Art stormed out of the inn, bags in tow, angry and confused.
There's no way I did any of that. Why would I? he thought.
He had never been one to care about relationships, yet this incident had troubled him deeply.
Why? What's wrong with me?
The very thought that he would put those those under his charge into grave danger was unthinkable. He walked towards the train station, bumping into several people that he failed to notice due to his introspection. The bystanders scoffed at him.
"What a rude kid. Thinks he owns the street?" some mocked. "That guy will end up in arrested the way he's going!"
While Art didn't hear any of it, his thoughts were interrupted by whispers – unintelligible concerted whispering that seemed to be coming from nowhere yet echoed as though it were in a cave.
Who…who is it? He rapidly shook his head, trying to clear his head. It was no use, the voices, while not loud, were persistent and disorienting. What is this? Why is this happening?
"I'm sick of playing babysitter…" a faint voice echoed.
That voice sounds familiar… Art thought. I can't make out who it is. Where?
"If he gets in trouble, the whole team's in trouble anyway…" That's a girls voice. It's familiar, but I can't quite place it.
"No, you're not going anywhere…" Alex…that's her voice. Isn't she back at the inn?
Art's mind could not take it. He began to stagger, barely able to stand due to disorientation. He struggled to stay up, maneuvered himself into a nearby alley, and collapsing onto some trash cans. The voices became stronger as he struggled to maintain consciousness.
…who am I?
His thoughts faded, and lost consciousness.
"Arthur doesn't deserve this, he's only a child!"
Mom…? Art could see only darkness.
"What we're doing is important, it changes everything once this completes. You have to understand."
Who is that? He felt a sharp pain, then nothingness.
Arthur roused from his stupor. He got up from the mess his spill created and dusted himself off.
Where am I? How do I get here? he thought, scanning his surroundings. I have no memory of this place.
He picked up his Arcus, which had a faint but visible red glow despite being covered with cloth. He holstered the weapon behind his back. His confusion had taken a different shape – Arthur had no idea what had been doing there.
After a few moments, only one thought came to his mind: Secure the package. The thought kept repeating itself over and over, like a hypnotic suggestion. It drowned out the faint voices.
He dashed out of the alley, and ran off towards the Mariabelle Ruins.