But despite the topic's weight, Kaji maintained a sincere smile throughout it.
It seems like he still somehow exemplifies that "guidance" thing whenever he takes matters more seriously, even though he said he's lost everything from his past...
It's funny, a tale that extends from the moon to the earth makes you feel rather insignificant, but not alienated nor patronized. The winged are mighty compared to humans, but even someone like Kaji is susceptible to the same struggles as you.
Nino: Now help a new friend by telling him who he helped.
Instead, you opt to thank him plenty, and wish him well. Though he refrains from expressing it outright, Kaji seems incredibly pleased to know he was of help to you.
You excuse yourself, choosing to check that hotel room after all.
You'll just confirm for yourself if it's trapped, or something, or...
Agh! It's tiring to be this careful of someone who is blatantly not trying to be a threat at all! Is that what your "core" is like, so very stubbornly suspicious?
Though you'll still keep your wits about you to a reasonable degree, you're not inclined to think badly of Kaji right now.
This is the first person who didn't make you feel bad about your amnesia.
- Kaji: You were going along with Meigirl's schemes for a long time, weren't you.
- Kaji: Don't follow a winged around so carelessly like that.
- Nino: Oh... Mei wasn't malicious.
- Nino: Even if she's a winged,
- Nino: You don't want me to generalize all of you guys like that, do you...?
- Kaji: Yeah, yeah, you're not wrong!
- Kaji: But I'm saying this only because I know best, as a winged myself.
- Kaji: You should be more careful if one of us doesn't seem malicious, actually.
- Nino: What? Isn't that kind of backwards...?
- Kaji: Ah, don't take it to mean that you should run from every nice angel you meet!
- Kaji: On the contrary, you're likely to meet angels who offer you nothing but help.
- Kaji: If I guess that that's how Meimona acted from the get-go, would I be right?
- Nino: Hmmm...
- Nino: Now that I think about it, kind of?
- Nino: I figure it's only because the two of us were stuck in a similar pinch, though.
- Kaji: Then... you already know this, don't you.
- Kaji: That when someone offers you their help so openly, you should watch out for what they might want out of you.
- Kaji: You know it well, since you're still being suspicious of me and all.
- Nino: Oh, uh...! H-hahah...
- Nino: I've... decided to maybe think that part over a little.
- Kaji: Oh, don't worry, I ain't offended or nothin' like that!
- Kaji: Feel free to think whatever you will of me.
- Kaji: I only wanted to warn you about a case where you might want to keep those suspicions up, just as you were.
Nino: Ask Kaji to elaborate. Why in the world would a helpful winged be considered dangerous?
- Kaji: Mmm. So.
- Kaji: Before I answer that, I'll tell you something first.
- Kaji: The winged overworld is a real pretty place.
- Kaji: Nothing but angels in sight, some walk over sheets of clouds, some fly across the limitless sky, and some adventurous types even dare to brave the chill of deep space, and venture into nebulae.
- Kaji: All of them can live joyously under the stars, whenever and wherever they like.
- Kaji: But you still see winged who disregard all that beauty, and descend to these limited lower worlds you live in.
- Kaji: Why does that happens?
- Nino: Oh, uh, you're asking me?
- Kaji: Yeah!
- Kaji: Lemme hear what ya think, kid.
- Nino: Errmm, well...
- Nino: Maybe because it's more easy-going here?
- Nino: I've heard that the winged are kind of competitive with each other.
- Nino: So maybe it's a good change of pace if there's less of that to worry about...
- Kaji: Hm, and why is it that we would have less worries among your kind?
- Nino: Uhh...
- Nino: Because, you're... more powerful! More capable!
- Nino: You have all these cool astonishing abilities, so... humans and monsters don't pose a threat to you. There's nothing to worry about here.
- Nino: That's my best guess. Am I right?
- Kaji: What a great guess!
- Kaji: I rate it a 5.
- Nino: Aw, hell yeah!
- Kaji: ...On a scale of 10.
- Nino: Oh. Dammit.
- Nino: If not this, then why else would you guys choose to come here?
- Nino: Maybe just for... sightseeing?
- Nino: But the stars and amazing-space-stuff sound so much nicer...
- Kaji: Well, that could be a reason, why not.
- Kaji: But that sounds like a short travel trip.
- Kaji: I'm talking about the winged who do more than just looking around the place.
- Nino: Ahh, umm... I can't think of any other answers!
- Nino: I give up.
- Kaji: Hahah, loser.
- Nino: >:T
- Kaji: Aw, don't pout! You're still kinda right.
- Kaji: It's correct to say that we're highly competitive.
- Kaji: Indeed, the culture in the winged overworld is one where individuals strive to not owe anything to another winged.
- Kaji: The goal in our hierarchical society for most winged is to climb the ranks on their own, and stand above the rest.
- Kaji: You can't do that when you're needing help and owing favors, can you?
- Nino: No, definitely doesn't sound like it...
- Kaji: And you said we have cool, astonishing abilities, right. About that...
- Kaji: When you're in a place where everyone has this stuff, then you're not special.
- Kaji: You're but one in a pool of incredibly powerful individuals, all trying to stand out and survive the challenges of the overworld.
- Kaji: Everybody there is vying for a higher rank, all at once.
- Kaji: Thus, winged tend to be more unruly to each other than humans or monsters are.
- Kaji: Those of us who are humble and kind when it comes to other winged are rare, and rather than expecting their unconditional kindness to be repaid...
- Kaji: Such a winged knows that they merely puts themselves at risk by not asserting their strength, and declaring that they can protect themselves on their own.
- Nino: Oh, so to other winged...
- Nino: That just makes the nice ones an easy target to knock down, huh?
- Kaji: Yeah.
- Kaji: But I won't boggle your human mind with this angelic stuff too much!
- Kaji: Simply put... we're not very nice people to each other, alright?
- Nino: Huh... alright.
- Kaji: But that's where a certain problem arises for us.
- Kaji: For a winged, the most valuable thing they can get out of others is gratitude.
- Kaji: Our world might be nice and all...
- Kaji: But other winged are not a good source of gratitude.
- Kaji: They don't want favors, they don't want help, they don't want to be put in that position which makes you grateful to another person.
- Kaji: You see where this leads, don't you?
- Kaji: If the winged cannot get the desired gratitude in their world, then...
- Nino: ...That's why they descend to the midworld?
- Kaji: Bingo.
- Your struggle is quite funny, Andromeda.
- Look how those weaklings you call "friends" sacrifice you to live.
- That is how a winged ought to act, unlike your foolishness.
- You tried to steal the Caduceus for their sake, but the rules cannot be broken.
- To challenge the princess... such a waste of strength.
- You will be made an example of.
- Once I slay you here, with your wings as my memento,
- I, Cetus, shall finally be acknowledged by the great Zodiacs,
- And they will bestow me with a grand angelic title!
- Fall so that I may rise, chained maiden!
- Kaji: Well, they might also descend simply because...
- Kaji: They're tired of living under the rules of hierarchy.
- Sorry to interrupt your amazing, evil monologue, executioner.
- But I don't remember asking about your sad ambitions.
- You're all brainless cogs in a system that will someday crush you to death.
- Unlike you, I'm going to separate myself from this cycle.
- Kaji: As you said, people in the midworld typically don't pose a threat to us.
- Kaji: The overworld is a place where our divine abilities are just an every day occurrence. But unlike the heavens, here on land, we're a revered miracle.
- Kaji: You're all so easily stupefied by whatever we're capable of!
- Kaji: Now, doesn't this power imbalance make for a great source for gratitude?
- Nino: Huh... I'll say!
- Nino: Your old guiding vision would be super in-demand if anyone here knew about it.
- Nino: So you do have a point there.
- Kaji: Mhm! You see now?
- Kaji: Even if a winged is helpful to a human, they could still have ulterior motives.
- Nino: Well, I understand that much, but...
- Nino: What exactly do you mean by 'gratitude'?
- Nino: If a winged benefits me in some way, so that I'd be grateful to them...
- Nino: Am I not the only one getting anything out of that deal?
- Kaji: Heh heh, well...
- Kaji: Have you heard any rumors that winged can grant peoples' wishes?
- Nino: Have I...?
- Nino: ...Wait... yes, yes I have!
- Nino: And very recently, too!!
- Nino: Kaji, I actually remember a thing!
- Kaji: Ooh, good goin', kid.
- Nino: In the monster world, there was a water pond for "sending" wishes!
- Nino: People would offer money in it, and make a wish that was supposed to be granted by a winged somehow? But it just sounded like plain superstition to me.
- Kaji: Haha, really? That's similar to what's in this world!
- Nino: So the superstition is more widespread than I thought...
- Nino: What a dangerous age we live in.
- Kaji: Hey now, I wouldn't really call it that.
- Kaji: I'll say... it's half and half.
- Kaji: The winged can indeed grant wishes...
- Kaji: But the midworld's interpretation of the 'how' and 'why' is a bit bogus.
- Kaji: There are so many kinds of winged out there, capable of all sorts of things.
- Kaji: For example, the Angel of Malady who can cure all illnesses...
- Kaji: The Angel of Propagation whose touch nurtures every seed, the Angel of Light who knows every word in every book...
- Nino: Whoa!
- Kaji: The Angel of Dialogue who made his way to the top only through the power of words, or the Angel of Conquest, a mercenary who has never failed a single request.
- Nino: W-whoa...!!!
- Kaji: I could go on, but I'm sure you see my point already.
- Kaji: We're not miraculous when we're on the level of another winged.
- Kaji: Yet, when a winged is put on the level of a monster, or a human like yourself...
- Kaji: You make funny faces and get all starry-eyed like that, heh heh.
- Nino: C-can you blame me!?
- Nino: All of these sound like real miracles that anyone would want!
- Kaji: Sure they do, but only from your point of view.
- Nino: Well then, to you guys...
- Nino: Fulfilling a wish with your abilities is just a trivial matter, huh?
- Kaji: Precisely.
- Nino: Whoa. That's so crazy to think about...
- Kaji: A winged can receive equivalent power from people's gratitude.
- Kaji: That's why, there are actually a lot of winged who do want to grant your little wishes with their abilities. But...
- Kaji: They are picky as to whose wish they grant, and what kind of wish it is.
- Kaji: It must be a wish that their abilities can actually fulfill in the first place,
- Kaji: And of course, they'd rather it be a wish from a person they don't dislike.
- Kaji: That's why, the midworld's ideas of using wishing wells, chapels, and anything dedicated to sending countless desires for the winged... is pretty silly.
- Nino: Huh, that makes a surprising amount of sense.
- Nino: So it wasn't superstition, but just one big misunderstanding!
- Kaji: Indeed.
- Kaji: A winged is more likely to pick a single good target and pursue them, rather than wait to find one good wish between dozens of random wishes from people they have no association with.
- Nino: Hmm, in that case...
- Nino: A smart winged would pick someone whose wish gives the most 'gratitude'?
- Kaji: Yep.
- Kaji: The stronger the desperation, the more there is to gain.
- Kaji: Someone on the brink of despair, or someone with high ambitions...
- Kaji: Or someone who's both ambitious and in despair.
- Kaji: The wishes of such people are the most 'rewarding' to a winged.
Nino: But Kaji was being nice for a winged, so...
- Kaji: ...We are defined by our divinity.
- Kaji: That's the halo you see floating by a winged's side.
- Kaji: It's what allows us to fly so freely, among other things...
- Kaji: To a winged, gratitude increases their divinity,
- Kaji: More divinity means more strength in one's ability,
- Kaji: And strength means beating the competition,
- Kaji: Which paves the way towards a higher status in the winged overworld.
- Kaji: It all sounds so grand, doesn't it?
- Nino: ...Yeah.
- Kaji: But it holds no meaning to me, since I'm here haloless like this.
- Kaji: I no longer have any divinity, and I can never fly again.
- Kaji: So whether anyone's grateful to me or not changes nothing about it.
- Nino: Um, Mei told me something before.
- Nino: That when winged spend too much time away from the overworld, their halos slowly decay every time they try to fly.
- Nino: And that if a winged completely loses their halo... there's no way to get it back at all.
- Nino: Is that true?
- Kaji: Yeah.
- Nino: ...I see...
- Nino: Sorry for mentioning something like this...
- Kaji: Hey, don't start apologizing now!
- Kaji: Really, don't worry about me.
- Kaji: Just means that if I do good, I won't get much out of it, I guess.
- Kaji: Besides... I don't even need to fly to reach 'home' anymore, do I?
- Nino: Oh, that's true!
- Nino: If, for this whole time, you were just using me for this 'gratitude' thing, I think I wouldn't feel... good about it.
- Nino: So in a way, I'm glad that's not the case.
- Kaji: Mhm, so am I!
- Kaji: But, well... that's just concerning myself here.
- Kaji: It would be different for a winged who wants to belong to the overworld.
- Nino: Oh...
- Kaji: Well, do you see what my warning means now?
Nino: Confirm your findings.
- Nino: ...Mei's halo...
- Nino: She refuses to fly because she doesn't want to lose it.
- Nino: From granting a wish and gaining 'gratitude', could her halo fully reform?
- Kaji: That's right.
- Nino: Oh... hm.
- Nino: The winged sure do have a lot to worry about.
- Kaji: Now, I don't claim to know what Mei's goals are...
- Kaji: And I don't think she's some bad, malicious girl, either!
- Kaji: It's just that this is something you might want to keep in mind for any winged you run into. I don't know whether you'd consider the act a moral one, or not...
- Kaji: Personally, I believe it isn't bad to help others with the goal of ultimately helping yourself, but I think humans might hate being used without their knowledge.
- Kaji: There may be unfortunate fallout when a winged immediately deserts someone's side after gaining their desired gratitude, without any explanation for the departure.
- Kaji: So... I thought I'd just give you a word of caution to make things fair.
- Kaji: You should at least know what you're dealing with if you get involved with us.
- Nino: ...Alright.
- Nino: I'll keep it in mind.
Nino: Depart, for realsies.
- Kaji: Do be careful on yer way now, Nino!
- Nino: You're back to talking like that...
- Kaji: Talkin' like what?
- Kaji: This is how I've always been, c'mon now.
- Nino: Suuuure sure, alright!
- Nino: Thanks, Kaji. I'll be off now.
- Kaji: Anytime!
- Kaji: And hey, hope ya enjoy finally bein' a free man!
- Kaji: Don't get yerself in trouble with the law again, ya hear?
- Nino: Oh, trust me, I don't want to go through a cop chase ever again!
- Kaji: Heh heh, great!
- Kaji: Well then...
- Kaji: See ya whenever.
He's a good person.
He kinda didn't deserve to be treated with so much suspicion after all, but... ah, whatever! You had your reasonable reasons at first, okay!
Nino: Consider keeping a journal.
Oh! That's a brilliant idea!
It's one way to keep the record straight, just in case amnesia creeps up on you again.
Writing journal entries also sounds like it could be pretty exciting!
You'll look around for a suitable book and pen later.
Man... you sure do have a lot to keep in mind now.
You'll carefully think about everything when you head to your hotel room, get some peace and quiet, and...
Nino: Notice former party member partying.
Oh, Meimona. There she goes.
It looks like she's completely found a new home here, hasn't she.
That's definitely a better lifestyle than constantly running away and coming up with odd methods of sorta-roundabout-stealing, just to get food and shelter for a day.
And, although you wouldn't be caught dead saying it out loud, you do think that Kaji would be a good boss to work under.
She seems really happy.
Nino: How nice.
Then, it seems that this is where your time together ends.
It was nice while it lasted.
- Meimona: NINOOOOOOOO!
- Nino: WOAH!!!
- Nino: Mei!? What the heck!
- Nino: You scared me!
- Meimona: Where do you think you're going without me, dummy!
- Nino: Huh...?
- Nino: You seemed like you were having fun, so I didn't want to bother you.
- Meimona: Whaaat? You're not a bother, Nino.
- Nino: ...Oh. Um. Well.
- Nino: Aren't you a sea patrol now anyways?
- Meimona: Aww, so you really were just going to leave me right away with Kaji?
- Meimona: C'mon, don't do that.
- Nino: Why not...?
- Nino: You got the best offer a reformed thief could get.
- Meimona: Oh, I don't mean that I'm letting go of my deal with him!
- Meimona: I do appreciate his generosity a lot, but...
- Meimona: I told him I'd start working a bit later. Not right away.
- Nino: And... why is that?
- Meimona: Cuz...
- Meimona: For now, I want to follow you a little more, Nino.
- Nino: Uhhh... huh.
- Meimona: Kaji said that it's fine by the way, so I do have permission!
- Meimona: As long as I come back later! And I definitely will, so no worries!
- Meimona: So can't I come along?
- Meimona: But I promise I'll be good and helpful!
- Meimona: Soooo, can't I stick around you guys a bit more?
- Meimona: Think of all the luck you can get!
- Meimona: Also...
- Meimona: Maybe I could help you get your memories back, too?