Preface

When I first started writing Phantasy Star fanfiction, I tended not to write about actual game events. My rationale was simple: I figured that the people who were reading my fiction were those who'd actually played the game, and therefore knew that story already. I wanted to write about other things, to flesh out the characters, or explore some of the interesting ideas shown but not developed, or to speculate about the ramification of some point.

Now, the irony there is that, unlike Phantasy Star IV, which is liberally laced with cutscenes and story development, Phantasy Star III has very sketchy story development, the bare minimum needed to advance things and give the player the ability to do things. However, at the time I started writing, Mike Ripplinger had recently written "The Adventures of Rhys," which in fact was a novelization of the events of the first generation, fleshing out many of the character motivations, backstories, and settings. Now, I would have done certain things differently, using my own ideas of how things worked, but the fact is that I had no interest in writing something that not only all my readers had played for themselves, but also that wasn't even an original idea for a fanfic! I wanted to break new ground, explore things that hadn't been done.

The irony here is that it's entirely possible that some of you reading this fic now have never played Phantasy Star III. Heck, if you surfed into this story because you read things of mine from other fandoms and decided to give this a try, you may not have played any Phantasy Star games at all!

In this first generation, especially, my stories do not tend to explore game events. Rather, one story ("Masquerade") is a prequel to the game, and the rest take place between the first and second generations. The second and third generation stories aren't quite so rigid, including several which flesh out the "backstory" behind the game events.

However, for the benefit of those of you who haven't played the games (or just don't remember what the heck exactly happened when since it's been a dozen years since you last looked at the thing), each of these prefaces will include a section of Game Information detailing that generation's quest.

Here's the one for Rhys Sa Riik, Prince of Landen:

~X X X~

GAME INFORMATION: Rhys begins the game on his wedding day. Apparently, he's set to marry the beautiful Maia, who washed up on the shore near Landen without her memories; they fell in love while she was recovering. Unfortunately, the wedding day is disrupted by an attacking dragon, who states that the "Filthy Orakians!" will never have Maia, and flies off with her. Rhys angrily attempts to call out the knights of Landen to pursue the dragon and save his bride, but his father points out the many technical problems with that, such as that, oh, nobody's seen a Layan in a thousand years. When Rhys refuses to relent, the king has him tossed in the dungeon to cool off, and the prince is carried out of the throne room raving. However, it seems that Rhys's father wasn't quite as opposed to the idea as it seemed, as not only does the dungeon cell contain valuable equipment, but a girl named Lena immediately arrives to unlock the cell and let Rhys escape to go find Maia.

Exploring the local towns, Rhys finds out that a creature was seen flying off towards an island south of the village of Yaata. Unfortunately, the only available boat is piloted by a somewhat senile fellow who refuses to sail unless there's a good-luck cyborg on board. Fortunately, Rhys is able to find 1,000-year-old combat cyborg (actually an android, but one can chalk it up to linguistic drift...) Mieu waiting in the forests nearby for a descendant of Orakio. Convenient how such things work out. Sailing to the island, Rhys finds neither the dragon nor Maia but instead a man named Lyle, who gives Rhys a jewel called the Sapphire, which can unlock the eastern cave. Lyle then up and vanishes. The eastern cave leads to a weirdly techno-styled passage, like something out of a sci-fi game instead of the medieval fantasy that (other than the cyborgs) thus far Phantasy Star III has appeared to be.

The passage leads to an entire other "world" called Aquatica, which appears to be sheathed in unnatural ice. Rhys is told in the village of Rysel that something is wrong with the weather control systems, and that they can be fixed in yet another world. This passage doesn't require an unlocking gem, so Rhys travels to the desert of Aridia. In the village of Hazatak, he learns about the weather control tower and that a Wren cyborg can fix the systems. Probably meeting up with a crazy Mieu-type named Miun that aimlessly wanders the desert along the way, Rhys retrieves technical systems specialist Wren from the cave, and heads into the weather control tower. There he also meets Lyle, who was apparently himself trying to fix the weather but lacked the necessary expertise with ancient technology to do so. Wren turns the appropriate dials and pushes the appropriate buttons, and Aquatica is saved. In gratitude, Lyle invites Rhys to visit his home in Shusoran.

Returning to Aquatica, Rhys finds that the seas there are no longer frozen, so he can take a boat with his companions to the island where the cities of Agoe and Shusoran are located. Only, it turns out that Agoe is an Orakian city but Shusoran is a city of Layans—just in case the player didn't notice that Lyle has the ability to use Layan techniques and uses the weapons and armor that the instruction book say that Layan males use. Moreover, a girl was taken into the castle of Shusoran! Something is clearly up. In Shusoran, while the stores are open for business, the population is keeping its mouth firmly shut, and the castle is sealed up. Rhys sneaks into the castle through a secret passage hidden in a town fountain, except that halfway through the castle, Lyle leaves the party. He's met again in the throne room, though, where it turns out that he is, in fact, the Prince of Shusoran, and challenges Rhys to a one-on-one duel! Once Rhys has laid the smack down on the Layan prince, Lyle decides that he's a worthy ally; apparently Maia is Lyle's cousin, the Princess of Cille. While Lyle wasn't in favor of the whole "marrying the enemy of your entire people" concept, he'd come to get over his ethnic bias and decided that if Rhys could earn his way through, he'd support the match. The girl in Shusoran's castle turned out not to be Maia, but Lena, the Orakian girl who let Rhys out of prison. Apparently the whole "don't be a racist bigot" thing is catching on...

According to Lyle, the only way for Rhys to get to Cille is over a land bridge, which unfortunately doesn't exist at this point (one would think there'd be easier ways, but on the other hand, maybe the king of Cille is having all boats sunk on sight and Layans have other means of travel?). However, using Lyle and Lena's gems, the Moon Stone and Moon Tear, a system back in Aridia can be operated which will draw the two moons closer to the worlds and change the tides enough to reveal the land bridge. This plan does in fact work, and Rhys enters the castle of Cille. Hacking his way through the guards, Rhys finds the King playing overprotective father, and the entire party has to fight him. When the King is defeated, he yields to Rhys and decrees him a worthy suitor for Maia (apparently Layans watch Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha?).

Rhys can then choose to marry Maia (who now has her memories back but, apparently, hasn't forgotten about Rhys) or Lena (who turns out to be the Princess of Satera from across the river from Landen) to decide what will happen in the second generation.