Part 22: Oischin Oddities
Welcome back. Last time on Exit Fate, we delved into our subconscious in an effort to retrieve our memories of Brunhild. Instead, we ended up meeting what appeared to be an evil version of ourselves. Needless to say, it was pretty clear that this was not part of our memories and we got the fuck out of there pretty damn fast. Is there anything we can glean from this encounter? It's time to find out.
Music: Faraday - Xenogears, "Singing of the Gentle Wind"
You woke up with a sudden shock. What happened?
I... I don't know. I just got overwhelmed with fear.
Hmm... It's not the first time something like this happened. Some people find the vivid dream experiences extremely disturbing. Regardless, did you find what you were looking for?
It's hard to tell the difference between real memories and my own imagination. It was a dream world, after all.
I'm sorry to hear that. Well, not every experiment can be a success. Don't feel bad about it.
Thank you for your time, Cantor.
Fade to black...
Yeah... I ended the hypnosis myself.
You did? What happened?
Hmmm, I'm still not sure. I met myself in my dream, but... it was like it wasn't actually me. The other me said that my memories of Brunhild were a delusion, that I'm unable to tell what's real and what isn't. I don't know what to think of it.
Strange... It's almost like your subconscious was trying to give you a message, and yet... this sounds almost malevolent. I wonder if there is some actual meaning to it.
Bwoah what?! Is Yan Angwa actually offering help?
What? Yan Angwa, you know more about this?
Don't give in to it. That is all.
Now hold on there, I've had enough of your mysterious remarks. You can't say something like that and not follow up on it. What exactly do you know about me? You insisted on coming along here. Did you know something like this was going to happen?
Let me get this straight. I don't really trust you. I have no idea why you joined me or why you know all these things, and you refuse to tell me.
I am here for my own sake, but you would benefit from keeping me around.
Benefit!? What has your benefit to me been up till now?
We all have some things we'd rather not talk about, don't we? Let's not argue about it any further. Regardless of how tactless his way of speaking is, Yan Angwa seems to be on our side, doesn't he?
I don't think he's an enemy, but he's obviously only looking out for himself. He offered to join the Elysium Army, so I have the right to say these things. It's up to him to do something with it.
A priest? Why was he looking for me?
He didn't want to say too much without you being present, but it seems he wants to ask you for help.
I don't know much about Cento Temple, but I've heard that these priests are held in high regard here in Zelmony. I wonder why they'd want my help. I'll go meet him to see what this is all about. Where is he now?
He's staying at the inn. I told him that you'd talk to him once you were done here.
And with that, control is returned to us, and we have the run of the place. As mentioned last update, Faraday University is fucking huge, and there are a whole bunch of NPCs milling about. However, most of the university is taken up by these long hallways of classrooms, and most of the NPCs are unimportant. I'll just give you the highlights.
This fellow in the northwest of the building is the only person in the university with a portrait aside from Marian, but we can't do much with him at the moment.
There's also this guy in the northeast. Keep him in mind for later.
Fuckin' gravity, how does it work?
Fuck no, this guy's working fuckin' miracles here.
That's about all there is to see in the university proper, but the town has some amenities to check out. Our first stop is the item shop here.
Aside from the Stone Amulet, the shop sells all of the second-tier accessories (+2 to a given stat) at fairly cheap prices. We've got better things to spend our money on though.
Next stop is the blacksmith, who is level 8. As usual, though, we don't have anywhere near enough money to upgrade everyone's weapons fully. Even just upgrading Bast's weapon attack to level 8 will wipe out 75% of our savings.
Instead, I forge Bast and Shiro's weapons up to level 7. It'll do for now.
The armor selection has also taken a jump, but as was discussed earlier in the thread, purchasing armor is fairly pointless if you've got a thief with you. We've already got a Brigandine, Silver Helmet, and Silk Beret just from steals and treasure chests, and it's highly likely we'll pick up some more armor along the way.
Next up is this isolated house in the southwest of the city, which contains what appears to be a painter.
Oh, you painted these? Why don't you sell them anymore? They look quite good.
Yeah? Bullshit. That's the same thing that bastard Walters told me. Said he liked them, that he'd support me. And then what? He pays me a pittance for my works, and sells them for a small fortune behind my back. And then he denies they were mine in the first place! So I don't sell my work to anyone anymore. I'd rather starve to death than hand a single one of these over to those greedy pigs.
Isn't there anything you can do about it?
Forget about it. I've had enough of all this. I just want to work in peace.
Can't get any evidence, huh? That smells like a sidequest to me. If you'll recall, we met this chap earlier in the update. Maybe he can help us out?
Of course I did! He has an exquisite collection. Many priceless works. It's an incredible sight.
If I showed you a painting, would you be able to tell if Walters had you appraise other work by that artist before?
Hmm... I can't say with complete confidence, but yes, I think I could.
Do you know the painter who lives at the far end of town, near the south gate? Could you meet me there later? I want to show you something.
All right. I'll come take a look.
One quick walk back to Venkal's house later...
Well? Can you tell from these paintings?
Hmmm... From my first impression, I'd say yes, the style looks very similar to a set of paintings I was asked to appraise.
Hey! I asked you a question! Don't come in here and ignore me!
This man is an art appraiser. He can confirm the paintings that Walters sold were yours.
You needed evidence against that guy, didn't you? If this man testifies against him, you can prove that the paintings are yours!
Mind your own business, you idiot. What's the point? You can't touch that rich bastard. I didn't ask for your help. You're just getting in my way. Get out of my home, both of you!
Didn't you hear me!? Out!
Well, that didn't work. If Venkal's not going to help us out, we're just going to have to take the fight to Walters ourselves.
Walters lives in a large house in the northeast, behind a gate.
Ohoho, yes I am. Richard Walters, famous art collector. What can I do for you?
I am Daniel Vinyard. Is it true that you've bought some paintings from a local painter called Venkal?
Venkal? Hmm... Yes, I've heard of him, but I don't own any of his works, oh no. I only have the finest of artworks.
Really? I can prove that you're lying. You were buying his paintings and then secretly selling them for a huge profit.
Damn, that got nasty really quick.
You won't get away with this so easily. I'll--
Leave that piece of trash alone. He's not worth the effort.
Why are you stopping me? Don't you want to expose his lies?
Hmph. He's only got ten of my paintings. I still have a thousand more inside my head. I was an idiot for thinking I could trust him. I won't make that mistake again. From now on, I'll only sell to people I know I can trust.
You changed your mind?
It's because you're being such a fool. I don't really get why you're doing this for me, but it looks like not everyone's out to take advantage of me. You want me to work for you, don't you? If that's all, then let's go. I can't wait to leave this city behind me.
Need a good combat character? Then Venkal is not who you're looking for. With weak stats pretty much across the board, Venkal has little to no combat utility. Like Bartolli, Venkal main use is offering a service at Elysium Castle, but we don't have an easy way of getting back there right now, so we're going to have to wait until later to find out what that service is.
Venkal's method of attack seems to be punching people with his paintbrush. But with his low stats and weapon levels he's not going to be hitting a damn thing in this area.
Now then, we've seen pretty much all there is to see in Faraday for the moment, so let's head to the inn and meet that priest Ljusalf was telling us about.
I'm sorry you had to wait so long to see me. I was kind of busy.
No need to apologize. Patience is a virtue we hold in high regard.
A High Priest? What do I owe this visit to?
The truth is... we have a favor to ask of you. Recently, the temple has frequently been under attack, and our own clerics and monks are having great difficulty repelling these attacks. Due to the war, the State Army is unable to send any help, so we had no choice but to appeal directly to anyone who could help us. When we received word that you were coming to Faraday, I was immediately sent to meet you.
An attack on a temple? I don't get it. Why would someone do that?
We have some suspicions, but we don't know for sure. Please come with me. The head priest wishes to speak to you. He will tell you more.
All right. I don't think there are any other pressing matters for me to attend to. However, if I receive new orders from the capital, I'll have no choice but to return.
Of course, I understand completely. We're very glad you're offering any help at all. The temple is on the other side of the lake. Allow me to escort you there.
Deus joins us temporarily.
Deus is quite a capable mage, though as always, Midian and Myst have him beat in the MAG department. That isn't to say that Deus doesn't have his own advantages though: unlike most of our other mages, he's actually quite durable, with some of the best HP you'll see on a magic user, and he's also our first light-aligned mage, which means he's a fantastic healer. He has the Aura special as well, but as we've seen, it's pretty much entirely useless.
I don't have the faintest clue what Deus's weapon is supposed to be, so if someone in the thread wants to chime in, I'd appreciate it.
Also, meeting Deus removes the "required" flag from Ljusalf and Yan Angwa, so we can now remove them from our party if desired. Deus himself is required though, so I remove Ljusalf to make room.
Anyway, it's time to head out of Faraday and see what the rest of Oischin has to offer.
Our first destination is a small town to the west of Faraday, which is pretty much right next door.
Music: Sibet - Chrono Cross, "A Narrow Space Between Dimensions"
Sibet is pretty damn tiny and there's not that much to see, but there is a magic shop, which Faraday didn't have.
Original Oischin spells, huh? Well, this seems like a backwater town at best, I can't imagine that their selection is--
So, uh, yeah, the tier-two attack spells are now up for purchase. But they're not quite worth buying yet, as it still takes Midian and Myst four turns just to gain the MP to cast Eclipse, let alone the other spells in the tier. We'll definitely be remembering that these are here, though.
There's also this fellow tending a garden on the western side of town. Well, if his selection is anything like the magic shop he's probably got some great--
Finally, a grandfather in one of the houses is telling a story which is possibly a nod to SCF's previous game, Last Scenario, though it's generic enough that I can't actually be certain.
That's all there is in Sibet. The only other direction to go is south along the lake.
The temple isn't difficult to find.
Music: Cento - Suikoden II, "Due Fiumi"
(Note: The music playing in-game doesn't have any vocals, but I couldn't find a version on youtube that didn't contain a singer.)
Fade to black...
Oh hey, it's Galius. He's the only Zelmony governor whose personality we don't really have a clear picture of yet. Hopefully he's not as big of an asshole as Vosch, though that'd be pretty difficult.
Daniel Vinyard, welcome to Cento Temple. I am Galius, the head priest.
Pleased to meet you. ...Galius, you said? Haven't I heard that name before somewhere?
I'm sure my name can frequently be heard in the corridors of the Matrech state hall. I am also acting as governor of the Oischin State, you see.
Oh, I see. That must be why I've heard it before. But, isn't that strange? For the head priest to be governor as well.
In the past, Oischin used to consist of many individual city-states. This temple was once its own domain as well. However, nowadays Oischin is a sparsely populated area, with only two notable exceptions: this temple, and Faraday with its university. When Oischin joined the State Union, it was decided that governorship would be shared between the head priest of Cento Temple and the headmaster of Faraday University. The current headmistress has no interest in national politics though, so in practice I've become the sole governor of Oischin.
Indeed, Daniel. I am well aware of how the people at the capital view you. That's one of the reasons I've been wanting to meet you. I wanted to see what you're really like. I don't have to tell you that the presence of a Kirgard officer so high up the ranks of the State Army is causing grave concern among certain people, warranted or not. The chancellor may have pushed your progress too hard... but it's not for me to say. At least you know that he's on your side.
I've already met the other governors, and I have my doubts about some of them. What is your own view on the situation?
Oh thank God, we've found a sane one.
There are zealots on both sides who believe their nation is superior to the other, or even that they are superior as people. It's my duty to remain neutral in the face of rampant nationalism. My loyalties lie not with the State Union, but with its people, and indeed with all the people in this world.
It must be difficult to hold that view when faced with the more... aggressive members of the Zelmony government.
In any case, you must have already heard from Deus that we're having a bit of an emergency situation here at the temple.
I've only told him the basics. I thought you would want to explain the full story to him.
Yes, indeed, nothing but elementals. Now, elementals may exist in nature, but these were clearly the result of human experiments. More than that, summoning elements is a complicated ritual. We are dealing with one or more mages of considerable level.
We foolishly assumed that they were discouraged by the swift destruction of the first wave and left us alone. Now it seems the first attack was merely a test. Last week, the elementals struck again, this time in far greater numbers. We ultimately repelled them, but the damage was severe. Several monks lost their lives... We may not be able to withstand another attack. Action must be taken before they conjure an even larger army. The root of the problem, the ones creating the elementals, must be stopped. Daniel, we lack the strength to fight back, and the State Army has too much on its mind to pay any attention to us. Many volunteers have offered their help, but they would be no match for the elementals' masters. I can't accept that kind of sacrifice. We turn to you as our last hope.
Like I said earlier. Required to be Big Damn Heroes whenever needed.
You said you're looking for the mages who created these elementals. Do you have any idea where they are?
All right. We'll head there as soon as we can.
I offer you our deepest gratitude on behalf of everyone here. Of course, since we are the ones who approached you, we will provide you with some arn to cover your expenses.
Also, please accept this gift as a token of my gratitude.
Now you can see why I wasn't too broken up about not getting a Photon Beam from the Mayfall war battle. We haven't even spent a single Arn and we've already got four of the six second-tier spells in our possession.
Finally, please allow Deus to accompany you on this mission. He is one of the few at this temple who has the necessary skills to support you.
Of course. I would appreciate your help.
That's all, then. Take your time preparing yourself before you head out. You're free to stay at the temple any time you please.
We're now free to roam about the temple. Much like Faraday University, the temple is quite large and there are a lot of NPC priests around, but there isn't all that much of importance in here.
One of the main draws of the temple is the inn in the back, where, as Galius promised, we can stay for free.
Next door is a magic shop.
Aside from selling Restore ( ), the temple magic shop sells a host of spells we haven't seen before: the tier-two status heals. We haven't seen all of the associated statuses yet, so here's a handy list:
- Balance cures Chaos, which causes the character to randomly attack both allies and enemies.
- Enlight cures Mindblow, which halts MP generation for the character. It's also a really dumb name for a dark spell.
- Melt cures Freeze, which causes the next physical attack against the character to instantly kill him or her.
- Clearmind cures Berserk, which causes the character to uncontrollably attack enemies.
- Nerveheal cures Paralyze, which prevents the character from acting for several turns.
- Alarm cures Sleep, which prevents the character from acting until several turns have passed or the character is hit.
Apart from that, the temple doesn't have much of interest. Despite what this guy says, we can't find any crazy Shaolin monks here or anything.
We can, however, head out to the grounds, where we find this guy.
Oh, we can recruit this guy? Okay, why not.
Er... all right then. Guess he won't join us yet.
Now then, let's head for that mansion.
Maybe we overdid it a bit with that last batch.
Then we might as well storm into the temple and find them ourselves.
You joined us because you're after a certain person?
Oh? Didn't you know yet? Yeah, you could say I have a score to settle with one of these priests.
I didn't know you cared about that sort of thing. I thought you were just a bored nobleman.
That's a grave insult! I am not some mere knave looking for a fight. I am a knight of noble blood! It is my sworn destiny to seek out battle!
Whatever. If all you want is to fight, why didn't you just join the State Army?
The army? Bah! Modern warfare is no longer what it used to be. There is no place for honorable knights like me anymore. In this day and age, skill and valor no longer matter.
At least my presence is appreciated here. This is as good a place as any to swing my flail around. If the temple has to be my enemy, so be it! If they oppose me, they all shall fall!
What hypocrisy. You're just trying to justify your bloodthirst with some meaningless talk about honor.
What a thing for you to say. I thought you were just in it for the fun?
How presumptuous. I'm not a thrillseeker.
Well, she just needed mages like us to create those elementals with her help. Her own dark elementals would be slaughtered like lambs by the temple warriors. But all in all, you're no better than him.
I don't hide behind such hollow concepts as "honor". I can take responsibility for what I'm doing.
It's already been a few days since my sentinel beast was destroyed. I wonder if they asked for reinforcements.
Well, let's go check it out.
What are you talking about?
We've only been working anonymously up till now. When we make our presence known, we'll need a name that will strike fear into the hearts of our foes. A name that will spread throughout the world! A name that shall make everyone tremble upon hearing it!
What's that supposed to mean?
Ha ha ha. Get it? It's a joke.
Next time: Let's take care of the Caretakers.