Saga: Nightmare arc
Prerequisites: Completion of all Nightmare encounters, and the previous missions in this arc.
Throughout various towns, rumours begin to spread of an artifact that can restore the memory of the one who possesses it - Psi, still searching for his past, follows every lead he gets with Metal Coat and Akumaryu, eventually leading him to a desolate ruin in the middle of nowhere. After navigating the ruin's labyrinthine passages and braving several near-misses with crumbling arcitecture, Psi finally finds the memory artifact in the centre of the building... only to catch Nightmare in the act of swiping it. Because Psi hasn't yet been fighting him to the absolute highest extent of his power, Nightmare has taken to using unorthodox tactics to draw it out, and against everyone else's better judgement, Psi persues after Nightmare, desperate for the secrets he literally holds in his hand. Even desperation doesn't draw out the worst in Psi, though, but recognising Psi's strong dependency on knowledge, Nightmare takes the simplest method and simply shatters the memory artifact in his hand, causing Psi to snap completely - making him trigger his Climax Mode willingly for the first time and assault Nightmare with a blind, indignant rage.
MC, being the genre-aware individual he is, anticipated how events would unfold long before they happened, and abandonded the scene long before, only leaving behind sentient cameras to capture footage of the ensuing fight. Akumaryu, meanwhile, is forced to flee for his life under player control as the fight rapidly decimates the surrounding landscape. Nostaliga Mode and Nightmare Dimension continue to clash in an epic midair duel between Avatars until Nightmare finally falls in honourable battle, just the way he had dreamt of from the beginning. Before he is sealed back away in the Gem of Chaos, Nightmare revealed the memory relic was a complete fake, and he had made the whole story up to make Psi realize his true power - and in turn, reveals that Psi is a body-less Avatar, just like Nightmare. In the aftermath, the footage captured by MC's cameras absolves Psi of any involvement in Nightmare's actions, after MC makes up a story in which he contracted Psi to take him down and stop his rampage - partly to help Psi out of his dillemma with the law, but mostly to regain his public image and his loyal customers - and as such, authority figures in cities will no longer attack Psi on sight.
Aku: Psi! Wait up!
Psi: Aku? What's up?
Aku: There's a lot of talk spreading around about this... gem. Everyone's saying it can restore memories!
Psi: What!? Where is it?
Aku: I... didn't quite catch that part. All I heard was that it was in some kind of ruin.
Psi: Well, there's only one ruin around here I haven't explored yet, so I know exactly where to look.
[The player is lead to the Glyphic Tomb, which has now been opened. Inside there is a brief obstacle course and a puzzle, leading to a throne room wherein the gem is sitting.]
Psi: There it is!
[Psi immediately runs for the throne and attempts to grab the gem, only for it to disappear when his fingers pass through it.]
Psi: What the...?
MC: Just as I thought.
Aku: Huh? How long have you been following us?
MC: Never mind that. I found Nightmare.
MC: Right there.
[The camera pans over as MC points out, revealing Nightmare just offscreen, holding the memory gem.]
Nightmare: I was almost beginning to think you wouldn't come.
Psi: Hey! Give that back, right now!
Nightmare: No. I'd rather you made me.
[Nightmare floats upwards off the screen, through a large hole in the cieling.]
Psi: Goddamnit, get back here!
Aku: Psi, wait!
[Psi gives chase, for the moment leaving Aku and MC behind. A vertical platforming sequence follows in which Nightmare constantly moves to a platform ahead of the player, occasionally using projectile attacks if the player takes too long to catch up. Midway up the tower, an exchange of dialogue occurs without interrupting the gameplay.]
Nightmare: This is what you've been after this whole time, isn't it? To know anything and everything? How does it feel to have it held persistently beyond your grasp?
Psi: I've had enough of your condescending bullcrap! Let go of the bloody gem, or I'll make you regret it!
Nightmare: What makes you think I don't plan on that? I know exactly what drives you. I know exactly what drives me. And until you learn to channel your desire into something more practical, you're never going to make it past me.
[Once the two reach the top]
Psi: Please! Give back that gem!
Nightmare: Please? That's a new one. What happened to all that swagger?
Psi: This represents everything I've worked for! I'm useless without it!
Nightmare: Is that what you really think?
[A lengthy pause follows, and the music fades into silence.]
Nightmare: ...don't knock it until you've tried it.
[Nightmare crushes the gem into dust in his hands. A brief cut shows a shocked reaction from Psi, before Nightmare opens his hand, causing the gem to blow away in the wind. Aku and MC catch up not long after, just in time to see Psi turn angry.]
Psi: What... did... you... do?
Nightmare: Relieved you of your burden. Now this time, you won't hold anything back.
[Psi tries to make a move on Nightmare, but Aku holds him back by the shoulder]
Aku: Psi, stop it! Can't you see he's trying to get a rise out of you? If you two fight now, you'll only kill more innocents!
Nightmare: Now why would I do that, my half-breed friend? I picked this location specifically because there isn't anyone left to interfere besides you two. I personally made sure of that. As long as we stick around here, we can fight to our heart's content... isn't that right, Psi?
[Psi turns back to Aku, only barely able to contain the anger for the moment.]
Psi: Start running. Now.
Aku: Psi... but he's going to--
[A telekinetic shockwave violently ripples from around Psi, blasting back both Aku and MC. Aku adops a horrified look before jumping off of the structure to start running into the distance. MC, meanwhile, takes to the skies, disappearing into the horizon.]