Aria...
  • Five: Then, Five thought spirit really was Nino.
  • Five: Spirits, so... s-scary...
  • Aria: It's alright now.
  • Aria: None of them will get to you with us here.
  • Aria: I'll make sure of it!
  • Five: ...Five knows.
  • Five: Friends, always promise to protect Five...
  • Five: But... what if spirits hurt friends instead...?
  • Aria: Don't worry.
  • Aria: They won't lay a finger on anyone with me around.
  • Aria: Ludwig and Boyfriend are here as well!
  • Aria: They're very good at telling who's real and who isn't, you know!
  • Five: Really?
  • Aria: Absolutely! We'll protect each other.
  • Aria: Spirits don't stand a chance when we work together.
  • Aria: No one's going to fall for their cheap tricks anytime soon.

Pets: Confirm realness of everyone via noses.

  • Reed: ...Is that true? That they can tell us apart from the fakes.
  • Aria: Ah, yes! Ludwig especially, since he recognizes the scent of a person.
  • Aria: Hehe, he's already identified you two as "real" a while ago.
  • Five: :ooo !
  • Reed: Oh. Glad we spent enough time around him for that to be possible, then.
  • Aria: Gosh, Reed, you wouldn't believe it...
  • Aria: But I ran into two spirits in a row earlier!
  • Aria: The first one looked like you...
  • Aria: Then the other one pretended to be Mei.
  • Aria: Thankfully, boyfriend could tell right away that it wasn't really her.
  • Aria: But it put up quite a fight, so to speak...
  • Aria: I even wasted away my old weapon dealing with it,
  • Aria: So I discarded it for this axe I found!
  • Reed: Well, fuck.
  • Reed: We just ran into you and quote-unquote Nino here.
  • Aria: Huh...? You fought two spirits too?
  • Reed: Mm. They uh... really had it out for us.
  • Reed: I couldn't take two steps without these things approaching.
  • Reed: The second spirit even pretended to kill the first one to fool us.
  • Aria: No way... you ran into spirits that were working together!?
  • Aria: And here I was thinking I'd have the craziest spirit story to share...
  • Reed: Nope. Got you beat there.
  • Aria: Ahh, I don't know what's going on, but it's clearly very dangerous here!
  • Reed: Yeah. Looks like the place is full of spirits for whatever reason.
  • Reed: For now, we should step away from this mess.

Group: Explain everything that happened up to this point.

  • Reed: By the way, you get any injuries in your fights...?
  • Aria: Thankfully, no! I was able to tell that they were fakes right away,
  • Aria: So the spirits didn't have the chance to try anything.
  • Reed: Wait, hold on...
  • Reed: What about me here, then? How did you know I'm real?
  • Reed: Is it because of Five?
  • Aria: Oh... not really.
  • Aria: I wouldn't put it past a spirit to try tricking her too.
  • Aria: They don't show mercy to anyone, not even a child.
  • Aria: But I have a way of confirming you're real for sure!
  • Aria: It's the disguise again!
  • Aria: I can feel the presence of my ability on you.
  • Aria: It's my sure-fire way to confirm who's real and who isn't!
  • Reed: Oh.
  • Aria: Earlier, with the spirit...
  • Aria: It pretended to be you with a disguise on,
  • Aria: And yet, I couldn't feel anything from it.
  • Aria: So I knew something was off right away!
  • Reed: I see...
  • Aria: I could also find you quickly, because...
  • Aria: When I got close enough, I sensed your disguise nearby.
  • Aria: From there, I knew how to track you down!
  • Reed: That's really useful.
  • Aria: Mhm!
  • Reed: And your disguise doesn't disappear, even if we get injured.
  • Reed: It's handy.
  • Aria: Yes... wait, huh?


  • Aria: Oh my gosh! You're bleeding!
  • Aria: You... you actually ARE injured?
  • Reed: Yes? I know.
  • Reed: It's nothing, though. So-
  • Aria: That's not nothing!
  • Aria: You need to take care of it right away!
  • Reed: Wha... ow. Don't pull.
  • Aria: What were you thinking?
  • Aria: Don't tell me... that it would just heal on its own?
  • Five: Yes! Aria, Reed doesn't want help!
  • Five: Reed always telling Five, it's fine...!
  • Aria: That's stupid! It's an open wound!
  • Aria: It'll leave a mark behind...
  • Aria: And it might hurt even worse if it got infected.
  • Reed: You talk like this is the end of the world.
  • Aria: You mean you'll just walk around bleeding like that?
  • Aria: I shudder to think how you've been treating your wounds all this time!
  • Aria: I bet you'd leave them to slowly repair by themselves every time...
  • Reed: Ha, that's been the case for a while now.
  • Reed: Come on, it's fine.
  • Reed: Not like I have anything I could use to treat it, anyway.
  • Aria: Wow. Nope.
  • Aria: Here's the first aid.
  • Aria: We're not moving until you fix that nasty thing.
  • Reed: ...


  • Reed: Hey, what if I told you to quit babying me.
  • Aria: Huh...? Medical care is babying?
  • Five: Wrong! Reed is wrong!
  • Five: Everyone gets ouchies... and everyone must take care of it!
  • Five: Not for baby only!
  • Aria: Yes, listen to Five!
  • Aria: Reed, you need an intervention. Otherwise...
  • Aria: I worry you'd tell even a doctor giving you life-saving surgery to "eff off".
  • Aria: So call it babying or whatever,
  • Aria: I'm still going to ask you to take care of yourself.
  • Reed: My life's not in danger, though?
  • Aria: Then we can't let it get that bad, can we?
  • Aria: No matter how small, don't brush off something that hurts.
  • Reed: ...Hahahah.
  • Aria: What's so funny?
  • Reed: Nothing. I was just thinking...
  • Reed: I'm glad that a real person's finally here.
  • Aria: Oh... likewise!
  • Aria: I'm just about done with the imitations.
  • Reed: By the way...
  • Reed: Why didn't my disguise disappear, even after getting injured?
  • Aria: Because it's me who's using my ability!
  • Aria: If I were to get hurt, instead of you...
  • Aria: It would disrupt my focus, and both of our disguises would disappear.
  • Reed: Oh, huh. That's even handier than I thought.
Spirits really are cold.
They lack this warmth that only another living being could give.

Anyway... it's a good thing Aria survived her spirit encounters without any damages. That means even Nino's disguise would be fine right now, wherever he is.

Reed: Stop to take in the sights.

Although you'd have wanted to move on faster... Five seems enamored.
Wouldn't be the worst to adjust from a brisk walk to a stroll, you suppose.

  • Five: The glass is glowing! It's pretty!
  • Aria: Hehe, these are called crystals, Five.
  • Five: Crystals... not glass?
  • Reed: They don't break as easily as glass does.
  • Aria: They're also more valuable!
  • Aria: Umm, let's see... sparkling accessories, like earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, are sometimes made from precious crystals.
  • Aria: Have you seen anything like that before?
  • Five: Oh! Yes... like pretty lady wears!
  • Aria: Yes yes, exactly!
  • Five: Why is there a lot of crystals here?
  • Five: Five... never see pretty crystals before!
  • Five: Human world has snow like here, but not crystal... why?
  • Reed: They form naturally in this place, but not everywhere.
  • Reed: It's just like how specific flowers might grow only in a specific place.
  • Five: Oh...! Crystal garden, like a flower garden!
  • Reed: ...Sure. That's one way to describe it.
  • Five: Crystal is so shiny, and Five can see... like mirror...
  • Five: Hehe, Boyfriend's face looks funny in the crystal!
  • Boyfriend: Meow...?
  • Aria: I've often heard that Hyouga dominates the mining industry here.
  • Reed: Yeah. This place is famous for its natural crystal veins.
  • Reed: Though I'm sure what you could find in underground caves is a lot more valuable than these on the surface.
  • Aria: I've also heard plenty about the precious ores excavated here before...
  • Aria: But this landscape sure is something else to see in person!
  • Reed: ...I think I appreciate that it's less dark out here.
  • Aria: True! Earlier, it was so dark that it felt like nightfall had already come.
  • Five: It's pretty! Really pretty, but...
  • Five: Five wishes everyone could see it together.

Aria: Confront.

  • Five: Five is glad, that real Aria and friends are here now...
  • Five: But, but, Aria...
  • Five: Nino is gone! Mei too!
  • Aria: Nino... he went after Mei.
  • Reed: Yeah. It looks like we've gotten totally separated from them.
  • Aria: ...No. That's not it.
  • Aria: You made me abandon him, Reed.
  • Aria: I was so close, just a little more and I would've reached him...
  • Aria: Why did you stop me...?
  • Reed: Bad idea to follow suit.
  • Aria: How would you know!?
  • Reed: Because you and I remained on the correct path.
  • Reed: Those two deviated from it.
  • Reed: It's definitely the dangerous thing to go off-course.
  • Aria: I... I realize that.
  • Aria: But isn't it all the more reason to try and help them?
  • Reed: I'd rather not risk it.
  • Aria: Then you should've just crossed on your own!
  • Reed: ...I'm not talking about risking myself.
  • Aria: What...?
  • Reed: We have others relying on us here, don't we.
  • Reed: I can't only think of what I want to do,
  • Reed: And neither can you.
  • Aria: ...But...
  • Five: Aria, Reed...
  • Five: Please don't fight.
  • Aria: ...
  • Aria: Right. Sorry, Five.
  • Five: Aria... what is Aria going to do now?
  • Aria: We... we'll look for Nino and Mei, of course!
  • Aria: I don't know how, but... we have to find them!
  • Aria: Um... I didn't mean to lash out.
  • Aria: I'm just really not happy to be separated from Nino again.
  • Aria: I know, I really know that you did the reasonable thing, Reed.
  • Aria: Now and before, like always. But still, to be honest...
  • Aria: You make me so upset sometimes.
  • Aria: In some way I never realized I was capable of!
  • Reed: ...Likewise. All of you make me realize I care about some stupid things more than I thought I did.
  • Aria: ...?


  • Reed: You're not wrong. We do have to find Nino and Mei.
  • Reed: But not in a way that puts us in danger.
  • Reed: Nino made a reckless move, but it doesn't mean we have to follow suit.
  • Reed: After all, we have someone relying on us staying by her side right here.
  • Aria: Oh... I realize that now. I just don't know how you were able to think it through in the heat of the moment like that.
  • Aria: My split-second decision was to go after Nino...
  • Aria: That means I would've left Five and everyone else behind.
  • Aria: I... don't know what that says about me. Sorry.
  • Reed: ...It's fine. I don't know what my decision back there means either, but...
  • Reed: I don't think it matters now.
  • Reed: Nino's a goddamn idiot sometimes...
  • Reed: A guy like that needs us to reign him in, not go along with his whims.
  • Reed: If anything, I think doing the latter was our first mistake.
  • Aria: Looks like you too have a lot to say to him about this entire crossing plan.
  • Reed: ...If we find him, that is.
  • Aria: We will! I'm not letting him off without a scolding!
  • Aria: And neither are you, right?
  • Reed: Ha. You bet.
  • Reed: For now, let's look around.
  • Reed: Maybe Nino and Mei managed to cross just fine...
  • Reed: And they simply didn't end up where we did, is all.
  • Reed: Hopefully they're somewhere nearby still.
  • Reed: Call it... wishful thinking on my part to some degree, I guess.
  • Aria: ...No. I don't think they're close at all.
  • Aria: I can't feel the presence of my disguise on Nino.
  • Aria: And if Nino's not nearby...
  • Aria: Then Mei likely wouldn't be either.
  • Reed: ...I see. It's reasonable to assume they've ended up near each other if they've crossed together, just like our group here.
  • Reed: So the problem is, uh...
  • Reed: Where in the world would that be?
  • Five: Huh...? I-is Nino, and Mei... really far?
  • Five: Reed... can't find them?
  • Reed: ...Uh, well...


  • Aria: ...Chances are,
  • Aria: They're well, but just barely out of reach for me to detect!
  • Aria: So let's not lose hope, alright?
  • Aria: We'll look around for as long as it takes!
  • Five: Oh... okay! Five will help, too!
  • Boyfriend: Meoooow...
  • Five: Boyfriend, sound so sad...!
  • Five: There, there...
  • Five: Five will find Mei for Boyfriend, okay?
  • Five: So don't worry!
  • Boyfriend: Mrrrrooow.
  • Five: Awh, don't be sad... :(
  • Ludwig: Bark, bork...
  • Aria: I-it'll be fine!
  • Aria: I'll search for them, no matter what it takes!
No matter how uncertain things seem...
Aria's doing her best to ease Five's worries.

You're glad she's here now. This is the sort of thing you really suck at, you think. But that doesn't mean you can't do your part to help.

You're not ready to give up on finding those two just yet.

Reed, Aria, and Five: Figure out a way to find Mei and Nino.


  • Aria: I'm ready to go for it, of course! But, um...
  • Aria: I'm not sure how to get started.
  • Aria: We don't have any leads to go off of.
  • Aria: It feels pretty aimless, like we're just hoping to run into them...
  • Aria: Some preparations those were, huh?
  • Aria: Everything in Nino's plan went wrong right at the first step.
  • Reed: ...No, Aria.
  • Reed: There's something that didn't go wrong.
  • Reed: It's also a really damn good lead to start off with.
  • Aria: Huh?
  • Reed: Your disguise.
  • Reed: Wouldn't it still be in effect wherever Nino is?
  • Aria: Oh...!
  • Reed: That is... if a potentially large distance doesn't break it,
  • Reed: Because we have no idea how far away we've ended up from him.
  • Aria: Well, I've never thought to test for such a thing.
  • Aria: I can usually feel where a person is, if they're using my disguise.
  • Aria: Right now, if I close my eyes and focus...
  • Aria: I can feel a shred of my ability where you're standing,
  • Aria: And I can measure the distance between myself and that point.
  • Reed: Right. That's how you found us as quickly as you did.
  • Aria: Yes! But... I can't feel any similar traces in the area.
  • Aria: That means, it's either that Nino is too far away for me to detect my disguise on him, or... there's no disguise anymore.
  • Reed: ...Ok, I'm usually not the one to say stuff like this, but...
  • Reed: Let's be optimistic.
  • Reed: If we move around a bit, you might... pick something up?
  • Aria: Um! A-as long as there's even a faint presence,
  • Aria: It would be a tremendous clue!



  • Aria: Hey, want to take a guess?
  • Aria: On whether that's the real deal or not.
  • Reed: Way ahead of you.
  • Five: ...Fake!
  • Five: Because, if real Nino is close...
  • Five: Aria would know, right?
  • Aria: Very good, Five!
  • Aria: Indeed, we've run into a spirit that didn't get the memo.
  • Nino?: ...What, I didn't even get to say anything yet!
  • Nino?: How boring.


Your biggest hope lies in Nino and Mei being together.
...But, there are a lot of bad possibilities.

That Meimona, one of the people without a disguise, ended up somewhere too remote, when you don't exactly have a Mei-detector on hand. Or that Nino's disguise, your biggest hope for finding him, has already been broken somehow.

If worst comes to worst...
It might mean that you'd have to leave without either Nino or Mei. Or... both.
If that happens... could they survive the monster world alone?

...Nah. Let's not even think it.

In all your work with Headquarters, you've never abandoned anyone in the monster world, and you're not about to ruin a sparkling clean record here.

Today, you'll all go home together.

Be Nino!!!!
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1 year ago

Reed: Immediately shoot, don't give it time to react.

Pun Lord
Pun Lord
1 year ago

Mei: What in heaven is happening to you right now!

Nino?: Illusion, or the same old man with a mask?

1 year ago

Aria: Put a minor disguise on Five, to keep track of her location in case you're separated.

1 year ago

Mei: Don't be dead don't be dead

1 year ago

Reed: Don't let it hit Aria, we need that illusion intact.
Aria: Question why there's so may spirits at the border.
Nino: Find a landmark.

1 year ago

Reed: Keep count of the spirit disguises, because you might as well try to pre-occupy yourself with something else.