Note: This’ll contain massive spoilers for the story of Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of An Elusive Age. This’ll also be much shorter than other analyses as its fairly innocuous and based on circumstantial evidence. Purely fun guesswork instead of concrete clues within the game.
So, after just completing an extra 17 hours to do side missions and collect the remaining alternative costumes for my party, clocking at 140 hours in total so far; I began to notice a lot of the side missions in the latter-half seem to center around Erdwin and Serenica’s tragic love story. The Post-game ending containing Serenica and Erdwin reuniting feels less bizarre and out of the norm for the Luminary and his party when you realize much of the side missions were about Serenica’s feelings, finding her poetry, and her lamentations about never seeing Erdwin again. Of course, that isn’t to say the main game doesn’t do a stellar job in making the player want to see them reunited with Morcant’s flashbacks, but it helps that the side missions further expand and solidify the message.
Recalling the ending with Yggdragon, I began to wonder whether Rubiss had any possibility of being in Dragon Quest XI itself. Rubiss had been added through passing mentions within the dialogue of latter remakes and ports of Dragon Quest 1 and 2 from what I’ve read, after her story focus in Dragon Quest 3 where she had the clearest story relevance. Since then, she was in Dragon Quest VI serving the Goddess of Dragon Quest VI while that Goddess was seemingly incognito, she was part of a Dragon Quest side-game featuring Keifer that never made it overseas, and she is the main driving force of Dragon Quest Builders, a alternate universe of Dragon Quest 1 that answers the question of what would have happened if the DQ1 Hero chose to join the Dragonlord. Rubiss had always been a fairly basic feature as a goddess and so it was surprising that there wasn’t even a slight mention of her in passing within the Erdrick Saga that she is most well-known in. At best, the Goddess statues seemed to be the only indication that she was acknowledged. However, I’d speculate that she was indeed in the game, but in disguise to keep faithful to the chronology of only appearing in Dragon Quest 3 with the others only having subtle hints and because showing her off would have ruined the shock of the True Ending. There is a peculiar NPC that has no explanation whatsoever and placed in a bizarre and arguably impossible area; Act III of the game only has your party members comment that she might be an angel. I checked the previous games of the Erdrick Quadrilogy to find that the NPCs in Dragon Queen’s Castle are typically labeled as faeries in some versions or not really described with much detail. I had thought it was referencing one of them, but the Watchers being their NPC counterparts make more sense given the True Ending.
(Note: This is Rubiss’s “True” Form according to Enix’s old Manga series about her.)
During the main story of Act II of Dragon Quest XI, the party journeys to the Battleground to find the Orichalcum to re-forge the Sword of Light in order to vanquish Mordegan. The party is somber over the implications of how much the forces of darkness devastated the entire area and the journey is just as much about finding clues about what happened as it is about obtaining the Orichalcum. On the journey, there are accounts written in stone slabs across the entire devastated battlefield that explain how The Watchers of the Battleground sacrificed everything from their once prosperous community to defend the sacred Orichalcum from the forces of Darkness. Everyone of the Watchers fought to their dying breath and are implied to have been extinct for some indefinite time period; they died all in the hopes the Luminary would vanquish the darkness in the future. Despite their extinction, nobody has swooped in to take the Orichalcum; by all rights, Mordegan was successful in stirring up the forces of Darkness to wipe them out just as he did the kingdoms of Dundrasil and Zwaardust. Even more tragic, the player sees how he uses Heliodor and disposes of it after attaining his goal of destroying the World Tree, Yggdrasil. So, why was the remaining Orichalcum untouched and still safely lodged in the deepest parts of the Battleground?
The Battleground is rife with powerful and berserker-crazed monsters that have been afflicted by Mordegan and Calasmos depending on whether you’re in Act II or Act III of the game. To my surprise, there actually is a powerful monster who you can fight for a side mission in Act III, but who is locked away by a magically sealed door that only the ultimate key can open. That monster seems to be shut away and unable to do much of anything. How exactly did he end-up there? One could assume The Watchers locked him away, but why aren’t other monsters also sealed away if that’s what the Watchers had done during their war effort before their tragic demise?
What proceeds after that is one of the most perturbing moments. A Bunny girl pops up and bellows in celebration as she runs towards you in the deepest parts right before you get take the Orichalcum itself. It is one of the most bizarre events with no explanation about how she got there on the Battleground, how she knew about the location to begin with, what her purpose there is, or why some entertainer would choose to give Puff-Puffs in the most isolated location in the game. Nobody else is there with her, there are no towns to speak of in the Battleground as everyone of The Watchers is heavily implied to be dead or stated to be so by other Watchers in town locations far away from the Battleground, and she seemingly has no trouble with the monsters that were driven to insanity and attacking in hordes. How is she able to fend them off by herself? What does she even eat to survive? Why would anyone decide to be an entertainer on an isolated island known to have a blood-soaked and tragic past? How did she even get there and why does she stay there?
I had expected her to be an enemy like Mia. I had thought she was playing a trick to deceive and a battle would immediately occur upon giving her any sort of answer. It seemed like that was going to be the trick since she runs off and asks you to follow her. Despite her showmanship and comical portrayal, I expected a battle upon the end of the scene. In fact, even tying you up to a rope and throwing you off to bungee jump off the floating island as her version of a Puff-Puff seemed to be a valid reason. However, to my surprise, it is simply played for laughs with the party laughing in joy when you speak to them. The Bunny girl is actually offering you a death-defying and courageous test that she calls a Puff-Puff to pass off as comedy. The player immediately feels a sense of ease from her antics since she’s not hostile to you and she doesn’t interfere or ask why you’re there. She offers no explanation and doesn’t question your intentions. She has no interest in the Orichalcum that you come to collect and seems oddly oblivious to where she is. There’s a tone shift in which she basically serves to cheer you up with a laugh and give the Luminary a boost of courage.
Given all the circumstantial evidence, and the fact that Dragon Quest XI’s ending twist was that it’s a prequel to the first three Dragon Quests with the DQ XI Hero being the first to be titled Erdrick, the Bunny Girl of the Battleground is most likely Rubiss or an Avatar of Rubiss. She couldn’t be called Rubiss explicitly as that would ruin the plot twist of the True Ending. When you’re talking to the party in Act III, they describe her as an angel as a way of filling in the gaps I just mentioned. It seems like a vague handwave. However, given all the context clues and with the True Ending being set-up as a surprise at its very end, the vagueness was probably deliberate. The clues within the Battleground itself lead credence that her behavior fits what Rubiss would do. She’s sealed away a monster for you to take care of later, she doesn’t interfere with your journey or give you any directions, she instills a sense of courage after making you shift focus from the heart wrenching devastation to focusing on your task of defeating Mordegan, and there’s an implicit trust since you know that she won’t ever harm you and simply wants to give you a nice laugh along with a test of courage. Rubiss generally doesn’t interfere with human affairs, but instead acts as a guide and supports you with words of courage in other Dragon Quests. She’ll guide, but she won’t directly interfere.
I’d say it all checks out. I’m fairly confident that she is Rubiss herself or implied to be her Avatar. If I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. I just thought the clues seem to fit nicely. It is fun to think about the implications since she’s clearly intended to unnerve the player when she’s first introduced. I think the vague explanation of being an angel was a definite clue that she is Rubiss since they could have said she was a Watcher, a fairy with a long lifespan similar to Mermaids, or a spirit like Drustan. The connotation of angel implies a heavenly being and has stronger connection to a deity-like figure. Given their specific choice of how to describe her, I think it isn’t altogether out of the norm to suggest that the implication is that she’s Rubiss’s Avatar or Rubiss herself.
What are your thoughts?