All right, it’s time to stop being lazy for a little while and get back to some work on the Imperium Project. This time, I have to focus on the in-game events that will reveal Canan’s and Exam’s personal histories and bring Exelar close to them.
Although Canan will be introduced at an early stage in the game, her route cannot begin until Exam joins the party, whenever that is. It’s absolutely necessary for Exam to be introduced as an injured, unconscious survivor of a major battle scene, as he would never willingly place himself in the care of the Arcanum.
At any rate, Canan’s and Exam’s routes progress simultaneously, although the player will have choices that will bring him closer to one or the other.
Prospective spoilers ahead!
Exam comes to Exelar’s attention when Lothair, cross-referencing things Hikari told him about Exam’s physical checkup results with Arcanum data, realizes that Exam is a vampire! He secretly attempts to take action to eliminate Exam, but is blocked by Canan, who was already anticipating this and tracing Lothair’s actions. Exelar encounters this scene and, thinking to himself how strange it is to see Arcanum members standing off, tells both of them to stand down.
Later, Exelar decides to check up on Exam himself, although he can’t do much more than sit by the bedside. Eventually Lothair appears, and although he says he doesn’t have any business with Exam this time, he advises Exelar not to deal with Exam any more than is necessary – noting sarcastically that Canan seems to care enough about Exam for everyone. If Exelar agrees that he doesn’t need to worry about Exam, then the route never begins. If he disagrees with Lothair’s policy, then the route begins.
The next few times Exelar sees Canan, he notes that she looks anxious, especially around Lothair. This becomes even more notable after Exam regains consciousness, although she denies everything as best as she can.
Meanwhile, Exelar helps Exam move into his new quarters, and Exam shares some details about himself (excluding his real gender, of course. This scene happens even if the player is not on this route, although Exam may share more information if the player is on the route).
Exam quickly makes friends with the main characters (except Lothair, who hasn’t told anyone about Exam’s vampirism), but within a few days begins to look ill. Then, suddenly, Exam begins to look healthier, albeit distressed, at the same time that Canan begins to appear ill. The changes are subtle, but Exelar’s eye for detail comes through.
Exelar can go to Canan, Exam, or Lothair for answers, though in all three cases he will potentially learn that Exam is a vampire. If he goes to Lothair, Lothair will convince Exelar to stop dealing with Canan and Exam, ending the route. If Exelar goes to either Canan or Exam, he will learn that Canan has been letting Exam feed on her, although Exam is unhappy with the situation. If Exelar goes directly to Exam, he will end up walking in on Exam changing and discover that Exam is a trap, at which point Exelar can nonetheless continue, or pretend he never saw anything and end the route.
Exelar can ask Exam or Canan why they’re living this way, but neither will say much other than that they knew each other in the past.
Later, Canan and Exam have a “date” scene that makes their relationship clearer to the player, but not to Exelar, who notices the two together but decides not to eavesdrop beyond what he’s heard by chance – which is, in fact, a conversation about Exelar, where either Canan or Exam (depending on who the player has favored to this point) comments about how hard Exelar has been working to protect the both of them.
This is enough to motivate Exelar to confront Exam or Canan and demand the whole story between the two. However, after the story is done, the character who is speaking will tell Exelar that he’s also gained a place in his/her heart, and Exelar will have the opportunity to return those feelings.
As for what happens after that, well… I don’t really know. I haven’t written an ending yet because I don’t really know what would even make sense. Plus, I’m not sure if this draft is too detailed, or not detailed enough, or if it’s paced correctly, or if the details align with the main story, or if there are other elements that I really need to include. I’m not an expert in romance in either the real world or the world of games, and my ideas and Zanaikin’s are often a canyon’s width apart. That’s why I have to talk to Zanaikin, and probably Honya too, to finalize things, although this draft is way better than nothing at all.