Spring comes and everyone starts treating Phos as if they’re a whole new person. They might be right. The spark of youth can no longer be found in Phos’s eyes. Our protagonist has long lost both their innocence and exuberance. No longer carefree and bubbly, they’ve even gone and cut their hair short to emulate the late Antarcticite. Yes, the new Phos is surprisingly all business nowadays, only ever focusing on the task at hand. That’s because guilt weighs heavily on the heart; Antarcticite’s capture is mostly their fault, after all. Phos also confesses that they can barely sleep anymore. If they do, it’s only when complete exhaustion takes over. Every time the gemstone closes their eyes, however, they are haunted by images of Antarcticite’s last moments. So to drive away the guilt, Phos opts to work tirelessly over the remainder of the winter.
On the plus side, our new Phos can definitely fight. Their new arms are incredibly heavy, and as a result, their super speed has been neutralized completely. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the gemstone suddenly opts to cover their legs up with powder. Their peers are really only interested in Phos’s new arms, but the legs are no longer a source of pride. They’re just, well, ordinary now, so they also deserve an ordinary look. Not only that, the parts of Pho’s body that are still phosphophyllite are as brittle as ever. Fine cracks appear whenever the gold-platinum alloy arms exert themselves. Luckily, the alloy will then seep into these cracks to prevent the body from falling apart. From a distance, you wouldn’t be able to tell that anything has changed at all. But even so, I wonder what it must feel like to be in Phos’s shoes. It can’t be pleasant to go through micro-fractures all the time, right? Well, they’re not human, so maybe it’s not really an issue.
In any case, the pros greatly outweigh all those trade-offs I just listed… in battle, at least. Thanks to the gold-platinum alloy, Phos now has incredible reach. Not only that, the gemstone can propel themselves to great heights whenever they use their arms as a makeshift platform. Last but not least, their arms can also function as an invaluable shield that has no issues repelling standard Lunarians arrows. Time will tell if Phos can withstand the enemy’s trickier forms, but for now, the gemstone’s newfound battle prowess is enough to give Bort some consternation. Of course, everything annoys Bort, so who really knows if we can truly blame Phos’s new limbs.
On the emotional side, however, it feels as though Phos has lost something important — a crucial aspect of their previous self. I’ll try to explain what I mean. As it has been pointed out over and over, every missing body piece also means a missing chunk of memories. In this week’s episode, the gemstone almost fails to recognize the name Cinnabar. Phos’s promise to the forlorn gemstone is the event that kick-started this entire story, though. From the start, our protagonist’s primary purpose is to find their mercurial friend a proper job — a job that they can feel proud about. Well, it was the primary purpose. Phos has changed in more ways than one, and as a result, their focus is now completely different form before. Actually, what is Phos’s focus these days?
When Rutile wakes up from the winter-long hibernation, they ask our hero to pay Cinnabar a visit, but Phos declines. After the long, painful winter, they don’t feel well. They also have nothing to say to Cinnabar. Towards the end of the episode, the gemstone accidentally runs into the red-haired gemstone. It almost feels as though the latter had sought them out. After all, it’s been a long time since they last spoke. I’m certain Cinnabar hasn’t forgotten Phos’s promise. Phos hasn’t forgotten either, but they almost did. And to tell the truth, they haven’t really tried to help Cinnabar either. Like how it is with everyone else, Cinnabar has been relegated to an afterthought in Phos’s mind. Our hero tries to tell a white lie — “I’m making good progress on finding work for you” — but Cinnabar can see through it: “Well, it’s not like I care anyway.” All Phos can do is slump their shoulders in defeat. I feel as though the old Phos would’ve cried out to Cinnabar with something hopeful, something uplifting. The old Phos was useless in battle, but they could at least make Cinnabar feel wanted. That’s all the mercurial gemstone is really looking for. So this is what the new Phos lacks; it feels as though the gemstone can no longer truly empathize with their friend. Phos has come so far, and yet, I can’t really say that their changes are truly for the better.