Some last-minute musings on a certain plan going on throughout the Zero/Ao and Sen games.
The Phantasmal Blaze plan is apparently what Ouroboros have been working on throughout both Crossbell and Erebonia’s arcs, but the details of said plan are rather vague. What we do know is that the plan requires both the Earth and Fire Sep-Terrions, and that it was hijacked by Giliath Osborne after the Vermillion Apocalypse was defeated. I’m not entirely sure how the endgame is going to play out, but I’ve got a good feeling I know how the plan was originally meant to go.
Part 1 – Vermillion and Azure
Firstly, in the huge post-Sen 3 interview with Kondo, there was one line which got me thinking.
“The Phantasmal Blaze plan was originally supposed to end with the fight between the Ashen and Azure Chevalier, but those plans were derailed.”
What this quote means is that Ouroboros would’ve gotten what they wanted by the end of Sen 2 had something not happened. Rean and Crow would’ve fought akin to how the original Sep-Terrions fought, then from that battle something would’ve happened and bam – Ouroboros wins. Before I speculate on what that thing was meant to be, I’d like to work out what caused that to not happen.
The answer is pretty simple – the Vermillion Apocalypse awakening bought Osborne enough time to make it to the Infernal Castle and stop both the Noble Alliance and Ouroboros in their tracks. Clearly Vita didn’t want Cayenne to revive it as it wasn’t part of the plan, but because he disobeyed her, he basically wrote his own downfall.
Part 2 – Twilights and Records
Next, I’m going to try and work out what the consequence of the Phantasmal Blaze plan ending there would be. This line from the same interview mentioned earlier seems to help quite a bit:
“Osborne’s goal was bringing about the Great Twilight, and the Phantasmal Blaze plan happened to fit within that process.”
What this line tells us is that the Phantasmal Blaze plan was very definitely going to involve the Great Twilight at some point, and due to how events play out, I believe Ouroboros were trying to make it happen at the climax of Sen 2. Reading through the Black Records about the steps that have to be taken in order to cause the Twilight shed a bit more light on this idea:
“Ninth is the manifestation of the eastern Azure Tree and the Infernal Castle.”
This is the third-to-last step in inducing the Twilight, but it’s the last one required for the “offering” to be able to summon the Gral of Erebos by killing someone of imperial blood. If someone wanted to create the Twilight, the perfect time would’ve been at the end of Sen 2, just as the ninth requirement is fulfilled. The Pantagruel was in the air at the time, and it’s quite possible that once the Gral had been summoned, the Pantagruel was meant to drop off various Noble Alliance and Ouroboros members to get a head start on the situation. So basically, Vita’s role during that part of the game was to cause the Great Twilight to manifest.
But if that’s the case, then how?
Part 3 – Chevaliers and Princes
Taking this back to the very first quote, the moment where the plan was supposed to be complete was during the Divine Knight battle between Crow and Rean. The way things happened in-game was that Rean won, he had a few seconds to revel in it, then Cayenne disobeyed Vita and used Cedric to summon the Vermillion Apocalypse. I believe that the post-fight section in Vita’s plan still involved Rean and Cedric, but would’ve played out differently.
At this point, Ouroboros knows of Rean’s Spirit Unification abilities, and probably know a lot about them thanks to McBurn. If the popular theory that it’s connected to the curse is true, then I’d theorise that Ouroboros initially chose Rean as their “offering” to cause the Gral of Erebos to appear. That would beg the question of why Rean had to do the whole Crow fight, but it can be simply explained with Vita allowing Crow and Rean to have a fight because she’s a kinder woman than other enforcers in general, who also has a soft spot for the former.
So I’d imagine that Rean ends the fight however it ends, and as he’s caught off guard afterwards, Vita causes a situation that would force Rean to attack Cedric fatally. I can’t come up with an exact scenario, but with the way things were set up (exhaust Class VII in a fight, further exhaust Rean in a Divine Knight battle, not allow Cedric to run away throughout), it does feel like Vita was going to pull something afterwards…
…but it didn’t work, because the one man she had wrapped around her finger the whole time decided to betray her for his own family name, buying time for Osborne to arrive with Rufus. And now that Osborne’s plan is the one in play, I’d like to make one more part of this theory.
Part 4 – Chancellors and Delinquents
This section is where I’m going to list off what I think changed between Vita’s and Osborne’s plans.
-In case the part name didn’t give it away, I think Osborne was always planning to have Ash be the “offering”, especially given his connection to Lechter. He most likely knew Rean could work as well, but his fatherly love probably stopped him from doing that.
-Osborne doesn’t want the Twilight for the same reason as Ouroboros, and from Sen 3’s ending it appears that his goal at least on the surface is to maximise the amount of places annexed into Erebonia. Waiting for an opportunity for war before unleashing the curse is the best way to get everyone on your side, so he most likely decided to wait for a good time to pull the trigger on the curse. Ouroboros don’t have a need to wait, but since they’re not exactly rushing either, that’s why they decide to help Osborne in the meantime.
-His winning over the Emperor makes me think that Osborne always plotted to have him killed rather than his wife or one of his children.
There’s not that much on that list, but I felt like I should say it to help validate the theory.
So all in all, I’m still not sure what the endgame of the Phantasmal Blaze plan is for both Osborne and Ouroboros, but I think I’ve gotten a better idea of how it was originally going to play out.