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The story of PSO2 has many chapters & is very long.
This isn't meant to be a substitute for the game, or as a transcript of the entire script/plot, but rather a way to understand, read-up-on, speculate, analyze & get a really good idea of what's going on in the game.
This section is for Chapters 4 and 5 ONLY. For all the plot before this, see the Story Hub. Because the game is divided up over these sections, the plot will be as well.
Character Guide
Planets/Areas Guide
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Color key
Green Text: Speculation or opinions
What You Do/The official "Party Line" appears in RED TEXT
Bold Text: Important information
Choice Options: Blue Text
Dates & Times (Story is time travel related) Purple Text
Story Guide HUB

Mother is not particularly gimmicky.
She’s certainly not as difficult as Aratron was, because she’s not tossing elements around all the time. She can teleport, and will absolutely get in your face. She sends out blue explosions and red dots (of harm) with the respective swords. She can also slash, and do some energy attacks. Over-all however, because she clearly didn’t study a whole lot of fighting, it’s not the roughest fight to encounter. It may not be possible to knock her down, but it’s not needed anyway. She also doesn't have a ton of HP, not as much as Aratron did, either.
Is this fight "fairly hum-drum" on purpose for part of the plot? No, she's not a push-over or anything, but is it this way to illustrate that Mother, the person, is not a super trained fighting type individual? Is that she faces you herself instead of say...spawning literal millions of platidorus 1 at a time until everyone dies of exahustion (She could do it, no need to eat or drink or rest on her part, she can float eternally in the air and just spit out a Platidorus every two minutes until everyone died) Also, could she not just evacuate all the oxygen from the round room? This wouldn't knock out a Cast but it'd sure whack Hitsugi or force a retreat. Is she supposed to be demonstrating 'not a usual big fighter' and 'fight them yourself because reasons' here?

If you can beat her
At 1500
She’ll stagger and sputter off energy where she stands. She laughs, and says that “the will of the people surpasses even I.” However, she won’t lose, for the sake of those who walked beside her, until she fulfills her desire, she can’t afford to stop. She gestures grandly, but red and black starts pouring out of her. This makes a huge, ghostly evil shape with glowing red eyes and energy hands. The shadow pulls her up as she faces away from it. Kohri thinks it will absorb Mother. Did it wait till her strength was waning before it would come? They speculate. (They are likely very correct) Mother stays stop it, she doesn’t wish for the destruction of all just…

This is likely a similar instance of what happened when the dark cloud thing tried to snag the “Aru Character” that Hitsugi was using at the start of all this mess. It’s also clear that it communicated with only Mother as it’s grabbing her with that “destruction of all” line. As an actual Falz-type entity or offshoot of PD, ‘destroying everything ever’ is always the goal.

But it crushes her/absorbs her and screeches, then disperses into a cloud of darkness that covers over the whole area.
 Now, a new strange thing appears.  
This is a rather abstract entity. It’s quite large, probably at least 50 feet high, but rather long/slim. It has bilateral symmetry and upright posture but that’s about it. It’s white, with blue patterns in it. (As expected, as a Mother item) There’s a large triangular flat/thin flap on top, a secondary flap under that and a very tall ‘neck’ area. (If you are considering the horizontal triangle flap with its tassels as a ‘head’ though it has no fetures)
The base of the neck has a face in it that could either be Aru or Mother but it looks like a mixture of both that’s also a statue. (Face is white/eyes are blank/expression can’t change) It has glowing blue eyes. The bottom of the proportionate 'torso' of this makes up the very base of the neck, which widens into the creature's triangular chest. There is a vague suggestion of fused-down ‘arms’ with gold metal points where the forearms would be, but those are fused (don’t move) to a pointed, conical chest shape. If you consider the statue face the ‘head’ of this thing, then the neck/flap top would be a tall hat like structure.  Does the embedded arms torso/head thing have boobs? So glad you asked! Of course it does! Because this is Episode: Earth, that’s why. The creature has very long thin skeletal arms/hands. It’s wasp-waisted with pelvis ring & human like legs. It’s really very strange. It stays floating outside the disk shaped arena, and keeps the arena at about waist height to itself. The legs cut off at about calf-level into ether cubes. It doesn’t move around much as the people before it and inside of it argue.

Enga says what the hell is that and Xiera cuts in to answer hime with it’s a new reading, it’s a DF for sure. Enga wonders if Aru is really a Falz in there? (As in, did he turn all the way bad) Hitsugi concentrates and thinks that he may be inside. Aru himself confirms it, because now (presumably everyone?) can hear him. He says “big sis you can understand now that Mother is suffering too, she knows she was lonely, alone for so long.” (This may be to illustrate that now that he’s been absorbed, Aru understands more of where Mother is coming from / what she is feeling)  Hitsugi knows exactly how she feels. Save mother, that’s his final request, says Aru from inside the thing. Hitsugi scolds him against ‘final requests’. She came here with the intent and desire to save all, and save the world as a result. There’s nothing more to it, isn’t that right?!

You look at her in agreement. The power of mine is the power to save people, so just you wait, Aru, Mother!

Now you have to fight it.
It will summon its own version of Gettemhart’s falz-hands, but these are more female looking. They start off as orbs, which then extend wrists out from them to become hands. There are 4, and each is structured differently, and has a different attack. There are long finger ones that pinch, angel-winged one that summons ceiling-swords, thicker fingered one that will smash, etc.
They can stretch out the ‘wrist’ area to slash at you, summon energy  rays from the sky…and one…oddly looks like it will do the “Rock Paper Scissors” or “Ro Sham Bo” motions? It’s almost unmistakably that? But how would Mother have seen someone doing that? Why would she have a hand-thing make the motion as an attack? It’s very strange, and of course, nothing will ever explain it.

Once each hand runs out of HP, it will shatter and disappear. Breaking all 4 will make the tall creature to droop its stance at the edge of the arena, and be able to be attacked. Only a central glowing point in the chest area is able to be attacked.
If you can defeat the hands enough, and hit the main body enough it’ll do a trick where it uses maybe a very strong version of Megiverse to drag you to the center, then puts up ‘DF-Double style’ castle walls with gates in a fake ‘room’ all around. Only one of the gates are open, and you have to run out through that one (finding it quickly) or she’ll make the whole center area explode in an attack. The hands aren’t active during this, so if you get out early, it’s free hits.

All the while the large creature will shoot off spinning lasers, and let loose rows of panels that flip/spin forward across the arena that you have to dodge.
She didn't HAVE to leave a gate open. Is that meant to represent that Mother wants to lose the battle because that will also make the Falz thing that's taken her over as well, to lose?

If you can beat it
at 1600
It will fall toward the arena, kind of leaning on it. Kohri asks did we stop her? Enga doesn’t think it’s over. Xiera says you bought time, so dealing with Arks, good job, isn’t that right Matoi? Now, suddenly, Matoi is somehow on the battlefield with everyone. (They certainly did shoe horn her in, almost like they forgot she existed entirely, up until this really obvious moment to just plunk her without an explanation of any sort) She calls "please Clarissa" as she races forward. Her weapon materializes and you join her as both of you dance, swing and twirl at the Mother-Creature at once while avoiding hands and attacks. Mother gets more of her hands back, and will attack or at least defend. (This is all a cut-scene)

Hitsugi calls for Ame no murikumo to lend me your power to save everyone and everything! Kohri blocks one hand, Enga blocks another, she charges up and gets ready to jump in, and with a huge chop she does it! All turns to white at her hit. So it’s you & Matoi vs hands & mother while Kohri and Enga block more hands letting Kohri use the magic sword to strike her down. However, this only gets rid of the giant white abstract entity form.

Mother, now looking human again, says “well done, the catalyst is saved, you saved Aru, and ripped away the elements of Falz, you did set us free.” She doesn’t look super happy about it. There’s only one thing left to be done, to slay her with the blade and everything will be how it should, and her eternal loneliness will finally end. Oh that’s right it was her desire, now she can finally…” she trails off. Hitsugi raises the sword and Mother closes her eyes.

Hitsugi hits her with the scabbard in the head. This knocks her down, and she says it hurt a lot, to which Hitsugi argues that was the point. “Mother, why did you invite all the lonely people to join MC?” She demands. Then, she admits she was lonly, Och and Phul were too, even Hagith and Bethor were too. Everyone was like that, everyone was lonely.

Mother says it was rational, to increase their dependence on her. But she was happy when she did, happy that someone who needed her existed. Mother’s like that too right, you don’t really need revenge any more, just acknowledgment. To say ‘I’m here’, and that someone would notice you. Mother laughs at it a bit, to create such an emotional story using nothing more than a guess.
But, Hitsugi has a proper reason...and actually a really good deduction. Were you able to deduce the same thing before she will tell you here? THIS is the intelligence level a real plot needs/a real good character ought to have on display.
“Xiera told us that Photons and Ether have the same origin, but here Photons are ether, specializing in communication, and tech to communicate with others, that’s because the origin of ether, Mother, because you desired connection more than anything else?”

Mother WAS connecting everybody. Like how the internet does, but she was basically super-multiplying it because ether did so much more than just replace your wifi.

Mother says "so what though, what would that even change? She just wanted to make them see, make those who declared her useless to see that she wasn’t and to acknowledge her. But her target no longer exists, no-matter how strong she looks or how much she shows off, her goal was impossible form the start."
She cries and sobs at this. Hitsugi says what’s wrong with finding a new goal? She wonders if it’s too late for her? Hitsugi reminds her she’s been asleep for a billion years, so how can you say ‘it’s too late’? Things take time, no matter what it is. What she’s really trying to say is don’t be in such a rush. She’s not saying forget what happened, and she’s still pissed at her, (due to attempted murder and all) and she still wants to get back at Kohri for cutting her down, but there were people who needed her and that’s a fact. But thanks to them, she was saved, her past self was saved and she’ll go home and think about it. So she should think about it too, and if she decides, she’ll help cut down the angry thoughts with her sword, so lets’ go home.

Mother says she’s persuasive, but she was born and raised this way. Aru offers his hand, and she says all she needed was to have connections. Hitsugi takes the same hand, and Mother is now content. She closes her eyes.

Really smart: Hitsugi figures out why Ether does what it does
Really stupid: Ancient entity didn’t know it could have more than 1 life goal. Teen tells it so.

At 1700
Kohri cheers for them. Enga says his stupid little sister finally did it. Aru runs up to him for a hug, which makes him surprised. He pats him saying a good little brother. So he hugs Kohri next, and she welcomes him back. Mother looks on as everyone talks. Mother says thanks to Hitsugi but she is interrupted in the worst way.

Ardem has stabbed her!
She bleeds blue beads of energy out of the middle where he has stabbed. He’s stabbed her with a gold and white sword. How did Ardem get in? How did nobody see him? Why has Matoi said and did nothing this entire time?
He says Mother’s role is finished for good, while Enga demands how he got here. Mother collapses as Ophiel cubes into the space as well. He apologizes but says it’s necessary for the evolution of mankind. Ardem claims to be grateful, thanks to Ether the Earth will move onto its next stage. And now, he’ll absorb her and become the foundation of the paradigm shift becoming one with her beloved Earth. "So won’t that be nice Mother?" With a flourish of his blade he stabs her in the upper torso, this kills her and makes her disappear. Was no one fast enough to stop him? They not only let him stab, but then they let him finish her off too as she lay dying.

He thanks everyone else present, though now he glows a bit. Without your cooperation, he doubts he’d of made it through all this…so his sincerest thanks. Hitsugi demands why he’d do it. He claims its to protect the earth. You were indeed all aware that she posed the gravest threat to the Earth…right? We had no choice but to kill her, that’s the natural decision for someone devoted to guiding the Earth, yes? Hitsugi tries to argue even so…
(This is debatable. Of course, Ardem would have ZERO knowledge of her heel-face turn that she has just made right here. For all he knows she was still the darker possessed out of control thing you basically just finished fighting.)

Enga says who’s the guy with you? Why bring him? Ophiel introduces himself as the apostle of Water, an Earth Guide member. Enga glares at him, having figured he was a spy for Earth Guide inside the Mother Cluster, but he messed up a lot of things for everyone. Kohri exclaims, but he claims it was only necessary to fulfill our goals. So, Ophiel was a Traitor to Mother Cluster the whole time. He could also be how Ardem got in, because Mother recognizes Cluster members / him cubing in might not have set off any alarms. However, their ability to 'sneak up and stab' without being seen is still too preposterous.

Ardem asks Enga to remember what he said when he invited him to EG. Enga actually does have the answer, which is “The Earth of today is stagnant.” Ardem says no innovations or evolution it is a world of consumption. We must lead the earth to a further evolution to a world restructuring. EG is those who will guide the earth if we don’t accomplish it there’s no future. He’s a chosen one so lend me your strength, Enga.

Enga thought it was a fancy speech but Ardem's face says it’s serious. You killed Mother and acquired her power, but do you seriously think that’s all it takes to change the world? He says of course, he’s changed it over and over for tens of thousands of years.
WELL WELL so he is actually super old? How does THAT work?
Hitsugi doubts him, rightfully so.
As he begins to explain, you see his imagination instead of the scene. It’s him speaking over a series of illustrations of himself, as he went through various eras, dressed for the times and acting like a person from that era.
There was an era he wrote many books. Then when something would be interpreted wrong, he’d change his name, and correct it. Speaking of bad experiences... the king of Britain was stubborn and controlling so he had to trick him a lot. He was in Japan too with demon fighting where he was a wizard. All of this is illustrated. First on a Greek Krater pot, then in stained glass, and in Japanese painting on canvas.

So what he is basically saying is that he was pretending to be all these historical figures over and over again, like Greek philosophers and other things like Literally Merlin The Wizard in Camelot & King Arthur was somehow also real. Notice how he doesn’t explain at all HOW IS HE OLD and WHAT IS HE because he isn’t a human at all but looks just like one.

He waxes nostalgic with "Showing them how to deal with them, how to read the stars, oh how nostalgic". Earth then was so brilliant with people repeatedly evolving and growing. But what about now, aren’t you sad at this unchanging world? The super tech called Ether, although it was a great opportunity all it did was get used to extend previous tech. No change in mental state, no change in physical state, we were devolving. It’s very terrible, very alarming era, Enga, you agree right?

He says sorry he doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to. Kohri asks if its really King Arthur. Hitsugi agrees. She says the Japan one was Abe no Seimei and the rest are legends. Ardem confirms it saying she’s got extensive knowledge which is expected of Engas little sister. Enga just asks him what the hell is he?

*Abe no Seimei is absolutely the correct choice for the plot to make here. He was a well known astrologer to kings in Japan...but his 2nd most known-for thing is his very long and very healthy life free of major illness or injury. He also seemed to be known for tall hats but...less signifigant. His life was well documented (meaning you're gonna read about him in school) but he's also the subject of lots of legends/myths and folk-lore which is going to sprinkle it with interest. So this Ardem guy must have "played the character" for a really long time to create the 'long life guy'.
Is the plot offensive at all?
Saying that people like Socrates & Abe here didn't exist *at all* they were just some scrub villain playing masquerade--is that offensive? Of course King Arthur is fake, but Abe sure did exist irl--so is it offensive to claim he didn't?

Ardem Sacred, leader of EG and…suddenly, someone kicks him in the face!
He is able to repel Phaleg with his sword. He says good grief, and clones himself many times, but they are all phantasmal and she uses her fighting to best all of them, making them vanish. They clash, and he dusts himself off. He says long time Ives, and she says same.

She asks how many hundreds of years has it been since they’ve gone face to face.
He wonders how long. She reminds him that last time we met he was devoted to alchemy and she destroyed his whole work shop. He did forget, he was nostalgic for the time he was Paracelsus. Names don’t matter she says, opening her eyes just a bit.

He says good grief now that she’s here…there’s no way to convince all of you, so it can’t be helped, Ophiel, let’s just go.  Ophiel, who cubed out when nobody was looking, cubes in, and says certainly so, while Ardem takes out a portal card. Enga recognizes this. Ardem repeats that Earth is stagnant, if the people can’t be trusted to evolve and don’t choose the path, he’ll choose it for them. To guide the earth and carve a new history that’s the purpose of EG. He throws down the card and vanishes amongst its symbols. Enga rushes him, but can’t catch him. They vanish.

Enga is enraged, he didn’t help him for this BS!
Is he trying to play god, has he gone crazy? Phaleg does her mega-jump and vanishes.

The scene ends, the chapter ends.

Lots of action!
Only a little explanation.

Phaleg & Ardem are likely 2 of the same type of creature.
But what are they? Where did they come from?
Why are they both so hostile?

Ardem is completely wrong about the modern era stagnating, because if you look back at history AND if they’d bothered to write him right, it would be painfully obvious that the 1900 through, what…2022 or whenever they are is the fastest pace of any era ever. It went from horseback in 1900 to the literal MOON in 1960 and then by 2019 (or whenever) literal telepathing into video games and mind reading tablets. If he had lived through the centuries of the past where no one ever even left their own home town and stuff stayed that way for 100s of years…..his head ought to be spinning. Humanity has undergone the most absurd changes, leaps and advances in the ‘modern era’ than all before it.
Even to a 12 year old, it would be obvious that this is the case SO: is this bad writing OR is it meant to illustrate that Ardem is off his rocker saying false things or believing crazy stuff?

Take a bet:
1. Mother isn’t really dead. The ‘water’ is still levitating, ether still works, Ardem probably did to her what she did to Aru.
2. Everything would collapse without her power still active.
3. 50/50 Aratron lived through the ESCA darker attack
4. Ardem’s plan involves murdering everyone who can’t control Ether

Shoe Horn:
Honk the shoe horn for Matoi then use it to lever her in!
It’s like the plot forgot she existed entirely. How the heck did she get there? Why wasn’t she there earlier? Why does she have no dialogue at all? Why even PUT her at this point? It doesn’t make sense for her to flop in and flourish around with your char vs. Mother-creature.
Adding her at that point is nonsensical/stupid. Just have Mary-Sue-Hitsugi clobber it like the Magical-Girl-Transformation she is while the other characters help her. Matoi is so pointless here, plus, she’s an active detriment to the plot because she HAS to be made inept and unable to stop Ardem from murdering Mother just willy nilly. That’s out of character for her, both as a person (She is nice and cares about people) and as a powerful Clarissa Title Holder (ability and speed to stop him)

Teen Time Plot:
Now you’re expected to believe the ancient entity didn’t know it couldn’t have more than one goal, but one teenager telling her ‘oh you can’ changes it’s whole view!
Is Mother really a 12 year old? No, seriously.
How long did she ‘live’ with the Photoners?
Aratron tells you he woke her up 12 years ago, so, she hasn’t been experiencing the Earth, people, culture, and whatever else for any MORE than 12 years. She slept for a kazillion (you’ll never know, it was interdimensional) but that means ‘wasn’t conscious/wasn’t thinking’, so it doesn’t count. Only her “life time” spent awake with Photoners and here on earth counts, so her ACTUAL age is probably pretty low. Probably mid 50s, tops, probably even lower. It depends on how long it took her to "Go Bad" after she was created, and then how long it took them to chuck her into the Subspace Dimension after that. Couldn't be more than 10 years or so probably. But it'd make actual sense to KNOW.

WHY did the Photoners get rid of her?
The plot previously in other episodes was mentioning all about how they accidentally formed the ‘new Xion’ with mass lots of negative emotions, evil, and badness in their hearts. They basically ruined her by being generally awful. Then, when they got this evil nasty water planet, they scape-goated somebody and flung it into “Subspace Dimension” to trap its vile power. That is literally the explanation the game gives you. She was just SO BAD there was nothing else to do, to save everyone from her wickedness.

Ok, so where is her vile power?
She doesn’t have it! She’s just a sad sack that wanted senpai to notice, and when senpai died before noticing, she wanted to stab unrelated children over it. Did she lose something when she smashed into hot-lava-ball-proto-earth? Was that something ‘her marbles’? She’s neither intelligent enough nor malicious enough to even get close to fitting the bill of what was described in previous episodes.
She keeps saying how 'she wasn't good enough' for the Photoners so they got rid of her, a 'failed clone', but won't say how she failed or why she wasn't good enough. And, I'm sorry, but if a TEEN can calm her down off her problems, she wasn't the proto-falz-murder-ball everyone made her out to be.
Also, Photoners were supposed to be this great thing, and Luther kind of proved it, he was a hell of a villain powers-wise, we're supposed to believe that none of these guys could talk her down? OR, if it came to it, challenge her to a double sword duel like the one we just had here and simply whack her? Then what about Xion? We know she was smart (in WAYS but not all-ways) how did Xion not figure her out?

Hitsugi's Sword:
It's likely very important to know that hits with the sword separate good from bad elements in whatever she's hitting. This is exceptionally useful.

It's an ok-enough chapter but it opens up more mysteries while not really closing any.