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Video Game: Star Stealing Prince

Star Stealing Prince is a freeware fantasy RPG created with RPGMakerVX by Ronove (or known as Black Birds of Rye on the official site). The prince of the title is Snowe, who has inherited the snowy kingdom of Sabine after the deaths of his mysterious parents, King Edgar and Queen Lina.

One night, Snowe has a bizarre dream in which a shadowy figure boasts of its intent to murder Astra, a young woman in a nearby tower. His innocent quest to rescue her sets in motion a series of revelations that will reveal the truth about the powerful, complex magic that sustains his kingdom. However, he won't be alone in his quest for the truth. His allies are Astra, her loyal undead guardian Hiante, her loyal demon Erio, and later, a bitter (though good-natured) sentry named Relenia.

Released in early 2012, Star Stealing Prince has already earned considerable acclaim from the RPG Maker community for its combination of endearing characters, twisty plot, challenging gameplay, and a ton of original artwork. In 2013, it won eight Misaos (the RPG Maker community's version of the Oscars), including Game of the Year. It can be downloaded at the official site.

A web novel sequel, Ephemeral Prince, is currently in production. The web novel has two parts: Fleeting, which follows the game's bad ending, and Permanence, which follows the good ending. It can be read here. There are also four short stories written some time back, which expand on some past events in the game's story. They can be found here

This game provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Edgar and Lina.
  • Adult Fear: Edgar and Lina want Relenia, the best damn guard they have, to guard the entrance of the Sepulcher for them, but she doesn't want to because she'll be separated from her daughter. Their solution? Erase her daughter's memory of her and stick her with some other family. There, problem solved!
  • Aerith and Bob: King Edgar and Queen Lina, Kathryn, Jacob, Theodore, Mariland, Anastasia, Richard, Vera... Snowe and Astra (both real words, but not commonly names and Snowe's name has an added "e")... Hiante? Relenia? Erio? Lorel?
  • All There in the Manual: There are a few prequel short stories and a few different blog posts that explain things about the story that are only mentioned briefly or not brought up at all in the game.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Players who are thorough in their exploration will be rewarded many times over.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The demon. First the Original King ate him, and then he got sealed inside Snowe. And to beat the demon and get the good ending you have to trap him in a "Groundhog Day" Loop of him getting defeated by Snowe in his dreams.
    • A side effect of the sealing spell caused Edgar and Lina to start decaying. And part of what they'd stolen from the Original King was immortality. Meaning that if they hadn't faked their own deaths, eventually they would have decayed to piles of dust. And still been alive.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Appears to be averted with Snowe and his parents. Actually, Snowe's parents play it straight.
    • The Original King is no saint either.
  • Badass Cape: The Original King. As creepy as it looks, it's hard to deny that wearing an Eldritch Abomination as a cape is pretty badass. According to Word of God, the Eldritch Abomination isn't actually there; it's a visualization of all the hatred and anger the Original King feels.
  • Barrier Maiden: Astra, as the "witness" to the spell that sealed the original king's demon inside Snowe. If she dies, he gets released.
  • Big Bad: The original king.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Occasionally, during the final boss fight, characters will run in and throw healing, MP regeneration, and buff spells at the party (as well as the occasional debuff spell and attack at the boss) while cheering them on.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Snowe's nightmare. Completing it is necessary to obtain the good ending. It can also double as The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, since it directly precedes the final boss, and Where It All Began, since the nightmare is what kicks off the whole plot in the first place.
  • Break the Cutie: Arguably, everyone; Snowe's innocent quest to save Astra sets off a chain of events that quickly tear down the fairy tale lives of everyone living on that icy little island. Though by the end, pretty much everyone says it was for the better.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Snowe's nightmares cause this for him frequently. At one point late in the game, Astra has a nightmare too, and she is just as startled.
  • Cassandra Truth: Referenced by the maiden statue Cassandra when you give her back her name. She says something along the lines of:
    "I kept thinking that was my name, but no one believes a Cassandra!"
  • Climax Boss: Edgar and Lina.
  • Competitive Balance:
  • Cute Monster Girl: Numismatist is a ghost and she appears next to Snowe's bed at one point, though it can be Fridge Horror if you remember the conditions for her to manifest.
  • Cutting Off The Branches: Averted. A web novel sequel has started being released. Both the good ending and the bad ending are canon.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Where do we start?
    • Snowe was routinely neglected and emotionally abused by his parents. His only friend for the longest time was the demon, but his memories of their time together was stripped from him by his parents, and by the time Snowe "reunites" with Xiri, the latter's become an Ax-Crazy Stalker with a Crush.
    • Hiante was forced to watch his beloved king become an Omnicidal Maniac, and was cut down like a dog when he tried to stop his mad schemes.
    • Relenia. She loses her husband and her daughter becomes inconsolable. Then Edgar and Lina ask her to guard their Sepulcher. She refuses, so they take away her daughter. Then she's stuck guarding the Sepulcher for ten years, only to learn that she's been duped and made to waste ten years of her life.
    • Hell, even the demon within Snowe has one. First, he was really bitter after the Original King ate him, but after Edgar and Lina bound him with Snowe, the demon's relationship and friendship with him slowly began to soften him. However, Edgar and Lina then wiped Snowe's memory of the demon, effectively cutting the two off from each other for ten years, which just made him even more bitter. By the time the game proper starts, he's become so insane from his isolation and obsession with Snowe that he's willing to brutally murder Astra so that he and Snowe can be free from each other. And in the bad ending, that is exactly what he does.
  • Dem Bones: Hiante is a friendly version. The various other skeletal phantoms you see in the game? Less friendly.
  • Demonic Possession: Snowe is an interesting take on this. The demon is just as much a victim as Snowe is and doesn't want to be there.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • If you forgot rope and fell through the hole in the second set of caverns, there is a humorous little cutscene where your companions chew you out over it and make you go back to Sabine to find rope to get them out. If you have the lantern, your companions say "at least he didn't forget a lantern", and if you don't have the lantern, they get annoyed that you didn't even bring a lantern.
    • The short story "A Demon" describes a certain room that has a magic circle drawn in it. You can actually find this room in the game. As of 3.1, entering it with Erio in your party triggers a cutscene.
    • Watching Hiante's memory before reaching the Western Tower boss causes the events in the memory to get mentioned in the dialogue before the boss fight.
  • Difficulty Spike: The Western Tower is most commonly cited. Even the regular encounters are a definite step up from the previous dungeon, and they can utterly demolish you if you aren't careful.
    • The Sepulcher is also pretty tough, especially when the party gets split up.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: The Sepulcher.
  • Distressed Damsel:
    • Snowe thinks Astra is one of these, but finds out that's not the case at all.
    • Dream Astra really does need rescuing, and if you don't save her before finishing the game, Bad Things Happen.
  • Dual Boss: Edgar and Lina.
  • Dual Wielding: Hiante.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: The bosses are merciless compared to the dungeons that precede them.
    • Averted in the Western Tower, where the regular encounters are about as bad as the boss.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Original King's hatred and anger is visually represented as one very Lovecraftian cape.
  • Electric Torture: Edgar seems fond of using lightning to try to get information out of people, and uses it on Snowe when he captures him. When Erio comes and rescues Snowe, the ensuing conversation reveals that Edgar once tortured Erio in exactly the same way.
  • Elemental Powers:
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Fire burns earth, earth grounds lightning, lightning shocks water, water douses fire.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: The final skills for each party member, as well as Astra's Infinity+1 Sword. All of them can only be gotten in the very final chapter.
  • Ending Tropes:
    • The Bad Guy Wins: In the bad ending. While there are multiple villains in the game and by the time you get to the end you have defeated Edgar, Lina, and the Original King, if you get the bad ending, the demon inside Snowe gets the last laugh.
    • The End... Or Is It?: The good ending reminds the player, with Snowe's unnatural stutter and the sounds of ominous heart-beating, that while Snowe has suppressed the demon's ability to control him, the demon still lives within him.
    • Everybody's Dead, Dave: If you get the bad ending, the demon takes control of Snowe and forces him to kill everyone he ever cared about, and then lets Snowe live.
    • Kill 'em All: The bad ending.
    • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The Bad Ending, though subverted on one account — everyone except Snowe dies, which just makes it worse.
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: Snowe has them after a couple restless nights. And they get progressively worse as the game progresses; towards the end he looks downright awful. It gets fixed if you have Erio enter Snowe's dreams to fix his nightmares, but if you don't, it doesn't get fixed and he has to even fight the final boss that way.
  • False Utopia: The city of Sabine is this. Everyone is perfectly happy... because they are being controlled by various spells which keep them from realizing their king and queen abandoned them.
  • Fantastic Angst: Erio becomes very annoyed when anyone prods him about his feelings for Astra, because he thinks that pursuing her would be 'creepy'. When Snowe points out that creepy seems to just be what demons do, Erio responds that it's not the way he wants to be.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Final Boss Preview: The party ends up fighting a less-powerful version of The Original King in the Western Tower.
  • Floating Continent: The Sepulcher.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A very subtle example. Snowe's starter weapon is a staff that used to belong to his dad. One attack you can do with it is a lightning-based IP attack. And when we actually run into the previous owner of that staff, we find that Edgar's main power, which he uses a bit too gleefully, is calling down lightning to fry people.
    • The glowing light after Lorel attacks Snowe, Erio's comment to Snowe about how first Lorel's attack and later Edgar shooting him with lightning ought to have killed him, Snowe's inability to keep himself warm after Lorel's attack, and even Edgar's comment about Snowe being "walking death" all foreshadow that Snowe's been Dead All Along.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Roughly, Snowe is phlegmatic, Astra is sanguine, Hiante is melancholic, and Relenia is choleric.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Subverted. Lorel and the Chimera seem like this at first, but they are later revealed to have been purposefully placed there by Edgar and Lina to prevent anyone from accessing the Sepulcher.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: When the Sepulcher starts collapsing, the party has no way of getting out safely. Erio's the only one who could conceivably get at least one or two people out safely and he's simply in no condition to do so at the moment. So Erio ends up instructing Snowe and Relenia to make a magic circle to call upon a stronger demon. He's not sure if it'll even work, but apparently his older sister was feeling sweet that day.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: In the stealth mission with Snowe and Erio. The enemies will fly toward you if you're spotted...but you can quickly dart the other way and they'll forget you're even there.
  • Guest Star Party Member:
    • Erio. He's never a permanent member of the party (since the default battle system for RPG Maker is limited to four party members), and only joins in a few rare instances.
    • There is an odd gentleman in the Western Tower who briefly joins you, although he doesn't help out with any of the fighting. He is the Original King, and when Astra catches on, he attacks.
    • Dream Astra in the Bonus Dungeon.
  • Hive Mind: According to Astra, Lorel is a cluster of phantoms that were formed into a bird.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The very first boss fight of the game. It becomes a lot less hopeless when Astra weakens it later.
  • Hypocritical Humor: One of the puzzles in the shrine involves you helping a bunch of maiden statues remember their names. One of them says, "Oh, I'm miserable! More miserable than that stupid Evangeline who keeps complaining!"
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Astra realizes that the odd gentleman who's accompanied them throughout the Western Tower is up to something when he reveals that he knows Snowe is Sabine's ruler, which is something they never mentioned and he shouldn't know given other things he's said about himself.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Maiden's Hope for Snowe, Mistilteinn for Astra, Heroes and Villains for Hiante, Gungnir for Relenia.
    • Infinity+1 Accessory: The Green Ribbon, obtainable in the final chapter. It boosts all stats, grants immunity to virtually every status ailment, and halves MP cost.
  • Interrogated for Nothing: Happens to Snowe in the Sepulcher; Edgar and Lina think he's lying about being their son and are convinced he's plotting something, so take him away to question him. Problem is, he really is their son, he wouldn't lie about that, and the only thing he was "plotting" was preventing his kingdom from freezing to death.
  • Involuntary Group Split: When the group gets taken prisoner in the Sepulcher and Snowe is separated from the others. While Erio saves them, getting everyone back together still proves a hassle since Erio and Snowe are outmatched and have to sneak around, Astra and company have to face really tough enemies, and then on top of that Snowe and Erio run into a door they can't open themselves.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Erio.
  • Kill It with Fire: Snowe's standard response to obstacles, although it never quite works out. When without a lantern, he goes with the scarecrow's suggestion to set its head on fire to provide light. (The scarecrow laughs at him the rest of the game because scarecrow heads are for some reason not very flammable.) When locked up in a cell, he tries to set the room on fire. (All this earns him is getting locked down further.) His penchant for setting things on fire finally gets lampshaded when he and Erio encounter a door they can't get past. Snowe suggests setting it on fire, which leads to Erio wondering what Snowe's deal is with burning the place down.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Played straight for the most part, but also subverted on occasion, such as when Astra yells at you for trying to rifle through her clothes drawers. Also, when the spell on Sabine is lifted and everyone forgets who Snowe is, trying to just waltz into people's houses or trying to go into the back rooms of shops will more than likely just get you tossed right back out.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: When the spell over Sabine is broken, nearly everyone there has all their memories of Snowe completely wiped.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: Whether you decide to just go ahead and rest up or decide to bring Erio into your dreams to defeat the demon determines which ending you get.
  • Limit Break: Sort of. Suffering damage increases a special meter for the characters, and they can execute special attacks (tied to their equipment) in exchange for a certain percentage of the gauge. It's virtually identical to the IP system from the Lufia series.
  • Loophole Abuse: Richard pulls this. There are spells on him and Vera that prevent them from telling Snowe what's really going on, so he sends Snowe to the Sepulcher in order to "restore the link"; what he's actually doing is sending Snowe to accidentally uncover a memory that will tell him a bit more about what his parents did. Unfortunately, Richard hadn't expected that Snowe would run into his parents and they would try to kill him. He's very apologetic when he learns that happened.
  • Lost Forever: Everything in the Sepulcher, as it cannot be accessed after chapter 5. Most notably are Astra's ultimate weapon and the red ribbon, a potent accessory. Fortunately, the game is rather forward about this, and the skill books found there can be obtained elsewhere if they're missed.
    • Averted with everything else, however. Even in the final chapter, you can go back and get everyone's ultimate weapons (except Astra's) and memories.
  • Love Triangle: It's heavily implied that Erio has feelings for Astra, and that Snowe is attracted to her as well. However, whether or not Snowe has feelings for her is left up to the player's interpretation.
  • Marathon Boss: The Final Boss has thirty thousand hit points. Fortunately, supporting characters will occasionally heal you from the sidelines.
  • Meaningful Echo: Snowe declares that "I inherited this kindgdom, therefore I inherited everything my parents did!" Towards the end, the Original King justifies his rampage by saying "You all inherited everything that they did! You all allowed them to act and allowed them to steal from me!"
  • Meaningful Name: Snowe, the ruler of a snow-covered kingdom, and Astra, the star princess.
  • The Medic: Snowe, interestingly enough.
  • Missing Mom: Relenia turns out to be one for a little girl in Sabine. It was not her decision. Also, Lina, and it was her choice.
  • Mood Whiplash: Frequent. The story uses the juxtaposition between carefree fantasy and serious drama quite well.
  • Mook Medic: Little Ones are enemy angels that can pray for aid and heal up their allies. This is not good news for you.
  • Multiple Endings: A "good" and "bad" one. The difference will be very clear.
  • Nice Guy: Snowe.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: In the Bonus Dungeon, when you're fighting the boss, if Snowe is KO'd and stays KO'd on the following turn, the boss will comment on it and then wipe out Dream Astra and Erio with one move.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • Edgar and Lina's old bedroom. It's entirely empty. Snowe enters it during a very unsettling cutscene, and ever after that, if you enter it, the music suddenly shuts itself off, and doesn't come back on for a while.
    • There is one room in the catacombs that has a demon circle drawn on the ground, a magic tome, and candles, but nothing else. This room also shuts off the music. (You do learn what this room is for if you enter it with Erio in your party.)
  • Ominous Save Prompt: Happens right before a few of the important boss fights.
  • Our Demons Are Different: They have black sclerae, live a very long time, get summoned with magic circles, and it's possible to devour them and keep them imprisoned inside yourself.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: They aren't really all that mobile, and have to jump to empty skeletons to get about. And if they died in a horrific way or stew over their problems too long while they're a ghost, they are at great risk of becoming phantoms. While phantoms are a lot more mobile, they're also violently insane.
  • Overprotective Dad: Richard considers himself a surrogate father for Snowe and acts accordingly.
    • Hiante to Astra.
  • Parental Abandonment: ...and that's not even the worst of what Edgar and Lina are responsible for.
  • Parental Substitute: Richard and Vera for Snowe. Also, Hiante for Astra and Erio.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Erio. Except in Astra's memory.
  • Please Wake Up: One of the Magic Helpers late in the game can be found patting a lump of clay that is what's left of another Magic Helper, telling it to get up, it's not time to sleep yet, they still have work to do.
  • Point of No Return: You are warned of this right before the boss fight in the Sepulcher, and right before you go for either the Bonus Dungeon or the final boss.
  • Purple Eyes: Astra and Erio.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Snowe's eyes turn red when the demon is controlling him. This is the opposite of his normal green eyes on the color spectrum.
  • Reduced Mana Cost: The Green Ribbon has this effect.
  • The Reveal: Happens several times, and most of the important cutscenes are conveyed through a series of striking pictures created by Ronove.
  • Revival Loophole: The spells Edgar and Lina had in place to keep the town in a permanent peaceful state break if Snowe dies. Lorel's attack killed him and broke the link, but the demon was able to prevent him from dying completely.
  • Rule of Symbolism: According to Word of God, the Original King's Eldritch Abomination cape is really a representation of all his hatred and anger, Edgar and Lina sport angel wings and halos in their boss battle both because they think so highly of themselves and because Snowe is even at this point trying to see some good in them, and the demon has chains on his clothes to symbolize how he's been imprisoned, and has wings and surrounded by fire because he's trying to be "reborn", and wings and flames call to mind a Phoenix.
  • Scary Scarecrows: The demon first makes an appearance in Snowe's dreams in the form of a scarecrow, the scarecrows in the caverns mostly speak of doom and gloom and people dying and burning and other charming things, and some of the enemies you face before getting to the Western Tower are scarecrow enemies who can stare you down to paralyze you and sometimes ring the death bell on you.
  • Scenery Porn: Easily one of the prettiest RPG Maker games out there.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: The demon in Snowe is of the Sealed Evil in a Can variety. In the bad ending it gets unsealed, and in the good one it remains sealed and is now more pissed off than ever.
  • Shout-Out: There are many hidden references to other RPG Maker games. In particular, Ronove has said that the character of Hiante was inspired in part by Stoic from Master of the Wind.
    • Two of the Final Boss' attacks are "Dreamless" and "Crying Heavens".
    • The title is named after a piece from the Chrono Cross soundtrack.
    • One that borders on Homage: The IP system is practically identical to that of the Lufia series.
    • The "Scary Mask" item is from Mother 3.
    • In the non-gaming category, one of the snowmen seems to be fond of singing "Love is a Battlefield".
      • Which doubles as a shout-out to Master of the Wind, where a bank teller sings a parody of the song.
    • The maiden statue named Delilah makes a reference to a rather popular song when you give her back her name.
    • The music in the game is highly reminiscent of Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is a work also about people who control elements.
  • Slasher Smile: A demon-possessed Snowe in the bad ending.
  • Sour Supporter: Erio for most of the game.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: At one point the party is captured and Snowe is separated from the others. Erio has to rescue everyone, and when he finds Snowe, they have to rejoin the rest of the group. Erio and Snowe aren't strong enough to fight the difficult enemies on the way themselves, so they have to avoid detection. Thankfully, these particular enemies have no peripheral vision whatsoever.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: Edgar and Lina to an extent, though this is also subverted, as both of them have aspects from each archetype.
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • Relenia acts like a Final Fantasy-style paladin in combat, automatically shielding characters from taking fatal blows as long as she's able to act, and as long as the attack doesn't hit everyone at once (though she's still able to shield party members if the attack is a multi-hit one that hits random party members.)
    • When your party is found by their enemies again after escaping captivity the first time, Edgar tries to kill Snowe right then and there. Erio pushes Snowe out of the way and takes the hit instead. Erio isn't killed. but is unable to help out in the ensuing boss battle.
  • Teleport Interdiction: King Edgar blocks Erio's ability to teleport in the Sepulcher.
  • Teleporter Accident: Apparently Erio had one or almost had one once; when the Sepulcher starts collapsing and he tells Astra he'll try to teleport himself and her out if asking another demon for help fails, Astra objects because "last time you tried that, you almost lost your arms!"
  • Third Option Adaptation: Both of the stories of Ephemeral Prince are canon, despite Fleeting taking place after the bad ending and Permanence taking place after the good ending.
  • Title Drop: Almost. The eponymous act is accomplished through the use of a "star stealing scroll".
  • Trap Door: The Western Tower boss fight ends with the Original King getting dropped down one of these by Snowe.
  • Try Not to Die: Richard, before the final battle.
    "Don't you dare die. We've worked too hard for this to all be for nothing."
  • Turns Red:
    • Many bosses. Most notably, Lina and Edgar will start spamming their most powerful spell after the other dies.
    • A humorous, non-boss example: The Dancing Hands of Bob will become angry and boogie for the rest of the turn once he's taken enough damage.
  • Unique Enemy: "The Dancing Hands of Bob".
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: At one point, you play as Astra and get to wander around the town. The other people in your party are Hiante and Erio. While the townspeople do comment that Astra's companions look odd, none of them seem all that perturbed that a young woman is wandering around with a demon and a skeleton for company.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Averted. Nothing is immune to status effects, even the Final Boss, and they are often crucial to victory. The Child's Cornet and the Scary Mask (which inflict stat debuffs) are two of the most useful items in the game.
    • Though to balance it out, nearly every enemy in the game can inflict multiple ailments on a regular basis. Burying your opponent in debuffs and status ailments is pretty much the go-to strategy on both sides.
  • Vendor Trash: Which you can sell to Numismatist.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Dream goes absolutely berserk after Dream Astra figures out how to weaken it, even letting loose a Precision F-Strike.
  • Villain Teleportation: Edgar and Lina show up for the boss fight this way.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Lorel will force players to adapt to the more intricate elements of the battle system or perish...and is a wimp compared to some of the bosses who follow.
  • Weapon of Choice:
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Averted for the most part, but in the Bonus Dungeon, if Snowe is KO'd in the boss fight and remains KO'd the following turn, the boss wipes out the rest of your party with one move. Game over.
  • We Used to Be Friends: While he never does get to confront Edgar and Lina about it, Richard recalls a time when they were actually decent people and dear friends of his.
  • Wham Episode: The end of the very first chapter. Snowe is very suddenly brought to the brink of death and just barely manages to survive.
    • Also, the end of the fourth chapter, which reveals that the perfect fairly tale scenario of Snowe's kingdom was a carefully constructed lie.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Snowe's upset about how horrible he's just found out his parents really are, and says that they didn't use to be like that. Erio then lays out for him how Edgar at least has always been that horrible, and then says "I don't even know what your mother's problem is."
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?:
    • In the final chapter, Astra mentions that she thinks Snowe's parents were awful for naming him Snowe. He agrees, as anytime anyone complains about the snow he has to remind himself they're referring to the weather and not to him. The odd gentleman they meet at the Western Tower also tells Snowe his name is "odd".
    • Inverted with Astra herself; the odd gentleman they meet at the Western Tower tells her that her name is a beautiful name and she should consider herself lucky for being named that.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Snowe, in the beginning. The story beats it out of him pretty quick.
  • The Wise Prince: Snowe falls short of the mark at the beginning due to his Wide-Eyed Idealist tendencies, but is definitely on the path to becoming this by the end.
  • You All Look Familiar: Averted by most of the NPCs, but played straight with the Library Helpers, Magic Helpers, and guards. Justified; all of them are copies made of clay. When the magic keeping them going runs out, they turn back to the clay they were.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Erio of all people ends up giving such a speech to Snowe when Snowe gets disturbed at how much of the imagery in his dream involves blood everywhere and himself getting burned. Erio senses that Snowe's worried he might have suicidal thoughts and Erio points out that Snowe invited someone who has a very low opinion of him into his head in order to protect someone they mutually care about, and if he really were suicidal he would have burned himself long ago.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Relenia and some of the NPCs have unnatural hair colors; Relenia has blue hair, there's a little girl named Anastasia who also has blue hair, there's a couple people with green hair. That Anastasia and Relenia both have blue hair is a huge hint that they're related.

The prequel short stories provide examples of:

  • Adult Fear:
    • "A Demon" has quite a bit for Hiante to deal with. The child he's been looking after has been suffering horrible nightmares and he doesn't know how to help her with them, and then another kid he'll have to look after gets horribly mistreated and he just wants to send him home but can't.
    • Looking at "A Spell of Fire & A Scarecrow" is disturbing whether you're reading it from the point of view of Lina or Snowe's friend. From Lina's point of view, her son has been interacting with a very dangerous person without her knowledge and this person could very easily harm him. From the point of view of Snowe's friend, Lina is a terrible mother who has already harmed her son greatly and he doesn't want to allow her to do any more harm.
  • Anachronic Order: The order they're put in: "A Demon" -> "A Spell of Fire & a Scarecrow" -> "Transience" -> "Stars in the Distance". The order they actually happened in: "A Spell of Fire & a Scarecrow" -> "A Demon" -> "Stars in the Distance" -> "Transience".
  • Body Horror: While the game mentions that Snowe's parents are decaying, the short stories "A Spell of Fire & a Scarecrow" and "Transience" go into rather grim detail with it.
  • Breather Episode: Between the game, the previous three short stories, and Fleeting all going rather dark places, "Stars in the Distance" is just a calmly-paced, sweet little story about two guys giving their all to make a little girl happy.
  • Comforting Comforter: At the end of "A Demon", Erio is so worn out from having to take care of Astra's nightmare that he can hardly move, so he crashes on the floor next to Astra's bed and falls asleep right there. Hiante brings a blanket and pillow for him.
  • Death Glare: Despite being a skeleton, Hiante manages one after he sees what Edgar did to Erio.
  • Downer Ending:
    • "A Spell of Fire & a Scarecrow". One more rapidly-decaying mom and a broken friendship, the end.
    • "Transience". Ending with the king and queen dying is pretty disturbing even though they're both unpleasant people, but considering that what they're actually doing is fleeing to the Sepulcher, the story ends not so much with Edgar and Lina dying as it does with Edgar and Lina abandoning the people they're supposed to be taking care of.
  • Electric Torture: In the game, Erio mentions suffering this at the hands of Snowe's father. In the short story "A Demon", this is gone into in more detail.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Lina's reaction to Erio. They'd been trying to get his sister, not him.
  • Fantastic Racism: In "A Demon", pretty much everyone besides Astra does a double take at Erio when they realize he's a demon, and Edgar and Lina, particularly Edgar don't treat him well at all. Edgar even laughs at Hiante for insisting on things like not treating Erio horribly and at least giving him shoes.
  • Fish out of Water: Due to answering a summons that wasn't even meant for him, Erio ends up in a strange place he's unfamiliar with. Unfortunately, he doesn't know how to get back home.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In "A Spell of Fire & A Scarecrow", Lina immobilizes the demon in Snowe by skewering him in place.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When describing her dream to Erio, Astra thinks that he wouldn't understand what fear is like, being a demon and all. Erio, who has just had a very bad day, quickly corrects her.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • If you played the game already, you know the companionship formed between Snowe and the demon in "A Spell of Fire & a Scarecrow" is not going to last.
    • In the game, the fact that Snowe's parents aren't very pleasant people is one of the many Reveals, but the short stories take it for granted.
  • Lighter and Softer: "Stars in the Distance" compared not only to the game but to the three short stories that preceded it. The game of course has all the various plot revelations, "A Demon" has traumatizing things happening to children, "A Spell of Fire & a Scarecrow" plays around with Adult Fear quite a bit and has a Downer Ending, and "Transience" briefly shows the point of view of a particular character...and that view is disturbing, and it also has a Downer Ending. "Stars in the Distance" mostly concerns itself with Erio and Hiante going out of their way to make Astra happy.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: "Hero" being applied very loosely in this case. In "A Spell of Fire & a Scarecrow", nice job making everything worse for everyone involved, Lina.
  • Nightmare Sequence:
    • In "A Demon", where Erio helps Astra with her nightmare.
    • Also in "A Spell of Fire & a Scarecrow" where Lina enters Snowe's dreams in order to trap the demon.
  • Not Quite The Right Thing: In "A Spell of Fire & a Scarecrow", Lina tries to protect her son. It doesn't take.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In "A Spell of Fire & a Scarecrow", Lina and the demon both want basically the same thing — for Snowe to not get hurt — but are coming at it from such opposite directions that neither is in a position to try to reason with the other. It ends badly for all parties involved.
  • Prequel: All four of them deal with past events that the game either only mentioned briefly or didn't mention at all.
  • Scary Scarecrows:
    • In "A Demon", one was running amok in Astra's dreams and causing them to catch on fire.
    • In ''A Spell of Fire & a Scarecrow", Lina calls the demon a scarecrow after skewering him. It also explains why his first appearance in the game is as a scarecrow.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: "A Spell of Fire & a Scarecrow". No one's happy in the end. Lina's made the Body Horror she's already suffering much worse, the demon's trapped and hurt and angry, and Snowe's lost a friend and now has an angry demon inside him.
  • Sleep Cute: At the end of "Stars in the Distance", Hiante discovers Astra and Erio this way. He makes a mental note to give Erio a talking-to later but leaves them be.
  • Suppressed Rage:
    • Hiante throughout the first half of "A Demon" has a great deal of trouble keeping himself from beating Edgar up.
    • Richard gets a moment of this at one point in "Transience" as well. Towards Edgar, again.
  • Together in Death: Edgar and Lina at the end of "Transience." ...kind of.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Edgar scoffs at Hiante for demanding that Erio be treated better, saying that Hiante's "humanizing the thing a bit too much."
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