Arc III: The Greater Good
|7||Tue||Episode 18. Pyunpyun, angered at Makoto and Yui’s disobedience of his order not to use magic, disowns the two initiates. Snezana confides her past in Sumire and Yui. Yui meets Hiroaki, another initiate.|
|Episode 19. Convinced that Pyunpyun knows more than he is letting on, Snezana confronts the familiar. She appears to nearly kill him, but is interrupted when Aoi brings news of a witch, which the two initiates fight.|
|Episode 20. Snezana rushes to Yui’s house, concerned that her life is in danger. After connecting Snezana’s past experience with initiates controlling witches to Kei’s case, the two of them, along with Sumire, go to Yuna’s in an attempt to find out more about what might be happening. On the way there, Sumire suffers an apparent attack.|
|Episode 21. Things go very badly at Yuna’s place. Sumire nearly collapses, Snezana and Yuna get into a fight, and Hiroaki intervenes as the whole house literally comes tumbling down.|
|Episode 22. Hiroaki battles Snezana, and eventually manages to stop her rampage.|
Original arc plot
After Makoto and Yui find themselves disowned by Pyunpyun, Hiroaki invites the now familiar-less pair to join up with him and his familiar, Asacchi. Assuming they accept, the three of them take some time to build up sufficient trust through — what else? — team witch combat. Hiroaki eventually divulges to them that he was, in fact, the one who sent the other two the ominous photographs of Snezana back in Arc II. Having learned of Snezana’s violent past, he believes that someone with the capacity to kill is a standing threat to the other initiates, and that Makoto and Yui voluntarily split from Pyunpyun for the same reasons. He further reasons that Snezana, having been a familiar-less wanderer when Arc I took place, is somehow connected to the disappearances that, in reality, Kei was responsible for. He eventually directly confronts Snezana, leading to an initiate-on-initiate battle.
The events of episode 22 were not planned, but would likely have served as further evidence for Hiroaki’s thesis. At this point, the arc would have drawn to a more abrupt close than originally planned, with Hiroaki going public with his grievances shortly after his initial battle with Snezana, and the player characters left to deal with the fallout as they wished. As the arc was aborted at this point, however, what form a resolution may have taken is a moot question.
“The Greater Good” is the twelfth track of Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero, released in 2007. The song is a largely textural yet tense piece, with whispered lyrics that point to the conformist ulterior motives with which its title phrase is often invoked: “persuasion, coercion, submission, assimilation.” As a concept album, Year Zero tells the story of an oppressive, dystopic future United States awash in propaganda; its themes were expanded on in an associated alternate reality game.
The arc was named in reference to Hiroaki’s misguided notion that he is working to protect other initiates against the threat that Snezana poses.
Hiroaki makes an oblique reference in episode 18 to a couple of fellow initiates that were “lost” about nine months ago. Subtract nine months from January and you get April, the month of the subway attack that led to Yuna’s initiation, implying that Mizuki and the as-yet-unnamed other victim were Asacchi’s protégés.