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31 Mar 2024
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Spirit: Taunt.

  • Reed: Ugh...!
  • Spirit: Foolish, overconfident human.
  • Spirit: You underestimated one whose depths are unknown to you.
  • Spirit: You only have yourself to blame.

Dammit, what the hell did it just do?
In the blink of an eye, everything around you suddenly shifted...

Is this an illusion?
Since when were you caught in it?

Fuck. You'd never have thought to account for something of this scale.

This forest is haunting, isn't it?
From the first step here, it has swallowed you whole.

North, South, East... directions like these are meaningless now.

The only thing that matters anymore is who will survive!

A bodiless voice that seems to have no source echoes throughout the landscape...
What are you meant to do against such a thing?

Your attacks are completely useless if you don't know where your target is.

I truly did intend to let you out if you'd just been obedient,

But you've forced my hand, human!

Dammit. You might not have a target to attack here...
But at the very least, you have to keep yourself safe!

Defend.

  • Aria: Reed! Are you okay?

Aria...?
It looks like Ludwig led her back to you.

  • Aria: How bad are those injuries?
  • Reed: ...I'm fine. Where's Five?
  • Aria: She's waiting outside of the forest!
  • Aria: I will have Ludwig make his way there...
  • Aria: But we need to make sure this spirit can't follow.
  • Reed: Right.

  • Reed: Watch out for the illusions.
  • Reed: It looks like every single thing here was fake from the start.
  • Reed: I don't think... we're even inside of a "forest".

Ha... the other human? I see.

How funny is it that you were criticizing me for being illogical, yet your companion has willingly walked into my trap.

I gave you many chances to avoid a terrible fate...

But you chose to sacrifice yourself, after all.

You finally regain some balance in the shifting, illusory landscape.
Somehow, it feels everything is merging together here.

Every single voice, including your own, whether you're only speaking or thinking, is all starting to sound like aimless noise without a traceable source.

Soul with soul, no barriers betwixt...

You can just barely distinguish between them...
As if there are no walls between anything anymore.

That ever-present yet intangible line, the thing that always divides where your thoughts end and the others' start... That clear boundary between a 'self' and an 'other' as one might call it, is now lost.

And just what goal was your sacrifice meant to achieve?
Can't you see it only served to drag in another person you care for to her doom!

Shut up already, you...!

Heh, look at you!
Talking a big game, even though you're struggling so much!

Though the spirit kept spouting riddle-filled nonsense...
Your mind recalls one thing it said earlier.

Something about merging and becoming "one".

Or, wait... actually, was it the spirit who said that?
Or is it a thought you originally had?

But something like that is so unlike your regular thoughts.
So, who, or where, did you hear that from?

Eventually, all shall converge.

Well, regardless of the source... that's a perfect description for this disorienting sensation, isn't it? You don't like it one bit, but it feels like you won't be able to oppose it for much longer.

Perhaps it's just one more dirty, underhanded trick that the spirit is pulling on you again. Whatever it is, it's working fucking wonders over here.

    Aria: Reed!? Keep it together!
    Aria: You can't give in! Stay calm...

...It doesn't look like Aria's doing as badly you are, though.

How can she still retain her self amidst all this noise?

Does the ability to cast illusions also make its user more resilient towards them?
But even so, you shouldn't have let her take a single step here.

After all, it's dangerous, and you can't afford having her get hurt at all.

Hmm... I see.
So this girl is the key to everything.

That makes her the perfect target, doesn't it!

...Crap, not this goddamned mind-reading bullshit!

If there's anything more important than protecting yourself, it's her!

Pierce.


Ahahahahahahaha, oh my! Such a blunder indeed, for an entire plan of survival to rest on the shoulders of but one girl!

You should have had better foresight than this, human.

Reed: Don't panic. Focus.
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nevermind3476
nevermind3476
25 days ago

Fall,
Fall,
Fall with me,
To the place all souls converge,
One and the same.
Come now.
HELL has called for you.

VBrainer
VBrainer
25 days ago

Reed: Don't panic. Focus.

Aria: Lose concentration.

Mei: Notice Nino's disguise just disappeared.

Nino: Remember the way in which Aria's illusions break? She's hurt. You and Mei need to find her and Reed. Fast.

Nino: Maybe the spirit can tell you something. It's already at your mercy, maybe it'd be willing to offer info for its life?

Lunk
Lunk
25 days ago

While rereading the last few updates, I've noticed that these spirits that have been attacking the party act as if they are specifically looking for Nino, and don't particularly care about the others. If these were the spirits sent by Kotori, though, they shouldn't know that, and should instead be attacking everyone near the border indiscriminately, like she ordered them to. They also refer to their master as "Princess," but Kotori's spirits have not called her this directly as far as we've seen. Because of all this, I believe it's possible that these spirits aren't serving Kotori. the Prosperous-colored text in this update seems to further that.

nevermind3476
nevermind3476
25 days ago
Reply to  Lunk

In her monologue at the end of the page where Kotori orders the spirits to the border, she claims she is trying to get the "innocent" to turn back, so only "the true criminal" is punished. This would line up with the spirits seeking out Nino and claiming they were ordered not to kill anyone else.

Also, Kotori does not remotely order the spirits to attack anyone they find - only to "swarm the border" and "do what they must". She also makes reference to previously determined locations for them to guard, making it quite clear that the vague orders she gives are asking them to carry out some plan that they have already established previously - a plan in which she presumably would have specified her target as Nino.

The spirits have only mentioned a "princess" once, and there was nothing about the mention that would imply she is their master. Even if she is, that would indicate these spirits are being ordered by neither Kotori nor prospy, but some third party, since as you've noted the spirits do not refer to Kotori as a princess, and Prospy would be properly referred to as queen. That seems much less likely to me than these being the spirits Kotori leads, and the princess being some third party who has some other, yet unknown relation to the spirits.

Finally, the royal gold on this page only appears in the narration describing the effect of the spirit's ability. It seems more likely that the color is linked to souls or such in some way, rather than implying that the spirit is literally narratively linked to prospy, as the comic very frequently uses colors to imply a figurative link between certain characters and abstract concepts.

Lunk
Lunk
23 days ago
Reply to  nevermind3476

I don't think Kotori even knows that Nino is still alive at this point, and even if she did, I don't think she suspects him of being the assassin. She makes it clear when talking to Solis that she doesn't know who she is looking for, and if she knew it was Nino she would have used her chance for a surprise attack in Red Tulip on Nino instead of Aria. She chose to intentionally lure him away, though.

From everything we know about Nino, we can also conclude that he is almost certainly not the assassin. In Icicle Bay Getaway, he says he doesn't like the idea of people Idolizing a deadly sacrifice when you check the Oshen statue in the library, which conflicts with his thoughts that he'll be a savior for all of humanity from the Cavern of Illusions. The last dream sequence also makes it very clear that Nino would never put himself in a situation that he wouldn't be able to survive, but, when talking to Solis, Kotori says that the assassin doesn't care whether they live or die. Nino also did not come to the monster world with any of the necessary preparations to kill the prince. The only thing he brought was his sword, which is usually used by trainees, not actual guards, and he had no way of blending in with monsters, which he would've needed to get close to Suvillan during the party in the first place.

Kotori's spirits also have no reason not to attack anyone considering the fact that they seemingly need to consume human souls to "live," and that the due to the living's distrust of spirits, all of the spirits that have attempted to negotiate have been killed. By not directly giving them an order to try and solve everything peacefully, and instead telling them to "do what they must" and take the most effective path, Kotori is basically telling them to attack the humans. The “innocents” she is trying to save are likely the monsters that are living near the border. If they hear of spirit attacks near the border, they’ll stay away from where the assassin will appear, and they won't be at risk.

I also don't think the "Princess" / the person commanding the spirits is the Prosperous, but she and her color are often associated with light, and Kotori's spirits are clearly directly opposed to this light. They refer to themselves as "of the shadows," and they call Solis "corrupted by light," with the implication that this makes him unreliable, and that their “darkness” is a more “pure” state.

Kotori also asks the lightning bolt spirit if it remembers anything, and it responds that it does not remember anything but the times the monsters used spirits in the war. Kotori responds that "[She] would have loved to know what each and every one of [their] names were, and what kind of lives did [they] all lead," implying that none of her spirits remember. The spirits attacking Nino in the desert could remember who they were, though.

eel
eel
24 days ago

Reed: Ball fast and hard

word
word
19 days ago

how often does this comic update? i'am anxiously sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the next chapter

VBrainer
VBrainer
19 days ago
Reply to  word

Currently, we're on a tentative weekly schedule updating every saturday. Nights often gives news related to it in the discord server

^