Even though their goal isn’t to pursue Van, Luke still hurries along the group through the desert because he doesn’t want to keep Van waiting. Their actual goal right now is Ion, but the others don’t understand why Asch would tell Luke his whereabouts. Regardless, they soon arrive at the Zao Ruins and make their way inside. They get to the bottom in time to see Asch have Ion remove the seal from a doorway, but Sync and Largo then get in their way, so a battle erupts. Luke, Jade, and Anise take on Largo while Guy, Tear, and Natalia take on Sync, but neither of the God-Generals goes down easily, and Guy gets hit in the arm by Sync. Asch eventually gets involved as well against Luke, and Luke recognizes Asch’s fighting techniques to be the same as Van’s. Unfortunately, the explosive clash between Luke and Asch causes the cavern to start to cave-in, and Sync orders a retreat. Tear ends up saving Natalia again – this time from a falling pillar – and when Largo hears Natalia’s name, he pauses as if he knows her. However, when Asch questions him about his connection to Natalia as they’re running out of the ruins, Largo claims that it’s something from the past that he’s forgotten about.
Luke’s group also makes their way out of the ruins, and once they’re safe, Ion apologizes for the trouble he’s caused. All Luke cares about, however, is the fact that Van is waiting. Jade then asks what Asch and the others were having Ion do, and he knows that this is something called a Sephiroth. Ion explains that he was forced to remove the Daathic seal that had been originally placed by the Order of Lorelei, but when Guy questions why the Order was trying to protect the Sephiroth, Ion declines to answer because it is confidential. The group then continues their journey and makes their way to the port of Chesedonia. Anise thinks that Ion should rest, but Luke insists that there’s no time, and Ion doesn’t mind not stopping. While in the city, Luke happens to run into the same trio that kidnapped Ion, and they initially think that he’s Asch. When they realize that he’s not, they use a smoke bomb to escape. Afterward, while the group is boarding the boat to their next destination, Guy’s arm suddenly starts moving on its own. Ion realizes that this is the effect of a curse slot, and Guy remembers that Sync was the one who hit him. Ion uses this to conclude that Sync is nearby because the curse slot is more powerful when the caster is close by. Fortunately, the pain subsides after they get on the boat and leave Chesedonia.
The boat brings the group all the way to Kaitzur, and they then proceeds by foot through the Deo Pass. Luke is still unhappy about how they got side-tracked in the desert, and he feels that he’s the only one needed right now to prevent the war. This gets Anise and Tear pissed off at him, and their opinions of him don’t improve when he refuses to stop after Ion gets tired and falls to his knees. Luke once again points to how he’s the goodwill ambassador, so everyone should do as he says, but he decides to let Ion rest after Jade ignores what he said and Ion apologizes to him for the trouble. Their break is short-lived though because Legretta suddenly appears on the cliff above them and fires her gun at them. Legretta questions why Tear is with the group, but Tear questions Legretta back about the kidnapping of Ion and the involvement of the Sephiroth. Legretta claims that it’s to win people’s free will and freedom, and she goes on to explain how alarmed she’s been by how the world is controlled by the Score to the point where people rely on it for everything. She once again tells Tear to come back to her, and when Tear questions if this is her brother’s order, Legretta admits that it’s not, but she adds that Van is worried about Tear.
All this reminds Tear of how Legretta had originally trained her, and although she’s still grateful for that, Tear feels that she can’t go back until her suspicions toward her brother are cleared. This prompts Legretta to question if Tear is choosing the failure over His Excellency, and from this, Jade realizes something and proceeds to accuse Legretta’s side of restoring a certain technology. Ion stops Jade from saying anything more because there are some things that people are better off not knowing, and Luke is completely confused as to what the two are talking about. Jade is still angry and tries to approach Legretta, but she shoots at him and again tells Tear to come back before running off. Luke still doesn’t know what’s going on, and when no one fills him in, he starts throwing a tantrum. Tear tries to make him realize that he’s acting like a child, but Luke notes that Van never treated him this way and was always nice to him. Hearing this, Tear calls Luke a puppet who can’t do anything without Van around, and she warns him that if he doesn’t start thinking for himself, then he’ll do something that’s irreparable. This leaves Luke frustrated because he feels that Van is the only one who understands him.
Geez, Luke was such a whiny asshole this week – it’s bad enough when a male lead is just whiny or just an asshole, but being both makes him pretty much unbearable (see: Kazuki from Dragonaut or Kouichi from Linebarrels). Luke was just annoying before, but now I’m very close to hating him, and I hope someone puts him in his place soon. Since he reveres Van so much, this would probably be a good time for Van to betray him and cause his little world to come crashing down on him.
Aside from Luke, some other things bothered me this episode, though not necessarily in bad ways. Certainly I found it a little disconcerting that the group hopped halfway across the world during a commercial break, but it was more frustrating to watch all these concepts (Daathic seals, Sephiroth, whatever it was that got Jade all worked up) get introduced without really being explained. I guess we’re experiencing things from Luke’s point of view, but that doesn’t make it any better, nor doesn’t it make me any more sympathetic toward his character. What I did like, however, is that they are showing that the Six God-Generals aren’t necessarily bad guys and are giving them some motivation that could be construed in a positive way – at least what Legretta said about the Score made it seem like she had a potentially good cause. There was also the connection between Largo and Natalia which I’m sure will be explained later. Next week, however, it looks like the group finally arrives at Akzeriuth, and Luke gets reunited with his precious Van.