Finished Chapter 2! Dem random thoughts! Spoiler: CS3 Chapter 2 - It was really cool to visit Crossbell again, however limited it was! I'm hopeful that we'll get to explore more of it in CS4 (though the number of NPCs to talk to in just half the city was still Crossbell arc PTSD inducing). - I'm warming up a lot more to Ash and Musse. I still think that Ash is just too much of an asshole to be likable, especially on first impressions, but there were more moments in this chapter that I enjoyed (for some reason his "oh shit" reaction to McBurn not going down on Stargazer Tower was hilarious to me). - Juna is best character. I'm a little concerned that this chapter will turn out to basically be her arc for the entire game and she'll drop out of focus from here on out, but I hope that's not the case. - I really like Rufus now. Like, not as a person, he's a pretty despicable human being, but I was never super interested in him as a character before. Now that the series seems to have settled on making him a proper antagonist, though, he's quickly become one of my favorites, maybe even up there with Weissman and Osborne himself. - I'm so glad Olivert was playable this time around! It was almost certainly a one-off, but that's all I needed really. And something about putting on that white coat definitely brings out the more "Olivier" side of his personality. Also, it's really sweet that he's still thinking about Schera. - I'm also glad that the game is in no way trying to hide that Siegfried is obviously Crow (I assumed we'd have another Swarzritter situation on our hands). - Randy and Tio just always have such great chemistry. Every moment those two were interacting was gold, and I hope we see more of Tio before CS4. - Speaking of SSS members, I was caught 200% off-guard when Lloyd, KeA, and Arios showed up at the end of the chapter. That was such a cool and touching moment, though it implies to me that they won't get a "proper" appearance in the Erebonia arc until CS4 - not that we exactly need more characters vying for attention at this point, but still a little bittersweet. Also, given some of the revelations and implied revelations this chapter, I have a few crackpot theories of where the rest of this arc is going... Spoiler: Crazy Theories (spoilers up to the end of Chapter 2) - First, a few of things about the Gnomes. First, I think their leader, the one who spoke through the eye thing, is Alisa's dad. She seemed to recognize the voice, a connection to the Gnomes would explain why Ouroboros sent Sharon to the Reinfords, and (as I'll address below) there appears to be a pattern of some kind between the Gnomes and at least two of the characters who've come back from the dead. - Secondly: I think Osborne has some kind of connection to the Gnomes. They're almost certainly the ones who hired Zephyr and Rutger Claussell (who was resurrected), Crow is currently (has always been?) working for them, and he too was resurrected, and then there's the possibility I mentioned above of their leader being a resurrected Dad Reinford (whose name I forget and will not be looking up, in case my theory is correct). If so, then they probably also were the ones who resurrected Osborne after his assassination, implying they've been in on Osborne's attempt to usurp the Phantasmal Blaze Plan from the start. Whether he's working for them, or they're working for him, I don't know. - Thirdly: I think the Gnomes run the Black Workshop. Altina also reacted oddly to their appearance, and if they are working with/for Osborne, then it suddenly makes sense why the Black Workshop seceded from Ouroboros' Thirteen Factories, and how Osborne obtained Millium and Altina. - I do believe the game is building up to a full-scale schism in Ouroboros. On one side you'll have the more traditionally "evil" members (The Professor, the replacement Third Anguis, McBurn, Campanella, etc), while on the other side will be the more ambiguous/redeemable members (Vita, Bleublanc, Sharon, etc.). My two (rhetorical) questions, then: if this does end up happening, what side would Arianrhod and the Stahlritter take (I'd have assumed the "less evil" side, but after the in medias res pre-prologue to CS3, I'm less certain), and what side would the Grandmaster take (I've always assumed Campanella most closely represented the Grandmaster's will, but Vita seems convinced that in striking out on her own and being a nuisance to the rest of the Society, she's still being loyal to the Grandmaster...). - On the Phantasmal Blaze Plan: I'd theorized ever since playing Ao that the plan had something to do with combining the powers of the Sept-Terrion of Mirage/Zero (Phantasmal) with the powers of the Sept-Terrion of Fire (Blaze). But this chapter then confirmed (several times) that KeA no longer has the powers of the Zero Child. Either way, there's got to be some sort of connection between the annexation of Crossbell and Phantasmal Blaze - it's something Osborne has been working toward and Ouroboros has seemingly at least been planning for. I think it's too early to discount the Mirage/Fire connection quite yet, but I'm less certain now than I was. Other theory, though: it has something to do with using the Aions as "artificial Divine Knights" to affect the Great Power (Sept-Terrion of Fire?) in some way.